Title:
Case with automatic opening
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The invention in one embodiment relates to a case suitable for packaging a cosmetic product comprising: a lid optionally including a mirror, said lid being fitted with a first hinge element, a bottom optionally having an inner frame integral therewith, said lid and bottom forming a cavity intended to contain the cosmetic product or a trough containing the cosmetic product, the bottom being fitted with a second hinge element such that a hinge means is formed by engagement of the first and second hinge elements so as to allow rotation of the lid relative to the bottom along an axis of rotation, a fastening means for fastening and unfastening the lid relative to the bottom, wherein the case is capable of automatic opening in such a way that the lid opens automatically when force is exerted on the fastening means, and further wherein the hinge is formed by two half-hinges aligned along an axis of rotation, said half hinges including (i) a right-hand half-hinge D including two hinge half-portions D1 and D2 which engage, and (ii) a left-hand half-hinge G, including two hinge half-portions G1 and G2 which engage, the hinge half-portions D1 and G1 being integral with the lid and the hinge half-portions D2 and G2 being integral with the bottom. Other cases and processes of manufacturing are also disclosed herein.



Inventors:
Petit, Robert (Cluny, FR)
Application Number:
11/033685
Publication Date:
08/18/2005
Filing Date:
01/13/2005
Assignee:
TECHPACK INTERNATIONAL
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
206/235, 206/823
International Classes:
A45C13/34; A45D40/22; (IPC1-7): B65D69/00
View Patent Images:
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20060201830Packaging system with oxygen sensor for limited life optical mediaSeptember, 2006Schoen et al.
20070102311Media storage container with media cartridge pageMay, 2007Kirtz et al.
20050082179Packaging box and method of point of purchase displayApril, 2005Terwelp
20090255834TOILET CLEANING DEVICEOctober, 2009Buck et al.
20090178941Package for Universal Media DiscJuly, 2009Gelardi et al.
20050121348Package insert and stackable package for articlesJune, 2005Clare et al.



Primary Examiner:
HICKS, ROBERT J
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
CONNOLLY BOVE LODGE & HUTZ LLP (SUITE 800, 1990 M STREET NW, WASHINGTON, DC, 20036-3425, US)
Claims:
1. A case suitable for packaging a cosmetic product comprising a lid optionally including a mirror, said lid being fitted with a first hinge element, a bottom optionally having an inner frame integral therewith, said lid and bottom forming a cavity intended to contain the cosmetic product or a trough containing the cosmetic product, the bottom being fitted with a second hinge element such that a hinge means is formed by engagement of the first and second hinge elements so as to allow rotation of the lid relative to the bottom along an axis of rotation, a fastening means for fastening and unfastening the lid relative to the bottom, wherein the case is capable of automatic opening in such a way that the lid opens automatically when force is exerted on the fastening means, and further wherein the hinge is formed by two half-hinges aligned along an axis of rotation, said half hinges including (i) a right-hand half-hinge D including two hinge half-portions D1 and D2 which engage, and (ii) a left-hand half-hinge G, including two hinge half-portions G1 and G2 which engage, the hinge half-portions D1 and G1 being integral with the lid and the hinge half-portions D2 and G2 being integral with the bottom.

2. A case of claim 1, wherein the first half-hinge is formed by engagement of a male part and a female part, at least one of which is carried by the hinge half-portion G1, the other of the female or male parts being carried by the hinge half-portion G2, and wherein the second half-hinge D includes a longitudinal connecting component placed along the axis of rotation and thereby engaging with the hinge half-portions D1 and D2.

3. A case of claim 2, further comprising a longitudinal, component including an axial spring that ensures an engagement in rotation with the opposite hinge half-portions by a first and second anchoring means, and wherein the spring has, between ends thereof, a pre-set angular torsion α such that when the lid is unfastened from said lid, the angular torsion α of the spring transfers a pre-set opening torque Co to said lid, so as to facilitate automatic opening of the case.

4. A case according to claim 3 wherein each of the anchoring means includes a head such that a first head is anchored to a first end of the spring so as to engage with the hinge half-portion D1, and, at a second end thereof, there is provided a second head anchored to a second end of the spring engaging with the hinge half-portion D2, the first head and the second head having therebetween the pre-set angular torsion α when the case is closed.

5. A case according to claim 3, wherein the longitudinal component forms an axle, a first end of the axle engaging with a first channel formed in one of the two hinge half-portions D1 and G1 integral with the lid, and the second end engaging with a second channel formed in one of the hinge half-portions D2 and G2 integral with the bottom.

6. A case according to claim 5 wherein the first and second heads engage with the first and second channels respectively by a noncircular cross-section of the heads and the channels, or by engagement of convex and concave elements so as to form a means of engagement in rotation.

