Title:
Rigid, hinged-lid package for tobacco articles
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A rigid package for tobacco articles has a cup-shaped, parallelepiped-shaped container having a rear wall, a front wall, two lateral walls, a bottom wall, and an open top end; and a cup-shaped lid, which is hinged to the container along a hinge to rotate between an open position and a closed position respectively opening and closing the open top end, and has a rear wall, a front wall, two lateral walls, and a top wall; the lid has two seats, each located at a respective lateral wall of the lid and having an opening facing the container and parallel to the lateral walls of the lid; and a top portion of each lateral wall of the container is designed for insertion inside a respective seat, through the opening of the seat, when the lid is in the closed position.



Inventors:
Petrucci, Luca (Castelfranco Emilia, IT)
Negrini, Stefano (Calderara Di Reno, IT)
Application Number:
11/365276
Publication Date:
09/21/2006
Filing Date:
03/01/2006
Assignee:
G.D SOCIETA' PER AZIONI (Bologna, IT)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
229/160.2
International Classes:
B65D43/00; G01B21/10; B23Q15/18; B23Q17/20; B24B5/42; B24B49/04; B24B49/14; B24B51/00; B65D85/10; G05B19/404
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
ELKINS, GARY E
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MARSHALL, GERSTEIN & BORUN LLP (CHICAGO, IL, US)
Claims:
1. A rigid package for tobacco articles, comprising: at least one container (2), which is cup-shaped to house a group of tobacco articles, is parallelepiped-shaped, and comprises a rear wall (6), a front wall (7), two lateral walls (8), a bottom wall (9), and an open top end (3); and a lid (4), which is cup-shaped, is hinged to the container (2) along a hinge (5) to rotate between an open position and a closed position respectively opening and closing the open top end (3), and comprises a rear wall (10), a front wall (11), two lateral walls (12), and a top wall (13); the package (1) being characterized in that the lid (4) has two seats (22), each located at a respective lateral wall (12) of the lid and having an opening (23) facing the container (2) and parallel to the lateral walls (12) of the lid; and a top portion (24) of each lateral wall (8) of the container (2) is designed for insertion inside a respective seat (22), through the opening (23) of the seat (22), when the lid (4) is in the closed position.

2. A package as claimed in claim 1, wherein the opening (23) of each seat (22) and a top edge (25) of each lateral wall (8) of the container (2) are so formed that the top edge (25) is inserted gradually inside the opening (23) as the lid (4) is rotated into the closed position.

3. A package as claimed in claim 1, wherein a collar (18) defines an extension of the lateral walls (8) of the container (2), engages a corresponding inner surface of the lid (4) when the lid (4) is in the closed position, and comprises two lateral walls (21) having top portions (24) which engage the seats (22) on the lid (4).

4. A package as claimed in claim 3, wherein the container (2) is formed from a flat blank (26) in which the collar (18) is integrated.

5. A package as claimed in claim 3, wherein the collar (18) is separate from the container (2), and is connected, folded into a U, to the inside of the container (2), so as to project partly outwards of the open top end (3).

6. A package as claimed in claim 1, wherein two projections (19) project outwards to engage the lid (4) with a given interference when the lid (4) is in the closed position.

7. A package as claimed in claim 1, wherein the container (2) comprises four longitudinal edges (14) defined between the lateral walls (8) and the front wall (7) and rear wall (6) of the container, and four transverse edges (15) defined between the bottom wall (9) and the lateral walls (8), front wall (7) and rear wall (6) of the container; and the lid (4) comprises four longitudinal edges (16) defined between the lateral walls (12) and the front wall (11) and rear wall (10) of the lid, and four transverse edges (17) defined between the top wall (13) and the lateral walls (12), front wall (11) and rear wall (10) of the lid.

8. A package as claimed in claim 7, wherein at least some of the longitudinal edges (14) of the container (2) and the corresponding longitudinal edges (16) of the lid (4) are rounded or bevelled.

