Title:
Packaging container for multiple CDs
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A clamshell packaging container for storing and handling multiple compact discs. The container has a base and a cover, the base being configured to hold a plurality of concentrically stacked compact discs while providing free access for a handling spindle to be inserted through aligned the central apertures of the discs when the container is open.



Inventors:
Kern, Daniel Solomon (Rochester, NY, US)
Kern, Benjamin David (Rochester, NY, US)
Application Number:
09/954817
Publication Date:
03/20/2003
Filing Date:
09/18/2001
Assignee:
KERN DANIEL SOLOMON
KERN BENJAMIN DAVID
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
G9B/33.02, G9B/33.015
International Classes:
B65D75/32; G11B33/04; (IPC1-7): B65B23/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
BRATLIE, STEVEN A
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
IP Practice Group (Rochester, NY, US)
Claims:

In the claims:



1. A clamshell packaging container for releasably retaining a plurality of concentrically stacked compact discs, the container comprising: (a) a base having a curved base side wall and opposed base end walls defining a base cavity, the base side wall defining a base axis, the base axis being spaced apart from at least one of the base end walls; and (b) a cover having a curved cover side wall and opposed cover end walls defining a cover cavity, the cover side wall defining a cover axis; (c) the base and the cover movable between an open and a closed position so that in the closed position the base cavity and the cover cavity form a combined cavity having a common axis concentric with the base axis and the cover axis.

2. The packaging container of claim 1, wherein the combined cavity is cylindrical.

3. The packaging container of claim 1, wherein the base has a base flange and the cover has a cover flange.

4. The packaging container of claim 3, wherein the base flange and cover flange abut at a sealing line when the container is in the closed position.

5. The packaging container of claim 3, wherein one of the flanges has a lip and the other flange has a detent for accepting the lip.

6. The packaging container of claim 4, wherein the sealing line is spaced apart from the common axis.

7. The packaging container of claim 4, wherein the sealing line is coplanar with the common axis.

8. The packaging container of claim 4, wherein the sealing line is in a plane at an angle with the common axis.

9. The packaging container of claim 4, wherein the sealing line is in a plane which intersects the common axis outside the bounds of the container.

10. The packaging container of claim 4, wherein the sealing line is in a plane which intersects the common axis at a periphery of the container.

11. The packaging container of claim 4, wherein the sealing line is in a plane which intersects the common axis within the bounds of the container.

12. The packaging container of claim 1, wherein the base and cover are equally sized.

13. The packaging container of claim 1, wherein the base is smaller than the cover.

14. The packaging container of claim 1, wherein at least one end wall has an opening through which passes the corresponding axis.

15. The packaging container of claim 1, wherein at least one end wall has a flap which can intersect the common axis when the container is in the closed position.

16. The packaging container of claim 1, wherein an inwardly projecting indent is provided an end wall.

17. The packaging container of claim 1, wherein the base and the cover are hinged together.

18. The packaging container of claim 1, wherein the base and the cover are separate.

19. A method for delivering compact discs to a duplicating machine, comprising: (a) providing a container having a base with a curved base side wall and opposed base end walls defining a base cavity, the base side wall defining a base axis, the base axis being spaced apart from at least one of the base end walls; the container further having a cover with a curved cover side wall and opposed cover end walls defining a cover cavity, the cover side wall defining a cover axis; the base and the cover movable between an open and a closed position so that in the closed position the base cavity and the cover cavity form a cylindrical cavity having a common axis concentric with the base axis and the cover axis; (b) using the container to enclose a plurality of stacked compact discs having aligned apertures; (c) disposing the packaging container in a horizontal orientation; (d) moving the cover to the open position; (e) inserting a spindle through the aligned apertures; (f) using the spindle to remove the plurality of discs from the base; (g) disposing the spindle so that the compact discs are stacked thereon in a generally vertical orientation; and (h) successively transferring the compact discs from the spindle to the duplicating machine.

