Title:
Stackable container with interlocking arrangement
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A food container including a container cover, a container body, and an interlocking arrangement which includes a stacking seat continuously indent at a top surface of the container cover along a peripheral edge thereof and an engaging rim continuously protruded at a bottom surface of the container body along a peripheral edge of the bottom wall, wherein the engaging rim has a size and shape geometrically matching with the stacking seat in such a manner that when the container is arranged in stack formation above another the identical container, the engaging rim is complementarily coupled with the stacking seat to engage the bottom surface of the container cover with the top surface of the identical container so as to substantially retain said two containers in position and avoid a lateral relative movement between the two containers.



Inventors:
Chhay, Khim Seang (Alhambra, CA, US)
Application Number:
12/284299
Publication Date:
03/18/2010
Filing Date:
09/18/2008
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
206/499, 206/508, 206/519, 220/675, 220/781
International Classes:
B65D21/036; B65D1/40; B65D43/03
View Patent Images:
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20080073234Devices for Physically Freezing Credit CardsMarch, 2008Starfeldt et al.
20030098251Disk storage barrelMay, 2003Yang
20100015310PASTRY TRAYJanuary, 2010Wallace



Primary Examiner:
ELOSHWAY, NIKI MARINA
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
DAVID AND RAYMOND PATENT FIRM (MONTEREY PARK, CA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A food container, comprising: a container body which comprises a surrounding wall and a bottom wall to define a top opening and a storage cavity within said surrounding wall and said bottom wall; a container cover detachably coupling with said container body at said top opening to enclose said storage cavity; and an interlocking arrangement, which comprises: a stacking seat continuously indent at a top surface of said container cover along a peripheral edge thereof; and an engaging rim continuously protruded at a bottom surface of said container body along a peripheral edge of said bottom wall, wherein said engaging rim has a size and shape geometrically matching with said stacking seat in such a manner that when said container is arranged in stack formation above another said identical container, said engaging rim is complementarily coupled with said stacking seat to engage said bottom surface of said container cover with said top surface of said identical container so as to substantially retain said two containers in position and avoid a lateral relative movement between said two containers.

2. The food container, as recited in claim 1, wherein said stacking seat has a base wall and two side engaging walls upwardly and spacedly extended from said base wall to define an recessing channel between said two side engaging walls, such that when said engaging rim is disposed along said stacking seat, said side engaging walls are adapted to block the lateral movement of said engaging rim.

3. The food container, as recited in claim 2, wherein said engaging rim has two sidewalls downwardly protruded from said bottom surface of said container body to define a width slightly smaller than a width of said stacking seat, such that when said engaging rim is disposed along said stacking seat, said sidewalls of said engaging rim are engaged with said side engaging walls of said stacking seat respectively.

4. The food container, as recited in claim 3, wherein said stacking seat has a U-shaped cross section that said recessing channel has a uniform height and a uniform width between said two side engaging walls, wherein said engaging rim has a U-shaped cross section corresponding to said stacking seat and has a uniform width slightly smaller than said width of said stacking seat.

5. The food container, as recited in claim 3, wherein said stacking seat has a trapezoid cross section that said side engaging walls are inclinedly extended from said base wall, wherein said engaging rim has a trapezoid cross section corresponding to said stacking seat that said sidewalls are extended inclinedly.

6. The food container, as recited in claim 4, wherein each of said stacking seat and said engaging rim is substantially rectangular in shape.

7. The food container, as recited in claim 5, wherein each of said stacking seat and said engaging rim is substantially rectangular in shape.

8. The food container, as recited in claim 1, wherein said interlocking arrangement further comprises a retention seat indent at said top surface of said container cover and surrounded within said stacking seat, and a retention member which is integrally protruded at said bottom surface of said container body and has a size and shape geometrically matching with said retention seat, such that said retention member is complementarily coupled with said retention seat once said engaging rim is complementarily coupled with said stacking seat so as to retain said containers in a stacked manner.

