Title:
Methods of Packaging Using Multi-Compartment Containers
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A method of packaging products in a multi-compartment container. The method comprises providing a first container and a second container and coupling, in a substantially permanent manner, the first and second containers at bottom ends in a stacked arrangement to form the multi-compartment container. The method also includes placing a first product into the first container, placing a second product into the second container, and sealing the first and second containers. The products may be placed in the containers before or after the containers are coupled together.



Inventors:
Gersovtiz, Gerry (San Francisco, CA, US)
Application Number:
12/415910
Publication Date:
10/01/2009
Filing Date:
03/31/2009
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65B7/00; B65D6/28; B65D21/02
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
DURAND, PAUL R
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
TOWNSEND AND TOWNSEND AND CREW, LLP (TWO EMBARCADERO CENTER, EIGHTH FLOOR, SAN FRANCISCO, CA, 94111-3834, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A method of packaging products in a multi-compartment container, the method comprising: providing the multi-compartment container having a first container and a second container, wherein the first and second containers are separate containers substantially permanently coupled together in a stacked arrangement to form the multi-compartment container; placing a first product into the first container; placing a second product into the second container; and sealing the first and second containers.

2. The method of claim 1 wherein each of the first and second containers comprises a top end providing access when opened, a substantially cylindrical wall, and a substantially flat bottom end.

3. The method of claim 2 wherein the first and second containers are substantially permanently coupled together at the bottom ends with an adhesive or welding.

4. The method of claim 2 wherein the substantially cylindrical wall and the bottom end of each of the first and second containers are formed of a one-piece construction.

5. The method of claim 2 wherein the substantially cylindrical wall and the bottom end of each of the first and second containers are coupled together in a two-piece construction.

6. The method of claim 1 wherein sealing the first and second containers comprises sealing at top ends of the first and second containers.

7. The method of claim 1 wherein sealing the first and second containers comprises sealing the first container after the first product is placed into the first container and sealing the second container after the second product is placed into the second container.

8. The method of claim 1 wherein sealing the first and second containers comprises individually vacuum sealing each of the first and second containers at the top ends.

9. The method of claim 1 wherein the first product is placed into the first container and the second product is placed into the second container after the first and second containers are substantially permanently coupled together.

10. The method of claim 1 wherein the first product is placed into the first container and the second product is placed into the second container before the first and second containers are substantially permanently coupled together.

11. The method of claim 1 wherein at least one of the first and second containers is made of metal.

12. The method of claim 1 wherein at least one of the first and second containers is made of plastic.

13. A method of packaging products in a multi-compartment container, the method comprising: providing a first container and a second container, wherein each of the first and second containers comprises a top end providing access when opened, a substantially cylindrical wall, and a substantially flat bottom end; coupling, in a substantially permanent manner, the first and second containers at the substantially flat bottom ends in a stacked arrangement to form the multi-compartment container; placing a first product into the first container; placing a second product into the second container; and sealing the first and second containers.

14. The method of claim 13 wherein the first and second containers are substantially permanently coupled together at the substantially flat bottom ends with an adhesive or welding.

15. The method of claim 13 wherein the substantially cylindrical wall and the bottom end of each of the first and second containers are formed of a one-piece construction.

16. The method of claim 13 wherein sealing the first and second containers comprises individually vacuum sealing each of the first and second containers at the top ends.

17. The method of claim 13 wherein sealing the first and second containers comprises sealing the first container after the first product is placed into the first container and sealing the second container after the second product is placed into the second container.

18. The method of claim 13 wherein the first product is placed into the first container and the second product is placed into the second container after the first and second containers are substantially permanently coupled together.

19. The method of claim 13 wherein the first product is placed into the first container and the second product is placed into the second container before the first and second containers are substantially permanently coupled together.

20. The method of claim 13 further comprising placing a removable lid over the top end of one of the first and second containers.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCES TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application is a divisional application of application Ser. No. 10/948,837, entitled “Multi-Compartment Container” (Attorney Docket No. 021849-000110US), which claims priority to Provisional Application No. 60/505,410, entitled “Multi-Compartment Container,” filed on Sep. 23, 2003 (Attorney Docket No. 021849-000100US), the disclosures of which are incorporated herein by reference in their entirety for all purposes.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to multiple compartment storage devices, and more particularly, to a multiple-unit storage device that essentially consists of two separate containers coupled together at their bottom portions in a stacked arrangement.

