Title:
SYSTEMS AND METHODS FOR CHILD-RESISTANT AND SENIOR FRIENDLY PACKAGING
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Systems and methods related to a packaging system having a blister pack sandwiched between a plurality of protective layers. One or more protective layers disposed above the blister pack may include perforations running along the perimeter region. A child attempting to separate the protective layers from the blister pack may only be able to strip away the perimeter region thereby securing the blister pack.



Inventors:
Cotton, Gary Paul (Newark, DE, US)
Mcquillan, Juliet Gail (Wilmington, DE, US)
Sundararajan, Mani (Wilmington, DE, US)
Forehand, Michael L. (Avondale, PA, US)
Johnson, Brian D. (Landenberg, PA, US)
Ellis, Thomas Scott (Marietta, GA, US)
Application Number:
11/932376
Publication Date:
04/30/2009
Filing Date:
10/31/2007
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
206/532, 206/539
International Classes:
B65D83/04
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
CHU, KING M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Weiss & Arons, LLP (1540 Route 202, Suite 8, Pomona, NY, 10970, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A system for packaging at least one solid dosage form, the system comprising: a blister pack for housing the form, the blister pack including a receptacle layer having at least one collapsible receptacle and a rupturable layer extending over the at least one receptacle; a first rigid layer disposed on the receptacle layer and having a perimeter region including a zone of reduced strength; and a second rigid layer disposed on the rupturable layer.

2. The system of claim 1 wherein the second rigid layer has an opening feature aligned with the receptacle.

3. The system of claim 2 wherein the opening feature includes a wedge.

4. The system of claim 3 wherein: the opening feature has a substantially central region and a local perimeter about the central region, the local perimeter corresponding to a single receptacle; the wedge comprises: an apex proximate the central region; and a base proximate the local perimeter.

5. The system of claim 3 wherein the wedge is supported, at the base, by the second rigid layer, as a cantilever.

6. The system of claim 5 wherein the wedge is one of four so supported wedges.

7. The system of claim 5 wherein the wedge is one of six so supported wedges.

8. The system of claim 1 wherein the receptacle layer includes a polymeric sheet.

9. The system of claim 1 wherein the receptacle layer includes a plurality of receptacles.

10. The system of claim 1 wherein the rupturable layer includes an aluminum foil.

11. The system of claim 1 wherein at least one of the first and second rigid layers includes a polymeric laminated rigid sheet.

12. The system of claim 1 wherein the second rigid layer includes a plurality of layers of rigid materials.

13. The system of claim 1 further comprising a barrier layer disposed on the second rigid layer, the barrier layer extending over the collapsible receptacle.

14. The system of claim 13 wherein: the barrier layer comprises an inner barrier layer that is disposed on the second rigid layer and extends over the collapsible receptacle; and an outer barrier layer that is disposed over the inner barrier layer and extends over the collapsible receptacle.

15. The system of claim 14 wherein at least one of the inner barrier layer and outer barrier layer includes perforations near an opening feature in the second rigid layer.

16. The system of claim 15 wherein the perforations include: a first perforated segment; a second perforated segment parallel the first perforated segment; a third perforated segment running from the first perforated segment to the second segment; such that a portion of the barrier layer is made deflectable by the motion of an item being ejected from the receptacle.

17. The system of claim 16 further comprising, adjacent the third perforated segment, a space for a finger nail penetrate under a portion of the barrier layer to rupture the barrier layer along the third perforated segment.

18. The system of claim 1 wherein the zone of reduced strength includes perforations.

19. The system of claim 1 wherein the rupturable layer extends continuously across all receptacles.

20. A method for manufacturing a solid dosage form package, the method comprising: providing a receptacle layer having at least one collapsible receptacle; introducing a solid dosage form into the receptacle; attaching to the receptacle layer a rupturable layer that extends over the receptacle, thereby enclosing the solid dosage form; disposing on the rupturable layer a rigid layer having at least one opening feature that is substantially aligned with the receptacle; and disposing on the rigid layer at least one barrier layer; wherein the at least one barrier layer includes at least one perforation pattern disposed in a region corresponding to the opening feature.

21. The method of claim 19 further comprising disposing a top rigid layer on the receptacle layer, the top rigid layer having an opening to accommodate the receptacle.

22. The method of claim 20 wherein the top rigid layer includes a zone of reduced strength extending along a portion of a perimeter region.

