Title:
Tubular container with twist lock cover
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A container has a tubular body, a tubular cover to fit over the body, and a locking means adapted to be moved between latched and unlatched positions by twisting the cover with respect to the body for releasably securing the cover on the body. The locking means includes a tab secured to a respective one of the body and cover, the tab being movable relative to the respective one of the body and cover for moving the locking means between the latched and unlatched positions.



Inventors:
Jedryk, Anamarija (Oakville, CA)
D'souza, Louis M. (Etobicoke, CA)
Application Number:
11/356298
Publication Date:
08/31/2006
Filing Date:
02/17/2006
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
220/786, 220/790
International Classes:
B65D41/16; B65D39/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
VOLZ, ELIZABETH J
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BERESKIN & PARR LLP/S.E.N.C.R.L., s.r.l. (TORONTO, ON, CA)
Claims:
1. A tubular container, comprising: a) a tubular body extending lengthwise along a container axis; b) a tubular cover extending lengthwise along the container axis, the cover shaped to fit over the body in a snug, telescoping fit; c) a locking means for releasably securing the cover to the body, the locking means adapted to be moved between latched and unlatched positions by relative twisting of the cover with respect to the body about the container axis.

2. The container of claim 1, wherein the locking means comprises at least one tab extending from a respective sidewall of one of the body and the cover, and at least one opening for receiving the tab provided in the other of the body and cover.

3. The container of claim 2, wherein the tab extends integrally from the respective sidewall, and has a hinge line that is aligned generally parallel to the container axis.

4. The container of claim 3, wherein the tab is formed of a portion of the respective sidewall from which the tab extends.

5. The container of claim 3, wherein the tab and the respective sidewall are of laminated paperboard construction.

6. The container of claim 3, wherein the tab is pivotable about the hinge line between radially advanced and retracted positions, corresponding to the latched and unlatched positions, respectively, of the locking means.

7. The container of claim 4, wherein the tab comprises a tab edge that extends continuously from opposed ends of the hinge line to define a perimeter of the tab.

8. The container of claim 4, wherein the opening is adapted to receive at least a portion of the tab, and has an opening edge defining a perimeter of the opening.

9. The container of claim 8, wherein the opening edge includes a bearing edge that is generally parallel to the container axis.

10. The container of claim 9, wherein the tab includes an insertion portion defined as a portion of the tab spaced circumferentially furthest from the hinge line, the insertion portion adapted to be inserted in the opening, and upon further rotation, to be urged further into the opening towards the radially advanced position of the tab by engagement of the tab with the bearing edge of the opening.

11. The container of claim 9, wherein when the tab is inserted into the opening and the cover is twisted relative to the body in a direction drawing the hinge line and bearing edge together, the locking means is moved into the latched position, and an upper edge of the opening abuts an upper edge of the tab to inhibit axial removal of the cover from the body.

12. The container of claim 9, wherein the latched position defines a rotationally oriented position of the cover relative to the body by abutment of the hinge line of the tab with the bearing edge of the opening.

13. The container of claim 9, wherein the cover comprises a leading edge and the body comprises a shoulder, the tab and opening being spaced axially apart from the respective leading edge and shoulder by corresponding distances so that the tab and opening are in axial alignment when the leading edge abuts the shoulder.

14. The container of claim 9 wherein at least a portion of the locking means is frangible and adapted to rupture when moving the locking means from the latched to the unlatched position.

15. The container of claim 14 wherein the tab includes barbs extending axially outwardly from the tab adjacent the hinge line.

16. The container of claim 15 wherein the opening includes axially extending catch surfaces adjacent the bearing edge, the catch surfaces engaging the barbs when cover is rotated in a first direction relative to the body to move the locking means to the latched position, and the engagement of the catch surfaces and the barbs inhibiting rotation of the cover relative to the body in a direction opposite the first direction.

17. The container of claim 16 wherein the bearing edge extends axially between upper and lower ends, and the catch surfaces comprise edges of respective slits extending axially from the upper and lower ends of the bearing edge.

