Title:
Re-closable pouring element for cardboard/plastic composite packagings
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Described and shown is a re-closable pouring element for cardboard/plastic composite packagings comprising a base to be applied onto the packaging in the vicinity of an over-coated weakened zone, a lid pivotably mounted at the end of the base, and an opening element, pivotably mounted on the lid, wherein restricted guidance elements are arranged between the base and the opening element. A pouring element with small overall height which ensures reliable opening of the packaging is achieved by that the opening element is joined in an articulated manner at the end of a lever projecting downward from the lid, so that the opening element when the lid is lifted up is firstly made to perform a linear movement forward, which as a result of further restricted guidance elements arranged on the interior of the base and/or on the opening element is converted into a downward movement.



Inventors:
Alther, Roger (Flurlingen, CH)
Application Number:
11/658971
Publication Date:
10/01/2009
Filing Date:
07/05/2006
Assignee:
SIG Technology AG (Neuhausen am Rheinfall, CH)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
220/258.3, 222/83, 229/125.09
International Classes:
B65D51/22; B65D43/16
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
DEMEREE, CHRISTOPHER R
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
THE WEBB LAW FIRM, P.C. (PITTSBURGH, PA, US)
Claims:
1. 1-16. (canceled)

17. A re-closable pouring element for cardboard/plastic composite packagings comprising a base to be applied onto the packaging in the vicinity of an over-coated weakened zone, a lid pivotably mounted at the end of the base, and an opening element pivotably mounted on the lid, wherein restricted guidance elements are arranged between the base and the opening element, characterized in that the opening element is joined in an articulated manner at the end of a lever projecting downwards from the lid, so that the opening element when the lid is lifted up is firstly made to perform a linear movement forward, which as a result of further restricted guidance elements arranged on the interior of the base or on the opening element is converted into a downward movement.

18. The pouring element according to claim 17, characterized in that the restricted guidance elements have lateral guidance elements arranged on the interior of the base which correspond with matching sliding elements of the opening element, and in that the further restricted guidance elements are formed as lateral guidance elements arranged diagonally on the base which correspond with further matching sliding elements of the opening element.

19. The pouring element according to claim 17, characterized in that the lever projecting from the lid is formed as a bar.

20. The pouring element according to claim 18, characterized in that the lever projecting from the lid is formed as a bar.

21. The pouring element according to claim 19, characterized in that the bar, when the lid is closed, substantially extends as far as the lower surface of the pouring element.

22. The pouring element according to claim 17, characterized in that the opening element has a peripheral cutting edge at least in the section which leaves the plane of the lower surface of the pouring element.

23. The pouring element according to claim 22, characterized in that the opening element in the vicinity of the cutting edge has at least one tooth for piercing the over-coating.

24. The pouring element according to claim 18, characterized in that the guidance elements on the base are configured as a crank guidance mechanism.

25. The pouring element according to claim 17, characterized in that the lid is joined to the base by means of a film hinge.

26. The pouring element according to claim 19, characterized in that the opening element is joined to the bar by means of a film hinge.

27. The pouring element according to claim 17, characterized in that the opening element before first-time opening and/or in the opened condition can be locked with the base.

28. The pouring element according to claim 18, characterized in that the opening element before first-time opening and/or in the opened condition can be locked with the base.

29. The pouring element according to claim 27, characterized in that the locking takes place by means of clamping cams, arranged on the interior of the base, cooperating with the sliding elements of the opening element.

30. The pouring element according to claim 17, characterized in that the lid in the opened condition can be locked with the base.

31. The pouring element according to claim 17, characterized in that the lid in the closed condition can be locked with the base.

32. The pouring element according to claim 30, characterized in that the lid in the closed condition is joined in a sealing manner to the base.

33. The pouring element according to claim 31, characterized in that the lid in the closed condition is joined in a sealing manner to the base.

34. The pouring element according to claim 17, characterized in that an originality seal, which is destroyed when the lid is lifted up for the first time, is arranged between the base and the lid.

35. The pouring element according to claim 17, characterized in that it is produced in a single piece.

Description:

The invention relates to a re-closable pouring element for cardboard/plastic composite packagings comprising a base to be applied onto the packaging in the vicinity of an over-coated weakened zone, a lid pivotably mounted at the end of the base and an opening element pivotably mounted on the lid, wherein restricted guidance elements are arranged between the base and the opening element.

