Title:
Lidded container with tear-away opening strip and lid deflection take-up means
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A package according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention comprises a main body portion defined by a bottom wall and one or more upstanding sidewalls. The sidewalls cooperate to define an open top of the main body portion of the package. A lid is provided and is defined by a top wall and one or more downwardly-depending sidewalls. The lid is sized to fit over the open top of the main body portion of the package. At least one sidewall of the lid is secured to at least one sidewall of the main body portion. At least one sidewall of the lid includes a take-up strip positioned between the top wall and a distal edge of the at least one lid sidewall. The take-up strip permits movement of the lid relative to the main body portion without separating the at least one lid sidewall from the main body portion sidewall to which it is secured.



Inventors:
Justice, Timothy Joe (Williston, TN, US)
Ragland, Robert Bruce (El Paso, TX, US)
Turczyn, Dean Wladislaw (Arlington, TN, US)
Application Number:
11/294632
Publication Date:
06/08/2006
Filing Date:
12/05/2005
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
229/224, 229/228
International Classes:
B65D5/46; B65D17/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
DEMEREE, CHRISTOPHER R
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
INTERNATIONAL PAPER COMPANY (6400 Poplar Avenue, Tower IV - 9th Floor Legal Department: Intellectual Property, Memphis, TN, 38197, US)
Claims:
We claim:

1. A package, comprising: a main body portion defined by a bottom wall and one or more upstanding sidewalls, said sidewalls cooperating to define an open top of said main body portion; a lid defined by a top wall and one or more downwardly-depending sidewalls, said lid being sized to fit over said open top of said main body portion; wherein at least one sidewall of said lid is secured to at least one sidewall of said main body portion; wherein at least one sidewall of said lid includes a take-up strip positioned between said top wall and a distal edge of said at least one said lid sidewall, said take-up strip permitting movement of said lid relative to said main body portion without separating said at least one lid sidewall from the main body portion sidewall to which it is secured.

2. The package of claim 1, wherein said main body portion sidewalls includes first and second opposed sidewall panels and first and second opposed endwall panels, wherein said lid sidewalls includes first and second opposed sidewall panels and first and second opposed endwall panels, wherein said first sidewall panel of said main body portion is secured to said first sidewall panel of said lid, wherein said second sidewall panel of said main body portion is secured to said second sidewall panel of said lid and wherein said take-up strip is provided in said first sidewall panel of said lid.

3. The package of claim 2, wherein said first endwall panel of said main body portion is secured to said first endwall panel of said lid and wherein said second endwall panel of said main body portion is secured to said second endwall panel of said lid.

4. The package of claim 2, further comprising a second take-up strip provided in said second sidewall panel of said lid.

5. The package of claim 2, wherein said first and second sidewall panels of said main body portion each includes first and second endwall wings extending therefrom, wherein said first endwall wings of said first and second sidewall panels each are foldable to lie against at least a portion of said first endwall panel of said main body portion, and wherein said second endwall wings of said first and second sidewall panels each are foldable to lie against at least a portion of said second endwall panel of said main body portion.

6. The package of claim 2, wherein said first and second sidewall panels of said main body portion extend from said bottom wall by a first distance, wherein said first and second endwall panels of said main body portion extend from said bottom wall by a second distance, and wherein said second distance is greater than said first distance.

7. The package of claim 2, wherein said first and second sidewall panels of said lid each includes first and second endwall wings extending therefrom, wherein said first endwall wings of said first and second sidewall panels each are foldable to lie against at least a portion of said first endwall panel of said lid, and wherein said second endwall wings of said first and second sidewall panels each are foldable to lie against at least a portion of said second endwall panel of said lid.

8. The package of claim 2, wherein said first and second sidewall panels of said lid extend from said bottom wall by a first distance, wherein said first and second endwall panels of said lid extend from said bottom wall by a second distance, and wherein said second distance is less than said first distance.

