Title:
Packaging kit system for shipping articles
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The present invention provides a packaging kit for shipping a plurality of articles is provided, comprising: a container defining an interior space; an insert adapted to be moved between a generally flattened tubular configuration and a fully-erected configuration, wherein the insert includes at least one cutout section that is adapted to receive at least one of the articles therein when the insert is in the fully-erected configuration.



Inventors:
Denola, Robert C. (Atherton, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/809764
Publication Date:
01/03/2008
Filing Date:
06/01/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65D81/127
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
DESAI, KAUSHIKKUMAR A
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
INTERNATIONAL PAPER COMPANY (Memphis, TN, US)
Claims:
We claim:

1. A packaging kit for shipping a plurality of articles, comprising: a container defining an interior space; an insert adapted to be moved between a generally flattened tubular configuration and a fully-erected configuration, wherein said insert includes at least one cutout section that is adapted to receive at least one of said articles therein when said insert is in said fully-erected configuration.

2. The packaging kit according to claim 1, wherein said insert is formed from a single sheet of material folded over onto itself to define said generally flattened tubular configuration.

3. The packaging kit according to claim 2, wherein said single sheet of material includes at least three score lines dividing said single sheet of material into a top wall panel, a first bottom wall panel, a second bottom wall panel and a flap, and wherein said flap is affixed to at least a portion of said second bottom wall panel when said insert is in said generally flattened tubular configuration.

4. The packaging kit according to claim 3, wherein said first bottom wall panel defines a rear wall of said insert when said insert is in said fully-erected configuration, wherein said second bottom wall panel defines a bottom wall of said insert when said insert is in said fully-erected configuration, and wherein said top wall panel includes a right score line, a left score line and an intermediate score line positioned between said right score line and said left score line, said left score line, said right score line and said intermediate score line cooperating to define at least one landing wall, at least one face wall and at least one front wall of said insert when said insert is in said fully-erected configuration.

5. The packaging kit according to claim 4, wherein said at least one landing wall includes a left landing wall and a right landing wall, wherein said at least one face wall includes a left face wall and a right face wall, and wherein said at least one front wall includes a left front wall and a right front wall.

6. The packaging kit according to claim 5, wherein said top wall panel further comprises a first cut line, a second cut line and a pivot score line extending between said first cut line and said second cut line, said first cut line, said second cut line and said pivot score line cooperating to define a hold-down segment disposed between said left landing wall and said right landing wall when said insert is in said fully-erected configuration.

7. The packaging kit according to claim 6, wherein at least a portion of said hold-down segment is affixed to at least a portion of said first bottom wall.

8. The packaging kit according to claim 4, wherein said at least one landing wall is in spaced relation to said first bottom wall when said insert is in said fully-erected configuration, thereby defining an interior spaced within said insert.

9. The packaging kit according to claim 4, wherein said at least one cutout section is defined at the intersection of said at least one landing wall and said at least one front wall.

10. The packaging kit according to claim 9, wherein said at least one cutout section includes a first cutline extending across said right score line, a first left leg score line extending between a first distal end of said first cutline and said right score line and a second left leg score line extending between a second distal end of said first cutline and said right score line, said first and second left leg score lines meeting at said right score line.

11. The packaging kit according to claim 10, wherein said first left leg score line extends beyond said first distal end of said cutline.

12. The packaging kit according to claim 10, wherein said at least one cutout section includes a second cutline extending across said right score line spaced from said first cutline, a first right leg score line extending between a first distal end of said second cutline and said right score line and a second right leg score line extending between a second distal end of said second cutline and said right score line, said first and second right leg score lines meeting at said right score line.

13. The packaging kit according to claim 12, wherein said first right leg score line extends beyond said first distal end of said cutline.

14. The packaging kit according to claim 4, wherein said at least one cutout section is defined at the intersection of said second bottom wall and said top wall panel.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Technical Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to a packaging kit system for shipping a plurality of items, and in particular, to a packaging kit system for shipping a plurality of items, wherein the items are held in preselected positions therein so as to prevent damage thereto during shipping.

