Title:
Package for granular compositions
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A package which is sealed with at least one baffled venting closure system, said baffled venting closure system being formed of at least two closure-lines which extend across the width of the package, and an air flow passage formed between the at least two closure-lines, wherein each of said closure-lines form one or more closure-line vents which allow air to vent out of the interior of the package into the air flow passage and out of the bag to the environment external to the package, and wherein at least one of said closure-lines has at least one wall segment parapeting said closure-line from the closure-line vent adjacent thereto.



Inventors:
Leon, Alejandro Gonzalez (San Antonio de los Altos, VE)
Mendoza, Pedro Miguel (Caracas, VE)
Parada, Larry Jose (Caracas, VE)
Rojas, Lucas Enrique (Caracas, VE)
Application Number:
12/075024
Publication Date:
09/10/2009
Filing Date:
03/07/2008
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
383/103, 53/469
International Classes:
B65D85/72; B65B1/04; B65D33/01
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
DESAI, KAUSHIKKUMAR A
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
THE PROCTER & GAMBLE COMPANY;Global Legal Department - IP (Sycamore Building - 4th Floor, 299 East Sixth Street, CINCINNATI, OH, 45202, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A package comprising an inner volume and a baffled venting closure system, said baffled venting closure system comprising: a first closure-line; a second closure-line; and an air flow passage bordered by said first closure-line and said second closure-line, a. wherein said first closure-line comprising at least one first closure-line vent providing gaseous communication between the air flow passage and the environment external to said package, b. wherein said second closure-line comprising at least one second closure-line vent providing gaseous communication between the air flow passage and inner volume of said package, and c. wherein said second closure-line comprises at least one wall segment, wherein said at least one wall segment parapets said second closure-line from said second closure-line vent in an orientation towards said first closure-line.

2. The package of claim 1, wherein the distance between the first closure-line and said second closure-line of from about 0.5 mm to about 12 mm.

3. The package of claim 2, wherein said at least one second closure-line vent comprises an average length of from about 1.5 mm to about 16 mm.

4. The package of claim 2, wherein the distance between the first closure-line and said at least one wall segment is from about 0.4 mm to about 10 mm.

5. The package of claim 4, wherein said at least one wall segment comprises an average wall segment height of from about 0.1 mm to about 8 mm.

6. The package of claim 1, wherein said at least one second closure-line vent is offset from said at least one first closure-line vent from about 1.5 mm to about 24 mm.

7. The package of claim 1, wherein said at least one wall segment is perpendicular to said second closure-line.

8. The package of claim 1, wherein said second closure-line comprises at least two second closure-line segments, wherein each of said at least two second closure-line segments are separated from one another by said at least one second closure-line vent, and wherein each of said at least two second closure-line segments comprises a wall segment parapeting said each of said at least two second closure-line segments from said at least one second closure-line vents.

9. The package of claim 8, wherein said wall segment of each of said at least two second closure-line segments is perpendicular to said second closure-line.

10. The package of claim 1, wherein said at least one end comprising a baffled venting closure system is selected from the group consisting of an upper end; a lower end; a side end; a spine; and combinations thereof.

11. The package of claim 1, wherein said baffled venting closure system comprises a heat seal, an adhesive seal, or combinations thereof.

12. The package of claim 1, wherein said package is made of a flexible sheet comprising: a thermoplastic film, a foil or aluminum substrate, a paper or cellulose substrate, and mixtures thereof.

13. The package of claim 1, wherein said package comprises a tubular body.

14. The package of claim 13, wherein said tubular body comprises an upper end and a lower end, wherein at least one of said upper end and said lower ends are sealed with a baffled venting closure system.

15. The package of claim 1, wherein said package forms pillow bag, a gusseted bag, or a combination of both.

16. The package of claim 1, further comprising a composition comprising at least one granular particle contained within said package, said at least one granular particle comprising a particle size from about 50 microns to about 5000 microns.

17. The package of claim 16, wherein the composition comprises a laundry detergent composition; a hard surface powder cleaning composition; a powdered soap or bleach; foodstuffs comprising: any one of coffee beans or powder; a powdered or granular drink components, rice, cereal, grains, oatmeal, flour; cement; and ice melt salts.

18. The package of claim 1, wherein said first closure-line comprises at least one wall segment, wherein said at least one wall segment parapets said first closure-line from said first closure-line vent in an orientation towards said second closure-line.

19. A package comprising an inner volume and a baffled venting closure system, said baffled venting closure system comprising: a first closure-line; a second closure-line; and an air flow passage bordered by said first closure-line and said second closure-line, a. wherein said first closure-line comprising at least one first closure-line vent providing gaseous communication between the air flow passage and the environment external to said package, b. wherein said second closure-line comprising at least one second closure-line vent providing gaseous communication between the air flow passage and inner volume of said package, and c. wherein said first closure-line comprises at least one wall segment, wherein said at least one wall segment parapets said first closure-line from said first closure-line vent in an orientation towards said second closure-line.

20. A method of packaging a granular composition comprising: a. depositing a volume of granular composition into a package comprising at least one opening; and b. at least partially sealing said at least one opening of said package with a baffled venting closure system, said baffled venting closure system comprising: a first closure-line; a second closure-line; and an air flow passage bordered by said first closure-line and said second closure-line, i. wherein said first closure-line comprising at least one first closure-line vent providing gaseous communication between the air flow passage and the environment external to said package, ii. wherein said second closure-line comprising at least one second closure-line vent providing gaseous communication between the air flow passage and inner volume of said package, and iii. wherein said second closure-line comprises at least one wall segment, wherein said at least one wall segment parapets said second closure-line from said second closure-line vent in an orientation towards said first closure-line.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Bags are used to contain a wide variety of consumer products, including granular or powder compositions such as laundry detergents. Typically, these bags are made of thermoplastic film materials such as polyethylene and/or polypropylene. These bags can be formed from a single sheet which can be rolled into tube shape or folded into a rectangular folded bag. The side edges of the sheet are then sealed to form a spine. Further, the lower end or opening of the tube is sealed to allow product to be deposited within. Following filling, the upper opening is similarly sealed. Typical sealing can be done by applying heat or adhesives.

