Title:
Pail handle
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A pail handle having an integral grip, straps and pivot mechanism. The grip has ribs and spine, and optionally a writing section for insertion of a logo or other writing.



Inventors:
Burney, Forrest (Raleigh, NC, US)
Application Number:
11/115472
Publication Date:
11/03/2005
Filing Date:
04/27/2005
Assignee:
NORTH AMERICA PACKAGING CORPORATION (RALEIGH, NC, US)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A45C3/00; A47J47/18; B65D25/32; (IPC1-7): A45C3/00
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Primary Examiner:
SANDY, ROBERT JOHN
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Intellectual Property Group (PHILADELPHIA, PA, US)
Claims:
1. A pail handle comprising: a grip having ribs along at least a portion of the grip length and a spine disposed along at least a portion of the grip length; a first strap section having a first end and a second end, the first end extending from a first end of the grip; a second strap section having a first end and a second end, the first end extending from a second end of the grip; at least a portion of a first pivot mechanism disposed at the second end of the first strap section; and at least a portion of a second pivot mechanism disposed at the second end of the first strap section.

2. The pail handle of claim 1 wherein the grip is integral with the strap.

3. The pail handle of claim 1 wherein the grip has a bottom surface with a length in the range of about 6.0 cm to about 12.0 cm; and an area in the range of about 4.5 cm2 to about 21 cm2.

4. The pail handle of claim 3 wherein the bottom surface has a length in the range of about 7.5 cm to about 10.0 cm; and an area in the range of about 7.5 cm2 to about 15 cm2.

5. The pail handle of claim 1 wherein the outer diameter of the grip is in the range of about 2.0 cm to about 2.5 cm.

6. The pail handle of claim 1 wherein the grip has a length of about 7.5 cm to about 10.0 cm.

7. The pail handle of claim 1 wherein the grip is contoured to a typical hand profile.

8. The pail handle of claim 1 further comprising: through-slots in the grip.

9. The pail handle of claim 1 further comprising a writing section disposed on the handle.

10. The pail handle of claim 9 wherein the writing section is a pocket for insertion of a writing.

11. The pail handle of claim 9 wherein the writing section is engravable.

12. The pail handle of claim 9 wherein the writing section is printable.

13. The pail handle of claim 9 wherein the writing section is disposed on the grip of the handle.

14. The pail handle of claim 1 further comprising a cushion material disposed over at least a portion of the grip.

15. A pail having a handle according to claim 1.

16. A pail handle comprising: a grip section; a first strap section having a first end and a second end, the first end extending from a first end of the grip; a second strap section having a first end and a second end, the first end extending from a second end of the grip; and a writing section disposed on the handle.

17. A pail comprising a handle according to claim 16.

Description:

This application is based on, and claims priority to, provisional application having Ser. No. 60/567,019, having a filing date of Apr. 30, 2004, entitled Pail Handle.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The invention relates to handles used for carrying pails.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Historically many pail handles were constructed of a metal wire. Such handles are still commonly used on paint pails and other pails that often have significant weight when fill. The wire handles are very uncomfortable to use, particularly when carrying heavy pails.

Plastic has become popular because it can be easily molded into a flat strip that is more comfortable to use than a metal wire handle. Although an improvement to wire handles, flat or even cylindrical plastic handles can still be uncomfortable to use. This problem has been solved by clipping grips to the plastic straps. This, however, results in a two part construction that can be costly. Furthermore, the pieces can separate leaving a flat strap or metal wire handle. Additionally, when the components separate, accidents can result such as spilled pail contents.

Accordingly, there is a need for a single piece pail handle that is comfortable to use, particularly when carrying heavy containers.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention provides a pail handle having an integral grip, straps and at least a portion of a pivot mechanism. The grip has ribs and a spine, and optionally a writing section for insertion of a logo or other writing. The grip section may be contoured to a typical hand profile for added comfort.

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The invention is best understood from the following detailed description when read with the accompanying drawings.

FIG. 1 depicts a pail handle according to an illustrative embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 2 depicts a pail handle attached to a pail according to an illustrative embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 3 depicts a perspective view of a pail handle according to an illustrative embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 4 depicts a pail handle according to an illustrative embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 5 depicts a logo insert portion of a pail handle according to an illustrative embodiment of the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Preferred embodiments of the present invention provide a one-piece, single material pail handle, particularly suitable for use on open head containers from 1 to 10 gallons. “One-piece” means that the gripping section, extensions therefrom and pail attachment portions are an integral piece of material. Plastic is the preferred material, however, other moldable materials may used, provided they have the necessary integrity for the desired application. An all-plastic handle is appealing within the commercial container industry for several reasons. First, a plastic handle of the same material as the pail it is mounted on improves the recyclability of the overall package by eliminating disassembly and material separation requirements. Second, a plastic, or other non-metal handle as part of a non-metal container system is necessary for the successful implementation of in-line metal detection in food service applications. Third, plastic handles can be fashioned into more comfortable and ergonomic shapes than their metal counterparts. Fourth, with proper tooling, pail handles can be manufactured more economically from plastic than from steel wire. Last, the versatility of plastic molding allows for clever handle designs that can add intrinsic marketing value to the overall package.

