Title:
Container for circular disk-shaped objects
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A container for the storage and the protection of essentially circular disk-shaped objects, especially circular disk-shaped data-recording media such as floppy disks, compact disks (CDs), removable hard disks, gramophone records, optical filter disks, lenses, holograms or semiconductor wafers, with a shallow (flat) containment portion having a receptacle to at least partially accommodate a circular disk-shaped object and a closure portion attached to the containment portion in such a way that the closure portion can be swiveled in and out in order respectively to remove and insert the circular disk-shaped object into the containment portion, and whereby the circular disk-shaped object is completely surrounded by the containment portion and by the closure portion when the container is closed.



Inventors:
Preisler, Norbert M. (Frankfurt, DE)
Application Number:
09/841585
Publication Date:
10/31/2002
Filing Date:
04/25/2001
Assignee:
PREISLER NORBERT M.
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
206/303, G9B/33.01
International Classes:
G11B33/04; (IPC1-7): B65D85/57
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
FIDEI, DAVID
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BRYAN CAVE LLP (St. Louis, MO, US)
Claims:

I claim:



1. A container for the storage and protection of circular disk-shaped objects, the container comprising a flat (shallow) closure portion having a receptacle to at least partially accommodate a circular disk-shaped object having a center point and a containment portion attached to the closure portion in such a way that the closure portion can be swiveled in and out in order to remove and insert the circular disk-shaped object into the containment portion, and the circular disk-shaped object is completely surrounded by the containment portion and the closure portion when the container is closed, wherein the closure portion comprises an approximately cylinder segment shaped closure sleeve and the containment portion is an approximately square-shaped containment sleeve and the inner contour of the closure sleeve has the same or a slightly larger circular radius and the same or a slightly greater thickness than the circular disk-shaped object, and the outer contour of the closure sleeve has the same or a slightly smaller circular radius than the width of the inner contour of the approximately square-shaped containment sleeve and the same or a slightly smaller thickness than the unobstructed width of the inner contour of the containment sleeve and the closure sleeve is arranged on the containment sleeve and is borne on the latter rotatably and optionally so as to slide, whereby the axis of rotation of the closure sleeve is located vertically on the plane of the circular disk-shaped object and has a separation distance from a centerpoint of the circular disk-shaped object of 1/x of the radius of the circular disk-shaped object, and whereby the axis of rotation can be slid along a guide track whose projection onto the lower surface of the containment sleeve has a length of 1/x of the radius of the circular disk-shaped object and wherein x>1.5.

2. The container of claim 1, wherein the centerpoint of the circular disk-shaped object is arranged outside the internal contour of the closure sleeve and the value of x lies between 1.5 and 10.

3. The container of claim 1, wherein the guide track is defined by apertures arranged in the containment sleeve and the axis of rotation is arranged in a fixed position relative to the closure sleeve and pins are arranged on the closure sleeve along the axis of rotation and engage in the apertures.

4. The container of claim 1, wherein the guide track is defined by apertures arranged in the closure sleeve and the axis of rotation is defined in a fixed position relative to the containment sleeve by pins on the containment sleeve, whereby the pins engage in the apertures of the closure sleeve.

5. The container of claim 1, wherein the internal cavity of the closure sleeve comprises shoulders running along the circular periphery which hold the circular disk-shaped object at its edge.

6. The container of claim 1, wherein the container is stackable with other containers by means of openings, depressions or apertures and corresponding counterparts on the containment sleeves or are interconnectable through means of attachment.

7. The container of claim 1, wherein the closure sleeve comprises two approximately circular segment shaped parts, wherein each part is attachable to the other part by means of apertures, recesses or apertures and corresponding counterparts or are interconnectable through means of attachment.

8. The container of claim 1, wherein x>100 and the aperture is a drilled hole.

9. The container of claim 1, further comprising a lid arranged on the containment sleeve, which together with the sidewall of the containment sleeve forms a compartment.

10. The container of claim 1, wherein the circular disk-shape object comprises an object selected from the group consisting of floppy disks, compact disks, optical lenses, fittings, and semiconductor wafers.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0001] The invention relates to the field of storage containers, and more particularly to a container for the storage and the protection of essentially circular disk-shaped objects, especially circular disk-shaped data-recording media such as floppy disks, compact disks (CDs), removable hard disks, gramophone records, optical filter disks, lenses, holograms or semiconductor wafers.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] In order to ensure a long lifetime for data recording media or sound recording media, such as for example floppy disks, removable hard disks, compact disks (CDs) or gramophone records, i.e. frequent play-back and reproduction with approximately the same good quality, the data or sound recording media must be protected from dust, dirt and mechanical influences, especially from scratching. The same is true for optical components such as for example lenses, filter disks, holograms or semiconductor wafers, which must be protected from impact, scratching and dust contamination and which must be removable without touching the circular surfaces with the fingers in order to guarantee faultless functionality.