2. Brief Description of the Related Art

There are a variety of packaging kit systems and methods for the immobilization and packaging of articles, for example, electronic products. Many electronic products consist of a number of different parts that are packaged within the same package and sold as a single product. For example, it is not uncommon for a desktop keyboard and mouse combination to be sold along with other electronic accessories such as charging units, batteries, CD's and instructional booklets.

One technique used to protect articles to be packaged together includes the use of fabricated foam inserts in which a foam blank is die cut or saw cut to form end caps or trays that surround and contain one or more of the articles. Such foam end caps may be constructed from polyethylene, polystyrene, or polyurethane materials, all of which are adapted to have cutout sections or grooves in which the articles are positioned, thereby surrounding and protecting the article.

Another technique used to protect articles to be packaged together includes using flexible sheet material constructed from either foam or bubble wrap, which is wrapped around the article to protect it during shipping and handling. The foam sheet (or bubble wrap) material may be secured to the package by corrugated cardboard, which is die cut and then folded in a particular shape to form an end cap or tray. Alternatively, molded pulp trays or end caps may be employed to secure the article to the package via the foam or bubble wrap. The common goal of packaging such articles is to create cavities and cutouts in paperboard inserts to brace and block these various articles within a package so as to prevent damage thereto during shipping. Considerable labor is often spent in manually folding these inserts and fitments into their final geometries to accomplish the desired bracing and blocking.

Although the abovementioned packaging kit systems or methods have various advantages, it is desirable to provide a new, easy, effective, recyclable and improved packaging kit system and method for the immobilization of articles, particularly of fragile articles such as electronic products, and for placing the immobilized articles within an outer container, and wherein the packaging kit system and method overcomes some of the disadvantages of the prior art and further offers new and additional advantages.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Accordingly, one aspect of the present invention relates to an insert formed from a blank of foldable sheet material. The insert comprises of a base panel having a plurality of longitudinal side panels extending upwardly from the base panel. The side panels including associated foldable score lines such that two extreme ends of the plurality of the side panels overlap one another to form the insert.

Another aspect of the present invention relates to a packaging kit comprising an outer container and an insert configured to be disposed in the outer container. The insert is formed from a blank of foldable sheet material comprising a base panel having a plurality of longitudinal side panels extending upwardly from the base panel. The side panels including associated foldable score lines such that two extreme ends of the plurality of the side panels overlap one another to form the insert.

According to one aspect of the present invention, a packaging kit for shipping a plurality of articles is provided, comprising: a container defining an interior space; an insert adapted to be moved between a generally flattened tubular configuration and a fully-erected configuration, wherein the insert includes at least one cutout section that is adapted to receive at least one of the articles therein when the insert is in the fully-erected configuration.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The foregoing, as well as other objects and advantages of the invention, will become apparent from the following detailed description when taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, wherein like reference characters designate like parts throughout the several views, and wherein:

FIG. 1 is an exploded perspective view a packaging kit system according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a plan view of a blank used to form an insert portion of the packaging kit system shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of the insert portion of the packaging kit system shown in FIG. 1, wherein the insert is shown in a flat configuration;

FIG. 4 is a sectional view of the insert shown in FIG. 3;

FIG. 5a is a perspective view of the insert shown in FIG. 3, wherein the insert is shown in an intermediate configuration;

FIG. 5b is a perspective view of the insert shown in FIG. 3, wherein the insert is shown in a fully erected configuration;

FIG. 5c is a perspective view of the insert shown in FIG. 3, wherein the insert is shown in a fully erected configuration, and wherein various cavities thereof are shown exposed; and

FIG. 6 is a rear perspective view of the insert shown in FIG. 3.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

FIG. 1 is an exploded perspective view a packaging kit system 10 according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention, wherein the packaging kit system 10 comprises an insert 12 and a container 14. The insert 12 is configured to fit snugly within an interior space of the container 14. The insert 12, when constructed, is generally rectangular in shape and a longitudinal dimension of the insert 12 is substantially the same as the container 12. The insert 12 includes a plurality of cuts and cavities sized and configured to hold various articles, such as, for example, electronic devices/components, accessories, receiver/recharges, batteries, CD's and instructional booklets, although other articles may be used by the insert 12 as well. In the preferred embodiment, the insert 12 is constructed from a foldable material, such as, for example, paperboard, and preferably from corrugated paperboard material. However, the insert 12 may be constructed from other foldable and elastic material.

