Title:
Extensible packing protector
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The present invention proposes an extensible packing protector for protecting an edge portion of a plate-like object. The packing protector comprises a first and a second complementary half members each comprising a plate for covering a respective main face of the edge portion. Each half member also comprises a row of alternating recesses and projections extending at right angle with the plate, the row of projections and recesses of the first member having a complementary configuration to the row of projections and recesses of the second member for slidably moving and fitting together the first and second half members with respect to one another and thereby obtaining an extensible side wall of the packing protector for covering the side wall of the edge portion.



Inventors:
Beliveau, Jean-louis (Magog, CA)
Application Number:
09/790079
Publication Date:
05/16/2002
Filing Date:
02/21/2001
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
206/586
International Classes:
B65D81/05; B65D85/48; (IPC1-7): B65D85/30; B65D81/02
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
LUONG, SHIAN TINH NHAN
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
ST. ONGE STEWARD JOHNSTON & REENS, LLC (STAMFORD, CT, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. An extensible packing protector for protecting an edge portion of a plate-like object, the edge portion including two opposed main faces and a side wall of the plate-like object, the packing protector comprising: a first and a second complementary half members each comprising: a plate for covering a respective main face of the edge portion; and a row of alternating recesses and projections extending at right angle with the plate, the row of projections and recesses of the first member having a complementary configuration to the row of projections and recesses of the second member for slidably moving and fitting together the first and second half members with respect to one another and thereby obtaining an extensible side wall of the packing protector for covering the side wall of the edge portion.

2. An extensible packing protector as claimed in claim 1, wherein, for each of the first and second half members, the plate is triangular with three sides and the row of alternating projections and recesses is disposed along two sides thereof consisting respectively of a first side and a second side.

3. An extensible packing protector as claimed in claim 2, wherein each of the first and second half members comprises a square corner between the first and second side of the triangular plate.

4. An extensible packing protector as claimed in claim 3, wherein each of the projections and recesses of the first and second half members has a polygonal transversal cross section.

5. An extensible packing protector as claimed in claim 3, wherein the first and second half members are identical and, for each of said half members, the projections along the first and second sides have a same height and each of the alternating projections and recesses disposed along the first side is in mirror symmetry with a recess and a projection respectively on the second side, and, at the square corner of each half member, the row comprises a projection having a height corresponding to half the height of the projections along the first and second sides.

6. An extensible packing protector as claimed in claim 4, wherein the first and second half members are different, and, for each of said half members, the projections along the first and second sides have a same height and each of the alternating projections and recesses disposed along the first side is in mirror symmetry with a projection and a recess respectively on the second side.

7. An extensible packing protector as claimed in claim 1, wherein each of the first and second half members is made of a plastic foam material.

8. An extensible packing protector as claimed in claim 7, wherein the plastic foam material is a plastic polystyrene.

9. An extensible corner packing protector for protecting a corner edge of a plate-like object, the corner edge including two opposed main faces and a side wall of the plate-like object, the packing protector comprising: a first and a second identical complementary half members each comprising: a triangular plate with three sides for covering a respective main face of the corner edge; and a row of alternating recesses and projections extending at right angle with the plate and being disposed along a first side and a second side of said three sides of the plate respectively, the row of projections and recesses of the first member having a complementary configuration to the row of projections and recesses of the second member for slidably moving and fitting together the first and second half members with respect to one another and thereby obtaining an extensible side wall of the packing protector for covering the side wall of the edge portion.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0001] This invention generally relates to packing protectors suitable for protecting packed fragile objects, especially plate-like objects having a given thickness such as mirrors, paintings. More particularly, it relates to an extensible packing protector so as to adjust itself to different thickness of plate-like objects.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] Packing protectors of different types are already commonly used to protect fragile items, such as appliances, computer parts, etc., during their shipment. There is the bubble wrapping where the object to protect is surrounded by a plastic film filled with air bubbles. There are also the protective pads made from folded corrugated paperboard blanks. An example of such protective pads is given in U.S. Pat. No. 4,440,304.

[0003] Also known in the prior art, there are the packing protectors made from blocks of plastic foam such as polyurethane or polystyrene cut to the exact exterior and interior configuration to fit within a carton box and to receive the fragile item.