9. The food container, as recited in claim 6, wherein said interlocking arrangement further comprises a retention seat indent at said top surface of said container cover and surrounded within said stacking seat, and a retention member which is integrally protruded at said bottom surface of said container body and has a size and shape geometrically matching with said retention seat, such that said retention member is complementarily coupled with said retention seat once said engaging rim is complementarily coupled with said stacking seat so as to retain said containers in a stacked manner.

10. The food container, as recited in claim 7, wherein said interlocking arrangement further comprises a retention seat indent at said top surface of said container cover and surrounded within said stacking seat, and a retention member which is integrally protruded at said bottom surface of said container body and has a size and shape geometrically matching with said retention seat, such that said retention member is complementarily coupled with said retention seat once said engaging rim is complementarily coupled with said stacking seat so as to retain said containers in a stacked manner.

11. The food container, as recited in claim 8, wherein said retention seat comprises a continuous retention wall indented at said top surface of said container cover to define a retention cavity thereon, wherein said retention member has a continuous embossing wall downwardly protruded from said bottom surface of said container body and arranged in such a manner that when said retention member is received at said retention cavity of said retention seat, said embossing wall of said retention member is encirclingly engaged with said retention wall of said retention seat.

12. The food container, as recited in claim 9, wherein said retention seat comprises a continuous retention wall indented at said top surface of said container cover to define a retention cavity thereon, wherein said retention member has a continuous embossing wall downwardly protruded from said bottom surface of said container body and arranged in such a manner that when said retention member is received at said retention cavity of said retention seat, said embossing wall of said retention member is encirclingly engaged with said retention wall of said retention seat.

13. The food container, as recited in claim 10, wherein said retention seat comprises a continuous retention wall indented at said top surface of said container cover to define a retention cavity thereon, wherein said retention member has a continuous embossing wall downwardly protruded from said bottom surface of said container body and arranged in such a manner that when said retention member is received at said retention cavity of said retention seat, said embossing wall of said retention member is encirclingly engaged with said retention wall of said retention seat.

14. The food container, as recited in claim 12, wherein each of said retention seat and said retention member is substantially elliptical in shape.

15. The food container, as recited in claim 13, wherein each of said retention seat and said retention member is substantially elliptical in shape.

16. The food container, as recited in claim 1, wherein said container cover comprises a sealing rim detachably coupling with a top rim of said container body, and a raised cover casing upwardly extended from said sealing rim to define said top surface on said cover casing.

17. The food container, as recited in claim 14, wherein said container cover comprises a sealing rim detachably coupling with a top rim of said container body, and a raised cover casing upwardly extended from said sealing rim to define said top surface on said cover casing.

18. The food container, as recited in claim 15, wherein said container cover comprises a sealing rim detachably coupling with a top rim of said container body, and a raised cover casing upwardly extended from said sealing rim to define said top surface on said cover casing.

19. The food container, as recited in claim 1, wherein said surrounding wall, which is inclinedly extended from said bottom wall, has a plurality of discrete wall portions integrally extended in a stair manner, such that said discrete wall portions of said surrounding wall not only forms a volume indicator but also substantially increases a volume of said storage cavity in height from bottom to top.

20. The food container, as recited in claim 17, wherein said surrounding wall, which is inclinedly extended from said bottom wall, has a plurality of discrete wall portions integrally extended in a stair manner, such that said discrete wall portions of said surrounding wall not only forms a volume indicator but also substantially increases a volume of said storage cavity in height from bottom to top.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE PRESENT INVENTION

1. Field of Invention

The present invention relates to a container, and more particularly to a stackable food container with interlocking arrangement, wherein the interlocking arrangement provides a stable way for two or more identical containers stacked one by one.

2. Description of Related Arts

The food container has become one of the articles of daily use and applied on many different purposes such as food storage and transportation. The food container normally comprises a container body to contain the food and a cover to enclose the container body to avoid the food leaking out from the food container and keep it fresh. It is very common that a user uses the containers for packing the food and storing it into refrigerator or food shelf. Generally speaking, the user always stacks one container on the top of another container to have more efficiency storage space. Moreover, the food containers are also for transporting the food everywhere, such as the container for bringing the leftover food home from the restaurant. Another example is the students pack their lunch or snack to school. Also, the workers may have to pack the food such as cheese, meat, or salad into the containers for selling, storing, and displaying the merchandise in the supermarket. While the food containers are transported to another place, it is convenient to stack the containers together to compact the size for efficiency transportation.

