Title:
Container Closure Comprising a Cable Tie
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A tamper evident lid assembly (10) for a mouth of a container (12) comprises a lid (15) to close the mouth of the container, and a strip (14) preventing removal of the lid. Removal or disconnection of the strip (14) enables the lid (15) to be removed. The strip (14) defines at one end a block (20) with an aperture (24), and also defines serrated teeth (22) along at least part of its length, such that after removing the strip from the lid assembly it may be used as a cable tie.



Inventors:
Martin, Peter John (Herefordshire, GB)
Application Number:
12/445577
Publication Date:
04/08/2010
Filing Date:
10/17/2007
Assignee:
JUNKK.COM LIMITED (Herefordshire, GB)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65D50/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20010015340Drinking vessel for infantsAugust, 2001Kolbel
20060060554Blow molded plastic aerosol containerMarch, 2006Garman
20070158958Color coding lockJuly, 2007Lahusen
20070039914Child resistant containerFebruary, 2007Buono
20080110929Fluid dispensing cap & bottle assemblyMay, 2008Stanley Traasdahl et al.
20100016824VIAL FOR RECEIVING A PREDEFINED DOSE OF A LIQUIDJanuary, 2010Palusci
20060016819Bottle assembly with removable container assemblyJanuary, 2006Paslawski et al.
20080290061Capsule ClosureNovember, 2008Seelhofer
20040211781Cosmetics container with locking functionOctober, 2004Lin
20060049128Ventilated baby bottleMarch, 2006Lan
20010027958Container, cover, and insert for a consumer productOctober, 2001Short et al.



Primary Examiner:
VOLZ, ELIZABETH J
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Peter John Martin (Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire, GB)
Claims:
What is claimed:

1. A tamper evident lid assembly for a mouth of a container, the assembly comprising a lid to close the mouth of the container, and a strip preventing removal of the lid, such that removal or disconnection of the strip enables the lid to be removed, wherein the strip defines at one end a block with an aperture, and also defines serrated teeth along at least part of its length, such that after removing the strip from the lid assembly it may be used as a cable tie.

2. A lid assembly as claimed in claim I, wherein the strip extends around at least part of the periphery of the mouth, the strip being initially integral with the lid and linked to the lid by one or more breakable elements, and the strip preventing removal of the lid while they remain integral.

3. A lid assembly as claimed in claim 1 wherein the block is thicker than the remainder of the strip.

4. A lid assembly as claimed in claim 1 wherein the length of the strip to be removed, and the length of the strip usable as a cable tie, are substantially the same as the periphery of the mouth of the container.

5. A lid assembly as claimed in claim 1 wherein the strip to be removed from the container consists of two or more sections, each strip section defining at one end a block with an aperture, and also defining serrated teeth along at least part of its length, such that after removing each strip section from the container it may be used as a cable tie.

6. A lid assembly as claimed in claims 1 wherein the length of each strip usable as a cable tie is at least 5 cm.

7. A lid assembly as claimed in claim 6 wherein the length is between 5 and 20 cm.

8. A lid assembly as claimed in claim 6 wherein the width of the strip is at least 1.5 mm.

9. A lid assembly as claimed in claim 8 wherein the width is in the range between 1.5 and 4 mm.

10. A lid assembly as claimed in claim 8 wherein the thickness of the strip, including the height of the serrated teeth, is at least 1 mm.

11. A lid assembly as claimed in claim 10 wherein the thickness is in the range between 1 and 3 mm.

12. A lid assembly as claimed in claim 1 wherein the block protrudes from the lid assembly.

13. A lid assembly as claimed in claim 1 wherein the block is at least partly recessed, whereas the other end of the strip protrudes from the lid assembly.

14. A lid assembly as claimed in claim l wherein the block provides a surface on which information is presented.

15. A lid assembly as claimed in claim 1 also comprising an electronic device embedded within the block.

16. A lid assembly as claimed in claim 1 wherein the strip, before it is removed from the assembly, forms a continuous ring.

17. A lid assembly as claimed in claim 16 wherein the continuous ring defines a thin portion adjacent to the block.

Description:

The present invention relates to a closure for a container, in particular a closure of the type referred to as a security device or as a tamper evident closure.

