Title:
Method of manufacturing a tubular storage assembly
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A tubular storage assembly and method of making the same is disclosed. The present invention provides a tubular storage assembly that has an outer shell of heavy weight material such as an un-cut leather hide. The outer shell material is formed into the desired shape having two opposite edges that are configured to mate in the finished assembly. A zipper or other suitable fastening system is stitched onto the opposite edges while the shell material is flat. The mating edges are drawn together and the fastening system engages to retain the shell in the tubular formation. Finally the fasteners are concealed by permanently adhering a cover strip over the fastening system. As can be seen in this manner the formation of a fully stitched tubular storage assembly is provided that overcomes the de-lamination problems often encountered in the prior art.



Inventors:
Masso, Robin (North Scituate, RI, US)
Application Number:
10/987420
Publication Date:
05/19/2005
Filing Date:
11/12/2004
Assignee:
MASSO ROBIN
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A45C13/10; B65D45/00; A45C11/26; A45C13/30; (IPC1-7): B65D45/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20050035125Fastening structure of airtight containerFebruary, 2005Bae
20040129713Drinks containerJuly, 2004Naljotov et al.
20090101229VAPOR RECOVERY DETECTION MEANSApril, 2009Martensson et al.
20090152283Expandable condiment cup and storage systemJune, 2009Pegram et al.
20080283534Medical supply container and medical supply kitNovember, 2008Paz
20060196880DEODORIZED TRASH CONTAINERSeptember, 2006Steffey
20050242099Dual purpose baking panNovember, 2005Berryhill
20040256401Beverage container attachmentDecember, 2004Chodosh
2010001897918" roller pan linerJanuary, 2010Shumaker
20100018983Cold Chain PackagingJanuary, 2010Roberts
20090032423ANTIMICROBIAL MEDICAL WASTE DISPOSAL ENCLOSURESFebruary, 2009Japuntich



Primary Examiner:
OMGBA, ESSAMA
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BARLOW, JOSEPHS & HOLMES, LTD. (PROVIDENCE, RI, US)
Claims:
1. A method of forming a tubular storage assembly comprising: providing a substantially flat sheet of outer shell material; forming said sheet of outer shell material into a predetermined shape having first and second opposing edges, said first and second edges configured to have complementary mating shapes; providing a two part fastening device having a first half and a second half; attaching the first half of said fastening device to said first opposing edge; attaching the second half of said fastening device to said second opposing edge; engaging said first and second halves of said fastening device to retain said first and second opposing edges in mated relation; and installing a cover member to conceal said fastener and said first and second opposing edges.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application is related to and claims priority from earlier filed U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/520,092, filed Nov. 14, 2003, the contents of which are incorporated herein by reference.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to a new method of constructing a tubular assembly. More specifically, the present invention relates to a method of manufacturing and assembling a tubular storage assembly using heavy gauge cladding material, such as leather material from a full weight, un-cut hide.

Typically, tubular storage assemblies are desirable for containing, protecting and transporting large format blueprints or artwork in a rolled fashion. As can be appreciated, this type of storage device is particularly desirable to architects, engineers, interior designers or artists who must frequently transport presentation materials to and from studios, clients' offices or project sites. In order for this type of storage tube to be effective in protecting its contents, the tube must have relatively rigid side walls and have a relatively high level of weather resistance. Typically, the materials used to achieve this objective have been molded or extruded plastics. While theses plastic tubes have been effective in providing the necessary protection, most users consider them to be quite unattractive. Generally the function of the assembly has always taken precedence over the exterior appearance resulting in a product that is formed from a cheap injection molded plastic or a light weight stitched material.

Alternatively, some tubes in an attempt to appeal to the desire of the user to present a better image have been provided with an exterior fabric or leather shell to improve their appearance. The difficulty in the prior art is that in order to form a tube, the materials must be light weight. This is necessary to allow the materials to be stitched and then inverted to hide the hems. For example, in order for a manufacturer to utilize a fabric or soft leather shell, the shell must be first stitched from the rear side of the shell in an inverted manner and then reversed. Since the material is pliable to allow inversion it has no structural integrity of its own. Accordingly, an insert such as a plastic tube must be then added to provide the necessary rigidity to allow the tube to be used to protect the documents stored therein. The drawback to this construction is that the shell material is relatively thin and is subject to rapid wear and failure.

Another solution provided in the prior art is to adhere a heavier material directly to the outer surface of the tube insert. When the material is adhered to the insert by utilizing this method a heavier material can be utilized for formation of the shell. In this case however, the seams are not stitched to one another, they are simply glued onto the plastic insert. Due to the nature of this construction, durability of the finished product is rather low. The adjacent edges of the shell material begin to release from the insert quickly thereby detracting from the appearance of the device.

