Title:
PREFORMED METAL FOIL PACKAGING CONTAINING A PLURALITY OF CAVITIES
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A product packaging (100, 1, 1′) made of a foil material (11, 11′). The product packaging (100, 1, 1′) has at least first and second cavities for holding at least first and second products (101, 102, 2, 2′, 4, 41, 42). At least the first product is a food product (101, 2, 2′) which is contained within the first cavity. The product packaging has at least two metal foils (11, 110, 120) that are connected together, and at least one of the metal foils (11, 110, 120) is configured, in a preformed manner, and the first and the second cavities are formed therein. The shape of at least one of the first and the second cavities is adapted to the outer contour of a food product located therein.



Inventors:
Bantleon, Konrad (Gerstetten, DE)
Application Number:
14/190644
Publication Date:
08/27/2015
Filing Date:
02/26/2014
Assignee:
CHOCAL ALUMINIUMVERPACKUNGEN GMBH (Schwabisch Gmund, DE)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65D85/72
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
KIM, BRYAN
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Finch & Maloney PLLC (Manchester, NH, US)
Claims:
1. 1-22. (canceled)

23. A product packaging (100, 1, 1′) made of a foil material (11, 11′), the product packaging (100, 1, 1′) having at least first and second cavities for holding at least first and second products (101, 102, 2, 2′, 4, 41, 42), and at least the first product being a food product (101, 2, 2′) contained within the first cavity, the product packaging having at least two metal foils (11, 110, 120) that are connected together, and at least one of the metal foils (11, 110, 120) being configured in a preformed manner and the first and the second cavities being formed therein, wherein a shape of at least one of the first and the second cavities is adapted to the outer contour of a food product located therein.

24. The product packaging (100, 1, 1′) according to claim 23, wherein the metal foils (11, 110, 120) are aluminum foils which are connected together by a flange (13, 13′, 13″).

25. The product packaging (100, 1, 1′) according to claim 24, wherein the metal foils (11, 110, 120) are connected together in the region of the flange (13, 13′, 13″) at least partially by at least one of a sealing, a flanging or a combination of sealing and flanging.

26. The product packaging (100, 1, 1′) according to claim 23, wherein the metal foils (11, 110, 120) are sealed together at least partially in the region between the first and the second cavities.

27. The product packaging (100, 1, 1′) according to claim 23, wherein the metal foils (11, 110, 120) have a thickness in the range from about 10 μm-50 μm.

28. The product packaging (100, 1, 1′) according to claim 23, wherein the metal foils (11, 110, 120) are configured as composite foils having an additional layer which contains at least one of polyethylene and sealing wax.

29. The product packaging (100, 1, 1′) according to claim 23, wherein the packaging has a plane of symmetry which coincides with a joining plane of two metal foils (11, 110, 120).

30. The product packaging (100, 1, 1′) according to claim 23, wherein the first product (101, 2) is one of a filled chocolate product, a solid or hollow chocolate figure, a chocolate bar, a muesli bar or a wafer.

31. The product packaging (100, 1, 1′) according to claim 23, wherein the first product (101, 2) is a hollow chocolate body.

32. The product packaging (100, 1, 1′) according to claim 31, wherein the hollow chocolate body is configured in an egg-shaped manner.

33. The product packaging (100, 1, 1′) according to claim 23, wherein the further cavity contains a toy.

34. The product packaging according to claim 33, wherein the toy is arranged in a capsule.

35. The product packaging (1, 1′) according to claim 23, wherein the second cavity contains a tool (4, 41, 42) for consuming or removing the food product (101, 2, 2′) arranged in the first cavity.

36. The product packaging (1, 1′) according to claim 35, wherein the tool (4, 41, 42) is an item of cutlery.

37. The product packaging (1, 1′) according to claim 23, wherein the second cavity is accessible only via the first cavity for the first product (101, 2, 2′) in the form of a food product.

38. The product packaging (1, 1′) according to claim 23, wherein an interior of the first and the second cavities is designed so as to differ in terms of at least one of feel and color.

39. The product packaging (1, 1′) according to claim 23, wherein a tear-open thread is provided for easier opening of the product packaging.

