Title:
Beverage spout with safety tether
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A beverage spout and threaded cap are joined by a safety tether that further acts as a guarantee strip to establish the integrity of the contents prior to opening. The safety tether as it is wrapped around the pour spout is connected by a series of break-away tabs the cooperate to form the guarantee strip, whereupon when the cap is unscrewed off the tabs are ruptured to unfurl the safety tether. The break-away tabs can be selected to promote ordered extension of the safety tether as the cap is removed from the spout.



Inventors:
Berman, Ronald H. (Long Beach, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/708853
Publication Date:
08/21/2008
Filing Date:
02/20/2007
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
215/276, 222/543
International Classes:
B65D55/16; B65D45/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
KIRSCH, ANDREW THOMAS
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
FULWIDER PATTON LLP (6060 CENTER DRIVE, 10TH FLOOR, LOS ANGELES, CA, 90045, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A receptacle with a pour spout and with a screw cap of plastic with a receptacle integrity indicating guarantee strip which is arranged at the lower edge of the peripheral lateral wall of the screw cap and which is held in a secured manner at least in the axial direction, on the pour spout of a receptacle, characterized in that the guarantee strip simultaneously serves as a safety tether which keeps the screw cap in connection with the pour spout after opening for the first time.

2. A receptacle comprising a pour spout and a screw cap of plastic including a guarantee strip which is arranged at the lower edge of the peripheral lateral wall of the screw cap and which is held in a secured manner at least in the axial direction, on the pour spout of the receptacle, characterized in that the guarantee strip in the guarantee position is arranged flush below the lateral wall peripherally and is non-detachably connected to the cap and to a retaining ring remaining on the pour spout of the receptacle for securing, wherein the guarantee strip comprises break-away tabs that are distributed over the length of the guarantee strip and form connections between the guarantee strip and the retaining ring, connections between the guarantee strip and the cap, and connections between two winding sections of the guarantee strip that lie over one another.

3. A receptacle with a screw cap according to claim 1, wherein the pour spout and the retaining ring comprise positive-fit connection means that form a connection which is non-detachable but rotatable relative to one another.

4. A receptacle with a screw cap according to claim 3, characterized in that at least a portion of a retaining bead serves as said connection means, and is integrally formed on the retaining ring, and the pour spout comprises an annular groove into which the retaining bead extends.

5. A receptacle with a screw cap according to claim 3, characterized in that an annular groove as a connection means is formed in the retaining ring, and at least a portion of a retaining bead engages the annular groove, said retaining bead integrally formed on the pour spout.

6. A receptacle with a screw cap according to claim 1, characterized in that the pour spout comprises a flange for connection to a receptacle, wherein the retaining ring has a non-detachable fixed connection to the flange.

7. A receptacle with a screw cap according to claim 6, characterized in that the non-detachable connection is a welding connection.

8. A receptacle with a screw cap according to claim 1, characterized in that the guarantee strip in the guarantee position wraps around the spout at least two full revolutions.

9. A receptacle with a screw cap according to claim 2, characterized in that the break-away tabs run parallel to an axial direction with respect to a longitudinal axis of the pour spout.

10. A receptacle with a screw cap according to claim 2, characterized in that the break-away tabs run inclined to an axial direction with respect to a longitudinal axis of the pour spout.

11. A receptacle with a screw cap according to claim 9, characterized in that first break-away tabs between the retaining ring and the guarantee strip have a smaller cross section than the remaining break-away tabs.

12. A receptacle with a screw cap according to claim 11, characterized in that second break-away tabs between two adjacent windings have a larger cross section than the first break-away tabs, but a smaller cross section than third break-away tabs between an uppermost winding of the guarantee strip and a lateral wall of the screw cap.

13. A receptacle with a screw cap according to claim 10, characterized in that an inclination of the break-away tabs relative to the longitudinal axis of the pour spout reduces from the connection location of the guarantee strip on the retaining ring up to the connection location of the guarantee strip on the cap.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a receptacle with a pour spout and a screw cap of plastic, with a guarantee strip which is arranged at the lower edge of the peripheral lateral wall of the screw cap, which is held secured at least in the axial direction on the pour spout of a receptacle in a direct or indirect manner.