9. The package of claim 1, further comprising a tear strip provided in at least one of said sidewalls of said lid.

10. The package of claim 9, wherein said tear strip is positioned between said take-up strip and said top wall of said lid.

11. The package of claim 9, wherein said tear strip is defined by at least two perforation lines that permit removal of said tear strip from said sidewall of said lid.

12. The package of claim 9, wherein said lid is at least part-ways removable from said main body portion when said tear strip is removed from said sidewall of said lid.

13. The package of claim 9, wherein said sidewall of said lid includes a leave-on portion that remains secured to the sidewall of the main body portion after said tear strip is removed from said sidewall of said lid.

14. The package of claim 1, further comprising a second take-up strip provided in another sidewall of said lid.

15. The package of claim 1, wherein said take-up strip is defined by at least two perforation lines, said take-up strip being removable from said sidewall of said lid.

16. The package of claim 1, wherein said take-up strip is defined by one or more foldlines extending at least partially along said take-up strip.

17. The package of claim 16, wherein said one or more foldlines cooperate to define a substantially zig-zag cross-section of said take-up strip.

18. The package of claim 1, wherein said at least one sidewall of said lid is secured to said at least one sidewall of said main body portion by a strip of adhesive.

19. The package of claim 1, wherein said at least one sidewall of said lid is secured to said at least one sidewall of said main body portion by a strip of adhesive tape.

20. The package of claim 1, wherein one or more perforated regions are provided in at least one sidewall of said main body portion, said at least one sidewall of said lid at least partially covering said perforated region and being secured thereto.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION(S)

The present application claims priority to U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/633,015, filed 3 Dec. 2005 and hereby incorporates by reference the disclosure set forth therein.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Technical Field of the Invention

The present invention relates generally to a lidded container for shipping, storing and handling a plurality of items. More particularly, the present invention relates to a lidded container for shipping, storing and handling a plurality of items, wherein the container includes a tear-away strip for opening the container and a lid deflection take-up means for preventing damage to the container during shipping, storing and handling.

2. Brief Description of the Related Art

In the shipping, storing and handling of prepackaged items, such as individually-wrapped reams of cut-size paper for use in photocopiers and desktop printers, it is customary for a plurality of such items to be shipped, stored and handled in a corrugated container. For example, an individual ream of cut-size paper may contain 500 sheets of 8½″×11″ printer paper, which are stacked and then bundled together with a paper (or polymeric) wrapping material.

A plurality of reams are then stacked (for example, 2 columns of 5 reams stacked in a side-by-side arrangement) in a rectangular container constructed from conventional corrugated material. The corrugated container serves to protect the reams of paper during transit and to bundle a plurality of individual reams together to simplify shipment. It is typical for the corrugated containers to include a lid, which typically telescopes over an open upper end of the container, thereby containing the reams therein to prevent spillage or damage thereto. The dimensions of the lidded container typically are only slightly larger than the contents stacked therein, and accordingly, such containers are considered “dense” in that very little void space is present therein. It is desirable, therefore, to provide a lidded container for shipping, storing and handling a plurality of items, such as, for example, prepackaged reams of paper.

It is typical for such corrugated containers to experience rough handling and shipping practices. For example, because corrugated containers containing reams of paper are heavy, they are oftentimes dropped inadvertently. Also, because the contents of such containers typically are not considered “breakable”, shippers and other handlers do not exert significant care in moving the containers about. Therefore, it is desirable to provide a container for shipping, storing and handling a plurality of items therein, wherein the container is constructed so as to inhibit the bursting thereof, and so as to minimize the extent to which the contents thereof are damaged during shipping, storing and handling.

This is difficult to achieve because most containers are formed from a foldable blank (i.e., flat) sheet of corrugated material that includes a plurality of flaps that are folded relative to one another to form sidewalls, a bottom wall and (in the case of the lid) a top wall. Adhesives, such as glues and tapes, as well as mechanical fasteners, such as staples, are used to affix the flaps to one another for the purpose of defining a rigid, box-like structure for the purposes herein described. Similarly, adhesives and/or mechanical fasteners are used typically to secure the lid over the open upper end of the container main body. During rough handling of the containers, it is common for the adhesives and mechanical fasteners to fail and/or tear from the corrugated material, thereby resulting in failure of the container and in potential spillage of the items contained therein. It is therefore desirable to provide a container that is adapted to withstand rough handling that may be encountered during typical shipping operations.

