Title:
Releasable Heat Seal Wrapper
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An easy-open wrapper is in the form of a thin sheet having a heat sealable, polymeric material surface and a coating thereon, and a foldable end flap for folding and closing, and the end flap has a heat activated sealant thereon to form one or more heat activated seals bonding to the coating on the polymeric material surface and holding the end flap closed. The sealant has a heat activated tear strength or adhesive bond strength, or both, substantially less than that of the polymeric material surface to open a closed end flap by tearing or de-bonding the sealant without tearing the polymeric material surface.



Inventors:
Galoff, Tina Marie (Brillion, WI, US)
Application Number:
11/861768
Publication Date:
03/26/2009
Filing Date:
09/26/2007
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
229/87.01
International Classes:
B65D65/38
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
DESAI, ANISH P
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
DUANE MORRIS LLP - Philadelphia (PHILADELPHIA, PA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A wrapper comprising: a heat sealable, polymeric material surface on a sheet, including but not limited to a single ply 240 gauge film, a 120 g film/120 g film laminated structure, a solid film/paper laminated structure, or a polymer coated paper structure, wherein the sheet has at least one foldable end flap for folding and closing; and the foldable end flap having a heat activated sealant thereon to form one or more heat activated seals for bonding to the polymeric material surface and holding the end flap folded and closed.

2. The wrapper of claim 1, wherein the sealant has a heat activated tear strength or adhesive bond strength, or both, substantially less than that of the sheet to open a closed end flap by tearing or de-bonding the seal without tearing the sheet.

3. The wrapper of claim 1, wherein the sheet has an overlap seam to form a heat activated seal on the overlap seam by heat activating the polymeric material surface on the overlap seam to an adhesive state, and wherein the sealant has a heat activated tear strength or adhesive bond strength, or both, substantially less than that of sheet and the seal on the overlap seam, to open a closed end flap by tearing or de-bonding the sealant without tearing or de-bonding the sheet or the seal on the overlap seam.

4. The wrapper of claim 1, wherein the sheet has another end flap, in addition to said at least one end flap, for folding and closing to form a heat activated seal by heat activating the polymeric material surface on the end flap.

5. The wrapper of claim 1, wherein the sealant comprises a pressure sensitive, peelable adhesive state sealant activated to a peelable adhesive state by the application of heat, to de-bond by opening the end flap and thereafter to re-adhere to hold the end flap closed.

6. A method of making a wrapper, comprising: laminating together a first polymeric sheet having a polymeric material surface with a second sheet having a polymeric material surface, wherein one of the sheets has been printed with printed graphics of either one or a number of wrappers; applying a heat activated sealant on a foldable end flap of each wrapper to form one or more heat activated seals bonding to the polymeric material surface of the wrapper for holding the end flap folded and closed.

7. A method of manufacturing a wrapper, comprising: forming a continuous sheet of wrapper material into one or a number of wrappers, wherein each wrapper comprises end flaps to be folded and closed, the sheet including but not limited to a single ply 240 gauge film, a 120 g film/20 g film laminated structure, a solid film/paper laminated structure, or a polymer coated paper structure; applying a heat activated sealant on at least one end flap of each wrapper to hold a folded end flap closed, wherein the sealant forms a seal to hold the folded end flap closed when activated to an adhesive state; and the sealant having a heat activated tear strength or adhesive bond strength, or both, less than that of the wrapper material to open a closed end flap by tearing or de-bonding the sealant without tearing the wrapper material.

8. The method of claim 7, comprising: applying additional heat activated sealant on another end flap in addition to said at least one end flap to hold said another end flap closed wherein the additional heat activated sealant forms a seal to hold the folded said another end flap closed when activated to an adhesive state; and the additional heat activated sealant having a heat activated tear strength or adhesive bond strength, or both, less than that of the wrapper material to open a closed said another end flap by tearing or de-bonding the additional heat activated sealant without tearing the wrapper material.

9. The method of claim 7, comprising: severing the continuous sheet of wrapper material to provide an individual wrapper.

