Title:
Pail and lid assembly
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A pail and lid with an integral handle molded with the lid includes a pail side wall extending upwardly from the pail bottom to an upper peripheral edge. The lid includes a cover portion shaped to cover the open top and a peripheral skirt depending from said cover portion, said skirt having an upper annular portion and a lower annular portion and both shaped to surround an outer surface of the pail side wall at or adjacent the upper edge and separated by a peripheral tear strip. The handle is integrally formed with said lower portion for carrying the pail. The skirt and pail have co-operating upper and lower pairs of retaining lips shaped to snap over each other by downward movement of the cover portion onto the pail to hold the cover portion on the pail. The skirt is sufficiently stiff to allow both snap actions to be effected simultaneously be pressure downwardly from the cover. The lower pair provide greater retaining force such that, prior to pulling the tear strip, co-operation of said lower retaining lip of the peripheral skirt and said lower retaining lip of the pail provides a strong force in maintaining the cover portion on the pail and such that, upon tearing, co-operation of said lower retaining lip of the peripheral skirt and said lower retaining lip of the pail substantially prevents upward vertical displacement of said lower portion and the handle thereon relative to said pail so that the handle can accept high loads.



Inventors:
Mills, David (Winnipeg, CA)
Cormier, Claude (Winnipeg, CA)
Harvey, Peter (Brampton, CA)
Bartlett, Glenn J. (Winnipeg, CA)
Application Number:
09/909986
Publication Date:
05/09/2002
Filing Date:
07/23/2001
Assignee:
MILLS DAVID
CORMIER CLAUDE
HARVEY PETER
BARTLETT GLENN J.
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
220/773, 220/276
International Classes:
B65D17/40; B65D25/32; B65D43/02; (IPC1-7): B65D25/32; B65D17/40
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
ELOSHWAY, NIKI MARINA
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
ADE & COMPANY INC. (WINNIPEG, MB, CA)
Claims:
1. A container comprising: a pail comprising: a pail bottom; a pail side wall extending upwardly from the pail bottom to an upper peripheral edge spaced from the bottom and defining inwardly of the peripheral edge an open top; an upper outwardly facing retaining lip extending around the pail side wall at or adjacent the upper edge; and a lower outwardly facing retaining lip disposed about the pail side wall below the upper outwardly facing retaining lip; and a lid assembly for the pail comprising: a cover portion shaped to cover the open top; a peripheral skirt depending from said cover portion, said skirt having an upper annular portion and a lower annular portion and both shaped to surround an outer surface of the pail side wall at or adjacent the upper edge; an upper inwardly facing retaining lip extending around said upper portion adapted to co-operate with said upper outwardly facing retaining lip of the side wall to retain said cover portion and said upper portion on said pail; a lower inwardly facing retaining lip extending around said lower portion adapted to co-operate with said lower outwardly facing retaining lip of the side wall to retain said cover portion and said lower portion on said pail; a handle integrally formed with said lower portion for carrying the pail; and a tear strip connecting said upper portion to said lower portion which is tearable around the peripheral skirt to separate the lower portion from the upper portion; the upper retaining lip of the peripheral skirt being shaped to snap over the upper retaining lip of the pail side wall by downward movement of the cover portion onto the pail to hold the cover portion on the pail; and the lower retaining lip of the peripheral skirt being shaped to snap over the lower retaining lip of the pail side wall by downward movement of the cover portion onto the pail to hold the cover portion on the pail such that, prior to detachment of said upper portion from said lower portion, co-operation of said lower retaining lip of the peripheral skirt and said lower retaining lip of the pail assists in maintaining the cover portion on the pail; and such that, upon detachment of said upper portion from said lower portion, co-operation of said lower retaining lip of the peripheral skirt and said lower retaining lip of the pail substantially prevents upward vertical displacement of said lower portion and the handle thereon relative to said pail.

2. The container according to claim 1 wherein the upper and lower retaining lips are arranged such that both retaining lips of the lid assembly snap over the respective retaining lip of the pail side wall by downward movement of the cover portion substantially simultaneously.

3. The container according to claim 1 wherein the skirt including the tear strip is sufficiently stiff to cause the communication of forces from the cover portion through the skirt and the tear strip to cause the lower retaining lip of the lid assembly to snap over the lower retaining lip of the pail.