40. The product packaging (1, 1′) according to claim 39, wherein the tear-open thread is embodied in one piece.

41. The product packaging (1, 1′) according to claim 40, wherein the tear-open thread has at least two parts (31, 32) that are connected together in a cohesive manner.

42. The product packaging (1, 1′) according to claim 41, wherein the cohesive connection is arranged in the sealed region of the flange (13).

43. The product packaging (1, 1′) according to claim 23, wherein one of the first and the second cavities contains a pet food.

44. The product packaging (1, 1′) according to claim 23, wherein the packaging has visually designed in at least printed regions (104).

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The invention relates to a product packaging means made of a foil material, having at least two cavities for holding at least two products, of which at least the first product is in the form of a food product. Such product packaging means contain as the second product for example an item of cutlery which can be used to consume the food product.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Thus, a packaging means having items of cutlery can be gathered for example from the utility model DE 20 2008 008 758 U1. A disadvantage of the solution described is that, on account of the non-planar shape adapted to conventional items of cutlery, said items of cutlery have a corresponding space requirement. Therefore, they cannot generally be added readily to packaging means or containers for edible products such as yoghurt, soured milk and prepackaged meals.

Said document describes an item of cutlery in the form of a spoon which has a space requirement that is as small as possible while being very easy to produce. The cutlery is intended to be able to be integrated into a packaging means for an edible product without the external dimensions of the packaging means having to be changed. The item of cutlery consists of a planar leaf-shaped body with a spoon- or fork-shaped outline, having a folding line by way of which the item of cutlery is shapeable from its planar state.

A container for holding a spoon is also known from the utility model DE 20 2004 011 260 U1, the base of the container having a hollow into which the spoon can be integrated. In this case, a protective foil covers the base of the container in order to protect the hollow from contamination. By way of gripping recesses for two fingers on either side of the hollow, the spoon can be taken out after the base foil has been removed.

A yoghurt pot, pudding cup or the like having an item of cutlery is also already known from the utility model DE 299 07 271 U1, said item of cutlery being accommodated in a closed-off manner in the lid itself and having a sufficient size for consuming the contents of the pot or cup. To this end, the item of cutlery is in the form of a foldable spoon which is approximately twice as long in the extended use state. The spoon is enclosed in an airtight manner in a foil within the container and is inserted between the hooded lid and the underside.

The further document DE 202 07 368 U1 likewise describes a spoon arranged in a container lid. This is an ice cream tub having a tear-off tab which is mounted in a protective edge of the tub via predetermined breaking points and makes the lower rim of the lid accessible to an opening grip only after said tear-off tab has been removed. The spoon is formed in one piece with the material of the lid and is integrated into the latter. By means of predetermined breaking points, said spoon can be detached from the lid.

Furthermore, preformed aluminum foil packaging means for holding for example hollow chocolate figures or bars are known from the prior art.

Preformed meal trays made of aluminum which have two or more hollows for holding different foods and which may if appropriate be closed by way of an aluminum lid are likewise known from the prior art. In these trays, the foods are usually filled into the corresponding hollows in a loose manner without further measures being taken.

However, the above-described approaches from the prior art do not provide a satisfactory solution for easy, secure packaging of in particular dimensionally stable foods together with further products in a common packaging means.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is thus based on the object of specifying a product packaging means in which a plurality of possibly different products or articles can be integrated with little effort in a common packaging means and be removed from the latter.

This object is achieved by the product packaging means having the features specified in claim 1. The dependent claims relate to advantageous embodiments and variants of the invention.

The product packaging means according to the invention made of a foil material has at least two cavities for holding at least two products, of which at least the first product in the first cavity is in the form of a food product. In this case, the packaging means has at least two metal foils, in particular aluminum foils, that are connected together. The cavities are formed in that at least one of the metal foils is configured in a preformed manner. Furthermore, the shape of at least one of the cavities is adapted to the outer contour of a food product located therein. In particular as a result of the adaptation of the shape of the cavity, a food product located therein which is for example dimensionally stable can be stored safely in the packaging means and in particular be protected from damage. In addition, as a result of the features according to the invention, a visually appealing two-cavity pack for holding a wide variety of articles can be realized. When the packaging means rests sufficiently tightly against the packaged product, the dimensional stability of the packaging means can furthermore be maintained. Adaptation to the shape of the packaged product should be understood as meaning that the packaging means rests sufficiently tightly against the latter, this ensuring that the packaging means does not deform during normal handling. In limited, sufficiently small ranges, a certain distance of the metal foil from the product, in particular in the range of up to 10 mm, can be tolerated.

