Title:
Tubular Sachet Pack
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A tubular sachet pack (1) contains a rectilinear detergent tablet (2). The sachet pack comprises a sachet having a transverse flap seam disposed at each end of the pack. The pack has a longitudinal flap seam (3) disposed adjacent a border between two sides (a, d) of the tablet. Each of the two sides is parallel to the longitudinal axis of the tablet.



Inventors:
Schick, Jurgen (Hemsback, DE)
Van Diepen, Jacobus Simon Petrus (Weinheim, DE)
Application Number:
11/568017
Publication Date:
11/13/2008
Filing Date:
04/01/2005
Assignee:
RECKITT BENCKISER N.V. (Hoofddorp, NL)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
53/412
International Classes:
B65D83/04; B65B9/06; B65B61/18; B65D75/12
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
ORTIZ, RAFAEL ALFREDO
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
TROUTMAN PEPPER HAMILTON SANDERS LLP (ATLANTA, GA, US)
Claims:
1. A tubular sachet pack containing a rectilinear detergent tablet, the sachet pack comprising a sachet having a transverse flap seam disposed at each end of the pack and a longitudinal flap seam disposed adjacent a border between two sides of the tablet, with each of the two sides being parallel to the longitudinal axis of the tablet.

2. A pack as claimed in claim 1, wherein the longitudinal flap seam is disposed along the border between the two sides of the tablet.

3. A pack as claimed in claim 1 or 2, wherein the longitudinal flap seam is parallel to one of the sides of the tablet.

4. A pack as claimed in any one of claims 1 to 3, wherein the longitudinal flap seam has a tear-off aid.

5. A pack as claimed in any one of claims 1 to 4, wherein the packaging material is a monoaxially oriented film, having a tendency to split in this direction of orientation.

6. A pack as claimed in any one of the claims 1 to 5, wherein the packaging material is an opaque material.

7. A rigid body accommodating a plurality of tubular sachet packs containing a rectilinear detergent tablet, the sachet pack comprising a sachet having a transverse flap seam disposed at each end of the pack and a longitudinal flap seam disposed adjacent a border between two sides of the tablet, with each of the two sides being parallel to the longitudinal axis of the tablet.

8. A rigid body according to claim 8, containing sachet packs as described in any one of claims 1 to 7.

9. The use of a tubular sachet pack in an automatic washing machine, the pack containing a rectilinear detergent tablet, the sachet pack comprising a sachet having a transverse flap seam disposed at each end of the pack and a longitudinal flap seam disposed adjacent a border between two sides of the tablet, with each of the two sides being parallel to the longitudinal axis of the tablet, the use comprising removing (where necessary) the tablet from its secondary packaging, opening the tablet and placing the tablet into the automatic washing machine.

10. The use according to claim 9, containing a sachet pack as described in any one of claims 1 to 7.

11. A method of producing a tubular sachet pack containing a rectilinear detergent tablet, the sachet pack comprising a sachet having a transverse flap seam disposed at each end of the pack and a longitudinal flap seam disposed adjacent a border between two sides of the tablet, with each of the two sides being parallel to the longitudinal axis of the tablet, the method comprising:— a) bonding opposite peripheral regions of a packaging material to form a sachet; b) enclosing a tablet within the sachet; c) moving the flap seam to the side so that it is disposed along adjacent a border between two sides of the tablet; and d) bonding the transverse seams of the sachet.

12. Method as claimed in claim 11, wherein once the flap seam has been moved to the side, it is orientated such that it projects away from the tablet.

13. Method as claimed in claim 11, wherein the longitudinal flap seam is orientated such that it projects away from the tablet simultaneously as it is moved to the side.

14. A tubular sachet pack as hereinbefore described with further reference to any one of FIGS. 1 to 3.

Description:

The invention relates to a tubular sachet pack for containing a rectilinear detergent tablet.

Tubular sachet packs are well known and widely used to contain a range of consumer products. The packs are quite simple: they generally comprise a sheet material which is wrapped around a product and sealed to form the final packaged product.

Usually a tubular sachet pack is made by sealing (e.g. bonding/welding) peripheral regions of a web of film to form a tube with a longitudinal seam. The two ends of the tube are sealed around the product being packaged by transverse seams. In forming the transverse seams the longitudinal seam is brought next to the surface of the packaged product and is normally disposed in the middle of the rear face of the packaging.

As an illustration WO-A-92/16431 discloses a tubular sachet pack, comprising a web of film having a composite structure. The opposite peripheral regions of the film are sealed to form a tube having a longitudinal seam. The tube is sealed about the object to be packaged by two parallel transverse seams. The longitudinal flap seam is disposed along the middle of the pack, flush with the surface.

Whilst the position of the longitudinal flap seam makes for a very compact shape, it is difficult to hold the pack whilst taking it out of a packaging box. Also, although the pack has an opening aid, it is still necessary to take hold of the transverse flap seam of the tubular sachet with both hands in order to open the pack.