Receptacles with a pour spout and a screw cap of plastic, which may be placed thereon, are known in many design forms. Thereby, the receptacles may be glass or plastic bottles, or soft packages of laminates or of plastic films. If the receptacles are glass or plastic bottles, then the bottle neck typically forms the pour spout. If the receptacle is a tube, then the tube opening of the tube head often forms the pour spout. In any case however, the pour spout comprises an outer thread, on which correspondingly a screw cap with an inner thread integrally formed on its lateral wall may be screwed.

Nowadays, screw caps are usually provided with a guarantee strip. For ecological reasons, the guarantee strip is designed such that after separation from the pour spout or from the screw cap, it respectively either remains on the pour spout or on the screw cap. In one case, the guarantee strip is held on the pour spout with a positive fit, by way of the guarantee strip forming a retaining ring, which by way of a suitable positive-fit means between the retaining ring and the pour spout, is held on the latter. This guarantee strip, or retaining ring as the case may be, may be rotated relative to the pour spout, or the positive-fit means may be designed such that a rotational securing is simultaneously realized. On opening for the first time, the break-away tabs between the retaining ring, or the guarantee strip, and the screw cap are broken. If the strip can co-rotate, then the break-away tabs are loaded in tension in the axial direction, so that the break-away tabs have a greater tear resistance. If the guarantee strip or the securing ring is also secured in the radial movement direction, then the break-away tabs are loaded in shearing on opening for the first time, and accordingly may be severed with a low force effort.

The guarantee strip is usually arranged on the lower edge flush against the lateral wall, or in another known embodiment, is formed of different part sections which are connected to one another via radially running break-away tabs. On opening for the first time, a widening of the guarantee strip is effected, wherein the break-away tabs sever, and the sections of the guarantee strip remain on the cap.

It is more often than not that the screw caps are relatively small, and the danger exists that such screw caps get lost or fall on the ground and become contaminated. Since in many cases, these screw caps are then reattached to receptacles in which foodstuffs are accommodated, accordingly the danger exists that the contents are contaminated.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It is therefore the object of the present invention, to provide a receptacle with a pour spout and a screw cap of plastic, with which a guarantee strip visibly displays the integrity guarantee, and simultaneously the screwed-off screw cap remains captively connected to the receptacle, or its pour spout.

It is a further object of the invention to specify alternative connection possibilities between the retaining ring and the pour spout, which are suitable for different receptacles. A preferred embodiment of the subject-matter of the invention is represented in the drawing, and is explained in detail by way of the subsequent description.

Other features and advantages of the invention will become apparent from the following detailed description, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings which illustrate, by way of example, the features of the invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

A preferred embodiment of the subject-matter of the invention is represented in the drawing, and is explained in detail by way of the subsequent description. There are shown in:

FIG. 1 is a side view of a first embodiment of a screw cap in the condition of integrity, on a pour spout with a flange;

FIG. 2 is a side view of the embodiment of FIG. 1 showing the closure in a first intermediate position of opening;

FIG. 3 is a side view of the embodiment of FIG. 1 showing the closure in a second intermediate position of opening;

FIG. 4 is a side view of the embodiment of FIG. 1 showing a completely screwed-off position, before the lifting of the screw cap from the pour spout;

FIG. 5 is an enlarged, sectional view of the embodiment shown in FIG. 4;

FIG. 6 is a side view of the screw cap and the pour spout of FIG. 1 in a position of use;

FIG. 7 is an elevated perspective view of the embodiment of FIG. 1 shown on a receptacle constructed from a flexible film;

FIG. 8 is an enlarged cross sectional view of the screw cap of FIG. 1 in its sealed position on a bottle-like receptacle; and

FIG. 9 is a cross sectional view of the screw cap in the non-assembled condition, in the integrity position.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

FIG. 7 illustrates a first preferred embodiment of the present invention configured to a receptacle 1 having a pour spout 2 and a screw cap 3 that may be screwed thereon and is captively connected to the pour spout 5 via a safety tether 4 which here also serves as a securing strip, by way of a retaining ring 5.

The invention may be realized independently of the type and design of the receptacle 1. Thus the receptacle 1, as shown here, consists of a soft packaging of plastic film or of a combined plastic-cardboard laminate, or may also be realized as a glass bottle or plastic bottle. In any case however, the receptacle 1 is provided with a pour spout 2. This pour spout 2 may be also realized as part of the bottle neck with glass or plastic bottles.

