Title:
Packaging container and blank for producing the same
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A packaging container that is made from a flat sheet of material or extruded material with score lines that fold into a plurality of side panels, 3 or more, forming a tubular member having a longitudinal axis. The bottom folds concave and the top folds convex forming triangular webs having apexes which join at the longitudinal axis with the side edges of the adjacent triangular webs sealed together providing structural rigidity. The webs fold inside or outside and the scores can be such that a plurality of variations can be created for different appearances of the container. Protrusions extend outward from the apex of at least some of the top and bottom web panels which provide a means for sealing. Flaps on the ends of the side panels fold and seal together either to the inside or outside. The container can be stacked and nested.



Inventors:
Macconkey, James S. (Thousand Oaks, CA, US)
Masie, Dennis J. (Agoura Hills, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/062967
Publication Date:
09/15/2005
Filing Date:
02/22/2005
Assignee:
MACCONKEY JAMES S.
MASIE DENNIS J.
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
229/117.13, 229/125.15, 229/137, 229/138
International Classes:
B65D5/08; B65D5/46; B65D5/72; B65D43/00; (IPC1-7): B65D5/46; B65D5/08; B65D5/72; B65D43/00
View Patent Images:
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20080099541BLANK OF SHEET MATERIAL AND METHODS AND APPARATUS FOR FORMING A CONTAINER FROM THE BLANKMay, 2008Smith et al.
20080128478Container for Piece GoodsJune, 2008Quadrelli



Primary Examiner:
DEMEREE, CHRISTOPHER R
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Dennis J. Masie (Agoura Hills, CA, US)
Claims:
1. A container comprising: (a) a plurality of flat side panel portions each having a top and bottom and defining a tubular member having a longitudinal axis and a polygonal cross section; (b) a top closure formed by a first plurality of triangular shaped panels each having a base, two sides and an apex and each of which is formed integrally with the top of one of said side panel portions, each of said triangular shaped panels being defined by score lines extending angularly downwardly from the apex at the top of said tubular member to a first transverse score line disposed displaced from said top and forming the base, each of said triangular shaped panels being folded inwardly so that their apexes join substantially at said axis and so that sides of adjacent panels of said first plurality of triangular shaped panels engage each other; (c) means for sealing said sides of said adjacent triangular shaped panels of said first plurality of triangular shaped panels together; (d) a bottom closure formed by a second plurality of triangular shaped panels each having a base, two sides and an apex and each of which is formed integrally with the bottom of one of said side panel portions, each of said triangular shaped panels being defined by score lines extending angularly upwardly from the apex at the bottom of said tubular member to a second transverse score line disposed displaced from said bottom and forming the base, each of said triangular shaped panels being folded inwardly so that their apexes join substantially at said axis and so that sides of adjacent panels of said second plurality of triangular shaped panels engage each other; and (e) means for sealing said sides of said adjacent triangular shaped panels of said second plurality of triangular shaped panels together.

2. A container as defined in claim 1 wherein said second plurality of triangular shaped panels are disposed with their apexes located internally of said tubular member thereby providing a substantially concave bottom closure.

3. A container as defined in claim 1 which further includes an additional triangular shaped panel having two sides, a base and an apex disposed between adjacent ones of said first and second plurality of triangular shaped panels, one side of said additional triangular shaped panel being common with a side of an adjacent one of said plurality of triangular shaped panels.

4. A container as defined in claim 3 wherein each said additional triangular shaped panel includes a score line extending from its apex and extending to a right angle intersection with its base to allow said additional triangular shaped panel to fold against itself to provide a supporting web for said closure.

5. A container as defined in claim 4 wherein said supporting webs are disposed internally of said tubular member.

6. A container as defined in claim 4 wherein said supporting webs are disposed externally of said tubular member.

7. A container as defined in claim 1 which further includes a protrusion extending outwardly from the apex of at least some of said triangular shaped panels on said top closure and said bottom closure and means for sealing said protrusions together to form a fillet for sealing said top and bottom closures.

8. A container as defined in claim 7 wherein said second plurality of triangular shaped panels are disposed with their apexes located internally of said tubular member thereby providing a substantially concave bottom closure.

9. A container as defined in claim 7 which further includes an additional triangular shaped panel having two sides, a base and an apex disposed between adjacent ones of said first and second plurality of triangular shaped panels, one side of said additional triangular shaped panel being common with a side of an adjacent one of said plurality of triangular shaped panels.

10. A container as defined in claim 9 wherein each said additional triangular shaped panel includes a score line extending from its apex and extending to a right angle intersection with its base to allow said additional triangular shaped panel to fold against itself to provide a supporting web for said closure.

11. A container as defined in claim 1 which is formed from a flat sheet of material having score lines extending between at least said top and bottom closures to define said flat panels portions and to permit said flat sheet to be folded about said score lines to form said tubular member.

12. A container as defined in claim 11 wherein said flat sheet of material includes a flap extending substantially along each side edge thereof, said flaps being sealed together when said sheet is folded about said score lines to form said tubular member.

13. A container as defined in claim 12 wherein said flaps extend externally of said tubular member and provide a handle for manipulation of said container.

14. A container as defined in claim 4 wherein said first, second and additional plurality of triangular shaped panels are all equilateral triangles.

15. A container as defined in claim 4 wherein said first plurality of triangular shaped panels and said additional triangular shaped panels disposed therebetween are isoseles triangles.

16. A container as defined in claim 15 wherein said sides of said first additional plurality of triangular shaped panels are longer than the bases thereof so that said top closure extends upwardly to form a bottle type of container.