7. A case according to claim 6 wherein the spring is in a permanent state of compression or axial tension along the axis of rotation, in such a way that the first and second heads are thus maintained in the first and second channels respectively.

8. A case according to claim 5 wherein the spring is capable of being compressed axially, so as to be able to be compressed over a length L1 or L2 in the first or the second channel for the purpose of assembling the hinge, the lengths L1 and L2 corresponding to the depth of the first and second channels respectively.

9. A case according to claim 3 wherein each of the anchoring means includes a skirt, a first skirt being integral with the first head, and a second skirt being integral with the second head, the first and second skirts being coaxial, wherein at least one of the skirts is an inner skirt, and another skirt being an outer skirt, such that the longitudinal component forms a torsion damper, and is simultaneously able to be compressed axially for the purpose of assembling the hinge, and to have a pre-set angular torsion of angle α for the purpose of forming the pre-set opening torque Co of the lid.

10. A case according to claim 9 wherein the inner skirt or a head integral therewith includes a shoulder forming a stop for the outer skirt at an end thereof, so as to limit compression of the longitudinal component or of the torsion damper to a pre-set length L.

11. A case according to claim 3 wherein the hinge has an axial play E along the axis of rotation between the hinge half-portions D2 and G2 integral with the bottom and the hinge half portions D1 and G1 integral with the lid , the axial play E being in a range from about 0.3 to about 1.5 mm, so as to facilitate the assembly of the hinge.

12. A case according to claim 3 wherein the first half-hinge is formed by engagement of a male part and a female part, the engagement being over an axial distance greater than the axial play E, and wherein one of the male or female parts is carried by the bottom and the other of the female or male parts is carried by the lid.

13. A case according to claim 12 wherein the female part is formed by a first ring of diameter D1 and the male part by a second ring of diameter D2<D1, the first and second rings being over an angle β in a range from 200° to 280°, so as to form the hinge without axial play E, and/or to facilitate assembly of the first half-hinge.

14. A case according to claim 13 wherein the female part includes at a center portion thereof a center pin of diameter D3<D2.

15. A case according to claim 3 wherein the first half-hinge includes an auxiliary longitudinal connecting component equipped with an auxiliary helical spring, so as to form an auxiliary axle, and/or to provide a pre-set angular torsion of angle α, either for bringing a contribution C′o to the opening torque of the lid, and/or for obtaining an antagonistic torque Ca, the actual opening torque being Co−Ca or Co+C′o−Ca, so as to impart a particular feel when handling the lid.

16. A case according to claim 3 wherein the fastening means comprises a clasp comprises a lateral right-hand D or left-hand G clasp, its position on a right-hand D or left-hand G part or side of the case being selected according to whether the case is intended to be used by a left-handed or right-handed person.

17. A case according to claim 16 wherein the lateral clasp includes a push-button forming a component cast in one piece with the bottom.

18. A case according to claim 16 wherein the clasp is formed by a lateral translation of the lid relative to the bottom along the axis of rotation over a length at least equal to the axial play E, such that a push-button is not included.

19. A case according to claim 18 wherein comprising a fastening hook integral with the lid, and a nose integral with the bottom, and wherein the hook and nose engage over a length, taken along the direction of the axis of rotation in a range from 0.5E to 0.9E.

20. A case according to claim 18 wherein the lateral clasp is a left-hand G clasp, the second half-hinge being a right-hand D half-hinge.

21. A case according to claim 18 wherein the lateral clasp is a right-hand D clasp, the second half-hinge being a left-hand G half-hinge.

22. A case according to claim 3 wherein the bottom and the lid include a rectilinear side forming the hinge, and wherein the case is square, rectangular, partly round or oval in shape.

23. A case according to claim 3 wherein the hinge is formed by a series of hinge half-portions denoted D1-D2G2-G1 or by a series of hinge half-portions denoted D2-D1G1-G2, according to whether the hinge includes a central part formed by the first hinge element including contiguous half-portions D2 and G2 denoted D2G2, or by the second hinge element including contiguous half-portions D1 and G1 denoted D1G1, the hinge including an outer part formed by the second hinge element including spaced out half-portions D1 and G1 or by the first hinge element including spaced out half-portions D2 and G2 respectively.

24. A process for manufacturing a case according to claim 12 comprising forming the second half-hinge, assembling the longitudinal component, forming the first half-hinge by angularly positioning the bottom relative to the lid optionally with an assembly angle of about 180°, wherein the angular positioning is chosen so as to facilitate free engagement of the male part with the female part.

25. A process according to claim 24 wherein the bottom and the lid include angular locking means so as to lock the rotation of the lid at an angle lower than the angle of assembly.