4. The container according to claim 1 wherein the retaining lips are arranged such that a pulling force necessary to effect separation of the lower retaining lips is greater than a force necessary to effect separation of the upper retaining lips.

5. The container according to claim 1 wherein pail side wall is tapered downwardly and inwardly from the top edge to the bottom to allow stacking of the pail inside another identical pail.

6. The container according to claim 1 wherein an inside surface of the pail side wall up to and including the top edge is tapered.

7. The container according to claim 1 wherein the lower retaining lip of the pail is formed on an outside surface of a beam ring on the outside of the side wall.

8. The container according to claim 7 wherein the bearing ring includes a shoulder which abuts the lower portion to prevent dropping of the lower portion on the pail when the tear strip is disconnected.

9. The container according to claim 7 wherein there are provided a series of angled guide surfaces between the outside surface of the pail side wall and the raised band for guiding downward movement of lower portion of the skirt.

10. The container according to claim 1 wherein the upper retaining lip of each of the lid assembly and the pail is formed by a single ring.

11. The container according to claim 1 wherein the handle extends around the peripheral skirt from a hinge coupling at one side to a generally opposed hinge coupling at the other side and wherein the handle is connected to the lower portion of the skirt at the hinge couplings and at least at two additional points angularly spaced around the skirt, the additional points being frangible to allow the handle to be rotated about the hinge couplings.

12. The container according to claim 11 wherein the handle follows the skirt at a substantially constant distance from the skirt.

13. The container according to claim 11 wherein the handle is wider at a center position spaced from both hinge couplings.

14. The container according to claim 1 wherein the lid assembly has an annular skirt extending downwardly along the inside surface of the side wall of the pail which has a lower edge for contacting the inside surface so as to form a seal therewith.

Description:

[0001] This application is a continuation-in-part of application Ser. No. 09/707,230 filed Nov. 6, 2000.

[0002] This invention relates to a pail and lid assembly. More particularly, the invention relates to a pail and lid assembly wherein the lid has an integral handle for carrying the pail.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0003] Pails made from polymers such as polyethylene and polypropylene have been used for many years for the transportation and storage of a wide variety of liquid and bulk solid materials. Once filled, these pails are usually fitted with a lid to prevent spillage of the contents and to prevent exposure of the contents to the external environment. It is important that the lid be securely fitted on the pail until the user desires to access the contents. It is also important that the user be able to remove the lid without undue effort and without the aid of any mechanical device or tool. Tear strips are commonly used to facilitate removal of lids which are securely applied to containers.

[0004] Often pails are printed and/or labelled to provide information concerning their contents. Generally, the pails are printed before they have been filled, and labelled after they have been filled. When the contents of the pail are date sensitive, it is particularly preferable to label the pails after they have been filled. The labels can then be printed to indicate the date the contents were made or a “best before” date.

[0005] It is advantageous that pails have a handle to facilitate manual lifting and carrying. It is known to fit pails with molded plastic handles. An example of such a handle is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 4,357,042 (Gall) issued Nov. 2, 1982. In that example, the handle assembly has a sleeve adapted to fit around the perimeter of the pail and abut against a shoulder adjacent its upper rim. A horizontal flange extends outwardly from the lower edge of the sleeve and the handle is attached to opposite sides of the flange. The handle assembly is installed on the pail by placing the sleeve around the bottom of the pail and sliding the sleeve upwards until it abuts the shoulder.

[0006] Another example of this type of handle assembly is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 4,387,922 (Geisinger) issued Jun. 14, 1983. The handle assembly disclosed in that patent has a continuous band which fits around the perimeter of the pail and abuts the upper rim of the pail. The handle is attached to opposite sides of the band. The handle assembly is applied to the pail by positioning it on top of the pail and applying downward force causing the band to expand and snap over the upper rim of the container.

[0007] One of the drawbacks of this type of handle is that the handle assemblies must be produced separately from the pails and lids. The handle assemblies must be stored until they are ready to be installed on the pails and that storage must be managed. Furthermore, the installation of the handles on the pails is an additional step in pail production which, in turn, reduces the efficiency of the process and thereby lowers productivity.

