Title:
Folded blister package
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A folded blister sheet where the blisters are placed symmetrically on the sheet, so that each blister is facing the back foil of another blister cavity, enabling the blister cavity to endure many times more pressure than if unfolded, and a method of making the blister sheet. The folding takes place immediately at the end of the packaging process. Packing of drugs in blister packages is facilitated so that the necessary protecting carton may be eliminated and shipping and display of the blisters is easier.



Inventors:
Hjalmarsson, Per (Malmoe, SE)
Application Number:
10/931103
Publication Date:
03/02/2006
Filing Date:
08/31/2004
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
206/532, 206/531
International Classes:
B65D83/04
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20090020450AUTOMOTIVE TRAYJanuary, 2009Heneghan
20020074247Folding funnel and its storage caseJune, 2002Tremblay
20090283437ITEM DISPENSER WITH MULTI-SECTION WELLSNovember, 2009Angelucci et al.
20080310767Expandable Emesis Containment System and Use ThereofDecember, 2008Engel et al.
20080041740Nestable carton for wheelbarrow kitFebruary, 2008Hyp et al.
20050241963Dividable container carrierNovember, 2005Slomski
20050145524Packaging for an optical sheet and a packaging method of the sameJuly, 2005Lee et al.
20040144679Interlabial pad packagingJuly, 2004Sorebo et al.
20050236285Combination compact disk player and jewelry boxOctober, 2005Ng et al.
20080257774Towel CakeOctober, 2008Hsu
20090193869Metal blank for container bodiesAugust, 2009Gaensbauer et al.



Primary Examiner:
GERRITY, STEPHEN FRANCIS
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Lynn E. Barber (Fort Worth, TX, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A folding method for blister sheet production, comprising providing a blister sheet with symmetrically placed blister cavities on opposite sides of a center folding line, and folding said blister sheet along the center folding line.

2. The folding method of claim 1, wherein the blister sheet comprises a first and a second column of blisters, and parallel rows of blisters comprising a first row of blisters and a second row of blisters.

3. The folding method of claim 2, wherein the blister sheet is formed of a base foil formed with blister cavities connected to a substantially flat lid foil.

4. The folding method of claim 3, wherein the blisters in the second row are so placed relative to the blisters in the first row that each blister in the first row will cover a blister in the second row when the blister sheet is folded hallway between the first and second rows, wherein when the blister sheet is folded, the flat lid foil covering each blister cavity will correspond to and cover the flat foil of a blister cavity on a corresponding row of blisters.

5. The folding method of claim 1, wherein the center folding line extends lengthwise on the blister sheet.

6. The folding method of claim 1, wherein the center folding line extends crosswise on the blister sheet.

7. The folding method of claim 1, further comprising punching a hole at each side of the blister sheet an equal distance from the center folding line.

8. A blister sheet folded according to the method of claim 1.

9. The blister sheet of claim 8, wherein the blister sheet comprises a first and a second column of blisters, and parallel rows of blisters comprising a first row of blisters and a second row of blisters.

10. The blister sheet of claim 9, wherein the blister sheet is formed of a base foil formed with blister cavities connected to a substantially flat lid foil.

11. The blister sheet of claim 10, wherein the blisters in the second row are so placed relative to the blisters in the first row that each blister in the first row will cover a blister in the second row when the blister sheet is folded halfway between the first and second rows, wherein when the blister sheet is folded, the flat lid foil covering each blister cavity will correspond to and cover the flat foil of a blister cavity on a corresponding row of blisters.

12. The blister sheet of claim 8, wherein the center folding line extends lengthwise on the blister sheet.

13. The blister sheet of claim 8, wherein the center folding line extends crosswise on the blister sheet.

14. The blister sheet of claim 8, wherein there is a hole at each side of the blister sheet an equal distance from the center folding line.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The invention herein is a method for folding blister packages to enhance strength of the blister package during transport or storage, and blister packages folded accordingly, such as for the packaging of pill-shaped medicines.

Blister packages or packs (or simply ‘blisters’) are used to package products such as pharmaceutical tablets or capsules. The invention herein is particularly, but not exclusively, concerned with blister pack folding, capture or entrainment in, with, upon, or in relation to other elements or structures for ease and security of transport and/or storage. More specifically the invention relates to packages that require a minimum of space while durability is increased or sustained for fast shipping to consumers or facilitated transport business to business due to decreased volume/pill.

2. Description of the Related Art

What characterizes the related art in the field of the invention is that patented inventions in this field are most often complete unique packaging solutions. The invention for which patent protection is sought is a method of folding packages (blister sheets). The blister constructions themselves already exist in the market. However, the placement of blister cavities on the blister sheet in combination with this folding is novel.

