Title:
Method and package for assembling and shipping fresh cut floral arrangements
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
This invention relates generally to a method and package for shipping and handling fresh cut floral arrangements where fragile flower blooms cover the top and sides of the arrangement.



Inventors:
Harshman, Trent A. (Galveston, IN, US)
Application Number:
11/982952
Publication Date:
05/07/2009
Filing Date:
11/06/2007
Assignee:
Syndicate Sales, Inc. (Kokomo, IN, US)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
53/431, 53/472, 206/204, 206/488
International Classes:
B65D85/52; B65D85/50
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
DESAI, KAUSHIKKUMAR A
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Frank D. Lachenmaier (116 N. Main St. P.O. Box 1047, Kokomo, IN, 46903-1047, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A package for shipping and handling fragile floral arrangements with flowers protruding from and covering the top and sides of said arrangement, comprising: a plate with an upper surface, a lower surface, an outside diameter, a concentric block retaining well extending upwards from said upper surface; a foam block disposed on said upper surface of said plate in said block retaining well; a cage attached to said block retaining well, trapping said foam block between said upper surface of said plate and said cage; a shipping carton; a liner with fold over interlocking tops with finger slots, a bottom of sufficient length and width as to slip-fit in said carton, two or more sidewalls with plate retainer slots in said sidewalls a sufficient distance above said bottom as to interface with said outside diameter of said plate and of sufficient length and width as to hold said plate securely when said fold over tops are interlocked without touching said flowers.

2. A package for shipping and handling fragile floral arrangements with flowers protruding from and covering the top and sides of said arrangement as in claim 1 further comprising: a pedestal attached to said lower surface of said plate.

3. A method of packaging fragile floral arrangements with flowers protruding from and covering the top and sides of said arrangement for shipping and handling comprising the steps of: placing a water absorbing foam block on a plate; attaching a cage to said plate to retain said foam bock to said plate; saturating said foam block with a material selected from a group of water, water admixed with floral nutrients, and water admixed with floral nutrients and fungicides; inserting flowers into said saturated foam block in such a manner as to cover top and sides of said floral arrangement; placing said floral arrangement in the center of a liner with a bottom, side walls, plate retainer slots in said side walls, fold over interlocking tops with finger slots; folding said liner side walls at 90 degree angles forming a U-shaped liner with said plate retainer slots at a sufficient height above said bottom as interface with outside diameter of said plate; folding said tops at 90 degree angles inward interlocking said tops; and slipping said liner into said carton and sealing, whereby said arrangement is secured for shipment to remote locations without touching said flowers; opening carton at consumer destination; grasping said liner by said finger slots and lifting from said carton; separating said liner tops; unfolding said tops; and unfolding said sides whereby said floral arrangement is in display ready condition.

5. A method of packaging fragile floral arrangements with flowers protruding from and covering the top and sides of said arrangement for shipping and handling as in claim 4 further comprising the step of: attaching pedestal into said bottom surface of said plate.

Description:

BACKGROUND

1. Field of Invention

This invention relates generally to an apparatus for preassembling a floral arrangement on a plate and a packaging method that allows for inserting the arrangement into shipping carton, shipping the arrangement and removal from the shipping carton without damage to the fragile flowers on the exterior of the arrangement. More specifically it refers to assembling and shipping floral arrangements wherein the sides and top are covered with fragile flower blossoms.

2. Prior Art

U.S. Pat. No. 4,941,572 Harris 1990 disclosed a flower container with a water-containing absorbent foam block receiving flower stems and a block of sealant foam above the absorbent foam with a plastic shell over the flowers in a shrink wrap relation. The package includes a u-shaped insert which holds the container in place. This system is limited in that the flowers must be individually inserted, the boxes and film are expensive to make and time consuming to use and the sealant foam must be removed when the shipment arrives at its destination for additional water to sustain the flower life. Flower stems can only be inserted from the top of the container and the sides of the container need to be free of flowers to allow the stabilizing liner to press securely against the container to hold it in an upright position during shipping.

The use of foam blocks to provide the floral arranger a base to inset flower stems to create a particular arrangement is an industry standard, see U.S. Pat. No. 4,058,929 to O'Connell 1977. These systems work well where assembly is at the final destination, but not if shipping a final arrangement is required. The use of moisture absorbing blocks presoaked to prevent stenosis during shipping is also a well known industry technique for cut flower shipments, see U.S. Pat. No. 6,178,688 Keating 2001.