10. The method of claim 9, comprising: wrapping a ream of paper with the individual wrapper to provide a package having an overlapped longitudinal seam and further having said at least one end flap folded and closed; heat sealing the overlapped longitudinal seam and heat activating the sealant to an adhesive state; and holding said at least one end flap folded and closed with said sealant activated to an adhesive state.

11. The method of claim 7, comprising: forming the wrapper material by laminating together a first polymeric laminate having a polymeric material surface with a second laminate having a polymeric material surface.

12. The method of claim 11 wherein the second laminate comprises a polymeric material or a cellulosic material coated with a polymeric material.

13. The method of claim 11, comprising: printing one of the first polymeric laminate or the second laminate with printed graphics for each wrapper prior to laminating.

14. The method of claim 11, comprising: severing the wrapper material to provide an individual wrapper.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The invention relates to manufacturing a wrapper of polymeric film, the wrapper having end flaps for folding and closing, and the end flaps having a heat activated adhesive to hold the end flaps closed.

BACKGROUND

A wrapper refers to a sheet of a material for wrapping an item, for example, for wrapping a ream of paper for storage and sale. The wrapper has an overlapping longitudinal seam and end flaps that are folded, closed and sealed to form a package that encloses the ream of paper. Typically, a wrapper has been made of a single ply or multiple plies of polymeric material coated with a coating of a material capable of forming heat bonded seals. A sealing operation was performed by applying heat and/or pressure on the overlapped longitudinal seam and the folded end flaps to melt the coating on the surface of the polymeric material and form bonded heat seals upon cooling and solidifying. The heat formed seals were tenaciously strong, making it difficult to open the packaging at the heat-sealed areas, particularly at the end flaps. To open the wrapper the end user would be unable to avoid tearing the packaging material, thus destroying the integrity of the wrapper and eliminating a means for storing paper that remains in the damaged packaging.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,250,348 discloses a wrapper paper having a paper base layer coated on one surface by a low density polyethylene (LDPE) layer, and coated on an opposite surface by polyalkyleneimene, PEI, layer. The wrapper is formed into a wrapped package, wherein the wrapped package has folded end sections in which the LDPE layer and the PEI layer overlap one another. Further, a longitudinal seam of the wrapped package has the overlapped LDPE layer and PEI layer. Closing and sealing the folded end sections, as well as, the longitudinal seam of the wrapped package is accomplished by heat activating both the LDPE layer and the PEI layer where they overlap one another to create a heat seal bond that is stronger than the base paper layer itself.

Prior to the invention, the end flaps of single or multiple-layer polymeric wrappers were tenaciously heat bonded and sealed to such an extent that when an end user attempted to open the package end flap, the entire wrapper along the longitudinal seam would tear, thus destroying the packing integrity for storing any unused paper. The torn wrapper lost its structural integrity and customer appeal, and was further rendered unsuitable for re-folding and re-closing the tend flap to store the unused paper.

To retain customer appeal, it has been proposed to provide an easy-open end flap, which refers to a folded and closed end flap that is easily opened without tearing the wrapper. Further it has been proposed to cover the easy-open end flap with a label having a peelable adhesive that could peel away while opening the end flap, and thereafter be reapplied to adhere and re-close the end flap. However, to apply the adhesive label by machine operation, in a manufacturing environment, the easy-open end flap needed to be held closed by a seal for a duration long enough so that the end flap was held closed until the label was applied over the held-closed end flap. While this temporary seal was required to be easily opened to provide an easy-open wrapper, it also needed to be strong enough for going through a mechanical application of the adhesive label.

One solution was to provide a heat sealable coating on the entire outer surface of the wrapper that enabled the packaging end flaps to be torn or peeled open and yet remain tacky enough for the user to apply pressure to re-close the end flaps to store unused paper in the original wrapper. In essence, rather than coating the polymeric wrapper material with a coating that enable aggressive heat seals, the solution was to coat the polymeric material with a less tenacious heat sealable coating that enabled the user to peel open the end flaps or the longitudinal seam of the wrapped ream. The problem with this proposed solution was that while the entire packaging surface was coated with a material to enable heat sealing, the sealing was not tenacious enough to hold the wrapped reams together during shipping, handling and storage of the reams. As a result of the rigors of handling, transporting and storage on retail shelves, as well as exposure to environmental factors, the wrapped reams frequently broke open at the longitudinal seam or end flap areas.