23. The method of claim 20 wherein the top rigid layer is attached to the rigid layer.

24. The method of claim 23 wherein the top rigid layer is hinged to the rigid layer.

25. A system for packaging a plurality of pills, the system comprising: a blister pack housing that includes a receptacle layer having a plurality of receptacles and a rupturable layer extending over the plurality of receptacles; a casing including: a first rigid section disposed on the blister pack adjacent the receptacle layer; a second rigid section attached to the first rigid section and disposed on the blister pack adjacent the rupturable layer, the second rigid section including a plurality of opening features aligned with the plurality of receptacles; a third rigid section hingedly attached to the second rigid section such that the third rigid section is configured to fold on top of first rigid section to enclose the blister pack; and at least one barrier layer disposed on the second rigid section and extending over the plurality of opening features; wherein the barrier layer includes a zone of reduced strength corresponding to the opening features.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Small articles or products such as medication pills are commonly packaged in blister packs. These products are often placed in blister or bubble shaped plastic receptacles and sealed with a thin layer of aluminum foil. The products are dispensed from the blister pack by applying pressure to the receptacle and pushing the product out through the foil.

Children may be able to access the products sealed in each of the blisters by performing the above steps or chewing, tearing up or otherwise rupturing such a blister pack. To make these blister packs child-resistant (“CR”), there have been attempts to (a) reinforce the plastic receptacles to make it more difficult for children to push the product through, or (b) attach additional layers of plastic or cardboard to the blister pack whereby each of the layers have to first be individually removed to gain access to the products therein.

Accordingly, there is a need for improved blister packaging that is child-resistant. There is a need for improved blister packaging that is senior friendly.

SUMMARY

The systems and methods described herein are directed to a child-resistant and senior friendly packaging for items such as solid dosage forms of medication. The solid dosage form may be a pill, a tablet, a capsule, a lozenge or any other dosage form. However, it will be understood that the systems and methods described herein may be applied to provide for any packaging system associated with any article or product.

The systems and methods provide packaging systems having a blister pack (e.g., a collapsible receptacle combined with a rupturable membrane) sandwiched between a plurality of protective layers. One or more protective layers disposed above the blister pack may include weak zones running along a package perimeter region. A child attempting to separate the protective layers from the blister pack may only be able to strip away the perimeter region thereby improving the security of the items in the blister pack.

The systems and methods described herein may include systems for packaging at least one item. The systems comprise a blister pack for housing the item, the blister pack including a receptacle layer having at least one collapsible receptacle and a rupturable layer extending over the at least one receptacle. The systems further comprise a first rigid layer disposed on the receptacle layer, having a perimeter region including a zone of reduced strength (e.g., for preferential material failure), and a second rigid layer disposed on the rupturable layer. The first rigid layer may include an opening feature that may be substantially aligned with the receptacle. In some embodiments, the second rigid layer is attached to the first rigid layer and has an opening feature substantially aligned with the receptacle.

The receptacle layer may be formed from any suitable material that can be caused to collapse by application of an appropriate amount of force, such as polymeric sheets such as polyvinyl chloride. The receptacle layer may include a plurality of receptacles that may project outwardly from a surface such that each receptacle may be separated from the nearest other receptacle by a separation distance. The separation distance may be about 3 mm to about 6 mm. The separation distance may be about 3 mm to about 15 mm. The separation distance may be any suitable distance. The receptacle may have any suitable shape. The shape may in plan view be round. The shape may in plan view be rectilinear. The shape may in plan view be curvilinear. The maximum extent in plan view of the receptacle is referred to herein as the receptacle diameter. The diameter may be about 8 mm to about 9 mm. The diameter may be up to about 25 mm. The diameter may be suitable to accommodate any suitable dosage form. The maximum linear dimension, in any direction, of the dosage form is referred to herein as the dosage form diameter. The receptacle may be sized and shaped to accommodate any suitable dosage form diameter. For example, the dosage form diameter may be up to about 7 mm. The dosage form diameter may be between about 7 mm and about 21 mm. The dosage form diameter may be between about 21 mm and about 23 mm. The dosage form diameter may be greater than about 23 mm.

In some embodiments, the plurality of receptacles may be arranged as a rectangular grid on the receptacle layer. In such embodiments, the receptacle layer may be a rectangular sheet having a length from about 100 mm to about 120 mm, and width from about 65 mm to about 80 mm.

In some embodiments, the rupturable layer includes any material capable of being ruptured easily with the application of force. The rupturable layer may include an aluminum foil and/or a paper sheet. In some embodiments, the rupturable layer extends over substantially the entire receptacle layer. The rupturable layer may extend over portions, not necessarily the entirety, of the receptacle layer.

In some embodiments, the first and/or second rigid layers includes at least one of cardboard and plastic. In particular, the first and/or second rigid layers may include any suitable polymeric material and may include a laminated rigid sheet. For example, the first and/or second rigid layers may include any derivatives of ethylene or propylene, for example high density or low density polyethylene or terepthalate. At least one of the first rigid layer and the second rigid layer may include an adhesive. At least one of the first and second rigid layer may be a rigid rectangular sheet. The sheet may have any suitable dimensions. For example, the sheet may have any suitable length and any suitable width. In some embodiments, the length may be up to about 10 cm. In some embodiments, the length may be between about 10 cm and about 20 cm. In some embodiments, the length may be more than about 20 cm. In some embodiments, the width may be up to about 5 cm. In some embodiments, the length may be between about 5 cm and about 10 cm. In some embodiments, the width may be more than about 10 cm. In some embodiments, the opening in the first rigid layer has a diameter that is about 10 mm to about 13 mm. The second rigid layer may also include a plurality of layers of rigid materials. The first rigid layer may be attached to the second rigid layer along an edge. In some embodiments, the first rigid layer may include an opening feature that is dimensioned to correspond to one or more dimensions of the item.