EP-A-0 226 835 describes two kinds of tubular sachet pack sealed by one longitudinal and two transverse seams. The longitudinal seam of the packaging described in this document is also arranged in the middle of the rear of the pack flush with the surface.

In the first kind of packaging (made of flexible material) the packaging can only be opened in a narrow region around the longitudinal seam. This makes it difficult to remove the contents, particularly as the opening is small. Additionally as the printed surfaces of the packaging are torn in the opening process any markings on these parts of the packaging (such as instructions/warnings) are disturbed and are no longer legible.

In the second kind of packaging, a strip of material (typically a red ribbon) is integrated into the longitudinal seam to assist in the provision of a larger opening. However, this is only obtained with the added inconvenience and associated expense of incorporation of the additional material.

EP-A-0 024 271 describes a similar tubular sachet pack for tablet-shaped objects.

Thus it can be seen that existing tubular sachet packs do have a number of disadvantages connected with the difficulty on opening associated therewith.

These disadvantages are exacerbated when the content of the tubular sachet pack comprises a detergent tablet (such as a tablet suitable for use in an automatic washing machine or an automatic laundry machine). In these uses, especially in automatic dishwashing, the hands of the user are typically wet/damp when trying to open the tubular sachet wrap. The wetness/dampness arises either from contact with dishware which has been pre-washed/pre-soaked or simply with the food soil present on the dishware. It has been found that tablets which are wrapped in a tubular sachet wrap having the arrangements described above are extremely difficult to manually open in these circumstances.

It is an object of the present invention to obviate/mitigate the problems outlined above.

According to a first aspect of the invention there is provided a tubular sachet pack containing a rectilinear detergent tablet, the sachet pack comprising a sachet having a transverse flap seam disposed at each end of the pack and a longitudinal flap seam disposed adjacent a border between two sides of the tablet, with each of the two sides being parallel to the longitudinal axis of the tablet.

The positioning of the longitudinal flap seam makes it easier to take hold of the tubular sachet pack, particularly when compared with embodiments of wrapped tablets of the prior art in which the longitudinal flap seam sits flat against the pack (fixed in place by the transverse seams).

The arrangement of the longitudinal flap in the present invention means that there is a large surface available for graphical communication. Surprisingly it has been found this increase in the visible surface has been achieved while using the same quantity of wrapping film (as in previous film arrangements). Additionally, as generally the area of the longitudinal seam is undisturbed by opening the pack this area can be used to support any required labelling (such as information/warnings) which is still legible after the pack has been partially/fully opened.

The arrangement of the longitudinal seam adjacent the border between two sides of the tablet, especially where in the present invention the tablet is rectilinear, means that the whole longitudinal flap seam can be torn away from the tablet with ease. Unexpectedly it has been found that whole of the longitudinal flap may be torn away from the tablet without the need for any weakness to be introduced at or near the point at which the flap meets the remainder of the package. This has the advantage that a homogeneous packing material may be used without the need for any additional functionalised features.

A further advantage of the pack of the present invention is exhibited when the packaged tablets are handled and stored both in the manufacturing and in a retail/domestic storage. Without wishing to be bound by theory it is proposed that as the longitudinal seam projects away from the main body of the tablet the seam provides a cushion to protect the tablet.

Thus when tablets are handled in bulk, e.g. in a hopper or even in the boxes in which they are commonly sold the tablet has an additional form of protection. This is especially important in the field of detergent tablets, as the tablets which are commonly compressed particulate material, have a high friability. Thus abrasion, particularly against other tablets, can cause dust formation within the packet and even tablet breakage and is to be avoided.

In accordance with a second aspect of the invention there is provided a rigid body accommodating a plurality of tubular sachet packs containing a rectilinear detergent tablet, the sachet pack comprising a sachet having a transverse flap seam disposed at each end of the pack and a longitudinal flap seam disposed adjacent a border between two sides of the tablet, with each of the two sides being parallel to the longitudinal axis of the tablet.

It is preferred that the flap is disposed along the length of the border between the two sides. It will be appreciated that the flap generally extends beyond the length of the tablet, preferably to meet up with the transverse seams.

Generally the flap is disposed adjacent the tablet such that it projects away from the tablet. Usually it projects in an orientation such that it is substantially parallel to one of the sides of the tablet. Preferably the flap is parallel to a side having the largest surface area (of the sides of the tablet).

In an embodiment of the invention, a tear-off aid is provided. The tear-off aid is preferably positioned at an outer end of the longitudinal flap seam, most preferably adjacent the border between the sides of the tablet. The process of opening the tubular sachet pack can be further facilitated by applying incisions or perforations in the outer regions of the ends of the longitudinal flap seam sealed off by the transverse seal, although these have been found not to be necessary as with some designs of the prior art (see above).

It is of advantage to use a monoaxially oriented film as this type of film has a tendency to split in this direction of orientation. This makes opening the pack easier.

The packaging material is preferably an opaque material, usually coloured. The material typically has printed matter thereupon. The printed matter may comprise details of the brand of origin of the tablet and/or instructions for use.