Several floral arrangements can not be produced in bulk at a wholesaler or e-commerce marketer and shipped to retailers or consumers due to the difficulty in protecting the flowers on the exterior during shipping and while removing from a standard shipping container. The resolution of this problem has to date been to assemble these fragile arrangements at a retail outlet and hand carry them either by or to the final consumer.

SUMMARY OF INVENTION

An object of the present invention is to provide an apparatus and a method of using same for creating floral arrangements with fragile flowers on the periphery and providing for secure retention of them during shipping.

A further object of the present invention is to provide an absorbent floral foam pad firmly attached to a plate in which the flowers stems may be inserted creating a floral cake appearance.

A further object is to provide a plate that may be mounted on a pedestal.

A further object of the present invention is to provide an apparatus and a method of using same for removing fragile floral arrangement from shipping container without damage to the fragile flowers on the periphery of the arrangement.

The present invention, in its several embodiments, meets the above mentioned objectives.

Still further objects and advantages will become apparent from a consideration of the ensuing description and accompanying drawings. In the description, reference is made to the accompanying drawings which form a part thereof, and in which are shown, by way of illustration, a specific embodiment in which the invention may be practiced. This embodiment will be described in sufficient detail to enable those skilled in the art to practice this invention, and be understood that other embodiments may be utilized and that structural changes may be made without departing from the scope of the invention. In the accompanying drawings, like reference characters designate the same or similar parts throughout the several views.

DRAWINGS

In order that the invention may be more fully understood it will now be described by way of example, with reference to the accompanying exemplary drawings in which:

FIG. 1 is an exploded perspective view of the package components;

FIG. 2 is a top view of a plate assembly;

FIG. 3 is a front elevational view of a plate assembly;

FIG. 4 is a cross-section view taken on line 4-4 of FIG. 2;

FIG. 5 is an enlarged fragmentary cross section view taken from area 5 on FIG. 4;

FIG. 6 is a top view of a package liner, for use with a pedestal, shown in the flat prior to forming;

FIG. 7 is a top view of a package liner, for use without a pedestal, shown in the flat prior to forming;

FIG. 8 is a side view of a plate assembly mounted on a pedestal in a closed package liner;

FIG. 9 is a side view of a plate assembly in a closed package liner;

FIG. 10 is a front perspective view of a closed liner with plate assembly inside being removed from shipping carton

REFERENCE NUMERALS

The same reference numbers are used to refer to the same or similar parts in the various views.

  • 12—package
  • 14—cage
  • 16—plate
  • 18—pedestal
  • 20—foam block
  • 22—liner
  • 24—carton
  • 26—finger slots
  • 28—overlapping tongue slit
  • 30—cage retainer channel snap
  • 32—cage retainer ring snap
  • 34—cage bars
  • 36—cage top outside ring
  • 38—plate assembly
  • 40—cage top inside ring
  • 42—liner assembly without pedestal
  • 44—cage top bars
  • 46—liner assembly with pedestal
  • 48—liner in flat for pedestal
  • 50—liner in flat for no pedestal
  • 52—fold lines—bottom
  • 54—fold lines top
  • 56—pedestal mounting well
  • 58—pedestal mounting post
  • 60—flower
  • 62—outer diameter of plate
  • 64—block retaining well
  • 66—cage retainer channel
  • 68—liner bottom
  • 70—liner side walls
  • 72—plate retainer slot
  • 74—liner top
  • 76—cage retainer ring

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

A preferred embodiment of package 12 will now be described, by way of example, with reference to the accompanying FIGS. 1 through 10.

It will be understood that package 12 is intended to solve the shipping problems created by the inability to secure floral displays that have numerous flowers 60 on the top and sides of the arrangement. One such arrangement is in the form of a cake with flowers simulating icing, making it very difficult to handle or ship from a centrally located facility to remote locations without damage to the fragile blooms.

Package 12 includes plate assembly 38 as shown in FIGS. 2-5. It is assembled from components as follows: cage 14, plate 16 and optionally pedestal 18, all of which can be made from a lightweight plastic. The final component is foam block 20 that can be made from hydrophilic floral foam such as AQUAFOAM® from Syndicate Sales, Inc. in Kokomo, Ind.

