Title:
PACKAGE OF A STACK OF FLEXIBLE ARTICLES
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A package with a stack of flexible articles includes a stack of flexible articles, a flexible outer cover, having a first end side panel and a second end side panel opposing the first end side panel. The package further includes two and preferably only two stiffening elements that are stiffer than the flexible outer cover and the flexible articles, whereby one of the stiffening elements is positioned against the interior surface of the end side panels of the outer cover and the other stiffening element is positioned against the opposing end side panel of the outer cover.



Inventors:
Elfsberg, Camilla (Goteborg, SE)
Eriksson, Katarina (Goteborg, SE)
Svensson, Bjorn (Goteborg, SE)
Application Number:
14/655908
Publication Date:
11/19/2015
Filing Date:
12/27/2012
Assignee:
SCA Hygiene Products AB (Goteborg, SE)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
53/410, 206/499
International Classes:
B65D71/06; B65B5/06; B65B61/20; B65B63/02; B65D85/07
View Patent Images:
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20110266188FORM FILL SEAL PACKAGING METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR COMPRESSIBLE GOODSNovember, 2011Share et al.
20170158403DIVISIBLE CONTAINER CARRIERJune, 2017Olsen et al.
20090205995FOOD SERVING TRAYAugust, 2009Cox
20080093250Container assembly for holding two or more productsApril, 2008Schapiro
20090218243Packing for Injection DeviceSeptember, 2009Gyrn et al.
20130228487PERSONAL CONTAINER FOR ORGANIZING MEDICATIONSSeptember, 2013Gorman
20090127159STORAGE APPARATUSMay, 2009Wang
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20030168360Collapsible structuresSeptember, 2003Zheng



Primary Examiner:
WEINERTH, GIDEON R
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
ESSITY HYGIENE AND HEALTH AKTIEBOLAG (Alexandria, VA, US)
Claims:
1. A package with a stack of flexible articles, the package comprising: a flexible outer cover, having a first lateral panel and a second lateral panel opposing the first lateral panel, the first and the second lateral panels being connected via a continuous wall, the continuous wall being divided into four side panels, a first end side panel and a second end side panel opposing the first end side panel, and a front side panel and a back side panel opposing the front side panel, said flexible outer cover enclosing the stack of flexible articles, the stack comprising two or more flexible articles, the stack having a first lateral side and a second lateral side opposing the first lateral side, a front side and a back opposing the front side, and a first end side being a first article of the stack and a second end side being a last article of the stack, the second end side opposing the first end side, wherein the package further comprises: two stiffening elements, whereby one stiffening element is positioned against the interior surface of the first end side panel of the flexible outer cover and one stiffening element is positioned against the second end side panel of the flexible outer cover.

2. The package according to claim 1, wherein the stiffening elements are rectangular.

3. The package according to claim 1, wherein a width of each of the stiffening elements is 95-100% of the a width of the end side panels of the outer cover.

4. The package according to claim 1, wherein a height of each of the stiffening elements is 95-100% of a height of the end side panels of the outer cover.

5. The package according to claim 1, wherein a height of each of the stiffening elements is 70-95% of a height of each of the end side panels of the outer cover, and that wherein each stiffening element extends along the end side panel from the first or second lateral panel to a first distance from the other of the second or first lateral panels.

6. The package according to claim 1, wherein a height of each of the stiffening elements is 70-90% of a height of each of the end side panels of the outer cover, and wherein each stiffening element extends along the end side panel from a first distance from the first or second lateral panel to a second distance from the other of the second or first lateral panels.

7. The package according to claim 1, wherein each stiffening element has rounded corners and/or edges.

8. The package according to claim 1, wherein the stiffening elements are stiffer than the flexible outer cover and the flexible articles.

9. The package according to claim 1, wherein the stiffening elements are made of wood, corrugated board, plastic sheet, and/or cardboard.

10. The package according to claim 1, wherein the stiffening elements are made in the form of a frame.

11. The package according to claim 1, wherein there are only two stiffening elements.

12. The package according to claim 1, wherein the end side panels bulges from the side edges of the end side panel with a distance that is at most 6 mm

13. The package according to claim 1, wherein the outer cover is made of plastic film, nonwoven or paper.

14. The package according to claim 1, wherein the stack of flexible articles is positioned so that the first article in the stack will be adjacent one of the stiffening elements and the last article in the stack will be adjacent the opposing stiffening element.