Re-closable pouring elements for beverage packagings have been available on the market for a long time in various configurations. They usually consist of three parts, a base, a lid and an opening element for first-time opening of a packaging provided with such a pouring element. Depending upon the design these can be screw-caps or, however, of the type where the lid is lifted up (WO 97/46455 A1) or pulled out (DE 196 37 865 C2). Also known are two-piece pouring elements, wherein the lid is simultaneously implemented as an opening element (U.S. Pat. No. 6,257,449 B1).

In principle, all efforts are made to configure the pouring elements in question to be as consumer-friendly as possible, so that on the one hand easy manipulation is assured and on the other hand the actual pouring operation may be as trouble-free as possible. Furthermore, the overall height is to be kept to a minimum for reasons of material usage and thus production costs and for better stackability.

Both in the case of screw-caps and also such pouring elements, which work with an opening element to be pressed into the packaging interior, the overall height must be at least such that the weakened zones usually over-coated with a composite made from polyethylene foil and aluminium foil are also reliably opened. The problem in this case is that polyethylene is very flexible and for this reason, different than with aluminium foil on its own, cannot be easily “punched out”. Hence, pouring elements have become generally accepted, which either pull out the material of the weakened zone through an opening element, to be removed, of the packaging or, however, such which are provided with an opening element that can be pivoted into the packaging interior, as a result of which reliable piercing of the weakened zone can be achieved.

The re-closable pouring element in accordance with WO 97/46455 A1, however, is disadvantageous to the extent that the opening element must be manipulated separately after lifting the lid with a finger or another article. There have also already been such pouring elements, wherein the opening element must be manipulated by lifting up the lid (WO 90/14280 or U.S. Pat. No. 6,257,449 B1).

Also, WO 2005/077769 A1 already describes a pouring element with a lid and an opening element, wherein the opening element is joined to the base in an articulated manner. Since in the case of this prior-art pouring element, when the lid is lifted up, the opening element should be pivoted downwards, means to transmit the force are necessary, thus for example the use of a pull-strip or combing gear wheels is described. It is quickly evident that the force to be transmitted to the opening element has to be enormous, since the opening element must be pressed against the packaging wall over its entire length, in order to destroy this. Therefore, such a pouring element can only be produced with extremely high consumption of time and effort plus the associated costs.

Finally, there is already a relatively small pouring element, wherein the opening element is manipulated by a guide in the sidewalls (WO 03/047981 A2). This prior-art re-closable pouring element has all the features of the preamble of Claim 1. Due to the problem concerning the flexibility of polyethylene, already mentioned, this prior-art pouring element however does not work satisfactorily, since only the tip of the opening element can penetrate the polyethylene material or the composite made from polyethylene and aluminium foil during the opening operation. The forces to be transmitted only act at the tip of the opening element, so that this prior-art pouring element therefore does not always ensure reliable exposure of a constantly defined pouring opening.

On this basis the object of the present invention is to provide a re-closable pouring element, which eliminates the disadvantages described in detail above and, despite small overall height, ensures reliable opening of the packaging and defined exposure of the weakened zone.

This object is achieved by a pouring element with the features of the preamble of Claim 1 due to the fact that the opening element is joined in an articulated manner to a lever projecting downwards from the lid, so that the opening element when the lid is lifted up is firstly made to perform a linear movement forwards, which as a result of further restricted guidance elements arranged on the interior of the base and/or on the opening element is converted into a downwards movement.

In this way, it was possible for the opening element firstly to perform a “forward movement” when the lid is lifted up and thus, due to the corresponding restricted guidance elements on the base element, with a “digging” movement to move into the weakened zone and there to lead to reliable destruction of the composite made from polyethylene foil and aluminium foil. Because the opening element is not joined to the lid itself but to a bar which is held at a distance from the lid as a lever, the entire front part of the opening element pivots with relative force into the polyethylene/aluminium material to be destroyed and ensures the exposure of a sufficiently large pouring opening, which is described in detail further down.