Accordingly, there exits a great need of stackable food container for stably stacking the plurality containers one by one for saving the storage space, and being securely transported to prevent the container slipped off to accidentally open the cover of the food container.

Various types of stackable container assemblies are in the market. One of the common stackable containers has a protrusion upwardly protruded from the cover of the container so that the identical containers can be stacked together. Several drawbacks can be found on this type stackable container. First, it is hard to stack any non-identical containers or boxes on the top of this stackable container. The surface of the protrusion at the cover is usually non-flat and has small contact area with another non-identical container or box so that this kind of stackable container has relatively lower friction to prevent the sliding happed while stacking the non-identical containers. Also, in order to enhance the stabilization between the stacked containers, the central portion of the top surface of the cover is correspondingly indented to relatively increase the height of the protrusion. However, the indention of the cover will decrease the capacity of the container. Furthermore, the protrusion has a curved cross section such that the containers will be relatively slipped therebetween. It may cause the food container to be accidentally opened.

It would be desirable to provide securer stackable containers for storage the food at home, to go while ordering food from the restaurant, and displaying and transporting the plurality of food containers. The exits stackable containers still not satisfy the consumers.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

A main objective of the present invention is to provide a stackable container that can be easily and securely stacked on top of another, so as to enhance the stabilization of stacking the containers during transportation and storage.

Another objective of the present invention is to provide a stackable container that has geometrically conditioned contours between the contact surfaces between two stackable containers so as to substantially avoid lateral movement therebetween and to retain the stackable containers in position.

Another object of the present invention is to provide a stackable container, wherein the stacking operation is quick and easy by simply stacking up one container on top of another container.

Another object of the present invention is to provide a stackable container, wherein an interlocking arrangement is provided on the top of the cover and the bottom of the container having a stacking seat and an engaging rim coupling with each other to interlock two containers while they are stacking on one another.

Another object of the present invention is to provide a stackable container that the stacking seat has a U-shape cross section and two side engaging walls of stacking seat adapted to block the lateral movement of the engaging rim.

Another object of the present invention is to provide a stackable container that the two side engaging walls of the stacking seat are preferred parallel to each other so that has relatively higher resistance force to occur the lateral movement.

Another object of the present invention is to provide a stackable container that the engaging rim has a U-shape cross section and two engaging walls parallely protruding out from the bottom of the container body and extended out of the bottom of the container body in a preferred parallel manner to define a uniform width slightly smaller than the distance between two engaging walls for coupling with the stacking seat so as to form an secure interlocking system between two stackable containers.

Another object of the present invention is to provide a stackable container that the stacking seat and the engaging rim have a substantially rectangular in shape to effectively block the lateral movement between two stackable containers.

Another object of the present invention is to provide a stackable container having a retention seat on the central surface of the cover and a retention member on the central bottom of the container body so that to provide double interlocking arrangement to form relatively more secure interlocking system between two stackable containers.

Another object of the present invention is to provide a stackable container that the retention seat and the retention member have a substantially elliptical shape provided on the central surface of the cover within the stacking seat such that to utilize the coupling contact surface so as to increase the security of interlocking between two stacking container.

Another object of the present invention is to provide a stackable container that a embossing wall of the retention seat provided for blocking the lateral movement of the retention member is preferred parallel to the side engaging walls of the stacking seat so that has relatively higher resistance force to occur the lateral movement.

Another object of the present invention is to provide a stackable container that an area of the retention member is slightly smaller than an area of the retention seat so that to form an interlocking between the retention member and retention seat to provide the substantial interlocking among the stacking containers.

Another object of the present invention is to provide a stackable container that a retention wall of the retention member protruding and extending out from the bottom of the container body in a preferred parallel manner parallely to the side walls of the engaging rim so that has relatively higher resistance force to occur the lateral movement.

