Title:
Paperboard gable top carrier with gussets
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A wrap-around carrier for carrying gable topped cartons with at least one end flap is formed without the use of adhesive by the addition of a gusset that holds the end flap securely in place. The gusset is held in place by the gable topped cartons that are contained within the wrap-around carrier. The wrap-around carrier also includes a paperboard locking mechanism that interconnects the bottom panel portions of the carrier together.



Inventors:
Peterson, Christine (Batavia, OH, US)
Cooper, Donald (Teaneck, NJ, US)
Naumann, Fred (Old Tappan, NJ, US)
Application Number:
10/121181
Publication Date:
11/21/2002
Filing Date:
04/12/2002
Assignee:
PETERSON CHRISTINE
COOPER DONALD
NAUMANN FRED
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
229/198.2
International Classes:
B65D71/00; B65D71/36; (IPC1-7): B65D65/10; B65D71/20
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
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20080078820SPLIT CARTONApril, 2008Stewart et al.
20090078749Reusable ContainerMarch, 2009Chen
20100065622Structural improvement for cup containerMarch, 2010Chang
20090001149ARTICLE STORAGE AND DISPLAY CONTAINERJanuary, 2009Odell
20020170949Paperboard gable top carrier with gussetsNovember, 2002Peterson et al.
20050023334Packing crateFebruary, 2005Park et al.
20060169756Convertible boxAugust, 2006Sexton et al.
20010010132Package with advertisement printAugust, 2001Deuerling
20010030135CIGARETTE PACK BLANKOctober, 2001Fath et al.



Primary Examiner:
ELKINS, GARY E
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
OSTRAGER CHONG & FLAHERTY LLP (NEW YORK, NY, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. A one piece paperboard blank for a wrap-around carrier to package a linear series of cartons, said blank comprising: (a) a top panel portion, (b) top corner panel portions foldably attached to opposing longitudinal edges of the top panel portion, (c) first and second side wall panel portions foldably attached to the top corner panel portions, (d) a first bottom panel portion foldably attached to said first side wall panel portion, (e) a second bottom panel portion foldably attached to said second side wall portion, (f) an end flap foldably attached to one of said side wall panel portion, (g) a gusset foldably attached to said end flap and at least one of said first or second bottom panel portion, and (h) means for interlocking said first bottom panel portion and said second bottom panel portion together without the addition of glues or adhesives.

2. The blank as set forth in claim 1, wherein the interlocking means comprises a multiplicity of locking tabs foldably attached to said first bottom panel portion, and a multiplicity of inserts cutout of said second bottom panel portion, wherein said locking tabs fasten and interconnect with said inserts.

3. The blank as set forth in claim 1, wherein said gusset comprises a generally L-shaped connection between said end flap and one of said bottom panel portions.

4. The blank as set forth in claim 3, wherein the generally L-shaped connection comprises outer edges that connect at an angle greater than 90°, and inner edges that connect at an angle less than 90°.

5. The blank as set forth in claim 3, wherein said gusset further comprises two trapezoidal sections, wherein said trapezoidal sections are foldably connected to one another by a fold line that runs the length of the axis of said L-shaped connection.

6. The blank as set forth in claim 1, further comprising at least one internal compression cut-out along the fold line between said first bottom panel portion and said first side wall panel portion, and diametrically opposed from at least one internal compression cut-out along the fold line between said second bottom panel portion and said second side wall panel portion.

7. The blank as set forth in claim 1, wherein said top panel portion has score lines along its foldable edges thereby providing an easily removable tear strip for access to the interior of said carrier.

8. The blank as set forth in claim 1, wherein said top corner panel portions further comprises oppositely disposed openings to receive portions of a top of a gable topped carton.

9. The blank as set forth in claim 1, wherein said top panel further comprises a multiplicity of generally circular cutouts remote from the sides of said top panel.

10. A wrap-around carrier formed from a unitary bland of paperboard folded and interconnected into a tube-like structure, comprising: (a) a first bottom panel portion and a second bottom panel portion, said first bottom panel portions interconnected to said second bottom panel portion, (b) a first upstanding side wall portion foldably connected to said first bottom portion, and a second upstanding side wall portion foldably connected to said second bottom portion, (c) corner panel portions foldably connected to said first and second side wall portions, (d) a top panel portion foldably connected between the corner panel portions, (e) at least one end flap foldably attached to one of said side wall portions that partially covers one end of the tube-like structure (f) at least one gusset foldably attached to said end flap and one of said bottom panel portions, whereby the gusset is held still by the cartons positioned within the wrap-around carrier, holding the end flap in position.

11. The carrier as set forth in claim 10, wherein said first and second bottom panels are interconnected by a multiplicity of locking tabs foldably attached to said first bottom panel portion, with a multiplicity of inserts cutout of said second panel portion.