There are a range of different tamper evident lid assemblies commercially available, many of which necessitate removal of a strip from the assembly to enable the lid to be opened. A widely-used tamper evident lid assembly includes a ring around the container connected by a tear-off strip to a cap; the ring cannot be removed from the container by pulling in the direction of the cap. The tear-off strip is made of the same material as the ring and the cap, and these components are initially integral, linked by thin strands or webs of material. In order to open the cap, the strip is detached (by pulling one end) to break the linking strands or webs, so the cap can then be opened. Another type of tamper evident lid assembly suitable for a screw-neck bottle or pot combines a ring and a screw-threaded cap; the ring cannot be removed from the container by pulling in the direction of the cap, and the cap is initially integral with the ring and linked to it by thin strands or webs of material. In this case if sufficient unscrewing torque is applied to the cap, then the links between the cap and the ring are broken, and the cap can then be opened. With both types, once the container has been opened, the ring and the tear-off strip (if provided) are usually of no further use.

According to the present invention there is provided provided a tamper evident lid assembly for a mouth of a container, the assembly comprising a lid to close the mouth of the container, and a strip preventing removal of the lid, such that removal or disconnection of the strip enables the lid to be removed, wherein the strip defines at one end a block with an aperture, and also defines serrated teeth along at least part of its length, such that after removing the strip from the lid assembly it may be used as a cable tie.

The invention also provides a tamper evident lid assembly for a mouth of a container, the assembly comprising a lid to close the mouth of the container, and a strip around at least part of the periphery of the mouth, the strip being initially integral with the lid and linked to the lid by one or more breakable elements, and the strip preventing removal of the lid while they remain integral, wherein the strip defines at one end a block with an aperture, and also defines serrated teeth along at least part of its length, such that after removing the strip from the lid assembly it may be used as a cable tie.

Cable ties are well-known, consisting of a strip of flexible material with at one end a block defining an aperture, the strip having serrated teeth along part of its length, such that the other end of the strip can be inserted through the aperture, the serrated teeth then engaging with a feature within the aperture. The engagement of the teeth with the feature within the aperture is such that the strip cannot readily be pulled out again. The cable tie can hence be pulled to define a loop of a desired size, and will then remain at that size. Cable ties come in a range of different lengths, and may be used for a wide range of different purposes. A cable tie may for example be used to secure cables together, or to secure cables to a support, as the name would suggest, but can also be used for a wide range of unrelated purposes for example to secure a stem of a plant to a stake, or a tree to a post, or a tree branch to a rail or wire; or to tie up the neck of a plastic bag; or indeed any other application in which elements are to be tied together by a strip. The engagement feature within the aperture may engage the serrated teeth in a substantially permanent fashion, so the tie can be released only by cutting the strip; or the block may be provided with means to disengage the engagement feature from the teeth so that the strip may be withdrawn.

Thus the invention enables the strip, initially part of a security device of a container, to serve a subsequent use as a cable tie. The crux of the invention is to provide the hole or aperture in the strip of the closure (the tamper evident lid assembly), and to provide this with the non-return features of the block of a cable tie. The provision of projecting teeth around the inner circumference of the strip is compatible with operation of the closure, and if these teeth are appropriately shaped they enable the use of the strip as a cable tie. Within the block the surface of the plastic within the aperture is angled so as to provide an engagement feature permitting the strip to be pulled through, but not allowing it to be pulled back. The thickness of the block defines the length over which the engagement feature can engage the serrated teeth to secure the strip as a cable tie. The block may be thicker than the rest of the strip, but may instead be of the same thickness as the rest of the strip.

It will be appreciated that the length of the strip is substantially the same as the periphery of the mouth of the container. Typically the length would therefore be at least 5 cm, for example between 5 and 20 cm. For larger containers the strip may consist of two or more sections end to end around the periphery, each strip section defining at one end a block with an aperture, and also defining serrated teeth along at least part of its length, such that after removing the strip section from the container it may be used as a cable tie. The width of the strip is typically at least 1.5 mm, for example in the range between 1.5 and 4 mm, more typically between 2 and 3 mm (i.e. the width measured in a direction away from the lid); and the thickness of the strip is typically at least 1 mm, for example in the range between 1 and 3 mm, including the height of the serrated teeth. The aperture through the block clearly must be sufficiently large to accommodate the strip.

The block may project from the side of the lid, and may provide a convenient part to pull when the strip is to be removed. The block may therefore be a tab. It will be appreciated that the block may provide a surface on which information is presented, for example a barcode or a QR code, a logo or a trade mark, or information about the product within the container. Such information may be printed directly onto the material of the block, or onto a label attached to the block, or may even be recorded in an electronic device embedded within the block such as an RFID.

