Title:
CARTON HAVING STRAP HANDLE WITH IMPROVED PRODUCT PROTECTION, AND END HAND HOLES
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A carton includes an outer top panel, a pair of side panels, a base panel, opposed end portions each formed from overlapping a plurality of flaps, each of the flaps being hingedly connected to a respective one of the panels. A strap handle is attached inside the carton to be disposed at least in part along the top panel, wherein at least one of the opposed end portions comprises an end hand hole aperture. The carton may further include an inner top panel, and the strap handle upon assembly of the carton may be situated between the outer top panel and the inner top panel, the outer top panel defining a handle access aperture.



Inventors:
Bates, Aaron (Raleigh, NC, US)
Application Number:
11/736543
Publication Date:
02/28/2008
Filing Date:
04/17/2007
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
206/428
International Classes:
B65D71/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
DEMEREE, CHRISTOPHER R
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 comprising an outer top panel, a pair of side panels, a base panel, opposed end portions each formed from overlapping a plurality of flaps, each of said flaps being hingedly connected to a respective one of said panels, a strap handle attached inside the carton to be disposed at least in part along said top panel, wherein at least one of said opposed end portions comprises an end hand hole aperture.

2. The carton of claim 1, further comprising an inner top panel, and wherein said strap handle upon assembly of the carton is situated between said outer top panel and said inner top panel, said outer top panel defining a handle access aperture.

3. The carton of claim 2, wherein said strap handle comprises a middle gripping portion disposed at least partially adjacent said handle access aperture, and at each end, a strap handle end flap folded downward along an end portion of the assembled carton, wherein the downward fold is located proximate to a top end dihedral angle of the carton.

4. The carton of claim 3, wherein said strap handle end flap is attached to at least one other end flap.

5. The carton of claim 4, wherein the attachment of said strap handle end flap to said at least one other end flap leaves aid strap handle and its end flap able to move away from said top end dihedral angle of the carton.

6. The carton of claim 2 wherein said strap handle and said at least one inner top panel are formed by folding a single blank.

7. The carton of claim 6, wherein said strap handle and said at least one inner top panel comprise at least one first alignment bevel for alignment during assembly to the remainder of the carton.

8. The carton of claim 7, wherein said remainder of the carton comprises at least one second alignment bevel for alignment during assembly.

9. The carton of claim 2 wherein said strap handle comprises more than one ply of material.

10. The carton of claim 2 wherein said strap handle and said at least one inner top panel comprise at least one yielding tab for providing clearance for a bottle neck.

11. The carton of claim 2 wherein said strap handle and said at least one inner top panel comprise at least one aperture for providing clearance for a bottle neck.

12. The carton of any of claim 2 wherein said outer top panel comprises a handle access panel for access to said strap handle.

13. The carton of any of claim 2 where, upon detachment from said outer top panel, said handle access panel remains attached to said strap handle.

14. The carton of claim 2 wherein said inner top panel remains intact during use of said strap handle.

15. The carton of claim 2 wherein said inner top panel comprises score lines defining an aperture below said strap handle and useful as a means of opening said inner and outer top panels for access to the contents of the carton.

16. The carton of claim 2, wherein the carton is constructed from paperboard.

17. A method of assembling a carton comprising a first blank having at least one first alignment bevel, and a second blank having at least one second alignment bevel, wherein matching assembly of said blanks is facilitated by matching their respective alignment bevels, and wherein at least one of said blanks comprises an end hand hole aperture.

18. The method of claim 17, wherein at least one of said alignment bevels is provided in an unfolded blank.

19. The method of claim 17, wherein at least one of said alignment bevels is provided in a folded blank.

20. The method of claim 17, wherein matching assembly of said blanks is accomplished using at least one of visual recognition, video recognition, an alignment jig, an alignment fixture, or an alignment tool.

