Title:
Carton Assembly
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A carton assembly has a carton having an interior that has inner walls defining a tray portion and an insert disposed within the tray portion for retaining an article within the interior of the carton. Either the tray portion or the insert, or both, include a receiving structure for supporting the insert. The insert may have a substantially hollow beam structure. The hollow beam structure of the insert has an open end that is engaged by a tab or tabs extending from an inner wall or walls of the carton. A center panel extends between each tab and the bottom wall of the carton and engages the open end of the hollow beam.



Inventors:
Weston, Michael H. (Chapel Hill, NC, US)
Hession, Christopher J. (Knightdale, NC, US)
Blake, Lawrence N. (Jenkintown, PA, US)
Application Number:
11/747768
Publication Date:
11/15/2007
Filing Date:
05/11/2007
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
206/488
International Classes:
B65D75/00; B65D73/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
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20030234199Double packageDecember, 2003Morita et al.
20060283735Light weight, reinforced disc packageDecember, 2006Freitag et al.
20090165358Fishing caseJuly, 2009Tough
20080110793SURGICAL PACKMay, 2008Huculak
20090308782Attractive implement kit for personal care usageDecember, 2009Grist
20070138039Media storage container and two-disc hubJune, 2007Kirtz et al.
20060283744Multipack and blank and apparatus for the manufacture thereofDecember, 2006Kruit
20060196805Packing box for accommodating and supporting goodsSeptember, 2006Park



Primary Examiner:
BYRD, LATRICE CHENELL
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
WESTROCK COMPANY (ATTN: IP LAW GROUP - PATENTS 501 South 5th Street, 3rd Floor, Richmond, VA, 23219-0501, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A carton assembly, comprising: a carton having a plurality of foldable panels erected to define at least a pair of opposing double wall structures spaced apart by an interior tray portion, wherein at least one of said double wall structures includes a receiving structure for supporting an insert; an insert comprising at least one substantially hollow beam structure configured to at least partially retain at least one item; and, wherein said insert is received by said tray portion and supported by said receiving structure.

2. The carton assembly of claim 1, wherein said receiving structure comprises at least one tab extending from at least one double wall structure so as to be received by an open end of said hollow beam structure.

3. The carton assembly of claim 2, wherein said receiving structure further includes a center panel extending between said tab and a bottom wall of said carton, said center panel being received in said open end of said hollow beam structure.

4. The carton assembly of claim 2, wherein said receiving structure further includes a protrusion extending from at least one end of said hollow beam and a slot disposed in at least one inner wall of said carton, said protrusion being received in said slot.

5. The carton assembly of claim 1, wherein said insert partitions said tray portion of said carton to define recessed areas.

6. The carton assembly of claim 5, wherein said recessed areas are accessible through an at least partially detachable end closure region of said carton.

7. The carton assembly of claim 6, wherein said detachable end closure region is defined at least in part by a frangible line.

8. A blank for forming a carton assembly insert, comprising: at least one panel erectable into at least one set of opposing, substantially-erect, spaced apart walls, each wall having at least one aperture disposed for alignment with an opposite wall aperture so as to form a passageway for receiving and retaining an article in the erected insert.

9. The blank of claim 8, wherein said substantially-erect, spaced apart walls form at least part of a beam structure in the erected insert.

10. The blank of claim 8, wherein said substantially-erect, spaced apart walls cooperate with interior walls of a carton to define an extended passageway.

11. The blank of claim 9, wherein said beam structure has at least one open end in the erected insert.

12. The blank of claim 8, wherein said at least one aperture is a cutout disposed to lie along an edge of said substantially-erect, spaced apart walls in the erected insert.

13. A method for forming a carton assembly, comprising: erecting a carton blank to form a carton, including at least a pair of opposing double wall structures having at least one receiving structure; erecting an insert blank to form an insert, the insert having a hollow beam structure; inserting said insert into said carton such that said hollow beam structure extends between said double wall structures; and supporting said insert with said receiving structure.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims the benefit of priority under 35 U.S.C. §119(e) of U.S. provisional application Ser. No. 60/747,126, filed on May 12, 2006, which is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to carton assemblies for holding items. More specifically, this invention relates to cartons and inserts wherein the carton includes a pair of spaced apart double wall structures that include a receiving structure for attaching an insert, and wherein the insert includes a hollow beam structure configured to be attached to the double wall receiving structure. Further, the insert is configured to receivably secure an item.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Manufacturers and distributors often desire to distribute and sell items in packaging that is specifically adapted for the unique characteristics of the articles. For example, sometimes the articles are fragile, easily marred, impaired, or defaced, and therefore must be protected from potentially damaging contact. In addition, articles may have a configuration that make it difficult to secure the article from undesirable movement during transport, using conventional methods. Some examples of articles that are fragile and/or easily marred, impaired, or defaced, and that also may have a configuration that makes it difficult to secure include pens, syringes, vials, ampoules, medical devices, cosmetics, and electronic parts and assemblies.

