Title:
FLEXIBLE STAND-UP PACKAGE, AND METHODS OF DISPENSING
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A flexible storage package defined by a body having a first part, a second part, and a third, base part. At least one and preferably both of the first part and the second part have an interior volume for receiving and dispensing a product. Each of the first part and the second part is movable, in relation to the third part, from a first position to a second position. The first position can also be referred to as a “display” or “standing” position. The second position can also be referred to as a “use” position. When both of the parts are in the first position, the package has a generally triangular or tent-like configuration. The third part forms the base of the triangle or tent. When both of the parts are in the second position, the package has a generally flat or planar configuration.



Inventors:
Buchman, James E. (Hortonville, WI, US)
Application Number:
11/753170
Publication Date:
12/06/2007
Filing Date:
05/24/2007
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
206/745, 206/747
International Classes:
B65D1/22
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
PICKETT, JOHN G
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MERCHANT & GOULD P.C. (MINNEAPOLIS, MN, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A flexible package comprising: (a) a body having a first part, a second part and a third part, the first part hingedly connected to the third part, the second part hingedly connected to the third part, and the first part connected to the second part at a removable header portion; and (b) at least one of the first part and the second part having an internal volume for receiving an item therein.

2. The package of claim 1, wherein each of the first part, the second part and the third part comprises two sheets of plastic material, with the internal volume of the at least one of the first part and the second part defined by the two sheets of plastic material.

3. The package of claim 2, wherein the at least one of the first part and the second part having the internal volume defines an aperture for accessing the internal volume.

4. The package of claim 2, wherein both the first part and the second part have an internal volume for receiving an item therein.

5. The package of claim 4, wherein both the first part and the second part define an aperture for accessing the internal volume.

6. The package of claim 5 comprising a first item in the internal volume of the first part and a second item in the internal volume of the second part.

7. The package of claim 6 wherein the first item or the second item is one of a facial tissue, a plastic bag, a pre-moistened wipe, or an anti-bacterial wipe.

8. The package of claim 5 wherein the first item and the second item are different.

9. The package of claim 1 wherein the third part includes a stiffening member.

10. The package of claim 9 wherein the third part comprises a pocket and the stiffening member is present within the pocket.

11. A flexible storage package having a body comprising three parts, a first part hingedly connected to a third part, and a second part hingedly connected to the third part, with at least one of the three parts having an internal volume for receiving an item therein, the package moveable from a first position to a second position: (a) the first position having the first part and the second part connected at a header to form a triangular configuration; and (b) the second position having the header removed and the three parts generally planar.

12. The package of claim 11, wherein the head portion includes an area of weakness.

13. The package of claim 12, wherein the area of weakness is a tear strip.

14. The package of claim 11, further comprising a hang hole through the header.

15. The package of claim 11, wherein with in the second position, the third part is positioned between the first part and the second part.

16. The package of claim 11, wherein each of the three parts comprises flexible plastic material.

17. The package of claim 11, wherein each of the three parts comprises two sheets of plastic material.

18. The package of claim 11, wherein the first part has an internal volume for receiving an item therein.

19. The package of claim 11, wherein the first part and the second part have an internal volume for receiving an item therein.

20. The package of claim 19 wherein the item is one of a facial tissue, a plastic bag, a pre-moistened wipe, or an anti-bacterial wipe.

21. The package of claim 11 comprising a stiffening member present in one of the three parts.

22. A method of dispensing an item comprising: (a) providing a storage package in a first position, the package having a first part, a second part connected to the first part, and a third part hingedly connected to the first part and to the second part; (b) breaking the connection between the first part and the second part; (c) after breaking the connection, moving the package from the first position to a second position; and (d) removing an item from one of the first part and the second part.

23. The method of claim 22 wherein the step of moving the package from the first position to the second position comprises: (a) moving the package from a display position to a dispensing position.

24. The method of claim 22 wherein the step of moving the package from the display position to the dispensing position comprises: (a) moving the package from a triangular position to a planar position.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application claims the benefit of U.S. provisional patent application having Ser. No. 60/804,044 filed Jun. 6, 2006 entitled Flexible Stand-Up Package, and Methods of Dispensing, the entire disclosure which is incorporated herein.