Another object of the present invention is to provide a stackable container that the surface of the cover having the interlocking arrangement is flat so that a non-identical container, box, or any other food cans can stably stack on the top of the stackable container.

Another object of the present invention is to provide a stackable container that a raised cover casing is provided at the container cover so that to increase the capacity of the container.

Accordingly, in order to accomplish the above objects, the container of the present invention comprises a container body, a container cover, and an interlocking arrangement, wherein the container body and container cover are detachable coupling with each other and one container stacks on the top of another one by the interlocking arrangement to securely stack one by one.

These and other objectives, features, and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from the following detailed description, the accompanying drawings, and the appended claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a top perspective view of a stackable container according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a bottom perspective view of the stackable container according to the above preferred embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 3 is a sectional view of the stackable container according to the above preferred embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 4A is a schematic view illustrating two stackable containers being in a stack formation according to the above preferred embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 4B is a schematic view illustrating the interlocking arrangements of the two stackable containers being in a stack formation according to the above preferred embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 5 illustrates an alternative mode of the interlocking arrangement of the stackable container according to the above preferred embodiment of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

Referring to FIGS. 1 and 2 of the drawings, a container, such as a food container, according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention is illustrated, wherein the container comprises a container cover 20, a container body 10 sealably closed by the container cover 20.

The container body 10 comprises a bottom wall 11 and a surrounding wall 12 provided at the peripheral of the bottom wall 11 to define a storage cavity and a top opening within the bottom wall 11 and the surrounding wall 12 therein. It is appreciated that the container body 10 and the container cover 20 are preferred made by a thermoformed plastic container, and more specially made by a Polypropylene (PP5), wherein the polypropylene is durable and good for heat-resistant, it is not only reusable but also light and simple to manufacture, so that the polypropylene container can be used in a restaurant as a to-go box or at home for the food storage.

The container further comprises an interlocking arrangement 30 for the containers being arranged in stack formation. The interlocking arrangement 30 comprises a stacking seat 31 integrally provided at the container cover 20 and an engaging rim 32 integrally provided at the container body 10 to detachably interlock with the stacking seat 31 when the containers are in stacked formation.

As shown in FIGS. 1 to 3, the stacking seat 31 is continuously indented at the top surface 21 of the container cover 20 along the peripheral edge thereof. The engaging rim 32 is continuously and outwardly protruded at the bottom surface of the bottom wall 11 of the container body 10 at the peripheral edge thereof, wherein the engaging rim 32 has a size and shape geometrically matching with the stacking seat 31 in such a manner that when the container is arranged in stack formation above another identical container, the engaging rim 32 is complementarily coupled with the stacking seat 31 to engage the bottom surface of the container body 10 with the top surface 21 of the container cover 20 of the identical container so as to substantially retain the two containers in position and avoid a lateral relative movement between the two containers, as shown in FIGS. 4A and 4B.

As illustrated in FIG. 3, the stacking seat 31 comprises a base wall 311, which is a flat bottom surface, and two side engaging walls 312 upwardly extended from the base wall 311 to define a recessing channel 313 within the base wall 311 and the side engaging walls 312. Accordingly, each of the side engaging walls 312 is a flat surface, i.e. the non-curving surface, upwardly extending from the base wall 311. Preferably, the stacking seat 31 has a U-shape cross section that the two side engaging walls 312 are upwardly extending in a parallel manner, wherein the recessing channel 313 is formed with a uniform high and width between two the side engaging walls 112. Therefore, the stacking seat 31 forms a relatively high resistance force for the lateral movement of the engaging rim 32 of the container body 20 while the engaging rim 32 is coupling with the stacking seat 31 to interlock two the stacked containers.