[0003] Closed containers that are commercially available in a very great diversity of shapes and designs are used for this purpose. Containers consisting of a rectangular base and a rectangular cover made from transparent plastic connected together by means of a hinge at one edge with the ability to fold open are most frequently used for compact disks for use in the computer and music sectors.

[0004] In the case of the known containers, the base has in the center a boss onto which the CD is detachably held by its central circular aperture. As a rule the essentially cylindrical boss has molded contours between which CD is held quasi free-floating in the middle of the container. Holders that detachably retain operating instructions or an accompanying booklet are often provided in the cover of containers of this kind. Containers of this kind require correct handling when opening them and removing the compact disk. In confined space situations it turns out to be a disadvantage that the opened container is about twice as big as the closed one.

[0005] To enable simple operation, especially for use in a motor vehicle, in particular the single-handed removal and replacement of a compact disk from the container and into the container respectively by the vehicle driver, a container in which the closure portion has a rectangular basic shape whose one narrow side is covered up by a lid-shaped receptacle portion arranged rotatably in a corner region is known from the European Offenlegungsschrift (published application) EP 0 181 835 A2. The lid is integrally attached to an essentially U-shaped holder that projects into the container in the closed state. To remove or to insert a floppy disk or a compact disk, the disk holder can be swiveled out of the container by opening the lid. This known device is relatively expensive to manufacture and is quite unwieldy in the opened-out state.

[0006] Furthermore, a container in which the containment portion is an approximately semicircular disk-shaped receptacle sleeve and the closure portion is also an approximately semicircular disk-shaped closure sleeve, and in which the internal contour of the closure sleeve has the same or a slightly larger circular radius and the same or a slightly greater thickness as/than the sound recording medium and in which the external contour of the closure sleeve has the same or a slightly smaller circular radius and the same or a slightly smaller thickness as/than the inner contour of the receptacle sleeve, and in which the connection between the receptacle sleeve and the closure sleeve is constructed essentially at the centers of their circles is known from the German Offenlegungsschrift (published unexamined application) DE 44 08 851 A1 and the European Patent Specification EP 0 750 781 B1.

[0007] A container of this kind, which in the closed state has essentially the shape of a flat (shallow) circular tin box and whose diameter is only slightly greater than the diameter of the circular disk-shaped sound recording medium, has the disadvantage that it does not stand securely vertically without accessory devices, nor does it have any means to prevent unwanted rotation around the circle centerpoint as is necessary for example in a sales display case, and that no retaining holders are provided to accommodate a rectangular accompanying booklet that can be manufactured inexpensively or a flat rectangular display.

[0008] Moreover, a container consisting of a flat (shallow) containment portion which is an approximately square-shaped containment sleeve and a closure portion that is an approximately semi-circular disk-shaped closure sleeve, which has a receptacle to at least partially accommodate a circular disk-shaped object, and in which the inner contour of the containment sleeve is able to accommodate completely the outer contour of the closure sleeve, and in which the inner contour of the closure sleeve has the same or a slightly larger radius as/than the outer diameter of the circular disk-shaped object and a larger unobstructed width than the maximum thickness of the circular disk-shaped object, and in which the connection between the containment sleeve and the closure sleeve is arranged approximately at the circle centerpoint of the closure sleeve and in the inscribed circle center point of the inner contour of the containment sleeve and the closure sleeve is pivoted so as to turn around an axis of rotation in the containment sleeve is known from the Patent Application DE 198 48 121. The disadvantage of this invention is that the circle centerpoint of the circular object is always within the containment sleeve and the closure sleeve and is inaccessible for example for a manual or mechanical grasping procedure.

[0009] Furthermore, a container for a circular disk-shaped spooled roll of magnetic tape arranged on a spindle, which in the closed state surrounds only the area of the spooled roll and leaves the spindle free is known from the U.S. Pat. No. 3,442,373 A.