During shipping and storing, containers such as those related to the present invention, are stacked one atop another, sometimes forming a stack of 5 or more in height. The weight of the containers (and their contents) typically is large, especially for those containers on the very bottom of the stack. It is desirable, therefore, to provide not only a stackable container, but a stackable container that is resistant to failure loading, such as bursting. It has been observed that one cause leading to failure of the adhesives and/or mechanical fasteners used to construct the container is the large weight resting on those containers having additional containers stacked thereon.

This is especially problematic with the adhesive used to secure the lid to the container main body. As packed containers are stacked on one another, the weight of the stack creates significant shear stress in the adhesives securing the lids to the main bodies of the containers below the stack. It has been observed that under such circumstances, the adhesives fail under this shear stress, thereby detaching the lids from the container main bodies.

One solution to this problem is to use poly straps or films to encircle the lidded container for the purpose of holding the lid tight against the open upper end of the container main body. However, this solution also is problematic in that the straps and/or films needs to be disposed of once the containers are opened at their final destination. The straps and/or films also creates opportunities for the containers to be snagged on jutting objects encountered during shipping, storing and handling. It is desirable, therefore, to provide a lidded container wherein the lid is secured to the open upper end of the container main body without the use of straps, films or the like. It is also desirable to provide a lidded container having means for opening the container easily, when desired.

In view of the desire to provide a lidded container having a lid adhesively secured to the open upper end of the container main body, it is furthermore desirable to provide take-up means to inhibit failure of the adhesive during shipping, storing and handling.

Finally, it is desirable to provide a lid for use with a container main body, wherein the lid includes take-up means to inhibit failure of the container during shipping, storing and handling thereof.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention provides a container for shipping, storing and handing a plurality of items, such as, for example, a plurality of reams of paper. The container includes a box-shaped main body portion and a lid that is sized and configured to fit over an open upper end of the main body. Sidewalls of the lid telescope over mating sidewalls of the main body and are adhered thereto, such as by adhesive or tape. One sidewall of the lid includes a tear strip defined by two parallel perforation lines running along the length of the middle of the sidewall. One end of the tear strip includes a tab for gripping by the user. Alternatively, a tear strip might be provided in additional sidewalls of the lid.

An elongated take-up region is provided along the length of at least one of the lid sidewalls and is oriented generally to be in parallel with the tear strip. The take-up region is positioned between the tear strip and the top wall panel of the lid and is in the form of a collapsible accordion structure defined by a plurality of fold lines. Compression of the container, such as by applying a downward force to the lid to urge the lid towards the main body, is absorbed by the take-up region, thereby minimizing shear stress in the adhesive used to adhere the lid sidewalls to the main body sidewalls.

According to one aspect of the present invention, a package according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention comprises a main body portion defined by a bottom wall and one or more upstanding sidewalls. The sidewalls cooperate to define an open top of the main body portion of the package. A lid is provided and is defined by a top wall and one or more downwardly-depending sidewalls. The lid is sized to fit over the open top of the main body portion of the package. At least one sidewall of the lid is secured to at least one sidewall of the main body portion. At least one sidewall of the lid includes a take-up strip positioned between the top wall and a distal edge of the at least one lid sidewall. The take-up strip permits movement of the lid relative to the main body portion without separating the at least one lid sidewall from the main body portion sidewall to which it is secured.

It is an object of the present invention to provide a lidded container for shipping, storing and handling a plurality of items, such as, for example, prepackaged reams of paper.