The metal foils may in particular be connected together by means of a flange, wherein the connection can be realized in particular in that the metal foils are connected together in the region of the flange at least partially by means of sealing, flanging or a combination of sealing and flanging, such that improved sealing of the packaging means from the outside is produced.

Sealing should be understood as meaning the cohesive connection of two packaging parts, in particular by the fusing of two sealing layers attached in each case to the packaging parts.

Furthermore, the metal foils may be sealed together at least partially in the region between the first and the second cavity, such that in the packaged state the food product can also be stored such as to be isolated in a virtually gastight manner with respect for example to a consumption tool. Furthermore, as a result of this measure, the products are held better in the packaging means. As long as there is a need to ensure a predetermined order for separating the different component parts of the packaging means, the connecting forces of the sealed connection between the different parts can be differentiated noticeably in this context. Thus, the sealed connection can be configured with different strengths at different sections of the sealing surfaces. As a result, distinguishing features are also perceived by the user when opening the packaging means. In order to open the packaging regions which contain a children's toy, for example the connecting forces can be selected to be large enough that only adults can apply the force required for opening. In this way, the toy capsule can be packaged so as to meet the highest safety standards. Thus, a precise order for releasing the respective contents is maintained when the packaging means is opened.

An advantageous choice of the thickness of the metal foils is in the range from about 15 μm-50 μm. In any case, a sufficient material thickness is selected to prevent the foil from tearing during processing. The material aluminum represents in particular an advantageous choice here because it has good ductility and at the same time high dimensional stability, such that the external form of the packaging material is easily producible for example by cold forming and at the same time the dimensional stability of the sleeve can be ensured over a long period of time such that the packaging material retains its appealing external visual appearance even for a long period of time. Plastics films, as are known from the prior art, do not have these properties, in particular the good cold formability; rather, plastics films tend to undergo shape reversal, i.e. they return to their original shape up to a certain degree after removal from a forming die.

It is in particular conceivable to embody the foil as a purely metal foil, i.e. in an unsealed manner.

As a result of the metal foils being configured as composite foils having an additional layer which contains polyethylene or sealing wax, a sealed pack can be produced in a simple manner. It is also conceivable to use, rather than polyethylene or sealing wax, a hotmelt adhesive as is used for example for the adhesive bonding of cardboard packaging or the like. In particular, in this way the packaging means can be sealed easily using a hot sealing ram.

Advantageously, (high-density or low-density) polyethylene or polypropylene having a thickness of 15 to 45 μm can be used as the material for the sealing layer; other thermoplastics can also be used here. The comparatively thick sealing layer has, inter alia, the advantage that, in contrast to the lacquer films known from the prior art, a cohesive and primarily gastight connection can be realized, since during the connecting operation sufficient flowable thermoplastic material is available at virtually every location on the connecting seam, in order to fill irregularities or folds in the region of the seam and thus to ensure the tightness of the connection.

The sealing layer may in this case have been laminated or extruded onto the metal foil prior to the packaging operation.

When the packaging means has a plane of symmetry which coincides with the joining plane of two metal foils, particularly easy removal of the packaged articles after the packaging means has been opened along the joining plane can in particular be achieved. In this case, the joining plane and thus the plane of symmetry could run in the region of the greatest cross section of the packaged articles, so that the packaging would not form an undercut with one of the packaged articles after opening.

The first product may be a filled chocolate product, a solid or hollow chocolate figure, a chocolate bar, a muesli bar or a wafer or pet food product. In addition, a food product molded in the packaging means is conceivable.

Furthermore, the first product may be a hollow chocolate body which may be configured for example in an egg-shaped manner; the second cavity may contain a capsule in which for example a toy may be arranged.