To be useful to package granular or powder compositions, these bags must be flexible and capable of venting air during stacking on a pallet during packaging or shipping. Although the bags need to allow air to escape, an undesirable side effect known as product sifting can occur, wherein product escapes from any air venting system introduce into the bag. This escaped product can settle upon the exterior of the package or on warehouse or store shelves. The dust causes the package to appear dirty and/or greasy and undesirable. Further, if the air vent system is too large, product can actually leak out of the bag during vibration and/or handling. Thus, there is a need for bags which provide sufficient air venting while controlling product sifting.

One type of bag designed for packaging of granular compositions includes the use of apertures formed in body of the bag, such as pinholes. Although these apertures allow for venting of air, they are susceptible to allowing excessive moisture or liquid water to enter the bag causing problems such as product caking and deterioration. Further, the apertures must be relatively small to reduce the amount of product sifting. The problem with smaller apertures is that they tend to become blocked or clogged by the product more easily, thereby reducing the air venting capabilities. Examples of these types of bags are provided in EP 00990592 A1 to Duquet et al. and U.S. Pat. No. 4,672,684 to Barnes et al.

Additional attempts at providing bags which offer venting and product storage benefits include the use of pairs of closure-lines with the introduction of interruptions within each of the closure-lines. Like the apertured bags, bags with pairs of interrupted closure-lines have been known to suffer from undesirable product sifting. Other attempts have been made with seal patterns having heat seal dots located around the interruptions in the closure-lines. Problems with the use of heat seal dots include decreased air venting capabilities when product becomes clogging around the heat seal dot; and increased manufacturing complication as the additional melting point of the heat seal dot may result in excessive melting and deformation in the vicinity of the interruption in the closure-line. Examples of these types of bags are described in: U.S. Pat. No. 6,214,392 to Ramirez et al.; EP 1055608 A to Lack et al.; JP Patent Publication No. 11208683 A to Hiroaki Kachi et al.

Despite the many attempts at providing bags with varying seal patterns, there remains a need for simplified seal patterns allow for sufficient air venting with minimalized product sifting. Further, the seal pattern should not cause excessive bag deformation as excessive melting or bonding can compromise the integrity of the bag material.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

One aspect of the present invention provides for a package comprising an inner volume, said package comprising a baffled venting closure system, said baffled venting closure system comprising: a first closure-line; a second closure-line; and an air flow passage bordered by said first closure-line and said second closure-line, wherein said first closure-line comprising at least one first closure-line vent providing gaseous communication between the air flow passage and the environment external to said package, wherein said second closure-line comprising at least one second closure-line vent providing gaseous communication between the air flow passage and inner volume of said package, and wherein said second closure-line comprises at least one wall segment, wherein said at least one wall segment parapets said second closure-line from said second closure-line vent in an orientation towards said first closure-line.

Another aspect of the present invention provides for a package comprising a baffled venting closure system, said baffled venting closure system comprising: a first closure-line; a second closure-line; and an air flow passage bordered by said first closure-line and said second closure-line, wherein said first closure-line comprising at least one first closure-line vent providing gaseous communication between the air flow passage and the environment external to said package, wherein said second closure-line comprising at least one second closure-line vent providing gaseous communication between the air flow passage and inner volume of said package, and wherein said first closure-line comprises at least one wall segment, wherein said at least one wall segment parapets said first closure-line from said first closure-line vent in an orientation towards said second closure-line.

Another aspect of the present invention provides for a method of packaging a granular composition comprising: depositing a volume of granular composition into a package comprising at least one opening; and seal said at least one opening with a baffled venting closure system, said baffled venting closure system comprising: a first closure-line; a second closure-line; and an air flow passage bordered by said first closure-line and said second closure-line, wherein said first closure-line comprising at least one first closure-line vent providing gaseous communication between the air flow passage and the environment external to said package, wherein said second closure-line comprising at least one second closure-line vent providing gaseous communication between the air flow passage and inner volume of said package, and wherein said second closure-line comprises at least one wall segment, wherein said at least one wall segment parapets said second closure-line from said second closure-line vent in an orientation towards said first closure-line.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 shows a frontal view of one embodiment in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 2 shows a frontal view of a package in accordance with at least one embodiment in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 3 shows a frontal view of a package in accordance with at least one embodiment in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 4 shows a frontal view of a package in accordance with at least one embodiment in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 5 shows a frontal view of a package in accordance with at least one embodiment in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 6 shows a frontal view of a package in accordance with at least one embodiment in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 7 shows a frontal view of a package in accordance with at least one embodiment in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 8 shows a frontal view of a package in accordance with at another embodiment in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 9 shows a frontal view of a package in accordance with at least one embodiment in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 10 shows a frontal view of a package in accordance with at least one embodiment in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 11 shows a rear view of a package in accordance with at another embodiment in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 12 shows a frontal view of a package suitable for use with at least one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 13 shows a frontal view of a package suitable for use with at least one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 14 shows a chart in logarithmic scale comparing product sifting between a package having pinholes and a package in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 15 shows a chart comparing product sifting between a package in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention and packages having seal systems without wall segments with varying distances between closure-lines.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The present invention comprises a package for storing granular of powdered compositions capable of providing sufficient air venting capabilities meanwhile controlling product sifting occurrence. It has importantly been found that the packages in accordance with the present invention provides for sufficient air venting capabilities to allow any excess air to escape at a sufficient rate to allow for the package to sufficiently deflate after being filled with product. It has further been found that the package in accordance with the present invention controls the occurrence of undesired product sifting while achieving the sufficient air venting capabilities. Without intending to be bound by theory, it is believed that as air venting capabilities increase, product sifting occurrences also increase because the increase ability to vent air tends to allow increased product to escape. It has further been found that the present invention is capable of providing the sufficient air venting capabilities while controlling product sifting occurrences.