In some embodiments, the second rigid layer may include an opening feature aligned with the receptacle. The opening feature may include or be in the shape of a wedge. The opening feature may have a substantially central region and a local perimeter, about the central region, that corresponds to a single receptacle. The wedge may include an apex that is proximate to the central region and a base that is proximate the local perimeter. In some embodiments, the wedge may be supported, at the base, by the second rigid layer, as a cantilever. The wedge is one of a number of so supported wedges. The number may be 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 or any suitable number.

In some embodiments, the systems for packaging a pill further comprise a barrier layer disposed on the second rigid layer, the barrier layer extending over the collapsible receptacle. The barrier layer may include at least one of plastic, polyethylene and paper. In some embodiments, the barrier layer may include an inner and outer barrier layer. In other embodiments, the barrier layer may be combined with a label layer serving as an outer barrier. The inner barrier layer may be disposed on the second rigid layer and may extend over the collapsible receptacle. The outer barrier layer may be disposed over the inner barrier layer and may extend over the collapsible receptacle. In some embodiments, a label layer may be present and in contact with the rupturable layer.

In some embodiments, the barrier layer (at times the inner and outer barrier layers) and/or the label layer includes perforations. The perforations may include two parallel lines of perforation and a line of perforation connecting the two parallel perforation lines, such that a portion of at least one of the inner barrier layer and outer barrier layer is made removable. In such embodiments, the region of at least one of the inner barrier layer and outer barrier layer near the line of perforation connecting the two parallel lines may be unattached thereby allowing space for a finger nail penetrate therein. In some embodiments, the perforations include a line of perforation near the center of the region underneath the collapsible receptacle, such that a portion of at least one of the inner barrier layer and outer barrier layer is made rupturable.

The systems and methods described herein may include methods for manufacturing a pill package. The methods include the steps of providing a receptacle layer having at least one collapsible receptacle, introducing a pill into the receptacle, and attaching to the receptacle layer a rupturable layer that extends over the receptacle, thereby enclosing the pill. The methods further include disposing on the rupturable layer a rigid layer having at least one opening such that the opening aligns with the receptacle and disposing on the rigid layer at least one barrier layer. In some embodiments, the barrier layer includes at least one zone of reduced strength corresponding to a region near the opening.

In some embodiments, the methods further include disposing a top rigid layer on the receptacle layer. The top rigid layer may include at least one zone of reduced thickness extending along a portion of a perimeter region. The top rigid layer may optionally be attached directly to the rigid layer underneath the rupturable layer.

In another aspect, the systems and methods described herein include methods for extracting a pill from a package. The methods comprise providing a package that includes a blister pack housing the pill and including a receptacle layer having at least one receptacle and a rupturable layer extending over the at least one receptacle, and a plurality of barrier layers disposed in series with the receptacle and the rupturable layer, wherein each of the barrier layers includes at least one zone of reduced strength corresponding to a region near at least one opening in a rigid layer adjacent the rupturable layer. The methods further comprise severing each of the plurality of barrier layers separately along the respective zone of reduced strength, thereby revealing an underlying one of the plurality of barrier layers, and applying force to the receptacle, thereby causing the pill to break through the rupturable layer.

In still another aspect, the systems and methods described herein include systems for packaging a plurality of pills. The systems comprise a blister pack housing that includes a receptacle layer having a plurality of receptacles and a rupturable layer extending over the plurality of receptacles and a casing. The casing includes a first rigid section disposed on the blister pack adjacent the receptacle layer, a second rigid section attached to the first rigid section and disposed on the blister pack adjacent the rupturable layer, and a third rigid section, hingedly attached to the second rigid section such that the third rigid section is configured to fold over to enclose the blister pack. In some embodiments, the second rigid section includes a plurality of openings aligned with the plurality of receptacles. The casing further includes at least one barrier layer disposed on the second rigid section and extending over the plurality of openings. The barrier layer may include a zone of reduced strength corresponding to one of the openings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The following Figures depict illustrative embodiments of the invention in which like reference numerals refer to like elements.

FIG. 1 shows an illustrative packaging system in accordance with the principles of the invention.

FIG. 2 shows a cross-sectional view of one exemplary pill housing of the packaging system of FIG. 1 in accordance with the principles of the invention.