9. A package as claimed in claim 7, wherein at least some of the transverse edges (15) of the container (2) or of the lid (4) are rounded or bevelled.

10. A package as claimed in claim 1, wherein the package (1) is formed from a flat blank (26) having two longitudinal fold lines (27), and a number of transverse fold lines (28) defining between the longitudinal fold lines (27) a first panel (7′) forming the front wall (7) of the container (2); a second panel (9′) forming the bottom wall (9) of the container (2); a third panel (6′) forming the rear wall (6) of the container (2); a fourth panel (10′) forming the rear wall (10) of the lid (4); a fifth panel (13′) forming the top wall (13) of the lid (4); a sixth panel (11′) forming the front wall (11) of the lid (4); and a first inner tab (29) for reinforcing the front wall (11) of the lid (4).

11. A package as claimed in claim 10, wherein the first panel (7′) has two first tabs (8′), which form respective outer portions of the lateral walls (8) of the container (2), are located on opposite sides of the first panel (7′), and are separated from the first panel (7′) by the longitudinal fold lines (27); the third panel (6′) has two second tabs (8″), which form respective inner portions of the lateral walls (8) of the container (2), are located on opposite sides of the third panel (6′), and are separated from the third panel (6′) by the longitudinal fold lines (27); the fourth panel (10′) has two third tabs (12″), which form respective inner portions of the lateral walls (12) of the lid (4), are located on opposite sides of the fourth panel (10′), and are separated from the fourth panel (10′) by the longitudinal fold lines (27); the sixth panel (11′) has two fourth tabs (12′), which form respective outer portions of the lateral walls (12) of the lid (4), are located on opposite sides of the sixth panel (11′), and are separated from the sixth panel (11′) by the longitudinal fold lines (27).

12. A package as claimed in claim 11, wherein each second tab (8″) is connected along a transverse fold line (28) to a second inner tab (30) for reinforcing the bottom wall (9) of the container (2); and each third tab (12″) is connected along a transverse fold line (28) to a third inner tab (31) for reinforcing the top wall (13) of the lid (4).

13. A package as claimed in claim 11, wherein each seat (22) is defined between a fourth tab (12′) and the corresponding third tab (12″), and is formed by folding the third tab (12″) over the fourth tab (12′), while leaving a certain distance between the third tab (12″) and the fourth tab (12′).

Description:

The present invention relates to a rigid, hinged-lid package for tobacco articles.

The present invention may be used to particular advantage in a rigid cigarette packet, to which the following description refers purely by way of example.

Rigid, hinged-lid cigarette packets are currently the most widely marketed, by being easy to produce, practical and easy to use, and by effectively protecting the cigarettes inside.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

A rigid, hinged-lid cigarette packet comprises a cup-shaped container having an open end; and a cup-shaped lid hinged to the container along a hinge to rotate, with respect to the container, between an open and a closed position opening and closing the open end respectively. A U-folded collar is normally fitted inside the container, and projects partly outwards of the open end to engage a corresponding inner surface of the lid when the lid is in the closed position.

To hold the lid in the closed position and prevent it from opening inadvertently, a retaining member is provided to produce further mechanical interaction between the collar and the lid (or to produce mechanical interaction between the container and the lid, if no collar is provided), so that a certain amount of force is required to open the lid.

The most commonly used retaining member is defined by two projections, which project laterally from the collar to engage the lid with a given amount of interference when the lid is in the closed position. Though effective and easy to produce, such projections have the drawback of producing local deformation of the lateral walls of the lid when the lid is in the closed position, thus impairing the overall appearance of the packet, by ruining the flatness of, and frequently producing unsightly creases in, the lateral walls of the lid. It should be pointed out that the more pronounced the projections are, i.e. the greater the closing force produced by the projections, the more noticeable the deformation of the lateral walls of the lid is.