The container 14 is preferably made of a single sheet of foldable material that is cut, folded and assembled, as described herein. The container 14 comprises a bottom box 16 having a bottom wall 18, two side walls 20 and 22 adjoined to respective short ends of the bottom wall 18, a front wall 24 adjoined to a first long end of the bottom wall 18 and a rear wall 26 adjoined to a second long end of the bottom wall 18. One side of the rear wall 28 is extended to form a top wall 30. A distal end of the top wall 30 forms a front flap 32 having a wing 34 on each end thereof. The wings 34 are designed to be inserted into an opening formed in the bottom box 18, for example, by folded-over flaps, to fully enclose an article positioned inside the bottom box 18. A packaging kit system 10 according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention utilizes commonly available converting machines and techniques to fabricate the insert 12 and the container 14.

FIG. 2 is a plan view of a blank 40 used to construct the insert 12 according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention. The blank 40 includes three major score lines, namely, left score line 42, intermediate score line 44, and right score line 46. The three major score lines 42, 44, 46 define a first bottom wall panel 48, a second bottom wall panel 50, a top wall panel 52 and a flap 54. The blank 40 is preferably made from a corrugated paperboard material and may be die cut in such a way as to provide cuts and creases according to the final geometry desired. After die-cutting, the blank 40 can be folded about intermediate score line 44, and then again about right score line 46 such that flap 52 overlaps a portion of second bottom wall panel 50 along at least a portion of the longitudinal edge thereof. Flap 54, then can be glued directly to the second bottom wall panel 50 so as to define a generally flattened tubular configuration.

FIG. 3 illustrates the insert 12 in a flat configuration in which the flap 54 is glued to the second bottom wall panel 50. First and second cut lines 56, 58 extend through the top wall panel 52, beginning at intermediate score line 44 and extending towards right score line 46. To the left of first cut line 56, there are at least three score lines, namely, a first left score line 62, a second left score line 64, and a top score line 66, that are substantially parallel to one another and extend from a first end 52a of the top wall 52 panel towards a second end 52b of the top wall panel 52. Score lines 62, 64, and 66 are also generally parallel to intermediate score line 44 and right score line 46. First and second left score lines 62, 64, respectively, are terminated at first cut line 56. A pivot score line 68 extended between first and second cut lines 56, 58.

Intermediate score line 44 and pivot score line 68 cooperate to define a hold-down segment 72 that is adhesively attached to a portion of the first bottom wall 48. Since the hold-down segment 72 is an integral part of the top wall panel 52, the entire top wall panel 52 is held against the first bottom wall panel when the insert 12 is in a flat configuration, as shown in FIG. 3.

To the right of second cut line 58, there are at least two score lines, namely, a first right score line 74 and a second right score line 76, that are substantially parallel to one another and extend from the second end 52b of the top wall 52 panel towards the first end 52a of the top wall panel 52. Score lines 74, 76 are also generally parallel to intermediate score line 44 and right score line 46. First and second right score lines 74, 76, respectively, are terminated at second cut line 58. Preferably, first left score line 62 is collinear with first right score line 74 and second left score line 64 is collinear with second right score line 76.

As shown in FIGS. 5a-5c, at the time of packaging the article 100 (FIG. 6) for shipment, the insert 12 is provided in a flat configuration (FIG. 5a) and can be easily manipulated to assume a fully erected configuration (FIGS. 5b, 5c) by urging the intermediate and right score lines 44, 46, respectively, towards one other. More particularly, as intermediate and right score lines 44, 46, respectively, are urged towards one another, left score line 66 causes top wall panel 52 to fold therealong to define left and right top walls 88, 98, respectively, and left and right face walls 86, 96, respectively. Preferably, left and right top walls 88, 98, respectively, are coplanar, and left and right face walls 86, 96, respectively, are coplanar.