It is another object of the present invention to provide a container for shipping, storing and handling a plurality of items therein, wherein the container is constructed so as to inhibit the bursting thereof, and so as to minimize the extent to which the contents thereof are damaged during shipping, storing and handling.

It is yet another object of the present invention to provide a container that is adapted to withstand rough handling that may be encountered during typical shipping operations.

It is still another object of the present invention to provide not only a stackable container, but a stackable container that is resistant to failure loading, such as bursting

It is another object of the present invention to provide a lidded container wherein the lid is secured to the open upper end of the container main body without the use of straps, films or the like.

It is also an object of the present invention to provide a lidded container having means for opening the container easily, when desired.

It is furthermore an object of the present invention to provide take-up means to inhibit failure of the adhesive during shipping, storing and handling.

It is yet another object of the present invention to provide a lid for use with a container main body, wherein the lid includes take-up means to inhibit failure of the container during shipping, storing and handling thereof.

These and other objects, features and advantages of the present invention will become apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art from the description which follows, and may be realized by means of the instrumentalities and combinations particularly pointed out therein, as well as by those instrumentalities, combinations and improvements thereof which are not described expressly therein, but which would be obvious to those of ordinary and reasonable skill in the art.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The foregoing, as well as other objects and advantages of the invention, will become apparent from the following detailed description when taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, wherein like reference characters designate like parts throughout the several views, and wherein:

FIG. 1 is a plan view of a first blank used to form main body portion of a container according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a plan view of a second blank used to form a lid of the container according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of the container according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention, showing the lid adhered to the main body portion, and showing a tear strip partially removed from one sidewall of the lid;

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of the container according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention, showing the tear strip completely removed from one sidewall of the lid, and showing the lid pivoted to an open position;

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of a take-up region provided on the lid of a container according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 6, is a cross-sectional view of the take-up region shown in FIG. 5, showing the take-up region in a relaxed state;

FIG. 7 is a cross-sectional view of the take-up region shown in FIG. 5, showing the take-up region in a compressed state;

FIG. 8 is a plan view of a first blank used to form a main body portion of a container according to one alternative embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 9 is a plan view of a first blank used to form a main body portion of a container according to another alternative embodiment of the present invention; and,

FIG. 10 is a plan view of a second blank used to form a lid of a container according to still yet another alternative embodiment of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

With reference to FIG. 1, a first blank 10 used to form a main body portion B (FIG. 3) of the container C is shown and is constructed from a foldable material such as, for example, corrugated paperboard or the like. The blank 10 is generally rectangular in shape and is divided by first and second longitudinal foldlines 12, 14, respectively, into a center panel 20 and outwardly extending side panels 40.

Center panel 20 is divided by left and right foldlines 21a, 21b into bottom wall panel 22, and outwardly extending endwall panels 24. Endwall panels 24 are foldable relative to the bottom wall panel 22 about foldlines 21a, 21b to define a pair of opposing, upwardly-extending endwalls of the main body portion B of the container C.

Each side panel 40 is divided by left and right foldlines 23a, 23b into sidewall panels 42 and interior endwall wings 44. Sidewall panels 42 are foldable relative to the bottom wall panel 22 about foldlines 12, 14 to define a pair of opposing, upwardly-extending sidewalls of the main body portion B of the container C.

Main body portion B is constructed by first folding the endwall wings 44 upwardly relative to the sidewall panels 42 about foldlines 23a, 23b and then folding sidewall panels 42 upwardly relative to the bottom wall panel 22 about foldlines 12, 14 so that distal edges 44a, 44b of opposing endwall wings 44 meet near a midpoint of foldlines 21a, 21b, respectively.

Endwall panels 24 are then folded upwardly relative to the bottom wall panel 22 about foldlines 21a, 21b and adhesively secured to endwall wings 44, such as, for example, with one or more strips 46 of hotmelt adhesive applied to the endwall panels 24 prior to folding. Alternatively, hotmelt adhesive may be applied to the mating surface of the endwall wings 44 prior to folding the endwall panels 24. Double-sided adhesive tape may be used instead of hotmelt adhesive.