[0010] The task of the present invention is to develop further the container of Patent Application DE 198 48 121 so as to create a container of the type initially mentioned, which is inexpensive to manufacture, which is partially matched to the shape of the circular disk-shaped object, which does not require any additional space either in the closed or the opened state, which in the open state freely accessibly exposes approximately half of the surface of the circular disk-shaped object and (freely accessibly exposes) the centerpoint of the circular disk-shaped object on all sides, which stands secured against turning out of position on a flat substrate surface with regard to the effect of forces in the plane of the circular disk-shaped object, has means for retaining an essentially rectangular accompanying booklet or a display and holds the circular disk-shaped object with no contact with the disk surfaces.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0011] The task of the invention is solved in that the container consists of a flat (shallow) containment portion and a flat (shallow) closure portion, whereby the containment portion is an approximately square-shaped containment sleeve and the closure portion is an approximately cylinder segment shaped closure sleeve that has a receptacle to at least partly accommodate a circular disk-shaped object, whereby the internal contour of the containment sleeve is able to accommodate completely the outer contour of the closure sleeve and whereby the inner contour of the closure sleeve has the same or a slightly larger radius as/than the outer diameter of the circular disk-shaped object and a larger unobstructed width than the maximum thickness of the circular disk-shaped object and the containment sleeve is located on the closure sleeve in such a way that it can be multiply adjusted and rotated and slid.

[0012] At the same time, the closure sleeve has an axis of rotation lying in a plane of symmetry at right angles to the plane of the circular disk-shaped object and arranged at right angles to the end faces of the essentially cylinder segment-shaped closure sleeve and which has a separation distance relative to the inner contour of the closure sleeve, which is smaller than the radius of the circular disk-shaped object. In this respect the axis of rotation of the closure sleeve can be displaced longitudinally in a guide track arranged approximately parallel to the lower edge of the containment sleeve.

[0013] On the external sleeve according to the invention there are provided means of retention that detachably hold an approximately rectangular operating instructions, an accompanying booklet and/or a display. Furthermore, there are provided in the inner contour of the closure sleeve and/or in the inner contour of the containment sleeve, knobs or suchlike spacers that secure the circular disk-shaped object in a position relative to the closure sleeve defined by the insertion of the circular disk-shaped object into the closure sleeve and effectively prevent contact between the end faces of the circular disk-shaped object and the inner surfaces of the containment and closure sleeve during transport or in the event of vibrations of the container.

[0014] Compared to the known containers, a container of this kind has the advantage that the square circumscribed by the container is only slightly larger than the square circumscribed by the circular disk-shaped object and that opening the container and removal of the circular disk-shaped object can be performed easily with one hand, whereby when the container is in the opened state the centerpoint of the circular disk-shaped object is freely accessible on all sides. Since the container consists merely of two sleeves that can be rotated and slid into each other, it is inexpensive to manufacture.

[0015] According to an appropriate embodiment of the invention, the rotatable connection between the containment sleeve and the closure sleeve can take place in accordance with the known state of the art in that there are arranged on the outer surfaces of the closure sleeve two rotationally symmetrical pins that engage in slot-shaped apertures in the containment sleeve, whereby the width of the aperture is slightly larger than the smallest diameter of the rotationally symmetrical pins and the length of the aperture is larger than one tenth of the radius of the circular disk-shaped object. However, it is also possible for the slot-shaped apertures to be located in the closure sleeve and the pins on the containment sleeve.

[0016] Further characteristic features, benefits and possible applications of the invention will be apparent to those skilled in the art from the following description of embodiment examples and from the drawings.

DRAWINGS

[0017] FIG. 1 is an elevation view of a container according to the invention in the closed state with a circular disk-shaped object inserted into it;

[0018] FIG. 2 is an elevation view of a container according to the invention in the opened state with a circular disk-shaped object inserted into it;

[0019] FIG. 3 is a cross-section through a container according to the invention in the half-opened state with a circular disk-shaped object inserted into it;

[0020] FIG. 4 is an elevation view of a container according to the invention in the closed state with a circular disk-shaped object inserted into it;

[0021] FIG. 5 is an elevation view of a container according to the invention in the half-opened state with a circular disk-shaped object inserted into it;

[0022] FIG. 6 is an elevation view of a container according to the invention in the opened state with a circular disk-shaped object inserted into it;

[0023] FIG. 7a is a cross-section view through the containment sleeve parallel to the lower surface;

[0024] FIG. 7b is a cross-section view through the containment sleeve perpendicular to the lower surface; and

[0025] FIG. 8 is a cross-section through containers according to the invention in the region of the axis of rotation.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0026] FIG. 1 shows an elevation view of a container according to the invention in the closed state with a circular disk-shaped object 3 inserted into it and with an edge 13. The approximately square-shaped containment sleeve 2 has a slot-shaped aperture 50 in which a pin 40 is carried so as to be rotatable around an axis of rotation 9 and so as to be slidable perpendicular to the axis of rotation 9. In the embodiment example of FIG. 1, the slot-shaped aperture 50 is situated in the region of a tongue 10 molded on the approximately square-shaped containment sleeve. The pin 40 and a pin 40′ aligned with the latter is located on the approximately cylinder segment shaped closure sleeve 1 and, in the case where the container consists of plastic, is preferably molded in one piece on the closure sleeve. The axis of rotation 9 which represents the axis of rotation of the pins 40, 40′ is situated perpendicularly on the sidewalls of the closure sleeve 1 and lies in its plane of symmetry.