Accordingly, there is a need for a tubular storage assembly that utilizes a heavy weight outer shell. There is a further need for a tubular storage assembly that is durable and maintains an attractive appearance throughout the entire life of the device. Further there is a need for a process that facilitates the manufacture and assembly of tubular assemblies that utilize heavy weight shell materials.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In this regard, the present invention provides a tubular storage assembly that is manufactured in a novel manner that allows the use of a heavy weight shell material. The shell material it self is quite durable and is fashioned in such a manner utilizing the method of the present invention in order to produce a structure that facilitates the maintenance of its tubular shape and relation throughout the life of the product without the de-lamination issues encountered in the prior art.

In the process of the present invention, a sheet of heavy weight shell material is provided. The material is preferably a full weight leather hide although other materials such as a heavy canvas, a denim or any other suitable material are also anticipated under the present disclosure. The sheet is formed into the desired shape to create the outer wall of the tube. Typically this forming step would involve stamping or cutting of the sheet material. Two opposing edges of the sheet are cut to form a matching edge seam. A two part linear fastener such as a zipper, hook and loop, a row of buttons, or any other suitable system is then attached wherein one half of the system is attached to one side of the seam and the other half of the system is attached to the second opposing side of the seam. The shell is then rolled into a tubular shape by bringing the opposing sides of the seam together and connecting the fasteners provided thereon. The seam is then covered by permanently adhering a cover strip over the seam to conceal the linear fastener system and give the tube a uniform appearance. End caps can then be added either by stitching or by using a slide on type cap. Finally, a plastic tube or another liner material may be included to enhance the rigidity of the tube walls and provide a low friction surface to facilitate the insertion or withdrawal of documents stored therein.

It can be appreciated that a distinct advantage provided by the present invention is that the fastener system can be stitched into the shell wall while the wall is flat. This is a great improvement wherein stitching of a tubular assembly is nearly impossible when using relatively rigid materials.

Accordingly, it is an object of the present invention to provide a novel construction for a tubular storage assembly. It is a further object of the present invention to provide a novel construction for a tubular storage assembly that includes an outer shell that is formed from a durable heavyweight material. It is yet a further object of the present invention to provide a tubular storage assembly and a method of manufacturing the same that provides for a heavyweight exterior shell that is easily fabricated and assembled while being resistant to de-lamination during usage.

These together with other objects of the invention, along with various features of novelty which characterize the invention, are pointed out with particularity in the claims annexed hereto and forming a part of this disclosure. For a better understanding of the invention, its operating advantages and the specific objects attained by its uses, reference should be had to the accompanying drawings and descriptive matter in which there is illustrated a preferred embodiment of the invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

In the drawings which illustrate the best mode presently contemplated for carrying out the present invention:

FIG. 1 is a front perspective view of a tubular storage assembly of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a side view of the tubular storage assembly of the present invention;

FIG. 2a is a cross sectional view of the tubular storage assembly taken along line A-A of FIG. 2;

FIG. 3a is a perspective view of the tubular storage assembly of the present invention with the handle in a first alternate position; and

FIG. 3b is a perspective view of the tubular storage assembly of the present invention with the handle in a second alternate position.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Now referring to the drawings, the tubular storage assembly is shown and generally illustrated in the figures. As can be seen the assembly 10 principally includes an outer shell member 12, top and bottom end caps 14, 16 and a transport handle 18. As will be further described below, the storage assembly 10 may also include an inner support tube 20 that provides additional ridgity to the assembly 10 while also providing a smooth inner surface to facilitate insertion and removal of rolled drawings and such.

Turning to FIG. 1, the storage assembly 10 can be seen to be substantially tubular. While the assembly 10 is shown as a cylindrical tube, clearly any tubular configuration such as octagonal, hexagonal, square, etc would also fall within the disclosure of the present invention. The general concept is directed to providing a tubular storage assembly 10 and a method of making the same that utilizes a heavy weight outer shell material 12 and accordingly the exact shape of the finished outer geometry is not a critical or limiting factor but simply a design choice. Further, the tubular assembly 10 is shown to include a fixed end cap 16 on one end and a removable cap 14 on the other. While the tubular assembly 10 requires at least one end cap 14 to be removable, clearly both ends 14, 16 could be provided as removable if desired. Similarly, while a particular handle 18 configuration is shown, this is primarily a design choice. A different handle 18 may be substituted into the present disclosure without deviating from the general concept which is directed towards the formation of the tubular assembly 10 utilizing a heavy weight outer shell 12 material.