17. A container as defined in claim 16 wherein said supporting webs are disposed externally of said tubular member.

18. A container as defined in claim 16 wherein said supporting webs are designed internally of said tubular member.

19. A container as defined in claim 1 wherein said tubular member is formed from an extruded tube.

20. A container as defined in claim 11 wherein said flat sheet of material comprises a plurality of sheets of material laminated together.

21. A container as defined in claim 20 wherein said laminate includes an inner layer of food grade material, an outer layer and a stiffener layer sandwiched between said inner and outer layers.

22. A container as defined in claim 21 which further includes an additional triangular shaped panel having two sides, a base and an apex disposed between adjacent ones of said first and second plurality of triangular shaped panels, one side of said additional triangular shaped panel being common with a side of an adjacent one of said plurality of triangular shaped panels, said additional triangular shaped panel being formed only on said inner layer of material.

23. A container as defined in claim 22 wherein each said additional triangular shaped panel includes a score line extending from its apex and extending to a right angle intersection with its base to allow said additional triangular shaped panel to fold against itself to provide a supporting web for said closure.

24. A container as defined in claim 23 which further includes a protrusion extending outwardly from the apex of at least some of said triangular shaped panels on said top closure and said bottom closure and means for sealing said protrusions together to form a fillet for sealing said top and bottom closures, said protrusions being only on said inner layer of material.

25. A container as defined in claim 4 wherein one of said first plurality of triangular shaped panels is adopted for use as a dispensing spout and said additional triangular shaped panel on each side of said dispensing spout panel is disposed externally of said tubular member and is folded over said dispensing spout panel.

26. A container as defined in claim 25 wherein each of said additional triangular shaped panels on each side of said dispensing spout panel further includes a tab member extending therefrom for use in placing said dispensing spout panel in a position to dispense contents of said container.

27. A container as defined in claim 1 which is formed from an extruded tubular member having score lines defining said first and second plurality of triangular shaped panels.

28. A container as defined in claim 1 wherein one of said first plurality of triangular shaped panels defines a plurality of openings therethrough.

29. A container as defined in claim 28 wherein said additional triangular shaped panel on each side of said panel defining openings therethrough is disposed externally of said container and is folded over said panel defining openings therethrough.

30. A container comprising: (a) a plurality of flat side panel portions each having a top and bottom and defining a tubular member having a longitudinal axis; (b) a top closure formed by a first plurality of generally triangular shaped panels each having a base, and each of which is formed integrally with the top of one of said side panel portions, the sides of each of said generally triangular shaped panels being defined by score lines extending angularly downwardly to a first transverse score line disposed displaced from said top and forming the base, each of said triangular shaped panels being folded inwardly so that sides of adjacent panels of said first plurality of triangular shaped panels engage each other; (c) means for sealing said sides of said adjacent triangular shaped panels of said first plurality of triangular shaped panels together; (d) a bottom closure formed by a second plurality of triangular shaped panels each having a base, two sides and an apex and each of which is formed integrally with the bottom of one of said side panel portions, each of said triangular shaped panels being defined by score lines extending angularly upwardly from the apex at the bottom of said tubular member to a second transverse score line disposed displaced from said bottom and forming the base, each of said triangular shaped panels being folded inwardly so that their apexes join substantially at said axis and so that sides of adjacent panels of said second plurality of triangular shaped panels engage each other; and (e) means for sealing said sides of said adjacent triangular shaped panels of said second plurality of triangular shaped panels together.

31. A container as defined in claim 30 wherein said score lines forming said sides of each said generally triangular shaped panel extend in a substantially parallel spaced apart manner from a third transverse score line disposed between said first transverse score line and said top to said top.

32. A container as defined in claim 31 which further includes a web member disposed between adjacent ones of said generally triangular shaped panels and extending externally of said tubular member, each said web member being folded over to engage an adjacent panel member and being sealed thereto.

33. A blank for packaging containers, said blank comprising a flat sheet of material having upper and lower transverse score lines corresponding substantially to the top and bottom of the container and having a plurality of side wall panels, the side wall panels being designed by pairs of parallel vertical score lines intersecting said first and second transverse score lines a first plurality of diagonally disposed score lines extending between said first transverse score line and the top of said sheet of material and a second plurality of diagonal score lines extending between said second transverse score line and the other end of said sheet of material, said blank being adapted to form a container.

34. A blank as defined in claim 33, which further includes additional score lines displaced from said side edges of said sheet of material to form side flaps to be sealed together in forming said container.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to packaging containers formed from flat sheets of material or extruded materials that are provided with appropriate score lines to facilitate conversion of the packaging material into individual sealed packaging containers and to blanks or packaging material from which the packaging containers are formed.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Consumer packages intended for single use and containing consumer products of various types including both dry goods and beverages are normally produced from packaging material comprising layers of paper, cardboard, plastic, foil or the like. When consumable food products are housed in the containers they are coated with a food grade material. Such materials may be laminated if desired to provide additional strength. The containers housing liquids also include liquid tight seals which are normally realized by heat sealing or appropriate adhesives. The prior art contains examples of various types of such packaging containers and some take the form of either a parallelepipedic or a gable-top type of structure. Each of these packaging containers generally include four vertical wall panels or side walls with top and bottom walls which provide an appropriate closure for the containers.

These conventional packages in use are grasped at the side walls by the consumer for opening and dispensing of the contents contained therein. By so doing, it is possible that the side walls will be pressed together more than is desirable and to avoid this the package should be manufactured from a relatively thick packaging laminate. To avoid this problem, attempts have been made to construct packaging containers having a hexagonal cross-section, which provides greater strength and handling capabilities. However, it has been found that the sealing of the top and bottom of such containers to obtain a liquid-tight seal is, in most instances, difficult.