18. The container of claim 17, wherein the barbs and the catch surfaces have generally equal axial extents.

19. The container of claim 4, wherein the locking means comprises a pair of tabs and a corresponding pair of openings for receiving respective ones of the tabs.

20. The container of claim 18 wherein the tabs and openings are on diametrically opposing sides of the respective body and cover.

Description:

This application claims the benefit under 35 USC 119(e) of U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/653,499, filed on Feb. 17, 2005, the entire contents of which are hereby incorporated by reference.

FIELD

The present specification pertains to tubular containers with twist lock covers, and more particularly to containers having covers with integral locking means for releasably securing the cover to the body of the container.

BACKGROUND

U.S. Pat. No. 2,777,630 (Moberger) discloses a container having a body and snug fitting cover. The cover is provided with arcuate tabs on opposite walls. The tabs have generally horizontal hinge lines, and free upper ends that are adapted to be pressed inwardly to engage arcuate slits provided in walls of the body. Some upward movement of the lid from the body is possible, and in fact may be required to fully engage the tab with the slit. To remove the lid, Moberger teaches that the lid is to be pushed downwards to be fully seated on the body, and then the wall of the body immediately above the tabs is to be forced inwards to clear the tabs, so that the lid can be slid upwards for removal.

U.S. Pat. No. 3,275,219 (McKechnie) discloses a self-locking box in which the box has a flap formed around a horizontal fold line. The cover has a generally horizontal shoulder for engaging the flap, the shoulder provided by cutting a slot in the wall of the cover. To remove the cover, inward pressure is exerted against the flaps to disengage the flaps from the shoulders of the cover.

Covers for container bodies with bayonet locking mechanisms are also disclosed in the prior art. Such containers generally include a pin or other protrusion separately attached to the body or cover of a container, and adapted to engage a matching slot having axial and radial portions. Examples of such teaching include U.S. Pat. No. 3,312,336 (Fally), U.S. Pat. No. 3,364,691 (Wei), and U.S. Pat. No. 4,279,355 (Schwartz et al.).

SUMMARY

The following summary is intended to introduce the reader to this specification but not to define any invention. In general, this specification discusses one or more methods or apparatuses for a tubular container having a body and a cover, and in which a locking means is provided for releasably securing the cover to the body. The locking means is adapted to be moved between latched and unlatched positions by twisting the cover relative to the body. When in the latched position, the locking means can prevent inadvertent removal of the cover from the body when, for example, the container is picked up off a shelf, by inhibiting axial removal of the cover from the body. As well, when in the latched position, the locking means can define a rotationally oriented position of the cover relative to the body, which can be desirable in cases, for example, where graphics are provided across the base and cover, and registration of the graphics is desired for display or other purposes.

According to a first aspect of the teaching disclosed herein, a tubular container has a body and a cover that fits over the cover in a snug, telescoping fit. The container is provided with a locking means, the locking means including a tab extending from a sidewall of one of the body and cover, and an opening for receiving the tab provided in the other of the body and cover. The tab extends integrally from the respective tubular sidewall, and has a hinge line that is aligned generally parallel to the axis of the respective tubular body. The tab has a tab edge that extends continuously from opposed ends of the hinge lines to define the perimeter of the tab. The opening is adapted to receive the tab, and has an edge defining the perimeter of the opening. The opening edge includes a bearing edge that is generally parallel to the axis of the respective tubular body. When the tab is inserted in the opening the locking means is moved into the latched position, and an upper edge of the opening abuts an upper edge of the tab to inhibit axial removal of the cover from the body.

According to another aspect, a tubular container is provided with an integral locking means, the locking means providing a security or tamper-proof seal for the container. The locking means can be adapted to cause “damage’ (such as tearing or severing) to one or more elements of the container when the locking means is released from a latched position. Such damage can in turn provide, for example, evidence of tampering to a consumer. The locking means can include a frangible tab adapted to be received in an opening when the locking means is in the latched position, and the frangible tab adapted to be severed from its respective tubular body when the locking means is released from the latched position for removing the cover from the body.