FIG. 1 depicts a handle 100 according to an illustrative embodiment of the invention. The main handle sections are a grip 102, a strap 104, and a pivot mechanism, a portion of which is shown in FIG. 1 as 106A and 106B.

Grip 102 is the portion of the handle that is gripped by a user for lifting, pouring, and transporting. Strap 104 has a first section 104A extending from a first end of grip 102, and a second section 104B extending from a second end of grip 102. Strap sections 104A and 104B each end at pivot mechanism 106 at pail 200 as shown in FIG. 2.

As shown in FIG. 4, grip 102 preferably has a broad bottom surface 112 to spread the pail load over wide area of a user's hand. Illustrative dimensions of the bottom surface include a length in the range of about 6.0 cm to about 12.0 cm, with an area in the range of about 4.5 cm2 to about 21 cm2, and a width in the range of about 0.75 cm to about 1.75 cm. Preferably the dimensions of bottom surface 112 are a length in the range of about 7.5 cm to about 10.0 cm, an area in the range of about 7.5 cm2 to about 15 cm2, and a width in the range of about 1.0 cm and 1.5 cm. These dimensions may be scaled up or down in proportion to the container size. Although it is preferred to have the diameter of the grip vary along its length, the grip may be uniform in circumference. To provide additional comfort to the user, grip 102 is contoured to a typical hand profile.

An exemplary outer diameter 116 (see FIG. 4) range for grip 102 is about 2.0 cm to about 2.5 cm. The ideal outer diameter will of course depend on the application including the size of the user. An illustrative grip length range is about 7.5 cm to about 10.0 cm. Larger diameter handles can be gripped more firmly with less force that smaller diameter handles, such as wire handles or thin plastic handles.

FIGS. 1 and 2 show an illustrative pivot mechanism. The mechanism includes headed protrusions 106A and 106B that connect to handle 100 and provide pivot points for the handle with respect to the pail to facilitate pouring, storage and carrying. In the exemplary mechanism shown, headed protrusions 106A and 106B fit into a circular receiving component within which they can rotate. The pivot mechanism can also be constructed in the reverse with the headed protrusions on the container and the receiving portions on the handle. It is also possible to have the entire pivoting portion of the pivot mechanism on either the container or the handle and have a mechanism to fix the strap or container to the pivoting portion of the pivot mechanism. As used herein the phrase “pivot mechanism” includes the mechanism to fix the strap or container to the pivoting portion.

FIG. 3 depicts ribs 108 on grip 102. Ribs 108 can reduce overall handle weight without sacrificing strength. Grip 102 preferably has ribs 108 along at least a portion of the grip length, and most preferably along the entire length. Costs can also be reduced by reducing the mass of the grip.

FIG. 3 also depicts an optional spine 110 disposed along an upper portion of the grip length. Spine 110 can stiffen grip 102 to prevent or reduce flexing under load. Spine 110 extends longitudinally along at least a portion of the grip, however, it is preferable that spine 110 extends the entire length of the grip. Spine 110 need not be positioned at the upper portion of grip 102 but may be disposed elsewhere such as along the center of the grip.

FIG. 4 depicts slots 114 that can be included in the handle to provide improved strength-to-weight ratio as compared to a non-slotted configuration. The slots may be any shape and number provided that the required strength is maintained.

FIG. 5 depicts a writing section 118 for company identification, branding or any other design or writing, such as warnings or instructions (herein after referred to as a “writing section”). The writing can be engraved, printed or inserted into a pocket. FIG. 5 depicts writing section 118 disposed on the grip portion of the handle however, the writing section may be disposed on other sections of the handle. The ability to provide a warning or instructions in a conspicuous location such as the handle is particularly advantageous. This conspicuous location is also desirable from a marketing perspective for the placement of brand names and logos.

The grip area may employ a secondary rubber, rubber-like material or other cushion-providing material in whole or in part to provide increased user comfort. Preferably, this secondary material would be affixed by means of a snap or stretch fit, but could alternatively be affixed by adhesive bonding or in-place molding or any other fastening mechanism compatible with the handle materials and use. The material could surround the grip, or a portion thereof, or can be disposed only along a particular area such as the bottom portion of the grip. The material need not end at the edges of the grip but can extend onto the straps or may fall short of the grip ends.

Preferably the handle 100 is constructed as a continuous piece of material, which is referred to herein as a “one-piece” design. A one-piece design can simplify manufacturing and may provide a more reliable handle that will not separate. Although it is preferable to have all or most of the handle constructed of a single piece of material, the handle may be comprised of separate components of either like or different materials. For example, the pivot mechanism or cushioning may be formed of a different material.

It is noted that materials other than plastic, for example rubber or rubber-like materials, may be used to construct all or part of the handle. Furthermore, the handle may be used for different size containers and different container types.

While the invention has been described by illustrative embodiments, additional advantages and modifications will occur to those skilled in the art. Therefore, the invention in its broader aspects is not limited to specific details shown and described herein. Modifications, for example, to the materials or dimensions of the handle may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. Accordingly, it is intended that the invention not be limited to the specific illustrative embodiments, but be interpreted within the full spirit and scope of the appended claims and their equivalents.





 
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