26. A process for manufacturing a case according to claim 5 comprising forming the first half-hinge, forming the second half-hinge by temporarily compressing the longitudinal component in the first or second channel.

27. A process according to claim 26 further comprising compressing the longitudinal component with at least one plate of thickness less than about the axial play E, wherein the first half-hinge includes an auxiliary longitudinal connecting component equipped with an auxiliary typically helical spring so as to form an auxiliary axle.

28. A case comprising: a lid said lid being fitted with a first hinge element, a bottom, the bottom being fitted with a second hinge element such that a hinge means is formed by engagement of the first and second hinge elements so as to allow rotation of the lid relative to the bottom along an axis of rotation, a fastening means for fastening and unfastening the lid relative to the bottom, wherein the case is capable of automatic opening in such a way that the lid opens automatically when force is exerted on the fastening means, and further wherein said opening is at an angle at least equal to 10° and/or is provided by a gap between a front edge of the lid and a front edge of the bottom of the case in excess of 3 mm, and further wherein said hinge does not include a spring.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO A RELATED APPLICATION

The present application claims priority to FR 04 00265 filed Jan. 13, 2004, the content of which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Technical Field of the Invention

The invention relates to the field of cases intended to contain cosmetic products or beauty products, typically make-up powders and the like.

2. Description of Related Art

Generally speaking, cases typically include:

    • a concave lid fitted with an inner mirror,
    • a concave bottom, typically fitted with an inner frame or intermediate support for at least one trough intended to receive the cosmetic product,
    • a hinge, constituting the connecting component between the lid and the bottom, allowing the lid to rotate relative to the bottom and the case to open,
    • a clasp or any means of fastening and unfastening the lid relative to the bottom, in such a way as to open and close the case, a clasp being typically of the push-button type.

A great many case embodiments are known, embodiments which can focus on one or more of the constituent parts of the case.

As examples, the following may be cited:

    • FR 2 661 080 which describes a make up case with a compact clasp,
    • FR 2 701 365 which describes a convertible make-up case,
    • FR 2 725 958 which relates to a case with combined assisted opening and closure,
    • FR2 77 192 which describes a case with a swivel lid provided with an articulation with flexible lugs,
    • FR2 755 352 which describes a case with assisted opening,
    • FR2 755 353 which describes a case with an unfastening and pre-opening push-button,
    • FR2 756 155 which describes a make-up case, typically including a bottom, an intermediate faceplate and a lid fitted with an inner mirror.

Also known is French patent 2 794 723 which describes a case fitted with a pre-opening means.

One problem posed by known cases relates to the automatic opening of the case. Opening is deemed to be “automatic” if, when pressing manually on a part of the case intended to ensure its opening (typically a push-button which unfastens a hook integral with the lid) the lid opens. The opening can also be by a swivel at a certain angle around the case hinge (generally an angle which exceeds about 10°). The purpose of the automatic opening is to facilitate access to the contents, typically a make-up powder.

With prior art cases, particularly with French patent No 2 794 723, there are known means to get very limited pre-opening. This is accomplished namely by automatically obtaining an opening angle typically below 10°.

But to get a wider opening, with an opening angle at least equal to 10° or a gap between a front edge of the lid and a front edge of the bottom of the case (typically in excess of 3 mm), it is necessary to introduce into the hinge of the case an additional element. The additional element is typically a spring integrated into the hinge which may be made of silicone rubber or of an equivalent flexible spring effect plastic material, or of an added metal. This additional element is intended to overcome the weight of the lid and the frictional forces of the cotter pin or pins in the hinge of the case. However, this type of device generally has some drawbacks, above all because it considerably complicates the assembly of the case, thereby increasing the cost of production, and also because it does not allow easy adjustment of the pre-opening force.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention aims to obtain a case which is relatively straightforward to manufacture and easy to assemble, and which also allows the pre-opening of the lid to be adjusted to a desired level. In particular, the present invention provides a case which has been optimized such that the case permits one to adjust and/or adapt the automatic opening of the case.

The invention in one embodiment relates to a case suitable for packaging a cosmetic product comprising:

    • (i) a lid optionally including a mirror, said lid being fitted with a first hinge element, (ii)a bottom optionally having an inner frame integral therewith, the lid and bottom forming a cavity intended to contain the cosmetic product or a trough containing the cosmetic product, the bottom being fitted with a second hinge element such that a hinge means is formed by engagement of the first and second hinge elements so as to allow rotation of the lid relative to the bottom along an axis of rotation, (iii) a fastening means for fastening and unfastening the lid relative to the bottom, wherein the case is capable of automatic opening in such a way that the lid opens automatically when force is exerted on the fastening means, and further wherein the hinge is formed by two half-hinges aligned along an axis of rotation, the half hinges including a right-hand half-hinge D including two hinge half-portions D1 and D2 which engage, and a left-hand half-hinge G, including two hinge half-portions G1 and G2 which engage, the hinge half-portions D1 and G1 being integral with the lid and the hinge half-portions D2 and G2 being integral with the bottom.