According to another aspect, a tubular container is provided with a tubular body extending lengthwise along a container axis, a tubular cover extending lengthwise along the container axis, the cover shaped to fit over the body in a snug, telescoping fit, and a locking means for releasably securing the cover to the body, the locking means adapted to be moved between latched and unlatched positions by relative twisting of the cover with respect to the body about the container axis.

The locking means can include at least one tab extending from a respective sidewall of one of the body and the cover, and at least one opening for receiving the tab provided in the other of the body and cover. The tab can extend integrally from the respective sidewall, and can have a hinge line that is aligned generally parallel to the container axis. The tab can be formed of a portion of the respective sidewall from which the tab extends. The tab and the respective sidewall can be of laminated paperboard construction. The tab can be pivotable about the hinge line between radially advanced and retracted positions, corresponding to the latched and unlatched positions, respectively, of the locking means. The tab can include a tab edge that extends continuously from opposed ends of the hinge line to define a perimeter of the tab. The opening can be adapted to receive at least a portion of the tab, and can include an opening edge defining a perimeter of the opening. The opening edge can include a bearing edge that is generally parallel to the container axis.

The tab can include an insertion portion defined as a portion of the tab spaced circumferentially furthest from the hinge line, the insertion portion being adapted to be inserted in the opening, and upon further rotation, to be urged further into the opening towards the radially advanced position of the tab by engagement of the tab with the bearing edge of the opening. When the tab is inserted into the opening and the cover is twisted relative to the body in a direction drawing the hinge line and bearing edge together, the locking means can be moved into the latched position, and an upper edge of the opening can abut an upper edge of the tab to inhibit axial removal of the cover from the body.

The latched position can define a rotationally oriented position of the cover relative to the body by abutment of the hinge line of the tab with the bearing edge of the opening. The cover can include a leading edge and the body can include a shoulder, the tab and opening being spaced axially apart from the respective leading edge and shoulder by corresponding distances so that the tab and opening are in axial alignment when the leading edge abuts the shoulder.

At least a portion of the locking means can be frangible and adapted to rupture when moving the locking means from the latched to the unlatched position. The tab can include barbs extending axially outwardly from the tab adjacent the hinge line. The opening can include axially extending catch surfaces adjacent the bearing edge, the catch surfaces engaging the barbs when the cover is rotated in a first direction relative to the body to move the locking means to the latched position, and the engagement of the catch surfaces and the barbs can inhibit rotation of the cover relative to the body in a direction opposite the first direction. The bearing edge can extend axially between upper and lower ends, and the catch surfaces can include edges of respective slits extending axially from the upper and lower ends of the bearing edge. The barbs and the catch surfaces can have generally equal axial extents.

The locking means can include a pair of tabs and a corresponding pair of openings for receiving respective ones of the tabs. The tabs and openings can be on diametrically opposing sides of the respective body and cover.

Other aspects and features of the present specification will become apparent, to those ordinarily skilled in the art, upon review of the following description of the specific examples of the specification.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

The drawings included herewith are for illustrating various examples of articles, methods, and apparatuses of the present specification and are not intended to limit the scope of what is taught in any way. In the drawings:

FIG. 1 is an exploded front elevation view of a container in accordance with the present specification;

FIG. 2 is an enlarged view of a portion of a cover element of the container of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is an enlarged view of another portion of a body element of the container of FIG. 1;

FIGS. 4a, 4b and 4c are front views of the container of FIG. 1 showing the cover in, respectively, initial, intermediate, and final stages of assembly on the body;

FIGS. 5a, 5b, 5c are sectional views taken along the lines 5a, 5b, and 5c of FIGS. 4a, 4b, and 4c, respectively;

FIG. 6 is an exploded front elevation view of an alternative example of a container in accordance with the present specification;

FIG. 7 is an enlarged perspective cut-away view of the container of FIG. 6;

FIG. 8 is a section view of the container of FIG. 7 taken along the lines 8-8;

FIG. 9 is an exploded front elevation view of another example of a container in accordance with the present specification;

FIG. 10 is an enlarged view of a portion of a cover element of the container of FIG. 9;