20. A method of releasably retaining a plurality of concentrically stacked compact discs, comprising: (a) providing a base having a curved base side wall and opposed base end walls defining a base cavity, the base side wall defining a base axis, the base axis being spaced apart from at least one of the base end walls; and further providing a cover having a curved cover side wall and opposed cover end walls defining a cover cavity, the cover side wall defining a cover axis; the base and the cover movable between an open and a closed position so that in the closed position the base cavity and the cover cavity form a cylindrical cavity having a common axis concentric with the base axis and the cover axis; (b) disposing the stacked discs into the base cavity; and (c) moving the cover and the base from the open position to the closed position.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0001] The present invention relates to a package for releasably retaining compact discs (CDs), and in particular to a package for holding a plurality of concentrically stacked CDs.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] This invention is directed at packing together large numbers of compact discs (CDs) in a single package. It is directed in particular to packaging blank or unrecorded CDs or similar discs fabricated by a primary manufacturer for shipping to a duplicating facility, where selected content is copied onto the discs. The content may be music, speech, video or material to be accessed by a computer such as software or computer files of various kinds.

[0003] The duplication process requires that the CDs (which have a central aperture) be stacked on a generally vertical spindle. The primary manufacturer typically ships multiple CDs in cake-box type containers or shrink-wrapped bundles. However, neither method lends itself to convenient handling. The cake-box type containers can do not retain multiple discs in an orderly horizontal stack, while the opening shrink-wrapped bundles creates a problem through the proximity of waste packaging material.

[0004] Furthermore, once the packaging has been emptied, it is either impractical or impossible to reuse, for example if temporary storage is needed for some CDs. It is therefore necessary to use spindles for temporary storage. The use of expensive spindles is inefficient and represents an unnecessary waste of resources.

[0005] Therefore a need exists for a packaging system which allows for the orderly horizontal stacking of multiple CDs, to permit them to be ready transfer to a spindle. There is further a need for a packaging system that can be used to provide temporary storage of CDs.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0006] The clamshell-type package of this invention is intended to hold a plurality of CDs. Although the term CD is used, the term is intended to encompass any discrete planar recording medium having an aperture therethrough, including but not limited to compact discs, digital video discs or MP3, including any format or version of these media.

[0007] The package has an open and a closed position, and comprises a base and a cover which come together in the closed position at a seal line. The base accepts a plurality of discs concentrically stacked together in an orderly manner. Normally, CDs have a central aperture, so that when the discs are concentric the apertures also are concentric and aligned. The base is designed so that the stacked discs can freely receive a spindle from at least one end of the aligned openings. The package may be configured in a variety of ways. For example, the base can be smaller than the cover so that the seal line is spaced away from the intended path of the spindle. Alternatively, the base and cover can have generally similar configurations, an opening being provided to admit the spindle and one of the base or cover having an opening to receive the spindle. Other configurations are also possible.

[0008] Once the plurality of discs is present in the base, the cover is closed onto the base and the package is sealed. When it is desired to unload the discs from the packaging container, it is oriented in a generally horizontal position and the cover opened. The stack of discs is “speared” and removed from the base by the spindle, which is then oriented vertically.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0009] FIG. 1 is a perspective view from above of a clamshell container in an open position.

[0010] FIG. 2 is a perspective view from below of the container in the open position.

[0011] FIG. 3 is a perspective view of the container in a closed position.

[0012] FIG. 4 is a cross-section of the open container viewed from a side.

[0013] FIG. 5 is a cross-section of the open container viewed from an end, FIG. 6 is a schematic side view of a cover of the container in a preferred embodiment, showing a longitudinal axis of the cover.

[0014] FIG. 7 is a schematic end view of the cover of FIG. 6.

[0015] FIG. 8 is a schematic side view of a base of the container in the preferred embodiment, showing a longitudinal axis of the base.

[0016] FIG. 9 is a schematic side view of the base of FIG. 8.

[0017] FIG. 10 is a schematic side view of the closed container in the preferred embodiment, showing a longitudinal axis thereof.

[0018] FIG. 11 is a schematic side view of the closed container of FIG. 8.

[0019] FIG. 12 is a schematic side view of the container in a second embodiment.

[0020] FIG. 13 is a schematic side view of the closed container in a third embodiment.

[0021] FIG. 14 is a schematic side view of the closed container in a fourth embodiment.