FIGS. 3A-3D show an illustrative process for accessing the contents of an exemplary packaging system in accordance with the principles of the invention.

FIGS. 4A-4D show an illustrative process for accessing the contents of an exemplary packaging system in accordance with the principles of the invention.

FIGS. 5A-5C and 6A-6C show an illustrative process for accessing the contents of an exemplary packaging system in accordance with the principles of the invention.

FIGS. 7A-7D show an illustrative process for accessing the contents of an exemplary packaging system in accordance with the principles of the invention.

FIGS. 8A-8D show an illustrative process for accessing the contents of an exemplary packaging system in accordance with the principles of the invention.

FIGS. 9A and 9B show an exemplary perimeter region of the packaging system of FIG. 1, in accordance with the principles of the invention.

FIG. 10 shows an illustrative unassembled packaging system, in accordance with the principles of the invention.

FIGS. 11A-11C show an illustrative process for assembling the packaging system in accordance with the principles of the invention.

FIGS. 12-14 show illustrative unassembled packaging systems, in accordance with the principles of the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF ILLUSTRATIVE EMBODIMENTS

As will be seen from the following description, the systems and methods described herein relate to a packaging system having a blister pack sandwiched between a plurality of protective layers. One or more protective layers disposed above the blister pack may include perforations running along the perimeter region. A child attempting to separate the protective layers from the blister pack may only be able to strip away the perimeter region thereby securing the blister pack.

The illustrative apparatuses, systems and methods are described below in the following order: First, an illustrative wallet-sized packaging system (See packaging system 100, FIG. 1) having a blister pack sandwiched between a plurality of protective layers is described. Second, various embodiments describing different types of protective layers are described along with corresponding mechanisms for accessing and extracting a pill. Third, a protection scheme provided along the perimeter region of the packaging system is described to prevent a child from stripping the protective layers away from the underlying blister pack. Fourth, systems and processes for assembling and manufacturing the packaging system are presented.

FIG. 1 depicts packaging system 100 configured to house a plurality of pills 124. The packaging system 100 includes panel composite 102 and panels 104, 106 and 108. Panel composite 102 includes blister pack 112 sandwiched between first rigid layer 110 and second rigid layer 114. Blister pack 112 includes a plurality of collapsible receptacles 122 sized and shaped to house one or more pills 124 therein. First rigid layer 110 is disposed on top of blister pack 112 and includes a plurality of openings 126 to accommodate collapsible receptacle 122 of the blister pack 112. The first rigid layer 110 also includes zone of reduced strength 128 running along perimeter region 130. As will be described with reference to FIGS. 9A and 9B, zone of reduced strength 128 may include perforations that allow perimeter region 130 to separate from the rest of panel composite 102 thereby protecting underlying blister pack 112.

Second rigid layer 114 is disposed below blister pack 112 and may include openings aligned with each of the collapsible receptacles 122. As will be described with reference to FIGS. 2-8D, in some embodiments, second rigid layer 114 may include tabs and cuts that control access to pills 124 in blister pack 112. The tabs and cuts may provide protection against children attempting to access pills 124, but may still allow seniors to access medication.

Panel composite 102 may further include one or more barrier layers 116, which may be attached to second rigid layer 114, and one or more label layers 118 attached to barrier layer 116. Label layer 118 may include any suitable material. Label layer 118 may include oriented polyamide nylon (OPA). Barrier layer 116 and label layer 118 serve as obstacles to hinder a child from accessing pill 124 in blister pack 112. During operation, a user may carefully remove a portion of label layer 118 and then one or more barrier layers 116. The user may also have to remove a portion of second rigid layer 114 thereby gaining access to blister pack 112 from below. The user may then apply pressure to collapsible receptacle 122 to push pill 124 out of blister pack 112 and through each of the opened protective layers 114, 116 and 118.

Panel composite 102 may be attached to additional panels 104, 106 and 108 by hinges 132 that allow panels 104, 106 and 108 to hingedly fold about each other. Panels 104, 106 and 108 may provide information to a user. Panels may provide protection to blister pack 112. Panels 104, 106 and 108 may include additional information about pill 124, dosage information and/or other related information about the company. Panels 104, 106 and 108 may include identifiers such as bar codes and serial numbers. Panels 104, 106 and 108 may help to protect blister pack 112 and panel composite 102 from accidental puncture and collapse of blister housing 120.

In some embodiments, as described with reference to FIG. 11C, panel 104 may be folded over panel composite 102 thereby covering collapsible receptacles 122 of each of the blister housings 120. Panels 106 and 108 may then wrap around panel composite 102 to reduce the overall dimension of packaging system 100 to about the length and width of a single wallet-sized panel 102, 104, 106 and 108.

Packaging system 100 may include one or more child resistant features, described below, that are compliant with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission's “Standard Classification of Child-Resistant Packages ASTM—Designation D3475—95.” Packaging system 100 may include one or more child resistant features, described below, that pass test procedures conducted under the Poison Prevention Packaging Act, 21 C.F.R. 295.1, in which packaging systems are given to children for a given period of time to determine accessibility.