15. The package according to claim 14, wherein the stiffening elements are positioned between the end side panel of the flexible outer cover and the first or the last article of the stack.

16. The package according to claim 1, wherein the stiffening elements only cover the end side panels (3)-or parts of the ends side panels of the flexible outer cover.

17. The package according wherein the stack of flexible articles is compressed in the direction of the stack length, from the first article of the stack towards the last article of the stack.

18. The package according to claim 1, wherein the stack of flexible articles is substantially flat along the first lateral side, the second lateral side, the front side and the back.

19. The package according to claim 12, wherein one of the stiffening elements is joined to one of the end side panels of the outer cover and the other stiffening element is joined to the opposing end side panel of the outer cover.

20. The package according to claim 1, wherein the flexible article is an absorbent article.

21. A method for obtaining a package with a stack of flexible articles comprising: a. providing a flexible outer cover, having a first lateral panel and an second lateral panel opposing the first lateral panel, the first and the second lateral panels being connected via a continuous wall, the continuous wall being divided into four side panels, a first end side panel and a second end side panel opposing the first end side panel, and a front side panel and a back side panel opposing the front side panel, b. providing a stack of flexible articles, the stack of articles comprising two or more articles, the stack of flexible articles having a first lateral side and a second lateral side opposing the first lateral side, a front side and a back opposing the front side, and a first end side being a first article of the stack and a second end side being a last article of the stack, the second end side opposing the first end side, c. inserting the stack into the outer cover, and d. inserting two stiffening elements before, during or after step c into the outer cover and positioning one stiffening element against the interior surface of the first end side panel of the flexible outer cover and positioning one stiffening element against the second end side panel of the outer cover.

22. The method for obtaining a package according to claim 21 comprisinq compressing the stack of articles in the direction of the stack length before and/or during the insertion into the outer cover.

23. The method for obtaining a package according to claim 21, comprising positioning one of the stiffening elements adjacent the first article of the stack of articles and positioning the opposing stiffening element adjacent the last article of the stack.

24. The method for obtaining a package according to claim 22, comprising positioning the stiffening elements adjacent the first and last articles of the stack prior to compressing of the stack of articles.

25. The method for obtaining a package according to claim 22, comprising positioning the stiffening elements in the outer cover prior to the insertion of the stack of articles.

26. The method for obtaining a package according to claim 25, comprising joining one of the stiffening elements to one of the end side panels of the outer cover and joining the other stiffening element to the opposing end side panel of the outer cover.

27. The method for obtaining a package according to claim 22, wherein the flexible article is an absorbent article.

Description:

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present disclosure concerns a package for a stack of flexible articles. The package has an outer cover enclosing the stack of articles.

BACKGROUND OF THE DISCLOSURE

Flexible articles can be packed in plastic bags. A stack of a plurality of flexible articles may be cuboidal. However due to the flexibility of the plastic bag and compressive forces during the packaging the packages may become more round than cuboidal. Due to the tendency of the packages to assume a round shape the design on the sides of the packages can partly be seen when viewing the front side of the packages, thus designs on the side of the package, e.g. informative text can be discerned when viewing the front and this may ruin the impression that the front design is intended to give. One current solution to this problem is to stretch the front design over the corner of the package and into the sides of the package. Thereby the space for the design and information on the sides of the package is reduced. The flexible articles can be sheeted soft paper products, such as napkins, serviettes, hand towels and toilet papers. Other types of flexible articles are absorbent personal care articles, such as diapers, incontinence care articles, sanitary napkins and panty liners.

US200570121348 A1 describes a package for a stack of flexible articles that has a trough-formed three sided insert made of cardboard. The stack and the insert are covered by flexible outer cover. The insert covers the length of the stack and thereby the sides of all articles in the stack. The insert is large and increases the weight of the package without solving the problem with packages where the first and the last article in the stack bulge out of the package. EP 356319 A1 describes a package of three superposed stacks of flexible articles. The stacks of flexible articles are covered by a three sided insert made of cardboard. Also in this case the insert covers the length of the stacks and thereby the sides of all articles in the stack. The insert is large and increases the weight of the package without solving the problem with packages where the first and the last article in the stack bulge out of the package.

