Title:
PROTECTIVE PACKAGING SYSTEM AND METHOD
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
In one embodiment, a system to protect an article includes a cover to cover the article inside the container. The cover includes a first portion, a second portion, and a separation path. The first portion includes a first loop graspable to remove the article from the container. The second portion is to support the article during removal from the container and is usable to cover the article outside the container when separated from the first portion. The separation path is situated between the first and second portions to guide separating of the first and second portions.



Inventors:
Grubstein, Katherine (San Diego, CA, US)
Application Number:
14/005910
Publication Date:
02/06/2014
Filing Date:
03/23/2011
Assignee:
GRUBSTEIN KATHERINE
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
53/203, 53/461
International Classes:
B65D81/113
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20170160052FIRE-RESISTANT GUN SOCKJune, 2017Brown
20060124477Odour absorbing clothes coverJune, 2006Cornelius et al.
20170081078Nesting BowlMarch, 2017Maple
20120261279RV paper towel dispenser & condiment toteOctober, 2012Olthaus
20100263218KNIFE WITH BLADE SPINE SUPPORT AND MAGNETIC KNIFE MOUNTING BLOCK THEREFOROctober, 2010Bookhamer
20060042985Display packagingMarch, 2006Bucovetsky
20030019784Apparatus and methods for improving uniform cover tape adhesion on a carrier tapeJanuary, 2003Pylant
20030111369Lockable billiard cue stick case with interchangeable insertsJune, 2003Walter Jr.
20040118708Container for drink provided with a chamber containing a flexible dispensing lineJune, 2004Magermans et al.
20020040860Apparatus and method for unattended deliveryApril, 2002Isaacs et al.
20020184051Pharmaceutical packaging on demandDecember, 2002Yu et al.



Primary Examiner:
WAY, JAMES R
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
HP Inc. (Fort Collins, CO, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A packaging system to protect an article inside and outside of a container, comprising. a cover to cover the article inside the container, the cover comprising a first portion, including a first loop graspable to remove the article from the container; a second portion to support the article during removal from the container and usable to cover the article outside the container when separated from the first portion; and a separation path situated between the first and second portions to guide separating of the first and second portions.

2. The system of claim 1, wherein the first portion additionally comprises a second loop.

3. The system of claim 2, wherein the first and second loops are graspable simultaneously with one hand to remove the covered article from the container.

4. The system of claim 1, wherein the second portion generally conforms to a shape of the article.

5. The system of claim 1, wherein the second portion is usable as form-fitting cover for the article.

6. The system of claim 1, wherein the separation path comprises a printed line to be followed by a cutting device.

7. The system of claim 1 wherein the separation path comprises a perforated separation path.

8. The system of claim 7, wherein the perforated separation path comprises a die-cut perforation.

9. The system of claim 7, further comprising a pull tab to cause the first and second portions to be separated at the perforated separation path when the tab is pulled.

10. The system of claim 1, wherein seam stitching crossing the separation path is reinforced at each side of the separation path to prevent the stitching from loosening when the first and second portions are separated.

11. The system of claim 10, wherein the reinforcement is via backstitching of at least a portion of the seam stitching on each side of the separation path.

12. The system of claim 10, wherein the reinforcement is via knotting of at least a portion of the seam stitching on each side of the separation path.

13. The system of claim 1, wherein the cover further comprises an opening from which the article may be removed from the cover.

14. The system of claim 1, wherein the cover comprises a cover made of a fabric.

15. The system of claim 1, wherein the loop comprises a webbing.

16. A protective packaging system for an article, comprising: a container; a fabric cover to cover an article inside the container, the cover comprising an opening from which the article may be removed from the cover; a first portion, including a first loop and a second loop graspable simultaneously to remove the article from the container; a second portion generally conforming to a shape of the article to support the article during removal from the container, and usable as a form fitting cover for the article outside the container when separated from the first portion; a perforated separation path situated between the first and second portions to guide separating of the first and second portions; a pull tab to cause the first and second portions to be separated at the perforated separation path when the tab is pulled; and seam stitching crossing the perforated separation path, at least a portion of which is reinforced on each side of the separation path to prevent the stitching from loosening when the first and second portions are separated.

17. A method of packaging to protect an article and allow easy removal of the article from, a container, the method comprising: covering the article inside the container with a cover that has a first portion including a first loop graspable to remove the article from the container, a second portion to support the article during removal from the container and usable to cover the article outside the container when separated from the first portion; and a separation path situated between the first and second portions to guide separating of the first and second portions.

18. The method of claim 17, wherein the separation path comprises a printed line o be followed by a cutting device.

19. The method of claim 17, wherein the separation path comprises a perforated separation path.

20. The method of claim 17, further comprising backstitching of at least a portion of seam stitching on each side of the separation path to prevent the stitching from loosening when the first and second portions are separated.