The invention is applicable to both types of tamper evident lid assembly described above. In the three-part lid assembly a ring is connected by a tear-off strip to a cap, and in order to open the cap, the strip must be detached by pulling one end to break the strands or webs that link the ring, strip and cap together. In this case the tear-off strip may be the strip of the invention. In the two-part lid assembly a ring is connected to a screw-threaded cap; and the cap is initially integral with the ring and linked to it by thin strands or webs of material. If sufficient unscrewing torque is applied to the cap, then the links between the cap and the ring are broken, and the cap can then be opened. In this case the ring may be provided with a block at one point around its periphery, so that the user must cut or break the ring adjacent to the block to obtain the strip of the invention. This may be simplified by providing a thin portion of the ring adjacent to the block, so that the ring can be broken at that point to obtain the strip of the invention. The ring of the three-part lid assembly may also have these features so that it can become a strip of the invention.

The invention will now be further and more particularly described by way of example only, and with reference to the accompanying drawings in which:

FIG. 1 shows a perspective view of a tamper evident lid assembly of the invention;

FIG. 2 shows a perspective view of an alternative tamper evident lid assembly of the invention;

FIG. 3 shows a perspective view of a modification to the tamper evident lid assembly of FIG. 2;

FIG. 4 shows a strip removed from the assembly of FIG. 1, in side view when straight, and with an integral block at one end;

FIG. 5 shows a perspective view of the strip of FIG. 4, twisted to start forming a loop by inserting an end of the strip into the block;

FIG. 6 shows a sectional view on the line 6-6 of FIG. 5 during insertion of the strip into the block;

FIG. 7 shows a perspective view of a tear-off strip removed from the assembly of FIG. 2; and

FIG. 8 shows a perspective view of a tear-off strip removed from the assembly of FIG. 3.

Referring to FIG. 1 there is shown a tamper evident lid assembly 10 connected to a bottle 12 (shown only in part). The assembly 10 is a two-part assembly, consisting of a ring 14 and a screw-top cap 15 which are of the same plastic material and integral each other, being linked by several narrow strands 16 of the same material. The ring 14 locates between two circumferential ridges 17 on the neck of the bottle 12 (only one of which is shown) just above and just below the ring 14, so the ring 14 cannot be detached from the bottle 12. The connection between the cap 15 and the ring 14 consequently prevents the cap 15 from being removed. When it is desired to remove the cap 15, it is unscrewed with sufficient torque to break the strands 16, and the cap 15 can then be removed. These features are conventional.

In the assembly 10 the ring 14 defines a block 20 at one point around its circumference, and there is a thin portion 21 immediately adjacent to one side of the block 20. After removing the cap 15, the block 20 can be levered away from the neck of the bottle 12, for example using a screwdriver, and breaking the ring 14 at the thin portion 21, so as to form a strip 14a with the block 20 at one end. Referring now to FIGS. 4, 5 and 6, the ring 14 and hence the strip 14a defines serrated teeth 22 around its inner circumference, and the block 20 defines a rectangular slot 24 through which the end of the strip 14a can be inserted after twisting through 90°. Within the block 20 are correspondingly angled teeth 26 (see FIG. 6), the shapes of the teeth 22 and the teeth 26 being such that the strip 14a can be pushed through the slot 24, but cannot be pulled back. Hence the strip 14a can be used as a cable tie to secure items together.

In a modification, the block is no thicker than the rest of the strip; in this case there might be just one tooth in the block to engage with the teeth on the strip.

Referring now to FIG. 2 there is shown an alternative tamper evident lid assembly 30 connected to a bottle or container 32 (shown only in part). The lid assembly 30 is a three-part assembly, consisting of a ring 34, a tear-off strip 35 and a cap 36. The ring 34 locates between a ridge (not shown) on the neck of the container 32 and the shoulder 33 of the container, so it cannot be removed from the container 32. The cap 36 is connected by a narrow hinge strip 37 directly to the ring 34 over a short length of its periphery, and over the remainder of its periphery the cap 36 is linked to the ring 34 by the tear-off strip 35, linked by narrow strands 38; the ring 34, tear-off strip 35, cap 36, hinge strip 37 and strands 38 are all integral with each other and of the same plastic material. When the container 32 is to be opened, the tear-off strip 35 is pulled off. The cap 36 can then be opened, while remaining linked to the container 32 by the hinge strip 37 so it cannot become mislaid. In this example the cap 36 clips onto the top of the neck of the container 32, so the container 32 can be closed again. These features are known.