When manufactures and distributors of products must use packaging to sell or distribute unique products, they typically desire to use the most desirable but cost effective packaging. However, specialty packaging is typically more costly than standard packaging. Thus, it can be appreciated that it would be useful and desirable to have a flexible carton assembly that can address multiple packaging requirements, and is also cost effective.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention overcomes the shortcomings of the known prior art by providing a carton assembly having an interior with inner walls defining a tray portion and an insert disposed within the tray portion that is adapted for retaining an article within the interior of the carton. In some embodiments the article is at least partially isolated from contact with another article and/or the inner walls of the carton. Either the tray portion or the insert, or both include a structure for supporting and securing the insert in place.

In one embodiment, a carton assembly comprises a carton having a plurality of foldable panels erected to define at least a pair of opposing double wall structures. These double wall structures are spaced apart by an interior tray portion, and at least one of the double wall structures includes a receiving structure for supporting an insert. The insert comprising at least one substantially hollow beam structure configured to at least partially retain at least one item. In addition, the insert is received by the tray portion and supported by the receiving structure so as to receive and hold an article.

In another embodiment, the carton assembly the receiving structure comprises at least one tab extending from at least one inner wall so as to be received by an open end of the hollow beam structure. The receiving structure further includes a center panel extending between the tab and a bottom wall of the carton, the center panel being received in the open end of the hollow beam structure. In additional embodiments, the receiving structure further includes a protrusion extending from at least one end of the hollow beam and a slot disposed in at least one inner wall of the carton, the protrusion being received in the slot. In the various embodiments the insert partitions define recessed areas accessible through an at least partially detachable end closure region of the carton. In some embodiments a detachable end closure region is defined at least in part by a frangible line.

One or more blanks are used to form a carton assembly. In a basic embodiment at least one panel is erectable into at least one set of opposing, substantially-erect, spaced apart walls. Each wall has at least one aperture disposed for alignment with an opposite wall aperture so as to form a passageway for receiving and retaining an article in the erected insert. In addition, the spaced apart walls form at least part of a beam structure in the erected insert; the beam structure can include at least one open end for attachment to an erected carton. Further, the substantially-erect, spaced apart walls cooperate with interior walls of a carton to define an extended passageway. Embodiments include the aperture, which is a cutout disposed to lie along an edge of the substantially-erect, spaced apart walls.

The present invention includes methods for forming a carton assembly. These non-limiting steps include: The step of erecting a carton blank to form a carton that includes at least a pair of opposing double wall structures, and at least one of those double wall structures includes at least one receiving structure. In addition is the step of erecting an insert blank to form an insert having a hollow beam structure. Further is the step of inserting the insert into the carton such that the hollow beam structure extends between the double wall structures. Further again is the step of supporting said insert with said receiving structure.

The foregoing has broadly outlined some of the aspects and features of the present invention, which should be construed to be merely illustrative of various potential applications of the invention. Other beneficial results can be obtained by applying the disclosed information in a different manner or by combining various aspects of the disclosed embodiments. Accordingly, other aspects and a more comprehensive understanding of the invention may be obtained by referring to the detailed description of the exemplary embodiments taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in addition to the scope of the invention defined by the claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a plan view of an exemplary embodiment of a carton blank for forming a carton, according to the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a plan view of an exemplary embodiment of an insert blank for forming an insert, according to the present invention.

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a carton assembly formed from the carton blank of FIG. 1 and insert blank of FIG. 2.

FIG. 4 is a plan view of an exemplary embodiment of a carton blank for forming a carton, according to the present invention.

FIG. 5 is a plan view of an exemplary embodiment of a carton blank for forming a carton, according to the present invention.

