Title:
CARTON HAVING HANDLING-FACILITATING APERTURES
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A carton including a first top panel, a pair of opposed end panels hingedly connected to the top panel, a handle extending between the end panels across the top panel, and handling apertures in the end panels for grasping and lifting during handling. The handling apertures are placed in end panels formed by the overlap of two or more flaps. The handling apertures may be formed by partially perforating one or more end flap.



Inventors:
Bates, Aaron L. (Raleigh, NC, US)
Walling, Bradford J. (Raleigh, NC, US)
Application Number:
11/548181
Publication Date:
09/20/2007
Filing Date:
10/10/2006
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
229/117.14
International Classes:
B65D5/46
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
DEMEREE, CHRISTOPHER R
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
WESTROCK COMPANY (Richmond, VA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A carton comprising a top panel, a pair of side panels, a base panel, and opposed end portions each formed from a plurality overlapped of end flaps, each of said end flaps being hingedly connected to one of said panels, a primary carrying means, and at least one aperture defined in one of said end portions for grasping the carton.

2. The carton of claim 1, wherein said aperture is formed through at least one of said end flaps by die cut perforations in said at least one end flap.

3. The carton of claim 2, wherein said die cut perforations define cover portions for said aperture hingedly connected to said at least one flap along said die cut perforations.

4. The carton of claim 2, wherein at least some of said die cut perforations only partially penetrate said at least one end flap.

5. The carton of claim 2, wherein at least some of said die cut perforations completely penetrate said at least one end flap.

6. The carton of claim 1, wherein said aperture is formed through an overlapped portion of at least two of said end flaps.

7. The carton of claim 1, wherein said primary carrying means is a strap handle.

8. The carton of claim 1, wherein said aperture is positioned proximate to a void space within said carton when said carton is filled with contents.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application claims the benefit of priority under 35 U.S.C. ยง119(e) of provisional application Ser. No. 60/725,262, filed Oct. 11, 2005.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates generally to cartons for packaging articles such as beverage bottles, and more particularly to a carton with apertures formed in a carton wall to provide finger access for facilitating moving and lifting, especially during shipment and stock handling.

Cartons having handles in their top walls are well known in the art. An example of the strap handle carton for use in packaging beverage bottles is disclosed in Canadian Patent No. 1,234,987 in which a carton is illustrated as having a strap handle that is formed primarily from a top wall. The strap handle includes a longitudinally elongated medial grip portion and a pair of wider portions located at opposite ends of the medial grip portion. Each wider portion is defined by a pair of cut lines that diverge from the medial grip portion toward the adjacent end edge of the top wall. To lift the carton, the strap handle is gripped at the medial grip portion and pulled upward, which displaces the handle from a stowed position where the handle lies in the plane of the top wall to a use position where it is arched upwardly from the plane of the top wall. During this displacement, the wider portions of the handle are inwardly moved toward each other while the respective parts of the wider portions near the end edges of the top wall are moved downwardly under the plane of the top wall.

Other types of top-wall handles are known. For example, in U.S. Pat. No. 5,320,277, a carton is disclosed in which the handle is formed from two elongated, parallel apertures.

Top wall handles allow customers to easily lift and carry cartons. However, the location of the handles being on the top of a carton, they may not be accessible for use by personnel handling the carton during shipment or handling by the retailer or at other points along the supply chain. This is particularly true if the cartons are stacked on a pallet, in a delivery truck, or on a warehouse shelf. Often, for example with strap handles, the handle upon first use may be designed to lift or separate partly out of the top plane of the carton, and such a lifted handle may interfere with convenient stacking of the carton, or may be negatively perceived by a consumer as having been handled.

What is needed, therefore, is a carton having integral, easily-accessed feature for movement and handling wherein the handle in the top wall is effectively left undisturbed. Such a carton should be provided with means for quickly and easily grasping the carton from stacked arrangement or an elevated placement without the need to disturb the strap handle

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention provides a carton including a first top panel, a pair of opposed end panels hingedly connected to the top panel, an integral strap handle extending between the end panels across the top panel, and handling apertures in the end panels for grasping and lifting during handling. The handling apertures are placed in end panels formed by the overlap of two or more flaps. In a preferred embodiment of the invention, the handling apertures are provided at each end of the carton. The handling apertures may be formed by partially perforating one or more end tab.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 shows a plan view of a blank as viewed from its inner surface, from which a carton according to this invention is formed;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a completed carton erected from the blank of FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is a further view of a completed carton erected from the blank of FIG. 1, showing the invention in use.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

In FIG. 1, there is shown a blank 100 which when constructed, forms a carton 200 shown in FIG. 2 for packaging a plurality of articles such as beverage bottles. In this embodiment, the carton 200 is a fully enclosed carton designed to accommodate twelve bottles arranged in three rows each containing four bottles, but the blank or carton may be modified for any number of bottles, cans or other articles.