Additional types of packages for containing such materials, particularly liquids, include pouches made from foil material which is sealed to provide an appropriate air tight and water tight seal to prevent leakage of the liquid contained therein. Such foils are however very difficult to handle both by the merchant and by the user. An additional problem which is encountered with all of the prior art type of packaging for such consumables is the difficulty in transporting the packages, and storing the packages, as well as stacking and shelf space limitations encountered as a result of the configuration of the package.

There is thus a need in the packaging industry, particularly as it relates to single use nonreturnable packages for containing dry goods as well as wet goods, to provide a package which can be easily manufactured utilizing fully automatic packaging machines and which at the same time requires a minimum of space and can be easily shipped, stored and stacked. Such packages should also be capable of being manufactured from any material presently being utilized such as foil, paper, cardboard and plastic materials both single layer and laminated.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

A container having a plurality of flat side panel portions each having a top and a bottom and defining a tubular member having a longitudinal axis. Top and bottom closures are formed by a plurality of triangular shaped panels each of which is formed integrally with the flat side panel portions disposed in such a manner that each of the triangular shaped panels when folded inwardly have apexes which join substantially at the longitudinal axis with the side edges of adjacent triangular shaped panels sealed together.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a plan view of a blank from which a container constructed in accordance with the principles of the present invention is constructed;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a tube formed by folding the blank as shown in FIG. 1 along appropriate score lines;

FIG. 3 is a side view illustrating the container of the present invention with the top closure formed;

FIG. 4 is a perspective view showing the bottom closure of the present invention;

FIG. 5 is a side view showing a pair of containers formed in accordance with the present invention stacked one upon the other;

FIG. 6 is a side view showing a plurality of containers constructed in accordance with the present invention stacked upon a transport mechanism;

FIG. 7 is a partial view showing a laminate from which a container in accordance with the present invention may be constructed;

FIG. 8 is a partial plan view showing a top portion of a blank constructed from the laminate of FIG. 7.

FIG. 9-A is a plan view of a blank from which a container constructed in accordance with the principles of the present invention may be constructed and which container includes a spout as part of the final product;

FIGS. 9-B, 9-C and 9-D illustrate a container top constructed from the blank of FIG. 9-A in its closed, partially open and fully open positions respectively;

FIG. 10 is a plan view of a blank from which a container constructed in accordance with the principles of the present invention may be constructed and which includes a handle mechanism;

FIG. 11 is a perspective view showing one form of a container constructed in accordance with the principles of the present invention which may be collapsed into a flat position for shipping and which also includes an accessory spout and cap;

FIG. 12 is a perspective view of an extruded tubular member from which a container constructed in accordance with the principles of the present invention may be constructed;

FIG. 13 illustrates an alternative package which provides the ability to drain liquid from contents packaged within the container independently of removing the contents from the container;

FIG. 14 is a partial plan view of a blank from which the container of FIG. 14 can be constructed;

FIG. 15 is a perspective view of a container constructed in accordance with the present invention and which includes an elongated upper portion providing a bottle shaped container;

FIG. 16 is a perspective view of a container constructed in accordance with present invention which is in the form of a traditional bottle for holding red wine;

FIG. 17 is a plan view of a blank form which the bottle of FIG. 16 is constructed;

FIG. 18 is a perspective view illustrating one form of closure for a bottle-shaped container constructed in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 19 is similar to FIG. 18 but with an alternative type of closure; and

FIGS. 20-22 illustrate a container similar to that shown in FIG. 3 but with three different dispensing closures incorporated therein.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The preferred embodiments of the packaging container according to the principles of the present invention and as shown in the drawings are manufactured from a blank of material, such as Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET), which is approved for use with food and beverage. Alternatively, the container may be manufactured from a packaging laminate which comprises a core layer of material such as paper, foil, cardboard, chipboard, flute board, corrugated board or the like, which is coated on either or both sides with thin layers of thermoplastic material, for example, polyethylene and may also include high-density polyethylene. Depending upon the product being housed and the particular packaging laminate used, the blank may also include further layers of barrier material, for example, aluminum foil.

The packaging container, according to the principles of the present invention, is substantially of a form which includes a plurality of sides, three or more, and may be pyramidal, rectangular, pentagonal, hexagonal, octagonal or the like in form. In addition to the side surfaces, there are top and bottom closures for the container which are formed integrally with the side panels or surfaces and which preferably fold into a substantially convex top closure and a concave bottom closure which permits the packages to be readily stacked, one upon the other, however, other shapes to the top and bottom closures may be used without departing from the shape of the present invention.

The side wall or panel portions can be divided into a number of panels by means of a desired score or crease line pattern so as to create a plurality of variations in the basic form of the packaging container in terms of appearance. For example, the container may be a symmetric, tubular structure having a plurality of equal area side panels terminating at the top and bottom in the desired closures as referred to above. However, the container may be constructed in such a matter as to have sloping or contoured sides to provide a container having the overall general appearance of a bottle.

According to a primary principle of the present invention, the top and bottom closures are formed integrally with the side panels by providing crease or score lines adjacent to the top and bottom of the structure forming the side panels so as to provide a plurality of triangular-shaped panels which may be folded inwardly so that the apexes of the triangular-shaped panels join substantially at the longitudinal axis of the container and may then be sealed along their adjacent edges to provide an air tight and water tight closure for the top and bottom of the container where such is required.