Another solution to provide a less tenacious seal and easier opening package utilized a manufacturing apparatus that applied a varnish pattern with three dots void of varnish to expose more minimal heat sealable areas in the end flaps of the wrapper. The varnish material inhibited the formation of heat seals in all areas but the three dots, exposing a much smaller heat sealable surface in the end flaps. Surviving heat seal areas were relied upon to seal the end flaps temporarily closed long enough so the adhesive label could be applied in a mechanical operation. In some occurrences the surviving heat seal areas held too tightly so that when an end user removed the adhesive label, the packaging toe and the easy-open feature was lost. Moreover, in some occurrences an overabundance of the varnish material could inhibit the formation of a large enough heat seal area, to such an extent that the end flaps would open prematurely, before the adhesive labels could be applied by the manufacturing apparatus. An invention was needed to overcome these two problems and provide a wrapper that retains the easy-open end flap while enabling a heat sealed end flap to be held closed feature, while holding a heat sealed end flap closed long enough for mechanical application of a removable adhesive label.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention provides a wrapper of polymeric material or cellulosic material having a surface of polymeric material coated with a material for heat sealing at the longitudinal seam of the wrapper, with a foldable end flap for folding and closing, wherein the end flap has a heat-activated sealant thereon to form one or more heat-activated seals bonding to the polymeric material and holding the end flap closed.

The present invention provides a method of making a wrapper by laminating together a first sheet having a polymeric material surface suitable for heat sealing with a second sheet having a polymeric material surface suitable for heat sealing, wherein one of the sheets has been printed with printed graphics depicting product marking or logos, for example, and applying a heat activated sealant in targeted zones on the foldable end flap area of each wrapper to form one or more heat activated seals bonding to the coating on the polymeric material of the wrapper and holding the end flap closed.

According to an embodiment of the invention, the wrapper has a longitudinal overlap seam, and the coating on the polymeric material forms a heat activated seal of the overlap seam. The sealant targeted for and applied to the end flap areas has a heat-activated tear strength or adhesive bond strength, or both, substantially less than that of the surface of the polymeric material, enabling a sufficient seal and the easy opening of a closed end flap by tearing or de-bonding the sealant without tearing the polymeric wrapper material and destroying the packaging integrity.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Other embodiments of the present invention will be apparent by way of example with reference to the accompanying drawings.

FIG. 1 is an isometric view of an individual wrapper that is cut from a continuous sheet of a packaging material having one or more wrappers to be cut therefrom.

FIG. 1A is a fragmentary end view of the wrapper disclosing layers or laminates.

FIG. 2 is an isometric view of the wrapper of FIG. 1 that has been turned over.

FIG. 3 is an isometric view of the wrapper of FIGS. 1 and 2 partially wrapped to form an enclosure having at least one open end.

FIG. 4 is a view similar to FIG. 3, and disclosing a partially folded end flap.

FIG. 5 is a view similar to FIG. 4, and disclosing a fully folded and closed end flap.

FIG. 6 is a view similar to FIG. 4, and disclosing another embodiment of a wrapper having a partially folded end flap.

FIG. 7A is a schematic view of a first printing pass performed by a manufacturing apparatus.

FIG. 7B is a schematic view of a laminating pass performed by a manufacturing apparatus.

FIG. 7C is a schematic view of another printing pass performed by a manufacturing apparatus.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