FIG. 2 depicts a cross-sectional view of an unassembled exemplary blister housing 120 in packaging system 100 of FIG. 1. Blister housing 120 includes blister pack 112. Blister pack 112 includes receptacle layer 202 attached to rupturable layer 206. Receptacle layer 202 further includes collapsible receptacle 122 that defines cavity 204 that may be sized and shaped to house pill 124. Once pill 124 is placed in cavity 204, rupturable layer 206 is disposed on a surface of receptacle layer 202 such that pill 124 is sealed in cavity 204.

Blister pack 112 includes a plurality of blister or bubble shaped collapsible receptacles 122 that project outwardly from the surface of receptacle layer 202. Receptacle layer 202 may include transparent or translucent thermoformable materials such as polyvinyl chloride or polystyrene. Rupturable layer 206 may include rupturable materials including aluminum lidding foil or paper sheets. Rupturable layer 206 may additionally serve to seal out ambient dust and contaminants.

Blister pack 112 may be sized and shaped to house pill 124. Collapsible receptacle 122 may be dome shaped, having a semi-circular cross-section. Collapsible receptacle 122 may have other cross-sections including rectangular having curved corners. Collapsible receptacle 122 may be sized and shaped as desired depending on the nature of the application and of the contents of the packaging system. For example, receptacle 122 may be sized and shaped to somewhat forcibly hold pill 124 in place. In another example, when pill 124 is relatively soft and breakable, receptacle 122 may be sized and shaped to define a larger cavity 204 to reduce the likelihood that the tablet will be crushed.

In some embodiments, collapsible receptacles 122 are arranged as a rectangular grid on the rectangularly shaped receptacle layer 202. Receptacle layer 202, in such embodiments, may have a length of about 100 mm to about 120 mm, and a width of about 65 mm to about 80 mm. Collapsible receptacles 122 may be separated from each other by a distance of about 3 mm to about 6 mm, either between the centers or the edges of the collapsible receptacles 122. Receptacles may have a diameter of about 10 mm to about 13 mm. Generally, collapsible receptacle 122 may have any size and any shape depending on, among other things, the size and shape of the product contained within, without departing from the scope of the invention.

First rigid layer 110 is disposed on the top surface of receptacle layer 202. First rigid layer 110 includes one or more openings 126 that are aligned with collapsible receptacle 122. Collapsible receptacle 122 fits in opening 126, thereby allowing rigid layer 110 to be disposed adjacent to the portion of first rigid layer 110 that surrounds collapsible receptacle 122. First rigid layer 110 may be formed from cardboard and/or plastic materials. In some embodiments, first rigid layer 110 may be formed from polyethylene laminated rigid cardboard sheet. First rigid layer 110 may be sized and shaped as desired depending on the application without departing from the scope of the invention. First rigid layer 110 may be attached to the receptacle layer 110 with an adhesive.

The adhesive may be applied to one or more regions of first rigid layer 110 and/or receptacle layer 202. As noted earlier, blister housing 120 depicted in FIG. 2 may be one of many such blister housings 120 distributed throughout packaging system 100. Depending on the location of blister housing 120, the depicted cross section in FIG. 2 may or may not include perimeter region 130 of panel composite 102. In the illustrated embodiment, blister housing 120 (See FIG. 1) includes perimeter region 130 defined by zone of reduced strength 128. In some embodiments, first rigid layer 110 may include adhesives in one or more regions other than perimeter region 130. In some embodiments, first rigid layer 110 may include a different types of adhesives for different regions. As an example, perimeter region 130 may include a weaker adhesive than the rest of first rigid layer 110. As another example, perimeter region 130 may include a temporary adhesive while one or more other regions of first rigid layer 110 may include a permanent adhesive. Similarly, receptacle layer 202 may include one or more regions having different types of adhesives that correspond with perimeter region 130 of first rigid layer 110.

Rupturable layer 206 of blister pack 112 is disposed on second rigid layer 114. Second rigid layer 110 may be formed from cardboard and/or plastic materials. In some embodiments, second rigid layer 110 may be formed from polyethylene laminated rigid cardboard sheet. Second rigid layer 114 may include an opening or an openable closure aligned with collapsible receptacle 122 of blister pack 112. As depicted, second rigid layer 114 is attached to barrier layer 116, which is attached to label layer 118.

Barrier layer 116 may be formed from any plastics including polyethylene, and/or paper materials and/or any other suitable materials. Barrier layer 116 may additionally include one or more perforation lines 208 to allow a portion of barrier layer 116 to be separated out and thereby allow access to the underlying second rigid layer 114 and blister pack 112. Various embodiments of barrier layer 116 are depicted in FIGS. 3A-8D.