Thus there is a need to solve the problem of bulging packages in the area of packaged stacked flexible articles.

SUMMARY

The needs can be met with a package comprising a flexible outer cover, a stack of flexible articles and stiffening elements and a method for making such a package. Hereinafter the “stack of flexible articles” may be referred to as also the “stack of article” or only “the stack” and the “flexible outer cover” may also be called only “outer cover”. The “flexible article” is sometimes referred to as only “article”. The flexible outer cover has a first lateral panel and a second lateral panel opposing the first lateral panel. The first and the second lateral panels are connected via a continuous wall that is divided into four side panels, a first end side panel and a second end side panel opposing the first end side panel and a front side panels and a back side panels opposing the front side panel. Each side panel has a first and a second side edge, each side edge is connected to a side edge of two opposing adjacent side panels. The outer cover encloses the stack of flexible articles. The stack of flexible articles comprises two or more flexible articles and has, a first lateral side and a second lateral side opposing the first lateral side, a front side and a back opposing the front side, and a first end side being made up by a first article of the stack and a second end side being made up by a last article of the stack. The second end side opposes the first end side. Each lateral side is connected to the front side and the back and the end sides are of the connected to each other via the lateral sides the front side and the back. The package further comprises two stiffening element that are stiffer than the flexible outer cover and the flexible articles. One of the stiffening elements is positioned against the interior surface of a first end side panel of the outer cover and the other stiffening element is positioned against the second end side panel of the outer cover. Preferably only two stiffening elements are to be used.

The stiffening elements may be rectangular and may have a width that is 95-100% of the width of the end side panels of the outer covers. The height of the stiffening elements may be 95-100% of the height of the end side panels of the outer covers. The stiffening element may have rounded corners and/or edges. Preferably the stiffening elements only cover the end side panels of the flexible outer cover or parts thereof, i.e. the stiffening elements should preferably not extend over any other panels of the flexible outer cover.

In an alternative embodiment the height of the stiffening elements may be 70-95% of the height of the end side panels of the outer covers. They may extend along the end side panel of the outer cover from the first or second lateral panel to a first distance X from the other of the second or first lateral panels. Alternatively the side panels may extend along the end side panel from a first distance X from the first or second lateral panel to a second distance Y from the other of the second or first lateral panels.

The stiffening element may be made of made of, wood, corrugated board, plastic sheet, and cardboard. The stiffening elements may be solid but may also be made like a frame with material at the edges of the element, but no or only a smaller amount of material in the middle.

The two stiffening elements may be joined to each one of the end side panels of the outer cover.

The end side panels of a package with flexible articles and stiffening elements should bulge from the side edges of the end side panel with a distance D that is at most 6 mm, preferably at the most 3 mm and most preferably 1 mm.

The outer cover may be made plastic film, nonwoven or paper.

The stack of flexible articles may be positioned so that the first article in the stack will be adjacent one of the stiffening elements and the last article in the stack will be adjacent the opposing stiffening element. The stack may moreover be compressed in the direction of the stack length, from one the first article of the stack towards the last article of the stack.

The stack of flexible article is substantially flat along the first lateral side, the second lateral side, the front side and the back.

The flexible article may be an absorbent article such as incontinence protection, diaper and/or a feminine pad.

A method for obtaining a package with a stack of flexible articles comprises the steps of providing a flexible outer cover, a stack of flexible articles and preferably two stiffening elements. The flexible outer cover has a first lateral panel and a second lateral panel opposing the first lateral panel. The first and the second lateral panels are connected via a continuous wall that is divided into four side panels, a first end side panel and a second end side panel opposing the first end side panel, and a front side panel and a back side panel opposing the front side panel. Each side panel has a first and a second side edge, each side edge is connected to a side edge of two opposing adjacent side panels. The stack of articles comprises two or more articles and has a first lateral side and a second lateral side opposing the first lateral side, a front side and a back opposing the front side, and a first end side being made up by a first article of the stack and a second end side being made up by a last article of the stack. The second end side opposes the first end side. Each lateral side is connected to the front side and the back and the end sides are of the connected to each other via the lateral sides the front side and the back. The stack is inserted into the outer cover. The stiffening elements are also inserted into the outer cover prior to, during or after the stack is inserted. The stiffening elements are positioned against the interior surface of each of the end side panels of the outer cover. Preferably only two stiffening elements are to be used.