FIG. 6 is a plan view of an exemplary embodiment of an insert blank for forming an insert, according to the present invention.

FIG. 7 is a plan view of an exemplary embodiment of a carton blank for forming a carton, according to the present invention.

FIG. 8 is a plan view of an exemplary embodiment of an insert blank for forming an insert, according to the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

As required, detailed embodiments of the present invention are disclosed herein. It must be understood that the disclosed embodiments are merely exemplary of the invention that may be embodied in various and alternative forms, and combinations thereof. As used herein, the word “exemplary” is used expansively to refer to embodiments that serve as illustrations, specimens, models, or patterns. The figures are not necessarily to scale and some features may be exaggerated or minimized to show details of particular components. In other instances, well-known components, systems, materials, or methods have not been described in detail in order to avoid obscuring the present invention. Therefore, specific structural and functional details disclosed herein are not to be interpreted as limiting, but merely as a basis for the claims and as a representative basis for teaching one skilled in the art to variously employ the present invention.

Referring now to the drawings, wherein like numerals indicate like elements throughout the several views, the drawings illustrate certain of the various aspects of exemplary embodiments of a carton for packaging elongated items, such as but not limited to vials and syringes. Generally described, the carton includes an insert that is received in a tray portion of the carton to support articles within the carton. The carton and the insert each include elements that cooperate with one another to position and support the insert. The insert may include slots for receiving, engaging, and/or supporting articles, or may otherwise define compartments for receiving articles in the tray portion of the carton. The invention teaches several variations of a hollow-beam-structure type insert as well as tubular-structure types of inserts. Each insert has opposing, substantially-erect, spaced apart walls configured for alignment with at least one substantially-erect, spaced apart carton wall so as to form a passageway for receiving and retaining an article in the erected insert.

Referring to FIG. 1, a carton blank 100 is shown for forming a carton 300, best shown in FIG. 3. The carton blank 100 includes primary panels for forming the outer walls of the carton 300 and inner structure panels for forming the inner walls of the carton 300. The inner walls define a tray portion of the carton 300.

The primary panels of the carton blank 100 include a top panel 110, a bottom panel 114, outer side panels 112, 116, and outer end panels 118, 120. The panels 110, 112, 114, 116 are aligned longitudinally and hingedly connected one to the next along transverse fold lines. The end panels 118, 120 are hingedly connected to opposing end edges of the bottom panel 114 along longitudinal fold lines. End flaps 122, 124 are hingedly connected to opposing end edges of the panels 110, 112, 116, respectively, along longitudinal fold lines. An edge flap 126 is hingedly connected to a side edge of the top panel 110 along a transverse fold line. For use herein, the terms longitudinal and transverse refer to or reference elements relative to the longitudinal axis of the blank. The transverse axis is substantially perpendicular to the longitudinal axis.

The carton blank 100 further includes a series of inner structure panels 132, 136 for forming the inner side walls of the carton 300, a series of inner structure panels 138, 140 for forming each of the inner end walls of the carton 300, and an inner bottom panel 134. In the exemplary embodiment, each series of inner structure panels 132, 136 includes an upper edge side panel 150 and an inner side panel 152. The panels 132, 134, 136 are hingedly connected one to the next along transverse fold lines and longitudinally align with the panels 110, 112, 114, 116.

Specifically, the inner side panels 152 are hingedly connected to opposite edges of the inner bottom panel 134 along fold lines 155 and the upper edge side panels 150 are hingedly connected to the outermost edges of the inner side panels 152 along fold lines 153, respectively. The series of inner structure panels 132, 136 are hingedly connected to the outer side panel 116 along a transverse fold line 151, and an inner side flap 156 is hingedly connected to the upper edge side panel 150 along a transverse fold line 151. An aperture 154 is included in each of the inner structure panels 132, 136.

In an exemplary embodiment of an alternative carton blank, the inner structure panels 132, 136 and the inner bottom panel 134 of the carton blank 100 may be omitted such that a carton formed from the alternative carton blank does not include these inner side walls. This may be done, for example, in instances where articles enclosed in the carton do not require the additional protection provided by more than one set of double wall structures. Advantageously, less material is used to form the alternative carton blank.

Continuing with reference to FIG. 1, each series of inner structure panels 138, 140 includes an upper edge end panel 160, an inner end panel 162, and an end bottom flap 164 that are hingedly connected one to the next along longitudinal fold lines 163, 165. Each upper edge end panel 160 is hingedly connected to a respective outer end panel 118, 120 along a longitudinal fold line.