Optionally, pop-out handles 47 may be provided in each of the endwall panels 24 by providing a generally curved first die-cut slit 47a, a second die-cut slit 47b and cooperating foldlines 47c. Mating handle segments 48 may be defined in endwall wings 44 to be superimposed over pop-out handles 47 provided in endwall panels 24 when the main body portion is folded as described herein.

Referring now to FIG. 2, a second blank 50 used to form a lid L (FIG. 3) of the container C is shown and is constructed from a foldable material such as, for example, corrugated paperboard or the like. The blank 50 is generally rectangular in shape and is divided by first and second longitudinal foldlines 52, 54, respectively, into a center panel 60 and outwardly extending side wall panels 80.

Center panel 60 is divided by left and right foldlines 61a, 61b into top wall panel 62, and outwardly extending endwall panels 64. Endwall panels 64 are foldable relative to the top wall panel 62 about foldlines 61a, 61b to define a pair of opposing, upwardly-extending endwalls of the lid L of the container C.

Each side panel 80 is divided by left and right foldlines 63a, 63b into sidewall panels 82 and interior endwall wings 84. Sidewall panels 82 are foldable relative to the top wall panel 62 about foldlines 52, 54 to define a pair of opposing, upwardly-extending sidewalls of the lid L of the container C.

One sidewall panel 82 includes a pair of perforation lines running lengthwise generally parallel to foldline 52. Perforations 85 are of any conventional form and preferably cut through the sidewall panel 82 completely, although one or more of the perforations 85 may not extend through the entire thickness of the sidewall panel 82, but may instead only cut partially therethrough. Optionally, both sidewall panels 82 may include perforation lines 85.

Perforation lines 85 cooperate to define a tear strip 86 therebetween, one end 86a of which may include a pull-tab for the purpose of gripping, as will be described in greater detail below. Tear strip 86 is positioned near a centerline of the sidewall panel 82.

A first elongated take-up region 87a is provided in one of the sidewall panels 82 and runs generally parallel to the tear strip 86 provided therein. The take-up region 87a is positioned on the sidewall panel 82 such that the tear strip 86 is positioned between the take-up region 87a and foldline 52. The structure of the first take-up region 87a will be described in greater detail below.

A second elongated take-up region 87b is provided in other of the sidewall panels 82 and runs generally parallel to foldline 54. The take-up region 87b is positioned near a centerline of the sidewall panel 82, if no tear strip 86 is provided in the sidewall panel 82. The structure of the second take-up region 87b will be described in greater detail below.

Lid L is constructed by first folding the endwall wings 84 upwardly relative to the sidewall panels 82 about foldlines 63a, 63b and then folding sidewall panels 82 upwardly relative to the top wall panel 62 about foldlines 52, 54 so that distal edges 84a, 84b of opposing endwall wings 84 face one another.

Endwall panels 64 are then folded upwardly relative to the top wall panel 62 about foldlines 51a, 51b and adhesively secured to endwall wings 84, such as, for example, with one or more strips (not shown) of hotmelt adhesive applied to the endwall panels 64 prior to folding. Alternatively, hotmelt adhesive may be applied to the mating surface of the endwall wings 84 prior to folding the endwall panels 64. Double-sided adhesive tape may be used instead of hotmelt adhesive.

With reference to FIG. 3, the container C is formed by positioning the lid L, erected from the blank 50 as described above, over an open upper end of the main body portion B, which has been erected as described above. Lid L is secured to the main body B by one or more strips 88 of hotmelt adhesive applied between the sidewalls 82 of the lid L and their respective sidewalls 42 of the main body portion B. Adhesive strips 88 preferably are positioned between the take-up regions 87a, 87b and distal edges 89 of the lid sidewalls 82. Alternatively, other means may be used to secure the lid L to the main body B, such as double-sided tape (not shown). Thus configured, items I (FIG. 4) may be shipped and stored in the container C.