The stiffening elements may be positioned adjacent each of the first article and the last article of the stack. This may be done prior to the insertion of the stack of articles. In an alternative method the stiffening elements may be inserted into the outer cover prior to the insertion of the stack of articles. In this case the stiffening elements may be joined to each one of the end side panels of the outer cover.

The stack of articles may be compressed in the direction of the stack length before and/or during the insertion into to the outer cover. Thereby the stiffening elements may be positioned adjacent the first and last articles of the stack prior to compressing the articles.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

FIG. 1a is perspective view of a prior art packages.

FIG. 1b is a front view of prior art packages.

FIG. 2a is a perspective view of a package embodiment

FIG. 2b is front view of a package embodiment.

FIG. 2c is a perspective view of a package embodiment with part of the outer cover cut away.

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of another package embodiment.

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of a stack of flexible articles.

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of yet another embodiment of the stack of flexible articles and stiffening elements.

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of yet another embodiment of the package with part of the outer cover cut away.

FIG. 7 is a perspective view of yet another embodiment of the package with part of the outer cover cut away.

FIG. 8 is a perspective view of yet another embodiment of the stack of flexible articles and stiffening elements.

FIG. 9 is a perspective view of yet another embodiment of the stack of flexible articles and stiffening elements.

FIG. 10a-c way of measuring extensions of the sides.

FIG. 11a-b shows in a schematic way the packaging method.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The embodiments of the disclosure will be described more closely below. The disclosure may however be embodied in many different forms and should not be construed as limited to the embodiments set forth in the drawings and the description thereto.

Package

FIG. 1a and 1b shows a prior art package 1 with a stack of flexible articles (not seen) in an outer cover 2. The end side panels 3 of the article bulges outwardly so that parts of the text printed on them can be discerned when the package is viewed from the front side 4 as shown in FIG. 1b.

FIG. 2a-2c shows a package according to the disclosure. In FIG. 2c the top of the flexible outer cover has been cut away to show a part of the stack of flexible articles. The package has an outer cover 2 and a stack 5 of flexible articles 6 (in the following flexible articles or just articles) inside the package. The outer cover has a first lateral panel 8 (cut away in FIG. 2c) and an opposing second lateral panel 9, being connected by a continuous wall that is divided into four panels, a front panel 4 and an opposing back panel 7 (not seen) and two opposing end side panels 3. The front panel 4 and the back panel 7 are further connected via the two opposing end side panels 3. All of the panels are substantially rectangular. The stack has a first lateral side 20 and a second lateral side 21 (not seen in FIG. 2c) opposing the first lateral side, a front side 22 and a back 23 opposing the front side, and a first end side being a first article 6′ of the stack and a second end side being a last article 6′ of the stack. The second end side opposes the first end side. Each flexible article 6, 6′ has a side 24 and the first and the last articles have an outer flat side 13. The stack of articles are positioned inside the outer cover so that the first and the last articles 6′ of the stack are adjacent the end side panels 3 of the outer cover. As can be seen in the FIGS. 2b and 2c the front panel 4 and the first lateral panel 8 of the outer cover 2 covers sides 24 of all the articles 6, 6′ in the stack 5. Even though it cannot be seen in the figures also the back panel 7 and the second lateral panel 9 of the outer cover covers sides of all the articles in the same manner. Stiffening elements 10 have been positioned between the end side panels of the outer cover and the first and the last article of the stack. Different embodiments of the stack configuration will be described below.

In FIGS. 2a-c the stack of articles is arranged in the outer cover so that one side 24 of all articles are positioned in the bottom of the package (in this case the second lateral panel 9). The article in the package can of course also be arranged so that only the first (or the last) article 6′ and the corresponding stiffening element 10 are positioned in the bottom of the package (in this case the first end side panel 3) as can be seen in FIG. 3. In this embodiment all of the articles are stacked upon each other and the last article and its corresponding stiffening element 10 are on the top (in this case the second end side panel.)