The blank 100 has a top panel 110, a pair of side panels 120 and 130 hingedly connected thereto along fold lines 117 and 118 respectively, and bottom panel 140 hingedly connected to side panel 120 along fold line 127. Base panel 140 also is hingedly connected to longitudinal glue flap 150 along fold line 147. The fold lines 117, 118, 127, and 147 may be simple score lines, partially cut score lines, perforated lines or other suitable means. The base panel 140 has lower end flaps 141 and 142 which in use are folded to partially close the carton. The top panel 110 has top end flaps 111 and 112 which in use are folded down. Hingedly connected to the side panels 120 and 130 along fold lines are side end flaps 121, 122, 131, and 132 which are folded inwardly and are adhesively secured to the inside surfaces of the end flaps 111, 112, 141, and 142 so as to fully enclose the ends of the carton 200.

The top panel 110 incorporates a series of tear lines 115 which define a strap handle. The particular strap handle depicted is disclosed in detail in U.S. Pat. No. 6,905,066, which is incorporated herein by reference, although any other suitable carrying handle may be provided.

Formed into end flaps 121 and 141 are provided a plurality of cut or score lines 161 and 162 respectively, which on each said flap define perforated or partially perforated regions that overlap to form a handling-facilitating feature (similar to feature 167 shown in FIG. 2) when the carton 200 has been assembled. Likewise end flaps 132 and 142 are provided with score lines 165 and 166 respectively, which on each said flap define perforated or partially perforated regions that overlap when the carton 200 has been assembled, to form handling-facilitating feature 167 shown in FIG. 2.

The carton upon assembly and filling will typically be placed in a stack for storage or shipping. In a stacked arrangement, the top strap handle 115 may not be accessible, or it may be desired to leave the top strap handle 115 undisturbed, that is, not pulled away from or partly separated from the carton 200. In order to move the carton 200, for example to pull the carton from a stack of cartons, a person handling the carton may instead press through either or both of features 167. This pressing action will push aside the covering portions defined within the area of the feature 167 by the respective score lines to form openings large enough to insert a finger or preferably several fingers in order to grasp, move, lift, or otherwise handle the carton 200.

FIG. 3 shows a carton 200 being grasped by a user who has passed his fingers through feature 167, forming an opening by which the carton can be grasped without using the strap handle 115. Preferably two fingers will fit into the opening, so that moving or lifting the carton will be less strain on the user's hand. FIG. 3 also shows similar features 168 and 169, (not represented in the FIG. 1 drawing of carbon blank 100), representing several other possible locations for such features. It should be understood that features 168 and 169 are generally shown as alternative positions for feature 167, and that typically only one such feature on each end of the carton will be provided (although multiple features could be included if desired).

In the example embodiment, carton 200 is rectangular in shape. Such a carton may hold cylindrical contents such as bottles or cans (not shown) which leave some void space within the filled carton. The carton blank 100 may be designed so that score lines 161, 162, 165, and 166 are positioned so that on assembled carton 200, the features 167 will be proximate to such void space. When a feature 167 is pressed open, the void space behind the feature will allow improved access for the user's fingers.

The score lines 161, 162, 165, and/or 166 that define the feature areas 167 may be designed so as to allow portions of the feature area to open easily (for example, linear cuts completely through the blank material) or to open with resistance and possibly with retained strength or reinforcement, (for example curved or bent partial cuts, perforations, or score lines). The feature may further be designed for user comfort, for example by providing a cushioning effect on the user's fingers, or keeping any cut or fully cut lines out of the line of expected load to minimize carton tearing or discomfort to the user's fingers. While it is generally preferred that the portions remain connected to the carton, such portions could be designed if desired to break completely away from the carton panel from which they are formed.

While the above embodiments describe the feature 167 formed on the assembled end regions of the carton 200, the placement of the feature is not limited to these areas. Rather any portion of the carton that may be accessible for handling may be provided with such features. Preferably, for relatively heavy cartons such as 24 bottles, the feature is formed through an overlap of two panels, such as the end flaps as shown in the preferred embodiment described herein. In this way, the feature is reinforced, and the carton is less likely to tear when the feature is used.

The features are here exemplified as chevron-shaped and large enough for access by one or several fingers, but the shape and size are not limited by this example.

It should be further appreciated that the perforations or cuts that define the feature 167 are not limited to a particular type of cut, or to straight or curved lines.