21. A blank arrangement comprising a first and second separate blanks secured together in a single unit wherein the first blank comprises an outer primary panel, a pair of outer end flaps hingedly connected to opposite end edges of the outer primary panel and a first handle means, wherein the second blank comprises an inner primary panel, a pair of inner end flaps hingedly connected to opposite end edges of the inner primary panel and a second handle means, and wherein at least one of the first end flaps has a pair of divergently extending first beveled edges disposed in general alignment with a pair of divergently extending second beveled edges of one of the second end flaps, wherein at least one of said first and second blanks comprises an end hand hole aperture.

22. A carton comprising an outer top panel, a pair of side panels, a base panel, opposed end portions each formed from overlapping a plurality of flaps, each of said flaps being hingedly connected to a respective one of said panels, a strap handle attached inside the carton, and at least one inner top panel, wherein at least one of said opposed end portions comprises an end hand hole aperture, wherein said strap handle upon assembly of the carton is situated between said outer top panel and said inner top panel, and wherein said strap handle comprises a middle gripping portion, and at each end, a strap handle end flap folded downward along an end portion of the assembled carton, wherein the downward fold is located proximate to a top end dihedral angle of the carton.

Description:

REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application claims the benefit of priority under 35 U.S.C. §119(e) of U.S. provisional application Ser. No. 60/792,554, filed on Apr. 17, 2006, which is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates generally to cartons for packaging articles such as beverage bottles, and more particularly to a carton with a strap handle and an additional top layer under the handle for carton strength and product protection. Optionally the carton may also have handle apertures on its ends.

Cartons having handles in their top walls are well known in the art. An example of the strap handle carton for use in packaging beverage bottles is disclosed in Canadian Patent No. 1,243,987 in which a carton is illustrated as having a strap handle that is formed primarily from a top wall. The strap handle includes a longitudinally elongated medial grip portion and a pair of wider portions located at opposite ends of the medial grip portion. Each wider portion is defined by a pair of cut lines that diverge from the medial grip portion toward the adjacent end edge of the top wall. To lift the carton, the strap handle is gripped at the medial grip portion and pulled upward, which displaces the handle from a stowed position where the handle lies in the plane of the top wall to a use position where it is arched upwardly from the plane of the top wall. During this displacement, the wider portions of the handle are inwardly moved toward each other while the respective parts of the wider portions near the end edges of the top wall are moved downwardly under the plane of the top wall.

Other types of top-wall handles are known. For example U.S. Pat. No. 5,320,277 discloses a carton in which the handle is formed from two elongated, parallel apertures. A further example of a top wall strap handle is provided in U.S. Pat. No. 6,905,066, which is incorporated herein by reference.

Top wall handles allow customers to easily lift and carry cartons. However, when a handle is incorporated into or attached to the top wall, activating the handle may involve pulling at least a portion of the top wall partially away from carton. This may leave an opening in the top wall. If the handle is used during shipping and delivery, the resulting opening in the top of the carton may allow pilferage to occur during subsequent storage, for example in a supermarket stockroom. Cartons on display in a retail store aisle may have contents removed, for example by a customer wishing to purchase a single beverage container. Even if nothing is taken from the carton, a customer may perceive an “opened” carton to be less desirable. Dust, dirt, insects, or other undesirable material may find its way into the carton. Separating away a portion of the carton top wall may reduce the strength of the carton and make stacked storage less secure. The carton may be damaged during subsequent handling.

What is needed, therefore, is a carton having a convenient strap handle, which upon use has adequate strength for lifting the carton, but which leaves intact a top wall of the carton to protect its contents during shipping and handling prior to the time that a purchaser is ready to remove the contents.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention provides a carton having an outer top panel, a pair of side panels, a base panel, opposed end portions each formed from overlapping a plurality of flaps, each of the flaps being hingedly connected to a respective one of the panels, and a strap handle attached inside the carton to be disposed at least in part along the top panel, wherein at least one of the opposed end portions comprises an end hand hole aperture.

The carton may further include an inner top panel, and the strap handle upon assembly of the carton may be situated between the outer top panel and the inner top panel, the outer top panel defining a handle access aperture.