A stack 5 of articles can be seen in FIG. 4. A number of flexible articles 6 are stacked adjacent each other. The stack has a first lateral side 20 and a second lateral side 21 opposing the first lateral side, a front side 22 and a back 23 opposing the front side, and a first end side being a first article 6′ of the stack and a second end side being a last article 6′ of the stack. The second end side opposes the first end side. Each flexible article 6, 6′ has sides 24 and the first and the last articles have an outer flat side 13. The first and the last articles in the stack 6′ have an outer flat side 13. In FIG. 4 the articles are folded 3 times, with 4 basically equally long article folding panels so that both ends of the articles are situated on the same side. The articles can also be folded 1, 2 or more times. All of the folding panels may have the same length or may be of different length. The articles may also be unfolded.

One embodiments of the stack 5 of flexible articles with stiffening elements 10 can be seen in FIG. 5. A stack of flexible articles like the one described in relation to FIG. 4 can be seen The stack has a first and a last article 6′. One stiffening element 10 covers substantially the whole flat side 13 of each of the first and the last flexible articles 6′. In total two stiffening elements have been used. The width Ws and height Hs of the stiffening elements are generally the same as the width Wa and the height Ha of the first and the last articles in the stack and thus of the width Wo and the height Ho of the end side panel of the outer cover. In the stack in FIG. 5 all of the articles in the stack have substantially the same width and height. This stack is to be packed into an outer cover so that the stiffening elements 10 will be is positioned against the end side panels 3 of the outer cover.

Another embodiment of the package 1 with a stack 5 of flexible article with stiffening elements 10 can be seen in FIG. 6. The package contains a stack like the one described in relation to FIG. 4. A part of the outer cover has been cut away at one of the end side panels so that parts of the outer flat side 13 of the first article of the stack 6′ can be seen. One stiffening element 10, that cover parts of the flat side of the flexible articles, have been positioned adjacent the outer flat side 13 of each of the first and the last articles. Here only a part of the stiffening element that is adjacent the first article can be seen. The width Ws of the stiffening elements are generally the same as the width Wa of the article and thus of the width Wo of the end side panel of the outer cover. The stiffening element does not have the same height Hs as the first and last articles in the stack. The height Hs of the stiffening elements in FIG. 6 is about 70% of the height Ha of the first and last article of the stack and thus also 70% of the height Ho of the end side panels of the outer cover. The stiffening element extends along an end side panel from the second lateral panel 9 to a first distance X from the first lateral panel 8. In FIG. 6 this distance X is about 30% of the height Ho of the outer cover. Of course the stiffening elements could have extended from the first lateral panel 8 to a first distance X from the second lateral panel 9 instead. In FIG. 6 the height Hs of the stiffening elements is about 70% of the height Ho of the end side panels of the outer cover as described above. However, according to this embodiment the height Hs of the stiffening elements could have varied between 70% and 90% of the height Ho.

An alternative embodiment of package 1 with a stack 5 of flexible article with stiffening elements 10 can be seen in FIG. 7. The package contains a stack like the one described in relation to FIG. 4. A part of the outer cover has been cut away at one of the end side panels so that parts of the outer flat side 13 of the first article of the stack 6′ can be seen. One stiffening element 10 (only one can be seen) that cover parts of the flat side of the flexible articles have been positioned adjacent the outer flat side 13 of each of the first and the last articles. Here only a part of the stiffening element 10 that is adjacent the first article 6′ can be seen. The width Ws of the stiffening elements are generally the same as the width Wa of the article and thus of the width Wo of the end side panel of the outer cover. The stiffening element does not have the same height as the first and last articles in the stack. The height Hs of the stiffening elements in FIG. 7 are about 70% of the height Ha of the first and last article of the stack and thus also 70% of the eight Ho of the end side panels of the outer cover. The stiffening element extends along an end side panel from a distance Y from the second lateral panel 9 to a first distance X from the first lateral panel 8. In FIG. 7 the height Hs is about 75% of the height Ho of the outer cover and the stiffening is positioned centrally on the height of the end side panel so that the distances X and Y are equal, about 12,5% of the height Ho of the outer cover. In FIG. 7 the height Hs of the stiffening elements is as stated above about 75% of the height Ho of the end side panels of the outer cover as described above. However, according to this embodiment the height Hs of the stiffening elements could have varied between 70% and 90% of the height Ho. According to this embodiment it is also possible to displace the stiffening element 10 towards either lateral panel so that distances X and Y are not equal. Furthermore, the two stiffening elements on each side of the stack can be equally displaced or differently displaced so that the distances X and Y adjacent the first article of the stack are not the equal to the distances X and Y adjacent to the last article of the stack.