FIG. 11 is an enlarged view of a portion of a body element of the container of FIG. 9;

FIG. 12 is an enlarged view of a portion of the container of FIG. 9 shown in a fully closed position; and

FIG. 13 is a section view of the container of FIG. 12 taken along the lines 13-13.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Various apparatuses or processes will be described below to provide an example of an embodiment of each claimed invention. No embodiment described below limits any claimed invention and any claimed invention may cover processes or apparatuses that are not described below. The claimed inventions are not limited to apparatuses or processes having all of the features of any one apparatus or process described below or to features common to multiple or all of the apparatuses described below. It is possible that an apparatus or process described below is not an embodiment of any claimed invention. The applicants, inventors or owners reserve all rights that they may have in any invention disclosed in an apparatus or process described below that is not claimed in this document, for example the right to claim such an invention in a continuing application and do not intend to abandon, disclaim or dedicate to the public any such invention by its disclosure in this document.

A container 10 according to the present specification can be seen in FIG. 1. The container 10 is generally tubular in shape, and has a body 12 and cover 14. The body 12 and cover 14 are adapted to fit together in a snug, telescoping fit for closing the container 10. In the example illustrated, the body 12 has a generally cylindrical body sidewall 16 and the cover 14 has a generally cylindrical cover sidewall 18, the inner diameter of the cover sidewall 18 being slightly greater than the outer diameter of the body sidewall 16.

The container 10 is further provided with locking means 20. The locking means 20 is adapted to be moved between latched and unlatched positions to releasably secure the cover 14 to the body 12. The locking means 20 can also provide rotational orientation of the cover 14 with respect to the body 12 when the container 10 is closed, as described subsequently herein.

For ease of reference, an axial direction 4 is defined as a direction parallel to the axes of the cylindrical sidewalls 16, 18 of the container 10. A circumferential direction 6 is defined as a direction along an arc concentric to the sidewalls 16, 18 (i.e. rotation about the axes of the sidewalls 16, 18).

The locking means 20 includes a tab 22 and an opening 24 provided in respective ones of the body 12 and cover 14. In the example illustrated, the tab 22 extends from the cover sidewall 18, and the opening 24 is provided in the body sidewall 16. The opening 24 is adapted to receive at least a portion of the tab 22 for retaining the cover 14 on the body 12.

As best seen in FIGS. 1 and 2, in the example illustrated the tab 22 is formed integrally from a portion of the cover sidewall 18. The tab 22 is connected to the cover sidewall 18 along a hinge line 26 (shown with dashed line in FIG. 2). The tab 22 is movable relative to the cover sidewall 18 between radially inward and radially clear positions, as described further hereinafter, by pivoting or bending about the hinge line 26. The hinge line 26 generally extends in the axial direction 4 (i.e. generally vertically when viewing the container 10 in a typical standing position), and has an upper hinge end 26a and lower hinge end 26b.

The tab 22 further has a tab edge 28 having an upper portion 28a extending from the upper hinge end 26a, a lower portion 28b extending from the lower hinge end 26b, opposite the upper portion 28a, and a circumferentially forward portion 28c extending between the upper portion 28a and lower portion 28b. The area generally bounded by the hinge line 26 and the tab edge 28 defines a tab face 30. The axial extent of the tab 22 defines a tab height 29, and the circumferential extent of the tab 22 defines a tab width 31. A portion of the tab 22 generally opposite the hinge line 26 (i.e. generally proximate the forward portion 28c) defines a tab insertion portion 32.

In the example illustrated, the tab edge 28 is generally arcuate, providing a tab face 30 that is generally semi-circular in shape. The tab insertion portion 32 of the tab 22 generally includes a portion of the tab 22 spaced furthest from the hinge line 26 in a circumferential direction (i.e. generally perpendicular to the hinge line). The tab insertion portion 32 extends to the left of the hinge line 26 (when viewed from the front), so that the cover 14 must be rotated clockwise (when viewed from above) for securing the cover 14 to the body 12 as explained further subsequently herein.