The carton strap handle may comprise a middle gripping portion disposed at least partially adjacent the handle access aperture, and at each end, a strap handle end flap folded downward along an end portion of the assembled carton, wherein the downward fold is located proximate to a top end dihedral angle of the carton.

The strap handle end flap may be attached to at least one other end flap.

The invention may also include a method of assembling a carton comprising a first blank having at least one first alignment bevel, and a second blank having at least one second alignment bevel. Matching assembly of the blanks is facilitated by matching their respective alignment bevels. At least one of the blanks includes an end hand hole aperture.

The alignment bevels may be provided in an unfolded or a fold blank. The matching assembly of the blanks may be accomplished using at least one of visual recognition, video recognition, an alignment jig, an alignment fixture, or an alignment tool.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 shows a plan view of a carton blank as viewed from its inner surface, from which a carton according to this invention is formed;

FIG. 2 shows a plan view of a blank as viewed from its inner surface, from which a strap handle and inner top panel according to this invention is formed;

FIG. 3 shows a plan view of a partly folded strap handle and inner top panel;

FIG. 4 shows a plan view of a completely folded strap handle and inner top panel;

FIG. 5 shows a plan view of a completely folded strap handle and inner top panel being glued to the inner surface of a carton blank;

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of a carton blank from FIG. 5, partially completed to form a tubular structure;

FIG. 7 is a perspective view of a carton blank, with side end flaps folded;

FIG. 8 is a perspective view of a completed carton;

FIG. 9 is a perspective view of a completed carton with the handle flaps depressed as a step in accessing the handle;

FIG. 10 is a perspective view of a completed carton with the strap handle in use;

FIG. 11 is a cutaway view of a carton with the strap handle in use;

FIG. 12 is a perspective view of a completed carton that has been opened;

FIG. 13 is a plan view of a pair of blanks from which a carton of an alternative embodiment is formed according to the invention;

FIG. 14 is a perspective view of a carton formed from the blanks of FIG. 13;

FIG. 15 shows a plan view of a carton blank as viewed from its inner surface, from which an alternative embodiment of a carton according to this invention is formed;

FIG. 16 shows a plan view of a blank as viewed from its inner surface, from which an alternative strap handle and inner top panel according to this invention is formed;

FIG. 17 shows a plan view of a completely folded alternative strap handle and inner top panel being glued to the inner surface of a carton blank;

FIG. 18 is a perspective view of an alternative completed carton, and

FIG. 19 shows a plan view of a blank as viewed from its inner surface, from which another alternative strap handle and partial inner top panel according to the invention is formed.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

In FIG. 1, there is shown a carton blank 100 which when constructed, forms a carton 400 shown in FIG. 8 for packaging a plurality of articles such as beverage bottles. In this embodiment, the carton 400 is a fully enclosed carton designed to accommodate 24 bottles arranged in four rows each containing six bottles, but the blank or carton may be modified for any number of bottles, cans or other articles.

The carton blank 100 has an outer top panel 110, a pair of side panels 120 and 130 hingedly connected thereto along fold lines 117 and 118 respectively, and bottom panel 140 hingedly connected to side panel 120 along fold line 127. Bottom panel 140 also is hingedly connected to longitudinal securing tab 150 along fold line 147. The fold lines 117, 118, 127, and 147 may be simple score lines, partially cut score lines, perforated lines or other suitable means. The base panel 140 has lower end flaps 141 and 142 which in use are folded to partially close the carton. The outer top panel 110 has outer top end flaps 111 and 112 which in use are folded down. Hingedly connected to the side panels 120 and 130 along fold lines are side end flaps 121, 122, 131, and 132 which are folded inwardly and are adhesively secured to the inside surfaces of the end flaps 111, 112, 141, and 142 so as to fully enclose the ends of the carton 400. The side flaps may include one or more yielding tab severance lines 123. For the construction described in this paragraph assumes that there are no other panels in the carton, but it should be understood from the following description that parts of a strap handle and inner top panel attached inside the carton (particularly the end flaps thereof) may be interposed between certain end flaps already described).