FIG. 1 discloses a thin sheet wrapper 100 comprised of a continuous, thin sheet or laminate 104 of polymeric material coated with a polymeric material surface that is laminated to a continuous, thin sheet or laminate 102, FIG. 1A, comprising, either a single ply, or multiple ply, polymeric material in its entirety, or a paper coated with a polymeric material surface or laminated to a polymeric material. Further, the sheet 102 in FIG. 1A comprises a pre-coated EB adhesive 103, activated by electron beam (EB) energy, to laminate with the printed surface of the sheet 104. The surface of the polymeric material in either laminated structure may or may not be flood coated on both surfaces with a material enabling heat sealing, such as, a minimized flash coating comprising an acrylic polymer. Accordingly, the wrapper 100 includes, but is not limited to a single ply 240 gauge film, a 120 g film/120 g film laminated structure, a solid film/paper laminated structure, or a polymer coated paper structure. Printed graphics 106, for example, company and/or brand name logos and text, are sandwiched between the sheets or laminates 102, 104. For example, the sheet 104 is transparent and is reverse printed with the printed graphics 106. The printed graphics 106 are protected by, and are viewed through, the transparent sheet 104. Further, for example, the sheet 104 comprises a 120 gauge polypropylene sheet coated on both surfaces with a minimized flash coating, wherein the flash coating comprises an acrylic polymer that will bond with a heat activated polymer of similar composition or with PVC and with a heat activated adhesive, i.e., a heat activated sealant. The sheet 102 comprises either a duplicate of the first sheet, or a paper-based sheet with a minimized flash coating, wherein the flash coating comprises acrylic polymer or polyvinyl chloride PVC polymer that will bond with a heat activated polymer of similar composition or with a heat activated adhesive. The polymers disclosed herein include but are not limited to a polymer, copolymer or terpolymer.

FIG. 1 discloses an individual wrapper 100 to be severed from a continuous wrapper material or packaging material having one or more individual wrappers 100. Each individual wrapper 100 is to be formed with fold lines 108, 110, 112, 114 to form correspondingly numbered, folded edges of a wrapper enclosure or package 300 in FIG. 3. In FIG. 1, the wrapper 100 has edges 116, 118 that overlap to form an overlap seam 302 in FIG. 3.

In FIGS. 1 and 3, the wrapper 100 has an end flap 120 that is adapted to be folded and closed. Another end flap 138 is adapted to be folded and closed. A process for folding and closing the end flap 120 similarly applies to folding and closing the end flap 138. FIG. 4 discloses at least one partially folded and closed end flap 120, resulting from the following process. A part of the end flap 120 is folded inwardly by folding along fold lines 122, 124, 126 in FIGS. 1 and 3, and by inwardly folding portions of the previously folded edges 108, 110 in FIG. 3. Another part of the end flap 120 is folded inwardly by folding along fold lines 128, 130, 132 in FIGS. 1 and 3, and by inwardly folding portions of the previously folded edges 112, 114 in FIG. 3. In FIGS. 1 and 3, other fold lines 134, 136 of the wrapper 100 is present for another portion of the wrapper 100 to be folded inwardly, FIG. 4, to form correspondingly numbered folded edges, and to partially close the open end, FIG. 4. FIGS. 1, 4 and 5 disclose a remaining trapezoidal shaped portion 140 of the end flap 120 that is folded inwardly along a fold line 142 to complete the closing of an end of the wrapper 100.

FIG. 1 discloses the sheet or laminate 104 having a heat activated sealant 144 applied as a thin coating selectively on triangular selected surface areas of the at least one end flap 120. The sealant is preferably transparent, and for illustration purposes is shown by stippling. A triangular first surface area is bounded by the fold lines 108, 124. A triangular second surface area is bounded by the fold lines 110, 126. A triangular third surface area is bounded by the fold lines 112, 132. A triangular fourth surface area is bounded by the fold lines 114, 130. The sealant 144 is applied in a pattern that is within the triangular surface areas, including, but not limited to, the shape of the triangular surface areas. When the sheet laminate 104 is folded as shown in FIG. 4, the surface of the sheet laminate 104 will abut the selected surface areas having the heat activated sealant 144 thereon. Subsequently, heat and/or pressure is applied to activate the sealant 144 to form a bond and heat seal with the abutting surface of the sheet laminate 104, thereby holding the folded portions of the end flap 120 closed and forming a moisture resistant seal.

FIG. 2 discloses that the sheet laminate 102 has a heat activated sealant 144a, similar to the sealant 144, applied as a thin coating selectively on triangular surface areas of the sheet laminate 104 bounded by the fold lines 108, 124 and bounded by the fold lines 114, 130, respectively. The sealant 144a is applied in a pattern that is within the triangular surface areas, including, but not limited to, the shape of the triangular surface areas. Further, the heat activated sealant 144 is applied to selected surface areas, one of which comprises the trapezoidal shaped portion 142 of the end flap 120. When the sheet laminate 102 is folded as shown in FIGS. 4 and 5, the surface of the sheet laminate 102 will abut the selected surface areas having the heat activated sealant 144 thereon. The folding and closing of the trapezoidal shaped portion 142 will completely close the end flap 120, as shown in FIG. 5.