[0027] The axis of rotation 9 is arranged at a distance “a” from the centerpoint 8 of the circular disk-shaped object 3. The centerpoint 8 of the circular disk-shaped object 3 coincides with the circle centerpoint of the circle circumscribing the closure sleeve 1. The pin 40 is located so as to be able to slide longitudinally in the slot-shaped aperture 50 and so as to be rotatable around the axis of rotation 9 at any point in the aperture 50. The length of the slot-shaped aperture 50 is at least a+d where “a” is the separation distance between the axis of rotation 9 and the centerpoint 8 and “d” is the diameter of the pin 40. The aperture 50 can have a linear shape and can be arranged parallel to the lower surface 11 of the containment sleeve 2: however, provision is also made for the aperture 50 to be arranged in an angular range of 0° to 3° relative to the lower surface 11. On turning the closure sleeve 1 from the closed state, the edge 13 of the circular disk-shaped object 3 impacts against the inner face of the containment sleeve 2 and pushes the closure sleeve 1 towards the inner surface of the containment sleeve 2 lying opposite to it. At the same time the pin 40 is pushed into the aperture 50. When the closure sleeve 1 is in the half-opened condition, the pin 40 is situated in the position furthest removed from the center plane of the containment sleeve. On turning the closure sleeve 1 further, the pin 40 again moves to the central plane of the containment sleeve 2, and when the container is fully open it is again situated in the same position that it occupied when the container was closed. A grip 6 is molded onto the closure sleeve 1 and forms a grasping surface to open and close the container. There are, not illustrated, intermeshing means of retention arranged on the closure sleeve 1 and on the containment sleeve 2, which detachably retain the closure sleeve 1 with regard to turning out of position relative to the containment sleeve 2. At the same time, one or more positions of the closure sleeve 1 can be detachably held in relation to the containment sleeve 2.

[0028] Provision is made to secure at least the position of the closure sleeve 1 in the open and in the closed state by means of retaining devices. There is also provision to design the grip 6 in such a way that it holds the closure sleeve 1 onto the containment sleeve 2 in the closed position. There is also provision, as security against unauthorized opening, to arrange a plastic seal on the grip 6 between the containment sleeve 2 and the closure sleeve 1 which must be broken open on first opening the container. The containment sleeve 2 has on at least one corner an aperture 7 that enables access to the closure sleeve 1 when the container is in the fully opened state. There is provision for the closure sleeve 1 and the containment sleeve 2 to be manufactured from materials that do not scratch the surface of the circular disk-shaped object 3 on contact with the latter, so as not to scratch the circular disk-shaped object 3 when it is being inserted and removed. Moreover, there is provision to construct the containment sleeve 2 without the molded tongue 10 and instead of this to construct the containment sleeve 2 with an essentially square shape, whereby the aperture 50 is located slightly below the upper edge of the containment sleeve 2.

[0029] In FIG. 2 the container according to the invention is shown in elevation view in the opened state with a circular disk-shaped object 3 inserted into it. The position of the essentially cylinder segment shaped closure sleeve 1 emerges from the closed state of FIG. 1 by rotation through 180°. In this respect, the centerpoint 8 of the circular disk-shaped object 3 lies outside the upper edge of the containment sleeve 2 and the closure sleeve 1 in the open state.

[0030] FIG. 3 shows a container according to the invention with a half-opened closure sleeve 1 diagrammatically in cross-section through the axis of rotation 9. For greater understandability, the proportions have been modified relative to the practical execution of the container.