With reference back to FIG. 1, sidewall panels 42 of the main body portion B (i.e., first blank 10) may include perforated regions 45 near a centerline region thereof. Individual perforations of the perforated regions 45 preferably do not cut through the entire thickness of the sidewall panels 42. Perforated regions 45 are provided for the purpose of enhancing the grip of the adhesive strips 88 used to secure the lid L on the main body portion B, thereby permitting use of less adhesive. Perforations may, alternatively, cut through the entire thickness of the sidewall panels 42 of the main body portion B.

Referring now to FIG. 4, items I may be removed from the container C by first tearing the tear strip 86 from the sidewall panel 82 of the lid L, thereby detaching a leave-on portion 82a of the sidewall panel 82 from the lid L. The leave-on portion 82a remains adhered to the sidewall 42 of the main body portion B of the container C. After the tear strip 86 had been removed from the sidewall panel 82 and the leave-on portion 82a has been detached from the lid L, lid L may be pivoted about the second take-up region 87b of the opposing sidewall panel 82 of the lid L, thereby exposing the open upper end of the main body portion B so that items I may be removed therefrom. Lid L may be positioned back over the open upper end of the main body portion B, thereby reclosing the container C for safekeeping of unused items I. Optionally, if a tear strip has been provided in both sidewall panels 82 of the lid L, the lid L may be removed entirely from the main body portion B, as will be obvious to those of ordinary skill in the art, upon reading the within disclosure.

With reference now to FIG. 5, the first and second take-up regions 87a, 87b are formed by a plurality of parallel foldlines 90 which extend lengthwise along the sidewall panels 82 of the lid L. Foldlines 90 cooperate with one another to create a generally zig-zagged, accordion-style construction capable of absorbing compressive forces, as well as of providing an area of increased flexibility in the sidewalls 82. Referring now also to FIGS. 6 and 7, foldlines 90 are formed in the sidewalls 82 of the lid L by a conventional punch-and-die operation wherein the sidewall 82 is crimped between mating dies 95. It will be appreciated by those or ordinary skill in the art, upon reading the within description, that foldlines 90 will absorb compression of the sidewalls 82 from a change in length from first length L1 to second length L2, wherein L1>L2.

Referring back to FIG. 3, it will be apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art that by providing take-up regions 87a, 87b in the lid sidewalls 82, when a compressive force is applied to the container C, as when several containers are stacked on top of one another, the take-up regions 87a, 87b will allow the lid L to be displaced closer to the main body portion B without imparting significant shear stress in the adhesive strips 88, thereby reducing or eliminating the possibility of the lid L becoming detached from the main body portion B inadvertently.

With reference to FIG. 8, a blank used to form a main body portion of a container according to one alternative embodiment of the present invention is shown, wherein the endwall wings overlap one another partially when the main body portion is erected.

With reference to FIG. 9, a blank used to form a main body portion of a container according to yet another alternative embodiment of the present invention is shown, wherein construction of the pop-out handles has been simplified.

With reference to FIG. 10, a blank used to form a lid of a container according to yet another alternative embodiment of the present invention is shown, wherein the widths of the sidwall panels is less than those according to the preferred embodiment hereof. Also, the blank shown in FIG. 10 represents an alternative embodiment wherein the take-up strip also functions as a tear strip. That is, perforation lines 85 permit flexing of combo strip 87a, 86 so as to permit movement of the lid L relative to the main body portion B without shearing the adhesive used to secure the two.

It should be recognized by those of ordinary skill in the art that those aspects of the present invention that meet the objectives stated herein are provided substantially by the lid portion L of the container, and as such, it is within the spirit and the scope of the present invention to provide only the lid L for use on main body portions not otherwise described expressly herein.

While the invention has been described with reference to preferred embodiments, those skilled in the art will appreciate that certain substitutions, alterations and omissions may be made without departing from the spirit thereof. Accordingly, the foregoing description is meant to be exemplary only and should not be deemed limitative on the scope of the invention set forth herein.