The carton blank 100 further includes features that form means for supporting an insert when the carton blank 100 is erected to form the carton 300. As described herein, means for supporting an insert includes elements of double wall structures and elements of inserts that cooperate to support the insert in a tray portion to form a carton assembly. In the illustrated embodiment, each of the upper edge end panels 160 includes a tab 161 that is hingedly connected to a center panel 166 along a fold line 170. Each center panel 166 is created from the inner end panel 162 and the end bottom flap 164 by fold lines 170, 172 and cut lines 168. The fold lines 170, 172 are outwardly offset, relative to the longitudinal center axis of the carton blank 100, from the fold lines 163, 165, respectively. Each tab 161 is created by the fold line 170 and the cut lines 168.

Referring now to FIG. 2, an insert blank 200 is shown for forming an insert 400, best shown in FIG. 3. The insert blank 200 includes an upper edge center panel 210, center side panels 212, and bottom flaps 214 that have substantially the same longitudinal length. Center side panels 212 are hingedly connected to opposing side edges of the upper edge center panel 210 along longitudinal fold lines and center bottom flaps 214 are hingedly connected to the outermost side edges of the center side panels 212 along longitudinal fold lines. The insert blank 200 further includes apertures 220.

In the exemplary embodiment, the apertures 220 have a size and shape that facilitates supporting and/or securing elongated items, such as vials or syringes, when the insert 400 is erected, as described in further detail below. The size, shape, number, and position of the apertures are design decisions that are based on the articles to be supported by the insert 400 or are otherwise based on ergonomics.

Referring to FIGS. 1 and 3, the illustrated carton blank 100 can be folded and erected to form the illustrated carton 300, as described in the following non-limiting method. The outer side panels 112, 116 and the outer end panels 118, 120 are folded to be substantially perpendicular to the bottom panel 114, thereby forming the outer side of the double walls of the tray portion of the carton 300. The end flaps 124 are folded to be in a face contacting arrangement with, and secured to, respective outer end panels 118, 120. The panels 132, 134, 136 and inner side flap 156 are folded such that the inner side flap 156 is in a face contacting arrangement with the inside surface of the outer side panel 112 and such that the inner bottom panel 134 is in a face contacting relationship with the inside surface of the outer bottom panel 114. Thereby, the upper edge side panels 150 are arranged to be substantially parallel to the bottom panels 114, 134 and substantially perpendicular to the side panels 112, 116. The inner side panels 152 are arranged to be substantially perpendicular to the perimeter side panels 150 and offset from, and substantially parallel to, the outer side panels 112, 116, respectively. In this manner, the inner side of the double walls 332, 336 are formed.

The inner structure panels 138, 140 are folded such that each end bottom flap 164 is in a face contacting relationship with the inside surface of the outer bottom panel 114. Thereby, the upper edge end panels 160 are arranged to be substantially parallel to both the outer bottom panel 114 and the end bottom flaps 164, and are arranged to be substantially perpendicular to the outer end panels 118, 120, respectively. The inner end panels 162 are arranged to be substantially perpendicular to the upper edge end panels 160, and are arranged to be offset from, and substantially parallel to, the outer end panels 118, 120 to form a double wall structure. The center panels 166 each extend between a respective tab 161 and end bottom flap 164. Each center panel 166 is inwardly offset from an inner end panel 162. In this manner, the inner side of the double walls 338, 340 are formed.

Generally described, the inner walls 332, 336, 338, 340 define a tray portion of the carton 300. Further, in the exemplary embodiment, means for supporting the insert 400 includes the tabs 161 and the center panel 166, which are included in the inner end walls 338, 340. The carton 300 receives and supports the insert 400, as described in further detail below. In alternative embodiments, the means for supporting are included in the other inner walls 332, 336 and the insert 400 is positioned accordingly.

Referring to FIGS. 2 and 3, the illustrated insert blank 200 can be folded to form the illustrated insert 400, as described in the following non-limiting method. The center side panels 212 and the center bottom flaps 214 are folded such that the center side panels 212 are substantially perpendicular to the upper edge center panel 210, and such that the center bottom flaps 214 are substantially perpendicular to the center side panels 212, respectively. Thereby, the insert 400 forms a channel or hollow beam structure with open ends O and the apertures 220 define means for receiving articles. In the exemplary embodiment, the apertures 220 define slots 420. In alternative embodiments, means for receiving articles include apertures, slots, recesses, cutouts, tabs, combinations thereof, and the like. The receiving elements are a design decision that is based at least in part on the article to be received.