Description:

BACKGROUND

Computers, printers, and other electronic devices are carefully packed in retail containers to protect the devices during storage and distribution. Cushions and other disposable packaging elements are often included in the container to ensure a tight fit.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The accompanying drawings illustrate various embodiments and are a part of the specification. The illustrated embodiments are merely examples and do not limit the scope of the claims. Throughout the drawings, identical reference numbers designate similar, but not necessarily identical elements.

FIG. 1 is an exploded perspective view illustrating a system to protect an article inside and outside of a container, according to one embodiment of the disclosure.

FIGS. 2A and 2B are perspective views of the protective packaging system of FIG. 1.

FIGS. 3A and 36 are detailed perspective views of the cover included within the protective packaging system of FIG. 1, after removal of the cover and article from the container.

FIGS. 4A and 4B are detailed perspective views of a cover with first and second loops and a perforated separation path, according to an embodiment of the disclosure.

FIGS. 5A and 5B illustrate reinforcement to prevent loosening of stitching when the cover's first and second portions are separated at the separation path, according to an embodiment of the disclosure.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF EMBODIMENTS

A snug fit is frequently an important factor to prevent damage to an article during storage and shipping. However, difficulty in removing an article from its packaging materials, especially if such difficulty results in damage to the article. can result in an unsatisfactory customer experience. The customer experience can also be negatively impacted if the customer perceives the packaging materials as being excessive or wasteful. Various embodiments of the present disclosure were developed in an effort to provide a protective packaging that includes a reusable cover configured for covering an article inside and outside of a container. The disclosed system and method provides for easy removal of a large and/or heavy article with a clutter-free out-of-the-box experience, thereby minimizing end user frustration. The cover has a secondary use as a protective cover for the article after the unpackaging. The resulting ease in unpackaging and the reduction in packaging waste lead to a positive customer experience and brand loyalty.

FIG. 1 is an exploded perspective view illustrating a packaging system to protect an article inside and outside of a container, according to one embodiment of the disclosure. In this example, a printer or other electronic article 2 is packaged within a retail container 4, the container 4 to enclose and protect the article 2 during handling and shipping of the article 2. As used in this specification and the appended claims, a “container” means an object used to hold an article, including but not limited to a box to hold an article being stored or transported. As used in this specification and the appended claims, an “article” can be any object or item. In this example two molded cushions 6 are utilized to ensure a tight fit for the article 2 within the container 4.

The disclosed packaging system includes a durable cover 8 configured to cover and protect the article 2 inside and outside the container 4. As used in this specification and the appended claims, to cover an article means to put something over at least a portion of the article. The cover 8 is configured to serve as a protective layer to help protect the article 2 from damage from impact and/or damage from liquids and non-liquid contaminants while the article 2 is in the container 4. In this example, the cover 8 includes five sides, and an opening 10 through which the article 2 may be removed from under the cover 8. In this example, portions of four of the sides adjacent to the opening 10 are folded down over a first side of the article 2 visible through the opening 10, to provide at least partial protection for the first side of the article 2. In an embodiment, a Velcro® tab, a snap, or another form of fastener may be utilized to removably secure the folded portions 20 of the cover 8 in a position to at least partially cover the first side of the article 2.

The cover 8 includes a first portion 12, a second portion 14, and a separation path 16. In an embodiment, the cover 8 includes a fabric. In an embodiment, the cover 8 includes a polyester, cotton, bamboo, or other woven material. In an embodiment, the cover 8 includes a polypropylene or other nonwoven material. In some embodiments, the first portion 12 and the second portion 14 include the same materials. In other embodiments, the first portion 12 and the second portion 14 include different materials. For example, the first portion 12 of the cover 8 may include a polypropylene or other nonwoven material, with the second portion 14 comprising a polyester or other woven material that in some applications may be deemed more appropriate for the second portion's use as a cover for the article 2 after the unpackaging procedure.

The first portion 12 of the cover 8 includes a loop 18 that is graspable or clutchable by a user to remove the article 2 from the container 4. In embodiments, the loop 18 may be affixed to the cover 8 by sewing, glue, and/or a fastener such as a staple, snap, grommet, or the like. In an embodiment, the loop 18 is not a distinct element from the rest of the cover 8, but rather is formed as part of the cover 8 during the cutting, weaving, or other process that is used to manufacture the cover 8. In embodiments, the loop 18 is at least approximately in a circular, elliptical, oval, or rectangular shape. In embodiments, the loop 18 may be in the form of a webbing, rope, or line. In other embodiments, the loop 18 includes a band, strap, or tubing. In an embodiment, the loop 18 includes a fabric. In an embodiment the loop 18 includes a same fabric that is used in the manufacturing of the remainder of the cover 8. In embodiments, the loop 18 includes a polyester, or other woven material. In embodiments, the loop 18 includes a polypropylene or other nonwoven material.