[0022] FIG. 15 is a perspective view of the container in a fifth embodiment.

[0023] FIG. 16 is an end view of a configuration of the container having a hinge.

[0024] FIG. 17 is a perspective view of a spindle.

[0025] FIG. 18 is a perspective view of the spindle holding a stack of compact discs.

[0026] FIG. 19 is a side view illustrating the engagement of the spindle and the stack of compact discs when contained by the base.

[0027] FIG. 20 is an end view of the compact discs of FIG. 19.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0028] A clamshell packaging container 100 for retaining a plurality of compact discs has an open and a closed position. A preferred embodiment of the container 100 is shown schematically in FIGS. 1-5. The container 100 has a base 110 and a cover 130. The base 110 has a curved base side wall 112 and two base end walls 114 defining a base cavity 116 aligned about a longitudinal base axis 118 defined by the curvature of the base side wall 112. The cover 130 also has a curved cover side wall 132 and two cover end walls 134 defining a cover cavity 136 aligned about a corresponding longitudinal cover axis 138 defined by the curvature of the cover side wall 132. Around the perimeters of the base and cover cavities 116 and 136 are corresponding base and cover flanges 120 and 140, both of which have corresponding lips 122 and 142 projecting in the same general direction.

[0029] One of the lips 122 or 142 provides a detent 150 for accepting the other lip 142 or 122. The detent 150 can be provided on the cover 130 or on the base 110.

[0030] In the closed position, the base 110 and the cover 130 abut at the base flange 120 and cover flange 140 forming a sealing line 152. The base cavity 116 and cover cavity 136 form a combined cavity 106.

[0031] Normally, the side walls 112 and 132 have cylindrical curvature. The base axis 118 and the cover axis 138 are the centerlines about which the corresponding side walls 112 and 132 are curved. The combined cavity 106 is therefore cylindrical and centered about a common axis 108 concentric with the base axis 118 and the cover axis 138. The relationships between the various axes and the base 110 and cover 130 are shown schematically in FIGS. 6-11.

[0032] The base 110 and cover 130 snap together, the detent 150 of one flange accepting the lip of the other flange. However, the base 110 and the cover 130 can be fastened together by other means, which are well known in the art. For example, they may engage at a plurality of points, at each of which a projection from one flange snaps into a recess of the other flange.

[0033] As will become more evident later, it is a requirement of the container 100 that the base axis 118 be spaced apart from—that is, outside the periphery of—at least one base end wall 114. It is in fact preferable that the base axis 118 be spaced apart from both base end walls 114, as in the preferred embodiment which provides that the base 110 is smaller than the cover 130, as seen by referring again to FIGS. 6-11. The common axis 108 then lies above a plane 102 containing the sealing line 152 and parallel thereto.

[0034] In a second embodiment of the invention (FIG. 12), the plane 102 and the common axis 108 are inclined relative to each other without intersecting within the bounds of the container 100.

[0035] In a third embodiment of the invention (FIG. 13), the plane 102 the plane 102 and the common axis 108 are inclined relative to each while intersecting at one end of the container 100.

[0036] In a fourth embodiment of the invention (FIG. 14), the plane 102 the plane 102 and the common axis 108 are inclined relative to each while intersecting between the ends of the container 100. As in the particular configuration of this embodiment shown in FIG. 14, the base 110 and the cover 130 may be equally sized.

[0037] In a fifth embodiment of the invention (FIG. 15), the base 110 and the cover 130 are equally sized; in the closed position, the plane 102 would be aligned with the common axis 108. In the fifth embodiment, a recess 156 is provided in at least one base end wall 114, in order that the base axis 118 be outside the periphery of the base end wall 112. It is also necessary that there be a corresponding gap in the flange 120 at this point. In this embodiment, a flap 158 may be provided in the cover 130 to align with the recess 156 when the container 100 is closed.

[0038] Most of the illustrations depict the base 110 and the cover 130 as separate pieces. However, they could equally well be joined together at a hinge 166, preferably along one side as shown in FIG. 16.