Other cases and processes of manufacturing are also disclosed herein.

Additional objects, features and advantages of the invention will be set forth in the description which follows, and in part, will be obvious from the description, or may be learned by practice of the invention. The objects, features and advantages of the invention may be realized and obtained by means of the instrumentalities and combination particularly pointed out in the appended claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIGS. 1a to 3b relate to one embodiment of a case (1) according to the invention.

FIGS. 1a and 1b are left-hand rear perspective views from above, FIG. 1a relating to the lid (2) of the case and FIG. 1b to the bottom (3) of the case (1).

FIGS. 2a and 2b are right-hand rear perspective views of the bottom (3), FIG. 2a being a view from above, and FIG. 2b being a view from below.

FIGS. 3a and 3b are perspective views from below of the lid (2), FIG. 3a being a right-hand front view, FIG. 3b being a right-hand rear view.

FIGS. 4a and 4b are cross-sections in two vertical offset planes parallel to the axis (44) of a case (1) according to the present invention. FIG. 4a is a view of a closed case according to one embodiment of the present invention. FIG. 4b is a view of the case showing when lateral pressure, indicated by a double arrow, is exerted on the lid (2), so as to produce sufficient translation of the lid relative to the bottom to unfasten the clasp (5).

FIGS. 4c and 4d are cross-section views of a longitudinal component (6) including a spring (60) according to one embodiment of the present invention. FIGS. 4c and 4d also include, on the right and on the left of the cross-section views, side views which show the presence of anti-rotation elements (612) and (622) which between them make a torsion angle α according to one embodiment of the present invention.

FIGS. 5a to 7a show in cross-section in a vertical plane perpendicular to the axis of rotation (44) of the hinge (4), the formation of the first half-hinge G (40) of the case shown in FIGS. 1a to 4b according to an embodiment of the present invention.

FIGS. 5a and 5b shows the half-portions of hinges G1 and G2 opposite prior to assembly, the half-portion G1 integral with the lid (2) corresponding with a lid (2) open 180° relative to the bottom (3) with respect to one embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 6a shows in diagram form an assembly of the half-portions G1 and G2 by simple axial displacement of one relative to the other, so as to form the first half-hinge G (40), the lid (2) being still open 180° relative to the bottom (2) according to one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 6b shows in diagrammatic form the half-hinge G (40) in FIG. 6a after 180° rotation of the lid, i.e. closure of the case (1) in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 7a and 7b show the locking of the lid (2), for an opening angle of 120° relative to the bottom (3) according to one embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 7a, similar to FIGS. 6a and 6b, shows that, for an opening angle of 120°, the hinge half-portions G1 and G2 cannot be disassociated as provided in one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 7b shows in diagram form a lid rotation locking means, which includes a flexible tab (32) integral with the lid (3) which engages with a catch (23) formed in the first hinge element (20) of the lid in accordance with one embodiment of the instant invention.

FIGS. 8a to 8f are diagrammatic views, in cross-section along a vertical plane passing through the axis of rotation (44) of the hinge (4), of different embodiments of hinges (4) and of the corresponding assembly modes in accordance with the instant invention.

FIGS. 8a and 8c relate to an embodiment of a hinge (4) similar to that shown in FIG. 4a. In this embodiment, the first half-hinge G (40) is formed first, then the second half-hinge D (43) using an assembly plate (9).

FIG. 8b shows the longitudinal component (6), at its central part, a cross-section of the first and second heads being shown on either side.

FIG. 8d shows in diagram form, a case hinge according to FIG. 1a to 3b, when the lid (2) is open 180° when the lid (2) is fitted to the bottom (3).

FIGS. 8e and 8f, similar to FIGS. 8a and 8c, show an embodiment of a hinge (4) in accordance with one embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 9 is a partial cross-section view of a closed case (1) showing an embodiment of a clasp (5) including a push-button (53).

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF A PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

According to the present invention, a case intended for packaging cosmetic products is provided. A case of the present invention includes a lid typically fitted with a mirror and fitted with a first hinge element, and a bottom. The case optionally includes an inner frame integral with the bottom, forming a cavity intended to contain the cosmetic product or a trough containing the cosmetic product. The bottom or the inner frame is preferably fitted with a second hinge element, a hinge being formed by engagement of the first and second hinge elements so as to allow a rotation of the lid relative to the bottom along an axis of rotation. There is also provided a clasp or any means of fastening and unfastening the lid relative to the bottom or the inner frame, including an engagement typically of a fastening hook integral with the lid, and a nose integral with the bottom or the inner frame and typically activated by a push-button. Finally the case can also optionally include an applicator for the cosmetic product. A case of the present invention also includes a means for automatically opening the case in such a way that the lid opens automatically as soon as a manual force is exerted on the clasp at each opening of the case.

