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United States Patent Application 20170203903
Kind Code A1
Cockrum; Brett Alvin ;   et al. July 20, 2017

Ice Cream Display and Dispensing Spacer

Abstract

A spacer is provided that fits between cylindrical containers such as ice cream drums. The spacer maintains the drum layout, adds hoop strength to the top rims of the drums, provides positive control of the spacing of the gap between the top rim of the drums to avoid damage to the drum top rims, and prevents the drums from spinning during use.


Inventors: Cockrum; Brett Alvin; (Plattsburg, MO) ; Emory; Gleen Johnson; (Peachtree City, GA) ; Emory; Duncan Bryson; (Auburn, AL) ; Moffett; Marek Patrick; (Atlanta, GA)
Applicant:
Name City State Country Type

Weidenhammer New Packaging LLC.

Kansas City

MO

US
Assignee: Weidenhammer New Packaging LLC.
Kansas City
MO

Family ID: 1000002035426
Appl. No.: 14/995242
Filed: January 14, 2016


Current U.S. Class: 1/1
Current CPC Class: B65D 81/05 20130101; B65D 21/0206 20130101; B65D 1/12 20130101
International Class: B65D 81/05 20060101 B65D081/05; B65D 21/02 20060101 B65D021/02; B65D 1/12 20060101 B65D001/12

Claims



1. (canceled)

2. (canceled)

3. (canceled)

4. (canceled)

5. (canceled)

6. (canceled)

7. In combination, a spacer and at least two adjacent ice cream containers: each container having a cylindrical sidewall, a bottom rim and a top rim, the container sidewall having a diameter, the top rim having a diameter greater than the sidewall diameter; the spacer comprising four curved sidewalls, each sidewall having a curved outer surface and extending vertically between a curved sidewall bottom edge and a curved sidewall top edge and horizontally between a side edge and an opposing side edge, the spacer further comprising four rectangular distal edge panels, each distal edge panel extending vertically between a distal edge panel bottom edge and a distal edge panel top edge and horizontally between a side edge of one sidewall and a side edge of an adjacent sidewall, each distal edge panel having a width; wherein each spacer sidewall describes an arc; and the arc of the spacer sidewalls and the width of the distal edge panels together are large enough to maintain a gap between the container top rims.

8. The combination spacer and containers of claim 7, wherein: the number of containers is four; and the spacer maintains the containers in a square packing layout.

9. The combination spacer and containers of claim 8, wherein: each container has a radius (R.sub.D); and each spacer sidewall describes an arc having a radius (R.sub.S) substantially the same as the container radius (R.sub.D).

10. The combination spacer and containers of claim 9, wherein: each container sidewall contacts all or a substantial portion of a spacer sidewall.

11. (canceled)

12. The combination spacer and containers of claim 10, wherein: the spacer sidewall outer surfaces comprise friction enhancing material.

13. (canceled)

14. (canceled)

15. The combination spacer and containers of claim 7 wherein: each distal edge has a horizontal width; and the horizontal width of the distal edges is greater than twice the difference between the container rim diameter and the container sidewall diameter.

16. The combination spacer and containers of claim 7 wherein: each pair of adjacent container top rims define a gap.

17. The combination spacer and containers of claim 7 wherein: the spacer is configured to maintain a gap between the container top rims.

18. The combination spacer and containers of claim 7 wherein: the spacer is configured to enable removal of individual containers while the spacer in place.
Description



BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] Field of the Invention

[0002] This disclosure relates to a device for separating and stabilizing cylindrical containers. More particularly, this disclosure relates to a device for separating and stabilizing cylindrical ice cream drums stored in a freezer.

[0003] Description of the Related Art

[0004] Retail stores commonly store ice cream in 1.5 to 5 gallon drums. The drums typically comprise a paperboard-based cylindrical sidewall having a bottom rim, a top rim defining a circular opening and comprising either a beaded top rim or a plastic fitment, a bottom wall affixed to the bottom rim, and a lid removably affixed to the top rim. The drums may be stored side by side in freezers.

[0005] During use the drums and, more particularly, the sidewalls and top rims, can be damaged from impacts with each other and with ice cream implements. Drums made entirely or primarily of paper are most vulnerable to damage, since they may lack hoop strength, that is, the ability to maintain their structural integrity, especially the circular opening, despite impacts and other abuse. Metal rings increase hoop strength but are known safety hazards and add cost.