[0008] More commonly, it is known to use wire handles. These may be button or offset type wire handles whereby each end of the wire handle is inserted through a hole or into a standoff on opposed sides of the pail. In either case, the pail must be molded to account for the application of the wire handle. Wire handles are preferably attached to the pails immediately after they have been molded and while the pails are still warm.

[0009] There are numerous disadvantages inherent in the use of wire handles. Firstly, the wire handles must be purchased by the pail producer and the inventory of wire handles must be stored and managed. The installation of the wire handles on the pails is also time consuming and adds considerably to the cost of producing the pails. In addition, after the pails have been produced they are often nested so that they can be stored and transported to the filler in the most efficient manner possible. The wire handles are problematic when the pails are de-nested because they are prone to catch on the rims of the pails below. The wire handles also cause difficulties during printing and labelling of the pails because they obstruct access to the pail side wall. Mechanisms have been developed to maintain the handles away from the side wall, however, such mechanisms add considerably to the expense and complication of both the printing and the labelling processes. In addition, the mechanisms are prone to mechanical failure which, in turn, reduces productivity.

[0010] Some attempts have been made to integrate the handle and the pail by molding them together. These attempts have been generally unsuccessful and have been limited to small sized containers due to difficulties encountered during the molding process.

[0011] Thus there is a need for a pail and lid assembly which incorporates a handle and which can be produced, stored, printed, labelled and filled without the disadvantages inherent in prior art pail and lid assemblies.

[0012] In U.S. Pat. No. 4,834,252 (Crisci) issued May 30, 1989 is disclosed a construction of a bottle with a threaded cap on a neck of the bottle. The cap has a flexible depending skirt with a tear strip which can be torn around the neck to leave a collar on the bottle. The collar carries a loop shaped handle by which the bottle can be carried. There is no disclosure as to how the cap and skirt are attached to the bottle.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0013] In the pail and lid assembly of the present invention, the lid incorporates a handle which, once the lid has been applied to the pail, is effective to carry the pail. The peripheral skirt of the lid has a retention band which is connected to the cover portion of the lid by a removable tear strip. The lid is applied to the pail by the application of downward force on the lid which causes the skirt to expand and snap into place over the upper extremity of the pail side wall. The retention band is prevented from upwards and downwards displacement on the pail by the co-operation of retaining means on the retention band and the pail. The handle is attached to the retention band. Prior to the removal of the tear strip, the retention band is effective to securely retain the lid on the pail and to anchor the handle to the pail. Once the tear strip has been removed, the lid is no longer securely retained on the pail and can be manually removed. The retention band, however, remains effective to anchor the handle to the pail and the handle can thus continue to be used for the remainder of the useful life of the pail.

[0014] The handle is molded integrally with the lid and thereby obviates the need for the separate production and installation of a pail handle. The handle is also molded in such a manner that when it is not in use, it lies in its resting position which is radially adjacent to the retention band. As a result, the handle does not obstruct access to the pail side wall during any printing or labelling which takes place after the lid has been applied to the pail.

[0015] Thus, in accordance with the present invention there is provided a container comprising:

[0016] a pail comprising:

[0017] a pail bottom;

[0018] a pail side wall extending upwardly from the pail bottom to an upper peripheral edge spaced from the bottom and defining inwardly of the peripheral edge an open top;

[0019] an upper outwardly facing retaining lip extending around the pail side wall at or adjacent the upper edge;

[0020] and a lower outwardly facing retaining lip disposed about the pail side wall below the upper outwardly facing retaining lip;

[0021] and a lid assembly for the pail comprising:

[0022] a cover portion shaped to cover the open top;

[0023] a peripheral skirt depending from said cover portion, said skirt having an upper annular portion and a lower annular portion and both shaped to surround an outer surface of the pail side wall at or adjacent the upper edge;

[0024] an upper inwardly facing retaining lip extending around said upper portion adapted to co-operate with said upper outwardly facing retaining lip of the side wall to retain said cover portion and said upper portion on said pail;

[0025] a lower inwardly facing retaining lip extending around said lower portion adapted to co-operate with said lower outwardly facing retaining lip of the side wall to retain said cover portion and said lower portion on said pail;

[0026] a handle integrally formed with said lower portion for carrying the pail; and

[0027] and a tear strip connecting said upper portion to said lower portion which is tearable around the peripheral skirt to separate the lower portion from the upper portion;

