Title:
Locking sleeve for container package
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A packaged product and blank of a flexibly walled sleeve for the product are provided by the present invention. The product includes first and second elongate plastic containers stacked atop one another. A flexibly walled sleeve friction fitting around the stacked containers along height and width dimensions holds the stacked containers together. A trapezoidal locking tab attached to a top panel of the sleeve is inwardly bent along fold lines serving as a second mechanism for securing the containers.



Inventors:
Flaig, Raymond Michael (Stamford, CT, US)
Application Number:
10/361443
Publication Date:
08/12/2004
Filing Date:
02/10/2003
Assignee:
Unilever Home & Personal Care USA, Division of Conopco, Inc.
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
206/434
International Classes:
B65D71/00; B65D71/16; (IPC1-7): B65D21/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20090107864Golf bag topApril, 2009Tan
20070215505Shrink-Wrap Packaging Incorporating Reinforced Integral HandleSeptember, 2007Walker
20090173747BEAD CRAFT SYSTEMJuly, 2009Reynolds
20080041752Stabilised packaging containerFebruary, 2008Schormair
20090139889Medical Instrument Sterilization PouchJune, 2009Kyritsis
20060037871Holder for dual optic IOLFebruary, 2006Jin X et al.
20050011797Card with attachment structure for discJanuary, 2005Chen et al.
20090050511COMPUTER PACKAGING ASSEMBLYFebruary, 2009Xie et al.
20070088299Emesis kitApril, 2007Ayre
20050115860Package for shipping and storage of panel productsJune, 2005Mertz II et al.
20060283766Disposable pill counting deviceDecember, 2006Koh



Primary Examiner:
GEHMAN, BRYON P
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
UNILEVER PATENT GROUP (ENGLEWOOD CLIFFS, NJ, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. A blank comprising: a left side panel with upper and lower edges; a right side panel with upper and lower edges; a top panel with left and right fold lines comprising a center panel flanked on either side along parallel fold lines by a flanking panel, the top panel connecting the left and right side panels; a first folding flap attached to the left side panel at an edge parallel and distant from the left fold line; a second folding flap attached to the right side panel at an edge parallel and distant from the right fold panel; and trapezoidal locking tabs attached to the top panel along opposite ends thereof, the locking tabs each having parallel base and apex fold edges end connected by slant edges, and parallel crimping fold lines connecting base and apex fold edges.

2. The blank according to claim 1 further comprising at a corner of each locking tab a die cut notch formed by portions of the slant edge and base fold edge.

3. The blank according to claim 1 wherein the left and right side panels are of greater dimension along a length thereof than a width or length dimension of the top panel.

4. The blank according to claim 1 wherein there are seven contiguous panels defined by six fold lines along a longitudinal direction.

5. A packaged product comprising: (i) a first elongate plastic container; (ii) a second elongate plastic container stacked atop the first plastic container, the stacked containers defining an irregular shaped footprint with outward bulge line along a side profile; (iii) a flexibly walled sleeve friction fitting around the stacked containers along height and width dimensions, trapezoidal locking tabs being attached to a top panel of the sleeve along opposite ends thereof, the locking tabs each having parallel base and apex fold edges end connected by slant edges, and parallel crimping fold lines connecting base and apex fold edges, the locking tabs functioning to secure the containers within the sleeve.

6. The packaged product according to claim 5 wherein the sleeve is formed of a base section enclosing a bottom end thereof, the base being of a smaller width than a widest portion of the containers thereby achieving a friction fit against side panels of the sleeve.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] 1. Field of the Invention

[0002] The invention concerns a paperboard sleeve for encasing a rigid container package.

[0003] 2. The Related Art

[0004] Paperboard sleeves have often been utilized as a wrap-around to secure a plurality of containers. Sleeves have the advantage of being flexible yet semi-rigid. Also they are capable of being printed with information and are generally of low cost.

[0005] Illustrative of the art is U.S. Pat. No. 5,429,239 (Baxter). Multiple flanged containers are covered by a sleeve-like carton. An article retainer set of folds are located at an open end of the carton and engage with flanges of the containers. Within the carton, the flanged containers are arranged in a two-tiered group wherein containers in the upper tier are positioned in top-to-top contact relation with containers in the lower tier.

[0006] U.S. Pat. No. 5,092,467 (Elward) describes a shipping and display container which operates as a sleeve and retainer for a comestible filled package. The container is formed from a unitary blank of flexible sheet material. An effective retaining mechanism for engaging and holding in place the packed comestible is achieved by folding side flaps on the blank.

[0007] U.S. Pat. No. 6,012,628 (Shaikh et at.) describes a protective box for a food tray. The box includes panels folded in a manner to contact flanges of the food tray when the tatter is within the box. This insures that the tray remains separated from inner walls of the protective box.

[0008] Outer sleeve retaining mechanisms have been described for a variety of other packaging needs. Illustrative of the art are the disclosures found in U.S. Pat. No. 1,745,341 (Schoettle), U.S. Pat. No. 2,047,790 (Mascarenhas), U.S. Pat. No. 2,244,222 (Slootsky), U.S. Pat. No. 2,692,077 (Kuhlman), U.S. Pat. No. 3,255,879 (Paige), U.S. Pat. No. 3,331,550 (Krzyzanowski), U.S. Pat. No. 4,313,540 (Hart et at.), U.S. Pat. No. 4,674,633 (Steadman) and U.S. Pat. No. 4,951,823 (Butkus et at.).