DEFINITIONS

As defined herein, the “end” of the package can be any discrete interface between two portions of the flexible sheet which need to be conjoined to form the package in a closed orientation. For example where the package formed from a single flexible sheet rolled onto itself to form a tubular body has at least three ends, the spine where the flexible sheet is rolled onto itself, the upper opening and the lower opening.

As defined herein, “parapet” means the positioning of a wall or side wall at the edge or near the edge of a generally flat structure. For example, where a side wall parapets a walkway, the side wall extends perpendicularly upwards away from the plane of the walkway. For the present invention, “parapeting” means the wall segment is either at the edge of the closure-line segment, or within about 25% of the closure-line segment length.

As defined herein, “closure-line” means a generally straight line composed of one or more line segments which stretches across the width or length of said end of the package of the present invention. For example, the closure-line can be a straight line or a curved line. Further, the closure-line can extend for the entire width or length of the package or terminate with in a set distance from the edge of the package, i.e. forming a vent. Suitable closure-lines include one or more segments wherein the segments can be separated by interruptions, herein called vents.

As defined herein, “thermoplastic” means any polymeric material that will repeatedly soften when contacted with heat and harden when cooled which can be extruded, casted or otherwise formed into a film or sheet material.

1. Package

The package of the present invention comprises an inner volume suitable for storing a product comprising a granular or powder component, said package further comprising at least one end comprising a baffled venting closure system which allows for suitable air venting while minimizing any product which may escape during venting. In one embodiment, the package has an upper end and a lower end, wherein at least one of said upper and said lower ends comprises a baffled venting closure system. In another embodiment, the upper end comprises an upper end baffled venting closure system and the lower end of the package comprise a lower end baffled venting closure system, wherein each of baffled venting closure systems have the same seal pattern or have different seal patterns in accordance with the present invention. In yet another embodiment, the package comprises four baffled venting closure systems, along the upper end of the package, the lower end of the package, and along the two sides of the package. These baffled venting closure systems can intersect or terminate prior to intersecting. In yet another embodiment, the package comprises a single baffled venting closure system formed about the entire perimeter of the package.

In one embodiment, the package forms a tubular body. In a tubular body formation, the sheeted material is curled or folded onto itself so that the side edges of the bag can be sealed together to form a spine. In one embodiment, the spine is sealed by heat or an adhesive. In one embodiment, the spine is sealed for the entire height of the package such that there are no interruptions in the closure-line. In another embodiment, at least a portion of the spine of the tubular body is sealed with a baffled venting closure system.

In one embodiment, the tubular body has a cylindrical shape, a triangular shape, or a rectangular shape. Those of skill in the art will understand that any conventional shaped package suitable for containing granular or solid compositions can be used in accordance with the present invention. For example, where the package comprises a square or rectangular shape, similar to a conventional paper grocery bag, the upper end of the package can comprise a baffled venting closure system and the lower end can be folded into a flat bottom. Those of skill in the art will recognize that the horizontal cross sectional shape of the package will change based on the location of the cross section along the package due in part to the flexible nature of the package and the desired package shape.

In another embodiment, the package is formed from a single sheet of said flexible material, wherein the sheet is folded upon itself (i.e. in half). In this embodiment, at least a portion of the periphery of the sheet can be sealed upon itself with one or more baffled venting closure systems in accordance with the present invention. Also, those of skill in the art will understand that the package can also be made from two or more separate sheets of said flexible sheet. The sheets can be joined by a baffled venting closure system or any conventional bonding or sealing method known in the art.

In one embodiment package forms a pillow-shaped bag. In another embodiment, the package forms a gusseted bag, wherein the gussets can be present on the sides of the package and/or at the bottom of the package. In yet another embodiment, the package forms a side gusseted bag with a lower end which can be sealed with a completely sealed line or a baffled venting closure system or folded to form a rectangular base. Non-limiting examples of suitable forms for the package are provided in U.S. Pat. No. 3,438,567 to Bell.

The package is formed from a flexible sheet which can be any flexible sheet material conventionally used for packaging granular or powder compositions. In one embodiment, the flexible sheet comprises one or more layers, said layers comprising: a thermoplastic film, a thermoplastic coating, a foil or aluminum substrate, a paper or cellulose substrate, and mixtures thereof. In one embodiment, the flexible sheet comprises a thermoplastic film layer and a foil or aluminum substrate layer. The foil or aluminum substrate layer can be layered or laminated on the inner face of the package and the thermoplastic film can form the outer face of the package.

In one embodiment, the flexible sheet comprises a thickness of from about 10 microns to about 400 microns, alternatively from about 20 microns to about 200 microns, alternatively from about 38 microns to about 150 microns.

Suitable materials for use for the thermoplastic film comprises a film forming polymers having a melting point above about 90° C. to about 300° C., alternatively from about 100° C. to about 150° C. Further, suitable film forming polymers for use with the present invention comprise a glass transition temperature from about 85° C. to about 300° C., alternatively from about 100° C. to about 150° C.

In one embodiment, the thermoplastic film comprises a film forming polymer material. Non-limiting examples of suitable thermoplastic materials include the polyethylene, polypropylene, polybutadiene, polystyrene, polyethylene terephthalate, polyamides, polyesters, polyvinylchloride derivatives or co-polymers thereof, and mixtures thereof. In one embodiment, the thermoplastic film comprises polyethylene, high density polyethylene, low density polyethylene, linear low density polyethylene, ethylene-vinyl acetate, 1,2 poly butadiene, and mixtures thereof. The thermoplastic film is mono-extruded or co-extruded. In another embodiment, the thermoplastic film comprises one or more layers or coatings of thermoplastic film material which are laminated together.