Referring now more particularly to FIG. 1, there is illustrated a blank 10 of material such as for example as a flat sheet of Polyethylene Terephthalate from which a container constructed in accordance with the principles of the present invention may be formed. The blank 10 is a sheet 12 of material which is provided with a plurality of crease or score lines 14 through 22 defining a plurality of flat panels as shown at 24 through 34, respectively. The sheet of material 12 has an upper end 36 and a lower end 38. Displaced from the upper end 36 is a transversely disposed score line 40 while displaced from the lower end 38 is a transversely disposed score line 42. The top and bottom closures are formed from the material on the sheet 12 defined between the upper edge 36 and the score line 40 for the top and the lower edge 38 and the score line 42 for the bottom, respectively. The upper or top closure is formed from a plurality of triangular-shaped panels 44 through 54. These triangular-shaped panels are defined by score lines extending from the transverse score line 40, which forms the base for each of the triangular-shaped panels 44 through 54, and extending upwardly to the apex of each of the triangular-shaped panels 44 through 54 as shown at 56 through 68, respectively. Thus, it can be seen that each of the triangular-shaped panels has a base, two sides and an apex. A protrusion extends outwardly from each of the apexes 56 through 68 as illustrated at 70 through 80, respectively. As will be described more fully below when the container is formed from the blank 10 these protrusions form a seal for the top closure. Each of the triangular-shaped panels 44 through 54 are folded inwardly in such a manner that their apexes join substantially at a longitudinal axis 122 (FIG. 2) defined by the container. The protrusions 70 through 80 are sealed together to provide a liquid-tight and airtight seal for the top closure of the container formed from the blank 10. As is also illustrated in FIG. 1, there is provided an additional triangular-shaped panel or web as shown at 82 through 92, which web is defined by the same score lines that define the triangular-shaped panels 44 through 54. Each of the additional panels or webs also include a score or crease line which bisects the web from its apex to its base, which base is defined by the outer edge 36 of the sheet of material 12. These additional score lines are formed on the opposite surface from that viewed in FIG. 1 and are indicated by the dash lines 94 through 102. An additional score line is provided for the additional triangular-shaped panel or web 92 as shown at 104 and which will be described in more detail hereinbelow. The score lines 94 through 104 allow the additional panels or webs 82 through 92 to be folded into the interior of the container formed from the blank 10 as shown in FIG. 1. When such is done, the side edges of adjacent triangular-shaped panels 44 through 54 abut or engage each other as do the two halves of each of the webs which may be sealed together to secure the closure structure and ensure its structural integrity as will be described more fully below. The score lines 94 through 104 may be on the opposite surface from that shown, that is, they may be on the same surface as the score lines 14 through 22, thus allowing the additional panels or webs to extend on the outside of the container when the triangular-shaped panels are folded inwardly to form the closure. Again, the two halves of each of the webs will engage each other and may be sealed together.

The bottom closure is formed by a plurality of triangular-shaped panels, each of which has a base, two sides and an apex and is formed integrally with the sheet 12 from the material in the area disposed between the lower edge 38 thereof and the transverse score line 42. Disposed between each of the triangular-shaped panels and the lower edge 38 is also an additional triangular-shaped panel or web which shares the sides of the adjacent triangular-shaped panels and has a bisecting score line from the apex to the base thereof. There is also provided a protrusion extending outwardly from the apex of each of the triangular-shaped panels which meet substantially at the longitudinal axis 122 of the container formed from the blank 10 and are sealed to provide a bottom closure which is airtight and liquid-tight. The score lines and structure forming the bottom closure is substantially identical to that described above with respect to the top closure and such is indicated by utilizing the same reference numerals primed as were used for the structure of the top closure. It should be noted that the triangular-shaped panels 44 through 54 and 44′ through 54′ are formed at the top and bottom extensions of the flat side panel portions 24 through 34, respectively, and are thus formed integrally with the flat sheet 12.

An additional score line 106 is displaced from the side edge 108 of the sheet 12. The area of the sheet 12 between the score lines 106 and 104 and the outer edges 108 and 112 respectively are provided to form a pair of flaps 114 and 116 which will be folded inwardly into the interior of the container and are sealed together along their contacting surfaces to provide a sealed tubular member which is used to form the container from the blank 10. It will also be recognized that the score lines 104 and 106 also extend to bisect the webs 92 through 92′ from the apexes thereof the respective bases.

The blank 10 as above described is formed by die cutting from a continuous sheet or strip of plastic material. As above pointed out, the sheet of material may also be a laminate structure depending upon the particular product to be housed therein, however, the use of the crease or score lines as above described to form the tubular member and the top and bottom closures remains equally applicable.

Referring now more particularly to FIGS. 2 and 3 there is illustrated the formation of a container from the blank 10 as illustrated in FIG. 1 and above described. FIG. 2 illustrates the blank 10 which has been rolled into a tubular form with the flaps 114 and 116 disposed internally thereof. Flaps 114 and 116 have been sealed together along their mating or engaging surfaces to produce the generally tubular form shown in FIG. 2. The sealing of the flaps 114 and 116 together provide an air tight and water tight seal for the edge of the container. The sealing is preferably accomplished through the utilization of an ultrasonic welding head when a thermoplastic material is used for the sheet 12. Such an ultrasonic welding head is well known to those skilled in the art and to accomplish the desired weld, it has been found that the highest frequency available for the ultrasonic weld head should be utilized. It should however be recognized that with thermoplastic materials of the type above referred to, an appropriate seal may be accomplished through the application of heat and pressure to the flaps 114 and 116 causing them to fusion weld together. Similarly, radio frequency energy may be applied from an appropriate generator of such to also accomplish an effective seal. It will also be recognized by those skilled in the art that depending upon the material used and the application for the container, sealing may be accomplished by an appropriate adhesive.