2. Description of the Prior Art

In the packaging of certain products where freshness is a concern, it is desirable to have multiple compartments in which one part of the container may be opened, while another part of the container may be left sealed. By way of example, one such product is coffee. Coffee is generally packaged in a container under vacuum. When coffee is exposed to atmospheric conditions, it may lose its aroma and flavor. Thus, when a can of coffee is opened, the entire contents of the can is exposed to such atmospheric conditions due to the loss of the vacuum conditions.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Broadly, the present invention provides a multi-unit storage device where two separate containers are held together at their bottom portions. Preferably, the separate containers are vacuum sealed at their top portions such that when the top portions are opened, the vacuum seal is broken and access to the products contained therein is provided.

In accordance with one aspect of the present invention, a multi-unit storage device comprises a first container comprising a top portion and a bottom portion, a second container comprising a top portion and a bottom portion, the first and second portions being substantially permanently coupled together at their bottom portions in a stacked arrangement, and at least one removable lid for coupling to a top portions. Each of the two separate containers is individually vacuum sealed at their respective top portions.

In accordance with another aspect of the present invention, each container is a one-piece container.

In accordance with a further aspect of the present invention, each container includes ribs defined within a sidewall.

In accordance with another aspect of the present invention, each container comprises a cylindrical sidewall and a bottom.

In accordance with yet another aspect of the present invention, the first and second containers are coupled together via welding.

In accordance with a further aspect of the present invention, the first and second containers are coupled together via an adhesive.

The present invention also provides a method of packaging at least one type of product, where the method comprises providing first and second separate containers comprising top and bottom portions, coupling, in a substantially permanent manner, the first and second separate containers together at their bottom portions in a stacked arrangement to form a multi-unit storage container, placing product into the first container, placing product into the second container, and vacuum sealing the two separate containers at their top portions.

In accordance with one aspect of the present invention, the product is placed into each container prior to the two separate containers being coupled together.

In accordance with another aspect of the present invention, the product is placed into each container after the two separate containers have been coupled together.

In accordance with a further aspect of the present invention, the method comprises placing a removable lid over at least one top portion after that container has been vacuum sealed.

Other features and advantages of the present invention will be apparent upon review of the following detailed description of preferred exemplary embodiments.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is an elevation view of two containers for a multi-unit storage device in accordance with the present invention; and

FIG. 2 is an elevation view of the two containers forming a multi-unit storage device in accordance with the present invention

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

With reference to FIGS. 1 and 2, a multi-unit storage device 10 in accordance with the present invention is illustrated. Preferably, the multi-unit storage device consists of two containers or cans 11, 12, preferably made of metal, that are welded together at their bottom portions 13, 14. Glue or some other type of adhesive may also be used.

The top portions are preferably vacuum sealed with either metal, foil, plastic or any other suitable material. Examples for the two separate containers include coffee cans, nut cans, potato chip cans, and other types of snacks. Preferably, lids 15 are provided for closing or resealing the cans 11, 12.

The separate cans may be made in any manner known in the prior art. Early methods of making such cans included rolling a metallic body or sidewall 16 and coupling a metallic bottom 17 to the body portion with a folded or sealed flange. Additionally, the bottom may be coupled to the rolled body with a welding-type process. Modern methods include stamping or forming the bottom and body as a single piece. When the bottom and body are made of a single piece, ribs or troughs 18 may be defined circumferentially in the body or sidewall as is known in the art to provide extra strength and stability.

Another example of a type of container that may be used as the containers to form the multi-unit storage device in accordance with the present invention includes a cardboard or plastic body 16 with a metal, or plastic bottom 17. The containers may also be made of one-piece consisting of plastic or other suitable material. Examples of such a container include orange juice cans, nut cans, some potato snack cans and other snack cans.

In use, two containers 11, 12 as described above are provided and are coupled together at their bottom portions 13, 14. Each can or container is filled with a product and then individually vacuum sealed. This may be done before or after the two containers are coupled to one another. Each container may be filled with the same product or a different product. Examples of products include, but are not limited to, coffee, nuts, potato chips, candy, tea, etc.

When one desires access to a product, one simply opens one container. Thus, the second container remains unopened, thereby protecting the product therein from the elements and helping maintain freshness. When access to the second container is desired, then the multi-unit storage device is “flipped” and the second container is opened. Each container may be closed with lids 15 if provided. One lid may be provided and used for both containers if desired.

Additionally, each separate container may be filled with a different product if it is so desired. For example, one container may include potato chips while the second container may include corn chips.

The foregoing descriptions of specific embodiments of the present invention have been presented for purposes of illustration and description. They are not intended to be exhaustive or to limit the invention to the precise forms disclosed, and obviously many modifications and variations are possible in light of the above teaching. The embodiments were chosen and described in order to best explain the principles of the invention and its practical application, to thereby enable others skilled in the art to best utilize the invention and various embodiments with various modifications as are suited to the particular use contemplated. It is intended that the scope of the invention be defined by the Claims appended hereto and their equivalents.