The engaging rim 32 is protruding outwardly from the bottom wall 11 of the container body 10 and has a size and a shape geometrically fit into the stacking seat 31 to detachably couple with the stacking seat 31, wherein the engaging rim 32 has a U-shape cross section corresponding to the stacking seat 31. Accordingly, the engaging rim 32 comprises two side walls 321 preferred parallely extended out from the bottom surface of the bottom wall 11 of the container body 10, wherein the engaging rim 32 has a uniform high and width slightly smaller than the recessing channel 313 of the stacking seat 31 for securely engaging the engaging rim 32 and the stacking seat 31. In order words, the stacking seat 31 and the engaging rim 32 have a substantially rectangular shape to form at the peripheral edges of the container cover 20 and the container body 10 respectively so that the interlocking arrangement 30 has relatively higher resistance for preventing the lateral movement between two stacking containers.

Accordingly, when the two containers are arranged in stack formation, the engaging rim 32 is disposed within the recessing channel 313 at a position that the engaging rim 32 is sandwiched between the two side engaging walls 312. In other words, the outer side engaging wall 312 of the stacking seat 31 forms an outer boundary to encircle the engaging rim 32 while the inner side engaging wall 312 of the stacking seat 31 forms an inner boundary to encircle the engaging rim 32. In addition, the side walls 321 of the engaging rim 32 are frictionally engaged with the side engaging walls 312 of the stacking seat 31 respectively. Therefore, the seating seat 31 and the engaging rim 32 are interlocked with each other to retain the containers in stack formation.

It is appreciated that the two side engaging walls 312A can be inclinedly extended from the base wall 311A such that the recessing channel 313A has a trapezoid shape that the area of the recessing channel 313A is gradually reducing towards the base wall 311A. Accordingly, the engaging rim 32A also has a corresponding trapezoid shape that the side walls 321A are two inclined walls, wherein the width of the engaging rim 32A is gradually reducing towards the bottom end thereof, as shown in FIG. 5

It is worth to mention that the stacking seat 31 and the engaging rim 32 are provided at the peripheral edges of the container cover 20 and container body 10 respectively, wherein this interlocking arrangement 30 can provide the relatively largest interlocking area to efficiently prevent the lateral movement between two stacking containers.

In addition, the side engaging walls 312 of the stacking seat 31 and the side walls 321 of the engaging rim 32 have the same high and flat engaging surface so that increases the contact surface between the interlocking arrangement on the container cover 20 and container body 10, as shown in FIG. 4B, such that the friction is increasing so as to increases the resistance force of lateral movement to securely interlock the stacking containers. Moreover, the flat top surface 21 of the container cover 20 can further incorporate with other non-identical containers or other boxes.

Accordingly, the interlocking arrangement 30 further comprises a retention seat 33 provided at the container cover 20 and a retention member 34 provided at the container body 10 to incorporate with the stacking seat 31 and the engaging rim 32 for providing a double-interlocking configuration of the containers in stack formation.

As shown in FIGS. 1 to 3, the retention seat 33 is indent at a center portion of the top surface 21 of the container cover 20 and is surrounded within the stacking seat 31. The retention member 34 is integrally protruded at the bottom surface of the container body 10 and has a size and shape geometrically matching with the retention seat 33, such that the retention member 34 is complementarily coupled with the retention seat 33 once the engaging rim 32 is complementarily coupled with the stacking seat 31 so as to retain the containers in a stacked manner.

Accordingly, the retention seat 33 comprises a continuous retention wall 331 indented at the top surface 21 of the container cover 20 to define a retention cavity 332 thereon, wherein the retention member 34 has a continuous embossing wall 341 downwardly protruded from the bottom surface of the container body 10 and arranged in such a manner that when the retention member 34 is received at the retention cavity 332 of the retention seat 33, the embossing wall 341 of the retention member 34 is encirclingly engaged with the retention wall 331 of the retention seat 33, as shown in FIGS. 4A and 4B. Accordingly, the bottom wall of the retention cavity 332 also is a flat surface.

Preferably, the retention wall 331 of the retention seat 33 is a flat surface and is extended parallel to the side engaging walls 312 of the stacking seat 31. Likewise, the embossing wall 341 of the retention member 34 is a flat surface and is extended parallel to the side walls 321 of the engaging rim 32. Accordingly, the parallel interlocking arrangement can provide efficiency resistance for lateral movement so as to provide the secure stacking system.