It should be recognized by those skilled in the art that automatic machinery known as erection stations will be utilized to produce the container into the tubular form as shown in FIG. 2. The erection stations will also be utilized to automatically form the top and bottom closures. In producing the top closure, the webs 82-92 will be pushed inwardly into the interior of the tubular member while at the same time, the triangular shaped panels 44-54 will be folded inwardly into the interior of the tubular member so that the apexes of each of the triangular shaped panels will join substantially at the longitudinal axis of the tubular member as shown in FIG. 2. When such has been accomplished, the side edges of adjacent triangular shaped panels are sealed together to form the integrated top closure. For example, as shown in FIG. 3, the side edges of the triangular shape panel 44 which adjoin the side edge of the triangular shaped panel 46 and the triangular shape panel 54 are welded together to provide a welded seam as shown at 118 and 120. Similarly, the adjacent or adjoining side edges of the remaining triangular shaped panels are also sealed so that a completed convex shaped top closure is produced. The sealing, as was the case with the flaps 114 and 116 is accomplished by ultrasonic welding through the technique of placing the mandrel portion of the head internally of the cylinder and the ultrasonic horn externally of the cylinder thus formed which upon activation accomplishes the sealing. Again, alternative methods of accomplishing the seal which preferably is air tight and water tight as above described may be utilized if desired. It has been found that when the triangular shaped panels are positioned together and sealed along their adjacent sides as above described, there remains a pin hole at the apexes of the triangle. The protrusions 70-80 adjacent each of the apexes 56-66 of the triangular shaped panels 44-54, respectively, meet at the longitudinal axis 122 of the cylinder and are then also sealed together as by ultrasonic welding. Such ultrasonic welding then closes the pinhole and totally seals the top closure and provides an air tight and water tight seal to that portion of the container. As is also shown particularly in FIG. 3, the webs 82 and 92 are folded along the score lines 94 and 104 so as to be disposed internally of the tubular member which forms the container. Through the utilization of these internally disposed webs as shown at 82 and 92 (it will be understood that similar webs are disposed between each of the adjacent triangular panels) will provide additional structural integrity to the container when it is completed. The structural integrity is provided by the sealing of each of the sections (halves) forming the triangular panel or web together after they are folded against each other internally of the cylinder. Obviously such positioning and sealing of each of webs 82 through 92 is accomplished as described with respect to webs 82 and 92 above.

The bottom closure is formed in a manner similar to that above described with respect to the top closure. One major difference, however, is that the webs 82′ through 92′ when formed by folding the triangular-shaped panels 44-54 inwardly are disposed externally of the cylindrical-shaped member as shown in FIG. 2.

The side portions forming each of these webs are then sealed together against each other to provide the primary bottom support and bottom seal for the container. The seal continues in such a way that the sides of each of the panels are sealed together. Since the triangular-shaped panels 44′ through 54′ are folded inwardly, their apexes 56′ through 66′ will substantially join each other at the longitudinal axis 122 of the cylindrical container. By so doing, the protrusions 70′ through 80′ (FIG. 1) adjacent each of the apexes will join each other. These protrusions are then also sealed together preferably by ultrasonic welding to provide a fillet which will seal over the pinhole which would otherwise exist in the bottom closure of the container. Each of the webs which are extending outwardly from the surface of the tubular member are then pushed over to lie flat against its adjacent triangular-shaped panel and is then sealed to that triangular-shaped panel preferably by ultrasonic welding. Having each of the webs pushed over and sealed in this manner forms a concentric offset pattern of webs exposed on the outside of the bottom closure that are laying flat against the triangular-shaped panels. The bottom closure structure is then pushed inwardly into the interior of the tubular member to form a substantially concave shape to the bottom closure structure. This construction is shown in FIG. 4 to which reference is hereby made. This provides a non-obstructive, concave-shaped bottom closure and also provides additional structural integrity to the bottom closure of the container. As is illustrated therein, the additional triangular-shaped panels or webs 82′ through 92′ are illustrated as each having been pushed or folded over to lie against the adjacent triangular-shaped panels 46′ through 54′ respectively and with the web 92′ lying against the triangular-shaped panel 44′. As can be clearly seen in FIG. 4, the structure forming the completed closure includes a convex like top closure 124 and a concave like bottom closure 126.

A structure wherein the top closure and bottom closures are convex and concave, respectively, permit the stacking of the containers one on top of the other for storage, shipping, shelf space and the like. Such is shown in FIG. 5, to which reference is hereby made. As is illustrated therein, a first container 128 is stacked upon a second container 130 with the bottom concave closure of the container 128 fitting over the top convex closure of the container 130.

Also as shown in FIG. 6 to which reference is hereby made, the hexagonal shape of the container constructed in accordance with the principles of the present invention permit stacking of the containers on a transporting device such as a pallet or truck 132 in such a way that there is an increased density of packing, that is, there is no lost space with regard to adjacent containers. This is one of the additional features of a container constructed in accordance with the principles of the present invention. As will become readily apparent to those skilled in the art the combination of the stacking with the adjacent sides along the body of the container as shown in FIG. 6 may be coupled with the nesting of the bottom of one container on the top of an adjacent container as shown in FIG. 5 to increase the number of containers or packages which may be accommodated in any specific given area.

In some applications where strength of the packaging container is of concern, it may be required to provide a laminate structure wherein the central core of the lamination is of a stronger structural material such as a corrugated material, a chip board or the like. Such a structure is illustrated in FIGS. 7 and 8, to which reference is hereby made. As is therein shown, a central core 132 is sandwiched between a first layer 134 of preferably film material such as plastic and a second layer of a similar material 136. Such material would be provided in a continuous sheet form and would provide the base material from which the blank as shown in FIG. 1 would be constructed. The blank would then be provided with the score lines as above described to provide the completed container. One principle difference, however, would be that the protrusions on the sheet of material adjacent each of the apexes of the triangular-shaped panels would be formed only on the laminate as shown at 136 and as illustrated at 138-148 in FIG. 8. Otherwise, the structure and configuration of the blank and of the container formed therefrom would be the same as discussed above with respect to the blank of FIG. 1. The protrusions 138-148 would, as is the case with protrusions as shown in FIG. 1, be brought together when the top and bottom closures are formed and then sealed to form a fillet to close what would otherwise be a pinhole opening in the top and bottom closure.