With soft packages such as represented here in FIGS. 6 and 7, the pour spout is a separate component, consisting of a cylindrical tube section on which a peripheral flange 22 is integrally formed at the lower end. Here, the screw cap according to the invention is represented in the opened condition. The flange 22, depending on whether it is welded onto the soft packaging 1 from the inside of the packaging or from the outside, may be provided with welding ribs 23 on the upper side or on the lower side as is shown in FIG. 6. Of course, the cylindrical tube section 21 of the pour spout 2 is provided with an outer thread 24. The screw cap 3 is completely unscrewed from the pour spout 2, but is connected to the pour spout 2 via the safety tether 4, which in this case only continues to have the function as a securing strip. A retaining ring 5 is provided for this connection. The type of the connection of the retaining ring 5 to the pour spout 2 may be realized in various manners, but this is not evident in FIG. 6. These connection possibilities are dealt with later in a more detailed manner.

In FIG. 1, the screw cap 3 is placed onto a spout in the integrity position. The screw cap 3 has a lateral wall 31 and is closed at the top by a cover surface 32. The screw cap 3 is provided on the outer side of the lateral wall 31 with a ribbing 33 increasing the grip. An inner thread is incorporated on the inner side of the lateral wall 31 (not shown). On the lower side, a peripheral collar 34 is integrally formed on the lateral wall 31. The retaining ring 5 is connected to the pour spout 2 in a rotatable but axial secured manner, and lies directly above the flange 22. The security tether 4 is arranged between the retaining ring 5 and the collar 34 if present. The security tether 4 in this position only has the function of an integrity guarantee, i.e., demonstrates that the contents of the reservoir has not been tampered with through this opening since it was placed on by the manufacturer. The outer surface 41 of the security tether 4 is flush with the outer surface 51 of the retaining ring 5, and likewise lies flush below the outer surface of the peripheral collar 34. In this guarantee position, all break-away tabs are intact. The break-away tabs in this position are barely evident. For this reason, the detail of FIG. 5 is referred to, with which a cut-out is represented in a larger scale, wherein the break-away tabs here however are already shown in the destroyed condition. With the screw cap according to the invention, first break-away tabs 35 are present, which in the intact condition form the connection between the retaining ring 5 and the security tether 4. Two break-away tabs form the connection between two adjacent windings 42 of the security tether 4. Finally, only the third break-away tabs 37 continue to be present, which form the connection between an uppermost winding 42 and the collar 34, or the lower edge of the lateral wall 31 of the screw cap. In the position, as shown in FIG. 1, which represents the guarantee position before opening for the first time, all break-away tabs 35, 36, 37 are intact. On opening for the first time, the steps as shown in FIGS. 2, 3 and 4 are then effected. With a first screwing off movement, the break-away tabs 35 are severed. A connection location 38 between the security tether 4 and the retaining ring 5 however remains intact.

With a continued unscrewing of the screw cap, as is shown in FIG. 3, the break-away tabs 36 which are arranged between two adjacent windings 42, are severed. Finally, as shown in the FIGS. 4 and 5, also the break-away tabs 37 between the uppermost winding 42 of the security tether 4 and the collar 34 or the lower edge of the lateral wall 31 are broken. The screw cap 3 may now be completely released, and removed from the pour spout. With this, the connection of the screw cap 3 to the retaining ring 5 however remains. Accordingly, a section connection location 39 is present, which represents the indestructible connection of the security tether 4 to the screw cap 3.

It is not significant with regard to the sequence in which the break-away tabs 35, 36, 37 break when the cap is unscrewed for the first time. The double function that the security tether 4 first acts as an integrity guarantee element and thereafter as a securing means, is not changed by the sequence of the destruction of the break-away tabs. Although the sequence of the rupture of the first to third break off tabs is not significant, as has been explained above, this sequence may be influenced by certain measures. Thus the break-away tabs in the most obvious version may be designed differently in their cross section at the thinnest location, wherein for example the first break-away tabs 35 would have the smallest cross section, whilst the second break-away tabs would have a slightly larger cross section, and the third break-away tabs could again have a larger cross section. This solution may be realized most simply with regard to manufacturing technology.