[0028] the upper retaining lip of the peripheral skirt being shaped to snap over the upper retaining lip of the pail side wall by downward movement of the cover portion onto the pail to hold the cover portion on the pail;

[0029] and the lower retaining lip of the peripheral skirt being shaped to snap over the lower retaining lip of the pail side wall by downward movement of the cover portion onto the pail to hold the cover portion on the pail

[0030] such that, prior to detachment of said upper portion from said lower portion, co-operation of said lower retaining lip of the peripheral skirt and said lower retaining lip of the pail assists in maintaining the cover portion on the pail;

[0031] and such that, upon detachment of said upper portion from said lower portion, co-operation of said lower retaining lip of the peripheral skirt and said lower retaining lip of the pail substantially prevents upward vertical displacement of said lower portion and the handle thereon relative to said pail.

[0032] Preferably the upper and lower retaining lips are arranged such that both retaining lips of the lid assembly snap over the respective retaining lip of the pail side wall by downward movement of the cover portion substantially simultaneously.

[0033] Preferably the skirt including the tear strip is sufficiently stiff to cause the communication of forces from the cover portion through the skirt and the tear strip to cause the lower retaining lip of the lid assembly to snap over the lower retaining lip of the pail.

[0034] Preferably the retaining lips are arranged such that a pulling force necessary to effect separation of the lower retaining lips is greater than a force necessary to effect separation of the upper retaining lips.

[0035] Preferably pail side wall is tapered downwardly and inwardly from the top edge to the bottom to allow stacking of the pail inside another identical pail, although other shapes of container pail portion can be used which do not allow stacking.

[0036] In the above shape, an inside surface of the pail side wall up to and including the top edge is tapered without any inwardly extending projections or ribs.

[0037] Preferably the lower retaining lip of the pail is formed on an outside surface of a raised band on the outside of the side wall and the raised band includes a shoulder which abuts the lower portion to prevent dropping of the lower portion on the pail when the tear strip is disconnected. In this arrangement, there are provided a series of angled guide surfaces between the outside surface of the pail side wall and the raised band for guiding downward movement of lower portion of the skirt.

[0038] Preferably the upper retaining lip of each of the lid assembly and the pail is formed by a single ring.

[0039] Generally the handle extends around the peripheral skirt from a hinge coupling at one side to a generally opposed hinge coupling at the other side where the handle is connected to the lower portion of the skirt at the hinge couplings. In addition, the handle may be attached to the skirt at least at two additional points angularly spaced around the skirt, the additional points being frangible to allow the handle to be rotated about the hinge couplings. These are provided to allow increased flow of plastics material into the handle to ensure that no voids are allowed.

[0040] Preferably the handle follows the skirt at a substantially constant distance from the skirt.

[0041] Preferably the handle is wider at a middle position spaced from both hinge couplings than the relatively narrow band forming the remainder of the handle so as provide a relatively wide strap which can be laid onto the hand of the user.

[0042] The lid assembly may have an annular skirt extending downwardly along the inside surface of the side wall of the pail which has a lower edge for contacting the inside surface so as to form a seal therewith, or other sealing arrangements may be provided such as a gasket at the top edge.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0043] FIG. 1 is a top plan view of a pail and lid assembly according to the present invention.

[0044] FIG. 2 is a cross sectional view of the pail and lid assembly of FIG. 1 taken along the lines 2-2.

[0045] FIG. 3 is a cross sectional view of the pail and lid assembly of FIG. 1 taken along the lines 3-3.

[0046] FIG. 4 is a cross sectional view of the pail and lid assembly of FIG. 1 taken along the lines 4-4.

[0047] FIG. 5 is a side elevational view of the lid with the handle in position for use.

[0048] FIG. 6 is a side elevational view of the lid showing the lead end of the tear strip.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

[0049] The pail and lid assembly of the present invention includes a pail component 12 and a lid 30. The pail 12 has a beam ring 14 which extends circumferentially around the top of the pail near its upper edge. Beam ring 14 has upper portion 16 which extends outwardly and downwardly from pail 12 and lower portion 18 which is vertical. A plurality of evenly spaced beam ribs 20 are disposed on the underside of beam ring 14 and connect pail side wall 22 to the inwardly facing surface of beam ring 14. Side wall 22 may be tapered or cylindrical. Tapering of side wall 22 from top to bottom facilitates nesting of a plurality of empty pails. Top opening 24 and bottom surface 26 are generally circular.

