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United States Patent 3,561,668
Bergstrom February 9, 1971

SEALED PACKAGE

Abstract

A double-sealed package including a container with an inner cover member spanning its open end. An outer cover is sealed to both the container flange and the inner cover member. The method includes pressure forming the container and inner cover member, depositing a material in a container, placing the inner cover member in position, and sealing the outer cover to both the container and inner cover member.


Inventors: Bergstrom; Roger C. (Rockford, IL)
Assignee: Anderson Bros. Mfg. Co. (Rockford, IL)
Appl. No.: 04/574,451
Filed: August 23, 1966


Current U.S. Class: 229/123.1 ; 215/227; 215/232; 215/273; 220/257.1; 220/257.2; 220/359.1; 220/359.4; 229/120.32; 229/125.05; 229/125.35; 426/124; 426/396
Current International Class: B65D 51/18 (20060101); B65B 9/04 (20060101); B65B 7/00 (20060101); B65B 7/01 (20060101); B65B 9/00 (20060101); B65B 7/16 (20060101); B65B 7/28 (20060101); B65d 005/64 (); B65d 043/00 (); B65d 051/19 ()
Field of Search: 229/43,2.5 220/29,39,54 215/83 206/46 (Misc)/ 99/174

References Cited

U.S. Patent Documents
1758916 May 1930 Aulbach
2705088 March 1955 Van Blarcom
2759656 August 1956 Abrams
2880859 April 1959 Tupper
2887244 May 1959 Betner
3048299 August 1962 Hutchinson
3163311 December 1964 Stolk
3214074 October 1965 Schechter
3108708 October 1963 Betner
3344974 October 1967 Bostrom
Foreign Patent Documents
230,427 Oct., 1960 AU
Primary Examiner: Moorhead; Davis T.

Claims



I claim:

1. A sealed container comprising:

a member for receiving a product to be packaged and having a bottom, wall means extending upwardly from the bottom and having an upper end defining a plane, an outwardly projecting flange at the upper end and extending around the periphery of the wall means, said flange including an inner portion extending outwardly from the wall means and generally coplanar with the upper end of the wall means, said flange having a second portion outwardly of the inner portion and having an upper level disposed at a lever thereabove a preselected distance, said second portion defining a second plane generally parallel to the upper end of the wall means;

an inner cover for closing the upper end of the member and having a peripheral portion extending outwardly of the wall means and engaged with the inner portion of the flange, said peripheral portion having a generally uniform thickness approximating said preselected distance so that the upper level of the peripheral portion is generally coplanar with the upper level of said second flange portion; and

a flat outer cover of sheet material completely overlying the flange and the inner cover, a first peelable peripheral seal between the outer cover and the second portion of the flange outwardly of the wall means, a second peelable peripheral seal between the outer cover and the peripheral portion of the inner cover outwardly of the wall means whereby the upper surface of the inner cover is sealed from the product in said member, and the first and second seals being simultaneously peelable as the outer cover is removed.

2. A sealed container as set forth in claim 1 wherein the peripheral portion of the inner cover extends inwardly of the wall means of the member, and wherein the inner cover includes a spanning portion at least a portion of which is disposed at a level below the upper end of the wall means and extending adjacent the wall means, and an intermediate portion generally parallel to the wall means and connected to the spanning portion and the peripheral portion.

3. A sealed container as set forth in claim 1 wherein the wall means of the member tapers inwardly from the inner flange portion to the bottom so that the entire inner flange portion lies outwardly of the wall means.

4. A container which comprises, in combination, a box of a plastic material, said box including an inner flange and an outer, peripheral flange, an inner lid housed in said box, said inner lid having a peripheral flange bearing against said box inner flange, and said inner lid being adapted to be reused, an outer lid covering said inner lid and welded both to the periphery of said box outer flange and to at least part of the periphery of said peripheral flange of said inner lid bearing against said box inner flange to impede the escape of the contents of the box past said inner lid, said outer lid being adapted to be removed, on breaking the welds by which it is welded to the periphery of said box outer flange and to said peripheral flange of said inner lid, both from the box and from the inner lid.

5. A container according to claim 4 wherein said outer lid is welded to the entire periphery of said peripheral flange of said inner lid.