The second cavity may likewise contain a tool for consuming or removing the food product arranged in the first cavity, or a further foodstuff. A removal tool may be designed equally both for foodstuffs for human consumption and for animals, for example as a spatula, rod or scraper. However, from practical points of view the shape itself is intended to be designed such that the entire pack contents of the food product provided in each case for consumption can be removed. It is likewise conceivable to configure the tool itself as an edible food product, for example as a wafer in the case of foodstuffs for humans. An edible tool is likewise conceivable for foodstuffs for animals. Designed from practical points of view, said tool is oriented in terms of shape and taste to the animal in question. For example, in the case of foodstuffs for dogs, the edible tool for removing the food can consist of dry food and be shaped as a type of dog bone. The dog bone is designed such that it can also be used for example as a scraper.

In the case of food products intended for human consumption, the tool may be an item of cutlery, in particular a drinking straw, spoon, fork or the like. The form of an item of cutlery can be based in terms of its shape and size on the conditions provided in the design of the packaging.

As a result of the second cavity containing a food product of the same kind as the food product arranged in the first cavity, a packaging means can be realized from which food products can be removed as required, i.e. in each case shortly before consumption, such that hygienic storage of all of the food products continues to be ensured even when an overall packaging means has been opened.

It is likewise conceivable for the second cavity to contain a different foodstuff than the foodstuff stored in the first cavity, as already presented above by way of example; in this case, the second foodstuff does not necessarily have to be in the form of a tool for consuming the foodstuff stored in the first cavity.

Advantageously, a further cavity may be accessible only via the cavity for the first product in the form of a food product. This may on the one hand mean that the further cavity is enclosed entirely by the first cavity. Alternatively, on the other hand, the further cavity can only be accessed via the first. In this case, the packaging means is configured such that the first food product is accessible first and is also perceived first as being edible. The order of identifying the edible product first in order subsequently to have the tool for consumption or a toy accessible follows a logical sequence for handling the individual parts properly.

In other words, the consumer is assisted in this for appropriate handling, and mistakes with the packaging contents are avoided.

On the other hand, a toy capsule or the like may also be located in the further cavity, this only being accessible once the edible portion has been consumed. With this temporal sequence, the toy is also handled such that hygiene and cleanliness requirements are met. A reverse order is also conceivable. In any case, the toy may be designed for children, in particular for children under 3 years of age, and positioned in the packaging means such that its constituent parts and detachable parts cannot be swallowed or breathed in.

The packaging means is also configured such that the toy or consumption tool readily withstands the stress exerted during opening, so as to reduce any hazard to the user as far as possible to a minimum. To this end, corners, protruding points, cords, cables and means for fastening a toy or consumption tool are designed and incorporated into the packaging means such that the risk of injury is low. In this way, the toy or the consumption tool can be designed and packaged such that it is not harmful to health upon use.

Advantageously, the interior of the cavities may be designed so as to differ in terms of feel or color. The interior of a cavity in which a food product is located differs from a cavity which contains the tool for consumption. The inner side may also be provided with written information or images which interpret or clarify the intended purpose and the use of the contents. In particular, a functional toy can be provided with the prescribed warnings in this way.

In a variant of the invention, at least one tear-open thread is provided, by means of which at least one of the cavities can be opened.

The tear-open thread ensures that the product packaging according to the invention can be opened easily in a defined manner, so as to produce optimal opening of the packaging with regard to the removal of the products. The use of a tear-open thread has in this case the further advantage, compared for example with a perforation of the packaging, that the defined opening does not impair the tightness of the packaging, this being of particular significance in many cases in particular for the packaging of food products. Food products can both be intended for human consumption and represent pet foods. In both cases, corresponding hygiene rules and aspects for practical handling of the respective packaging means should be observed.

The tear-open thread may be embodied in one piece. It is also possible for a plurality of parts to be connected in a form-fitting manner. In addition, it is also conceivable for the tear-open thread to have at least two parts that are connected together in particular in a cohesive manner. The last-mentioned variant can be realized in particular in that the cohesive connection of the thread parts is arranged in the sealed region of the flange. Such a connection of the thread parts can be achieved easily during the production process in that the thread parts are each placed on the packaging parts before the packaging parts are connected, in such a way that they intersect in the region of the flange after the packaging means has been closed. In order to improve the hold of the tear-open thread in the packaging means, the tear-open thread can be embodied in a self-adhesive manner. If the flange is now sealed by means of a hot sealing ram, the thread pieces, which are usually formed from polyethylene, fuse in the region of the flange and the result is a cohesive connection in the intersecting region of the thread pieces.

