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This application claims priority to U.S. patent application Ser. No. 61/357,772, filed on Jun. 23, 2010, the entirety of which is incorporated herein by reference.
The present disclosure generally relates to corrugated packaging for appliances, and more particularly, to a corrugated wrapper for a water heater.
Large round appliances such as water heaters are particularly difficult to package to prevent damage during shipment. Typically, an appliance of this type can be packaged in a corrugated box that surrounds it such that the four side walls of a box are in close contact with a limited portion of the outer surface of the appliance; however, this form of packaging leaves gaps or spaces near the corners of the boxes that results in a less than desired amount of protection. The appliance may be packaged in a larger corrugated box with corrugated sleeves inserted in the box to position the appliance. This type of packaging is labor intensive due to its need for precise sleeve placement and increases overall cost. Thus, there is a need in the industry to provide appliance packaging that can minimize cost and provide better product protection thereby minimizing product damage.
This background information is provided to reveal information believed by the applicant to be of possible relevance to the present invention. No admission is necessarily intended, nor should be construed, that any of the preceding information constitutes prior art against the present invention.
Disclosed herein is a corrugated wrapper for a water heater or other appliance with inserts or cushioning members attached to the corrugated wrapper to secure the appliance.
In one embodiment, a corrugated wrapper comprises six side panels and an end side panel, wherein the end side panel overlaps at least a portion of at least one of the six side panels and wherein at least one side panel has at least one opening sized to allow passage of a valve of a water heater therethrough.
In another embodiment, a method of wrapping a water heater comprises the steps of providing a corrugated wrapper comprising a first side panel, an end side panel and at least five side panels therebetween, at least one side panel having at least one opening sized to allow passage of a valve therethrough; passing a valve of the water heater through an opening of a side panel; and wrapping the side panels around the water heater, allowing the end side panel to overlap at least a portion of at least one of a plurality of side panels, thereby creating overlapping panels and at least one non-overlapping panel.
In another embodiment, each of the panels of the corrugated wrapper have a first face and a second face, the second face opposite the first face, wherein the first face is adapted to be positioned closer to the contents of the corrugated wrapper than the second face, and at least one side panel has at least one cushioning member attached to the first face of at least one side panel.
The above described and other features are exemplified by the following figures and detailed description.
FIG. 1 is a top view of one side of a blank for a corrugated wrapper for a water heater according to an embodiment of the present invention.
FIG. 2 is a top view of the corrugated wrapper of FIG. 1 wrapped around a water heater.
FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a bottom locator pad with protective inserts or locating pads attached to it.
The present invention may be understood more readily by reference to the following detailed description of the invention taken in connection with the accompanying drawing figures, which form a part of this disclosure. It is to be understood that the description and drawings provided are for the purpose of describing particular embodiments by way of example only, to assist in understanding the claimed invention, and are not intended to be limiting of the invention claimed. Also, the invention includes the overall products and methods described herein, as well as the individual components and sub-combinations thereof, as claimed. As used herein, the singular forms “a,” “an,” and “the” are to be interpreted as including the plural, and reference to a particular numerical value includes at least that particular value, unless the context clearly dictates otherwise.
FIG. 1 illustrates one side of a corrugated blank used as a corrugated wrapper 100 having a plurality of panels 102, 104, 106, 108, 110, 112, 114, 116 and 118 separated by respective fold lines (indicated by dashed lines) 120, 122, 124, 126, 128, 130, 132 and 134. As shown, a first side panel 102 has an opening 136 to allow a temperature and pressure (T&P) valve extending from a water heater (or other protruding valve extending from an appliance) to pass through. First side panel 102 also has an opening 138 to further secure the corrugated wrapper described hereinafter. Second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth side panels 104, 106, 108, 110, 112, 114, 116 and 118, respectively, are adjacent to each other as indicated in FIG. 1. As illustrated, a ninth or end side panel 118 has an opening 140 aligned with opening 136 to allow the T&P valve to pass through the corrugated wrapper. The ninth side panel 118 is also shown having an opening 142 aligned with opening 138 to assist in securing the corrugated wrapper. As shown in FIG. 1, dashed regions 144, 146, 148 and 150 are on panels 104, 108, 112 and 116, respectively and indicate areas that may have inserts of Styrofoam or another suitable protective and/or cushioning material attached to the corrugated wrapper 100 prior to wrapping.
It will be appreciated that although the corrugated wrapper 100 of FIG. 1 is illustrated as having nine total side panels, it may have fewer or more total side panels. Desirable configurations include a range from 7 to 13 total side panels. The side panels may also be in suitable dimensions to compliment the shape of the appliance intended to be contained therein.