With reference now to FIG. 3, the insert 400 is received in the carton 300 to form a carton assembly 500. Specifically, the center bottom flaps 214 of the insert 400 are in a face contacting arrangement with the inner bottom panel 134 and the end bottom flaps 164. The insert 400 is at least partially retained in a folded or erected form as the edges of the center bottom flaps 214 abut against the inner side walls 332, 336 such that the center bottom flaps 214 are restricted from moving away from one another. The center side panels 212 and upper edge center panel 210 are maintained in an erected position by means for supporting the insert 400. In the exemplary embodiment, means for supporting the insert 400 includes the tabs 161, the center panels 166, and the open ends O of the insert 400. The open ends O of the insert 400 receive the tab 161 and center panel 166 as the insert 400 is received by the carton 300, such that the upper surface of the tab 161 is in contact with the inside surface of the upper edge center panel 210. The edges of the tab 161 and center panel 166, which are defined by cut lines 168, contact the inside surfaces of the center side panels 212 such that the center side panels 212 and upper edge center panel 210 are retained in an erected position. Specifically, the channel or hollow beam structure of the insert 400 does not collapse or deflect in response to a side or lateral force that is provided as articles are received or removed from the slots 420. In sum, the tabs 161 and center panel 166 receive and support the insert 400 such that a portion of the insert 400 forms a central wall or partition that extends between the inner end walls 332, 336.

It should be understood that means for supporting the insert is not limited to the elements described in the exemplary embodiment. Rather, means for supporting the insert includes additional elements, as described below. The exemplary embodiments described below share elements with the exemplary embodiment described above. Therefore, for simplicity, only certain elements will be described in detail for the exemplary embodiments. For example, the primary panels of the carton blanks described below share elements with the primary panels of the carton blank 100, and therefore will not be described in detail.

Referring to FIG. 4, an exemplary embodiment of a carton blank 800 includes elements that form means for supporting an insert when a carton is formed from the carton blank 800. The carton blank 800 includes a series of inner structure panels 838, 840 that each include an upper edge end panel 860, an inner end panel 862, and a bottom flap 864 that are hingedly connected along longitudinal fold lines 863, 865. The upper edge end panel 860 is hingedly connected to a respective outer side panel 818, 820 along a longitudinal fold line. In this embodiment, each of the upper edge end panels 860 includes a tab 861 that is defined by cut lines 868, 870. The cut line 870 is offset from the fold line 863. When the carton blank 800 is folded and erected to form a carton, means for supporting an insert includes the tab 861. Specifically, the open ends of an insert receive the tab 861, as described above. The upper surface of the tab 861 is in flat face contact with the inside surface of the insert's upper edge center panel 210 and the edges of the tab 861, which are defined by cut lines 868, engage the inside surfaces of the center side panels of an insert such that the center side panels and upper edge center panel of the insert are supported in an erected position.

It should be noted that the shape of the tab 861 is not limited to the rectangular shape shown in FIG. 4. Rather, the tab 861 may be any shape that facilitates retaining an insert in an erected position. For example, the cut line 870 may be curved or otherwise nonlinear to define a dome-shaped tab 861. Further, as described below, means for supporting may be used to additionally secure the tab 861 to the upper edge center panel 210 of an insert.

In various exemplary embodiments, the carton assembly may include means for supporting an insert with multiple hollow beam structures or otherwise multiple inserts with a hollow beam structure. In an exemplary embodiment, not shown, a carton assembly according to the present invention is formed of an insert that includes two hollow beam structures and a carton that includes means for supporting each hollow beam structure. Specifically, and with continued reference to FIG. 4, the carton blank 800 includes two tabs 861 defined in each series of tray panels 838, 840. The tabs 861 of the carton are received in the open ends of respective hollow beam structures of the insert to provide means for supporting the insert, as described above. In this embodiment, the insert partitions the tray portion of the carton such that the carton assembly includes three recessed areas for receiving articles. The slots in the hollow beam structures defined by apertures (220 shown in FIG. 2), and the slots in the inner side walls defined by apertures 854, facilitate accessing an article or articles disposed in each recessed area.