The invention recognized that as a result of using restricted guidance elements on the lid and/or opening element, optimum transmission of force is ensured for starting the opening operation of the container when the lid is lifted up. This is achieved particularly by the fact that the opening element does not simply pivot into the packing material, but performs a linear and rotary movement.

In particular, the present invention covers all restricted guidance elements, even though the discussion below only concerns the preferred embodiment with guide rails provided on the base element and sliding elements provided on the opening element. It is also possible within the scope of the invention to construct the arrangement in reverse or even to use different restricted guidance elements known to persons skilled in the art. Thus, it is for example also possible to configure the opening elements not as more or less flat plate but in a corrugated form, wherein the lateral edges of this corrugated plate can then directly act as guide rails.

In accordance with a preferred teaching of the invention the restricted guidance elements have lateral guidance elements, arranged on the interior of the base, which correspond with matching sliding elements of the opening element, and the further restricted guidance elements are formed as lateral guidance elements, arranged diagonally on the base, which correspond with further matching sliding elements of the opening element.

Another teaching of the invention provides that the lever projecting from the lid is formed as a bar. Thus, particularly good transmission of force can be realized in a simple manner.

According to a further preferred embodiment of the invention in this case, the bar when the lid is closed, substantially extends as far as the contact plane of the flange (lower surface of the pouring element). Thus, maximum leverage can be achieved.

A further teaching of the invention provides that the opening element has a peripheral cutting edge at least in the section, which is swung out from the plane of the lower surface of the pouring element. In this way, it is reliably ensured that the over-coating in the vicinity of the weakened zone splits cleanly and can be removed from the pouring opening.

According to a further embodiment of the invention the opening element, in the vicinity of the aforementioned cutting edge, has at least one tooth for piercing the weakened zone. The cutting edge can also consist of a plurality of adjacent teeth. This embodiment is particularly advantageous, since as a result of perforating by means of several piercing points extensive stretching of the over-coating before it is ripped can be reliably avoided.

According to another teaching of the invention the guidance elements on the base are configured as a crank guiding mechanism. Thus, a restricted guidance element of the opening element is achieved in a simple manner when the lid is lifted up.

Preferably, the lid is joined to the base and the opening element is joined to the bar projecting from the lid by means of a film hinge. In this way, the pouring element according to the invention can be produced in a single piece.

According to a further embodiment of the invention the opening element can be locked in its opened position with the base, so that the opening element is reliably prevented from lifting up again and thus closing the opening area during the pouring operation. In this way, a defined pouring opening is always present.

Additionally or alternatively, it is also possible that the opening element, before first-time opening, can be locked with the base. This possibility serves to prevent inadvertent opening, in particular during transport of containers provided with the pouring element according to the invention. The term “locking” in the sense of the invention is understood to be not only a positive connection, but it is also conceivable that the opening element is connected to the base with one or more thin material bars, which are destroyed on first-time opening. The locking should ensure that the opening element does not damage or destroy the foil located underneath through vibration or the like before authorized first-time opening of the packaging.

According to a further preferred teaching of the invention the locking takes place by means of clamping cams arranged on the interior of the base, so as to cooperate with the sliding elements of the opening element.

In a further embodiment of the invention it is provided that the lid in the opened and/or closed condition can be locked with the base. Locking in the closed condition is advantageous in order on the one hand to indicate to the consumer (acoustically or tangibly) that the container is firmly sealed by the closed lid, so that for example if the container is shaken product can no longer escape. The locking in this case can also be a sealing joint between the base and the lid, in order to reliably prevent escape of the product, ingress of air or the like. On the other hand, locking in the open condition is also advantageous, since contact of the lid with the product can be reliably prevented when pouring.

According to a further teaching of the invention it is proposed that an originality seal is arranged between the base and the lid. Therefore, it is indicated to the consumer whether the pouring element has already been tampered with and the packaging has already been opened.

Finally, it is also possible with the arrangement according to the invention to produce the pouring element in a single piece, whereby the production costs can in turn be reduced.