Label layer 118 may be formed from plastic, paper or any other suitable materials. Label layer 118 may be formed from polyethylene materials. Label layer 118 includes printed material that may be used to provide the user with additional information about pill 124 such as dosage, timing and chemical ingredients. Label layer 118 may also serve as an additional protective layer. Various embodiments of label layer 118 are depicted in FIGS. 7A-8D.

Turning to FIGS. 3A-8D, various mechanisms for accessing and extracting pill 124 are described. In particular, FIGS. 3A-3D depict a process for accessing and extracting the contents of blister housing 300 of an exemplary packaging system. Blister housing 300 may be similar to blister housing 120. Blister housing 300 includes blister pack 312 that may be sandwiched between first rigid layer 310 and second rigid layer 314. Blister pack 312 includes receptacle layer 332 disposed on rupturable layer 336. Receptacle layer 332 includes collapsible receptacle 322 that defines cavity 334 that is sized and shaped to house the pill 124. Blister housing 300 further includes barrier layer 316.

Second rigid layer 314 includes orifice 350 that may be sized and shaped based on the size and shape of pill 124. As evident in FIG. 3D, orifice 350 may have a circular shape. The diameter of orifice 350 may be selected to substantially match the width of pill 124. Generally, any dimension of orifice 350 (having any shape) may be selected to match any dimension of pill 124 without departing from the scope of the invention. In housing 300, since pill 124 and orifice 350 are of substantially similar dimensions, pill 124 may be pushed through second rigid layer 314 only when oriented and positioned to align with orifice 350. Therefore, such a mechanism may impede but not prevent the extraction of pill 124.

Barrier layer 316 includes tab 356 that are defined by perforation lines 352 on bottom surface 360 (FIG. 3D) of blister housing 300. In the depicted embodiment, perforation lines 352 may form the circumference of a disk shaped region such that tab 356 forms the disc shaped region therein. A portion of the disk shaped region may be removed to form slot 354. Slot 354 allows a user to grip tab 356 and thereby aid in its removal.

During operation, as depicted in FIG. 3B, a user may grip and pull tab 356 by inserting a fingernail in slot 354 to release tab 356. The user may then pull tab 356 along perforation lines 352 to reveal the underlying orifice 350. As shown in FIGS. 3C and 3D, to remove pill 124 from blister housing 300, the user may first align pill 124 with a region near orifice 350 and applies pressure to collapsible receptacle 322 to cause it to collapse 322′ and force pill 124 out. If aligned in proximity to orifice 350, pill 124 may be forced out by rupturing rupturable layer 336 and sliding pill 124 out through orifice 350 and blister housing 300.

In some embodiments, as depicted in FIGS. 4A-4D, second rigid layer 414 may be modified to include semi-circular opening 450. In such embodiments, opening 450 may be sized and shaped to align with a portion of collapsible receptacle 322. A user attempting to extract pill 124 would have to move pill 124 by tilting entire blister housing 400 such that pill 124 lies above opening 450. The user may then extract the pill by collapsing collapsible receptacle 322 to force pill 124 out through rupturable layer 336, second rigid layer 414 via opening 450, and barrier layer 316.

In some embodiments, second rigid layer is configured with one or more cuts or incisions that bend away to allow pill 124 to pass out from blister pack 112. FIGS. 5A-5D depict cross-sectional views of such an embodiment and FIGS. 6A-6C depict a bottom perspective view of such an embodiment. In particular, second rigid layer 514 includes set of cuts 550 that are configured as a cross-hair or intersecting cut lines to define four triangular leaves 572a, 572b, 572c, and 572d (generally, “leaves 572”). Other embodiments may include a different number of leaves, such as 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8 or any other suitable number of leaves.

During operation, tab 356 (FIGS. 3A-3D), may be peeled away along perforation lines 352 to reveal the underlying second rigid layer 514 as shown in FIG. 6B. A user may apply pressure to collapsible receptacle 322 to force pill 124 through rupturable layer 336 and second rigid layer 514 such that leaves 572 bend away to allow pill 124 to pass through.

In alternative embodiments, second rigid layer 514 may include a plurality of intersecting cuts 550 to generate a plurality of leaves 572. As an example, second rigid layer 514 may include four intersecting cuts 550 that define eight leaves 572. In other embodiments, cuts 550 may be configured in other geometrical patterns such as an “I” shape with one central cut and two cuts on both ends of the central cut.