FIG. 6 discloses an alternative embodiment wherein the heat activated sealant 144b, similar to the sealant 144, is applied as a thin coating solely on the surface area of the trapezoidal shaped portion 142 of the end flap 120. The sealant 144b is applied in a pattern that is within the trapezoidal surface area, including, but not limited to, the shape of the trapezoidal surface area. The folding and closing of the trapezoidal shaped portion 142 will completely close the end flap 120, as shown in FIG. 5.

The wrapper shown in FIG. 5 typically wraps a ream of paper sheets. Heat and pressure is applied on the closed end flap 120 to activate the sealant 144 to form a bond and heat activated seal with the abutting surface of the sheet laminates 102, 104, holding the folded portions of the end flap 120 closed and forming a moisture resistant seal. Heating to a heat activation temperature renders the surfaces of the polymeric materials of the layers 102, 104 to a melt bonding state. Accordingly, adequate heat is applied to the overlapped and closed seam 302 in FIG. 5 to melt and bond together the overlapped surfaces of the polymeric materials, such as the acrylic polymer on the polypropylene sheet, or the polyethylene on the paper sheet. The overlapped surfaces of the polymeric materials form heat activated tenacious bonds and seals of polymer-to-polymer construction. The folded end flap 138 is similarly folded and sealed by the application of heat and pressure to form heat activated tenacious bonds and moisture resistant seals of polymer-to-polymer construction. Alternatively, the end flap 138 is constructed with the sealant 144 similarly as the end flap 120 is constructed with the sealant 144. According to a preferred embodiment, the sealant 144 is activated to a melt bonding state at the same temperature that melts and forms heat activated, tenacious bonds and seals of polymer-to-polymer construction. According to an alternative embodiment, the heat activation temperature of the sealant 144 is substantially lower than the heat activation temperature for rendering the surfaces of the polymeric materials of the layers 102, 104 to a melt bonding state. Thereby, a lower temperature is used in a manufacturing operation to activate the sealant 144 to an adhesive state.

According to an embodiment of the invention, each heat seal to be formed by the sealant 144 and an abutting polymeric surface will have a tear strength or adhesive bond strength, or both, substantially less than that of the surface of the polymeric materials of the respective sheet laminates 102 or 104, such that the closed end flap 120 is opened by tearing or de-bonding the sealant 144 without tearing or de-bonding the stronger polymeric materials. The sealant has a heat activated tear strength or adhesive bond strength, or both, substantially less than that of the polymeric materials of the sheet laminates 102, 104 to open a closed end flap by tearing or de-bonding the seal without tearing the polymeric material or de-bonding moisture resistant seals formed by heat activating the polymeric material. Further, the tenacious bonds and seals on the seam 302 and on the folded and closed end flap 138 continue to hold and retain the shape of the wrapper 100, permitting the wrapper 100 to be opened at the end flap 120 to remove paper, and to be used as a tear-free, easy-open resealable package, and thereby an undamaged package for unused paper remaining in the package.

Further it has been proposed to cover the easy-open end flap 120, shown closed in FIG. 5, with a label, not shown, having a peelable adhesive that could peel away while opening the end flap 120, and thereafter be reapplied to adhere and re-close the end flap 120. Such a label does not comprise an embodiment of the invention. To apply the adhesive label by machine operation, in a manufacturing environment, the easy-open end flap 120 needs to be held in place, at least partially closed, as shown in FIG. 5, by the sealant 144 until the label has been applied, and until the bond on the removable label is later broken, for example, by peeling to remove the label, followed by opening the wrapped package.