Numerous alternatives to the projections have been proposed to eliminate the above drawbacks, but have all proved either ineffective (i.e. in terms of retaining force) or complicated and expensive to produce. Examples of alternative solutions to the projections are to be found in Patents U.S. Pat. No. 4,294,399A1 and U.S. Pat. No. 5,896,984A1 and Patent Application WO2004028926 A1.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It is an object of the present invention to provide a rigid package for tobacco articles, which is easier to use than known packages, has none of the aforementioned drawbacks, and, at the same time, is cheap and easy to produce.

According to the present invention, there is provided a rigid package for tobacco articles, as claimed in the attached Claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

A number of non-limiting embodiments of the present invention will be described by way of example with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 shows a front view in perspective of a rigid cigarette packet in accordance with the present invention and in a closed configuration;

FIG. 2 shows a rear view in perspective of the FIG. 1 rigid cigarette packet in a closed configuration;

FIG. 3 shows a front view in perspective of the FIG. 1 rigid cigarette packet in an open configuration;

FIG. 4 shows a view in perspective of a detail of the FIG. 1 packet;

FIGS. 5 and 6 show two side views of the FIG. 4 detail in two different lid positions;

FIG. 7 shows a plan view of a blank by which to form the FIG. 1 rigid cigarette packet.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Number 1 in FIGS. 1 to 3 indicates as a whole a rigid cigarette packet containing an orderly, parallelepiped-shaped group of cigarettes (not shown for the sake of clarity) wrapped in a sheet of foil wrapping material.

Packet 1 comprises a cup-shaped container 2 having an open top end 3; and a cup-shaped lid 4 hinged to container 2 along a hinge 5 to rotate, with respect to container 2, between an open position (FIG. 3) and a closed position (FIGS. 1 and 2) opening and closing open end 3 respectively.

Container 2 is cup-shaped to house the orderly group of cigarettes (not shown for the sake of clarity), is parallelepiped-shaped, and comprises a rear wall 6, a front wall 7, two lateral walls 8, a bottom wall 9, and said open top end 3. Lid 4 is cup-shaped, is hinged to container 2 along hinge 5 on rear wall 6 of container 2, and comprises a rear wall 10, a front wall 11, two lateral walls 12, and a top wall 13.

Container 2 has four longitudinal edges 14 defined between lateral walls 8 and front wall 7 and rear wall 6; and four transverse edges 15 defined between bottom wall 9 and lateral walls 8, front wall 7, and rear wall 6. Lid 4 has four longitudinal edges 16 defined between lateral walls 12 and front wall 11 and rear wall 10; and four transverse edges 17 defined between top wall 13 and lateral walls 12, front wall 11, and rear wall 10.

Hinge 5 is normally located between rear wall 6 of container 2 and rear wall 10 of lid 4, and is parallel to the major transverse edges 15 and 17 of container 2 and lid 4. In a different embodiment not shown, hinge 5 of lid 4 is located between a lateral wall 8 of container 2 and a lateral wall 12 of lid 4, and is parallel to the minor transverse edges 15 and 17 of container 2 and lid 4. In a further embodiment not shown, hinge 5 of lid 4 is located between a lateral wall 8 of container 2 and a lateral wall 12 of lid 4, and is parallel to longitudinal edges 14 and 16 of container 2 and lid 4.

Longitudinal edges 16 and transverse edges 17 of lid 4 are normally the same shape and size as longitudinal edges 14 and transverse edges 15 respectively of container 2. In the embodiments shown in the accompanying drawings, longitudinal edges 14 and 16 and transverse edges 15 and 17 are all square. In different embodiments not shown, at least some of longitudinal edges 14 of container 2 and the corresponding longitudinal edges 16 of lid 4 are rounded or bevelled, or at least some of transverse edges 15 of container 2 or 17 of lid 4 are rounded or bevelled. For example, all the longitudinal edges 14 and 16 may be non-square, rounded or bevelled edges, or (as in the cigarette packet described in Patent Application EP-A1-0764595), some transverse edges 15 and 17 may be non-square, rounded or bevelled edges. Alternatively, some longitudinal edges 14 and 16 and some transverse edges 15 and 17 may be non-square, rounded or bevelled edges, so as to have both non-square, rounded or bevelled longitudinal edges 14, 16 and non-square, rounded or bevelled transverse edges 15, 17.