[0006] The present disclosure is designed to solve the problems described above.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0007] The present disclosure relates to a spacer that fits between cylindrical containers such as ice cream drums. The spacer maintains the drum layout, adds hoop strength to the top rims of the drums, provides positive control of the spacing of the gap between the top rim of the drums to avoid damage to the drum top rims, and prevents the drums from spinning during use.

[0008] In one aspect a spacer is provided that comprises four curved sidewalls and four distal edge panels. Each sidewall has an outer surface and extends vertically between a curved sidewall bottom edge and a curved sidewall top edge and horizontally between a straight side edge and an opposing straight side edge. Each distal edge panel extends vertically between a distal edge panel bottom edge and a distal edge panel top edge and horizontally between a side edge of one sidewall and a side edge of an adjacent sidewall.

[0009] The spacer may be configured to maintain the containers in a square packing layout.

[0010] The spacer may be symmetrical with respect to a vertical plane that bisects each pair of opposing distal edge panels.

[0011] Each spacer sidewall may describes an arc having a radius (R.sub.S) substantially the same as the radius (R.sub.D) of the containers.

[0012] The spacer sidewall outer surfaces may comprise friction enhancing material to inhibit spinning of the containers.

[0013] In another aspect a spacer and container combination is provided. The spacer comprises four curved sidewalls, with each sidewall having a curved outer surface, and four rectangular distal edge panels. The distal edge panels extend between adjacent sidewalls. The spacer maintains a gap between adjacent container sidewalls and between the top rims of adjacent containers. Preferably the spacer maintains the containers in a square packing layout. Preferably each spacer sidewall describes an arc having a radius substantially the same as the radius of the containers. The spacer sidewall outer surfaces may comprise friction enhancing material to inhibit spinning or rotating of the containers.

[0014] In another aspect a spacer and container arrangement is provided, comprising a spacer and at least two containers. The spacer is located at least partially between the containers and maintains the containers in a square packing layout.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0015] FIG. 1 is a top plan view of four ice cream drums.

[0016] FIG. 2 is a top plan view of a spacer according to the disclosure.

[0017] FIG. 3 is a side view of the spacer of FIG. 2 and ice cream drums.

[0018] FIG. 4 is a perspective view of the spacer of FIG. 2 and ice cream drums.

[0019] FIG. 5 is a top plan view of the spacer of FIG. 2 and ice cream drums.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0020] While the device described herein may be embodied in many forms, there is shown in the drawings and will herein be described in detail one or more embodiments with the understanding that this disclosure is to be considered an exemplification of the principles of the device and is not intended to limit the scope of the patent to the illustrated embodiments.

[0021] For the purpose of this description the term "vertical" refers to the dimension defined by any line parallel to the sidewall edges 18 of the spacer 10, and the term "horizontal" refers to dimension defined by any line orthogonal to the sidewall edges 18.

[0022] FIG. 1 is a top plan view of four drums, such as conventional ice cream drums 20, situated side by side in a "square packing" arrangement. As used herein, a square packing arrangement is one in which no two circles (or drums in this case) overlap along the lines defined by the points of contact of the circles. (By contrast, in "hexagonal lattice" or "honeycomb" packing, the circles overlap, and as a result the packing of circles within a given area is more dense.)

[0023] Each drum 20 comprises a paperboard based cylindrical sidewall 22 (FIG. 2), a bottom rim 21 (FIG. 2) and a top rim 23 defining a circular opening 19. The top rim 23 may be beaded as shown in the figure or may comprise a plastic fitment. The drum 20 further comprises a bottom wall 25 affixed to the bottom rim 21 and a lid (not shown) removably affixed to the top rim 23. Each drum sidewall 22 has a radius, also referred to herein as a radius of curvature (R.sub.D).

[0024] As show in FIG. 1 the drums 20 may be stored side by side in, for example, a retail ice cream store freezer. During use the drums 20 and, in particular, the drum sidewalls 22 and drum top rims 23, can be damaged from impacts with each other and with ice cream implements. Accordingly, a spacer has been developed to address these and other problems.

[0025] FIG. 2 is a top plan view of a spacer 10. The spacer 10 has an outer periphery comprising four curved sidewalls 12 and four rectangular planar distal edge panels 24. The four distal edge panels 24 comprise two sets of opposing distal edge panels 24, wherein the opposing distal edge panels 24 face in opposite horizontal directions.