Referring now to FIG. 2, corrugated wrapper 100 is shown wrapped around a water heater 200. First side panel 102 is placed about water heater 200 such that the T&P valve 202 extends through opening 136 (not shown). Corrugated wrapper 100 is shown wrapped around water heater 200 allowing ninth side panel 118 to at least partially overlap first side panel 102 creating an exterior overlapping panel (ninth side panel 118), an interior overlapping panel (first side panel 102) and non-overlapping side panels 104, 106, 108, 110, 112, 114 and 116. The T&P valve 202 extends through openings 136 and 140 (not shown). As such, inserts 204, 206, 208 and 210 previously glued or attached to alternating side panels 144, 146, 148 and 150 on the product facing sides of panels 104, 108, 112 and 116, respectively, are now in contact with water heater 200. Inserts may be attached to some or all panels, excluding exterior overlapping panels. The number of inserts per corrugated wrapper may be varied, with a minimum number of one insert per corrugated wrapper. More than one insert may be attached to any one side panel and inserts may be at the top, middle bottom, or along the length of the side panel. Inserts may be of any suitable length and width. As shown, inserts 204, 206, 208 and 210 have a concave side 212 opposite a flat side 214 with their flat side attached to the corrugated wrapper. The inserts may be any suitable shape to compliment and/or support the appliance. The configuration of corrugated wrapper 100 and the inserts provide better product support by reducing the gaps located about the corners of the product packaging.
A mushroom lock, clip, clamp, metal tab and/or other suitable mechanism (not shown) may be attached to and/or cooperate with openings 138 and 142 to secure the entire corrugated wrapper. Additional openings may be provided requiring additional securing mechanisms. Openings 138 and 142 are optional as the overlapping side panels may be glued, taped, banded together, stapled, bonded or secured by another suitable method, While FIG. 1 depicts four openings 136, 138, 140 and 142, other quantities of openings of one or more are contemplated by the present invention. For example, a single opening may be used to pass a T&P valve through a non-overlapping panel. Alternatively, two openings may both be on overlapping panels and may be used for allowing passage of a T&P valve and/or for securing the wrapper together. In another configuration, there may be three openings with two openings on an overlapping side panel and one opening on a non-overlapping side panel. Alternate configurations with additional openings may be used for other valves, controls and/or pipes as appropriate.
In an alternate embodiment (not shown), ninth side panel 118 may overlap another panel other than first side panel 102 creating at least two pairs of overlapping panels (e.g. ninth side panel 118/second side panel 104 and eighth side panel 116/first side panel 102). Alternatively, a side panel other than the first side panel 102 and the ninth side panel 118 may be positioned against water heater 200 with the remaining side panels wrapped around the water heater 200. For example, second side panel 104 may have an opening for the T&P valve. In this configuration, the second side panel 104 could be placed about water heater 100 first, wrapping first side panel 102 around water heater 100 and wrapping the third fourth fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth side panels, 106, 108, 110, 112, 114, 116 and 118, respectively, in an opposite direction about the water heater 100. In another embodiment, a fourth side panel 108 with no openings could be placed about water heater 100 first, wrapping first, second and third side panels 102, 104 and 106, respectively, around water heater 100 and wrapping the fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth side panels, 110, 112, 114, 116 and 118, respectively, in the opposite direction about the water heater, allowing the T&P valve to pass through openings on the first and ninth side panels 102 and 118.
It will be appreciated that the water heater may be placed on a bottom locator pad during assembly. U.S. Pat. No. 7,543,703 discloses a bottom locator pad with four clips separably positioned around the pad to maintain the position of the water heater relative to the pad during assembly. Likewise, FIG. 3 shows a bottom locator pad 300 and foam inserts 302, 304, 306 and 308 or other cushioning members attached to the pad to position and/or secure the water heater for the same purpose.
Prior to shipment, the water heater is assembled or at least placed on the bottom locator pad and then a corrugated wrapper is positioned around the water heater as described above. A top protective or locator pad such as one disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 7,543,703 or a pad similar in configuration to the bottom locator pad 300 of FIG. 3 may be placed on top of the corrugated wrapper. If desired, the entire unit may be placed in an outer corrugated box to further protect components extending from corrugated wrapper 100. Sidewalls 310, 312, 314 and 316 may be folded perpendicular to the base of the bottom locator pad 300 such that they extend up the walls of an outer box creating enough friction to retain the bottom locator pad 300 in place. Alternatively, locator pads could be shaped to compliment the tops and bottoms of the side panels of corrugated wrapper 100. The top and bottom lids can be designed such that a portion of both lids extend a few inches up or down the side panels of the corrugated wrapper creating enough friction between the lids and the corrugated wrapper side walls to retain the lids in place. Alternatively, a band or other suitable mechanism may be used to secure the top and bottom lids to the corrugated wrapper.
While the disclosure has been described with reference to an embodiment, it will be understood by those skilled in the art that various changes may be made and equivalents may be substituted for elements thereof without departing from the scope of the disclosure. In addition, many modifications may be made to adapt a particular situation or material to the teachings of the disclosure without departing from the essential scope thereof. Therefore, it is intended that the disclosure not be limited to the particular embodiment disclosed as the best mode contemplated for carrying out this disclosure, but that the disclosure will include all embodiments falling within the scope of the appended claims. Also, in the drawings and the description, there has been disclosed an embodiment of the invention and, although specific terms may have been employed, they are unless otherwise stated used in a generic and descriptive sense only and not for purposes of limitation, the scope of the invention therefore not being so limited. Moreover, the use of the terms first, second, etc. do not denote any order or importance, but rather the terms first, second, etc. are used to distinguish one element from another. Furthermore, the use of the terms a, an, etc. do not denote a limitation of quantity, but rather denote the presence of at least one of the referenced item.