It should be understood by those skilled in the art that although the structures as discussed herein thus far have been referred to as being airtight and/or liquid-tight sealed, such is not always required depending upon the particular application. As an example, some dry goods which do not deteriorate as a result of exposure to air may be housed within a container constructed in accordance with the principles of the present invention which does not include the sealed fillet at the top and/or the bottom. It is also contemplated that a container constructed in accordance with the principles of the present invention may be utilized to hold a bladder which is constructed of a food-grade material and will be sealed to contain liquid. The bladder would be inserted into the container constructed in accordance with the principles of the present invention with the container designed to transport the bladder and to support the bladder while the contents contained therein are dispensed.

In some instances, it may be desirable to provide a container constructed in accordance with the principles of the present invention with a spout so that the user may dispense the contents of the container as desired. By reference now to FIG. 9-A through 9-D, there is shown a blank and the top portion of a container constructed therefrom which includes such a spout. As is sown in FIG. 9-A, the blank is substantially the same as that illustrated in FIG. 1 with the exception that the triangular-shaped panel 150 is designated as the panel defining the pouring spout. Formed as an extension of the additional triangular-shaped panel or web on each side of the triangular-shaped panel 150 is a tab 152 formed on the web 154 and a tab 156 formed on the web 158. The construction of the container would be exactly the same as described above with respect to FIG. 1, with the exception that the two webs, 154 and 158, are formed to extend outwardly from the container top closure as opposed to being disposed inwardly as was the case with regard to the cylindrical member formed from the blank shown in FIG. 1. In addition thereto, the triangular-shaped panel 150 is not sealed shut as was the case with regard to the triangular-shaped panels of the FIG. 1-type structure. When the top closure is formed these additional triangular-shaped panels or webs 154 and 158 are folded over the triangular-shaped panel 150 as shown in FIG. 9-B. Prior to folding the webs 154 and 158, as is illustrated in FIG. 9-B, the two tabs 152 and 156 are first folded over the front portion of the webs 154 and 158 and are left free. Once folded in place, the two webs 154 and 158 are sealed by a spot seal to hold the webs over the spout together. When the user desires to open the spout for dispensing the contents contained internally thereof, the user will first pry open the two webs 158 and 154, causing them to extend upwardly as is shown in FIG. 9-C. The user then grasps the ends of the tabs 156 and 152 and pulls on them to break the sealed webs apart. When such is done, the spout can be opened as shown in FIG. 9-D for dispensing the contents housed within the container. If the contents of the container are not fully used, the spout can be refolded and closed by simply pushing the spout back into the position as shown in FIG. 9-B and refolding the webs 154 and 158 thereover and subsequently by pushing on the very top of the top closure, the user can push the entire top closure internally of the container so that it assumes a concave shape similar to the bottom closure. The spout obviously will not be sealed when this occurs because the seal was broken when the tabs were pulled. However, it will stay closed and will be positioned internally of the container below the perimeter so that it will be in a position not to obstruct other items.

In some instances, it may be desired to provide a container which is capable of housing a large amount of product such, for example, as a five liter container of wine. Such a container can be constructed utilizing the principles of the present invention and a blank for constructing such a container is shown in FIG. 10. It will be recognized by those skilled in the art that the blank as shown in FIG. 10 is identical to the blank illustrated in FIG. 1 with the exception that on each side edge there is provided an extension 160 and 162. The extensions 160 and 162 define an opening 164 and 166, respectively, while at the upper edge there is provided an additional extension 168 and at the bottom edge an additional extension 170. The extension 168 defines an opening 172 while the extension 170 defines an opening 174. It will be understood by those skilled in the art that when the container is formed by bringing the two side edges together as above described with regard to the blank illustrated in FIG. 1, the extensions 160, 162, 168 and 170 will be folded along their respective score lines 176 and 178 so that the extensions protrude outwardly from the container.

These extensions are sealed together, for example by the utilization of ultrasonic welding or other sealing methods to provide a handle or finger grip which may then be used by the user to move or transport the filled container. Otherwise, the construction of the top and bottom closures is identical to that previously described.

In some instances, it may be desirable to ship a completed container empty to be filled by the organization having the product to be contained therein. Such a container is shown in FIG. 11, and has been constructed by the equipment at the erection station. However, this container, when pressed down, will collapse into a flat position as shown at 200 and thus would occupy a minimum amount of space for shipment. As is also illustrated, the container 200 has a separate spout closure 202 which, for example, would be a molded plastic screw-on cap fitted over a spout which would be separately affixed to the container 200.

It has been determined that under certain circumstances, as opposed to manufacturing a container in accordance with the principles of the present invention from a blank as shown in FIG. 2 and above described, that the structure may be formed as a tubular member by extrusion and such is illustrated in FIG. 12 to which reference is hereby made. The extruded tubular member 204, it will be recognized by those skilled in the art, is substantially similar to the structure as illustrated in FIG. 2, which illustrates the blank of FIG. 1 formed into a tubular configuration. It will, however, be noted that there are no flaps on the structure shown in FIG. 13 since the structure has been extruded through an extrusion die. However, the triangular-shaped panels and interspersed webs therebetween are formed at each end of the member 204 in exactly the same manner as was illustrated with regard to the blank of FIG. 1. Thus, once the score lines are placed as illustrated in FIG. 12 at each of the two ends of the extruded member 204 the top and bottom closures can be formed in precisely the same manner as above described.

