Title:
Carton and carton blank
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A carton of a traditional glue end type contains an additional flap which is revealed when the end of the carton is opened and which allows the consumer to lift and lock it into place as a resealing feature for the open carton end. The additional flap is folded through 180° and is be held down behind an end flap of the carton with a small glue spot. A zone of weakness is defined in the carton to allow easy opening of the end of the carton at the correct place for proper functioning of the additional flap. Advantageously, a consumer may easily open the carton end since the consumer can easily puncture the zone of weakness. However, the extra flap may be used by the consumer to reseal the carton end multiple times.



Inventors:
Shaw, Peter (Milperra, AU)
Application Number:
10/936936
Publication Date:
03/09/2006
Filing Date:
09/09/2004
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
229/152, 229/153, 229/222, 229/223, 229/151
International Classes:
B65D5/00; B65D17/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
ELKINS, GARY E
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Walter | Haverfield LLP (CLEVELAND, OH, US)
Claims:
1. A carton including side panels and at least a first and a second end flap defined at each end of the carton wherein the carton is closed by gluing a first end flap at each end over a second end flap characterised by: a line of weakness extending between the first end flap of one end of the carton and an adjacent side panel; and an additional flap folded behind one of said end flaps at said one end; the arrangement being such that the carton may be opened along the line of weakness, the additional flap unfolded from behind said end flap so that the carton may be closed by means of the additional flap.

2. The carton as claimed in claim 1, wherein the line of weakness comprises a series of perforations and defines a semicircular thumb tab portion which extends into the said adjacent side panel.

3. The carton as claimed in claim 1, wherein the additional flap is folded behind the second end flap and retained in position using adhesive or glue.

4. A carton blank for making a carton, the carton blank defining; a plurality of side panels; and end flaps; characterised by an additional flap hinged to one end flap of a pair of opposed end flaps in the assembled carton; and preferably a line of weakness linking the other end flap of opposed end flaps to a contiguous side panel.

5. An assembled, un-erected carton, formed from a carton blank defining a plurality of side panels; and end flaps; characterised by an additional flap hinged to one end flap of a pair of opposed end flaps in the assembled carton; and preferably a line of weakness linking the other end flap of opposed end flaps to a contiguous side panel; wherein the additional flap is folded back and glued behind the one end flap.

6. A carton blank for forming a carton made in one piece from a sheet of material and comprising; a first side panel having a top end edge and a bottom end edge and two side edges; one end flap foldably connected to the bottom end edge of the first side panel; a second end flap being foldably connected to the top end edge of the first side panel along a hinge or score line, and an additional flap being foldably connected to the second end flap along a hinge or score line which is parallel to the hinge or score line connecting the second end flap to the first side panel; a second side panel having a top end edge and a bottom end edge and two side edges, one side edge of the second panel being foldably connected to a side edge of the first side panel; a third side panel having a top end edge and a bottom end edge and two side edges, one side edge of the second panel being foldably connected to a side edge of the second side panel; one end flap foldably connected to the bottom end edge of the third side panel; a second end flap being foldably connected to the top end edge of the third side panel; a line of weakness being defined between the second end flap of the third side panel and the third side panel; and a fourth side panel having a top end edge and a bottom end edge and two side edges.

7. The carton blank as claimed in claim 6 wherein the line of weakness is defined by perforations formed in the material and includes a curved thumb tab portion which extends into said third side panel.

8. The carton blank as claimed in claim 6 wherein end flaps are hingedly connected to the top and bottom edges of the second and fourth side panels.

9. The carton blank as claimed in claim 6 wherein the panels are hingedly connected by means of score lines defined in the sheet material.

10. An assembled, un-erected carton, formed from a carton blank comprising a first side panel having a top end edge and a bottom end edge and two side edges; one end flap foldably connected to the bottom end edge of the first side panel; a second end flap being foldably connected to the top end edge of the first side panel along a hinge or score line, and an additional flap being foldably connected to the second end flap along a hinge or score line which is parallel to the hinge or score line connecting the second end flap to the first side panel; a second side panel having a top end edge and a bottom end edge and two side edges, one side edge of the second panel being foldably connected to a side edge of the first side panel; a third side panel having a top end edge and a bottom end edge and two side edges, one side edge of the second panel being foldably connected to a side edge of the second side panel; one end flap foldably connected to the bottom end edge of the third side panel; a second end flap being foldably connected to the top end edge of the third side panel; a line of weakness being defined between the second end flap of the third side panel and the third side panel; and a fourth side panel having a top end edge and a bottom end edge and two side edges; wherein the additional flap is folded back and glued behind the second end flap of the first side panel.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to a carton and to a carton blank. In particular, the application relates to a carton which is particularly suited for use in the pharmaceutical industry but which may also be used in other areas.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Many cardboard cartons are manufactured in the well known “glue end” format. As the name suggests, in the “glue end” format, to seal the ends of a carton, one end flap overlaps and is glued to another end flap. Typically the largest two end flaps at each end, are glued together in this format. Such a format allows the manufacturer, such as a pharmaceutical manufacturer to insert their product and close the ends of the carton using glue. Although this form of carton closure is not considered to be tamper evident, it does address a number of issues related to product tampering and pilfering during the distribution cycle.

Boxes used to distribute medications are usually in the conventional rectangular carton shape and are mostly made from cardboard. Some are in the “glue end” format. There are also versions of glue end format cartons that allow a consumer to easily open a glue end carton which rely on perforations defining a line of weakness adjacent the end of the carton which can be easily broken to open the carton.