6. A sealed package comprising:

an outer cup comprising a bottom, a sidewall extending upwardly from said bottom and a flange extending laterally outwardly from the top of said sidewall;

an inner cup comprising a bottom, a sidewall and a flange extending laterally outwardly from the top of said sidewall, the sidewall of said inner cup being smaller than the sidewall of said outer cup and said outer cup being deeper than said inner cup so that said inner cup may be within said outer cup, and the flange of said inner cup resting on an inner portion only of the flange of said outer cup;

a commodity in said inner cup;

a commodity in the portion of the outer cup not occupied by said inner cup; and

a lid sealed to both the flange of said inner cup and the portion of said flange of said outer cup which is not covered by the flange of said inner cup.

7. A sealed package as set forth in claim 6 in which the flange of said outer cup has a recess to receive the flange of said inner cup, the depth of said recess being about the same as the thickness of the flange of said inner cup so that the respective flanges present a substantially flat surface for sealing to a flat lid.

8. A sealed package as set forth in claim 7 in which said recess is wider than the flange of said inner cup so that there is a groove between the upper surfaces of the flanges to facilitate lifting said inner cup.

9. A sealed package as set forth in claim 6 in which said lid is a substantially flat lid which is hermetically sealed to the flanges of both of said cups.

10. A sealed package as set forth in claim 6 in which the interior width of the sidewall of said outer cup is substantially the same as the exterior width of the sidewall of the inner cup so that movement between the cups is limited.
Description



This invention relates generally to packaging and more particularly to a sealed package.

It is an object of the present invention to provide a new and useful package having a dual seal.

Another object is to provide a package in accordance with the foregoing object, in which both seals are effectuated simultaneously.

Still another object is to provide a new and useful package having an inner and outer cover; which package will generally remain sealed should the outer cover be punctured.

Yet another object of the present invention is to provide a sealed package which can be reclosed and reused after the original seal has been permanently removed.

Other objects are to provide a sealed package having wide utility and good stacking characteristics, and which is easily manufactured and is highly sanitary.

These, and other objects and advantages of the present invention will become apparent as the same becomes better understood from the following detailed description of the sealed package and the steps of making the same, when taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings wherein:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a preferred embodiment of the package of the present invention and showing the outer cover partially removed;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a plurality of packages of FIG. 1 and having parts broken away for better illustration;

FIG. 3 is a longitudinal sectional view of the package of FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 is an enlarged fragmentary sectional view of another embodiment of the invention and illustrating a step of the member

FIG. 5 is an enlarged fragmentary sectional view of a hinge connection between the inner cover and cuplike member; and

FIG. 6 is a diagrammatic illustration of an apparatus for making the sealed package of the present invention.

Reference is now made more particularly to the drawings which illustrate the best presently known mode of carrying out the invention and wherein similar reference characters indicate the same parts throughout the several views.

The package of the present invention includes a cuplike member, designated generally by the numeral 20, an inner cover, generally designated 12, and an outer cover, generally designated 14. While other shapes are contemplated, the cuplike member 10 is herein illustrated as generally rectangular and has a generally flat bottom 16 and sidewalls 17--20. The sidewalls preferably slope uniformly outwardly from the bottom 16 for a purpose which will hereinafter become apparent. The upper ends of the sidewalls are preferably coplanar and define the open end of the cuplike member. An outwardly projecting flange extends outwardly around the periphery of the sidewalls and at the upper end thereof. The outwardly projecting flange includes an inner portion 22 and an outer or second portion 24 stepped above the inner portion a preselected distance. The inner portion 22 is preferably coplanar with the upper end of the sidewalls and extends a distance outwardly therefrom. The outer portion 24 has its upper face at a level above the upper face of inner portion 22 and defines a plane preferably parallel to the plane of the upper face of inner portion 22.