The end flaps are hingedly connected to the other panels along fold lines 152 and 154.

The outer top panel 110 incorporates a series of tear lines which define handle access panel 115. The outer top panel 110 also incorporates opening flap tear lines 119, which partially define opening flaps 113. Also on outer top panel 110 are shown carton alignment bevels 161 whose use will be described later.

In FIG. 2, there is shown a handle blank 200 which when constructed, forms a strap handle and inner top panel 300 shown in FIG. 4, for incorporating into carton 400 as a handle and for improved protection of the carton contents.

The handle blank 200 has an inner top panel 210 with a first strap panel 220 and a second strap panel 230 hingedly connected thereto along fold lines 217 and 218 respectively. Each of the first strap panel 220 and the second strap panel 230 include a gripping portion 223 and 233 respectively. The inner top panel 210 also has hingedly attached along fold lines 252 and 254 inner top end flaps 211 and 212 which in use are folded down. The first strap panel 220 has corresponding handle end flaps 221 and 222, and the second strap panel 230 has corresponding handle end flaps 231 and 232. The handle flaps are hingedly attached to the first strap panel and second strap panel along fold lines 252 and 254. In use, the handle flaps are folded down.

The fold lines 217, 218, 252 and 254 may be simple score lines, partially cut score lines, perforated lines of other suitable means.

Also shown in FIG. 2 are bottleneck receiving apertures 225 and 213, and bottleneck yielding tabs 215 and 235. The size and placement of these apertures and tabs is shown for example only, and may be tailored to suit the size, number, and position of bottles or other contents held by the carton.

Top inner panel 210 includes mitered opening flaps 260, defined by lateral severance line 262, longitudinal severance line 264, peripheral severance lines 266, and peripheral fold lines 268. Also shown in top inner panel 210 are opening flap tear lines 270, which partly define opening flaps 275.

FIG. 3 shows a first step in assembling the handle blank. Adhesive is applied to glue areas 226 and 227 in the handle flap areas of first strap panel 220, as shown in phantom view. The first strap panel 220 is then folded as denoted by arrow 228, along fold lines 217 (previously shown in FIG. 2) so that the first strap panel overlays the top inner panel 210, with the first strap panel then being positioned as shown by 220′. Note that the adhesive at glue areas 226 and 227 causes the first strap panel 220 to attached to the top inner panel 210 at the respective end panel areas of these two panels (220 and 210), while leaving the first strap panel 220 not attached to the top inner panel 210 along the middle portion of the panels. The glue areas 226 and 227 preferably glue together the distant ends of inner top end flaps 211 and 212, with handle end flaps 221 and 222, so that upon final assembly when these flaps are bent downward within the carton, only a lower portion of the assembled flaps will be held together, thus allowing some movement of the strap.

FIG. 4 shows a second step in assembling the handle blank. Adhesive is applied to glue area 236 on second panel 230, as shown in phantom view. The glue area is preferably most of the surface of second strap panel 230. The second strap panel 220 is then folded as denoted by arrow 238, along fold lines 218 (previously shown in FIG. 2) so that the second strap panel 230 overlays the first strap 220, with the first strap panel then being positioned as shown by 230′. Note that the adhesive at glue area 236 causes the first strap panel 220 and second strap panel 230 to be bonded together over much or all of their interfacing surfaces. The combined first and second strap panels are however not glued to middle area of the top inner panel 210.

After folding and gluing, the handle blank 200 is handle subassembly 300 as shown in FIG. 4. Along the outer periphery of the handle subassembly 300 are incorporated handle alignment bevels 361.

FIG. 5 shows the step of assembling the handle subassembly 300 to the carton blank 100. On the handle assembly 300 shown in an initial position in phantom view, adhesive is applied to glue areas 311 and 312 on the inner top end flaps, which will attach to the outer top end flaps 111 and 112. These glue areas 311 and 312 are at the distant ends of the end flaps.