[0004] Packing protectors especially adapted to protect corners or edge portions of a plate-like object are also very well known in the art and have existed for many years now. These packing protectors are generally used to cover and protect the outer corners or edges of objects so as to prevent them from being damaged during transportation and the like. Packing protectors can be used on various corners and edges of a wide and diverse array of plate-like objects such as furniture (e.g. tables), appliances, electronics, laminated frames, toys, mirrors etc. The corner and edge packing protectors generally consist respectively of a triangular and rectangular prisms having a cavity provided along one of the sides of the prism, such cavity generally being right-angled and devised to be complementary to the shape and size of the corner or edge to be protected so that the latter can be inserted into the protector. Furthermore, it is also known that corner and edge packing protectors are generally made of a light and shock absorbing material, such as styrofoam for example. However, a major problem associated with the corner and edge packing protectors known in the art is that they only come in fixed shapes and sizes, that is, they do not allow for any flexibility in terms of being able to adjust themselves to the particular thickness of a given corner or edge. That is, a same type of corner packing protector (fixed shape and size) cannot be used for corners having a different thickness. This means that several different manufacturing molds need to be used to produce all the different types of corner and edge packing protectors required for each different particular corner to be protected, which translates into higher production costs. Therefore, it would be very useful to provide a corner and/or edge packing protector which is extensible so as to adjust itself to a particular thickness of an edge to be protected.

[0005] Other examples of prior art packing protectors are given in U.S. Pat. Nos. 4,440,304; 4,938,360; 5,024,328; 5,090,571; 5,160,473; 5,207,327; 5,307,928; 5,348,157; and 5,515,976.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0006] An object of the present invention is thus to provide an improved packing protector. Accordingly, the present invention provides an extensible packing protector for protecting an edge portion of a plate-like object, the edge portion including two opposed main faces and a side wall of the plate-like object. The packing protector comprises a first and a second complementary half members each comprising a plate for covering a respective main face of the edge portion. Each half member also comprises a row of alternating recesses and projections extending at right angle with the plate, the row of projections and recesses of the first member having a complementary configuration to the row of projections and recesses of the second member for slidably moving and fitting together the first and second half members with respect to one another and thereby obtaining an extensible side wall of the packing protector for covering the side wall of the edge portion. Each of the projections and recesses of the first and second half members preferably has a polygonal transversal cross section.

[0007] According to a preferred embodiment of the invention adapted to protect a corner of an object, the plate of each of the first and second half members is triangular with three sides and the row of alternating projections and recesses is disposed along two sides thereof consisting respectively of a first side and a second side. In the case where the corner of the object to be protected is a square corner, the first and second sides of the plate are intersecting at right angle to form a square corner.

[0008] In another preferred embodiment of the invention, adapted to protect a straight edge of an object, the plates of each half member are rectangular.

[0009] According to a preferred version of the corner-type packing protector described above, the first and second half members are identical. In this case, for each of the half members, the projections along the first and second sides have a same height and each of the alternating projections and recesses disposed along the first side is facing respectively a recess and a projection on the second side. The transversal cross section of each of the projections and the recesses on the first side is in mirror symmetry with the transversal cross section of its corresponding recess or projection on the second side and, at the square corner of each half member, the row comprises a projection having a height corresponding to half the height of the projections along the first and second sides.

[0010] According to another preferred version of the corner-type packing protector described above, the first and second half members are different. In this case, for each of the half members, the projections along the first and second sides have a same height and each of the alternating projections and recesses disposed along the first side is facing respectively a projection and a recess on the second side. The transversal cross section of each of the projections and the recesses on the first side is in mirror symmetry with the transversal cross section of its corresponding projection or recess on the second side.

[0011] As can be appreciated, a packing protector according to the present invention is extensible so as to adjust itself to a particular thickness of a given corner or edge portion to be protected. This means that a single packing protector can be used to protect many different thickness of objects. This also means that very few different manufacturing molds need to be used to produce the different types of corner and edge packing protectors required for different particular edge or corner to be protected, which translates into a reduction of the production costs.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0012] These and other objects and advantages of the invention will become apparent upon reading the detailed description and upon referring to the drawings.

[0013] FIG. 1 is a fragmentary perspective view of a plate-like object such as a mirror having two corners protected by a pair of extensible packing protectors according to a first preferred embodiment of the invention (hereinafter called a corner packing protector) and a side edge portion protected by an extensible packing protector according to a second preferred embodiment (hereinafter called edge packing protector).

[0014] FIG. 2 is a perspective view of one of the corner packing protectors of FIG. 1 showing the same in a closed contracted configuration to protect a thin object.

[0015] FIG. 3 is the same view as FIG. 2 showing the packing protector in an open extended configuration to protect a thicker object.

[0016] FIG. 4 is the same view as FIG. 2 showing the packing protector in a separated configuration.

[0017] FIG. 5 is a top view of one half member of the packing protector shown in FIGS. 1 to 4.

[0018] FIG. 6 is a top view of each half member of a packing protector according to a third preferred embodiment of the invention.