[0039] Also, it is understood that the base 110 has supports such as feet or legs to stabilize it against rolling over when it is placed on a surface. The container 100 may be configured so that a plurality thereof may be stacked on above another in a stable manner. It is unnecessary to illustrate these features, as they do not constitute a part of the invention.

[0040] FIGS. 17 and 18 show a plurality of compact discs 200 or the like arranged concentrically in a stack 202, as contained in the base 110. Each disc 200 has a circular central aperture 204, which typically has a diameter of 0.75″ (19 mm).

[0041] When closed, the container 100 can hold the stack 202 immobile. Transverse movement of the stack 202 is precluded by the side walls 112 and 132, which are configured to contact the discs 200 when the container 100 is closed. The material of the container 100 is compliant enough to deform slightly and therefore to apply a slight force on the discs 200 when the container 100 is closed. Typically, inwardly projecting indents 154 are provided in the end walls to preclude longitudinal movement by contacting the opposed ends of the stack 202.

[0042] In handling the compact discs 200, a primary manufacturer or a duplicator typically uses a spindle 210 (FIGS. 17 and 19) which can pass through the central apertures 204 of concentrically stacked compact discs 200 or the like. The spindle 210 has a foot 212 slightly less than the disc diameter, and a mounting member 214 which is used to engage the spindle 210 (usually in a vertical orientation) in a receiving cavity at a selected station (not shown).

[0043] The invention can be used as follows. At the facility of the primary manufacturer, the as shown plurality of compact discs 200 is stacked on the vertical spindle 210 as shown in FIG. 20. The stack 202 typically has one hundred discs. The spindle 210 is removed from the receiving cavity and rotated from its vertical orientation until the stack 202 is horizontal. The stack 202 is loaded into the base cavity 116 of a container 100 in the open position, the base cavity 116 and the stack 202 being properly sized relative to each other. Loading may be preformed by lowering the stack 202 or translating it horizontally or at some other convenient angle. It is important only that the stack 202 can be introduced into the base cavity 116 without any interference with the spindle 210 from any part of the structure of the base 110 such as the base end wall 114 or the base flange 120. Since the spindle 210 is typically longer than the stack 202, this requires both base end walls 114 to be configured to preclude interference with the spindle 210. FIG. 18 shows the apertures 204 above the level of the base end wall 114.

[0044] Once the stack 202 is in place, the spindle 210 is withdrawn, reoriented vertically and replaced either in the original or in some other selected receiving cavity. The cover 130 is then closed onto the base 110 at the sealing line 152 and the flanges 120 and 140 snapped or otherwise sealed together.

[0045] The primary manufacturer now ships the closed package of discs for duplicating. On arrival at the duplicating facility, the package can be opened in the horizontal position and the stack 202 “speared” with a spindle 210 similar or identical to that used by the primary manufacturer, as shown in FIG. 19. The spindle 210 is then oriented vertically and transferred to an appropriate station where the mounting member 214 is inserted into a receiving cavity. The discs 200 are now ready to be transferred one by one into a duplicating machine. It should be noted that the opposite end discs in each stack are usually dummies, since they are the most vulnerable to damage such as scratches; they are consequently discarded.

[0046] There are several advantages of this method of handling discs. Compared with shrink-wrapped discs, the containing material is easy to handle. When a shrink-wrapped stack of discs is opened, the packaging material is unwieldy and occupies a disproportionately high volume. Furthermore, it cannot be reused.

[0047] With “cake box” type containers, the discs are not as readily transferred to the spindle and, once they are out of the container, it is relatively easy for an operator to lose track of the dummy discs. Also, these containers are not as readily reused.

[0048] On the other hand, the duplicator can readily reuse the container of the present invention, if, for example, a current duplicating run is ended or interrupted in favor of a run using discs from a different source. All that is necessary in this case is for the operator to reload unused discs from the spindle into the base and affix the cover. Otherwise it might be necessary to tie up a spindle with unused discs, which represents an undesirable waste of resources.

[0049] While certain embodiments of the invention have been shown and described with particularity, it will be appreciated that various changes and modifications may suggest themselves to one having ordinary skill in the art upon being apprised of the present invention. It is intended to encompass all such changes and modifications as fall within the scope and spirit of the appended claims.