Inner cover 12 is preferably made of thin material and, in the embodiment illustrated, includes a spanning portion 26 extending adjacent the sidewalls 17--20 preferably at a level below the upper ends thereof. An intermediate portion in the form of walls 27--30 extend upwardly from the spanning portion 26 and are tapered outwardly generally parallel to sidewalls 17--20 of the cuplike member. In this manner, the intermediate portion or walls 27--30 add rigidity to the inner cover 12 and, because of the taper of walls 27--30, provide an advantageous self-centering action when the inner cover is placed in position and allows the inner cover to nest in the position illustrated in the drawings with walls 27--30 generally contiguous to sidewalls 17--20. A peripheral portion 32 extends outwardly from the intermediate portion and is engaged with inner portion 22 of the cuplike member 10. The upper surface of peripheral portion 32 is preferably coplanar with outer portion 24 for a purpose which will hereinafter become apparent. Thus, the thickness of peripheral portion 32, which is preferably uniform, determines the above-mentioned predetermined distance that the upper surface of outer portion 24 is above the upper surface of inner portion 22 of the flange. The reclosable inner cover advantageously has a finger grip means to aid in removal of the inner cover to provide access to a product contained in cuplike member 10 beneath the level of inner cover 12. For this purpose, an upstanding boss 34 is provided on the spanning portion 26 and rises upwardly to a level not above the level of the plane defined by peripheral portion 32. While it is contemplated that other types of finger grip means may be provided, such as an upstanding tab or a projection on the intermediate portion, the upstanding boss 34 serves to further rigidify the inner cover.

As shown in FIG. 5, peripheral portion 32 may be sealed to inner portion 22 along one side of the package, as shown at 35. This may be accomplished by heat sealing, for example, along one of the sidewalls, as sidewall 17, to effectuate a hinge connection between the inner cover 12 and cuplike member 10 adjacent that sidewall. To provide ease in hinging, a notch 36 may be provided on the upper surface of peripheral portion 32 adjacent seal 35 to define a convenient fold line. In this manner, when outer cover 14 is removed inner cover 12 may be moved upwardly as shown in phantom in FIG. 5 to provide access to the product therebelow.

Outer cover 14 is preferably a thin, flexible, flat sheet which is sealed to the outer portion 24 of cuplike member 10, as at 41 (see FIG. 3. Outer cover 14 is also preferably sealed outwardly of sidewalls 17--20, as at 42, to the upper surface of peripheral portion 32 of inner cover 12. This provides an advantageous dual seal in which the upper surface of the inner cover is sealed from leakage of any product into that area, thereby always keeping the finger grip means clean. In this manner also, an accidental piercing of the outer cover 14 does not destroy the seal of the package. If compatible thermoplastic materials are selected, seals 41 and 42 may be accomplished by heat sealing, and outer cover 14 can be a thin, clear thermoplastic, if desired. This allows the packager wide scope in that the inner cover may have printing thereon and the outer cover, being clear, provides a window for the printing. Since the outer cover is generally peeled off, as shown in FIG. 1, and discarded by the consumer, printing on the reclosable inner cover serves as a constant advertisement for the product. For peeling of the outer cover, the flange of cuplike member 10 may include a stepped-down portion (not shown) outwardly of outer portion 24 and not sealed to outer cover 14. This can provide a convenient grip for starting the peeling illustrated in FIG. 1. On the other hand, the use of thin plastic materials allows the consumer the alternative of cutting off outer portion 24 of the flange adjacent the end of peripheral portion 32 of inner cover 12. This also leaves a neat, reusable container closable by inner cover 12.

The package of the present invention, however, is not limited to compatible thermoplastic materials. As shown in the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 4, for example, if cuplike member 10 and inner cover 12 are not of compatible material, a different outer cover 14' having a thin layer of adhesive 44 may be utilized. Of course, the adhesive 44 must be compatible with the materials of cuplike member 10 and inner cover 12. Adhesive 44 may be heat sensitive or pressure sensitive and seals 45 and 46, outwardly of sidewalls 17--20, may be accomplished simultaneously by jaws A and B which may apply heat, or pressure, or both depending upon the selection of the packager. In one example of the package, there have been utilized thermoplastic materials for cuplike member 10 and inner cover 12 with outer cover 14' comprising a thin aluminum outer layer 48 having a pressure-sensitive adhesive 44 bonded thereto.