Another embodiment of the stack 5 of flexible articles with stiffening elements 10 can be seen in FIG. 8. A stack like the one described in relation to FIG. 4 can be seen with two stiffening element 10 each covering substantially the whole flat side of the first and the last flexible articles 6′. The stiffening elements have been positioned adjacent an outer flat side 13 of each of the first and the last articles 6′. The stiffening element has rounded corners 25. In total two stiffening elements have been used. The width Ws and height Hs of the stiffening elements are generally the same as the width Wa and the height Ha of the first and the last articles in the stack and thus of the width Wo and the height Ho of the end side panel of the outer cover. In the stack in FIG. 8 all of the articles in the stack have substantially the same width and height. This stack is to be packed into an outer cover so that the stiffening elements will be positioned against the end side panels of the outer cover. A stiffening element with rounded corners can also be used together with the embodiments described in FIGS. 6 and 7, where the height of the stiffening elements are less than the height of the end side panel of the outer cover. In another alternative also all edges 18, 19, 26, 27 of the stiffening elements may be rounded either in combination with the stiffening elements having rounded corners or sharp corners.

Yet another embodiment is shown in FIG. 9. A stack 5 like the one described in relation to FIG. 4 can be seen with one stiffening element 10 adjacent the outer flat side 13 of each of the first and the last flexible articles 6′. The stiffening element has a frame shape comprising 4 sides, i.e. the centre 28 of the stiffening element does not have any or only a smaller amount of material than the borders 29. The frame sides have the width W1 and W2 and the height H1 and H2. The width of the frame sides W1 and W2 can be equal or different and the same applies to the heights of the frame sides H1 and H2. The sum of W1 and W2 should be 5-95% of Ws and the sum of H1 and H2 should be 5-95% of Hs for the frame to work in a sufficient way. The frames may further be supported by a cross beam that extends from one frame side to an opposing frame side or from one frame corner to an opposing frame corner. Of course two or more cross beams can be used in this case they may cross each other in the middle of the frame.

In all the described embodiments the width Ws of the stiffening elements shall be generally equal to the width Wa of the flexible articles, and thus of the width Wo of the end side panel of the outer cover. This means that the width Ws of the stiffening elements is 95-100% of the width Wa first or last article of the stack, and thus of the width Wo of the end side panel of the outer cover. In those embodiments where the height Hs of the stiffening elements is generally the equal to the height Ha of the flexible article this means that the height Hs of the stiffening elements is 95-100% of the height Ha first or last article of the stack and thus of the height Ho of the end side panel of the outer cover.

In the embodiments above the stiffening element has opposing sides that are parallel to each other, i.e. the elements are substantially rectangular. It would be possible foresee to have stiffening elements with two opposing sides that tapers slightly towards each other in one direction.

In all the described embodiments the stiffening element may be made of wood, corrugated board, plastic sheet, or cardboard. The stiffness of the stiffening material shall be enough to keep the edges between the end side panels and the front side panel and/or the back panel sharp to avoid the roundedness of the current edges. The stiffening element may be made of a solid piece of material or may be built up by a more complex material e.g. a laminate of different layer of materials. It may also be constructed with a frame made of one kind of material. The centre of the frame may either be empty or be filled with a second material. It would also be possible to strengthen the frame with cross beams of materials that crosses the frame form one edge to an opposing edge or from corner to an opposing corner. It is further possible to print information and or pictures onto the stiffening elements, e.g. advertisements or offerings. It may also be possible to use a booklet that is stiff enough to function as a stiffening element. The booklet may have 2 or more leaves.

The outer cover may be made of a flexible plastic film, nonwoven or a paper material. The plastic film may be made of common available film material such as thermoplastic films or films laminated of different layers of material. All the layers may be made of film but it would be possible to include also a thin metal foil or a paper in the laminate. The film may e.g. be made of polyethylene.