[0031] A containment sleeve 2 with a flat lower surface 11 on which the container can stand securely in the face of forces acting in the plane of the circular disk-shaped object 3 has slot-shaped apertures 50, 50′ in the sidewalls 32, 33, whereby the slot width in each case is only slightly larger than the diameter of the cylindrical pins 40, 40′. The slot-shaped apertures 50, 50′ accommodate the pins 40, 40′ arranged in a rotationally symmetrical manner relative to the axis of rotation 9 in such a way that they (=the pins) are slidable approximately parallel to the lower surface 11 and parallel to the plane of the circular disk-shaped object 1. A part of the closure sleeve 1 projects into the internal cavity 19 of the containment sleeve 2. Pins 40, 40′ that engage in the apertures 50, 50′ and together with these form a rotatable and slidable bearing of the closure sleeve 1 on the containment sleeve 2 are molded on the sidewalls 14, 15 of the closure sleeve 1. A circular disk-shaped object 3 is arranged in the interior cavity 18 of the closure sleeve 1 formed by the sidewalls 14, 15, whereby the edge 13 is supported by shoulders 16, 17 that hold the circular disk-shaped object 3 approximately in the center plane of the interior cavity 18 of the closure sleeve 1. The shoulders 16, 17 can be molded onto the closure sleeve 1 as illustrated; however it is also conceivable for a profile strip to be inserted into the closure sleeve, which supports the circular disk-shaped object approximately in the central plane of the internal cavity 18.

[0032] FIG. 4 shows an elevation view of a container according to the invention in the closed state with a circular disk-shaped object inserted into it. In this embodiment example a pin 40 is carried rotatably in an aperture in the form of a hole 54 and the axis of rotation 9 is arranged approximately in the centerpoint of the circular disk-shaped object 3. In the interior of the containment sleeve 2 there is arranged a leaf spring 38 that presses the circular disk-shaped object 3 against the inner surface of the closure sleeve 1 and secures it against slipping out of position.

[0033] FIG. 5 shows an elevation view of a container according to the invention in the half-opened state with a circular disk-shaped object 3 inserted into it. The closure sleeve 1 is rotatably carried around a pin 40 arranged in a hole 54. On the closure sleeve 1 there is a grip 6 in the form of a knurled or otherwise structured surface, which is accessible through the opening 7 when the container is fully opened.

[0034] FIG. 6 shows a container according to the invention in the opened state with a circular disk-shaped object inserted into it. A leaf spring 37 is provided on the inner surface of the closure sleeve 1 to immobilize the circular disk-shaped object 3 in the closed container. This leaf spring can be dimensioned in such a way that the circular disk-shaped object 3 is partially forced out of the closure sleeve 1 when the container is opened.

[0035] FIG. 7 shows a cross-section through the containment sleeve 2 according to the invention. In FIG. 7a the plane of the cross-section is parallel to the lower surface 11 of the containment sleeve 2. A compartment 35 bounded on one side by the sidewall 33 of the containment sleeve 2 and on the other by a lid 34 adjoins the actual containment sleeve 2. The purpose of the compartment 35 is to accommodate a label and/or a booklet accompanying the circular disk-shaped object 3. An opening 36 is provided to facilitate the removal of the label or accompanying booklet that is pushed into the compartment 35. FIG. 7b shows a cross-section through the containment sleeve 2 in a cross-sectional plan perpendicular to the lower surface 11 of the containment sleeve. The lid 34 can be molded onto the containment sleeve 2 or can be arranged on the containment sleeve by means of clips or detachable means of fixing.

[0036] FIG. 8 illustrates embodiment examples of the supporting of the closure sleeve 1 in the containment sleeve 2 in cross-section. FIG. 8a illustrates a mushroom-shaped boss 43 in a groove 53 with a mushroom-shaped cross-section, FIG. 8b shows a conical boss 42 in a groove 52 with a trapezoidal cross-section and FIG. 8c a cylindrical boss 40 in a groove 50 with a rectangular cross-section. It is irrelevant to the invention whether the bosses 40, 42, 43 are provided on the closure sleeve 1 or on the containment sleeve 2. The grooves 51, 52, 53 can have a length perpendicular to the plane of the paper that is as large as the largest diameter of the respective associated bosses 40, 42, 43. If the groove has a length=0, the bosses 40, 42, 43 are carried in appropriately shaped, rotationally symmetrical holes.

[0037] Advantageously the containers according to the invention can be of stackable construction, for which purpose apertures, recesses or such-like openings are provided on the containment sleeve 2 and corresponding counterparts in order to join the containers detachably to one another. The containers can also be joined together by means of connectors attached to the sleeves, for example clips. If the circular disk-shaped objects involve compact disks or other circular disk-shaped data recording media that are intended to be played back in player devices, it is conceivable that an assemblage of containers according to the invention can serve as a magazine for a player device, whereby the player device must be equipped with a mechanism that removes the compact disks from the magazine or plays them inside the magazine.





 
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