As noted earlier, the blister housing may also include label layer 118 which may be configured to serve as an additional protective layer. FIGS. 7A-7D and 8A-8D depict two types of blister housings 700 and 800 having a label layer 118, and the corresponding processes for accessing and extracting pill 124. In particular, FIGS. 7A-7D depict blister housing 700 that requires a user to peel away two layers prior to forcing pill 124 from blister pack 112. Blister housing 700 includes blister pack 112 sandwiched between first rigid layer 110 and second rigid layer 114. Second rigid layer 114 includes opening 750 that is aligned with collapsible receptacle 122 of blister pack 112. Barrier layer 116 and label layer 118 are disposed on blister pack 112 adjacent second rigid layer 114. Both barrier layer 116 and label layer 118 include one or more perforation lines that define peelable tabs 756 and 758. Barrier layer 116 includes tab 758 and label layer 118 includes tab 756. In some embodiments, the perforation lines include two parallel lines of perforation and a terminating line of perforation connecting the two parallel lines, such that tabs 756 and 758 may be removed by lifting the tabs at the terminating perforation and peeling the tabs between the parallel perforation lines.

During operation, a user peels away tab 756 of label layer 118 to reveal the underlying barrier layer 116. The user may then peel away tab 758 associated with barrier layer 116 to reveal the opening 750 and underlying rupturable layer 206. The user may remove the pill 124 by applying pressure to collapsible receptacle 122 to force the pill through rupturable layer 206 and each of second rigid layer 114, barrier layer 116 and label layer 118.

In some embodiments, barrier layer 116 and label layer 118 are attached to each other using adhesives. In such embodiments, tabs 758 and 756 may be attached to each other using a weaker temporary adhesive while the rest of barrier layer 116 and label layer 118 may be attached to each other using a stronger more permanent adhesive.

FIGS. 8A-8D depict blister housing 800 that requires a user to peel away outer label layer 118 and then push to puncture a portion of inner barrier layer 816, prior to forcing pill 124 from blister pack 112. Inner barrier layer 816 may include one or more lines 852, such as clean cuts, perforations or partial cuts. During operation, a user peels away tab 756 of label layer 118 to reveal the underlying barrier layer 816. The user may then apply pressure to a region on or near lines 852 to puncture a portion of barrier layer 816 thereby gaining access to rupturable layer 206. The user may remove pill 124 by applying pressure to the collapsible receptacle 122 to force pill through rupturable layer 206 and each of second rigid layer 114, barrier layer 116 and label layer 118.

Turning now to FIGS. 9A and 9B, a protection scheme provided along the perimeter region of the first rigid layer is described to prevent a child from stripping the protective layers away from the underlying blister pack. In particular, FIGS. 9A and 9B depict exemplary corner region 900 of packaging system 100 of FIG. 1. Corner region 900 of panel composite 102 (FIG. 1) includes zone of reduced strength 128 (e.g., a line of perforated cuts) the runs along an edge to define perimeter region 130. In some embodiments, zone of reduced strength 128 includes various types of perforations, clean cuts or partial cuts.

As depicted in FIG. 9A, the protective layers may be separated from blister pack 112 by releasing the first rigid layer at corner 902. However, corner 902 is located in perimeter region 130 defined by zone of reduced strength 128. Therefore, when corner 902 is pulled, instead of separating or delaminating the entirety of one or more protective layers, only perimeter region 130 is removed along zone of reduced strength 128, as shown in FIG. 9B.

Having described exemplary packaging systems with a blister pack and one or more protective layers, and exemplary materials, applications and other features, exemplary methods of manufacturing such apparatuses and systems are now described with reference to FIGS. 10, 11A-11C. In some embodiments, wallet-shaped packaging system 100 of FIG. 1 is manufactured by combining one or more rigid panels with the blister pack as shown in FIG. 10. In particular, FIG. 10 depicts panel sheet 1000 that may be assembled together with a blister pack to yield a packaging system having blister housings similar to blister housing 300 of FIG. 3. Panel sheet 1000 includes a plurality of panels including panels corresponding to first rigid layer 310, second rigid layer 314, barrier layer 316 and panels 104, 106 and 108. As depicted, panels 104, 106, 108, barrier layer 316 and first rigid layer 310 are arranged in series and separated by hinge lines 132. Panel sheet 1000 is configured to accommodate a blister pack having a plurality of blister housings, each configured to house at least one pill.

At least one of panels 104, 106 and 108 and first rigid layer 310, second rigid layer 314 and barrier layer 316 may be formed from plastic and cardboard based materials. Panels 104 and layers 310, 314 and 316 may be sized and shaped as desired depending on the application. In one embodiment, panels 104, 106 and 108 and layers 310, 314 and 316 are rigid rectangular sheets having a length from about 130 mm to about 140 mm, and a width from about 85 mm to about 95 mm.

As depicted, first rigid layer 310 includes a plurality of openings 126, each sized and shaped to receive the protruding portion of a collapsible receptacle of a blister pack. In some embodiments, openings 126 have a circular shape with diameter of about 10 mm to about 13 mm. Second rigid layer 314 includes a plurality of orifices 350, each sized and shaped to allow a pill to pass through. Second rigid layer 314 further includes zone of reduced strength 128 that defines a perimeter region. Barrier layer 316 includes a plurality of removable tabs 356 defined by perforation lines 352. Barrier layer 316 also includes slots 356 adjacent tabs 352 to allow a user to grip a corner of tab 352.