Moreover, as intermediate and right score lines 44, 46, respectively, are urged towards one another, first left score line 62 and first right score line 74 cause top wall panel 52 to fold therealong to define left and right landing walls 84, 94, respectively, and left and right front walls 82, 92, respectively. Preferably, left and right landing walls 84, 94, respectively, are coplanar, and left and right front walls 82, 92, respectively, are coplanar. In addition, left landing wall 84 is joined to left face wall 86 along second left score line 64 and right landing wall 94 is joined to right face wall 926 along second right score line 76. In the fully-erected configuration, left landing wall 84 is generally perpendicular to both the left face wall 86 and the left front wall 82, and the right landing wall 94 is generally perpendicular to both the right face wall 96 and the right front wall 92. Because hold-down segment 72 is glued to the first bottom wall 48, pivot score line 68 causes left and right landing walls 84, 94 to lift away from the first bottom wall 48, while holding hold-down segment 72 to first bottom wall 48, thereby defining opening 78 between left and right landing walls 84, 94, respectively.

Referring back to FIGS. 2 and 3, top wall panel 52 includes first and second opposing triangular regions 101, 102 both of which lie along (and are bisected by) first right score line 74. More particularly, first triangular region 101 is defined by a first cutline 101a that extends perpendicularly across (and is preferably bisected by) first right score line 74. First and second leg score lines 101b, 101c, respectively, each extend from one distal end of first cutline 101a and converge towards (and meet at) first right score line 74 to the left of first cutline 101a. Similarly, second triangular region 102 is defined by a second cutline 102a that extends perpendicularly across (and is preferably bisected by) first right score line 74 spaced from first cutline 101a towards the second end 52b of the top wall panel 52. First and second leg score lines 102b, 102c, respectively, each extend from one distal end of second cutline 102a and converge towards (and meet at) first right score line 74 to the right of second cutline 102a.

Bridge segment 105 is defined in the top wall panel 52 between first and second cutlines 101a, 102a, respectively, by third and fourth cutlines 105a, 105b, which each extends across (and is preferably bisected by) first right score line 74. As can be seen particularly in FIG. 2, first, second, third and fourth cutlines 101a, 102a, 105a, 105b, respectively, each are generally parallel to one another and lie across first right score line 74 in a spaced arrangement. A first bridge foldline 105c connects first distal ends of third and fourth cutlines 105a, 105b, respectively, and a second bridge foldline 105d connects second distal ends of third and fourth cutlines 105a, 105b, respectively.

Referring now back to FIGS. 5a-5c, as the insert 12 is moved between the flat configuration (FIG. 3) and the fully-erected configuration (FIGS. 5b, 5c), triangular regions 101, 102, as well as bridge segment 105, fold along first right score line 74 such that upper portions of triangular regions 101, 102 and of bridge segment 105 lie in right landing wall 94 and lower portions of triangular regions 101, 102 and of bridge segment 105 lie in right front wall 92. Such arrangement allows for the triangular regions 101, 102 to snap into an interior space defined within the insert between right landing wall 94 and first bottom wall 48, whereat triangular regions 101, 102 pivot along their leg score lines 101b, 101c and 102b, 102c, respectively. This is accomplished by applying a small force to the triangular regions 101, 102, near the intersection of the first right score line 74 and first and second cutlines 101a, 102a, respectively, towards the interior of the insert 12. Cutlines 101a, 102a permit the free edges of the triangular regions 101, 102 defined thereby to translate into the interior space of the interior, thereby defining openings in the right landing wall 94 and the right front wall 92 oblique thereto.

Similarly, a small force can be applied to the bridge segment 105 at a point along the first right score line 74 towards the interior of the insert 12, at which point, the bridge segment 105 will snap into the interior space of the insert 12 between the right landing wall 94 and the first bottom wall 48. Although triangular regions 101, 102 and bridge segment 105 snap into the interior space of the insert 12, spaces therebetween will remain in an “out” orientation; that is, they will lie in the respective planes of the right landing wall 94 and right front wall 92, respectively. Such an arrangement allows for articles, particularly, small battery packs, to be inserted into the interior space of insert 12 but held against underside surfaces of the right landing wall 94 and the right front wall 92 by the triangular regions 101, 102 and the bridge segment 105, all of which have been snapped into the interior space. As stated above, spaces between these portions will remain in the planes of the right landing wall 94 and the right front wall 92, and as such, will hold such articles from falling out of the interior space of the insert 12.

Although only one bridge segment 105 is shown, it will be apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art that a plurality of bridge segments may be provided next to one another spaced between first and second triangular regions 101, 102, in which case, multiple articles (or longer articles) can be positioned within the interior space of the insert 12 as described above.