In order to allow sequential opening as desired of the packaging means, it may be advantageous for a plurality of tear-open threads, each assigned to one or more cavities, to be provided.

In addition or as an alternative, a plurality of tear-open threads for one cavity may also be provided. This may be advisable in particular in those cases in which a food product is intended to be consumed in a two-stage process. For example, in the case of a filled chocolate product, first of all the filling may be eaten and subsequently the chocolate shell of the product consumed. In this case, by means of a first tear-open thread, first of all the chocolate product is exposed only to such an extent that the filling can be spooned out. Then, the chocolate product can be in particular completely exposed by means of the second tear-open thread, after which it can be consumed. In this way, contact between the user and the chocolate product itself and the associated risk of soiling the fingers and clothing are largely minimized.

As an additional safety aspect, it is possible in this way for the second cavity, which contains a toy, for example, to be wrapped such that the pack contents are accessible only with the aid of adults. A small child can thus consume the edible contents in a freely accessible manner and obtain access to the non-consumable part of the packaging only when an adult is present.

In a further advantageous variant of the invention, the product packaging means may be embodied in such a way that a packaging region is provided which is formed in such a way that the packaging means can be held without the food product coming into thermal contact with the warmth of the user's hands. To this end, for example a stiffened, tab- or lug-like region of the packaging means may be provided. Thus, melting for example of a chocolate shell of a product can be largely avoided.

As a result of at least two tear-open threads being provided, which are assigned to the same cavity, opening of the packaging means can be made easier. In particular, the two tear-open threads can be gripped simultaneously at their respective ends and subsequently the packaging means or the corresponding cavity can be opened easily.

The packaging means may furthermore have visually designed, in particular printed regions. These regions may serve either for decoration or to provide information about the contents of the packaging means.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The invention is explained in more detail in the following text with reference to the drawing, in which:

FIG. 1 shows a schematic illustration of exemplary articles to be packaged;

FIG. 2 shows an exemplary embodiment of a two-part packaging means according to the invention;

FIG. 3 shows a schematic illustration of two metal foils;

FIG. 4 shows a schematic illustration of two variants of a packaging means according to the invention;

FIG. 5 shows a plan view of an exemplary embodiment of a product packaging means according to the invention;

FIG. 6 shows a front view of the embodiment shown in FIG. 5; and

FIG. 7 shows an alternative to the embodiment shown in FIGS. 5 and 6.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

FIG. 1 shows, in a first exemplary embodiment of the invention, a chocolate body 101 as an article to be packaged, in the present case a hollow chocolate egg, and a two-part openable capsule 102 which may contain for example a toy or minifigure or the like. For safety reasons, the edible chocolate product and the capsule should not be packed together, in particular in a common cavity.

The packaging means illustrated in FIG. 2 counters this problem. FIG. 2 illustrates a two-part packaging means 100, wherein the packaging means 100 has two preformed aluminum foils 110 and 120. In each case half of the outer contours of the articles 101 and 102 illustrated in FIG. 1 are shaped in the aluminum foils 110 and 120 such that, by joining the two foils 110 and 120 together, a closed packaging means 100 is produced which contains two cavities in which the articles 101 and 102 illustrated in FIG. 1 are held. FIG. 2 also illustrates in each case a side view of the preformed metal foils 110 and 120, clearly revealing the symmetrical structure of the packaging means once again. In principle, it is also conceivable to realize a packaging means with foil parts that are not identical. In this case, it may be possible for example for one metal foil to be formed such that it can entirely hold the articles to be packaged and the second metal foil could then be realized as a straight foil which has not been preformed, i.e. is flat. Likewise, it is conceivable for the second metal foil to be preformed in a manner differing from the shape of the first metal foil.

FIG. 3 shows, in part FIG. 3a, a plan view from above of the two preformed metal foils 110 and 120, wherein the articles 101 and 102 already known from FIG. 1 have been introduced into the upper of the foils 110. For further clarification, FIG. 3b illustrates a front view IIIb of the upper foil 110 with the inserted articles 101 and 102.