The method of making a sealed package, as contemplated by the present invention, includes forming inner cover 12 of thin material, forming cuplike member 10 with inner portion 22 of the flange shaped for receiving inner cover 12 and with second portion 24 of the flange stepped above inner portion 22 a distance approximating the thickness of inner cover 12, depositing a quantity of material to be packaged in the cuplike member, placing inner cover 12 in position engaged with inner portion 22 of the flange, supporting the inner and second portions 22 and 24 of the flange as by jaw B and thereby supporting the peripheral portion 32 of the inner cover, and pressing outer cover 14 against the supported second portion 24 of the flange and peripheral portion 32 of the inner cover as by jaw A, and thereby simultaneously sealing the outer cover thereto outwardly of the walls 17--20.

An apparatus for making the sealed package of the present invention and performing the steps of the method is diagrammatically illustrated in FIG. 6. A roll 60 of thermoplastic material is supported adjacent one end of the apparatus. A web 61 is advance longitudinally of the apparatus past successive stations. Heating heads 62 and 63 heat the web 61 so that it may be formed into the shape desired. At the next station, cuplike member 10 is pressure formed in web 61 by mandrel 64 adjacent one side of the web and pressure adjacent the other side. It is contemplated that vacuum forming may also be utilized and the term "pressure formed" should be taken as including both pressure and vacuum forming. Mandrel 64 moves in the direction of arrows 65 between a forming position generally contiguous to the web and a second position (shown in dashed lines) removed from the web so that the web may be intermittently advanced. Web advancement is accomplished by gripper 66 which is reciprocated by piston 67 in the direction of arrows 68. At a third station, a preselected quantity of product P is dispensed into the cuplike member 10. Simultaneously, a second roll of thermoplastic material 70 is supported on the machine and a web 71 withdrawn therefrom. In similar fashion, the web 71 is heated by heating members 72 and 73, and inner cover 12 is pressure formed by mandrel 74. The web is advanced to a cutting station where cutters 75 accurately cut the inner cover 12 to its required shape. The inner covers 12 are gripped by reciprocating head 76 which deposits the inner cover on the cuplike members 10 which have been filled with product P. The inclined walls of the cuplike member 10 and inner cover 12 provide a centering action whereby the inner cover is easily positioned during this operation. A third roll, comprising an outer cover material 80 of any desired type as described above, is supported on the apparatus and a thin, flexible sheet 81 is withdrawn from the roll. The sheet is positioned above the web 61 and the covers 12. Portions 22 and 24 of the flange are supported outwardly of sidewalls 17--20 by jaw B, and an upper jaw A presses the thin, flexible sheet 81 against the flange and inner cover to simultaneously effect the double seal of outer cover 14 as described above. Both jaws are reciprocal in the direction of arrows 82. At this point, a plurality of dual-sealed packages is interconnected in a continuous web as illustrated in FIG. 2. The web of sealed packages is advanced to another station 84 where the packages are cut from the web as illustrated in FIG. 2. The web of sealed packages is advanced to another station 84 where the packages are cut from the web by cutters 85 and 86. The completed packages are deposited on a conveyor 88, and the waste portion of the web is fed out of the machine and conveniently cut into small waste sections by cutters as at 89. Cutting station 84 cuts the continuous web at trim lines designated at 91 in FIG. 2. Preferably, this trim line is inside of the outer extremity of the seal effectuated by jaws A and B to insure that the seal between cover 14 and outer portion 24 of the flange extends entirely to the edge, as illustrated in FIG. 4. This provides a very neat package with no loose outer cover unless a peel portion is desired as described above.

With the inner cover sealed to the outer cover, as described above, there will be no fog condition on the outer cover, and any printing on the inner cover 12 will not be concealed thereby. Additionally, by sealing the thin, flexible sheet 81 to the continuous web 61 containing cuplike members 10, the cutting of the sealed sheet and web is performed simultaneously, thereby providing an easy way to cut a very thin outer cover sheet. In an alternate use, it is contemplated that another product (not shown) may be packaged between the outer cover 14 and inner cover 12, if desired. By utilizing thermoplastic materials and heating them immediately prior to use, a very sanitary package is provided since the various sheets of material are sterilized immediately before use. Additionally, in an apparatus of this nature, the inner cover 12 can be date-coded during the forming operation, if desired.

It is deemed obvious that various shapes of packages can be made within the scope of the present invention and that multicompartment packages can be utilized, if desired.

The invention in its broader aspects is not limited to the specific steps and products shown and described, but departures may be made therefrom within the scope of the accompanying claims without departing from the principles of the invention and without sacrificing its chief advantages.

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