Referring now again to FIGS. 2 and 3, blank 40 includes a first diamond-shaped region 110 defined by first and second outside foldlines 110a, 110b, respectively, and first and second inside cutlines 111a, 111b, respectively. First diamond-shaped region 110 lies along right score line 46 such that right score line 46 connects a vertex formed by first and second outside foldlines 110a, 110b, to a vertex formed by first and second inside cutlines 111a, 111b, thereby defining a rear portion of first diamond-shaped region 110 that lies in second bottom wall panel 50 and a top portion of the first diamond-shaped region 110 that lies in top wall panel 52.

Similarly, blank 40 includes a second diamond-shaped region 120 defined by first and second outside foldlines 120a, 120b, respectively, and first and second inside cutlines 121a, 121b, respectively. Second diamond-shaped region 120 lies along right score line 46 such that right score line 46 connects a vertex formed by first and second outside foldlines 120a, 120b, to a vertex formed by first and second inside cutlines 121a, 121b, thereby defining a rear portion of first diamond-shaped region 120 that lies in second bottom wall panel 50 and a top portion of the first diamond-shaped region 110 that lies in top wall panel 52.

First and second diamond-shaped regions 110, 120 oppose one another and are spaced along right score line 46 such that a saddle 130 is defined between first and second inside cutlines 111a, 111b of first diamond-shaped region 110 and first and second inside cutlines 121a, 121b of the second diamond-shaped region 120. Right score line 46 divides saddle 130 into a rear portion and a top portion.

Referring now to FIG. 6, the insert 12 is shown in the fully-erected configuration wherein first and second diamond-shaped regions 110, 120 are shown snapped into an interior space within the insert 12, and wherein saddle 130 is shown snapped into the interior space of the insert 12. This is accomplished by applying a small force (such as, by hand) to the first and second diamond-shaped regions 110, 120, near the vertices of the respective first and second inside cutlines. In this configuration, folded-in diamond-shaped regions 110, 120 and saddle 130 cooperate to define a pocket into which an article, such as, for example, a computer mouse, is positioned for shipping.

Referring back to FIGS. 1 and 5c, the insert 12 according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention is positioned within the container 14, preferably along the back wall 28 thereof. Beforehand, articles, such as those mentioned above, are securely positioned within the various cutouts and cavities of the insert 12, defined by the cutlines and score lines described above. The insert 12, then, functions to hold these various articles securely therein, and as such, securely within the container 14 during shipping. Because the insert 12 is placed near the back wall 28 of the container, the back wall 28 holds an article securely placed within the cavity formed by diamond-shaped regions 110, 120. Container walls 20, 22, likewise help to hold articles within the interior region of the insert 12, once the insert 12 is positioned within the container 14.

A computer keyboard 11, may be laid over the insert 12, in a generally, upwardly-inclined orientation, to hold the articles securely within the insert 12 and to keep the insert 12 from shifting around during shipping. Although the insert 12 according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention is shown having specific flaps, score lines and cutlines defining various movable regions and segments, one of ordinary skill in the art could modify the present invention, in view of the present description, so as to obtain additional cutout regions and pockets, all of which is intended to be within the scope and scope of the present invention.

As can be seen from the foregoing description of the preferred embodiment, the insert 12 according to the present invention provides a plurality of cutout sections defined by various score lines, cutlines and creases which, when the insert is moved from a flat configuration to a fully-erected configuration, permit for the secure positioning of a variety of articles, such as those described above, in fixed, discrete and preselected positions within the interior space of a container 14 into which the insert 12 is placed. As used herein, the term “cutout sections” means those areas and regions of the insert 12 that fold, bend or otherwise move into at least a portion of the interior space of the insert 12 for the purpose of holding articles securely within the interior space of the container.

While the invention has been described with reference to a preferred embodiment, it will be understood by those skilled in the art that various changes may be made and equivalents may be substituted without departing from the scope of the invention. In addition, many modifications may be made to adapt a particular situation or material to the teachings of the invention without departing from its scope. Therefore, it is intended that the invention not be limited to the particular embodiment disclosed, but that the invention will include all embodiments falling within the scope of the appended claims.