Prior blister packages that include folding are either some sort of sandwich constructions or two main types of wallet constructions. None of the patents that have been found in search reports includes a folding where the back foil of the blisters will face each other, as in the current invention.

Sandwich construction. In sandwich constructions known in the art, the blister cavities are folded towards each other so that they interlace, with the blisters in one row offset relative to the blisters in the next row so that after folding the blisters in the rows engage between each other. See, for example, U.S. Pat. No. 6,253,920 of Källgren. This folding in itself reduces space when packaged but in another manner than the suggested innovative folding method. If the new folding method is used space is saved due to loss of carton and other protective packaging materials and that volume saving is much greater than that of the interlaced sandwich folding. Appropriate terms could be direct and indirect space saving, where the indirect space saving has far greater potential. Moreover, the sandwich folding is not promoting sustainability to pressure in contrast to the new folding method. The disclosure of this patent and other patents referred to herein is incorporated herein by reference.

Wallet Construction. In the wallet construction of type 1, as shown for example in U.S. Publication No. 2004/0026293 A1 of Hughes, blister sheets are hinged on a spine and when the wallet is closed the blister sheets are piled on top of each other. The benefit of this method is only experienced on the end-user level. There are no benefits when it comes to savings of freight volumes nor the construction's endurance to pressure. The sole purpose of these patented inventions are ease of use for the end-user where a “pill-wallet” can be kept in a handbag or similar without disassembling. In a comparison to the new folding method of the invention herein, an extremely small increase of pressure endurance is obtained due to the use of protective cardboard layers in the wallet.

In wallet construction type 2, blister sheets are produced and linked to the packaging carton and all parts are connected so that they may be folded in to a wallet-type packing, as shown for example in U.S. Pat. No. 4,340,141.

The benefit of this patented invention is production oriented. The final resale product is produced in one machine and does not involve, for example, separate packaging machines. If a small increase in endurance to pressure is obtained by this method it is not the same as the endurance obtained by invention herein. In the same way as wallet construction 1 this protection comes from the cardboard wrapping. On the end user level, a benefit is experienced by the packaging being reclosable by adhesive strips or stickers attached to the carton wrapping.

A combination of walleting methods also exists as shown for example in U.S. Pat. Nos. 6,219,997 and 6,024,222 of Friberg et al. Interlacing blisters are produced in one piece and the folding is performed with the blister cavities interlacing each other and thus combining benefits of walleting method 1 and 2.

In a particular, albeit elaborate, walleting method, WO 00/501,511 (Covance), ultrasonic welding is employed to edge bond a polymer coated card to a blister pack, to prescribed constraints-namely, a seam width of smaller than or equal to 8 mm, located 12 mm or more from the nearest medicament, and an ultrasound exposure time of less than or equal to 2 seconds. This is an example of related art where the focus is set on different kinds of specific welding techniques and dimensions of blisters in contrast to the invention herein where the key is the pressure endurance obtained by simply folding symmetrical blister sheets in a specific way.

Other interesting related art includes U.S. Pat. No. 4,340,141 A1 of Fischer for a unit dose drug control package which is foldable into a compact interlocking package; U.S. Pat. No. 5,323,907 A1 of Kalvelage for a child-resistant package in which the apertures in the panels are arranged so as to overlap in opposing face-to-face relation; and U.S. Pat. No. 3,743,084 A1 of Douglas for a carrier-dispenser package in the cavities in the sections are selectively arranged in a staggered manner so that there is intermittent fitting to form a single layer package.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The invention herein is a folded blister sheet where the blisters are placed symmetrically on the sheet, so that each blister is facing the back foil of another blister cavity, and a method of making the blister sheet. This enables the blister cavity to endure many times more pressure than if unfolded. The folding takes place immediately at the end of the packaging process. The invention facilitates packing of drugs in blister packages so that the necessary protecting carton may be eliminated and shipping and display of the blisters is easier.

Other objects and features of the inventions will be more fully apparent from the following disclosure and appended claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a schematic drawing of the components of forming a blister sheet in the process of forming the blister sheet.

FIG. 2 is a schematic drawing of the top of a blister sheet prior to folding, showing two possible center lines.

FIG. 3 is a schematic drawing of the side of a blister sheet part way through folding the sheet along center line 1.