By reference now to FIG. 14, there is illustrated in a partial plan view a blank from which a container as shown in FIG. 13 can be constructed which may be utilized to contain food products packed in a liquid such as tuna fish or the like. The purpose of the container as shown in FIG. 13 is to provide a manner in which the liquid can be drained from the container without first dispensing the solid material housed within the package. As is illustrated, the container has the webs such as shown at 206 and 208 folded over the triangular-shaped panel 210 very similar to that described above with regard to the pouring spout structure. A pair of tabs 212 are disposed on the webs and can be grasped to open them to expose a plurality of perforations or openings 214. Once such occurs, the container as shown in FIG. 13 may be held over a drain or similar structure and turned upside-down to allow the liquid within which the solid material is packed to drain through the perforations 214. Thereafter, the container can be opened and the internal contents dispensed. FIG. 14 illustrates in partial plan view a blank 216 from which the container shown in FIG. 14 is constructed. This blank is essentially the same as that previously described with the exception of the perforations 214 formed in the triangular-shaped panel 210 thereof and the provision of the tabs 212 on the side of the webs 218 and 220. As above described when the triangular-shaped panels are folded inwardly to form the top closure, the webs 218 and 220 would be caused to fold outwardly and when sealed would be folded over to close the openings 214 in the triangular-shaped panel 210 with the tabs 212 exposed for use in opening the container to drain the liquid contained therein.

By referring now more particularly to FIG. 15, there is illustrated a container 180 formed in accordance with the principles of the present invention but which has an outward configuration approaching that of a bottle such as, for example, a wine bottle having a bottom portion for containing a substantial amount of the wine contained therein and a necked down upper portion. This bottle is generally in the shape of a white wine bottle. The container 180 will be formed from a blank similar to that illustrated in FIG. 1 but with the top closure being formed from a plurality of triangular-shaped panels, only three of which are illustrated at 182, 184 and 186. It will be noted that these triangular-shaped panels are in the form of an isosceles triangle having substantially longer sides than the base, whereas, in the blanks previously illustrated, particularly as shown in FIG. 1, the triangular-shaped panels as well as the webs interspersed there between are more in the nature of an equilateral triangle. In addition, the webs as shown at 188-198 are formed so that they extend outwardly from the exterior surface of the container 180. It should be understood that the webs may, if desired, be formed to extend inwardly. These webs are formed precisely as above described in that when the triangular-shaped panels are folded inwardly the webs are caused to fold outwardly and are then sealed together along their surfaces including the side edges of the triangular-shaped panels to provide an appropriate seal. In addition, the protrusions as above described would also be provided and would be sealed to form a fillet closing the pinhole at the upper end. When the user desires to dispense the contents of the container 186 the user can grasp the webs appearing on opposite sides of the web which the user desires to have as the pouring spout and pull outwardly. For example, the user may grasp the webs 188 and 192 and pull outwardly away from the container thus breaking the seal on the web 190 causing it to assume the shape of a spout through which the wine or other liquid or dry goods, contained within the container 180 may be dispensed. Although the container 180 is illustrated as being sealed by, for example, the ultrasonic sealing as above described along the webs, it should be understood that an additional external closure can be utilized which may be fabricated by injection molding or the like which would fit over the top edge of the webs 188-198 with the webs being left open as opposed to sealing them shut throughout their entire lengths. This would then also provide the ability for the user to remove the cap and dispense the contents through any one of the openings thus remaining.

By referring now more particularly to FIGS. 16 and 17, there is illustrated a container constructed in accordance with the principles of the present invention which has the overall shape of a red wine bottle, as is illustrated perspectively in FIG. 16. The blank from which the bottle shown in FIG. 16 is constructed is shown in plan view in FIG. 17, to which reference is hereby made. As is shown in FIG. 17, the blank is a sheet 222 of material such as PET which has been provided with score lines similar to those described in conjunction with FIG. 1 above. The score lines are provided so that the sheet 222 may be appropriately bent into a tubular form and a bottom closure provided in accordance with the principles as described in conjunction with FIG. 1 and the top of the container may be provided with appropriate score lines to accomplish the overall configuration of the top as illustrated in FIG. 16.

As is shown in FIG. 17, the sheet 222 of material is provided with score lines so that flat panels 224 through 234 are formed along the sides, such as accomplished by the score lines 246 through 248. In addition, the score lines 246 and 248 provide the additional flaps 252 and 252 which, when the sheet 222 is formed into a tubular container, will come together and be sealed along the sides to provide the appropriate liquid-tight, airtight seal on the sides of the container. A transverse score line 254 is provided, displaced from the bottom of the sheet 222, and defines the base of the triangular-shaped panels 256 through 266 which form the bottom closure of the container. Interspersed between the triangular-shaped panels are the additional triangular-shaped panels or webs 268 through 278. As was the case with respect to the structure of FIG. 1 when the triangular-shaped panels 256 through 266 are pushed inwardly into the interior of the tubular member to form the bottom closure, the webs 268 through 278 are interspersed between adjacent panels and may extend inwardly into the container or, if desired, outwardly from the container depending upon the particular structure desired. In either case, the sides of the webs are secured together as by ultrasonic welding or other sealing means to provide the desired support structure. Adjacent each of the apexes of the triangular-shaped members 256 through 266 there is provided a protrusion 280 through 290 which when the triangular-shaped members are pushed inwardly, their apexes will join substantially at the longitudinal axis of the resulting cylindrical or tubular structure and the protrusions 280 through 290 may then be welded together to form a fillet to seal a pinhole which would otherwise result. It will be understood by those skilled in the art that what has been described is the formation of a bottom closure for the bottle as shown in FIG. 16 which is substantially the same as the structure described above with respect to the bottom closure for the container constructed from the blank shown in FIG. 1.