TECHNICAL FIELD

This disclosure generally relates to flexible polymeric packages, particularly for storing and dispensing items, and methods of using.

BACKGROUND

Various types of packaging are known. Examples include flexible paper bags, flexible plastic bags (which may be resealable and reclosable), cardboard or paperboard boxes and other shaped containers, and rigid plastic containers.

Storage of these packaging materials can be an issue. For example, flexible plastic packages (e.g., bags) are available in different sizes of paperboard boxes, based on the package size.

Rigid paperboard boxes have their disadvantages. At times, it is difficult to neatly and efficiently arrange the boxes for storage because of their different sizes. Each box contains one size and type of plastic bag; this typically packaging configuration requires multiple boxes if more than one size and type of bag is desired. These boxes are not the most convenient to take along, because they can easily be crushed and deformed if pushed against other items.

Alternate options are desirable.

SUMMARY OF THE DISCLOSURE

The present disclosure is directed to a storage package movable from a first position to a second position; the first position can be a display position and the second position can be a use position. The body of the package is generally flexible, having three generally planar parts. The first part and the second part are movable, in relation to the third part, from a first position to a second position.

In one particular aspect, this disclosure is to a flexible package comprising a body having a first part, a second part and a third part, the first part hingedly connected to the third part, and the second part hingedly connected to the third part. At least one of the first part and the second part has an internal volume for receiving an item therein. Any or all of the three parts may be made from flexible plastic material, either one or two sheets.

In another aspect, this disclosure is directed to a flexible storage package having a body comprising three parts, the package moveable from a first position to a second position. In the first position, the three parts are connected to form a three-sided configuration, whereas in the second position, the three parts are generally planar.

To facilitate the repositioning, a first part is hingedly connected to a third part, and a second part is hingedly connected to the third part.

The packages, generally at least one of the first part and the second part have an internal volume for receiving an item therein and dispensing the item therefrom.

A packaged product is also disclosed, the product comprising a flexible package with a body having a first part, a second part and a third part, with the first part hingedly connected to the third part, and the second part hingedly connected to the third part. At least one of the first part and the second part has an internal volume for receiving items therein. The packaged product also includes a plurality of items within the internal volume.

This disclosure also is to a method of dispensing an item, the method including providing a storage package in a first position, the package having a first part, a second part connected to the first part, and a third part hingedly connected to the first part and to the second part; breaking the connection between the first part and the second part; and after breaking the connection, moving the package from the first portion to a second position. From there, the item can be removed.

Various other details and methods for using the package are described.

These and various other features which characterize the package of this disclosure are pointed out with particularity in the attached claims. For a better understanding of the packages of the disclosure, their advantages, their use and objectives obtained by their use, reference should be made to the drawings and to the accompanying description, in which there is illustrated and described preferred embodiments of the invention of this disclosure.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a flexible storage package according to the present disclosure, in a first position;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the storage package of FIG. 1 in process of having a portion of the package removed;

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of the storage package of FIG. 1 a first part of the package oriented in a second position, and a second part of the package depicted being moved from the first position to the second position;

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of the storage package of FIG. 1 in the second position, with a user removing an item from the storage package;

FIG. 5A is a perspective view similar to FIG. 1;

FIG. 5B is a perspective view of the storage package of FIG. 5A in a compressed position;

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of the storage package of FIG. 1 in the second position, with a portion of the package removed;

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF A PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

The present invention is directed to packaging arrangements, particularly, to plastic storage packages for retaining and dispensing an item therefrom. It is understood that features or elements described in one of the package views carry over to other views, even though not explicitly illustrated or pointed out.

Generally, the packages of the present invention have a body having a first part, a second part, and a third, base part. At least one and preferably both of the first part and the second part have an interior volume for receiving a product therein. The first and/or second part includes an access for dispensing or otherwise obtaining the product therefrom.