Adhesive is applied to glue area 315 on a central portion of the second strap panel 230, which will attach to the handle access panel 115 in outer top panel 110. Adhesive is applied to glue areas 318 on selected portions of the inner top panel to attach to the outer top panel 110. The handle subassembly 300 with glue thereupon is then turned over as shown by arrow 320, and placed upon outer top panel 110 (now mostly hidden beneath it) as denoted by position 300′.

Note that upon gluing to the inside surface of carton blank 100, the handle subassembly 300′ now shows inner top panel 210, but the strap handle itself is not visible in this view, being sandwiched between inner top panel 210 and outer top panel 110.

To aid in the assembly step shown in FIG. 5, carton blank 100 is provided with carton alignment bevels 161, and the handle subassembly 300 is provided with handle alignment bevels 361. During carton assembly, these alignment bevels are superimposed at points “A,” preferably utilizing a suitable tool, fixture, jig, or other alignment means. To further aid in such alignment, the inner top end flaps 211 and 212 of the handle subassembly 300 may be slightly narrower, shorter, or both, relative to the corresponding outer top end flaps 111 and 112 of the carton blank 100.

While the example embodiment here uses alignment bevels for precise assembly or positioning of a carton blank and a handle subassembly, such alignment bevels may be used for precise assembly or positioning of other types of structures including other types of cartons, particularly where proper registration of parts is important. For example, alignment bevels may be used to precisely locate other types of handle assemblies, reinforcing elements, secondary containment layers, or any other structures that are preferably assembled in precise registration with the carton or carton blank. An actual example wherein alignment bevels are used according to the invention is illustrated in FIG. 13, which will be described later in more details.

FIG. 6 shows the carton 400 being assembled into a tubular arrangement where securing tab 150 has been glued to join bottom panel 140 with side panel 120. At this stage the carton could be filled with product, for example with beverage containers such as bottles.

FIG. 7 shows the carton 400 being assembled with the ends partially closed as the side end flaps 122 and 132 (and also 121 and 131, not shown) have been folded inward.

FIG. 8 shows the carton 400 being assembled with the ends closed as top end flap 112 and bottom end flap 142 have been folded inward and glued to the side end flaps. (Top end flap 111 and bottom end flap 141 are not shown). For the bottom end flap such as 142, the gluing area is preferably much of the interior of the end flap as shown by area 402. For the top end flap such as 112 (which has attached to its interior one end of the handle subassembly 300) a preferable gluing area is only the low end of the top end flap such as shown by gluing area 404. This leaves an upper portion of the handle end flap (221, 222, 231, 232, all hidden in FIG. 8) free to move or flex inward when the handle is used.

FIG. 9 shows a first step in using the handle on a completed carton. Handle flaps 160 have been pressed inward, breaking them free of the plane of outer top panel 110 along handle flap tear lines 162, and bending inward along handle flap fold lines 164. The wide ends 166 of handle access panel 115 are still attached to the plane of outer top panel 110 along tear lines 168 and 169. The movement of handle flaps 160 downward into a position convenient for carrying is made easier because the downward movement of a customer's fingers, or of these flaps when pushed by a customer, may also move mitered opening flaps 260 that are part of inner top panel 210, previously shown in the carton blank in FIG. 1, now shown as having been opened inward in FIG. 10.

In FIG. 10, the handle has been pulled upward from the plane of the outer top panel 110, so that handle access panel 115 separates from outer top panel 110 as shown by wide ends 166 of the handle access panel 115 separating away from tear lines 168 and 169, thereby defining a handle access aperture. With this separation, the handle access panel 115 may move further upward, as further shown by bringing into view a portion of second strap panel 230, which is adhesively attached to the handle access panel 115. The second strap panel 230 is able to move upward because glue attachment of the handle end flaps 221, 222, 231, 232 (shown in FIG. 2) does not extend all the way to the top inside of the carton, and thus the center of the handle as attached to handle access panel 115 may move or flex upward, as shown in cutaway view in FIG. 11.