A case of the present invention (1) includes a lid (2) fitted with a first hinge element (20), and a bottom (3) forming a cavity intended to contain the cosmetic product. The bottom (3) is preferably fitted with a second hinge element (30), such that engagement of the first (20) and second (30) hinge elements form a hinge (4) having a specific axis of rotation (44). Finally, there is also provided a clasp (5).

In accordance with one advantageous embodiment of the invention, there is provided a case with the following components:

    • a) the hinge (4) is formed by two half-hinges (40, 43), one, a so-called “right-hand” or “D”) half-hinge including two hinge half-portions D1 (300) and D2 (200) which engage, and the other, a so-called “left-hand” or “G” half-hinge, including two hinge half-portions G1 (301) and G2 (201) which engage, the hinge half-portions D1 (200) and G1 (201) being integral with the lid (2), the hinge half-portions D2 (300) and G2 (301) being integral with the bottom (3) or with its inner frame,
    • b) a first half-hinge (40) is formed by engagement of a male part (41) and a female part (42),
    • c) a second half-hinge (43) includes a longitudinal connecting component (6), placed along the axis of rotation (44) and engaging by its ends with the hinge half-portions of the second half-hinge,
    • d) the longitudinal component (6) includes an axial spring (60) ensuring engagement in rotation with the hinge half-portions opposite,
    • e) the spring (60) has, between its ends, a pre-set angular torsion a when the case (1) is closed, in such a way that, when the lid is unfastened (2), the angular torsion a of the spring (60) transfers to the lid (2) a pre-set opening torque Co.

Advantages of the instant invention include the fact that assembly of the case is relatively simple and convenient and the case includes automatic opening means having a pre-set opening torque/force necessary to activate the clasp.

By using a longitudinal component including an axial spring, it is possible, as described clearly in the present description and figures, to obtain a case that is both easy to assemble, and has a pre-set opening torque, thereby making it possible to open the lid in a range typically from 50° to 135°.

According to the present invention, and as shown for example in FIGS. 4a and 4b, each of the anchoring means (61, 62) may include a head (610, 620) ensuring the engagement in rotation, a first head (610), anchored to a first end (600) of the spring (60), typically engaging with the hinge half-portion D1, and, at its second end (601), a second head (620), anchored to a second end (601) of the spring (60), typically engaging with the hinge half-portion D2, the first head (610) and the second head (620) having between them the pre-set angular torsion α when the case (1) is closed. According to FIGS. 4a and 4b, there is shown a hinge (4) and its clasp (5), the left-hand cross-section representing the clasp (5) and the right-hand cross-section representing the hinge (4) with, on the left, a first half-hinge G (40) formed by engagement of a female part (42), forming a first half-portion (201) of the first hinge element (20) of the lid (2), with a male part (41) forming a second hinge half-portion (301).

As shown particularly in FIGS. 8a to 8f, the longitudinal component (6) may form an axle, the first end (600) of this axle engaging with a first channel (430) formed in one of the two hinge half-portions D1 (200) and GI (201) integral with the lid (2), typically in the hinge half-portion D1 (200), the second end (601) engaging with a second channel (431) formed in one of the hinge half-portions D2 (300) and G2 (301) integral with the bottom (3) or the inner frame, typically in the hinge half-portion D2 (300).

The first (610) and second (620) heads may engage with the first (430) and second (431) channels respectively, typically by a noncircular cross-section of the heads (610, 620) and the channels (430, 431), or by engagement of convex and concave elements (612, 622), so as to form the means of engagement in rotation. By way of example, an anchoring means has been shown in FIG. 8a with a hexagonal cross-section, and another anchoring means with a rectangular cross-section.

Typically, the spring (60) may be in a permanent state of compression or axial tension along the axis of rotation (44), in such a way that the first (610) and second (620) heads are thus typically kept pinned in the first (430) and second (431) channels respectively.

The spring (60) may be able to be compressed axially, so as to be able to be compressed over a length L1 or L2 in the first (430) or the second (431) channel for the purpose of assembling the hinge (4), the lengths L1 and L2 corresponding to the depth of the first (430) and second (431) channels respectively. A slight compression, as shown in FIGS. 8a and 8e, may be necessary to ensure the longitudinal component (6) can be fitted to the lid (2) and to the bottom (3) for the purpose of forming the hinge (4).