12. The carrier as set forth in claim 10, wherein said gusset comprises a generally L-shape connection between the said end flap and said bottom panel.

13. The carrier as set forth in claim 12, wherein said gusset further comprises two trapezoidal sections, said trapezoidal sections connected to one another by a fold line along the axis of the L-shaped gusset, wherein said trapezoidal sections are folded together in a face to face arrangement.

14. The carrier as set forth in claim 13, wherein said face to face arrangement is folded over said bottom panel portion and held in place by a gable topped carton that is loaded into said carrier.

15. The carrier as set forth in claim 10, further comprising at least one internal compression cut-out along the crease between said first bottom panel portion and a said first side wall, and diaposed from at least one internal compression cut-out along the crease between said second bottom panel portion and said second side wall.

16. The carrier as set forth in claim 10, wherein said top panel portion has score lines along its foldable edges, thereby providing an easily removable tear strip for access to the interior of said carrier.

17. The carrier as set forth in claim 10, wherein said corner panel portions further comprises oppositely disposed openings that receive top opening tabs of a plurality of cartons positioned in a row within said carrier.

18. The carrier as set forth in claim 10, wherein said top panel further comprises a multiplicity of generally circular cutouts remote from the sides of said top panel portion.

19. A one piece paperboard blank for a wrap-around carrier to package a linear series of cartons, said blank comprising: (a) a top panel portion, (b) top corner panel portions foldably attached to opposing longitudinal edges of the top panel portion, (c) first and second side wall panel portions foldably attached to the top corner panel portions, (d) a first bottom panel portion foldably attached to said first side wall panel portion, (e) a second bottom panel portion foldably attached to said second side wall portion, (f) an end flap foldably attached to one of said side wall panel portion, (g) a gusset foldably attached to said end flap and at least one said bottom panel portion, and (h) a multiplicity of locking tabs foldably attached to said first bottom panel portion, and a multiplicity of inserts cutout of said second bottom panel portion.

20. The blank as set forth in claim 19, wherein said gusset comprises a generally L-shaped connection between said end flap and one of said bottom panel portions.

21. The blank as set forth in claim 20, wherein the generally L-shaped connection comprises outer edges that connect at an angle greater than 90°, and inner edges that connect at an angle less than 90°.

22. The blank as set forth in claim 19, wherein said top corner panel portions further comprises oppositely disposed openings to receive portions of a top of a gable topped carton.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0001] The present invention relates to a wrap-around paperboard carrier, made from a unitary paperboard blank, for carrying a multiplicity of gable topped cartons.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] Gable topped cartons are well known and commonly used for holding many types of beverages and liquids, and may include a small drinking straw or other items such as a favor temporarily attached to one side of the carton for use by a consumer. Such cartons are sized for individual or family portions and are therefore available in several different sizes.

[0003] For ease of shipping and handling, multiple individual portion sized gable topped cartons are typically packaged together in wrap-around paperboard carriers. For example, a linear series of three such gable topped cartons may be secured in the wrap-around carrier shown in commonly owned U.S. Pat. No. 5,060,804, the disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference. The '804 patent discloses a carrier made from a unitary paperboard blank having a top panel portion, two top corner panel portions, two side wall portions, a bottom panel portion and end flaps that cover a portion of each end of the wrap-around carrier to protect against loss or pilferage of cartons or items adhered thereto.

[0004] When manufacturing this type of wrap-around carrier, an adhesive or glue is used to secure the end flap in place. An adhesive or glue is also used to adhere the bottom panels of the wrap-around carrier together. Utilization of an adhesive in the manufacturing process, however, introduces a mechanical operation into the packaging line that can create problems. For example, gluing a carton in a wet or humid environment, such as a juice production and packing plant, can result in a sub-par adhesive seal, which increases the danger of malfunction. Further, not only do adhesives create additional variables in the manufacturing process, they can increase expenses by requiring additional inventory and machinery.

[0005] It is therefore desirable to provide an economical one-piece paperboard blank for forming a wrap-around carrier including end flaps for protection against the loss and pilferage of items, that increases manufacturing ease and carrier consistency, and reduces manufacturing costs by eliminating the need for adhesives and glues.

[0006] Accordingly, it is a broad object of this invention to incorporate the above described desirable features in a unitary blank and a carrier formed from such blank with an economy of material which can be processed in standard packaging equipment and processes.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0007] The invention provides a one-piece paperboard blank for forming a wrap-around carrier with end flaps that does not require any adhesives for the purpose of packaging a linear series of gable topped cartons. This is achieved by providing a unitary blank comprising a top panel portion, top corner panel portions, first and second side wall panel portions, first and second bottom panel portions, at least one end flap attached to one of the side wall panel portions, at least one gusset that is attached to the end flap and one of the bottom panel portions, and means for interlocking both bottom panel portions together without the addition of glues or adhesives.