FIG. 11 is a cutaway view 420 of a carton with the handle lifted, as shown by handle access panel 115 being separated upward from the carton. The wide end 166 of the handle access panel is attached to the handle assembly 300, as previously described. For simplicity here, the wide end 166 is depicted as being attached to second strap handle 230, which in turn continues as handle end flap 231 which further is glued to the end of the carton as denoted by glue area 311. (The handle end flaps and attached inner top panel end flaps may be outside at least portions of the side top end flaps.) Since glue area 311 does not extend all the way to the top of the carton, the handle assembly as characterized by second strap handle 230 is able to flex away from the inside upper corner edge of the carton (as represented by the dihedral angle 430), allowing the attached handle access panel to move further upward. The top of bottle 410 might obstruct the inward movement of strap handle 230, but to permit freer movement of the strap handle, yield tab 235 may be provided. Bottle neck-receiving apertures 225 may also be provided (not directly shown, previously shown in FIGS. 2 and 3), through which the neck of bottle 410 is seen protruding. Although only second strap handle 230 is drawn in FIG. 11, it should be understood that the curvature of this handle is also followed by first strap handle 220 (not shown) to which second strap handle 230 is glued, and is followed at least partially by inner top panel 210 (not shown), which upon a force from the strap handles may at least partially yield inwardly and down away from the inside top end edge of the carton.

FIG. 12 shows the carton being opened for access to contents such as bottles 410. By grasping the inner top panel 210 and the outer top panel 110, for example proximate to mitered opening flaps 260 under the handle access panel 115, and pulling upward, the consumer may tear outer top panel opening flap 113 and inner top panel opening flap 275 (which are glued together) along outer top panel opening flap tear lines 119 and inner top panel opening flap tear lines 270 respectively, thereby folding the combined opening flaps outward about folding line 118. The opening flaps may then either be torn loose along this line, or left hingedly attached to the carton, for example to be reclosed later.

FIGS. 13 and 14 illustrate a pair of separate blanks and a carton according to an alternative embodiment of the invention. Blanks 500 and 600 in FIG. 13 correspond respectively to blanks 100 and 200 in the preceding embodiment and are designed to be assembled into a carton 800 of FIG. 14 that is similar in a general sense to the carton 400 shown in FIG. 8. Therefore, those elements in FIGS. 13 and 14 that correspond with like elements of the preceding embodiment have been given the same numbering and prefixed with the number ‘5’ or ‘6’ for clarity. In the majority of respects, the details of composition and method of assembly of the carton of the alternative embodiment are identical to those of the preceding embodiment described above, and therefore only those areas that differ will be described below.

The carton 800 in FIG. 14 differs fro the carton 400 in the carton 800 employs aperture handles 580 (only one shown in FIG. 14) formed in the opposed end walls 590 (only one shown in FIG. 14) of the carton 800, respectively. Such aperture handles 580 are formed from hand apertures 514, 515, 614 and 615 as well as cutouts 570, 571, 572, 573 and particularly by bringing those apertures and cutouts on each end of the carton into proper alignment. The hand apertures 614 and 615 of the insert blank 600 must be brought into alignment with the hand apertures 514 and 515 respectively during the process wherein the insert blank 610 is secured to the inside surface of the carton blank 500. For the purpose of precisely positioning the insert blank 600 on the carton blank 500, the alignment bevel 561 and 661 are used in the same way as the alignment bevels 161 in the preceding embodiment. Guiding the alignment bevels 561 and 661 into alignment with each other results in the accurate alignment of hand apertures 514 and 614 as well as that of hand apertures 515 and 615. After the alignment of the hand apertures is completed, the inner top panel 610 and the inner top end flaps 611 and 612 are secured to the inside surfaces of the outer top panel 510 and the outer top end flaps 511 and 512 respectively. The remainder of the carton-assembling process is substantially identical to that described in the preceding embodiment.