In this regard, turning now to FIGS. 2 and 2a, the present invention provides, as was summarily stated above, a tubular storage assembly 10 that is manufactured in a novel manner that allows the use of a heavy weight outer shell 12 material. It is important to the present invention that the shell material 12 is provided as a highly durable material. The material is preferably a full weight leather hide although other materials such as a heavy canvas, a denim or any other suitable material are also anticipated under the present disclosure. The use of such materials allows the storage assembly 10 to be fabricated to include stylish and attractive elements while having a distinguished and professional appearance. Further, the rigidity of the material 12 itself allows fabrication of an assembly 10 utilizing the method of the present invention in order to produce a structure that facilitates the maintenance of its tubular shape and relation throughout the life of the product without the de-lamination issues encountered in the prior art.

In the process of the present invention, a sheet of heavy weight outer shell material 12 is provided. The sheet 12 is formed into the desired shape to create the outer wall of the tube. Typically, this forming step would involve stamping or cutting of the sheet material 12. Two opposing edges 22, 24 of the sheet are cut to form a matching edge seam. A two part fastening system 26 such as a zipper, hook and loop, a row of buttons, or any other suitable system is then attached wherein one half of the fastening system 26 is attached to one side 22 of the seam and the other half of the fastening system 26 is attached to the second opposing side 24 of the seam. The shell 12 is then rolled into a tubular shape by bringing the opposing sides 22, 24 of the seam together and connecting the fastening system 26 provided thereon. By first attaching a mechanical fastening system 26 onto the edges 22, 24 while the shell 12 is flat, conventional techniques can be utilized to secure the mechanical fastening system 26 to the edges 22, 24 of the outer shell 12 material. For example, mating halves of a zipper can be separated and simply sewn onto the edges of the outer shell material 12. In contrast, once the outer shell 12 is rolled into a tube it is virtually impossible to stitch the material to a fastening system 26. Further due to the resilient nature of the shell material 12, it would be difficult to hold the shell 12 in the rolled position for further stitching. With lighter weight materials, this can be done by sewing the fastener and the material from the reverse and inverting the tube after the sewing is completed. The problem is that with the heavy weight outer shell 12 material of the present invention, inversion is impossible. Once the fastening system 26 is attached to outer shell material 12, the mating edges 22, 24 are drawn together and maintained in place by engaging the opposing sides of the fastening system 26. The seam is then covered by permanently adhering a cover strip 28 over the seam to conceal the fastener system 26 thereby giving the exterior of the tube 10 a uniform appearance.

End caps 14, 16 can then be added once the assembly 10 is positioned into its tubular shape. As stated above, a permanent end cap 16 can be installed by stitching the cap 16 onto the desired end of the storage assembly 10. Similarly, as stated above, at least one end cap 14 is provided as a slide on type cap 14 thereby allowing access into the tubular assembly 10 for insertion or removal of stored materials. Finally, a plastic tube 20 or another liner material may be included to enhance the rigidity of the tubular assembly 10 walls and provide a low friction surface to facilitate the insertion or withdrawal of documents stored therein.

It can be appreciated that a distinct advantage provided by the present invention is that the fastener system 26 can be stitched into the shell wall 12 while the wall 12 is flat. This is a great improvement wherein stitching of a tubular assembly is nearly impossible when using relatively rigid materials.

Turning now to FIGS. 3a and 3b, another novel feature of the present invention is shown relative to the manner in which the handle 18 is attached. The handle 18 is attached so that it engages and retains the removable end cap 14. The handle 18 is fastened onto the outer shell 12 of the tube at both ends. In this case, the handle 18 is shown to be fastened utilizing snaps 30 although other suitable fastening device are also acceptable. The handle 18 is also shown to pass through loops 32 that are attached to the end cap 14. With the handle strap 18 in the tightest position, as seen in FIG. 1 or 2, it can be seen that the handle 18 serves also to retain the end cap 14. With the handle in the alternative position, a loop is formed that can be positioned as is seen in either FIG. 3 or 4 to also provide a means for a user to carry the tubular assembly 10. Finally, adjustment means 34 can be provided at the ends or near the center of the handle 18 to allow adjustment of the handle 18 length as desired by the user.

It can therefore be seen that the present invention provides a novel assembly and method of forming a tubular storage assembly 10 that allows the use of heavyweight outer shell 12 materials. Further, the present invention provides a novel technique for incorporating such heavyweight outer shell 12 materials into useful tubular assemblies 10 at a lower cost and with higher quality results than has been previously known in the prior art. For these reasons, the instant invention is believed to represent a significant advancement in the art, which has substantial commercial merit.

While there is shown and described herein certain specific structure embodying the invention, it will be manifest to those skilled in the art that various modifications and rearrangements of the parts may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the underlying inventive concept and that the same is not limited to the particular forms herein shown and described except insofar as indicated by the scope of the appended claims.