The second portion 14 of the cover 8 is operable to support the article 2 during removal from the container 4, and is additionally usable to cover the article 2 outside the container 4 when separated from the first portion 12. As used in this specification and the appended claims, to “support the article” includes full support and partial support. For example, if a user is using the loop 18 of the first portion 12 of the cover 8 to lift a heavy article 2 out of the container 4 when the container is oriented with its opening at the top of the container relative to the horizon, it can be said that the second portion 14 of the container is fully supporting the article 2 during the lifting. In another example, if a user is using the loop 18 of the first portion 12 of the cover 8 to lift a heavy article 2 out of the container 4 when the container is oriented with its opening at a side of the container relative to the horizon (as depicted in FIG. 1), it can be said that the second portion 14 of the container 4 is partially supporting the article 2 as a user pulls the article 2 out of the container in a horizontal direction utilizing the cover 8 and its loop 18. In this second example, the first portion 12 may bear some of the weight of the article 2 as the article is removed from the container 4. In both examples, the second portion 14 of the cover supports the article 2.

A separation path 16 is situated between the first and second portions to guide separating, e.g., by cutting or tearing of the cover 8, of the first portion 12 and second portion 14. As used in this specification and the appended claims a “separation path” means a track, route, course, or route along which cutting or tearing may be performed upon the cover to separate the first and second portions. As is discussed in detail with respect to FIGS. 2A and 2B, the separation path 16 may be in the form of a printed line to guide separating of the first portion 12 and the second portion 14 via a cutting with a cutting device, e.g., scissors. As is discussed in detail with respect to FIGS. 3A and 3B, the separation path 16 may be in the form of a perforated separation path, so as to enable cutting or controlled tearing of the cover 8 at the separation path 16 to separate the first portion 12 and the second portion 14 without a separate cutting device.

FIGS. 2A and 2B are perspective views of the packaging system of FIG. 1. FIG. 2A illustrates the container 4 with container flaps partially opened for removal of the covered article 2. The article 2, the loop 18, and folded portions 20 of the first portion 12 (FIG. 1) of the cover are partially visible through the opening 10. The folded portions 20 of the first portion 12 are folded down over a side of the article 2 adjacent to the cover opening 10 (FIG. 1) so as to partially cover and thereby protect that side of the article 2 during storage and shipping. FIG. 2B illustrates that in this embodiment, the loop 18 is graspable to remove the covered article 2 from the container 4. In other embodiments, more than one loop may be utilized. For example, in an embodiment two loops are used, with the two loops arranged so as to be graspable or clutchable by one hand to remove the covered article 2 from the container 4.

FIG. 3A shows a covered article immediately after removal of the article from the container 4 (FIG. 1), according to an embodiment of the disclosure. The cover 8 is constructed so as to generally conform to the shape of the article 2 being covered. In an embodiment, the opening 10 in the cover 8 has generally the same dimensions as the broadest portion of the article 2. In embodiments, the cover includes a fabric covering. In a particular embodiment, the cover 8 includes a nonwoven polypropylene material at approximately 80 grams per square meter (“gsm”) density. In another embodiment, the durable cover 8 includes a woven 210D polyester material having a thickness of approximately 0.07 mm and a density of approximately 54 gsm. In other embodiments, the cover 8 may be constructed of other fabrics or other durable materials, and in other thicknesses and densities.

The cover illustrated in FIG. 3A includes a printed separation path 22 situated between first portion 12 and second portion 14 of the cover 8. The printed separation path 22 can serve as a guide for separating the first portion 12 and the second portion 14, e.g., via a cutting or tearing of the cover 8. In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 3A, the separation path is a printed line to be followed by a cutting device. For example, an end user that removes the article 2 from the container 4 using the loop 18 may utilize scissors or shears to cut the cover 8 at the separation path 22 and thereby separate the cover's first portion 12 from the cover's second portion 14. In another example, separation might be automatically performed, e.g., by a cutting device that utilizes an optical sensor to track the printed separation path 22. In embodiments, the printed separation path 22 may be printed onto the cover 8 via screen printing, digital textile printing, stencil printing, or another textile printing process. In another embodiment, the printed separation path 22 may be printed on a separate piece of material, and the separate piece of material temporarily or permanently affixed to the cover 8. Examples of a printed separation path 22 on a separate piece of material that is affixed to the cover include a stick-on or iron-on printed separation path, and a fabric separation path appearing on a separate piece of material that is affixed to the cover 8 via a glue or other adhesive.