Existing versions of glue end cartons suffer from a number of problems as follows.

First the end flaps are glued with a permanent adhesive. Often the consumer will find the process of opening the end flaps difficult and frustrating. Frequently, the consumer will have to destroy the end of the carton to open it.

Secondly, once the end flaps have been opened, they cannot easily be resealed. Any medication in the carton (or other contents) is then free to fall out.

Thirdly, existing carton erection and filling machines are generally limited to working with conventional glue end cartons. Any extra flaps or panels cannot easily be accommodated within normal machinery design parameters.

The present invention aims to alleviate the problems of the prior discussed above.

Any discussion of documents, acts, materials, devices, articles or the like which has been included in the present specification is solely for the purpose of providing a context for the present invention. It is not to be taken as an admission that any or all of these matters form part of the prior art base or were common general knowledge in the field relevant to the present invention as it existed before the priority date of each claim of this application.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In a first broad aspect, the present invention provides a carton of a traditional glue end type but which contains an additional flap which is revealed when the end of the carton is opened and which allows the consumer to lift and lock it into place as a resealing feature for the open carton end.

Typically, the additional flap will be held down with a small glue spot, although this is not essential.

A zone of weakness associated with a thumb tab may be defined by the carton to allow easy opening of the end of the carton at the correct place for proper functioning of the additional flap.

An advantage of the present invention is that a consumer may easily open the carton end since the consumer can easily puncture the thumb tab without destroying the end of the carton. However, the extra flap may be used by the consumer to reseal the carton end multiple times.

More specifically, in one aspect the present invention provides a carton including side panels and at least two end flaps defined at each end of the carton wherein the carton is closed by gluing a first end flap at each end over a second end flap characterised by:

    • preferably a line of weakness extending between a first flap of one end and an adjacent side panel; and
    • an additional flap folded behind said end flaps;
    • the arrangement being such that the carton may be opened along the line of weakness and resealed by means of the flap.

Typically, the line of weakness defines a semicircular thumb tab portion which extends into the said adjacent side panel.

The additional flap is typically attached to and folded behind the second end flap.

The invention also encompasses a carton blank for making a carton embodying the present invention, the blank defining;

    • a plurality of side panels; and
    • end flaps;
    • characterised by
    • an additional flap hinged to one end flap of a pair of opposed end flaps in the assembled carton; and preferably
    • a line of weakness linking the other end flap of opposed end flaps to a contiguous side panel.

The un-erected carton, as delivered to the pharmaceutical manufacturer will be produced with the extra flap already folded back, and in some cases glued so that the flat carton will fit any suitable carton erection machine without modification.

The present invention also encompasses an erected carton blank in which the additional flap is folded back onto and parallel to the one end flap.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

A specific embodiment of the present invention will now be described by way of example only and with reference to the accompanying drawings in which:

FIG. 1 shows a carton blank embodying the present invention in its flat form before assembly;

FIG. 2 shows the carton blank of FIG. 1 assembled but before erection and end closure;

FIG. 3 shows the carton fully erected in its final form prior to opening;

FIG. 4 shows the carton after the consumer has opened the thumb tab to remove the contents;

FIG. 5 shows the carton after the consumer has lifted the tuck flap; and

FIG. 6 shows the carton after the consumer has tucked the flap behind the front panel to reseal the carton.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF A PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

Referring to the drawings, FIG. 1 shows the front face of a carton blank 10 prior to assembly. The carton blank is made from a sheet of material, typically cardboard, by the usual techniques of cutting and scoring. The carton blank 10 includes four side panels 12, 14, 16, 18, larger and smaller end flaps 20A to D, 22 respectively and a flap 24 for joining side panel 12 to side panel 18 prior to erection and closure of the carton. The blank also includes two significant features not present in a typical glue end carton blank. The first feature is a perforated line of weakness 26 between one larger end flap 20A and side panel 14 which incorporates a semicircular tab portion 28. The second feature is an additional further flap 30 foldably connected/hinged to end flap 20B of the carton blank.

FIG. 2 shows the carton assembled prior to erection and closure, by gluing flap 24 to the rear face of flap 12. FIG. 2 illustrates that the additional flap 30 has been folded over through 180°. The rear face of the flap 30 may be weakly glued, typically at a single spot, to the rear face of end flap 20B. In the form shown in FIG. 2, the assembled carton may be erected, filled and closed on standard glue end erection and filling machines.

FIG. 3 shows the carton after it has been erected and filled with product. At one end, end flap 20D is glued over end flap 20C in typical “glue end” fashion. At the other end, the rear face of flap 20A is glued over flap 20B. Flap 12 is located behind flap 20B. As shown in FIG. 4, when carton is opened by a consumer at the perforated line of weakness 26, flap 20B opens with flap 30 located behind it.

In order to reseal the carton as illustrated in FIGS. 5 and 6, the consumer lifts the flap 30, (which, as discussed above, may be lightly glued to the end flap) and uses it to reseal the carton as shown in FIG. 6.

Thus, the present invention provides a carton which can be erected and filled on existing carton erection and filling machines, but which is easier to open than traditional glue end cartons and which may be resealed.

Whilst the line of weakness is a highly preferred feature, other means could be provided for ensuring that the end of the carton opens correctly for use of the additional flap.

It will be appreciated by persons skilled in the art that numerous variations and/or modifications may be made to the invention as shown in the specific embodiments without departing from the spirit or scope of the invention as broadly described. The present embodiments are, therefore, to be considered in all respects as illustrative and not restrictive.