[0019] While the invention will be described in conjunction with three example embodiments, it will be understood that it is not intended to limit the scope of the invention to such embodiments. On the contrary, it is intended to cover all alternatives, modifications and equivalents as may be included as defined by the appended claims.

DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

[0020] In the following description, similar features in the drawings have been given similar reference numerals and in order to weight down the figures, some elements are not referred to in some figures if they were already identified in a precedent figure.

[0021] Moreover, it is worth mentioning that although preferred embodiments of the invention as illustrated consist of right-angle isosceles extensible corner packing protectors (10), it should be understood that, in the context of the present invention, expressions such as “right-angle” and “isosceles” and any other equivalents or variants thereof, should not be taken in a restrictive sense to limit the scope of the invention, since other embodiments for the extensible packing protector (10) could be used with the invention, as for example rectangular or other types of triangular packing protectors as apparent to a person skilled in the art.

[0022] Referring to FIG. 1, a plate-like object (1) such as a mirror is shown protected with two different preferred embodiments of packing protectors according to the present invention, including two corner packing protectors (10A) and two edge packing protectors (10B). As can be appreciated, an extensible packing protector (10) is used for protecting an edge portion, which is either a corner edge (2A) or a side edge (2B) of the plate-like object (1), and which includes two opposed main faces (3) and a side wall (4).

[0023] The detailed description of a packing protector according to the invention will now be made in reference to the corner packing protector (10) shown in FIGS. 2 to 6. The corner packing protector (10) comprises a first and a second complementary half members (12A, 12B). Each of these half members (12A, 12B) comprises a plate (14) for covering a respective main face (3) of the corner edge (2A, 2B) and a row (15) of alternating recesses (16) and projections (18) extending at right angle with the plate (14), as best shown in FIGS. 5 and 6. As can be best appreciated from FIGS. 2 to 4, the row of projections (18) and recesses (16) of the first member (12A) has a complementary configuration to the row of projections (18) and recesses (16) of the second member (12B) so as to allow the first and second half members (12A, 12B) to slidably move with respect to one another and fit together, and thereby obtaining an extensible side wall (20) of length A. The extensible side wall (20) is covering and protecting the side wall (4) of the edge portion (2), as shown in FIG. 1. Each of the projections (18) and recesses (16) of the first and second half members preferably has a polygonal transversal cross section, as best viewed from FIGS. 5 and 6. However, it should be noted that another shape, such as a circle, may have been suitable, as long as the two half members be able to slidably fit together.

[0024] The plates (14) of each half member (12A, 12B) and the row (15) of alternating projections (18) and recesses (16) circumscribe a cavity (26), as in FIGS. 2 to 4, when the two half members (12A, 12B) are fitted together, in which an edge portion (2) is inserted to be protected.

[0025] As can be appreciated from FIGS. 2 to 4, the width of the cavity (26) can be easily adjusted to different thickness of objects by simply sliding the two half members (12A, 12B) with respect to one another.

[0026] The corner packing protector (10) can take on three different configurations: a closed contracted configuration, as in FIG. 2, an open extended configuration, as in FIG. 3, and a separated configuration, as in FIG. 4.

[0027] In the closed configuration, shown in FIG. 2, the structural shape of the corner packing protector (10) essentially corresponds to that of a corner packing protector of the prior art. The distance A between the respective plates (14) of the first and second half members (12A, 12B) is minimal when the protector (10) is in the closed configuration. It can be easily understood that an appropriate minimal distance Amin should be selected for the objects and applications for which the protector (10) is intended for, as apparent to a person skilled in the art.

[0028] Unlike the corner protectors of the prior art, the corner packing protector (10) according to the present invention has first and second members (12A, 12B) which are devised to be slidably movable with respect to one another so as to vary the distance A between the respective plates (14) of each member (12A, 12B), depending on the thickness of the corner of the object to be protected during transportation. Hence, the corner packing protector (10) is also operable in an extended configuration, shown in FIG. 3, which is adjusted depending on the particular thickness of the corner to be protected. In this extended configuration, the distance A is superior to the minimal distance Amin. It is worth mentioning that the geometric complementary configuration of the rows (15) of alternating projections (18) and recesses (16) may take on various other different forms and patterns than the ones shown in the accompanying drawings without departing from the scope of the present invention, as apparent to a person skilled in the art. Furthermore, the rows (15) of projections (18) and recesses (16) are preferably devised so that friction is present thereinbetween so as to maintain the corner packing protector (10) in a desired extended position of a given thickness A.

[0029] Finally, the separated configuration of the corner packing protector (10), shown in FIG. 4, is achieved when the first member (12A) is no longer interconnected with the second member (12B).