In a different embodiment not shown, packet 1 may resemble the cigarette packet described in Patent Application EP-A1-1066205; in which case, rear wall 6 of container 2, front wall 7 of container 2, rear wall 10 of lid 4, and front wall 11 of lid 4 are all outwardly convex, and each have a respective flat central portion, and two curved creased lateral bands connecting the flat central portion to lateral walls 8 or 12 at respective sharp, non-square longitudinal edges 14 or 16.

Container 2 has an integrated collar 18 forming a seamless unit with container 2. Integrated collar 18 projects outwards of open top end 3 to engage a corresponding inner surface of lid 4, when lid 4 is in the closed position, and provides for keeping lid 4 in the closed position by requiring application of a certain amount of force to open lid 4. For which purpose, collar 18 preferably comprises two projections 19, which project outwards to engage lid 4 with a given interference when lid 4 is in the closed position. In a different embodiment not shown, collar 18 has no projections 19.

Collar 18 comprises a front wall 20 parallel to, connected to, and defining a continuation of, front wall 7 of container 2; and two lateral walls 21, each parallel to, connected to, and defining a continuation of, a lateral wall 8 of container 2. Projections 19 are preferably an integral part of front wall 20 of collar 18, and project laterally on opposite sides of front wall 20.

As shown in FIGS. 4, 5 and 6, lid 4 has two seats 22 (only one shown in FIGS. 4, 5 and 6), each formed at a lateral wall 12 and having an opening 23 facing container 2 and parallel to lateral walls 12. A top portion 24 of each lateral wall 21 of collar 18 is designed for insertion inside a seat 22, through opening 23 of seat 22, when lid 4 is in the closed position; and the friction between top portion 24 of each lateral wall 21 of collar 18 and the inner surfaces of respective seat 22 calls for the application of a certain amount of force to open lid 4, and so contributes towards holding lid 4 in the closed position.

Opening 23 of each seat 22 and a top edge 25 of each lateral wall 21 of collar 18 are preferably designed so that, as lid 4 is rotated into the closed position, top edge 25 is inserted gradually (e.g. scissor-fashion) inside opening 23, thus preventing jamming of top edge 25 and respective seat 22 as lid 4 is rotated into the closed position.

FIGS. 4 and 6 show lid 4 in an open position, in which top portion 24 of each lateral wall 21 of collar 18 is located outside respective seat 22 formed at a lateral wall 12; and FIG. 5 shows lid 4 in a closed position, in which top portion 24 of each lateral wall 21 of collar 18 is located inside respective seat 22 formed at lateral wall 12.

Lateral walls 21 of collar 18 are therefore substantially coplanar with, and form a natural extension of, lateral walls 8 of container 2, and front wall 20 of collar 18 is therefore substantially coplanar with, and forms a natural extension of, front wall 7 of container 2. In a different embodiment not shown, container 2 may have no clearly identifiable collar 18, and the functions of collar 18 may be performed by the end portions of front wall 7 and lateral walls 8 of container 2. In other words, the term collar 18 is intended as the end portions of front wall 7 and lateral walls 8 of container 2, which are positioned contacting an inner surface of lid 4 when lid 4 is in the closed position.

As shown in FIG. 7, the rigid cigarette packet 1 in FIGS. 1 to 6 is formed from a flat blank 26 substantially in the form of an elongated rectangle, and the parts of which are indicated, where possible, using the same reference numbers, with superscripts, as for the corresponding parts of rigid cigarette packet 1.

