Title:
Variable Internal Volume Container And Associated Container Blank
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The embodiments of the present invention provide a blank of foldable material that is configurable to form a container. When formed, the container includes air cell structures that allow for the container with a constant outside volume to have a variable inside volume. The air cell structure of this container functions to prevent telescoping of vertically stacked containers for strength and stability. The relative size of the panels used in forming the air cell portion from one container to the next is variable to allow for a single outside volume, but differing inside volumes.



Inventors:
Keefe Jr., Walter D. (Carol Stream, IL, US)
Wachter, Richard G. (Batavia, IL, US)
Application Number:
11/864305
Publication Date:
04/02/2009
Filing Date:
09/28/2007
Assignee:
Weyerhaeuser Co. (Federal Way, WA, US)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
206/524.6
International Classes:
B65D5/42; B65D85/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
ELKINS, GARY E
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
INTERNATIONAL PAPER COMPANY (6285 TRI-RIDGE BOULEVARD, LOVELAND, OH, 45140, US)
Claims:
1. A container, comprising: an outer bottom panel; an inner bottom panel juxtaposed a portion of the outer bottom panel; an outer back panel connected with the outer bottom panel, said outer back panel lying in a first plane; a first air cell side panel connected with the outer back panel, said first air cell side panel lying in a second plane, substantially normal to the first plane; a second air cell side panel connected with the first air cell side panel, said second air cell side panel lying in a third plane, said third plane being substantially parallel to the first plane; a third air cell side panel connected with the second air cell side panel, said third air cell side panel lying in a fourth plane, said fourth plane being substantially parallel to the second plane; and a fourth air cell side panel connected with the third air cell side panel, said fourth air cell side panel lying juxtaposed the outer back panel and below the third air cell side panel, the container being formed of a single sheet of material.

2. The container of claim 1, wherein the single sheet of foldable material is formed from a cellulose-based material.

3. The container of claim 2, wherein the cellulose based material is formed from at least one of a wood pulp, straw, cotton, and bagasse.

4. The container of claim 2, wherein the cellulose based material is in the form of at least one of a fiberboard, containerboard, corrugated containerboard and paperboard.

5. The container of claim 1 further comprising an outer side wall connected to the outer back wall, the outer side wall lying in a fifth plane substantially normal to the first plane and the second plane, a fifth air cell side panel connected with the outer side panel, said fifth air cell side panel lying in the second plane, a sixth air cell side panel connected with the fifth air cell side panel, said sixth air cell side panel lying in a sixth plane, said sixth plane being substantially parallel to the fifth plane; a seventh air cell side panel connected with the sixth air cell side panel, said seventh air cell side panel lying in the fourth plane, and an eighth air cell side panel connected with the seventh air cell side panel, said eighth air cell side panel lying juxtaposed the outer side panel and below the seventh air cell side panel.

Description:

FIELD OF INVENTION

This invention related generally to cellulose-based blanks and containers and more specifically to wood cellulose-based blanks and containers used for storing and displaying goods.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Various embodiments of the present invention are described in detail below with reference to the following FIGURES.

FIG. 1 is a plan view of a single piece container blank formed in accordance with an aspect of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a partially assembled container assembled according to an aspect of the present invention;

FIG. 3 is another perspective view of a partially assembled container assembled according to yet another aspect of the present invention;

FIG. 4 is yet another perspective view of a partially assembled container assembled according to a further aspect of the present invention; and,

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of the assembled container blank of FIG. 1.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The present invention provides a blank and resulting container for shipping and displaying a variety of goods. By way of overview, and with reference to the FIGS. 1 through 5, an embodiment of the present invention includes a single piece blank 20 of formable material arranged to form a container 60. Specific details of the blank 20 and container 60 are described in more particularity below.

FIG. 1 depicts a blank 20 used to form container 60. The blank 20 is preferably constructed from a single piece of formable material such as, without limitation, sheets of cellulose-based materials formed from cellulose materials such as wood pulp, straw, cotton, bagasse or the like. Cellulose-based materials used in this present invention come in many forms such as fiberboard, containerboard, corrugated containerboard, and paperboard. The blank 20 is cut and scored, perforated or otherwise formed to include a plurality of panels that when assembled form container 60. In all FIGURES, like numbers indicate like parts. Additionally, cut lines are shown as solid lines, score lines as dashed lines, and lines of perforation as broken lines.

With respect to FIG. 1, the blank includes an outer bottom panel 22. The outer bottom panel 22 is typically rectangular or square in shape. The outer bottom panel 22 is connected with an outer back panel 26 at fold line 21. Further, the outer bottom panel 22 is connected with an outer front locking panel 52 along a fold line 23. The outer front locking panel 52 is connected with an inner front locking panel 54 via a pair of spaced apart fold lines 25. The inner front locking panel 54 includes projections 57 extending from a periphery of the outer surface of the inner front locking panel 54 opposite the spaced apart fold lines 25. The outer back panel 26 is bounded by fold line 21, opposed fold lines 27 and perforation line 29.