As best seen in FIG. 3, the opening 24 generally provides access through the body sidewall 16 for inserting the tab 22. In the illustrated example, the opening 24 is provided by removing a portion of the body sidewall 16. The opening 24 has an opening edge 34 defined by the body sidewall 16 adjacent the opening 24. A portion of the opening edge 34 defines a bearing edge 36. The bearing edge 36 is aligned generally in the axial direction 6 and has an upper bearing edge end 36a and a lower bearing edge end 36b.

The opening edge 34 further includes an upper opening edge 34a extending from the upper bearing edge end 36a, a lower opening edge 34b extending from the lower bearing edge end 36b, and a forward opening edge 34c extending between the lower and upper opening edges 34a, 34b. The axial extent of the opening 24 defines an opening height 33, and the circumferential extent of the opening 24 defines an opening width 35. In the illustrated example, the opening height 33 is generally equal to the tab height 29. The opening width 35 can be as narrow as the thickness of the tab (or narrower) or can be wider to facilitate inserting the insertion portion 32 of the tab 22 into the space between the forward opening edge 34c and the bearing edge 36 of the opening 24. In the example illustrated, the opening width 35 is generally equal to the tab width 31.

When viewed from the front, the opening 24 extends circumferentially towards the right side of the bearing edge 36. This is opposite to the direction that the tab 22 extends with respect to the hinge line 26, and facilitates engagement of the tab 22 when the cover 14 is rotated in a clockwise direction with respect to the body 12 (when viewed from above).

The body 12 and cover 14 of the container 10 can be made of a variety of materials, including, for example, but not limited to, paperboard, cardboard, plastic, or metal. In the example illustrated, the body 12 and cover 14 are each constructed of tri-laminate spiral wound paperboard tubing elements, cut to length to provide the respective body sidewall 16 and cover sidewall 18.

The tab 22 can be formed by, for example, but not limited to, punching or cuffing through the cover sidewall 18 along a line corresponding to the tab edge 28. An optional crease can be pressed along the hinge line 26. Similarly, the opening 24 can be formed by punching or cutting through the body sidewall 16 along the opening edge 34. The laminated paperboard construction can help to provide the tab 22 and the opening edge 34 with strength and rigidity, and can help to provide edges 28, 34 that are generally clean, free of burs, fraying, and the like.

To releasably secure the cover 14 onto the body 12 of the container 10, the cover 14 can be slid over the body 12 in a telescoping fashion (FIG. 4a). The tab 22 can be aligned with the cover sidewall 16 generally defining a radially clear position of the tab 22 in which the tab 22 generally avoids interference with the body sidewall 16 (particularly an upper edge thereof) during this telescoping assembly. No particular rotational orientation need be considered when sliding the cover 14 onto the body 12.

The axial extent to which the cover 14 is slid over the body 12 should be such that the tab 22 and opening 24 are generally in axial alignment. An abutment means 40 can be provided to facilitate such axial alignment of the tab 22 and the opening 24 (FIG. 4a). In the example illustrated, the container 10 is provided with an abutment means 40 in the form of an annular shoulder 42 that projects outwardly from the outer surface of the body sidewall 16.

During assembly of the cover 14 onto the body 12, a lower edge 44 of the cover sidewall 18 can abut the shoulder so that further (downward) axial assembly is prevented. The axial spacing between the tab 22 and the lower edge 44 of the cover 14 can be generally equal to that between the opening 24 and the shoulder 42. The cover 14 need then be simply assembled into the body 12 as far as possible (i.e. until the lower edge 44 abuts the shoulder 42) and the tab 22 and opening 24 will then be in the required axial alignment.

Referring now to FIGS. 4b and 5b, once so assembled, the cover 14 can be rotated (or twisted) circumferentially relative to the body 12, while applying a radially inward force on the tab 22. In the example illustrated, the cover 14 is to be rotated clockwise (when viewed from above). Eventually the insertion edge 32 of the tab 22 will become aligned with the opening 24, and due to the inward force, the insertion edge will be urged into the opening 24. The insertion edge 32 need only be urged inwardly (into the opening 24) to a radial extent such that the leading edge 28c is positioned radially inwardly of the bearing edge 36. Continued rotation will urge the tab face 30 “behind” the bearing edge 36, moving the tab 22 to its radially inward position.