Foam block 20 is placed in block retaining well 64 which is concentric with the top surface of plate 16 as shown in FIGS. 4 and 5. Block retaining well 64 is formed by the concentric U shaped cage retainer channel 66 that extends upward from top surface of plate 16 and has an internal cage retainer channel snap 30 on the inside diameter of its outside wall.

Cage 14 is then attached to plate 16 by inserting cage retainer ring snap 32 into cage retainer channel 66. Cage 14 is formed with an annular ring as its base of cage retainer ring snap 32, with cage bars 34 extending upward from cage retainer ring snap 32 base to cage top outside ring 36. Top outside ring 36 is connected to top inside ring 40 by cage top bars 44. Cage 14 firmly secures foam block 20 to plate 16.

Cylindrical foam block 20 and its circumscribing cage 14 are of smaller diameter and height, respectively, than the outside diameter 62 of plate 16 and the space between the top surface of plate 16 and the under side of liner top 74. This clearance is such that the distal ends of flowers 60 that have been inserted into foam block 20 do not touch liner side walls 70 or liner tops 74 when plate assembly 38 is centered on closed liner bottom 68.

If the floral arrangement is to be elevated, pedestal mounting post 58 which is concentrically located on the distal end of pedestal 18 can be inserted into pedestal mounting well 56 that is concentrically located on the under surface of plate 16. Pedestal 18 can be omitted if it is to be installed after shipping to utilize a smaller carton 24 or if the floral arrangement is to be displayed without elevation.

Foam block 20 can be saturated with water or a combination of water and nutrients or water, nutrients and fungicides after plate assembly 38 has been constructed. Flowers may be inserted into top and sides of foam block 20 in a known manner creating a floral arrangement that creates an illusion of a cake with floral frosting or other difficult to handle or ship arrangements.

Liner 22 is shown in FIGS. 6, 7, 8 and 9. It is made from a rectangular cardboard sheet with fold lines 52 located such that when the cardboard sheet is folded at ninety-degree angles on lines 52, a U-shaped box structure is created with liner bottom 68 and liner sidewalls 70. Liner bottom 68 is then of sufficient length and width as to slip-fit into carton 24. Plate retainer slots 72 are cut through liner sidewalls 70 at a sufficient height to engage outer diameter of plate 16. Plate retainer slots 72 are of sufficient length and width as to firmly engage outside diameter and thickness of plate 16 and restrain sidewalls 70 from touching distal ends of flowers 60 inserted into periphery of foam block 20. Liner 22 also has top fold lines 54 located at such a height that when liner tops 74 are folded inward at 90 degree angles they overlap and do not touch the distal ends of flowers 60 inserted into top surface of foam block 20. Finger slots 26 are cut through liner tops 74 and are used to pull overlapping liner tops 74 together causing them to interlock at overlapping tongue slits 28. Overlapping tongue slits 28 are located at the centers of the distal ends of liner 22. When overlapping tongue slits 28 are seated as shown in FIGS. 8 and 9, they are of sufficient depth from the distal ends as to prevent liner side walls 70 from touching distal ends of flowers 60 inserted into side walls of foam block 20. They are brought together in an interlocking manner by aligning opposing slits 28 and leading one side under and the other side over the opposing liner tops 74 and squeezing finger slots 26 between the thumb and fingers as shown in FIG. 10 until they are firmly seated.

Liner 22 interlocked over plate assembly 38 with fragile floral arrangement installed can then be easily slipped into shipping carton 24 forming package 12. Package 12 can then be shipped with contents firmly held in moist and secure environment to remote locations without fear of damage to the fragile exterior of the floral arrangement. When package 12 arrives at its destination, liner 22 can be easily removed from shipping carton 24 by opening top of carton 24 and lifting with finger slots 26 in liner tops 74, transferring the lifting forces to liner bottom 68. Interlocked liner tops 74 prevent liner sidewalls 70 from collapsing into fragile flowers 60. After removal from carton 24, liner tops 74 interlocks can be reversed and liner 22 unfolded away from plate assembly 38, leaving floral arrangement mounted in display ready fashion.

While this invention has been described with reference to two illustrative embodiments, it will be understood that this description is not limiting as to size, scale or construction materials. Rather, the scope of this invention is defined by the following claims.