FIGS. 4c and 4d are cross-section views of a longitudinal component (6) including a spring (60) a helical spring—of which a first end (600) is anchored to a first anchoring means (61), and of which the second end (601) is anchored to a second anchoring means (62), the first anchoring means (61) including a first head (610) integral with a first skirt (611) and with a first anti-rotation means (612) in the form of an elongated part or bar able to engage with a concave part in a channel (430) formed in the first hinge element (20) and the second anchoring means (62) including a second head (620) integral with a second skirt (61) and with a second anti-rotation means (62) in the form of an elongated part or bar able to engage with a concave part in a channel (431) formed in the second hinge element (30).

According to a variant of the invention, and as shown in FIGS. 4c and 4d, each of the anchoring means (61, 62) may include a skirt (611, 621), a first skirt (611) being typically integral with the first head (610), a second skirt (621) being integral with the second head (620), the first (611) and second (621) skirts being coaxial, one of the first (611) and second skirts (621) being an inner skirt (63), the other being an outer skirt (64), in such a way that the longitudinal component (6) forms a torsion damper, simultaneously able to be compressed axially for the purpose of assembling the hinge (4), and to have a pre-set angular torsion of angle α for the purpose of forming the pre-set opening torque Co of the lid (2).

The inner skirt (63), or the head integral with the inner skirt (63), may include a shoulder (630) forming a stop for the outer skirt (64) at its end (640), so as to limit the compression of the longitudinal component (6) or of the torsion damper to a pre-set length L.

According to one advantageous embodiment, the hinge (4) may have an axial play E along the axis of rotation (44), between the hinge half-portions D2 (300) and G2 (301) integral with the bottom (3) or with its inner frame and the hinge half portions D1 (200) and G1 (201) integral with the lid (2). The axial play E is typically in a range from 0.3 to 1.5 mm, so as particularly to facilitate the assembly of the hinge (4), as shown in FIGS. 8a and 8e.

However, on the one hand, except when this play E is necessary for opening the case, this axial play can only be present over a part of the hinge, that which is necessary for mounting the hinge. In particular, it may be advantageous for this part of the hinge to be located underneath the case so as not to be visible when the case is placed on a support.

When this play is necessary to open the case, as will be shown below, this axial play may be limited to the overlap of the hook (51) and the nose (52) forming a lateral clasp (50).

According to one embodiment of the invention, the first half-hinge (40), typically the half-hinge G, may be formed by engagement of a male part (42) and a female part (42), the engagement typically being practiced over an axial distance greater than the axial play E, one of the male (41) or female (42) parts being carried by the bottom (3) or the inner frame, the other of the female (42) or male (41) parts being carried by the lid (2).

In FIGS. 1a to 3b, the first half-hinge (40) forms a left-hand half-hinge G, the right-hand side D or left-hand side G being defined when looking at the case (1) or its elements from the front. It goes without saying that the first half-hinge (40) could just as well be a half-hinge D forming the right-hand part of the hinge (4).

As shown in FIGS. 5a to 7a, and in FIGS. 1a and 2a, the female part (42) may be formed by a first ring (420) of diameter D1 and the male part (41) by a second ring (410) of diameter D2<D1, the first and second rings being typically ring portions over an angle β in a range from 200° to 280°, so as to form the hinge (4) without axial play E, or possibly facilitate the assembly of the first half-hinge (40).

As shown particularly in FIGS. 2a and 5a, the female part (42) may include at its centre a centre pin (421) of diameter D3<D2.

According to another embodiment of the invention, and as shown in FIGS. 8e to 8f, the first half-hinge (40) may include an auxiliary longitudinal connecting component (7) equipped with an auxiliary typically helical spring (70), so as to form an auxiliary axle, or possibly to have a pre-set angular torsion of angle α, either for the purpose of bringing a contribution C′o to the opening torque of the lid, or for the purpose of obtaining an antagonistic torque Ca, the actual opening torque being then Co−Ca or Co+C′o−Ca, so as to impart a particular feel when handling the lid. As shown in 8e and 8f, the two half-hinges D (43) and G (40) use a longitudinal component (6) and an auxiliary longitudinal component (7) each forming an axle each end of which engages with a channel (430, 431), the auxiliary longitudinal component (7) being able to form either a simple axle with no torsion effect, or an axle with torsion effect of angle α.

According to another embodiment of the invention, the clasp (5), or means of fastening and unfastening the lid (2) relative to the bottom (3) or the inner frame, may be a lateral right-hand D or left-hand G clasp (50), its position on a right-hand D or left-hand G part or side of the case being typically selected according to whether the case is intended to be used by a left-handed or right-handed person.

As shown in FIG. 9, the lateral clasp (50) may include a push-button (53) typically forming a component cast in one piece with the bottom (3) or the inner frame.