As seen in FIGS. 4c and 5c, once the hinge line 26 of the tab 22 is generally in rotational alignment with the bearing edge 36 of the opening 24, further rotation is substantially prevented. One reason why further rotation is prevented is because upper and lower tab edges 28a, 28b terminate at the upper and lower ends 26a, 26b of the hinge line 26, leaving cover sidewall material immediately above and below the hinge line ends 26a, 26b, respectively to bear against the bearing edge 36. This position defines the fully latched position of the locking means 20. At this point, axial removal of the cover 14 from the body 12 is prevented because the upper edge 28a of the tab 22 is positioned underneath the upper edge 34a of the opening 24.

To unlatch the locking means 20 and remove the cover 14, the cover 14 can be twisted in a counterclockwise direction. The body sidewall 18 proximate the forward opening edge 34c will guide the tab 22 radially outwardly, and once the insertion portion 32 is clear of the bearing edge 36, the cover 14 can be slid axially off the body 12.

Another example of a container 110 in accordance with the present specification can be seen in FIG. 6. The container 110 is similar to container 10, and like features are denoted by like reference characters, incremented by 100. The container 110 has a body 112 and cover 114, and locking means 120. In the container 110, the locking means 120 comprises dual tabs 122 positioned generally on opposite sides (i.e. 180 degrees apart) of the cover sidewall 118.

The body 112 is provided with two openings 124, generally on opposite sides of the body sidewall 116, and adapted to receive the tabs 122. In the example illustrated, the openings 124 are generally rectangular, but are not formed by completely removing a portion of the body sidewall 116. Rather, each opening 124 has an opening edge 134 extending along only a portion of its perimeter. This leaves a flap 138 of sidewall material attached to the body sidewall 116 where no edge 134 has been provided.

In the example illustrated, the opening 124 has an opening edge 134 with a generally axially oriented bearing edge 136, and generally circumferentially oriented upper and lower edges 134a and 134b. Opposite the bearing edge 136, the opening 124 has a flap hinge line 134c. The flap 138 remains attached to the body sidewall 116, but can deflect radially inwardly along the flap hinge line 134c to provide the tab 122 with access through the body sidewall 116. Leaving the flap 138 attached to the body sidewall 116 can facilitate production of the cover 114, since potential difficulties in evacuating cut-outs are avoided.

The container 110 in the closed position (cover 114 fully assembled on body 112) can be seen in FIG. 7. In FIG. 7, a lower portion of the body 112 has been removed to make the interior of the container 110 visible. When in the closed position, the tabs 122 extend through the openings 124. The flaps 138 are deflected radially inwardly (see also FIG. 8). Axially upward displacement of the cover 114 from the body 112 is prevented by interference of the upper edges 128a of the tabs 122 with the upper edges 134a of the respective openings 124.

A further example of a container 210 in accordance with the present specification can be seen in FIG. 9. The container 210 is similar to the container 10, and like features are identified with like reference characters, incremented by 200.

The container 210 has a body 212 and a cover 214, and is provided with a locking means 220. The locking means 220 is adapted to provide the container 210 with a security lock (or tamper-proof) feature, moving the locking means from its latched to unlatched position causing “damage” to one or more elements of the container 210. This damage can serve as a warning, for example, to consumers, that contents packaged within the container 210 may have been subjected to tampering.

In the example illustrated, the locking means 220 includes a frangible tab 222 attached to the cover 214 and adapted to be received in an opening 224 provided in the body 212 when the locking means is moved to the latched position. The frangible tab 222 is adapted to be severed from the cover 214 when unlatching the locking means 220.

Referring now also to FIG. 10, the frangible tab 222 is, in the example illustrated, generally triangular in shape. The tab 222 has a generally axially oriented hinge line 226, with converging upper and lower tab edges 228a and 228b extending from respective upper and lower ends 226a and 226b of the hinge line 226. The tab 222 has a tab height 229 generally equal to the axial extent of the hinge line 226.