In one embodiment, the thermoplastic film is a non-soluble film. As defined herein, non-soluble means that the thermoplastic film does not dissolve or disintegrated when in contact with moisture from the laundered fabrics in the automatic drying process or when in contact with the aqueous wash and or rinse bath of the automatic washing process. In another embodiment, the thermoplastic film is made of a water soluble film forming material. Suitable water soluble film forming materials include polyvinyl alcohols such as those described in U.S. Patent Publ. No. 2007/0259170 to Brown et al, 73-88. The use of water soluble film is particularly useful where the package is used to provide a unit dose of the granular composition into an aqueous bath, i.e. a unitized dose of granular laundry detergent into a typical laundry washing cycle.

In one embodiment, the package when filled is slacked filled such that a volume of air is present in the package. In one embodiment, the package comprises up to 80% of air by volume, alternatively from about 20% to about 70%, alternatively from about 40% to about 60% by volume.

2. Baffled Venting Closure System

The baffled venting closure system of the present invention comprises: a first closure-line; a second closure-line; and an air flow passage bordered by said first closure-line and said second closure-line, wherein said first closure-line comprising at least one first closure-line vent providing gaseous communication between the air flow passage and the environment external to said package, wherein said second closure-line comprising at least one second closure-line vent providing gaseous communication between the air flow passage and inner volume of said package, and wherein said second closure-line comprises at least one wall segment, wherein said at least one wall segment parapets said second closure-line from said second closure-line vent in an orientation towards said first closure-line. The baffled venting closure system of the present invention allows for the benefits of allowing sufficient air venting capabilities while controlling product to sift out of the package.

Without intending to be bound by theory, it is further believed that the baffled venting closure system allows for sufficient air venting with reduced product sifting are due, in part, to the combined elements of: the multi-closure-lines wherein each closure-line comprises at least one closure-line vent, wherein the vents can be aligned or offset depending on the degree of air (including sifting product) obstruction desired; and the presence of the wall segments parapetting the second closure-line vents. It is believed that the additional element of the wall segments allow sufficient air flow from the interior of the package into the air flow passage, while reducing the occurrence of product entrance into the air flow passage because the wall segments reduce the distance between the second closure-line vent to the first closure-line by extending the wall segments (which form a narrow channel from said vent into the air flow passage) from the vent toward the first closure-line, thereby obstructing product from escaping the interior of the package, while allowing the distance between the closure-lines to be maintained at a farther distance increasing the volume of the air flow passage.

a. Closure-Lines

The baffled venting closure system comprises a first closure-line and a second closure-line. Additional closure-lines can be added to the baffled venting closure system without deviating from the present invention.

The closure-lines of the baffled venting closure system generally extend in a longitudinal direction across the length of the end of the package which they seal. Importantly, the closure-lines do not seal the entire length of the end which it seals. An interruption must be provided such that air can escape each of the closure-lines. These interruptions are called the closure-line vents. The closure-lines of a baffled venting closure system can include both straight lines and curved or partially curved lines.

In another embodiment, the first closure-line is separated from said second closure-line by a distance of from about 0.5 mm to about 12 mm, alternatively from about 2 mm to about 10 mm, alternatively from about 3 mm to about 8 mm, alternatively from about 4 mm to about 5 mm. The measurement of the distance between the first and second closure-lines is an average measure of the closest distance between the segments of the closure-line segments, without consideration of the wall segments of said second closure-line. This space between the first and second closure-lines forms the air flow passage. In one embodiment, the said first and second closure-lines can be parallel or substantially parallel to one another. Substantially parallel, as used herein, means that the separation between the closure-lines do not vary by over about 50% in distance from the average separation between the closure-lines at any given point, alternatively from about 1% to about 50%, alternatively from about 10% to about 40%.

The closure-lines of said baffled venting closure system comprise at least one interruption to allow air to vent through the closure-line. A closure-line which is continuous for the entire length of the end of the package would not form part of the baffled venting closure system. In one embodiment, the closure-line is formed from a single closure-line segment which does not extend for the entire width or length of the end of the package (where the vent(s) are at the edges of the closure-line segment), or the closure-line is formed from multiple closure-line segments, wherein the interruptions between the closure-line segments form the closure-line vents.

In one embodiment, the closure-line segments forming said first and said second closure-lines are rectangular or rod-like in shape. In one embodiment, the closure-lines comprise an average closure-line width of from about 0.5 mm to about 10 mm, alternatively from about 1 mm to about 4 mm, alternatively from about 1.8 mm to about 2.5 mm. In one embodiment, the closure-line segments have an average length of from about 3 mm to about 32 mm, alternatively from about 15 mm to about 25 mm.

b. Closure-Line Vents

Each of the closure-lines of the baffled venting closure system has at least one interruption, said interruption forming a closure-line vent. As defined herein, an interruption in the closure-line means either that two neighboring closure-line segments are separated by a gap in the closure-line such that air can pass through the closure-line or that the closure-line is formed from a single closure-line segment which extends from one edge of the package to the opposite edge but does not completely reach the opposite edge. In the case of a single closure-line segment, the area between the edge of the closure-line segment and the opposite edge forms the interruption, forming a closure-line vent (see e.g. FIG. 5).

In one embodiment, wherein the closure-line comprises more than one closure-line segment, the closure-line segments are separated by a closure-line vent. In one embodiment, the closure-line vents have an average length of from about 1.5 mm to about 16 mm, alternatively from about 3 mm to about 12 mm, alternatively from about 6 mm to about 8 mm. In one embodiment, all the vents in the first closure-line and/or the second closure-line are substantially the same width, meaning they are within 50% of said average length of the closure-line vents for said baffled venting closure system.