A second, somewhat more complex solution, lies in designing the first break-away tabs running inclined relative to the rotation axis of the screw cap 3, or to the longitudinal axis of the pour-spout 2. By way of this design of the first break-away tabs 35, a shear-off force occurs with the forces running in the axial direction, which realizes an easy destruction of the first break-away tabs 35. With the second break-away tabs 36, one may then form the inclination of these break-away tabs with regard to the deviation from the axial direction to a lesser extent, so that here the shear forces are not so large and thus tear later than the first break-away tabs 35. Finally, the third break-away tabs 37 may be arranged running exactly in the axial direction, so that the shear-off forces practically do not exist by way of this, and thus these break-away tabs 37 tear last of all. With the sequence of destruction of the first to third break-away tabs described here, the first opening of the screw cap is effected in an aesthetically satisfactory manner, and it is ensured than no kinking of the guarantee strip occurs on opening for the first time. Such a kinking not only leads to the possible compromise of the security tether 4, but may also render the screwing away of screw cap briefly more difficult.

The screw cap may again be returned onto the spout 2 without any problem after the opening for the first time. With this, it is however impossible to wind on the security tether 4 around the pour spout 2 such that the security tether again assumes the position according to FIG. 1. This is prevented alone on account of the restoring force of the security tether being low, and secondly because the tensile forces occurring on opening for the first time effect a certain plastic deformation, so that the security tether tends to unwind. Even if one firmly holds the retaining ring 5 during the rescrewing-operation until the screw cap 3 is completely screwed on and the security tether 4 has assumed practically the same position as in FIG. 4, then the tether 4 again tends to relax and accordingly the retaining ring 5 and the security tether always evidently rotates away from the pour spout 2, so that its destruction is obvious.

With a solution with which the pour spout 2 is provided with a flange 22, it is also possible to screw the retaining ring 5 to the flange 22. In this case, the plastic deformation forces which occur on the security tether on opening for the first time, are significantly larger and accordingly the security tether 4 may also not be brought back into the shape as is shown in FIG. 1.

In FIG. 8, a part of a bottle neck 2′ is represented in a larger scale, which for example may be manufactured of glass. The bottle neck 2′ which thus forms the pour spout 2 comprises a peripheral retaining bead 25 which has a saw-tooth-shaped cross section, and forms a positive-fit connection means which cooperates with a connection means on the securing ring 5. In the example shown here, the retaining ring 5 on its surface directed towards the pour spout, is provided with a peripheral annular groove 51. This annular groove 51 may have a rectangular cross section or roughly an equal and opposite shape to the retaining bead 25. In the shown example, the retaining bead 25 has a saw-tooth-shaped cross-sectional shape. This permits the screw cap to be placed on with a low force effort. The occurring tensile forces are however accommodated fully by the part surfaces running perpendicular to the tensile direction.

Finally, a screw cap 3 according to the invention is shown in an axial longitudinal section in FIG. 9. The lateral wall 31 is terminated by a cover surface 32. The collar 34 is formed at the lower edge of the lateral wall 31. The inner thread 38 mates with an external thread on the spout to secure the cap 3. This thread is preferably designed relatively steep, in order to achieve a rapid and secure severing of the break-away tabs 35 to 37. The position represented here again corresponds to the integrity position in which the security tether 4 is connected to its windings 42 amongst one another, and to the collar 34 as well as the retaining ring 5 via the break-away tabs. The retaining ring 5 here, on its inner side, comprises retaining bead sections 52 as positive fit means, which in the assembled condition are engaged in a corresponding annular retaining groove on the pour spout 2. These retaining bead sections 52 provide for a greater flexibility of the retaining ring 5 than a peripheral continuous retaining bead, with which in turn it is ensured that no destruction occurs on placing on the screw cap.

In order to ensure that the break-away tabs are not destroyed when placing on the screw cap, support elements 43 may be integrally formed on the security tether 4, which ensure that with the compression experienced during tightening of the cap, the break-away tabs are not completely compressed together which could result in inadvertent destruction of the break-away tabs. The support elements 43 can be arranged about the periphery, and in each case arranged offset with respect to the break-away tabs 35 to 37.





 
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