To form the top closure from the blank as shown in FIG. 17, two additional transverse score lines 292 and 294 are provided. A plurality of additional score lines 296 through 318 are provided between the transverse score line 292 and the upper edge 320 of the sheet of material 222. As is seen, these additional score lines intersect the score line 294 running transversely of the sheet of material 222. The score lines extending between the score line 292 and the edge 320 of the sheet are constructed in such a manner as to provide a plurality of triangular-shaped panels 322 through 332, but constructed in such a manner that the upper portion of the triangle is truncated by the score line 294 thus eliminating the apex of each of the triangular-shaped panels. For example, the score lines 296 and 298 provide opposite sides of a triangular-shaped panel 322 with the score line 292 providing the base thereof. The score line 294 truncates the upper portion of the triangular-shaped panel 322. However, the score lines 296 and 298 extend upwardly to the upper edge 320 of the sheet of material 222 and as will be noted herein below provide an effective extension of the panel 224 but of a smaller width. Another way to view the structure is that the smaller width extension, for example as shown at 336, would in fact be a continuation of the truncated portion of the triangular panel 322, that is, the triangular panel 322 would have an extension extending upwardly from the sides thereof as illustrated at 336. Additional extensions 338 through 346 are also illustrated extending upwardly from each of the triangular panels 324 through 332, respectively.

Interspersed between each of the panels 322 through 332 and their extensions 336 through 346, respectively is a web as shown at 348 through 358. The panels and webs function in a manner similar to that described with regard to the construction of the container from the blank as shown in FIG. 1, with the exception that there are no apexes of the panels but rather a continued extension thereof. In construction, the panels 322 through 332 are folded inwardly into the interior of the tubular member. As such is done, the webs 348 through 358 are formed in such a manner that they extend outwardly from the interior of the container. When such is done, the side edges of the panels as defined by the score lines 296 through 318 are permitted to be disposed immediately adjacent each other so that adjacent side edges of each of the panels are in contact and the inside edges or surfaces of the webs are sealed together to provide a structure somewhat like that shown in FIG. 16. However, the exteriorly extending webs are then folded over against the outside surface of the panels and are then sealed to provide the final appearance as shown in FIG. 16. For example as shown in FIG. 16, the web 348 is folded to the right and lies against the panel 324 and its extension 338. The web 350 is folded over and lies against the panel 326 and its extension 340, and the web 352 is folded over against the panel 328 and its extension 342.

It will be noted that when the bottle as shown in FIG. 16 is constructed in this manner the upper end 360 remains open. As a result, an appropriate closure structure is created to close and seal the opening 360 at the top of the bottle structure as shown in FIG. 16. Various types of closures can be constructed; such a closure may be a molded plastic structure conforming to the contours of the opening 360 or, alternatively, may be in the form of a cork or similar structure more commonly associated with a wine bottle.

Referring now more particularly to FIG. 18, there is illustrated a container constructed in accordance with the principles of the present invention which is similar to the container shown in FIG. 15 but with the webs formed internally thereof without a seal closing the top. In FIG. 18 however, a cap 362 is formed to mate with the upper open end of the container 364 and adapted to be sealed thereto along a line such as 366. The upper end of the cap 362 is constructed to have a spout 368 which is closed by a screw-on cap 370 as is conventionally recognized in the industry. In a situation of this type, the upper closure 362 could be molded as an integral unit from plastic sealed along the line 366 to the bottle 364 and then provided with a screw-on cap 370.

As shown in FIG. 19, a bottle 372 similar to that shown in FIG. 18 is illustrated with the closure member 374, however, being constructed in such a manner that it includes a spout which is closed by a cork 376. The cork 376 may be the conventional type of cork, for example, used in a wine bottle or the like.

By reference now to FIGS. 20 through 22, there is illustrated in perspective view a container 378, 380 and 382, respectively which is constructed so that it appears similar to the container shown in FIG. 3 and is made from a blank as shown in FIG. 1 or an extruded blank as above described. In FIG. 20, a closure member 384 is shown which includes, for example, a screw-on cap. In FIG. 21, the structure is a spout-like member 386 which is formed separately and adhered to or staked onto the outer surface of the container 380. A flap 388 is utilized to close the spout 390 and to be snapped open for dispensing the contents of the container 380 and to be returned if the contents are not all used up. In FIG. 22, the container 382 is shown to include the well recognized dispensing spout/closure 392 wherein the upper portion slides up or down as shown by the arrow 394. When placed in the upward position, the opening 396 is connected with the contents of the container 382 which may then be dispensed therefrom. The closure 392 when moved downwardly disconnects the opening from the contents and closes the same. The container 382 may simply be turned upside down to dispense the contents or if additional force or volume is required, it may be squeezed as is well known. There has thus been disclosed a container which can be formed from a blank or from extruded material and may have various forms and configurations depending upon the particular application and contents to be contained therein. The container may be formed automatically utilizing typical well-known erection machinery. The blanks from which the containers are formed may be shipped flat to a destination wherein the erection machinery is available for use in forming the container and typically will be in association with additional automatic machinery to fill the container with the desired contents. Many additional configurations and applications will be recognized by those skilled in the art which will generate containers of different shapes support structures and bladders than those shown but still utilizing the principles of the present invention to provide the desired top and bottom closures having airtight and liquid-tight seals readily and easily formed.