[0050] Beam ring type pails are well known in the container industry. The beam ring provides structural reinforcement to the top of the pail and prevents inward collapse of the pail opening. This, in turn, permits the thickness of the side walls to be reduced relative to the side wall thickness of conventional pails. Although a beam ring type pail has been described, it should be understood that the present invention can be used with other types of pails. For instance, the invention can be used with pails which have an outwardly projecting rim at the top of the pail side wall and which are known by those in the art as “satellite ring pails” or “open head” pails. Also, the invention is not limited to pails having circular openings. For example, pails with oval, square, rectangular, or any other polygon or rounded shape can be used.

[0051] The lid 30 may incorporate any conventional sealing means including, but not limited to, a gasket system, an internal flange or friction fit. Lid may also incorporate any conventional form of auxiliary opening in cover portion including, but not limited to, flex spouts, vents, threaded closures and tear-outs.

[0052] The pail and lid components are preferably made from polyethylene or polypropylene. Other suitable polymeric materials can be used depending on the nature of the materials to be contained.

[0053] Pail 12 and lid 30 are molded by injection molding or blow molding in a manner well known to those skilled in the art. As indicated above, handle is molded integrally with lid. Once molded, pail 12 is filled with its liquid or bulk solid contents and lid is placed over pail opening 24.

[0054] Turning now to the cross section shown in FIG. 2, the pail 12 includes the pail bottom 26 and the pail side wall 22. The pail side wall is inclined upwardly and outwardly to the top edge 23 and defines a smooth tapered inner surface which is free from inwardly projecting ribs or other obstructions which would interfere with the pail being stacked inside another pail. The outside surface of the side wall 22 is also smooth and frusto-conical up to the beam ring 14 which projects outwardly from the outside surface so that the stacking of two such pails occurs such that the upper edge 23 sits underneath the bottom of the ribs 20 of the beam ring in the stacked position.

[0055] The beam ring 14 is defined by a horizontal top flange 35 which projects outwardly from the outer surface of the side wall to an outer edge 36. The beam ring 14 further includes a generally vertical wall 18 which extends downwardly from the flange 35 to a bottom edge 40. The generally vertical wall 18 is thus spaced outwardly from the side wall 22 and forms an annular band surrounding the side wall of an increased diameter relative to the side wall.

[0056] The lid 30 includes a cover portion 38 and a surrounding skirt 29 having a handle 31 which closely follows the curvature of a band 32 defined by the lower portion of the skirt 29. Thus, where the pail 12 and thus the cover 38 and skirt 29 are circular, the handle is semicircular, extending from the integral flexing hinge 33 at one end to an identical hinge 34 at the other end. The handle 31 is spaced equidistantly around its periphery from the outside surface of the band 32.

[0057] In addition to the coupling between the band 32 and the handle at the hinges 33 and 34, there may be also provided at least two additional couplings 75 and 76 in the form of tabs extending across the space 37 between the band 32 and the handle 31. These couplings 75 and 76 act to hold the handle in a common plane with the band 32 when not in use. In addition these couplings 75 and 76, if provided, act to provide a flow path for the plastics material during the injection molding of the lid structure including the handle. Thus the plastics material in the mold enters through the center of the circular cover 38 of the lid and then extends into the skirt and particularly the band 32 and finally passes through the coupling defined by the hinges 33 and 34 and the tab coupling 75 and 76 into the handle to flow into that portion of the mold defining the handle. It is well known that a weak point of a structure such as the handle is formed at the interconnection where plastics flow from two different directions joins or welds to integrate the structure. Thus plastics material flowing through the couplings from the band 32 into the handle meets primarily at the center section 39 of the handle symmetrically between the hinges and between the couplings 75 and 736. The handle may be increased in volume at the center section 39 so that as shown in FIG. 4 its depth in the vertical direction is increased thus forming a flat strap surface on the inside for engaging the hand of the user. The thicker portion at the center section 39 thus has the advantages of providing a wider surface for the hand of the user and in addition provide an increased amount of plastics material at this point thus overcoming the weaker section at the joiner by increasing the thickness at this point.