The body of the package is generally flexible. In addition, each of the first part and the second part is movable, in relation to the third part, from a first position to a second position. The first position can also be referred to as a “display” or “standing” position. The second position can also be referred to as a “use” position. When both of the parts are in the first position, the package has a generally triangular or tent-like configuration. The third part forms the base of the triangle or tent. When both of the parts are in the second position, the package has a generally flat or planar configuration.

Referring now to the figures, a package according to the present disclosure is illustrated in each of the figures. Referring to FIG. 1, a package 10 according to the present disclosure is illustrated in a display configuration. Package 10 can be set-up as a ‘table tent’ or ‘bill board’, to advertise the items therein.

Package 10 has a first end edge 12 and a second opposite end edge 14 and a top edge 15. Package 10 has first part 20, second part 30, and third part 40, in this embodiment, each part 20, 30, 40 having a generally rectangular configuration. First part 20 has its first end edge 12A and its second end edge 14A, second part 30 has its first end edge 12B and its second end edge 14B, and third part 40 has its first end edge 12C (see FIG. 3) and its second end edge 14C. At least first part 20 and second part 30 have an interior volume for retaining items therein, as will be described below.

In this display configuration, package 10 is in a tent-like configuration, where first part 20 and second part 30 form sloped walls and third part 40 forms the base of the tent-like configuration. First part 20 is hingedly connected to third part 40 at line 24, and second part 30 is hingedly connected to third part 40 at line 34. Lines 24, 34 may be fold lines or seams between first part 20 and third part 40 and second part 30 and third part 40, respectively, as will be explained below.

First part 20 and second part 30 meet opposite third part 40 and form header portion 50, which includes top edge 15. First part 20 and second part 20 are, in most embodiments, sealed to each other at header 50. Header portion 50 includes an area of weakness 55 which facilitates removal of a portion of header 50. Area of weakness 55 may be a perforation, score line, string or other embedded and removable strip, or the like.

In this first position, package 10 is configured for display. Any or all parts 20, 30, 40 may have indicia such as graphics or text, to identify the contents within package 10. Any portion having indicia thereon may be removable from part 20, 30, 40; for example, indicia may be present on a printed sheet that can be placed behind a cover sheet on part 20, 30, 40. Additionally or alternately, any or all parts 20, 30, 40 could be configured for marking by the user, such as with a pen or pencil, for identification of the contents.

To convert package 10 from the first or display position of FIG. 1 to a second position, the connection between first part 20 and second part 30 is broken, and first part 20 is separated from second part 30.

In FIG. 2, a user is illustrated removing portion 53 from header 50 at area of weakness 55. It is in this portion 53 where first part 20 and second part 40 are connected, for example by a heat seal or adhesive present between parts 20, 30. By removing portion 53, first part 20 is disconnected from second part 30, so that package 10 can convert to a second, use or dispensing configuration, as illustrated in FIG. 3.

In FIG. 3, first part 20 is illustrated moving from its first position (in phantom) to its second position, generally planar with third part 40, by pivoting along line 24. Second part 30 is illustrated already pivoted along line 34 and flopped down, generally planar with third part 40. In this configuration, with parts 20, 30 generally planar to third part 40, items stored within package 10 can be readily retrieved.

See FIG. 4, where item 100 is being removed from an interior volume of first part 20 via an aperture 60, which may be a slot or slit. In the illustrated embodiment, item 100 is a flexible bag, such as a sandwich bag. In some embodiments, part 20 includes indicia to identify item 100 that is stored within.

Turning now to FIGS. 5A and 5B, package 10 is illustrated in two variations of the first position. In FIG. 5A, package 10 is as illustrated in FIG. 1, in a tent-like configuration, for example, propped up to advertise its contents. Header 50 is intact, with first part 20 connected to second part 30. In FIG. 5B, package 10 has header 50 intact, with first part 20 connected to second part 30, but package 10 is illustrated in a compressed or storage position. From the tent-like configuration of FIG. 5A, third part 40 is folded along its central fold 45 and the angle at folds 24, 34 is decreased bringing first part 20 closer to second part 30. As package 10 is folded and first part 20 and second part 30 near each other, an inward gusset 140 (FIG. 5B) is formed. The resulting configuration does not readily stand on base part 40, as did the package in FIG. 5A, but can now be readily stacked and stored, or, displayed in a hanging manner via hole 56 in header 50.