An embodiment of a suitable heat activated sealant 144 or binder comprises an aqueous dispersion, or emulsion, of a thermoplastic acrylic polymer of about 48-52 weight percent and the remainder as water. The sealant constituents include small quantities of butyl acrylate (141-32-2) and methyl methacrylate (80-26-6). The sealant has a glass transition temperature of 7° C. Drying above the minimum film forming temperature leaves a clear, colorless film, which is medium hard, elastic and slightly tacky at room temperature. After drying the sealant heat activation is required for the sealant to form a bond. The film is soluble in most organic solvents, with the exception of alphatic hydrocarbons. The air dry tensile strength is 410 psi (pounds per square inch) at an ultimate elongation of 600%.

The sealant 144 is suitable for use as a binder for laminates of fabric, paper, PVC, polyvinylchloride, polystyrene, leather and acrylics. The sealant can be applied by spraying, printing, nip padding, impregnating and roll or knife coating. It can be mechanically foamed. Methyl cellulose, carboxymethyl cellulose or hydroxyethyl cellulose are suitable thickeners in acid pH. Hardening agents and surfactants are applicable additives in the sealant.

The sealant 144 has a heat activated tensile strength of 260 psi, pounds per square foot at 500% elongation. The tensile strength at 300% elongation is 130 psi. The tensile strength at 100% elongation is 70 psi. Thus, the elasticity of the sealant is reduced by hardeners to reduce the elongation capability, and to reduce the tensile strength corresponding to the reduction in elongation. Reduced tensile strength is desirable to provide an easy-open end flap 120. The seal of the folded and closed end flap 120 is easily broken at slight elongation thereof. According to an embodiment of the invention, once the seal is broken, it does not reseal at room temperature. According to an embodiment of the invention breaking the seal is accomplished by hand operation of a person who has removed the peelable adhesive label, and has unfolded the end flap 120 to break the seal without tearing the wrapper. According to another embodiment of the invention, breaking the seal occurs with the passage of time while under a peelable adhesive label.

According to a further embodiment, the sealant 144 comprises a peelable acrylic polymer or peelable and releasable, pressure sensitive adhesive sealant 144 of the type disclosed by U.S. Pat. No. 7,101,615 as a pressure sensitive, peelable or releasable adhesive composition whose tackiness is brought about only by thermal activation. Such a sealant 144 on the wrapper 100 is only slightly tacky until heat and/or pressure is applied to the folded and closed end flap 120 shown in FIG. 5 to heat activate the sealant 144, and effect a pressure sensitive, peelable adhesive state. Thereafter, the heat activated, pressure sensitive, peelable adhesive state sealant 144 holds the end flap 120 closed and sealed. According to an embodiment of the invention, the sealant 144 holds the end flap 120 sealed and closed for a duration long enough to apply a peelable adhesive label by way of a mechanical apparatus. Later, the peelable adhesive label can be removed by peeling the label, and thereafter, the wrapper is opened by urging the sealant 144 either to de-bond or tear before the wrapper 100 tears, which preserves the structural integrity of the package formed by the wrapper 100 to store paper that remains in the package. According to another embodiment of the invention, the package formed by the wrapper 100 is folded, closed and sealed by the sealant 144 without the presence of a peelable adhesive label, and the end flap 120 is easily opened by de-bonding or tearing the sealant 144, and the end flap 120 is re-closable by later re-folding and closing the end flap 120, and re-adhering the pressure sensitive, peelable adhesive state sealant 144.

FIG. 7A depicts a first pass performed by a manufacturing apparatus 700a for making a continuous wrapper 100 into one or more individual wrappers 100. The sheet or laminate 104 is unrolled from a supply roll 702 and is transported by one or more conveyors 704, where needed to transport the sheet 104 to, and though, sequential work stations of the manufacturing apparatus 700, which includes the manufacturing apparatus 700a depicted in FIG. 7A. One exemplary conveyer 704 is shown, and includes, but is not limited to, a continuous loop, belt conveyor 704. The sheet 104 is conveyed to a work station comprising a printer 706 that reverse prints the printed graphics 106 for each wrapper 100. Repeated reverse printing will print repeated printed graphics 106 for multiple wrappers 100 on the continuous sheet 104. In an alternative embodiment of the invention, instead of the printed graphics 106 being printed onto the sheet or laminate 104, a transparent sheet or laminate 104 is pre-printed with reverse printed graphics 106.