In another exemplary embodiment, a carton formed from a carton blank and an insert formed form an insert blank include elements which cooperate to releasably lock the insert in the tray portion of the carton. As best described with reference to FIG. 4, the blank 800 includes cutouts C in the inner side panels 852 such that the outermost portion of the bottom edge of the inner side panel 852 is offset from the fold line 855, which hingedly connects each inner side panel 852 to the inner bottom panel 834. Thereby, as the carton blank 800 is folded and secured to form a carton, as described above, the cutouts C define openings in the inner side walls that are adjacent to the bottom wall of the carton. An insert blank (not shown) includes locking tabs along the side edges of the bottom flaps (214, best shown in FIG. 2), which correspond to the cutouts in the inner side walls of the carton. As the insert formed from the blank is received in the tray portion of the carton, the tabs are received in the cutouts to releasably lock the insert in the tray portion of the carton and thereby form a carton assembly.

In another exemplary embodiment (not shown), a carton assembly includes a carton formed from a carton blank and an insert formed from an insert blank. The carton blank includes inner structure panels (838, 840 shown in FIG. 4) for forming the inner end walls of the carton. The inner structure panels include an aperture (861 shown in FIG. 4). In this embodiment, the aperture is disposed in the upper edge end panel and the inner end panel such that the aperture interrupts the fold line (863 shown in FIG. 4) but no other fold line. In this exemplary embodiment, the aperture is substantially rectangular and the width of the aperture is substantially the same, but slightly greater than, the width of the upper edge center panel (210 shown in FIG. 2) of the insert blank.

Here, tabs protrude from opposite end edges of the insert blank and are substantially aligned with the upper edge center panel. The tabs are wider than the center perimeter panel such that the tabs extend from the center perimeter panel and the side panels.

Here also, a carton is formed from the carton blank such that the apertures form slots in the inner end walls. An insert is erected from the insert blank to form a channel or hollow beam structure such that the tabs form hollow beam protrusions. The hollow beam protrusions extend from the open ends of the insert. The carton assembly is formed as the hollow beam protrusions are received in the slots. The slots receive and engage the hollow beam protrusions to provide means for supporting the insert. In this embodiment, the edges of the tabs are offset from the longitudinal fold lines that connect the center side panel to the center bottom flaps, by a distance D2. Similarly, the nearest edge of the aperture is offset from the fold line by a distance D1. The distance D2 is no greater than the distance D1 such that the hollow beam protrusions are received in the slots, which are offset from the bottom wall of the carton.

A related alternative carton assembly includes a carton formed from a carton blank and an insert formed from an insert blank that includes multiple hollow beam structures. Means for supporting the insert includes multiple slots and multiple hollow beam protrusions, similar to those described immediately above. Accordingly, the carton blank includes two apertures in each series of inner structure panels and the insert blank includes tabs that extend from, and are aligned with, each upper edge center panel.

Referring to yet another alternative embodiment of a carton (not shown), the inner structure panels (138, 140 shown in FIG. 1) include apertures (161 shown in FIG. 1). The apertures are defined by a fold line (165 shown in FIG. 1), extend the length of the inner end panel (162 shown in FIG. 1), interrupt the fold line (163 shown in FIG. 1), and define a recess in the upper edge end panel (160 shown in FIG. 1). The insert includes hollow beam protrusions that have a height that is substantially the same as the center side panels (212 shown in FIG. 2). The apertures form slots in the carton formed from the blank to receive the hollow beam protrusions to support the insert.

Referring to FIGS. 5 and 6, components for an alternative carton assembly is shown. The carton assembly includes a carton formed from an exemplary embodiment of a carton blank 2500 and an insert formed from an exemplary embodiment of an insert blank 2600. In this embodiment, the inner structure panels 2532, 2536 include apertures 2561 that extend from the fold line 2551, across the upper edge side panel 2550, and onto the inner side panel 2552 such that the apertures 2561 define a recess in the inner side panel 2552 and interrupt the fold line 2553. The apertures 2561 are offset from the fold line 2555 by a distance D1 such that the apertures 2561 define slots in the inner side walls of the erected carton. The slots 2761 are thereby offset from the bottom wall of the carton by a distance D2. Tabs 2622 extend from the edges of the insert blank 2600 to form hollow beam protrusions. The hollow beam protrusions are received in the slots such that the hollow beam structures of the insert extend between the inner side walls of the carton. It should be noted that, in another exemplary embodiment of a carton blank, the inner structure panels 2538, 2540 of the carton blank 2500 may be omitted such that a carton formed from the carton blank includes only one pair of spaced apart double wall structures.