The closure-line vents of the first closure-line are suitably offset from the closest closure-line vents of said second closure-line. As defined herein, the offset is a length measurement of the lateral distance between one closure-line vent of the first closure-line and the nearest closure-line vent of the second closure-line. In one embodiment, the offset length is from about the average closure-line vent length to about ½ of the total of (the average closure-line segment length and the average closure-line vent length), alternatively from about 1.5 mm to about 24 mm, alternatively from about 12 mm to about 16 mm. The offset between the closure-line vents is determined by determining the middle point of the first closure-line vent and the middle point of the second closure-line vent and measuring the horizontal distance between the two middle points. It is believed that by offsetting of at least 1.5 mm, alternatively at least 5 mm, allows for reduced product sifting because any product which passes through the second closure-line vent does not have a direct path out of the baffled venting closure system. As such, any product which succeeds in escaping the interior of the package will tend to remain in the air flow passage, reducing the occurrence of product sifting out of the package into the environment and possibly dusting onto the exterior of the package.

c. Wall Segments

The second closure-line of the baffled venting closure system is different from the first closure-line, in that at least one of the second closure-line segments has a wall segment extending away from the second closure-line (either towards the first closure-line or away from the first closure-line). In one embodiment, the second closure-line is positioned inwardly from said first closure-line. As used herein, “positioned inwardly”, means that one structure is closer to the center of the package than the other structure. In another embodiment, the first closure-line is positioned inwardly from said second closure-line.

In one embodiment, the second closure-line comprises two or more wall segments. In yet another embodiment, the second closure-line segment comprises one or more pairs of wall segments. Those of skill in the art will recognize that an even number of wall segments is not required. For example, the lower end baffled venting closure system of FIG. 5 shows one embodiment where the second closure-line comprises only one closure-line segment and the package is in the form of a tubular body, the segment can extend across the end of the package such that the segment seals one side of the end of the package but leaves an interruption (i.e the vent) on the opposite side of the end of the package. The wall segment can be located at the portion of the closure-line segment which forms this vent.

Said at least one wall segments is transverse to the general linear orientation of said second closure-line. In one embodiment, one or more of the wall segments is perpendicular to the linear orientation of said second closure-line. In one embodiment, all wall segments of said second closure-line are perpendicular to the linear orientation of said second closure-line.

The wall segment comprises an average width which is in the same range as the average width of the closure-lines, but should not to exceed ⅓ of the average length of the second closure-line segments. In one embodiment, the wall segment has an average width of from about 20% to about 200% of the average width of the second closure-line, alternatively about 50%.

It has importantly been found that the relationship between the height of the wall segment and the distance between the first and second closure-lines impacts the occurrence of product sifting. In one embodiment, the average height of the wall segment is from about 5% to about 80% of the average distance between the first and second closure-lines, alternatively from about 10% to about 50%, alternatively from about 20% to about 30%. It is believed that a baffled venting closure system having these proportions of height of wall segment to distance between closure-lines allows air to pass without excessive obstruction but minimizes product sifting through this channel. In one embodiment, the wall segment comprises an average wall segment height of from about 0.1 mm to about 8 mm, alternatively from about 0.5 mm to about 4 mm. The average wall segment height is determined by measuring the highest portion of each wall from the second closure-line and taking the number average measurement.

In one embodiment, distance between the first closure-line and the highest point of any single wall segment is from about 0.4 mm to about 10 mm, alternatively from about 1 mm to about 8 mm, alternatively from about 3 mm to about 5 mm. It is believed that the separation distance between the first closure-line and the highest point of any wall segment are beneficial to the ability of the baffled venting closure system to allow sufficient amounts of air to pass through, yet control the amount of product sifting which occurs from the escaping air or from product being drawn through the baffled venting closure system by gravity or other externally applied forces, such as encountered during shipping and packaging. It is further believed that the wall segments create a second closure-line vent which is in the form of a narrow channel which product must pass through to escape the interior of the package. In addition to having to pass through the narrow channel, the wall segments which extend towards the first closure-line provides a narrow passage from into the air flow passage, further obstructing product from sifting. Moreover, despite the wall segment making a narrower channel into the air flow passage, the larger distance between the first and second closure-lines allows for the air flow passage to maintain an increased volume allowing for more air to pass.

In one embodiment, the wall segment is rectangular or squared in shape. In another embodiment, the wall segment is tapered or rounded in shape.

d. Wall Segments Parapeting Said Second Closure-Line Segments

The second closure-line comprises at least one wall segment parapeting said second closure-line segment from said second closure-line vent, and wherein said at least one wall segment extends away from said second closure-line towards said first closure-line.

In one embodiment, said second closure-line comprises four neighboring second closure-line segments forming three second closure-line vents, wherein said four neighboring second closure-line segments comprise three pairs of wall segments, wherein each of said three pairs of wall segments parapets one of said three second closure-line vents. The first closure-line can suitably comprise five neighboring first closure-line segments forming four first closure-line vents wherein at least one of the second closure-line vents are aligned with at least one of the first closure-line vents, or they are offset. In larger packages, the number of closure-line vents can be increased as needed to allow for sufficient air venting.

Those of skill will understand that one or more wall segments can be provided to parapet the closure-line from the adjacent closure-line vent, thereby controlling the flow of air and product which contact the baffled venting closure system. Although several embodiments are described herein and shown in the FIGs provided, the number of vents and wall segments can be varied without departing from the scope of the invention.

It has importantly been found that by providing wall segments which parapet the closure-line from the adjacent closure-line vent, the baffled venting closure system of the present invention is capable of allowing sufficient air venting while minimizing the occurrence of product sifting. Although this element contributes to the air venting and product sifting capabilities of the present invention, the benefits obtained are believed to be due to the synergistic combination of elements as disclosed and recited herein.

e. Optional Elements

In one embodiment, the package further comprising a tare or cut line to assist the consumer in determining where and how to open the package. The tear or cut line can be a line of weakness wherein the thermoplastic film is cut or otherwise deformed in a pattern to provide a weaken section of the package or can be an indicator showing the customer where to cut the package. See e.g. U.S. Patent Publ. No. 2003/0019780 A1 to Camargo et al. and WO 93/18988 A1 to Scholz et al. In another embodiment, the package comprises a reclosing mechanism. In one embodiment, the reclosing mechanism is a loop and hook resealable adhesive which allows the opened package to seal itself. In another embodiment, the reclosing mechanism is a rib and groove zipper system such as those used for ZIP-LOCK® freezer or sandwich bags. See e.g. U.S. Pat. No. 3,371,696 to Ausnit, U.S. Patent Publ. 2003/0019780 A1 to Camargo et al., WO 96/29256 to Ghilardi et al.