In some embodiments, one or more layers of adhesives are applied to second rigid layer 314 and/or barrier layer 316. In some embodiments, a layer of adhesive is also applied to first rigid layer 310. The layer of adhesive may include lines of adhesive material applied between orifices 350 or tabs 356 or openings 126. Panel sheet 1000 may be passed through an adhesive applicator device configured to apply one or more parallel lines of adhesive onto at least one of first rigid layer 310, second rigid layer 314 and barrier layer 316.

As depicted in FIGS. 11A and 11B, second rigid layer 314 is folded over along an edge onto barrier layer 316. In some embodiments, one or more layers of adhesive on at least one of barrier layer 316 and second rigid layer 314 attaches second rigid layer 314 to barrier layer 316. Second rigid layer 314 may be aligned with barrier layer 316 such that orifices 350 are aligned with tabs 356.

Blister pack 112 is placed on folded second rigid layer 314. In some embodiments, blister pack 112 is attached, using adhesives, to second rigid layer 314. First rigid layer 310 is then folded over to overlap blister pack 112 thereby sandwiching it between first rigid layer 310 and second rigid layer 314. First rigid layer 310 may be attached to blister pack 112. In some embodiments, blister pack 112 is sized and shaped to have a smaller surface area than first rigid layer 310 or second rigid layer 314. In such embodiments, first rigid layer 310 may be directly attached to second rigid layer 314 along the edges. Is some embodiments,

In other embodiments, label layer 118 is affixed to the bottom surface of barrier layer 316. As noted earlier, label layer 118 may include tabs and perforation lines and serve as a layer of protection for blister pack 112. In some embodiments, label layer 118 may be placed between blister pack 112 and rigid layer 314. Label layer 118 and panels 104, 106 and 108 may also include text that provides a user with additional information about the contents of blister pack 112 and other related information. Packaging system 100 formed from the manufacturing process shown in FIGS. 11A and 11B may be sized and shaped to fit into a carry-bag. As depicted in FIG. 11C, panels 104, 106 and 108 may wrap around panel composite 102 having blister pack 112.

In embodiments in which layers or sheets are attached by adhesives, any suitable adhesive may be used. One example adhesive is hot-melt adhesive Model No. 34-252A, which is available from National Adhesives, Bridgewater, N.J., under the trademark COOL-LOK. Other examples include cold adhesives such as those available from Henkel, Dusseldorf, Germany. Adhesive may be applied near edges-either along a length or a width or both. Adhesive may be applied to a layer or sheet between openings or opening features. Adhesive may be applied to a layer or sheet between patterns of openings or patterns of opening features. For example, adhesive may be applied between adjacent rows of openings.

Panel sheets similar to panel sheet 1000 may be used to manufacture packaging systems having other embodiments of blister housings similar to those shown in FIGS. 4A-4D, 5A-6C, 7A-7D and 8A-8D. In particular, FIG. 12 depicts panel sheet 1200 that may be assembled together with a blister pack to yield a packaging system having blister housings similar to blister housing 500 of FIG. 5A-6C. Panel sheet 1200 includes a second rigid layer 514 having one or more cuts 550 that bend away when a pill is being pushed out from blister pack 112. In some embodiments, second rigid layer 514 may include lamina that are glued together. In those embodiments, a cold glue may be used to glue the lamina to each other.

FIG. 13 depicts a panel sheet 1300 having a second rigid layer 1314 comprising a plurality of tabs 1356 defined by cut lines 1352. In some embodiments, tabs 1356 may be peeled out prior to pushing the pill from the blister pack 112. In other embodiments, tabs 1356 may be forced out when the pill is pushed through. In such embodiments, the force applied by the user to push the pill is transferred to second rigid layer 1314 to separate tab 1356 along cut lines 1352.

In some embodiments, the panel sheets have one or more layers that provide reinforcement and rigidity to the packaging system. FIG. 14 depicts panel sheet 1400 having layer 1480 attached to barrier layer 316. Layer 1480 includes a plurality of openings 1482 that may be aligned with the collapsible receptacles in blister pack 112. During manufacture, layer 1480 may be folded over onto second rigid layer 1314 prior to attaching blister pack 112.

Variations, modifications, and other implementations of what is described may be employed without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. More specifically, any of the method, system and device features described above or incorporated by reference may be combined with any other suitable method, system or device features disclosed herein or incorporated by reference, and is within the scope of the contemplated inventions. The systems and methods may be embodied in other specific forms without departing from the spirit or essential characteristics thereof. The foregoing embodiments are therefore to be considered in all respects illustrative, rather than limiting of the invention. The teachings of all references cited herein are hereby incorporated by reference in their entirety.