Package 10, in most embodiments, is made from plastic sheet material (film) that is generally flexible. The resulting parts 20, 30, 40 can be described as generally being flexible, as can the overall package 10. The plastic is typically thermoplastic, and examples of suitable plastic materials include polyethylene and polypropylene. The film material may be a laminate or coextrusion of one or more materials, such as plastic, foil, or paper. Voided or microporous films have good printing characteristics.

Each part 20, 30, 40 may be made separately, and then joined together at line 24 (which would then be a seam), line 34 (which would then be a seam), and header 50, or, parts 20, 30, 40 may be made as a single piece, with the two ends joined together to form header 50. In this construction, lines 24 and 34 would be fold lines.

To facilitate storing of items in package 10, such as item 100, any or all of parts 20, 30, 40 may have an interior volume or pocket formed by two sheets of material joined on four edges, thus forming a generally planar body, having a thickness, for receipt of items therein. See, for example, FIG. 4, which shows part 20 having an interior panel 21, an opposite exterior panel 22 (also seen in FIG. 5A), and four side edges 20A, 20B, 20C, 20D wherein panels 21, 22 meet. In this embodiment, each of side edges 20A, 20B, 20C, 20D is sealed. At least one of panels 21, 22 is flexible. Panels 21, 22 provide an interior volume for storing items therein, such as item 100. In many embodiments, part 30 has a similar construction, with an interior volume for storing items therein. Access is gained to the interior volume via aperture 60, which can also be used for dispensing an item, such as item 100.

In the illustrated embodiment, third part 40 also has an interior volume or pocket, configured to receive a stiffener 70, as illustrated in FIG. 6. Third part 40 having an interior panel 41, an opposite exterior panel 42 and four side edges 40A, 40B, 40C, 40D wherein panels 41, 42 meet. At least one of panels 41, 42 is flexible. In this embodiment, side edge 40C defines a mount 43, providing access to interior volume 44. Stiffener 70 can be present in interior volume 44 to increase rigidity to package 10 when in the tent-like configuration. Stiffener 70 may be shaped and sized to fill interior volume 44. Suitable materials for stiffener 70 include cardboard, paperboard, pressboard, and similar cellulose products, and non-flexible polymeric materials.

In many instances, packages 10 of the present disclosure are filled with items or product upstream of the consumer market. That is, product or items are packaged in the packages at a location such as a manufacturing plant and then offered for sale to the consumer. The packages may be filled at the same location where they are assembled or manufactured, or, may be assembled at a first location and shipped to a second location for filling.

Package 10 is suitable for packaging items that are flexible and generally planar in nature, items such as bags, facial tissues, pre-moistened hand wipes, cleaning and/or anti-bacterial wipes, and other sheet goods. For packages having two or three pockets for items, the pockets could retain different items.

In use, the package user, e.g., the consumer, would remove header portion 53 via area of weakness 55, thus releasing first part 20 from second part 30 and exposing dispensing element 60. The user would remove the desired item from the interior volume of the package, generally from either part 20 or part 30. After removing the desired item, the package can be refolded, for example, along line 24 or 34. Dispensing element 60 may simply be a slit within the sheet material that forms part 20, 30 (for example inner panel 21 of part 20), include a resealable adhesive tab, or, dispensing element 60 could include a reclosable zipper with mating closure profiles that could be sealed and opened with a slider device.

The above specification is believed to provide a complete description of the manufacture and use of particular embodiments of the invention. It is understood that various other configurations of packages are suitable. It is understood by those skilled in the art that packages may be made by generally any suitable process, not just those described herein. Various other methods of making packages according to the present invention are suitable.

Because many embodiments of the invention can be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention, the true scope and spirit of the invention reside in the broad meaning of the claims hereinafter appended.