The tab 222 is further provided with barbs 248 adjacent the upper and lower ends 226a and 226b of the hinge line 226. The barbs 248 can be formed by providing generally axially oriented barb edges 250 along respective uppermost and lowermost portions of the hinge line 226. The barb edges 250 can be cut or punched through the body sidewall 216. The axial extent of the barb edges 250 defines a barb height 252. In the example illustrated, the barbs 248 are generally defined by portions of the tab 222 disposed circumferentially to the left of the barb edges 250.

The frangible tab 222 is further provided with a line of weakness 254 extending along the hinge line 226 intermediate the barb edges 250. The axial extent of the line of weakness 254 defines a tab break length 255. In the example illustrated, the line of weakness 254 includes a series of perforations 256 that extend through the cover sidewall 216. Other elements may be provided for weakening the connection between the tab 222 and the cover sidewall 216, such as, for example, but not limited to, providing a crease along the hinge line 226, or cutting partially through the thickness of the body sidewall 216 continuously or intermittently along the hinge line 226. The line of weakness facilitates separation of the tab 222 from the body sidewall 216 when unlatching the frangible locking means 220, as described in greater detail subsequently herein.

Referring now also to FIG. 11, in the example illustrated, the opening 224 is provided in the body sidewall 218 and has an opening edge 234 that is generally rectangular in shape. The opening edge 234 includes an axially oriented bearing edge 236, an axially oriented forward edge 234 spaced to the right of the bearing edge 236, and circumferentially oriented upper and lower opening edges 234a and 234b extending between upper and lower ends of the respective edges 236 and 234c. In the example illustrated, the opening height 233 of the opening 224 is less than the tab height 229 of the tab 222, and is generally equal to the tab break length 255.

The opening 224 is further provided with catches 258 for engaging the barbs 248 of the tab 222. The catches 258 can be formed by providing slits 260 extending axially outwardly from the upper and lower ends 236a and 236b of the bearing edge 236. The slits 260 provide upper and lower bearing edge extensions 262a and 262b that extend generally in the same plane as the bearing edge 236. The slits 260 provide the catches 258 with catch edges 264. The catch edges 264 are generally axially oriented, and in opposed relation to the bearing edge extensions 262a and 262b. The circumferential spacing between the bearing edge extension 262 and the catch edges 264 defines a slit width 266. The slit width 266 can be generally equal to the thickness of the cover sidewall 216, for allowing the barbs 248 of the tab 222 to be inserted through the slits 260. The axial extent of each slit width 260 defines a slit height 268, which in the illustrated example is generally equal to the barb height 252.

Placing the container 210 with the locking means 220 in a fully latched position can be initiated by assembling the cover 214 onto the body 212 and twisting the cover 214 in a clockwise direction (when viewed from above) relative to the body 212, similar to the method for closing the containers 10, 110.

To move the locking means 220 to the latched position, the insertion portion 232 of the tab 222 can be inserted into the opening 224, for example, by applying a radially inwardly directed force on the tab face 230 of the tab 222 with one's thumb or finger. Once the insertion edge 232 has engaged the bearing edge 236, the initial radial force need no longer be applied since continued rotation will urge the tab face 230 behind the bearing edge 236.

As best seen in FIGS. 12 and 13, further rotation will urge the barbs 248 of the tab 222 through the slits 260 of the opening 224, and cause the barb edges 250 to move past the catch edges 264. At this point, the locking means 220 is in the fully latched position, and the cover 214 is securely retained onto the body 212. Reversing the rotation of the cover 214 is inhibited, because at least a portion of the barb edges 250 generally abuts at least a portion of the catch edges 264 (FIG. 13). An attempt to forcefully draw the barbs 248 out through the slits 260 will generally result in a rupture of the line of weakness 254, thereby severing the tab 222 from the cover sidewall 218.

While the above description provides examples of one or more processes or apparatuses, it will be appreciated that other processes or apparatuses may be within the scope of the accompanying claims.