Title:
Package with wrap-around frame
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A clear plastic enclosure for small articles of commerce has a front panel and a rear panel, each panel including a major planar surface with a shaped cavity therein, and a generally rectangular outer peripheral edge, and the panels having an engaged position wherein their planar surfaces touch and their corresponding cavities cooperate to form a single article-receiving cavity, and a wrap-around frame member for engaging and retaining the combined edges of the engaged panels. The frame member has four elongate frame elements, each one having beveled opposite ends, and connected to each other at their opposite ends by integrally formed hinges, except first and fourth frame elements having free ends that are securable to each other, whereby adjacent elements are rotatable to bring adjoining beveled ends into engagement to hold right angles and to form the frame member into a rectangle, and a longitudinally extending groove along the inner part of each element cooperates to form a continuous groove that receives and secures the peripheral edges of the co-engaged panels, and the frame having outer edges that are shaped to allow the enclosure to support itself upright on a flat surface.



Inventors:
Appelbaum, Paul (Huntington Beach, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/498602
Publication Date:
02/07/2008
Filing Date:
08/04/2006
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
206/583
International Classes:
B65D73/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
BUI, LUAN KIM
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Paul Appelbaum (Huntington Beach, CA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A plastic package for small articles of commerce, including; a) a generally rectangular front panel having a major planar wall and a perimeter edge; b) a generally rectangular rear panel having a major planar wall and a perimeter edge; and c) a wrap-around retainer member for said panels having a first, second, third and fourth elongate frame element, each said element having an outward side and an inward side, and connected to each other at their opposite ends by integrally formed hinges, except said first and forth elements having free ends adapted for connection to each other, whereby said elements can be formed into a rectangle, and groove means on the inward side of said elements for receiving and holding the outer edges of said front and rear panels, whereby said member is securable in its rectangular configuration to engage the perimeter edges of said panels in said groove means and hold said panels with their planar walls in parallel relationship and provide an article-receiving cavity between said panels.

2. A package as defined in claim 1 wherein said panel perimeter-engaging groove means comprises a single longitudinally extending groove in the inward side of each of said elements, and wherein at least one of said panels has a blister in its planar wall.

3. A package as defined in claim 2 wherein each of said panels has a blister, and said blisters cooperate to form a single article-receiving cavity.

4. A package as defined in claim 2 wherein said blister has a mouth, and including a generally rectangular card having a central opening and embraced by said front and rear panels with said central opening exposing said blister mouth.

5. A package as defined in claim 2 wherein the outward sides of said elements have a configuration adapted for supporting the package upright on a horizontal surface.

6. A package as defined in claim 1 wherein said panel-engaging means comprises a pair of longitudinally extending, spaced apart grooves in the inward side of said elements, the first of said pair adapted for engaging said front panel and the second for engaging said second panel whereby an article-receiving cavity is formed between the planar walls of said panels.

7. A package as defined in claim 6 wherein at least one of said panels has a blister in its planar wall.

8. A package as defined in claim 6 wherein the outward sides of said elements have a configuration adapted for supporting the package upright on a horizontal surface.

9. A package as defined in claim 2 wherein said front and rear panels are each constructed of a non-plastic material and have a central opening in said planar wall, and including a clear plastic blister piece having a flange, whereby said blister piece is mountable in said opening with said flange engaging said planar wall.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates generally to plastic packages for small articles of commerce, and more particularly to clear packages having a front and a rear panel, a retainer member around the wrapped around the edges of the panels.

2. Description of the Prior Art

Conventional plastic packages such as clamshell and card and blister packages are used extensively for packaging small products for retail. While they do bring certain advantages they nonetheless have their limitations and shortcomings. For example they often cannot be opened by the purchaser without having to forcefully tear the package, after which the plastic must be discarded with attendant environmental concern. Additionally, card-and-blister and clamshell packages have irregular configurations that do not lend themselves to efficient and economical stacking, and for display purposes are not self-supporting on a shelf surface, and must be hook-suspended.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In view of the foregoing it is a general object of the present invention to provide an improved plastic package fore articles of commerce.

Another object is to provide a package that lends itself to being efficiently and effectively stacked, palletized, stored and displayed.

A further object is to provide a plastic package that is secure against tampering yet can be opened by the ultimate purchaser without forceful tearing and destruction of the pack

These and other objects and advantages are provided by the present invention of a plastic package that has a front panel and a rear panel, each having a major planar wall and a generally rectangular perimeter edge, and a wrap-around retainer frame for engaging the perimeter edges of the two panels to hold them in face-to-face opposing relationship, with an article-receiving cavity there-between. The frame member has four elongate frame elements that are connected to each other at their opposite ends by integrally formed hinges, except first and fourth frame elements having free ends that are securable to each other, and the opposite ends of the frame elements have shaped surfaces whereby adjoining elements are rotatable to bring their shaped surfaces into engagement to hold right angles and to form the frame member into a rectangle.

Each frame element has a longitudinally extending groove along its inward portion, and the grooves of elements cooperate to receive and hold the perimeter edges of the co-engaged panels, and the frame having outer edges that are shaped to allow the enclosure to support itself upright on a flat surface.

In a preferred embodiment the element ends are beveled, and there is a shaped cavity molded in the planar wall of at least one of the panels, and in one embodiment there is a molded cavity in the planar wall of the front panel that cooperates with a corresponding cavity in the planar wall of the rear panel to form an article-receiving cavity. The free ends of the first and forth elements are securable by adhesive bonding or other means to secure the entire enclosure. Where maximum strength and security is required, additionally the perimeter edges of the two panels are bonded to the grooves of the frame elements.