FIG. 4 is a schematic side view of a folded blister sheet according to the invention herein.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION AND PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS THEREOF

The invention herein is a blister sheet folded in a unique manner to endure many times more pressure than if unfolded and the method of making this blister sheet. The folding preferably takes place immediately at the end of the packaging process itself, although there could be various types of external packaging as known in the art and/or as desired for the specific situation, after this. The major need that the invention fulfils is that it facilitates packing of drugs in blister packages so that the necessary protecting carton may be eliminated. The invention allows blister packages to be mailed in flat envelopes without padding, and great volumes of blister packages to be freighted taking a fraction of the space of packaged blisters or blisters may be displayed in drug stores on hangers without a package.

As used herein, a “blister sheet” is defined as a generally flat assembly that is preformed or preconfigured for packaging having multiple localized compartments or pockets. Blisters are the compartments or pockets themselves. A schematic drawing of blister sheet formation is shown in FIG. 1.

The folding method of the invention for blister sheet production comprises providing a blister sheet with symmetrically placed blister cavities on opposite sides of a center folding line, and folding said blister sheet along the center folding line. Preferably the blister sheet comprises a first and a second column of blisters, and parallel rows of blisters comprising a first row of blisters and a second row of blisters, and is formed of a base foil formed with blister cavities connected to a substantially flat lid foil. In the invention, the blisters in the second row are preferably so placed relative to the blisters in the first row that each blister in the first row will cover a blister in the second row when the blister sheet is folded halfway between the first and second rows, wherein when the blister sheet is folded, the flat lid foil covering each blister cavity will correspond to and cover the flat foil of a blister cavity on a corresponding row of blisters. The center folding line may be either lengthwise or crosswise. A hole may be punched at each side of the blister sheet an equal distance from the center folding line.

Referring now to the figures, when a completely symmetrical blister sheet is folded along a center line so that the backside of the blister chart cavities are now facing each other, the benefit of the invention is attained. It does not matter if the folding is done so that a sheet of, for example, a 2×4 chamber blister (FIG. 2) becomes by folding, as shown in FIG. 3, a 2×2 blister square (the side of which is shown in FIG. 4) or a 1×4 blister row. So long as the back of the blister is facing another back of a blister, the package will endure many times more pressure without harming pills or cracking blisters and expose the content(medicine pill or capsule), than if unfolded.

Blister cavities must perfectly correspond to each other when sheet/chart is folded along center fold line 1 as in FIG. 3 or alternatively along center fold line 2. The important thing is that the backside of each blister must perfectly match the corresponding blister. Note that this is contrasting earlier patented methods where the blister cavities are either interlacing or simply stacked or piled. Note that this new method does not involve adhesive potions, layers or strips. It is simply folded for purpose of packaging or hanging in store display. For the latter purpose a hole may be punched at the top and bottom of the sheet on equal distance from the center folding line.

Such a folded blister is convenient for personal storage in garment pockets, handbags, purses or wallets. The folding brings benefits when packaging big quantities where carton layers may be excluded at different levels. Thus, although normally you have a package with an inner carton, outside carton, multiple outside carton, transport carton, so that there are several layers outside each other as needed plus layers of sheets of carton inside a box between layers of products, some or many or a few of those layers may be removed because of the invention. Another benefit occurs in retail situations where single blisters may be posted via ordinary mail. Manuals may be stored inside the folded blister between the two halves of the folded blister sheet. The manual can stay in place by use of adhesive strips holding the halves of the folded blister sheet together.

There exist a wide array of blisters in the market that are useful for this folding method—the requirements are simply that the blister cavities are symmetrically placed over the sheet and that there is a center line where the blister can be folded.

Example of Suitable Blister

An example could be a blister sheet measuring width 55 mm (2 columns) length 88 mm(4 rows). In that case, center line 1 would be 44 mm from the shorter edges and parallel thereto, while alternate center line 2 would be 27.5 mm from the longer edges and parallel thereto.

Standard package material OPA 25 μm (oriented polyamid)

Aluminium 45 cm

PVC 60 μm

Cover foil 20 μm

Laque 7 grams

The blister sheet is made as is known in the art and as described and shown herein. Both foils or either one could be only aluminium, aluminium/PVC or other plastic combination, or only PVC or other plastic. Machinery that could be used is for example a Uhlmann B 1240. See: http://uhlmann.de/uhlmann e/html/b 1240.html

The folded blister preferably stays folded and in place without the use of adhesive stickers, layers or strips by being put in an envelop for shipping via mail, adhesive, hot-melt glue and the like as is known in the art.

While the invention has been described with reference to specific embodiments, it will be appreciated that numerous variations, modifications, and embodiments are possible, and accordingly, all such variations, modifications, and embodiments are to be regarded as being within the spirit and scope of the invention.