[0026] As perhaps best shown in FIG. 4, each spacer sidewall 12 has a concave outer surface 26, a bottom edge 14, a top edge 16 and two opposing straight side edges 18 extending between the bottom edge 14 and the top edge 16. Each sidewall 12 is connected to two adjacent spacer sidewalls 12 by one of the distal edge panels 24.

[0027] Referring again to FIG. 2, the intersection of a horizontal plane and any one of the sidewalls 12 describes an arc, that is, a portion of a circle, extending preferably about ninety degrees, although the arc may extend less then or more than ninety degrees. Each arc, and thus each spacer sidewall 12, has a radius of curvature (R.sub.S). Preferably the spacer is symmetrical along the two vertical planes that bisect opposing distal edge panels 24.

[0028] FIG. 3 is a side view of the spacer 10 of FIG. 2 (shown mostly in outline) and two ice cream drums 20. The spacer 10 may fit between up to four ice cream drums 20, although only two are shown in FIG. 3. The spacer 10 maintains a gap between adjacent drum sidewalls 22 and preferably between the top rims 23 of adjacent drums 20.

[0029] FIG. 4 is a perspective view of the spacer 10 of FIG. 2 and several ice cream drums 20. A fourth ice cream drum 20 may be located adjacent the exposed spacer sidewall outer surface 26 but has been left out for clarity. The spacer 10 maintains a minimal gap between the top rims 23 of adjacent drums 20.

[0030] As best shown in FIG. 4, each distal edge panel 24 of the spacer 10 extends vertically between a distal panel bottom edge 30 and a distal panel top edge 32 and horizontally between a side edge 18 of one sidewall 12 and a side edge 18 of an adjacent sidewall 12.

[0031] FIG. 5 is a top plan view of the spacer of FIG. 2 and four ice cream drums 20. The spacer 10 maintains the square packing layout of the drums 20, adds hoop strength to the top rims 23 of the drums 20, provides positive control of the spacing of the gap between the top rim 23 of the drums 20 to avoid damage to the drum top rims 23, and prevents the drums 20 from spinning during use.

[0032] Preferably the radius of curvature (R.sub.S) of the spacer sidewalls 12 is about the same as the radius of curvature (R.sub.D) of the drum sidewalls 22 so that the drums 20 fit snugly against the spacer sidewalls 12 with each container sidewall 22 contacting all or a substantial portion of a spacer sidewall 12.

[0033] The arc of the spacer sidewalls 12 and the width of the distal edge panels 24 together should be large enough to create a gap between the drum sidewalls 22 and the drum top rims 23. If the sidewall arcs are ninety degrees like that shown in FIG. 5, then the gap between drums will be approximately equal to the width of each distal edge 24.

[0034] Preferably the spacer 10 is about 6 to 9.5 inches high but shorter than the drums 20, so that the spacer top edge 16 is lower than the top rims 23 of the drums 20. However, the spacer 10 may be any suitable height, from very low (almost disc shaped) to higher than the drums 20.

[0035] The spacer sidewalls 12 may include various physical attributes or added materials to improve the contact surface with the drum sidewalls 22. For example, the spacer sidewall outer surfaces 26 may comprise friction enhancing material so that they possess a minimum level of friction suitable for preventing adjacent drums 20 from spinning.

INDUSTRIAL APPLICABILITY

[0036] Thus there has been described a spacer that fits between cylindrical containers such as the ice cream drums stored in a retail store freezer. The spacer maintains the drum layout and maintains a gap between the top rims of the drums to avoid damage to the drum top rims.

[0037] The spacer also adds hoop strength to the tops of the drums while assuring that the tops of the drums do not contact one another.

[0038] The spacer also allows neater stacking of drums in a dip freezer. The spacer makes it easier to remove drums due to their spacing, which results in better housekeeping and sanitation practices.

[0039] The spacer inhibits the drums from spinning during use. Without the spacer the user often must grab the drum with one hand while scooping ice cream with the other hand.

[0040] The spacer improves the overcall drum display, which can increase the merchantability of the ice cream stored in the drums.

[0041] The space can be made of lightweight material, such as plastic.

[0042] It is understood that the embodiments of the device described above are only particular examples which serve to illustrate the principles of the device. Modifications and alternative embodiments of the invention are contemplated which do not depart from the scope of the invention as defined by the foregoing teachings and appended claims. It is intended that the claims cover all such modifications and alternative embodiments that fall within their scope.

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