It is appreciated that the retention seat 33 and the retention member 34 have a substantially elliptical shape located at the central surface of the container cover 20 and container body 10 within the stacking seat 31 and the engaging rim 32, wherein the elliptical shape is adapted to utilize the interlocking area so as to securely interlock two stacking containers.

In other words, both the retention wall 331 of the retention seat 33 and the embossing wall 341 of the retention member 34 are curved continuous walls extended around the top surface of the container cover 20 and the bottom surface of the container body 10 respectively. Therefore, the strength of the container cover 20 will be enhanced by the curved continuous wall of the retention seat 33 and the straight continuous wall of the stacking seat 31 for providing a bending resistance of the container cover 20. Likewise, the strength of the container body 10 will be enhanced by the curved continuous wall of the retention member 34 and the straight continuous wall of the engaging rim 32 for providing a bending resistance of the container body 10. In addition, the bottom wall of the retention member 34 is a flat surface and has an elliptical shape to maximize the holding area for retaining the food in the container body 10. Therefore, once the food is contained in the container body 10, the weight of the food is supported on the bottom wall of the retention member 34 and is formed as a downward force to enhance the interlocking structure between the retention member 34 and the retention seat 33 to retain the two containers in stack information, as shown in FIG. 4A.

It is appreciated that the retention wall 331A of the retention seat 33A can be inclinedly indented at the top surface 21 of the container cover 20 that the area of the retention cavity 332A is gradually increasing in an upward direction, as shown in FIG. 5. The embossing wall 341A of the retention member 34A is inclinedly protruded from the bottom surface of the container body 10, wherein when the retention member 34A is disposed within the retention cavity 332A, the embossing wall 341A of the retention member 34A is frictionally engaged with the retention wall 331A of the retention seat 33A, as shown in FIG. 5.

Referring to FIG. 3, two stackable containers stacked on one another according to the preferred embodiment of the present invention is illustrated, wherein stacking seat 31 and the retention seat 33 of the container cover 20 are substantially engaged with the engaging rim 32 and the retention member 34 of the container body 10, so that securely interlock the two identical containers.

As shown in FIG. 3, the container cover 20 comprises a sealing rim 22 detachably coupling with a top rim 13 of the container body 10 to provide a sealing engagement for sealably closing the container body 10 by the container cover 20, so as to prevent the food inside the container leaking out and keep it fresh

The container cover 20 further comprises a raised cover casing 23 upwardly extended from the sealing rim 22 to define the top surface 21 on the cover casing 23, such that the container cover 20 is adapted for increasing the capacity of the storage cavity of the container. Accordingly, the problem of the cover of the conventional stackable containers always indented downwardly to provide the interlocking system so as limited the capacity of the container can be improved.

Accordingly, the surrounding wall 12, which is inclinedly extended from the bottom wall 11 of the container body 10, has a plurality of discrete wall portions 121 integrally extended in a stair manner, to form an reinforcing wall of the container body 10 so as to enhance the strength of the container body 10. Accordingly, a reinforcing rib 122 is formed between two discrete wall portions 121 to provide a reinforcing effect for the surrounding wall 12. In addition, the discrete wall portions 121 of the surrounding wall 12 not only forms a volume indicator but also substantially increases a volume of the storage cavity in height from bottom to top.

It is appreciated that the interlocking arrangement 30 is integrally provided with the container body 10 and the container cover 20, such that the interlocking arrangement 30 are formed at the time when the container body 10 and the container cover 20 are manufactured by the single mold to substantially reduce the manufacturing cost of the stackable container built-in with the interlocking arrangement 30.

One skilled in the art will understand that the embodiment of the present invention as shown in the drawings and described above is exemplary only and not intended to be limiting.

It will thus be seen that the objects of the present invention have been fully and effectively accomplished. The embodiments have been shown and described for the purposes of illustrating the functional and structural principles of the present invention and is subject to change without departure from such principles. Therefore, this invention includes all modifications encompassed within the spirit and scope of the following claims.