[0058] The hinge couplings 33 and 34 extend along a part of the band 32 and are connected at an inner edge to the band 32. The hinge couplings terminate at a position 33C where the handle commences and are integral with a handle band portion 33A which extends around the band 32 spaced outwardly therefrom as shown in FIG. 3. A V-groove 33B is provided in the top of the band 33A adjacent each hinge coupling to act as a bending point of the band 33A so it can take up a right angle position as shown in FIG. 5.

[0059] The center section 39 may also be modified to provide two additional wings extending from the center outwardly in an arcuate path around the handle to increase the amount of material at the center and thus improve the welding action.

[0060] Underneath the flange 35 at the outer edge 36 is provided an annular shoulder 41 which is located outside the vertical wall 18 and underneath the flange 35 against which the band 32 abuts. At the bottom edge 40 is provided a rib 42 which projects outwardly and thus provides a horizontal shoulder 43 on which the band 32 sits to prevent the band 32 from dropping downwardly when the tear strip is torn away. This shoulder 43 can also be provided at the top of the beam ring to cooperate with an upper portion of the band 32.

[0061] The band 32 at its upper edge has an inwardly turned lip or projection 32A which forms a retaining lip for co-operating with the flange 35. The shoulder 41 also defines with the outer edge 36 and outwardly extending retaining lip 36A of the pail wall. Thus the retaining lips 32A and 36A co-operate in the closed position to locate the lower band 32 in position on the side wall to hold the band in place against upward vertical movement.

[0062] The lower band 32 in connected to an upper band 44 by the tear strip 45. The upper band 44 includes and inwardly turned retaining lip 44A which engages an outwardly turned retaining lip 23A at the upper edge 23. Thus the retaining lips 23A and 44A form an upper retaining element surrounding the periphery of the pail for locating the skirt on the pail. The retaining lip 44A can be continuous or intermittent and can be designed to provide an amount of retention force sufficient for the end use required.

[0063] It will be noted that the lip 23A provides a bottom surface which is inclined upwardly and outwardly so that the force necessary to pull the lip 44A over the lip 23A to remove the engagement therebetween is relatively small. To the contrary the lips 32A and 36A provide butting surfaces at or close to right angles to the upward movement necessary to separate those elements so that the force necessary to pull the lip 32A over the lip 36A in the upward direction is significantly greater.

[0064] Underneath the lip 23A, the wall 22 has its outer surface 22A recessed from the lip 23A and recessed relative to the outer edge 46 of the band 44 thus defining an open area underneath the lip 23A and above the flange 35. The upper surface of the flange 35 is horizontal. At spaced positions around the periphery there may be provided a plurality of inclined ramp surfaces 46 which connect the outside surface 22A to the outer edge 36 of the flange 35. These act, if provided, as centering elements so as to ramp the bottom edge of the band 32 into position when the band is applied onto the pail in a vertically downward movement as described hereinafter.

[0065] From the lip 44A, the upper band 44 is inclined downwardly and outwardly to a bottom edge 44B which is spaced outwardly from the outer surface 22A and spaced upwardly from the flange 35. Between the bottom edge 44B and the top edge 32B of the band 32 is provided the tear strip 45. The thickness of the tear strip is reduced at the side edges of the tear strip that is at its connection with the edges 44B and 32B. The tear strip 45 is inclined outwardly and downwardly from the edge 44B to the edge 32B.

[0066] The skirt including the upper band 44, the tear strip 45 and the lower band 32 is shaped and arranged so that the lid can be applied onto the pail by vertically downward movement onto the pail and by pressure applied at the top of the skirt, that is at the junction between the skirt and the cover portion 38. Thus the skirt is stiff and allows forces to be communicated from a point P downwardly through the skirt 29 to the bottom edge of the lower band 32. In operation, therefore, with the pail filled, the lid is applied onto the pail and the band 32 surrounds the edge 23 and is pushed downwardly around the outside surface 22A of the pail until the bottom edge of the lower band 32 engages the ramps 46. These ramps 46 guide the lower edge of the band 32 onto the outer edge 36 of the flange 35 so that the lower band 32 passes over the outer edge 36 and can be pushed downwardly. During this pressure at the point P, the skirt is sufficiently stiff to communicate the necessary forces from the point P, through the skirt 29 into the lower band to force the lower band downwardly until the lip 32A sits on top of the lip 36A. At this point the lip 44A sits on top of the lip 23A. Further downward pressure at the point P therefore acts to simultaneously snap the lip 32A over the lip 36A into the retaining engagement and also to force or snap the lip 44A over the lip 23A to provide its retaining engagement.