The invention is described below in detail on the basis of a drawing illustrating only one preferred exemplary embodiment, wherein there is shown:

FIG. 1 a pouring element according to the invention, in closed condition as a perspective illustration,

FIG. 2 the pouring element from FIG. 1, vertically cut open along line II-II,

FIG. 3 the pouring element from FIG. 2 with slightly raised lid,

FIG. 4 the pouring element from FIG. 2 with extensively raised lid,

FIG. 5 the pouring element from FIG. 2 in opened position and

FIG. 6 the pouring element from FIG. 1 in opened position.

FIG. 1 is a perspective illustration of the re-closable pouring element according to the invention in closed condition. It is clearly recognizable that the overall height of the pouring element is extremely small. For better explanation of the functional mode of the opening operation, in FIGS. 2 to 5 different illustrations of closed (FIG. 2), slightly opened (FIG. 3), extensively opened (FIG. 4) to fully opened (FIG. 5) pouring elements are reproduced, wherein the pouring element is cut open vertically along line II-II in FIG. 1, in order to be able to show better the kinematical operations.

The pouring element according to the invention consists in the illustrated and to this extent preferred exemplary embodiment firstly and substantially of a base 1, a lid 2 pivotably mounted at the end of the base 1, and an opening element 3 pivotably mounted on the lid 2. The base 1 in this case is joined with a flange 4 so as to rotate about a pouring opening O above a weakened zone of a—not illustrated—container, preferably a cardboard/plastic composite packaging. The lid 2 is joined to the base 1 in an articulated manner by means of a film hinge 5.

As particularly clearly evident from FIG. 4, a bar 6 is provided on the lower surface of the lid 2 projecting into the interior of the base 1 and working as a lever, to the lower end of which the opening element 3 is joined, in the preferred exemplary embodiment with a film hinge 7.

In the interior of the base 1 guidance elements 8A and 8B according to the invention are now provided, whose position is particularly clearly evident through the sectional view in FIGS. 2 to 5. They serve to ensure a uniform opening operation of the opening element 3 when the lid 2 is lifted up. For this purpose the opening element 3, as evident from FIGS. 2 to 5, has laterally arranged sliding elements 9A and 9B, which together with the guidance elements 8A and 8B serve as a crank guiding mechanism.

When the lid 2 is lifted up (FIG. 3) as a result of the front guidance elements 8B and the associated sliding elements 9B due to the fact that the opening element 3 is joined to the end of the bar 6 projecting from the lid 2, a forward movement of the opening element 3 is achieved, which lets the opening element 3 dig at a steep angle into the weakened zone (not illustrated) as a result of the diagonally running guidance elements 8B in the base 1. So that the weakened zone—which mostly consists of a composite made from polyethylene foil and aluminium foil—is now reliably destroyed, the opening element 3 at least in the section, which leaves the plane of the lower surface of the pouring element, has a peripheral cutting edge which in the illustrated and to this extent preferred exemplary embodiment, is implemented as a plurality of adjacent teeth 10.

After the opening element 3 first pierces the over-coated weakened zone and when the lid 2 is lifted up further (see FIG. 4), the opening element is not only pulled to the rear but is moved via the guidance elements 8A and corresponding sliding elements 9A downwards into the packaging interior, so that the section between opening element 3 and base 1 projecting forwards produces a reliably defined pouring opening O, as also particularly clearly evident from FIG. 6, where the pouring element according to the invention is once again completely illustrated in its opened position.

So that the opening element 3 is now joined to the base 1 in a fixed position, before application of the pouring element onto a container and also after application, for example during transport, a non-positive or positive connection of both parts takes place. For this purpose, the cylindrical sliding elements 9B, protruding from the opening element 3, are concavely formed on their free front ends, and the base 1 has correspondingly protruding clamping cams 11, which hold the opening element 3 in a defined position until the lid 2 is manipulated for the first time.

Finally, the pouring element in the illustrated and to this extent preferred exemplary embodiment also has an originality seal. For this purpose, a pin 12, projecting from the base, is caulked with a plate 13, laterally arranged in the lid 2 at a corresponding place as evident from FIGS. 1 and 2. The plate 13 is joined to the lid 2 during the injection-moulding process of the pouring element by means of thin material bridges 14. When the lid 2 is first opened, the material bridges 14, serving as predetermined break points, tear off between the plate 13 and the lid 2, thus indicating to the consumer that the packaging concerned has already been opened.