3. Benefits of Sufficient Air Venting Capability while Controlling Product Sifting

The package of the present invention provides the desirable benefits of sufficient air venting capability while controlling product sifting. Air venting capability is a measure of the ability of the package to allow entrapped air to escape the interior of the package after the package is filled with product. Product sifting occurs when particles of the product escape the interior of the package via the escaping air or from product being drawn through the baffled venting closure system by gravity or other externally applied forces, such as encountered during shipping and packaging. In order to provide the dual benefits needed to address the problems encountered with conventional bags, the package of the present invention should allow for

a. Air Venting and Product Sifting Testing:

Packages in accordance with the present invention were tested for air venting and product sifting capabilities in accordance with the following methods described herein. All tests described herein involve the use of a granular detergent powder such as commercially available ARIEL® powder laundry detergent which is sieved to a particle size lesser or equal to 600 μm.

Test A: Product sifting during simulated transportation and handling vibration conditions. Test A is conducted with the following sample packages:

    • A1: a polyethylene film bag having 2 rows of pinholes punctured into the polyethylene bag with separation between the rows of about 100 mm, and separation between the pinholes of about 11 mm; and
    • A2: a pillow shaped bag having a baffled venting closure system on one end of the pillow bag, similar to the one as shown in the embodiment depicted in the lower end of FIG. 1. The dimensions of the venting system are as follows: closure-line width of about 2 mm, closure-line vent average width of 6 mm, a wall segments average height of 1 mm, and distance between first closure-line and second closure-line is 4 mm.
      Sample bags A1 and A2 are slacked filled with 200 grams of the granular detergent powder and sealed. Each of said sample bags are then placed on a sieve shaker (Model RX-86, W. S. TYLER, INCORPORATED) and shaken for 5 minutes with a collecting plate underneath intended to collect all product particles that fall off the samples as result of product sifting through pinholes or baffled venting closure system. Sample bag A2 is suspended from the sieve shaker such that the end of the bag having the baffled venting closure system is pointed down so the product rests on the baffled venting closure system end. The weight of sifted product is determined with a standard lab scale.

15 test samples were conducted in accordance with the method described herein as Test A. The following data was obtained. See FIG. 14 showing a chart of the data points.

Average ProductStandard
Sample PackageSifted (mg)Deviation (mg)
A1 - Packages with Pinholes495.1289.27
A2 - Packages with Baffled venting0.220.12
closure systems

The results of the samples tested in accordance with Test A show that packages having at least one baffled venting closure system provide controlled product sifting in the presence of vibration conditions similar to transportation stresses. It is believed that these transportation stresses cause conventional packages to collect a layer of dust and appear dirty and/or greasy when on the shelf whereas the present invention is less susceptible to this problem.

Test B: Product sifting testing during air venting conditions using a pneumatic press (Alfa Pneumatic Precision Sample Cutter from the THWING-ALBERT INSTRUMENT COMPANY) to simulate air venting conditions during packaging and shipping conditions. Test B is performed with the following samples:

    • B1: a package in accordance with the present invention such as used in sample package A2 of Test A, above;
    • B2: sample package having the same first and second closure-lines as B1, except no wall segments are provided in either closure-line, with the distance between the first closure-line and the second closure-line of 3 mm (1 mm less than example B1); and
    • B3: sample package having the same first and second closure-lines as B2 (having no wall segments in either closure-line) but with the distance between the first closure-line and the second closure-line of 4 mm.
      Sample packages B1, B2 and B3 are slacked filled with 200 grams of the granular detergent powder and sealed. 90 mL of air is then inserted into the bag by a needle. The aperture generated from the needle piercing the package is then sealed. Each sample package is then placed into a pre-weighed recloseable bag. Each sample package is oriented such that the granular product is collected in the vicinity of each package's seal system. The sample package stored within the recloseable bag is then placed on the pneumatic press. The pneumatic press is set to 60 psi and actuated. As the air within the sample package vents out of the sample package, any product which sifts out of is captured within the ZIPLOCK® bag. The weight of any sifted product is then recorded.

A test was conducted in accordance with the method described herein as Test B. The following data was obtained. See FIG. 15 providing a chart showing product sifting results.

Sample PackageProduct Sifted (g)Standard Dev. (g)
B1 - Package with Baffled0.1220.136
venting closure system
B2 - Package with 3 mm0.6490.493
separation between
closure-lines
B3 - Package with 4 mm0.6860.440
separation between
closure-lines

The results of the tests conducted in accordance with Test B show that packages having at least one baffled venting closure system provide controlled product sifting during simulated packaging and shipping conditions. It is believed that the air introduced into the package when filling the package tends to cause undesirable product sifting in non-baffled venting closure system containing packages. It has importantly been found that the present invention is less susceptible to this problem.

4. Compositions Stored within the Package

The package of the present invention is suitable for containing compositions comprising a granular particle. In one embodiment, the granular particle comprises a particle size from about 50 microns to about 5000 microns, alternatively from about 200 microns to about 1500 microns, or from about 400 to about 800 microns. Larger particles can also be packaged within the package of the present invention. For example, it is possible to store particles having sizes of up to 20 cm. Those of skill in the art will understand that non-granular compositions which can for granules, particles or dust when contained in a package can also be stored within a package in accordance with the present invention. For example, the package of the present invention can be used to store tableted laundry or dish washing detergent bars. These tableted bars can create granules, particles or dust when they are rubbed, broken apart or otherwise structurally damaged prior to use. These compositions can be stored within a package of the present invention.