As shown in FIGS. 1a to 3b, and more particularly in FIGS. 4a to 4b, 16, the clasp (5) may be formed by a lateral translation of the lid (2) relative to the bottom (3) along the axis of rotation (44) over a length at least equal to the axial play E, the case then being without a push-button (53).

In this case, the fastening hook (21, 51) integral with the lid (2) and the nose (31, 52) integral with the bottom (3) or the inner frame may engage over a length, taken along the direction of the axis of rotation, typically in a range from 0.5E to 0.9E, typically over a length in a range from 1 mm to 3 mm.

The lateral clasp (50) may be a left-hand G clasp, the second half-hinge (43) being the right-hand D half-hinge, as shown in FIGS. 1a to 3b.

However, the lateral clasp (50) may be a right-hand D clasp, the second half-hinge (43) being the left-hand G half-hinge.

Typically, the bottom (3) and the lid (2) may include a rectilinear side forming the hinge (4), the cases (1) typically being square, rectangular, partly round or oval in shape.

The hinge (4) may be formed by the series of hinge half-portions denoted D1-D2 G2-G1 or by a series of hinge half-portions denoted D2-D1 G1-G2, according to whether the hinge (4) includes a central part formed by the first hinge element (20) including the contiguous half-portions D2 and G2 denoted D2 G2, or by the second hinge element (30) including the contiguous half-portions D1 and G1 denoted D1G1, the hinge including an outer part formed by the second hinge element (30) including the spaced out half-portions D1 and G1 or by the first hinge element (20) including the spaced out half-portions D2 and G2 respectively.

In the embodiment of the case (1) shown in FIGS. 1a to 3b, the hinge (4) is formed by the series of hinge half-portions denoted D2-D1 G1-G2, the half portions D2 and G2 of the bottom forming the outer parts of the hinge belonging to the bottom (3), the half-portions D1 and G1 of the lid forming the central part of the hinge (4).

According to another aspect of the present invention, there is provided a process for manufacturing a case as well as a process relating to the formation of the hinge (4). In this process, as shown in FIG. 8d, the second half-hinge (43) can be formed first with assembly of the longitudinal component (6), then the first half-hinge (40) can be formed by positioning angularly the bottom (3) relative to the lid (2), with an assembly angle, typically 180°, chosen so as to be able to freely engage the male part (41) in the female part (42).

In this case, and as shown in FIG. 7b, the bottom (3) and the lid (2) may include angular locking means (8), so as to lock the rotation of the lid at an angle lower than the angle of assembly.

According to a variant of the manufacturing process and as shown in FIGS. 8a and 18b, the first half-hinge (40) can be formed first, then the second half-hinge (43) can be formed by temporarily compressing the longitudinal component (6) in the first (430) or second (431) channel.

The longitudinal component (6) can be compressed with a plate (9) of thickness typically less than the axial play E, or possibly, as shown in FIG. 8e, with two plates (9) of total thickness typically less than the axial play, when the first half-hinge includes an auxiliary longitudinal connecting component (7) equipped with an auxiliary typically helical spring (70), so as to form an auxiliary axle.

EXAMPLES

Cases (1) have been manufactured in accordance with FIGS. 1a to 9.

A first embodiment of the case (1) was manufactured in accordance with FIGS. 1a to 3b.

The lid (2) and the bottom (3) were manufactured by thermoplastic moulding.

The longitudinal component (6) was supplied in accordance with FIGS. 4c and 4d.

The hinge (4) of this case (1) is of the D2/D1G1/G2 type.

The first half-hinge G (40) is formed by engagement of a male part (41) carried or formed by the left-hand hinge half portion G1 (201) of the lid (2), with a female part (42) carried or formed by the left-hand hinge half-portion G2 (301) of the bottom (3).

These male and female parts include or form ring portions (410, 420) which may engage by displacement perpendicular to the axis of rotation (44), as shown in FIGS. 5a to 6b.

The second half-hinge D (43) is formed by engagement of a longitudinal component (6) including a spring (60), and forming an axle the ends of which, the first end (600) and the second end (601), engage with two channels, one (430) formed in the hinge half-portion D1 (200) of the lid (2), the other formed in the hinge half-portion D2 (300) of the bottom (3).

In this case embodiment, the lid (2), the bottom (3) and the longitudinal component (6) are assembled as shown in diagram form in FIG. 8d:

    • the first half-hinge D (43) is formed first, the lid being orientated 180° relative to the bottom, as shown in FIGS. 5a and 5b,
    • then the second half-hinge G is formed by placing the male part (41) in the female part (42) opposite, and by closing the lid, so as to lock the male and female parts, the angular locking means (8) including the engagement of a stop tab (32) carried by the bottom (3) on the back of the bottom, with a catch (23) carried by the lid (2), at the back of the lid, so as to lock the rotation of the lid (2) at a maximum angle, for example 120°, in respect of which the male and female parts cannot be unfastened, as is shown clearly in FIGS. 7a and 7b.