[0008] When the blank is erected to form the wrap-around carrier, the gusset folds over itself and the bottom panel portion creating a 3-ply arrangement. A gable topped carton is inserted into the carrier and the weight of the carton holds down the gusset, which in turn holds the end flap in a closed position.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0009] FIG. 1 is a perspective view showing an erected wrap-around carrier.

[0010] FIG. 2 is a plan view of a unitary blank used to form the carrier shown in FIG. 1. FIG. 3 is an enlarged fragmentary plan view of a locking tab and insert on the bottom panel portions of the blank shown in FIG. 2.

[0011] FIG. 4 is an enlarged fragmentary plan view showing a locking tab as it advances through an insert.

[0012] FIG. 5 is an enlarged fragmentary perspective view showing the relationship of a locking tab and an insert when they are fastened together.

[0013] FIG. 6 is a cross-sectional view of FIG. 5, taken along line 6-6, showing the relationship of the locking tab and the insert when they are fastened together.

[0014] FIG. 7. is an enlarged plan view of a gusset of the blank shown in FIG. 2.

[0015] FIG. 8 is an enlarged perspective view of the gusset in a partially erected wrap-around carrier.

[0016] FIG. 9 is an enlarged perspective view of the gusset in a fully erected wrap-around carrier.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0017] The present invention is directed to a carrier for individual size gable topped cartons, but the principals of the invention may also be applied to a carrier for larger gable topped cartons or even non-gable topped types of cartons or containers.

[0018] Referring to the figures, FIG. 1 represents one embodiment of the wrap-around carrier 92 in its erected and folded form. The carrier has a top panel portion 10, top corner panel portions 12a and 12b on opposed longitudinal edges of the top panel portion, and side wall panel portions 14a and 14b on opposed longitudinal edges of the top corner panel portions. The top panel portion 10 has score lines along its foldable edges providing an easily removable tear strip for access to the interior of the carrier. The top panel portion may also have graphic indicia imprinted on one of its surfaces.

[0019] The top corner panel portions extend along the top panel portion's longitudinal edges and may have oppositely disposed openings 22 to securely receive portions of the gable top 24 of contained cartons 26. End flaps 32 and 34 provide a protective covering for the gable topped cartons 26, and for any attachments the cartons may have.

[0020] The unitary paperboard blank of the preferred embodiment is laid flat in FIG. 2. The paperboard blank is preferably made of Milk Cart Stock Grade 8341 (International Paper, Tuxedo, New York), but can be made of any material known that is suitable to wrap-around carriers. For example, if one were to package larger size cartons, a thicker grade may be advisable. First bottom panel portion 16, comprising an upper end 58, a bottom end 60, an interior end 62 and a terminal end 64, foldably connects to side panel portion 14a along its interior end. Second bottom panel portion 18 comprising an upper end 50, bottom end 52, interior end 54 and terminal end 56, foldably connects to side wall portion 14b along its interior end. In preferred embodiments, both bottom panel portions are of similar size. Alternate embodiments can shorten the width of one of the bottom panel portions as long as the other bottom panel potion's width is increased to make up the difference.

[0021] A first end flap 32 is foldably attached to an end 48a of the side wall 14a. A second end flap 34 attached to an end 48b of the side panel portion 14b. Gusset 36 bridges end flap 32 and first bottom panel portion 16. Gusset 38 bridges end flap 34 and second bottom panel portion 18.

[0022] Connected to the second bottom panel potions along its terminal end 56 is a multiplicity of locking tabs 42, best seen in FIG. 3. The first bottom panel portion contains a multiplicity of inserts 44 for receiving the locking tabs. Cut into terminal end 64 are a multiplicity of curved notches, 46, as best seen in FIG. 3. The exact layout of these locking tabs and inserts can vary greatly.

[0023] In alternative embodiments, the top panel contains a multiplicity of finger holes 40, spaced to optimize the comfort level of the consumer when carrying the wrap-around carrier.

[0024] FIG. 7 depicts one embodiment of a gusset that keeps the end flap in a closed position without the need for adhesives. The gusset 38 connects the end flap 34 with bottom portion 18 and has a cut-out section 124, forming a generally L-shaped thick bridge. In this embodiment, the outer side edges of the L-shaped thick bridge 116 and 118 connect at corner 126 at an angle greater than 90°, while the inner side edges 120 and 122 connect at corner 128 at an angle less than 90°. However, the angles of corners 126 and 128 can each be greater or less than 90°, in any combination, while maintaining the advantages and spirit of the invention.