In one embodiment, the package contains a volume of granular composition. Suitable granular compositions which can be packaged in accordance with the present invention include: laundry detergent compositions; hard surface powder cleaning compositions such as dishwashing powders (for machine or manual use); powdered soaps or bleaches; foodstuffs such as coffee and other powdered or granular drink components, rice, cereal, grains, oatmeal, flour, other perishable and non-perishable food stuffs, such as potato chips; as well as industrial powder or granular compositions such as cement, ice melt salts, and so forth. The package of the present invention is also suitable for containing any other similar granular/powder type compositions without deviating from the scope of the present invention.

Those of skill in the art will recognize that although the present invention is suitable for containing granular compositions, non-granular compositions can also be contained therein. For example, the present package can contain dry or wet sheets; fluid compositions such as liquids, gels, foams, slurries, etc; potpourri or confetti, open cell and closed cell sponges which can be dry or contain liquids/fluids such as air fresheners.

In one embodiment, the granular composition is a laundry detergent comprising: detersive surfactants comprising anionic, nonionic, and/or cationic surfactants; detergent builders; laundry adjuncts such as: soil release polymers; silicones; clays; enzymes; bleaching agents; brighteners; heavy metal ion sequestrants; chelants; dye transfer inhibiting agents; malodor control agents, antibacterials; perfumes and encapsulated perfumes, and so forth. Examples of suitable laundry detergent compositions are available in U.S. Pat. Nos. 4,274,975 to Corkill et al., 4,145,184 to Brain et al., EP 1126070 B1 to Del Duca et al. Suitable hard surface cleaners include bleaches and automatic dish washing powders. See e.g. U.S. Pat. Nos. 3,933,672 to Bartolotta et al., 5,786,315 to Sadlowski, 5,939,373 to Haeggberg et al. and 5,902,781 to Painter.

The package can be sized to accommodate varying amounts of said granular composition. In one embodiment, the package contains from about 50 grams to 25 Kg of said granular composition. For example, where the package contains a granular laundry detergent or hard surface cleaner, the package can contain from about 100 grams to about 9 Kg of said granular laundry detergent or hard surface cleaner, alternatively from about 200 grams to about 800 grams, alternatively from about 400 grams to about 600 grams. In another embodiment, where the granular detergent is typically marketed in larger amounts, such as rice, flour, dog food, concrete mix, the amount of granular detergent packaged can be from about 0.25 Kg to about 25 Kg, alternatively from about 10 Kg to about 20 Kg.

5. Method of Making Said Package

One embodiment of the present invention, provides for a method of packaging a granular composition comprising: forming a tubular body comprising a thermoplastic film, said tubular body having an upper end and a lower end; at least partially sealing said lower end to form a fill-able tubular body; depositing a volume of granular composition into said fill-able tubular body forming a filled tubular body; and at least partially sealing said upper end of said filled tubular body by forming a baffled venting closure system, said baffled venting closure system comprising: a first closure-line comprising at least one first closure-line vent; and a second closure-line comprising at least one second closure-line vent, wherein said second closure-line comprises at least one wall segment, parapeting at least a portion of said second closure-line from said at least one second closure-line vent, wherein said at least one wall segment is oriented towards the first closure-line.

In another embodiment, the step of at least partially sealing said lower end comprises a step of forming a baffled venting closure systems at said lower end, and at least partially sealing said upper end comprises a step of forming a baffled venting closure systems at said upper end. In yet another embodiment of the present invention, the method further comprises a step of forming a baffled venting closure system can be done by heat sealing or adhesive sealing.

6. Detailed Description of the Drawings

FIG. 1 shows a package 10 in accordance with at least one embodiment of the present invention. Package 10 is made of a flexible substrate 20 and has upper end 30 and lower end 40. The package has an inner volume 15. Those of skill in the art will understand that the use of the terms upper and lower ends are merely to provide relative orientation of the ends. Further, the location of the granular detergent composition at the lower end, is provided for illustrative purposes. One of skill in the art will understand that the bag orientation can be turned clockwise 90°, 180°, or 270°, or laid flat, causing the granular detergent to shift accordingly. In this embodiment, the upper end has an upper baffled venting closure system 50, and the lower end has a lower baffled venting closure system 60. The upper and lower baffled venting closure systems shown herein are visible from the exterior of the package as they are heat seals and can be visible on the exterior of the flexible substrate. In other embodiments, the baffled venting closure system may not be visible depending on the degree of heat seal used and if other sealing techniques are used such as adhesives.

Upper baffled venting closure system 50 has an air passage 54 in gaseous communication with the external environment first closure-line 51 via a plurality of first closure-line vents 511. The first closure-line vent separates the first closure-line into a plurality of first closure-line segments 510. Further, the air passage 54 is in gaseous communication with the inner volume of the package 15 through the second closure-line 52, via a plurality of second closure-line vents 521 having a length of 525. Said second closure-line vents similarly form a plurality of second closure-line segments 520. The second closure-line further comprises a plurality of wall segments 53, extending away from said second closure-line and parapeting a vent formed in said second closure-line. In this embodiment, said at least one wall segment is oriented towards said first closure-line. Further, FIG. 1 shows the distance between said first closure-line and said second closure-line of 540, and the average wall segment height 542 of said at least one wall segments. In this embodiment, all closure-line segments, including wall segments have the same closure-line width 535. Those of skill will understand that the closure-line width, lengths and distances can vary if needed and based on processing imperfections. In one embodiment, where the baffled venting closure system is created using heat seals, the heat can cause shrinking and/or deformation of said flexible substrate, by from 0.09% to about 20% in area.