[0067] The high retaining force of the lower retaining element defined by the lips 32A and 36A ensures that the lid remains in place on the pail until the tear strip 45 is pulled away.

[0068] The cover 38 is generally horizontal but includes a downwardly depending surrounding skirt 38A which extends downwardly along the inside surface 22C of the pail side wall. The skirt 38A includes a lower blade portion 38B which is inclined outwardly so as to provide pressure against the inside surface 22C in a sealing action.

[0069] With the lid applied, the connecting tabs 75 and 76 can be broken simply by manually grasping the handle section at the center portion 39 and pulling upwardly. Thus the handle can be pulled upwardly, as shown in FIG. 5, to a position in which it extends generally vertically upwardly from the hinges 33 and 34 so that the pail, lid and handle can be manually carried by the user. The high retention force provided by the aggressive action between the lips 32A and 36A insures that the weight of the pail and its contents is not sufficient to pull the handle and the lid from the beam ring 14.

[0070] When the user requires access to the contents, the tear strip 45 is grasped at its molded end location or pull tab 45A (FIG. 6) and is torn around the skirt to separate the upper band 44 from the lower band 32. The tearing action occurs at the thinner sections at the edges 32B and 44B.

[0071] When torn away, the lower band 32 remains in place and is fixed by the high retention forces underneath the lip 36A on the beam ring 14. The bottom edge 44B is exposed and spaced outwardly from the outside surface 22A and above the beam ring 14 so that it can be manually grasped by the fingers of the user. The relatively low retention force at the upper retaining lips allows the upper band 44 and the cover portion to be pulled upwardly releasing the lid from the pail. The lid however can be replaced on the pail simply by pushing back onto the pail so that the snap action of the upper lips retains the upper band 44 in place and the sealing skirt 38A in place around the upper part of the side wall of the pail.

[0072] Although the pail and the lid are preferably circular at the open top of the pail, other shapes can also be used including oval and square. In a square pail, the corners will necessarily be relatively rounded to avoid sharp changes in direction which can generate high forces at the junction. In a square pail arrangement, the hinges of the handle are located at the corners and the handle generally follows the outside surface of the pail so that it is also generally rectangular providing a manually graspable section at the corner in between the hinges.

[0073] The pails can conveniently be nested. Two or more beam ribs may have beam rib extensions (not shown) which are sized to maintain sufficient space between the pails necessary to avoid too close a fit and the associated difficulty in de-nesting.

[0074] The pail and lid assembly of the present invention provides a number of important advantages to pail producers, printers and labellers, fillers and end users. The production of the handle is integrated with the production of the lid. Thus, the requirement for a separate process to produce handles or the requirement for pail producers to purchase wire handles is eliminated. The need to store and manage a separate inventory of handles for application to the pails is also eliminated. Further, there is no need to install handles on the pails. Because the integration of the handle on the lid does not add appreciably to the cost of producing the lid or to the efficiency of the lid production process, the production of the pail and lid assembly of the present invention is significantly simpler and less costly than the production of prior art assemblies.

[0075] As mentioned above, empty pails are often stored by nesting them. When wire-handled pails are nested, the handle of one pail often drops below the top of the pail below. When the pails are separated, the wire handle catches on the pail below. The pail and lid assembly of the present invention avoids this problem because no handles are applied to the empty pails.

[0076] If printing and labelling take place before the lid is applied to the pail, the pail and lid assembly of the present invention is advantageous because there is no need to hold the handle away from the side wall of the pail. Similarly, in situations where the pails are printed or labelled after the lid has been applied, the need to position the handle away from the side wall of the pail is eliminated. This significantly improves the efficiency of the printing and labelling processes and obviates the need to provide mechanisms to retain the handle away from the pail side wall, which mechanisms add to the cost and complexity of the printing and labelling procedures. Numerous modifications can be made to the pail and lid assembly described herein without departing from the spirit or scope of the invention as defined in the following claims.