Blank 26 comprises two longitudinal fold lines 27, and a number of transverse fold lines 28 defining, between the two longitudinal fold lines 27, a panel 7′ forming front wall 7 of container 2; a panel 9′ forming bottom wall 9 of container 2; a panel 6′ forming rear wall 6 of container 2; a panel 10′ forming rear wall 10 of lid 4 (in this case, hinge 5 coincides with a transverse fold line 28); a panel 13′ forming top wall 13 of lid 4; a panel 11′ forming front wall 11 of lid 4; and an inner tab 29 for reinforcing front wall 11 of lid 4.

Panel 7′ has two tabs 8′, which form respective outer portions of lateral walls 8 of container 2, are located on opposite sides of panel 7′, and are separated from panel 7′ by longitudinal fold lines 27.

Panel 6′ has two tabs 8″, which form respective inner portions of lateral walls 8 of container 2, are located on opposite sides of panel 6′, and are separated from panel 6′ by longitudinal fold lines 27. Each tab 8″ is connected along a transverse fold line 28 to an inner tab 30 for reinforcing bottom wall 9 of container 2.

Panel 10′ has two tabs 12″, which form respective inner portions of lateral walls 12 of lid 4, are located on opposite sides of panel 10′, and are separated from panel 10′ by longitudinal fold lines 27. Each tab 12″ is connected along a transverse fold line 28 to an inner tab 31 for reinforcing top wall 13 of lid 4.

Panel 11′ has two tabs 12′, which form respective outer portions of lateral walls 12 of lid 4, are located on opposite sides of panel 11′, and are separated from panel 11′ by longitudinal fold lines 27.

As shown in FIGS. 4-7, each seat 22 is formed by folding a tab 12″ over corresponding tab 12′, while leaving a certain distance between tab 12″ and corresponding tab 12′, so that seat 22 is defined between tab 12′ (which forms an outer portion of a lateral wall 12 of lid 4) and tab 12″ (which forms an inner portion of a lateral wall 12 of lid 4).

In the embodiment shown in the accompanying drawings, collar 18 is integrated in, i.e. forms an integral part of, blank 26. In a different embodiment not shown, collar 18 is separate from blank 26, and is glued to container 2, at panel 7′ and tabs 8′, when forming container 2.

In one possible embodiment, front wall 20 of collar 18 integrated in blank 26 is coplanar with front wall 7 of container 2, and lateral walls 21 are coplanar with respective lateral walls 8 of container 2; in which case, top wall 13 of lid 4 is slightly larger than bottom wall 9 of container 2, so that, when lid 4 is in the closed position, front wall 11 of lid 4 is positioned over front wall 20 of collar 18 (and therefore over front wall 7 of container 2), and lateral walls 12 of lid 4 are positioned over respective lateral walls 21 of collar 18 (and therefore over respective lateral walls 8 of container 2).

In an alternative embodiment, front wall 20 of collar 18 integrated in blank 26 is parallel to and slightly offset with respect to front wall 7 of container 2, and lateral walls 21 are parallel to and slightly offset with respect to respective lateral walls 8 of container 2. This is achieved using a debossing technique to depress front wall 20 and lateral walls 21 with respect to the rest of blank 26, i.e. with respect to panel 7′ and tabs 8′ (corresponding to front wall 7 and lateral walls 8 of container 2).

Rigid cigarette packet 1 as described above has several advantages. It is fast and easy to produce, and provides for holding lid 4 in the closed position by virtue of the friction between top portion 24 of each lateral wall 21 of collar 18 and the inner surfaces of respective seat 22. Seats 22 are substantially concealed, and so in no way impair the appearance of rigid cigarette packet 1. And, by virtue of seats 22, projections 19 may be either eliminated or at any rate small, by only having to generate a small part of the force required to keep lid 4 in the closed position.

In view of the many advantages of packet 1 as described above, the form of packet 1 may also be applied integrally to the manufacture of other types of rigid packages for tobacco articles, such as cartons of packets of cigarettes or a cigar packet.





 
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