In FIG. 15, there is shown an alternative carton blank 105 that when constructed forms a carton 990 shown in FIG. 18 for packaging a plurality of articles such as beverage bottles. In this embodiment, the carton 990 is a fully enclosed carton designed to accommodate 24 bottles arranged in four rows each containing six bottles, but the blank or carton may be modified for any number of bottles, cans or other articles. Carton blank 105 of FIG. 15 has many elements in common with carton blank 100 of FIG. 1, and comparable elements will not be described again. A difference between the embodiments is that carton blank 105 includes end handle apertures 171 and 172, which as seen below, provide capability of lifting the carton 990 from its ends as well as by the strap handle.

The carton blank 100 of FIG. 1, and carton blank 105 of FIG. 15, include a securing tab 150 which result in finished cartons having a glued scam along a bottom corner of the carton. Instead of being provided at the side edge of bottom panel 140, a securing tab may be provided on a lower edge of side panel 130, again resulting in a bottom glue seam. An alternative blank may be used to form a carton of the invention, having a top glue seam. For example, an alternative blank may include a top panel located at one end of the blank wherein a securing tab may be hingedly connected to either the top panel or a side wall panel at the other end of the blank.

In FIG. 16, there is shown an alternative handle blank 700 which when constructed, forms a strap handle and inner top panel 900 shown in FIG. 17, for incorporating into carton 990 as a handle and for improved protection of the carton contents. Handle blank 700 of FIG. 16 has many elements in common with handle blank 200 of FIG. 2. Similar elements are annotated in the prefix “7” instead of “2” (e.g., handle blank 700 instead of handle blank 200). Some features however are different. Side hand hole apertures 719, 729, and 739 are provided, which are superimposed when their respective panels are folded upon each other. Bottleneck receiving apertures 713, 727, and 737 of handle blank 700 are different than the bottleneck receiving apertures and tabs of the FIG. 2 embodiment of handle blank 200.

The alternative blank handle panel 700 has certain feature similar to blank handle panel 200, but with different size or shape. These include, in top inner panel 710, mitered opening flaps 760, defined by lateral severance line 762, longitudinal severance line 764, peripheral severance lines 766, and peripheral fold lines 768. Also shown in top inner panel 710 are opening flap tear lines 770, which partly define opening flaps 775.

The handle blank 700 of FIG. 16 is assembled by folding gluing into handle subassembly 900 of FIG. 17 by way of steps already described. Handle subassembly 900 is shown in FIG. 17 in an initial position in phantom view. Adhesive is applied to glue areas 911 and 912 on the inner top end flaps, which will attach to the outer top end flaps 111 and 112. These glue areas 911 and 912 are at the distant ends of the inner top end flaps.

Adhesive is applied to glue area 915 on a central portion of the second strap panel 930 (facing upward but not numbered in FIG. 17) that will attach to the handle access panel 115 in outer top panel 110. Adhesive is applied to glue areas 918 on selected portions of the inner top panel to attach to the outer top panel 110. The handle subassembly 900 with glue thereupon is then turned over as shown by arrow 920, and placed upon outer top panel 110 (now mostly hidden beneath it) as denoted by position 900′.

Note that upon gluing to the inside surface of carton blank 100, the handle subassembly 900′ now shows inner top panel 910, but the strap handle itself is not visible in this view, being sandwiched between inner top panel 910 and outer top panel 110.

To aid in the assembly step shown in FIG. 17, carton blank 100 may be provided with carton alignment bevels 161, and the handle subassembly 900 may be provided with handle alignment bevels 961. During carton assembly, these alignment bevels are superimposed at points “A,” preferably utilizing a suitable tool, fixture, jig, or other alignment means. To further aid in such alignment, the inner top end flaps 911 and 912 of the handle subassembly 900 may be slightly narrower, shorter, or both, relative to the corresponding outer top end flaps 111 and 112 of the carton blank 100.

While the example embodiment here may used alignment bevels for precise assembly or positioning of a carton blank and a handle subassembly, such alignment bevels may be used for precise assembly or positioning of other types of structures including other types of cartons, particularly where proper registration of parts is important. For example, alignment bevels may be used to precisely locate other types of handle assemblies, reinforcing elements, secondary containment layers, or any other structures that are preferably assembled in precise registration with the carton or carton blank.