[0025] A fold line 98 further divides the gusset into two trapezoidal sections 94 and 96. The fold line 98 runs the length of the L-axis of the gusset. A fold line 112 runs the length of the bottom end of trapezoidal section 96, overlapping upper end 50. A fold line 130 runs the length of an end of trapezoidal section 94, overlapping a side of end flap 34.

[0026] FIG. 8 shows the gusset folding from the unitary paperboard blank depicted in FIG. 2 to the fully erected wrap-around carrier depicted in FIG. 1. As indicated by arrow A, the gusset folds upward, out the plane of the blank, along fold line 98. As that happens, end flap 34 begins to be pulled toward bottom panel portion 18 as indicated by arrows B and C.

[0027] FIG. 9 shows the position of the gusset when the carrier is fully erected. Here the two trapezoidal sections of the gusset, 94 and 96, touch each other in a 2-ply face to face gusset arrangement 110. This 2-ply face to face gusset arrangement is fully folded over fold line 112, so that the gusset arrangement 110 lies on top of the bottom panel portion 18 in a face-to-face manner. Thus, the bottom panel portion and the gusset arrangement create a 3-ply paperboard arrangement 114, located on the bottom side of the wrap-around carrier. The 3-ply arrangement is held in place without any adhesives by gable topped carton 26, which is carried within the wrap-around carrier. The gusset, held down by gable topped carton 26, in turn holds end flap 34 in a closed position at the end of the carrier.

[0028] Many types of locking mechanisms are known in the prior art and may be used to secure the bottom panels together without adhesives, including but not limited to, those described in U.S. Pat. Nos. 3,432,029, 4,709,284, 5,180,100, 5,3311,994, 5,437,363, 5,704,542, 5,855,318, 5,941,453. One embodiment involves locking tab 42 and insert 44, as seen in FIG. 3. The locking tab contains a primary tab 66, a base tab 82, and a secondary tab 68. The base tab 82 and secondary tab 68 are foldably connected along longitudal fold line 70. The primary tab is generally semi-circular in shape, with end prongs 72 and 74 that lay in a linear plane parallel to fold line 70. The end prongs extend past the base tab 82, creating a locking shoulder 84. The base tab is generally trapezoidal in shape, with side edges 80 that diverge from one another as they extend away from the primary tab. The base tab connects to the primary tab on the same linear plane as the bottom of the end prongs, with end points that curve inward in a generally circular configuration.

[0029] Secondary tab 68 is generally trapezoidal in shape, with a top side that corresponds to fold line 70, side edges 80 that diverge from one another as they extend away fold line 70 and continue the linear path of the base tab's edges 80. The bottom side consists of fold lines 86 that flank arcuate slit 88. When locking tab 42 is bent along fold lines 86, a secondary locking tab 90 is formed in the shape of an arced protrusion that corresponds to the shape of arcuate slit 88.

[0030] Insert 44 is generally rectangular in shape with top edge 100, bottom edge 102, and slide track edges 104. The top edge is a straight line parallel to the second bottom panel portion's terminal end. Slide track edges 104 have an outwardly curved shape that curves inward at the point where the insert's slide track edges meet the insert's top edge, creating corner notches 106. Small cut lines 108 flank the bottom edge, which is parallel to the top edge. The cut lines 108 take on a half-teardrop shape, with the bulge of the half-teardrop facing away from the terminal end.

[0031] FIGS. 4-6 show how the locking tabs interconnect. The primary tab 66 is inserted through the insert's bottom edge 102, as shown in FIG. 4. Entry of the primary tab 66 is aided by the cut lines 108 the flank the insert's bottom edge 102. The primary tab 66, pointing upwards perpendicularly out of the insert 44, is then moved in a plane parallel to the insert toward the insert's top edge 100. This movement is facilitated by the slide tracks 104 that curve outward and reduce friction. When the primary tab is by the top edge 100, the secondary tab 90 is pushed upwards though the insert's bottom edge 102, so that the locking tab is in a plane parallel to the insert. The secondary tab 90 then fastens over the insert's bottom edge 102, while the primary tab 66 locks over the insert's top edge 100, aided by friction caused by the locking shoulder 84, as shown in FIG. 6. A cross-sectional view of the interconnected tab and insert is shown in FIG. 5.

[0032] Although the invention has been described with reference to a preferred embodiment, it will be appreciated by one of ordinary skill in the art that numerous modifications are possible in light of the above disclosure. For example, the exact shape of the gusset can vary by altering the width and angles of L-shaped bridge while still achieving the same results. Further, only one gusset and end flap may be used instead of two, or gussets and end flaps may be used on both ends of the carrier. Additionally, the type of paper stock and variables such as thickness and weight of the stock may be modified to accommodate other carton types and sizes. All such variation and modifications are intended to be within the scope and spirit of the invention.