FIG. 3B shows the cover 8 after separation of the first portion 12 from the second portion 14 via a cutting at the separation path 22, and illustrates the second portion 14 being utilized as a cover, e.g., a removable dustcover, for the article 2 after removal of the article 2 from the container 4 (FIG. 1). After the first portion 12, which includes the loop 18, is separated from the second portion 14, the second portion 14 is operable to serve as a sturdy, form-fitting dustcover for the article 2. For example, in an example where the article 2 is a printing device, the form fitting cover 8 can prevent contamination from dirt, dust, and/or insects that could impede printing.

FIGS. 4A and 4B are detailed perspective views of a cover with first and second loops and perforated separation path, according to an embodiment of the disclosure. The cover of FIGS. 4A and 4B is substantially the same as the cover of FIGS. 3A and 3B, with the exceptions noted below.

In the embodiment displayed in FIGS. 4A and 4B, the first portion 13 of the cover 8 includes two loops 18, rather than a single loop as illustrated in FIGS. 1, 2A, 2B, 3A and 3B. In the illustrated embodiment, the two loops 18 are graspable or clutchable with one hand to remove an article 2 from a container 4 (FIG. 1). Further, in the embodiment displayed in FIGS. 4A and 4B, the first portion 12 of the cover 8 includes a perforated separation path 24, rather than a printed separation path as illustrated in FIGS. 3A and 3B. In one embodiment the perforated separation path 24 may be a die-cut perforation. In another embodiment, the perforated separation path 24 may be the result of a cutting, scoring, or puncturing of the cover 8 during manufacturing of the cover 8. In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 4A, there are two perforated separation paths, each lying on an opposite side of a separator strip 26 that is connected to a pull tab 28. In this embodiment, a user can pull the pull tab 28 to tear away the separator strip 26 via the perforated separation paths 24, such that after the pulling of the pull tab 28 and the tearing away of the separator strip 26 the first portion 12 (including the loops 18) is separated from the second portion 14. FIG. 4B illustrates the torn away separator strip 26, the separated first portion 12 (including the loops 18), and the second portion 14 of the cover 8. The second portion 14 is usable as a durable cover 8 for the article to protect the article 2 from dirt, insects, liquids etc. after unpackaging of the article 2 and during subsequent storage.

FIGS. 5A and 5B illustrate reinforcement to prevent loosening of stitching when the cover's first and second portions are separated at the separation path, e.g., by cutting or tearing, according to an embodiment of the disclosure. Referring back to FIGS. 4A and 4B, the cover 8 illustrated in the illustrated embodiment may be manufactured by sewing together two fabric panels with seam stitching 30. In some applications, the seam stitching 30 may be prone to unravel when the cover 8 is cut or torn at the separation path 16 to separate the first portion 12 from the second portion 14.

Returning to FIGS. 5A and 5B, in embodiments seam stitching 30 that crosses the separation path 16 (e.g., a printed separation path 22 (FIG. 3A) or a perforated separation path 24 (FIG. 4A)) is reinforced on each side of the separation path 16 to prevent the stitching 30 from loosening when the when the first portion 12 and second portion 14 are separated at the separation path, e.g., by cutting or tearing of the cover 8. In the example illustrated in FIGS. 5A and 5B, seam stitching 30 crossing the separation path 16 is reinforced at each side of the separation path 16 to prevent the stitching 30 from loosening when the first portion 12 and second portion 14 are separated at the separation path 16. In the illustrated example, the reinforcement is accomplished via backstitching 32 of a portion of the seam stitching 30 on each side of the separation path 16. For purposes of this specification and the appended claims, “backstitching” means creating a stitch or stitches that overlap at least a portion of other stitching such that the other stitching is reinforced. In this application, “backstitch” and “overlapping stitch” are used synonymously and are not dependent upon a sewing direction. In an embodiment, the overlapping stitching starts from approximately the middle of a previously sewn portion of the seam stitching 30. In an example, during one form of backstitching an operator of a sewing machine that is sewing two pieces of fabric together to create a cover 8 sews the seam stitching 30 in a forward direction, and then before encountering the separation path 16 sews backward for approximately one second or 1 cm to create backstitching 32, and then reverses direction and continues sewing in a forward direction past the separation path to create more seam stitching 30, and then reverses direction again to make second backstitching 32 on the opposite side of the separation path 16. In this manner, when the seam stitching 30 is cut or torn across the separation path and unravels, the backstitching 32 holds the adjacent threads in place and prevents loosening of the rest of the seam stitching 30. In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 5B, the reinforcement additionally includes knotting 34 of at least a portion of the seam stitching on each side of the separation path.

The preceding description has been presented only to illustrate and describe embodiments and examples of the principles described. This description is not intended to be exhaustive or to limit these principles to any precise form disclosed. Many modifications and variations are possible in light of the above teaching.