FIGS. 4a and 4b show two variants of a closed foil packaging means, in each case in plan view and two side views. In this case, FIG. 4a shows a variant of the invention in which a region between the two cavities 103 is embodied in a sealed manner (illustrated in a hatched manner) and wherein an outer flange 13′ is closed by flanging (illustrated in a hatched manner in partial section in the lateral plan views). As a result of the sealing of the region between the two cavities 103, the cavities can be sealed off with respect to one another in an improved manner.

FIG. 4b shows a variant in which both the outer flange 13″ and the region between the two cavities 103 has been sealed and wherein in addition, the outer flange 13′, as already shown in FIG. 4a, has been flanged. Alternatively, it is possible to dispense with sealing entirely and merely flange the outer flange 13″. The printed region 104, which in the example shown contains a decorative element and an exemplary item of manufacturer information, is likewise clearly visible in FIGS. 4a and 4b.

FIG. 5 shows a plan view of a further exemplary embodiment of a product packaging means 1 according to the invention. In two cavities that are not designated in the figure, the product packaging means 1 shown contains firstly the food product 2 and secondly the consumption tool 4, which is in the form of a spatula in the present example. The food product 2 is, in the present case, a hollow chocolate body, suitable for consumption by humans, which is filled up in two layers with a first filling 211 and a second filling 212. In this case, the two fillings 211 and 212 have been filled into a cup-like chocolate container 24. The container 24 is closed at the top by means of the lid 23.

The product packaging means 1 is in this case formed in two parts from the preformed packaging foil 11, wherein a connection along the peripheral flange 13 is achieved by means of the seal 12. The two parts of the packaging foil 11 can consist in particular of a metal composite foil, for example an aluminum/plastics composite foil. Alternatively, a purely metal foil can also be used; but in this case it is recommended, in order to achieve a particular level of tightness of the packaging, that the flange 13 be designed in a folded over or flanged manner in contrast to the version illustrated.

In order to open the product packaging means 1, provision is made of a two-part tear-open thread having the two parts 31 and 32, said tear-open thread being in the form of an encircling thread. The thread parts 31 and 32 are in this case connected together in a cohesive manner in the region provided with the reference sign 33. This connection may have taken place in particular during the production of the seal 12 in the packaging process. In order to open the packaging means 1, a part of the tear-open thread 31 or 32 is gripped by a user in the region of the tear-open tab 15 and pulled off all around the product packaging means 1, such that that part of the product packaging means 1 that is illustrated at the top in the figure can be detached from the lower part. Subsequently, the consumption tool 4 can be removed from its cavity and, after removing the lid 23, the filling 211 or the filling 212 in the chocolate container 24 can be consumed. In the present example, it is furthermore possible to grip the product packaging means 1 from the outside in that region in which the consumption tool 4 was contained, such that easier handling of the product packaging means 1 is possible.

For further illustration, FIG. 6 illustrates a front view of the product packaging means 1 according to the invention, wherein the reference signs correspond to the reference signs already used in FIG. 5. In contrast to the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 6, in which the cavity for the consumption tool is formed merely in one of the packaging parts, the cavity may also be distributed in equal parts on both sides of the packaging means, such that optionally a packaging means that is symmetrical with regard to the connecting plane of the packaging parts can be realized.

FIG. 7 illustrates a variant of the invention, in which the food product 2′ is not candy but may be sushi; consequently, chopsticks 41 and 42 are contained in this case in the product packaging means 1′. In the present case, too, the reference signs were selected in a manner analogous to the designation already known from FIGS. 6 and 7.

In this case, a further cavity having a toy FIG. 61 is arranged in FIG. 7. This cavity is closed off independently by a further part of the packaging foil 11′ with a seal 12′. The tear-open tab 16 is located under the packaging foil 11 located on top of it. Access to the further cavity thus takes place via the first cavity after the latter has been opened. The packaging means is configured such that the first food product 2′ is accessible first. The order of identifying the edible product first in order subsequently to have a toy accessible supports logical handling.

Furthermore, the packaging means is configured in parts with small knobs 51 in order to indicate gripping regions. Such haptically different regions serve for easier handling of the packaging means. The knobs may additionally also be emphasized by color.