[0030] Referring now to FIGS. 5 and 6, the plate (14) of each of the first and second half members (12A, 12B) of the corner packing protector (10) is triangular with three sides (22A, 22B, 22C) and the row (15) of alternating projections (18) and recesses (16) is disposed along two sides thereof, consisting respectively of a first side (22A) and a second side (22B). In the case where the corner (2A) of the object (1) to be protected is a square corner, as in FIG. 1, the first and second sides (22A, 22B) of the plate (14) are intersecting at right angle to form a square corner (24).

[0031] In the second preferred embodiment, shown in FIG. 1, which is adapted to protect a straight edge (2B) of the object (1), the plates (14) of each half member (12) are rectangular.

[0032] Although the preferred rows (15) shown and explained herein have each a specific number of projections (18) and recesses (16) on each side (22A, 22B) of the plate (14), in this case two of each, it is worth mentioning that these rows (15) could have a different number of projections and recesses.

[0033] According to the first preferred embodiment of the invention, shown in FIG. 5, the first and second half members (12A, 12B) are complementary and identical, as demonstrated by comparing FIG. 5 with FIG. 6 which shows a corner packing protector (10) according to the third preferred embodiment. It has to be noted that since these two half members are identical, only one is shown in FIG. 5. Thus, two of a same kind, whether “first” or “second” members (12A, 12B) can be used to form the corner packing protector (10). Hence, instead of having two different moulds for manufacturing the first and second members (12A, 12B) respectively, only one mould can be used to produce the two members (12) required for a same corner packing protector (10).

[0034] As can be appreciated, in the case of the first preferred embodiment, for each of the half members (12A, 12B), the projections (18) along the first and second sides (22A, 22B) have a same height and each of the alternating projections (18) and recesses (16) disposed along the first side (22A) is facing respectively a recess (16) and a projection (18) on the second side (22B). Also, the transversal cross section of each of the projections (18) and the recesses (16) on the first side (22A), such cross section being obtained by cutting a plane through the projections (18) at right angle to a longitudinal axis thereof, is in mirror symmetry with the transversal cross section of its corresponding recess (16) or projection (18) on the second side (22B). At the square corner (24) of each half member (12), the row (15) comprises a projection (19) having a height corresponding to half the height of the projections (18) along the first and second sides (22A, 22B).

[0035] It is worth mentioning that the first and second members (12A, 12B) of the corner packing protector (10) need not be identical, as better shown in FIG. 6. However, having identical first and second members (12A, 12B) is preferred for the aforementioned reasons and so as to prevent a user from inadvertently combining two members (12) of a kind which are not complementary to one another, such as two of the first members (12A) or two of the second members (12B) shown in FIG. 6.

[0036] In the third preferred embodiment shown in FIG. 6, the first and second half members (12A, 12B) are complementary but different. In this case, for each of the half members (12A, 12B), each of the alternating projections (18) and recesses (16) disposed along the first side (22A) is facing respectively a projection (18) and a recess (16) on the second side (22B), and the transversal cross section of each of the projections (18) and the recesses (16) on the first side (22A) is in mirror symmetry with the transversal cross section of its corresponding projection (18) or recess (16) on the second side (22B).

[0037] It is also worth mentioning that the row (15) of alternating projections (18) and recesses (16) on each half member (12A, 12B) in both cases preferably extends on a shoulder (30) formed on the inner face of each plate (14), as best shown in FIG. 3, so as to structurally strengthen each member (12A, 12B) and provide an abutment for the projections (18) thereof.

[0038] Furthermore, a packing protector (10) according to the invention is preferably made of a lightweight, shock-absorbing, and inexpensive material providing adequate friction between the interconnected rows (15) of alternating projections (18) and recesses (16). More preferably, the corner packing protector (10) is made of a plastic foam material, such as a plastic polystyrene or polyurethane or any other material known in that art.

[0039] As may now be appreciated, the present invention is a substantial improvement over the corner or edge packing protectors known in the art. Firstly, unlike the packing protectors available in the trade, the present invention, as explained earlier, is extensible so as to adjust itself to a particular thickness of a given corner or edge to be protected. Therefore, a same packing protector (10) can be used with different corners or edges of different thickness. The present invention is also advantageous in that it is easily and rapidly operable. Furthermore, the packing protector (10) according to the present invention is easy to manufacture and inexpensive to produce.

[0040] Although preferred embodiments of the present invention have been described in detail herein and illustrated in the accompanying drawings, it is to be understood that the invention is not limited to these precise embodiments and that various changes and modifications may be effected therein without departing from the scope or spirit of the present invention.