In a variant of the invention there is means along the inner portion of each frame element for receiving and holding the perimeter edges of the front panel and the rear panel in spaced apart relationship, and to provide an article-receiving cavity between the planar walls of the front and rear panels.

A further variant, among other things, that has the advantage of low plastic content, features cardboard front and rear panels, each having an opening for mounting a flanged blister insert.

These and other variants of the invention will the appreciated by reference to the drawings, detailed description and claims which follow.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is an exploded perspective view illustrating a package according to the present invention;

FIG. 2 is another perspective view of the package of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a partial, enlarged sectional view taken along the line 3-3 of FIG. 2;

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of the assembled package of FIG. 1;

FIG. 5 is an exploded perspective view illustrating a variant of the invention according to the present invention;

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of the partially assembled package of FIG. 5;

FIG. 7 is a partial, enlarged sectional view taken along the line 7-7 of FIG. 6;

FIG. 8 a perspective view of the assembled variant of the invention;

FIG. 9 is a partial elevational view of the frame corner latch mechanism of the invention variant;

FIG. 10 is an exploded perspective view of the front and rear panels of a low-plastic content package according to the invention;

FIG. 11 is a view similar to FIG. 10; and

FIG. 12 is a perspective view of the combined panels of FIG. 10.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Referring now to the drawings, FIG. 1 shows a preferred embodiment of a package 11 according to the present invention. It is constructed of a suitable clear plastic using conventional thermo-forming techniques, and comprises a front panel 15, rear panel 17 and a wrap-around retainer member 13. Front panel 15 has a planar wall portion 19 in which is formed a blister 21, and rear panel 17 similarly has blister 24 in its planar wall 23. A card 18 has opening 20 and is for displaying printed product information.

FIG. 1 also shows that the retainer member 13 is comprised of four frame elements 25, 27, 29 and 31 each having opposite ends beveled at 45°, and joined by integral living hinges 37. The free ends 43 and 45 are adapted to be bonded together using UV adhesive sealing techniques or other suitable bonding means.

Note that element 25 has a longitudinal slot 42, and the other elements are similarly equipped with slots 41, 44 and 45. When panels 15 and 17 are oriented in the mirroring fashion suggested in FIG. 1 and then brought together, the combined lower edge of the adjoined panels can be snugly received in slot 41 to hold the panels upright, as FIG. 2 shows. FIG. 3 best shows how the slot 41 is engaged and how the opposing blisters 21 and 24 combine to form a single article-receiving cavity 28.

It will be appreciated by reference to FIG. 2 how, once the combined panels are mounted in element 27, the remaining elements can be rotated with respect to each other to form 90° corners and to bring their respective grooves into engagement with the side edges and top edge of the panels to form a rectangular frame around the panels. When the free ends 45 and 46 are secured, adhesively or otherwise, the package is complete as FIG. 4 illustrates. In order to enhance the strength of the package, adhesive such as liquid UV adhesive can be additionally applied to the element grooves and cured by UV illumination to bind the panels firmly on all sides to the wrap around member 13. To provide a modicum of package security yet allowing the purchaser to open it without great pains, bonding can the limited as necessary to only securing the free ends of the wrap-around retainer.

A variant of the invention in the form of package 53 is shown in FIG. 5. It includes a front panel 57, a rear panel 59 and a wrap-around retainer member 55. Member 55 comprises four elements 61, 62, 62 and 64, linked together by living hinges 66 at their 45° beveled ends. Although panels 57 and 59 shown here are constructed of clear plastic, under the invention they can also be constructed of paper board, or other suitable sheet material, and one or both panels or can be of clear plastic with article-receiving blister molded therein. As FIG. 5 suggests, the lower edges of the front panel 57 and rear panel 57, respectively, are received in the slots 66 and 68 of the frame element 62. it should be appreciated by reference to FIG. 6 how the elements 61 and 63 can be rotated through 90° to the position therein shown, wherein the sides edges of the front and rear panels are engaged by the pair of slots of the elements 61 and 63. slot 67 of frame element 62. FIG. 7 shows how the lower edge portions of the panels are received in slots 67 and 68, and shows wall 69 which will serve as the bottom of an article-receiving cavity 77.

Note, as FIG. 6 shows, that the free end of the element 64 has an integrally hinged latch 71. FIGS. 5 and 6 also show that the free end of element 61 is equipped with a latching cavity 75 into which the prod 74 of the latch 73 can be engaged. FIG. 9 best illustrates how latch 73 engages latch cavity 75, and FIG. 8 shows the assembled package 53.

FIGS. 10, 11 and 12 illustrate the panels of a low plastic content version of the invention, and features panels 85 and 87 of a suitable cardboard, and blister inserts 91 and 93 of clear plastic. Opening 86 in front panel mounts the blister 91 with its flange 95 engaging the surface of panel 85. Similarly the blister 93 with its flange 97 is mounted in the opening 88 of rear panel 87 as FIG. 11 shows.

When panels, with blisters, are brought together as FIG. 12 shows, the combined top, bottom and side edges 100, 101, 102 and 103 respectively, are secured in the slots of a wrap-around retainer member (not shown) that is constructed like the previously described member 13 of FIG. 1 to complete the package.

While particular embodiments of the invention have been shown, it is not intended that the invention be limited thereto. Various modifications and variations of the invention will be evident to persons of ordinary skill in the art, given the benefit of this disclosure, and it is intended that the invention be given its full scope and breath as defined in the claims that follow.