FIG. 2 shows two additional baffled venting closure systems each in accordance with at least one embodiment of the present invention, wherein upper end 30 comprises an upper baffled venting closure system 50 and lower end 40 comprises a lower baffled venting closure system 60. The upper baffled venting closure system is shown as a three line seal with second closure-line 52 positioned inwardly from first closure-line 51 and third closure-line 53 positioned inwardly from said second closure-line. The lower baffled venting closure system 60, however has the second venting closure-line 62 positioned inwardly from both other closure-lines 61 and 63.

FIG. 3 shows two additional baffled venting closure systems in each accordance with at least one embodiment of the present invention, wherein upper end 30 comprises an upper baffled venting closure system 50 and lower end 40 comprises a lower baffled venting closure system 60. In this embodiment, said at least one of the wall segments 530 parapets at least one of the second closure-line segments from a second closure-line vent, while wall segment 531 parapets another of the second closure-line segments from another second closure-line vents without being at the edge of said second closure-line segments.

FIG. 4 shows yet another embodiment of the present invention, wherein the package only comprises one baffled venting closure system 50 at upper end 30. In this embodiment, lower end 40 has a single line seal 65 extending throughout the width of said package.

FIG. 5 shows two additional baffled venting closure systems each in accordance with at least one embodiment of the present invention, wherein upper end 30 comprises an upper baffled venting closure system 50 and lower end 40 comprises a lower baffled venting closure system 60. In this embodiment, the upper baffled venting closure system comprises a first closure-line 51 of a single closure-line segment which does not extend throughout the width of said package. Further, the lower end baffled venting closure system comprises a second closure-line 62 which is a single closure-line segment having only one wall segment, wherein the single closure-line segment does not extend throughout the width of the package.

FIG. 6 shows two additional baffled venting closure systems each in accordance with at least one embodiment of the present invention. The first embodiment shows upper end 30 comprising a baffled venting closure system 50 wherein at least one of the closure-line vents (in this example, the vents on the left portion of the upper end and on the right portion) of the second closure-line 52 are offset with the closest neighboring closure-line vent of the first closure-line 51. The second embodiment is of lower end 40 comprising a lower baffled venting closure system 60 wherein at least one of said wall segments are transverse and not perpendicular to the second closure-line 62.

FIG. 7 shows two baffled venting closure systems each in accordance with at least one embodiment of the present invention. Upper end 30 comprises an upper baffled venting closure system 50 and lower end 40 comprises a lower baffled venting closure system 60. In this embodiment, the first closure-line 51 of the upper baffled venting closure system is a curved or partially curved line. In the second baffled venting closure system, the second closure-line 62 is a curved or partially curved line.

FIG. 8 shows yet another embodiment of the present invention wherein upper end 30 comprises an upper baffled venting closure system 50 and a single closure-line 70 is formed about the periphery of the remaining sides of the package.

FIG. 9 shows two additional baffled venting closure systems each in accordance with at least one embodiment of the present invention, wherein upper end 30 comprises an upper baffled venting closure system 50 and lower end 40 comprises a lower baffled venting closure system 60. In the upper baffled venting closure system, the first closure-line 51 is positioned inwardly from said second closure-line 52. In the lower baffled venting closure system, both first closure-line 61 and second closure-line 62 have wall segments oriented towards the other line.

FIG. 10 shows two additional baffled venting closure systems each in accordance with at least one embodiment of the present invention, wherein upper end 30 comprises an upper baffled venting closure system 50 having asymmetric seal segments and lower end 40 comprises a lower baffled venting closure system 60 also having asymmetric seal segments.

FIG. 11 shows yet another embodiment of the present invention wherein the end of the bag comprising a baffled venting closure system 90 is the spine 80 wherein said flexible sheet is rolled upon itself or wherein the inner sides of the flexible sheet are married together then sealed in a French cuff type spine.

FIG. 12 shows a pillow shaped package suitable for use with the present invention. In this embodiment, either the upper end 30 can have a baffled venting closure system 50 or the lower end 40 can have a baffled venting closure system 60. Alternatively, both upper and lower ends have baffled venting closure systems in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 13 shows a package having a rectangular lower end 40 and an upper end 30 which can have a baffled venting closure system in accordance with the present invention. FIG. 13 shows a partial cut away 100, showing a granular composition 700 stored within the package. The lower end of the package can also be sealed with a baffled venting closure system if desired.

FIG. 14 shows a graphical representation of data obtained from test performed in accordance with Test A as defined herein.

FIG. 15 shows a graphical representation of data obtained from test performed in accordance with Test B as defined herein.

It should be understood that every maximum numerical limitation given throughout this specification includes every lower numerical limitation, as if such lower numerical limitations were expressly written herein. Every minimum numerical limitation given throughout this specification includes every higher numerical limitation, as if such higher numerical limitations were expressly written herein. Every numerical range given throughout this specification includes every narrower numerical range that falls within such broader numerical range, as if such narrower numerical ranges were all expressly written herein.

All parts, ratios, and percentages herein, in the Specification, Examples, and Claims, are by weight and all numerical limits are used with the normal degree of accuracy afforded by the art, unless otherwise specified.

The dimensions and values disclosed herein are not to be understood as being strictly limited to the exact numerical values recited. Instead, unless otherwise specified, each such dimension is intended to mean both the recited value and a functionally equivalent range surrounding that value. For example, a dimension disclosed as “40 mm” is intended to mean “about 40 mm”.

Except as otherwise noted, the articles “a,” “an,” and “the” mean “one or more.”

All documents cited in the Detailed Description of the Invention are, in relevant part, incorporated herein by reference; the citation of any document is not to be construed as an admission that it is prior art with respect to the present invention. To the extent that any meaning or definition of a term in this document conflicts with any meaning or definition of the same term in a document incorporated by reference, the meaning or definition assigned to that term in this document shall govern.

While particular embodiments of the present invention have been illustrated and described, it would be obvious to those skilled in the art that various other changes and modifications can be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. It is therefore intended to cover in the appended claims all such changes and modifications that are within the scope of this invention.