In yet another exemplary embodiment, a carton assembly includes an at least partially detachable end closure region. The detachable end is defined by an at least partially frangible line 2908, which extends across the primary panels of a carton blank 2900, best shown in FIG. 7. In this embodiment, an insert partitions the sleeve portion of a carton such that the carton assembly includes two recessed areas for receiving articles. Articles can be loaded into the recessed areas of the tray portion of a carton assembly in a similar fashion as for certain of the exemplary embodiments described above. Specifically, articles can be top loaded into the tray portion of the carton assembly before securing the top panel 2910 to enclose the articles in the carton assembly. However, in this embodiment, articles are accessed by at least partially detaching the detachable end along the frangible line 2908.

One advantage of the embodiments of carton assemblies described above is that the inner walls of the cartons provide protection in addition to stabilizing or anchoring the inserts. For example, the inner walls of the carton space the inserts from the outer walls of the carton in order to prevent articles in the carton assembly from breakage during shipping and handling. Alternative embodiments, wherein the carton assembly is not or square or rectangular as shown, but is configured as a triangle or a polygon, are likewise contemplated. Such alternative shapes may increase the advantages of the present invention.

In another exemplary embodiment, a carton assembly includes an insert formed from an insert blank 3100, best shown in FIG. 8. The insert blank 3100 includes a plurality of panels aligned in a longitudinal direction and hingedly connected along transverse fold lines. In the exemplary embodiment, the insert blank 3100 includes end panels 3110 and side panels 3112. The insert blank 3100 further includes bottom flaps 3114 and an optional glue flap G. A longitudinal edge E of each of the side panels 3112 includes cutouts 3120. Specifically, each side panel 3112 includes a pattern P1, P2 of cutouts 3120. The insert is erected as the outside of the glue flap G is secured to the inside surface of the outermost end panel 3110 such that the end and side panels 3110, 3112 form a tubular structure and such that the pattern P1 of cutouts 3120 aligns with the pattern P2 of cutouts 3120 to define a slot for receiving an article. It is understood that the patterns P1, P2 are not limited to those shown herein, but may include many various alternatives consistent with the present invention. Additionally, the bottom flaps 3114 are folded outwardly such that they are substantially coplanar with one another. The insert is received in a carton to form the carton assembly. In the exemplary embodiment, the bottom flaps 3114 are secured to the bottom wall of the carton.

Each of the blanks described herein includes a single sheet of suitable substrate. Alternative embodiments include multiple sheets of substrate, while some embodiments are made of components of the illustrated blanks. It is to be understood that, as used herein the term “suitable substrate” includes all manner of foldable sheet material such as paperboard, corrugated board, plastic, or the like. The terms “fold line” and “severance line” refer to all manner of printed lines indicating optimal fold or cut locations, frangible or otherwise weakened lines, perforations, a line of perforations, a line of short slits, a line of half-cuts, a single half-cut, a cut line, scored lines, slits, any combination thereof, and the like.

It should be noted that erecting the cartons and inserts from respective blanks may be accomplished with the folding operations as described herein, where the operations are performed by automatic erecting machinery and/or manually. The method of performing the erecting process is not limited to the exemplary method described herein, particularly in that the order of the steps can be altered according to the particular manufacturing requirements, steps may be added or omitted, and the means for supporting components may vary.

The surfaces of sheet material may be secured together by suitable means for securing, such suitable securing means including tape, staples, interlocking folds, loop and hook fasteners, glue or other adhesives, and the like. Specifically, the sheet material of a carton blank may be secured together by suitable means to form a carton. Similarly, the sheet material of an insert may be secured to the sheet material of a carton to form a carton assembly.

The law does not require and it is economically prohibitive to illustrate and teach every possible embodiment of the present claims. Hence, the above-described embodiments are merely exemplary illustrations of implementations set forth for a clear understanding of the principles of the invention. Variations, modifications, and combinations may be made to the above-described embodiments without departing from the scope of the claims. All such variations, modifications, and combinations are included herein by the scope of this disclosure and the following claims.