A first air cell back panel 40 is connected with the outer back panel 26 along perforation line 29, opposite the outer bottom panel 22. A second air cell back panel 42 is connected with the first air cell back panel 40 along a perforation line 31, opposite fold perforation 29. A third air cell back panel 44 is connected with the second air cell back panel 42 along a perforation line 33 opposite perforation line 31. A fourth air cell back panel 46 is connected with third air cell back panel 44 along a perforation line 35 which is opposite perforation line 33. Perforation lines 35, 33, 31, 29 and fold lines 21, 23 and spaced apart fold lines 25 are all substantially parallel to one another.

Connected with the outer back panel 26 along a fold line 27 is a pair of substantially identical outer side panels 28. A front panel 50 is connected with the outer side panel 28 along a fold line 49, which is substantially parallel to fold line 27. Likewise, an inner bottom panel 24 is connected with outer side panel 28 along a fold line 51.

A first air cell side panel 30 is connected with the outer side panel 28 along a perforation line 41. A second air cell side panel 32 is connected with the first air cell side panel 30 along a perforation line 43. A third air cell side panel 34 is connected with the second air cell side panel 32 along a perforation line 45. Finally, a fourth air cell side panel 36 is connected with the third air cell side panel 34 along a perforation line 47.

Perforation lines 41, 43, 45, 47 and perforation lines 29, 31, 33, 35 are formed such that when the container is erected, those panels form a rollover corner assembly. Those perforation lines may include a variety of cut sections and perforated or scored sections to ease the rollover corner formation. These rollover perforation lines and roll over corner construction are known in the art and as such, a detailed description of them is not necessary herein in order for a person of ordinary skill in the art to be able to understand this aspect of the present invention.

FIGS. 2 through 5 show various stages of the container erection. With specific reference to FIG. 2, the blank 20 is folded along fold lines 43 and 31 respectively, such that the first air cell side panel 30 is juxtaposed the second air cell side panel 32. Likewise, the first air cell back panel 40 is juxtaposed the second air cell back panel 42.

Further, outer side panel 28 and outer back panel 26 may be folded upwardly along fold lines 51 and 21, respectively, thus bringing the various side and back panels into a perpendicular arrangement with respect to the outer bottom panel 22. Likewise, the outer side panels 28 may be folded inwardly along fold lines 27 such that the inner bottom panel 24 juxtaposed with the outer bottom panel 22 as best seen in FIG. 3.

Further, the erection process of this container may continue by folding the front panels 50 inwardly approximately 90 degrees along fold line 49. Then the inner front locking panel 54 is folded over an extended portion of the front panel 50 so that extended portion of the front panel 50 is sandwiched between the outer front locking panel 52 and the inner front locking panel 54 as seen in FIG. 4.

FIG. 5 depicts the erect container 60 according to various aspects of this present invention. Specifically the air cell side and back panels are illustrated. The air cells, with respect to the air cell side panels, are formed by folding over the various air cell side panels with respect to one another. When formed, the fourth air cell side panel 36 is juxtaposed against the outer side panel 28. It may be affixed to the outer side panel in any know way, such as, without limitation, adhesive or tape. When the fourth air cell side panel 36 is affixed in such a way, the other air cell side panels form an “air cell” of open space. Likewise, the same process is followed with the first air cell back panel 40, second air cell back panel 42, third air cell back panel 44 and the fourth air cell back panel 46.

The size of the air cell with depend upon the relative size of the various panels. By manipulating the size of the various air cell panels, a container having a single outside volume or footprint may have multiple inside volumes.

Those skilled in the art will appreciate that the overall size and shape of the various air cell side panels and air cell back panels may be selected to achieve a wide variety of desired internal container volumes with respect to the outside container geometry. In this manner, the container 60 of a given outside geometry may have any variety of internal volume based upon specific packaging needs. Thus, a person may select a container of a desired outside volume, for example, an optimal size to fit on a pallet, without concern for interior volume concerns.

A variety of additional elements may be included, such as, without limitation, vents, specialized liners or grease barriers, etc., without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention. Similarly, rounding or otherwise trimming of various panels is considered within the scope of this invention.

Container 60 as shown is simple to manufacture, easy to assembly and could be a design of considerable usage for club stores, bulk stores or wherever products are sold in large quantities on open floors. However, this design is also useful in any variety of retail or wholesale environments. It is display ready once it is formed.

While various embodiments of this invention have been illustrated and described as noted above, many changes can be made without departing from the spirit and scope of this invention. Accordingly, the scope of the invention is not limited to disclosure of the various embodiments; instead, the invention should be determined entirely by reference to the claims that follow.