The end side panel of a package having stiffening elements should preferably bulge from the side edges with a distance D (see test method below) that is at most 6 mm, preferably at the most 3 mm and most preferably at the most 1 mm at, as measured with the herein described test method.

The stiffening elements of the package may be positioned loose in the package without being joined to the articles or the flexible outer cover. However the stiffening elements may also be fastened to either the flexible outer cover, e.g.to the end side panels or to the first and/or the last article of the stack.

The stack of flexible articles can be positioned so that the first article in the stack will be adjacent and inside one of the stiffening elements and the last article in the stack will be adjacent and inside the opposing stiffening element. The stack of flexible article may also be substantially flat along the first lateral side 20, the second lateral side 21, the front side 22 and the back. Furthermore the stack of flexible article may be compressed in the direction of the stack length, from one the first article of the stack towards the last article of the stack.

The flexible articles in the packages are preferably an absorbent such as incontinence protection, diaper and/or a feminine pad or panty liners.

Method for Obtaining a Package.

The stack of flexible articles described in connection to FIG. 4 is packed in a flexible outer cover. Two stiffening elements are also packed into the flexible outer cover against the end side panels of its interior surface. The methods for obtaining the packages can be used for all of the embodiments shown in FIGS. 2, 3, 5-9. A stack of flexible articles are provided together with two stiffening elements and flexible outer cover. The stack and the stiffening elements are inserted into the outer cover either simultaneously or consecutively, i.e. either the stack or the stiffening elements may be inserted first into the outer cover and then the either of part of the stiffening elements or the stack may be entered into the outer cover. The stiffening elements are positioned against each of the interior surface of the end side panels of the outer cover. Thus the stiffening elements may positioned adjacent each of the first article and the last article of the stack.

The stack may optionally be compressed before it is inserted into the outer cover. One further option in this case is that the stiffening elements are positioned against the first and the last article of the stack before it is compressed.

In all of the embodiments described in FIGS. 2, 3, 5-9 the stiffening elements may be inserted into the outer cover before the stack of flexible articles is inserted. The stiffening elements may then optionally be joined each of the end side panels of the outer cover. The joining may be done by any common mean e.g. by adhesive joining or ultrasonic welding.

FIG. 11a and b shows in a very schematic way one way to pack the stack of flexible articles and the stiffening elements. Two stiffening elements 10 have been positioned against each of the first and the last articles 6′ of a stack 5 of flexible articles. Two compression means, here in the form of plates 19 have been positioned against the outside of the stiffening elements. The compression means applies a compression force F against the stiffening elements 10 in the direction of the stack length, from the first article of the stack towards the last article of the stack. The compressed pack is fed into an open outer cover 2 and released. Neither the means for feeding the stack into the outer cover nor the means for keeping the outer cover open are shown, but are common knowledge in the art.

Test Method

Measurement of Distance D

Distance D is a value that shows how much a package containing a stiffening element bulges. The method is described with the aid of FIGS. 10a, 10b and 10c. In these pictures a bulging package is shown to make it easier to describe the method. To better show the test method a stiffening element that is not stiff enough has been chosen so that the package bulges more than a package according to the disclosure should have done.

A package 1 with a stiffening element 10 is laid flat on a table with the front side panel 4 of the outer cover lying down on the table top 14. Find the part of the end side panel 3 of the outer cover that bulges the most, this part can usually be found at half of height Hs of the end side panel. Push a vertical ruler 15 until it comes in contact with an end side panel 3 of the outer cover 2 where the package bulges most. If the end side panel 3 of the outer cover 2 has a seam that is protruding push gently until the seam lies flat against the outer cover and the ruler 15 is flush against the part of the material that is adjacent of the seam, alternatively a part of the seam that coincides with the measurement site can be cut or shaved away without destroying the seam. With a finger find the back edge 17 of the stiffening element. With the help of e.g. a horizontal ruler 16 measure the distance D from the back edge of the stiffening panel and the vertical ruler 17. The angles α and β shall be 90°.

Repeat the measurement at the other end side panel.

Then turn the package so that the back panel of the outer cover lies on the table top and repeat the measurements. In this case it is the distance D between the front edge 18 and the vertical ruler 17 that shall be measured.

It is sufficient that one of the measured distances D falls with the range mentioned in the claim for the package to be within the claim.





 
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