In this case, the clasp (5) is a lateral clasp (50) placed on the left-hand side of the case.

This clasp does not include a push-button since the lid (2) may be displaced relative to the bottom along a direction parallel to the axis of rotation (44) by means of the play E (see FIGS. 4a and 8d), in such a way that there is no more overlap between the hook (21, 51) integral with the lid (2) and the nose (31, 52) integral with the bottom (3).

A variant of this first embodiment has been manufactured with a hinge (4) in accordance with FIGS. 4a and 4b.

In this case, the male (41) and female (42) parts are standard, the male part (41) forming a pin and the female part (42) a cavity, so that the assembly of the hinge (4) includes firstly the axial coupling of the male and female parts, the spring (60) being kept compressed.

It is possible to have possibly a male (41) part of length substantially close to the play E and typically slightly less than the play E, so as to be able to form the hinge (4) while keeping an alignment between lid (2) and bottom (3).

A second embodiment of the case (1) has been made with the hinge (4) formed in accordance with FIGS. 8e and 8f.

According to a first variant of this embodiment, a longitudinal component (6) has been used as an auxiliary longitudinal component (7) with an angular torsion α′ giving a torque C2, so as to form the first half-hinge G (40).

This angular torsion α′ may be either positive and reinforce the effect of the angular torsion a of the other half-hinge D (43), the torque C2 of the half-hinge G (40) being added to the torque C1 of the half-hinge D (43), or negative and form a torque C2 antagonistic to the torque C1, with typically C1>C2, so as to obtain a particular feel when opening.

According to a second variant of this embodiment, the auxiliary longitudinal component (7) includes a spring and forms an axle, without a torque C2 forming, the ends of the component (7) being typically round.

A third embodiment of cases (1) has also been manufactured wherein the hinge (4) is of the same type as the one in the first case embodiment, in accordance with FIGS. 1a to 3b, but in which there is no axial play E between the first hinge element (20) of the lid (2) and the second hinge element (30) of the bottom (3). In this case, the hinge (4) is mounted, without axial play, as shown in FIGS. 5a and 5b. The half-hinge D (43) is formed first, then the half-hinge G (40) by introducing the male part (41, 410) into the female part (42, 420, 421), the lid being (2) at 180° relative to the bottom (3).

In this case, the lateral clasp (5, 50) includes a push-button (53) typically integral with its inner frame (3′), and with displacement—see double arrow—parallel to the axis of rotation (44).

LIST OF IDENTIFIERS
Case 1
Lid 2
First hinge element 20
First hinge half-portions (D1, G1)200, 201
Hook integral with 2 21
Mirror 22
Catch of 8 23
Bottom 3
Inner frame 3′
Second hinge element 30
Second hinge half-portions (D2, G2)300, 301
Nose integral with 3 or 3′ 31
Angular stop tab of 8 32
Hinge formed by 20 + 30 4
First half-hinge (G = 201 + 301 or G1 + G2) 40
Male part of 40 (G1) 41
Ring or ring portion410
Female part of 40 (G2) 42
Ring or ring portion420
Centre pin421
Second half-hinge (D = 200 + 300 or D1 + D2) 43
Channel formed in 200 or D1430
Channel formed in 300 or D2431
Axis of rotation of 4 44
Axial play between 20 and 30 45
Clasp formed by 21 + 31 5
Lateral clasp 50
Hook integral with 2 51
Nose integral with 3 or 3′ 52
Push-button to displace 51 or 52 53
Longitudinal component 6
Spring 60
First end600
Second end601
First anchoring means 61
First head610
First skirt611
First anti-rotation means612
Second anchoring means 62
Second head620
Second skirt621
Second anti-rotation means622
Inner skirt (611 or 621) 63
Shoulder of 63630
Outer skirt (621 or 611) 64
End of 64640
Auxiliary longitudinal component 7
Spring 70
Means of angular locking of 2 relative to 3 (32 + 23) 8
Assembly plate 9

Additional advantages, features and modifications will readily occur to those skilled in the art. Therefore, the invention in its broader aspects is not limited to the specific details, and representative devices, shown and described herein. Accordingly, various modifications may be made without departing from the spirit or scope of the general inventive concept as defined by the appended claims and their equivalents.

All documents referred to herein are specifically incorporated herein by reference in their entireties.

As used herein and in the following claims, articles such as “the”, “a” and “an” can connote the singular or plural.





 
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