After applying, by printing, the printed graphics 106, the sheet 104 is turned over by web turning bars 708, depicted schematically in FIG. 7A, such that, the unprinted side of the sheet 104 is conveyed by one or more, exemplary conveyors 710 to another work station printer 712 that prints the sealant 144 according to the pattern depicted in FIG. 1, such that the sealant 144 is on the same side of the sheet 104 through which the printing 106 is viewed. The sheet 104 emerges from the first pass apparatus 700 with the sealant 144 on one side, and the printed graphics 106 on a reverse side of the sheet 104. The sealant 144 is on a surface of the sheet 104 that will become the exterior or outside of a package to be formed with the wrapper 100. It is desirable to roll up the sheet 104 on a take-up roll or reel 714.

FIG. 7B depicts a laminating pass performed by the manufacturing apparatus 700b provided as a portion of the manufacturing apparatus 700. A continuous roll 716 of the sheet 102 is unrolled to supply the sheet 102 that has been pre-coated with the EB adhesive 103, FIG. 1A, on the undersurface. The sheet 104 is supplied from the first pass with the printed graphics 106 facing the interior between the sheets 102, 104. One or more conveyors 718 convey the abutting sheets 102, 104 together through an EB laminator 720 that applies electron beam (EB) energy to the sheet 102, wherein the EB energy activates the EB adhesive 103 to an adhesive state. Further, the EB laminator 720 applies laminating pressure to laminate the sheets 102 and 104 while the EB adhesive is in an adhesive state. Upon emerging from the EB laminator 720, the laminated sheets 102, 104 are permanently laminated with the printed graphics 106 protected between the laminated sheets 102, 104. It is desirable to roll up the laminated sheets 102, 104 onto a take-up roll, not shown, similar to the take-up roll 714, FIG. 7B.

FIG. 7C depicts another printing pass performed by the manufacturing apparatus 700c provided as a portion of the manufacturing apparatus 700. From the laminating pass, the laminated sheets 102, 104 are conveyed by one or more conveyors 722 through a work station, a printer 724 that applies the sealant 144a, according to the pattern depicted in FIG. 2, or, alternatively, according to the pattern of sealant 144b depicted in FIG. 6. Emerging from the printer 724 the laminated sheets 102, 104 comprise one or more individual wrappers 100. Each wrapper 100 will have the sealant 144 on an exterior surface of the sheet 104. Each wrapper 100 will have the sealant 144a, or alternatively the sealant 144b, on an interior surface of the sheet 102. The printed graphics 106 are on an interior surface of the sheet 104. The EB adhesive 103 is on an interior surface of the sheet 102. The one or more wrappers 100 are desirably rolled up onto a take-up roll or reel 726. Each individual wrapper 100 is later severed from the remaining wrappers 100, and used to make an easy-open package.

According to an alternative embodiment of the invention, the sheet 102 is printed with the printed graphics 106 that are viewed through the transparent sheet 104, and the transparent sheet 104 is pre-coated with the EB adhesive 103 prior to lamination with the printed surface of the sheet 102.

This description of the exemplary embodiments is intended to be read in connection with the accompanying drawings, which are to be considered part of the entire written description. In the description, relative terms such as “lower,” “upper,” “horizontal,” “vertical” “above,” “below,” “up,” “down,” “top” and “bottom” as well as derivative thereof (e.g., “horizontally,” “downwardly,” “upwardly,” etc.) should be construed to refer to the orientation as then described or as shown in the drawing under discussion. These relative terms are for convenience of description and do not require that the apparatus be constructed or operated in a particular orientation. Terms concerning attachments, coupling and the like, such as “connected” and “interconnected,” refer to a relationship wherein structures are secured or attached to one another either directly or indirectly through intervening structures, as well as both movable or rigid attachments or relationships, unless expressly described otherwise.

Patents and applications referred to herein are expressly incorporated by reference in their entirety herein. Although the invention has been described in terms of exemplary embodiments, it is not limited thereto. Rather, the appended claims should be construed broadly, to include other variants and embodiments of the invention, which may be made by those skilled in the art without departing from the scope and range of equivalents of the invention.