[0009] Although the art has provided solutions to many packaging problems, new container designs and securement of multiple containers of irregular shape still challenge packaging engineers. A particular challenge has been the joinder of two irregular and non-equivalent shaped rigid packages. In a particular embodiment, the challenge has been to join a relatively rigid vanity case with a refill container of slightly smaller dimensions. The challenge is to prevent the smaller refill container slipping apart from the joined system.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0010] A blank is provided which includes:

[0011] a left side panel with upper and lower edges;

[0012] a right side panel with upper and lower edges;

[0013] a top panel with left and right fold lines including a center panel flanked on either side along parallel fold lines by a flanking panel, the top panel connecting the left and right side panels;

[0014] a first folding flap attached to the left side panel at an edge parallel and distant from the left fold line;

[0015] a second folding flap attached to the right side panel at an edge parallel and distant from the right fold panel; and

[0016] trapezoidal locking tabs attached to the top panel along opposite ends thereof, the locking tabs each having parallel base and apex fold edges end connected by slant edges, and parallel crimping fold lines connecting base and apex fold edges.

[0017] Advantageously at a corner of each locking tab is a die cut notch formed by portions of the slant edge and base edge.

[0018] The left and right side panels are of greater dimension along a length thereof than a width or length dimension of the top panel. There are seven contiguous panels defined by six fold tines along a longitudinal direction.

[0019] A packaged product is also provided which includes:

[0020] (i) a first elongate plastic container;

[0021] (ii) a second elongate plastic container stacked atop the first plastic container, the stacked containers defining an irregular shaped footprint with outward bulge line along a side profile;

[0022] (iii) a flexibly walled sleeve friction fitting around the stacked containers along height and width dimensions, trapezoidal locking tabs being attached to a top panel of the sleeve along opposite ends thereof, the locking tabs each having parallel base and apex fold edges end connected by slant edges, and parallel crimping fold lines connecting base and apex fold edges, the locking tabs functioning to secure the containers within the sleeve.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING

[0023] Further features and advantages of the present invention will better be understood through consideration of the following drawing in which:

[0024] FIG. 1 is a blank of a sleeve according to the present invention; and

[0025] FIG. 2 is a packaged product utilizing the sleeve formed from the blank fitted around two plastic containers.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0026] Irregular shaped multiple containers are difficult to join with a sleeve. Geometry of the system complicates design of the sleeve. The problem has been overcome by this invention wherein a sleeve surrounds and secures by two different mechanisms a pair of elongate plastic containers. The first mechanism of engagement is achieved by sizing the base of the sleeve smaller in width than the widest part of either of the two containers. A friction fit is achieved along the tines of interference on a left and right side panel of the sleeve. Moreover, interference is achieved in the height of the package due to distortion of the sleeve side panels which in turn decreases the potential height of the sleeve. The reduction in height gives interference on the top and bottom of the wrapped containers.

[0027] A second means for securing the plastic containers is the use of locking tabs attached to the top panel of the sleeve. These tabs are shaped to be bent down and inward against the plastic containers. In this locked-in position, the containers wilt not slide out of the sleeve and this thereby avoids need for any additional glue or fasteners. Secure locking of the tabs is also assisted by forces placed on the locking area due to distortions of the side panels from the interference between the sleeve and containers. The tabs are produced by scoring the board blank so that the blank can be bent along the score lines.

[0028] Perforations have been added along the score lines to allow for uniform breaking. Small triangular die cut notches are located at the end of each angle score where the score meets the edges of the carton. The triangular die cut notch covers an area encompassing a portion of both the center and flanking panels constituting the top panel. This also allows for an easier and more uniform break along the score lines.

[0029] FIG. 1 illustrates a blank for the sleeve. A left side panel 2 and a right side panel 4 each have respective upper edges 6, 8 and lower edges 10, 12.

[0030] A top panel 14 with left and right fold lines 16, 18 includes a center panel 20 flanked on either side along parallel fold lines by a flanking panel 22, 24.

[0031] A first folding flap 26 is attached to the left side panel at an edge 28 parallel and distant from the left fold line. A second folding flap 30 is attached to the right side panel at an edge 32 parallel and distant from the right fold line.

[0032] Trapezoidal locking tabs 34 are attached to the top panel along opposite ends thereof. The locking tabs each have parallel base fold edges 36, 38 and apex fold edges 40, 42 end connected by slant edges 44, 46 and 48, 50. Parallel crimping fold lines 52, 54 and 56, 58 connect the base and apex fold edges.

[0033] At a corner of each locking tab, a die cut notch 60, 61, 62, 63 is formed by portions of the slant edge and base fold edge.

[0034] The left and right side panels 2, 4 are of greater dimension along a length L thereof than a width W or length L′ dimension of the top panel.

[0035] Assembly of the sleeve involves placing glue onto the second folding flap 30. After folding along all fold lines of the sleeve, an underside of the first folding flap 26 is caused to contact and adhere to the glue bearing surface of the second folding flap.

[0036] FIG. 2 illustrates a sleeve in assembled fashion. Enclosed within the sleeve is a first elongate plastic container 64 and a refill thereof in the form of a second elongate plastic container 66. These containers are stacked one atop another with the lids 68, 70 of each container contacting one another along a center line of the packaged product. Since the base of the sleeve (being the width (W′) of the first folding flap 26) is smaller than the widest part of the containers, a friction fit is achieved along lines of interference 72 on the left and right side panels 2, 4.

[0037] Retention of the containers within the sleeve is additionally secured by the use of the locking tabs 14. The parallel base fold edges 36, 38 and apex fold edges 40, 42 are bent along their score lines inwardly. Perforations have been added along the score lines to allow for uniform breaking of the score when a consumer wishes to remove containers from the sleeve.