In the assembly 30 the tear-off strip 35 defines a projecting tab or block 40 at one end, which is wider than the remainder of the strip 35. This block 40 provides a convenient handle when the tear-off strip 35 is to be pulled off. The block 40 also defines a rectangular slot 42. As shown in FIG. 7, to which reference is now made, the tear-off strip 35 defines serrated teeth 44 around its inner circumference, and the block 40 defines a rectangular slot 42 through which the end of the tear-off strip 35 can be inserted. As with the block 20, within the block 40 are correspondingly angled teeth (not shown), the shapes of the teeth 44 and the teeth within the block 40 being such that the tear-off strip 35 can be pushed through the slot 42, but cannot be pulled back. Hence the tear-off strip 35 can be used as a cable tie to secure items together.

Referring now to FIG. 3 there is shown an alternative tamper evident lid assembly 50 with several features in common with the assembly 30 of FIG. 2, in that the lid assembly 50 is also a three-part assembly consisting of a ring 54, a tear-off strip 55 and a cap 56, the ring 54 not being removable from the container 32. In this case the cap 56 is linked to the ring 54 along its entire periphery by the tear-off strip 55, linked by narrow strands 58, so that the ring 54, tear-off strip 55, cap 56, and strands 58 are all integral with each other and of the same plastic material. Again there is a block 60 at one end of the tear-off strip 55, but in this case the block 60 protrudes only by the amount by which it is thicker than the tear-off strip 55, the top and bottom portions of the block 60 locating in corresponding recesses in the ring 54 and the cap 56; at the other end of the tear-off strip 55 an end section 61 steps out at 63 to protrude and to overlap the block 60 (while not being connected to it).

When the lid assembly 50 is to be opened, the tear-off strip 55 is pulled by the protruding section 61 and is removed completely. The cap 56 can then be opened. The tear-off strip 55, after it has been removed in this fashion, is similar to the tear-off strip 35. As shown in FIG. 8, to which reference is now made, the strip 55 defines serrated teeth 64 along most of its inner surface, but not along the section 61, and the block 60 defines a rectangular slot 62 through which the free end 61 can be inserted, and there are correspondingly angled teeth within the block 60 whose shapes are such that the tear-off strip 55 can be pushed through the slot 62, but cannot be pulled back. In this example the step 63 does not prevent the strip 55 passing through the slot 62. Hence the tear-off strip 55 can be used as a cable tie to secure items together.

It will be appreciated that the lid assemblies 10, 30 and 50 are given by way of example only, and that they can be modified in various ways while remaining within the scope of the present invention. For example the strip 14a and the tear-off strips 35 and 55 are shown as having teeth along substantially their whole length, but instead there might be teeth along only a fraction of the length. The teeth 22, 44 and 64 are shown as extending across the width of the strip, but might instead be restricted to only part of the width; and the teeth 22, 44 and 64 might be smaller than shown, as long as they are sufficiently large to engage the correspondingly angled elements within the blocks 20, 40 or 60. The lid assemblies 10, 30 and 50 are for containers with circular mouths, but can readily be modified for containers with mouths of different shapes, for example rectangles.

For example the strip 55 of FIG. 8 might be modified to provide teeth 64 only on the end section 61 and not on the remainder of the strip; this would be necessary if the step 63 itself could not pass through the slot 62, but this provides a cable tie with a rather restricted range of size adjustment.

Since the end of the strip has to fit through the aperture in the block, the block may be the same width as the strip (as in FIG. 1), in which case the aperture must be at an orientation such that the end of the strip must be twisted to fit through the aperture (as shown in FIG. 5). It will be appreciated that the lid assemblies 30 and 50 might be modified to have the block of the same width as the strip. The other arrangement is with the block being wider than the strip (as in FIGS. 2 and 3), in which case the aperture can be at an orientation such that the end of the strip can fit through the aperture without being twisted (as shown in FIGS. 7 and 8). It will be appreciated that the lid assembly 10 might be modified to have the block wider than the strip, as long as the block is not fixed to the cap 15.

In the examples described above the resulting cable tie, when assembled, has the free end of the tie projecting outside the loop formed by the cable tie; alternatively the engagement features within the block might face the opposite direction, so that the free end of the tie would project inside the resulting loop.

And as with some designs of cable tie, the block in each case may include means to disengage the engagement feature from the teeth on the strip, so that the strip may be withdrawn and so the cable tie can be disconnected and re-used.