FIG. 18 shows the carton 990 assembled with the ends closed as top end flap 112 and bottom end flap 142 have been folded inward and glued to the side end flaps. (Top end flap 111 and bottom end flap 141 are not shown). For the bottom end flap such as 142, the gluing area is preferably much of the interior of the end flap as shown by area 992. For the top end flap such as 112 (which has attached to its interior one end of the handle subassembly 900) a preferable gluing area is only the low end of the top end flap such as shown by gluing area 994. This leaves an upper portion of the handle end flap (721, 722, 731, 732, all hidden in FIG. 18) free to move or flex inward when the handle is used.

FIG. 18 also shows the carton 990 having end handle aperture 172, (corresponding end handle aperture 171 at the opposite end is not shown) that may be used for lifting the carton 990 from the ends, instead of or in addition to using the top strap handle already described. The location of the end handle aperture 172 may be in a glued area, an unglued area, or in a partially glued area. If the perforations along the lower side of the end handle aperture 172 are broken, the aperture flap may be pushed inward forming a hand hole. Clearance for this hole is provided by the side hand hole apertures 719, 729, and 739 in the handle subassembly 900.

In FIG. 19, there is shown another alternative handle blank 1000 which when constructed, forms a strap handle and inner top panel, for incorporating into a carton as a handle and for improved protection of the carton contents. Handle blank 1000 of FIG. 19 has many but not all elements in common with handle blank 700 of FIG. 16. The handle blank 1000 has a first strap panel 1020 and a second strap panel 1030 hingedly connected thereto along fold lines 1018. Each of the first strap panel 1020 and the second strap panel 1030 include a gripping portion 1023 and 1033 respectively. As part of the blank 1000, there may be provided hand apertures 1066 around at least one of the gripping portions. The hand apertures 1066 may be openings, flaps or other structures providing access around the gripping portion. The first strap panel 1020 has corresponding handle end flaps 1021 and 1022, and the second strap panel 1030 has corresponding handle end flaps 1031 and 1032. The handle flaps are hingedly attached to the first strap panel and second strap panel along fold lines 1052 and 1054. In use, the handle flaps are folded down.

The fold lines 1017, 1018, 1052, and 1054 may be simple score lines, partially cut score lines, perforated lines of other suitable means.

Also shown in FIG. 19 are bottleneck clearance apertures 1013 and 1033. The size and placement of these apertures and tabs is shown for example only, and may be tailored to suit the size, number, and position of bottles or other contents held by the carton. The apertures may comprise tabs, open areas, cutouts and other clearance areas.

Also shown attached generally to first strap panel 1020 are top inside cover areas 1075, which in use provide an additional layer of material covering some of the contents of the carton. When the gripping portion 1023 is pulled upward it may move away from top inside cover areas 1075. At the same time, the ends of gripping portion 1020 may pull inward away from the strap handle end flaps 1021, 1022. Crease lines 1070 may be provided to allow inside top cover areas 1075 to yield or buckle slightly so that the gripping portion is more free to move upward and inward.

Side hand hole apertures 1019 and 1039 are provided, which are superimposed when their respective panels are folded upon each other. Side hand hole apertures may be holes or openings, with or without additional structures such as tabs for example as shown with side hand hole aperture 1019. Bottleneck receiving apertures 1013 and 1037 may be provided, which in use may provide clearance for bottle necks.

The handle blank 1000 of FIG. 19 is assembled by folding and gluing into a handle subassembly using steps similar to those already described for FIG. 17, except the handle subassembly resulting from blank 1000 has two plies rather than three. To aid in the assembly of the handle subassembly onto a carton blank, the carton blank such as carton blank 100 may be provided with carton alignment bevels 161, and the handle subassembly resulting from blank 1000 may be provided with handle alignment bevels 1061. During carton assembly, these alignment bevels are superimposed, preferably utilizing a suitable tool, fixture, jig, or other alignment means.





 
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