As described above it has been found that the pack is easily opened, especially when considered against the packs of the prior art. Thus according to a third aspect of the invention there is provided the use of a pack according to the first aspect of the invention in an automatic washing machine, the use comprising removing (where necessary) the tablet from it secondary packaging, opening the tablet and placing the tablet into the automatic washing machine.

The arrangement of the longitudinal flap makes removal of the wrapped tablet from its secondary packaging and then removal from the sachet pack an extremely straightforward operation.

It is even more surprising that this operation has been found to be so trouble-free when the typically use conditions are considered, namely when a user has damp/soiled hands, which detrimentally affect the purchase of a user's hands on the sachet pack.

When opening the tubular sachet pack, it can be held in one hand (without having to hold the longitudinal flap seam at the same time) and the pack may be opened by taking hold of the top end of the longitudinal flap seam with the second hand and tearing the longitudinal flap seam off along the entire longitudinal side. The thus created opening is large, making it easy and convenient to remove the contents. The shape of the opening makes it particularly suitable for packaging rectilinear objects (cubes, tubes, etc.). As the packaged object can be held with one hand this prevents the packaged object from undesirably/prematurely falling. Furthermore the single hand use also offers the possibility of being able to remove the object from the pack without having to touch it. This of is particularly importance in the context of the present invention as typical detergent tablets comprise a caustic formulation which should not be brought into contact with user's hands. The ease of removal of the tablet from the sachet pack of the present inventions helps to ensure that contact of the user's hands with the tablet is brought to a minimum.

In a preferred embodiment the tablet is not simply a regular cube/elongated cube but has a functional feature on a side thereof. The feature may comprise an indentation or more preferably a projection. Indeed a most preferred functional feature is a projection based on a portion of a sphere projecting from a surface of the tablet. (The remainder of the sphere is preferably accommodated in a suitable indentation is the surface of the tablet). Where present such a functional feature may further assist in the opening of the sachet pack as it may aid in the provision of greater purchase for the hand of a user when opening the sachet pack.

The invention further relates to a method of producing a tubular sachet pack. Thus according to a fourth aspect of the invention there is provided a method of forming a tubular sachet pack containing a rectilinear detergent tablet, the sachet pack comprising a sachet having a transverse flap seam disposed at each end of the pack and a longitudinal flap seam disposed adjacent a border between two sides of the tablet, with each of the two sides being parallel to the longitudinal axis of the tablet, the method comprising:—

a) bonding opposite peripheral regions of a packaging material to form a sachet;
b) enclosing a tablet within the sachet;
c) moving the flap seam to the side so that it is disposed along adjacent a border between two sides of the tablet; and
d) bonding the transverse seams of the sachet.

In this way the tubular sachet pack of the first aspect of the invention may be produced and the advantages associated with the same may be realised.

It will be appreciated that the aspects which apply to the first and second aspect of the invention shall also apply to the third aspect of the invention.

Once it has been moved to the side, preferably the longitudinal flap seam is orientated such that it projects away from the tablet.

Alternatively, the longitudinal flap seam may be orientated such that it projects away from the tablet simultaneously as it is moved to the side. Indeed this is the most preferred option.

The invention will be described in more detail below with reference to the appended drawings:—

FIG. 1 shows a tubular sachet pack as proposed by the invention with a longitudinal flap seam disposed on one side of the pack;

FIG. 2 shows one possible position of the longitudinal flap seam proposed by the invention; and

FIG. 3 shows a further position of the longitudinal flap seam proposed by the invention.

FIGS. 1 and 2 show a tubular sachet pack 1 in accordance with the first aspect of the present invention. The pack comprises a rectilinear product 2 around which the pack 1 is formed. Thus the pack 1 is also rectilinear in form. The rectilinear form has a height (h), a width (w) and a length (l) wherein h and w are similar in magnitude with l being significantly larger. The rectilinear form has a surfaces a,b,c,d,e,f.

The pack 1 comprises two terminal flap seams (not shown), one at each end. The flap seams lie in a plain parallel to the longitudinal axis, said plain bisects the product into two equal portions along a plain disposed at around half (h).

The pack 1 comprises a longitudinal flap seam 3. The longitudinal flap seam 3 projects from a corner of the rectilinear form and is positioned parallel to the surface d of the pack 1. The longitudinal flap seem has a tear-off aid 4, in the form of a nick of the pack material disposed adjacent the corner between the surfaces a and d of the pack 1.

The embodiment shown in FIG. 3 is identical to that shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, with the exception that the longitudinal flap 2 is positioned parallel to the surface a of the pack 1.

The tubular sachet pack 1 may be opened by holding the pack 1, (with the packaged product 2 therein) in the middle with a hand. The top section of the longitudinal flap seam 2 is held with the second hand. By pulling off the longitudinal flap seam 2, the tubular sachet pack is completely opened along the surface a of the packaging 1, enabling the packaged object 2 to be removed. The tear-off aid 3 make it easier to open the tubular sachet pack.

It will be understood that the scope of the invention is not limited to that illustrated in the attached Figures.