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United States Patent 3,908,864
Capper September 30, 1975

Container for bulk liquids such as milk

Abstract

A container for the handling and dispensing of bulk liquids, such as milk, consists of a primary single service flexible plastic bag with dispensing tube, a single service semi-rigid protective cover for the primary bag which is foldable into a box-like configuration from an initially flat blank, and a reusable carrying and utilization case which is rigid and durable in construction and of a size to receive the folded protective cover snugly so that the shape of the latter will be maintained without the use of tape, staples or sealants. The reusable carrying and utilization case includes a removable reusable closure element for the normally open side of the case which assures that the folded protective cover will be stabilized during use and during up-ending of the container for placement into a dispensing cabinet or machine.


Inventors: Capper; Max V. (Isle of Palms, SC)
Appl. No.: 05/076,371
Filed: September 28, 1970


Current U.S. Class: 222/105
Current International Class: B65D 77/06 (20060101); B65d 035/56 ()
Field of Search: 220/97A 222/183,105,185,325,386.5 229/14B,14BA,14BL,51D

References Cited

U.S. Patent Documents
2228787 January 1941 Snyder
2239483 April 1941 Cocks
2698249 December 1954 Fisher
2888179 May 1959 Daggett
2981443 April 1961 Baldwin
3086683 April 1963 Loper
3108732 October 1963 Curie et al.
3119544 January 1964 Cope et al.
3143249 August 1964 Merrill et al.
3160326 December 1964 Sturderant et al.
3191810 June 1965 Johnston
3448897 June 1969 Sterling
3696969 October 1972 Van et al.
Primary Examiner: Tollberg; Stanley H.
Assistant Examiner: Stack, Jr.; Norman L.
Attorney, Agent or Firm: Fishburne, Jr.; B. P.

Claims



I claim:

1. A container for storing, transporting and dispensing beverages comprising an exterior substantially rigid rectangular case having one open side, said case being of a shape and size to fit conveniently inside of a refrigerated beverage dispensing cabinet and said case being readily portable, an intermediate stiff protective liner in the form of an initially flat foldable sheet material blank which is erectable by folding into a rectangular box-like form which is not self-supporting in the erected condition, the erected box-like liner being bodily insertable into said exterior rigid case in closely confined relationship therein so that the rigid case forms the means of maintaining said liner in the erected box-like form and prevents the liner from collapsing into its original flat form, said erected liner having a hinged closure portion at one side thereof, a thin-walled highly flexible bag for holding a beverage without leakage insertable bodily into the erected liner prior to closing the hinged closure portion, whereby said bag is fully enclosed and protected by the liner following the closing of said closure portion, a liquid filling and discharging tube extension on said bag, said erected liner and said case having alignable opening means through which said tube extension is extended to the exterior of the container during the use thereof for dispensing the beverage, said tube extension being retractable to lie entirely inside of the liner during usage of the container for storing and transporting the beverage, and a readily separable and removable closure panel for the open side of the exterior rigid case and spanning the erected liner therein and preventing dislodging of the liner from the case prematurely or collapsing of the liner to its flat form, the liner with an empty bag therein being readily removable from said open side of the case for disposal after a single usage with the liner returned to its flat form.

2. The structure as defined by claim 1, and said exterior rigid case formed from substantially rigid wire, and said stiff protective liner formed of cardboard.

3. The structure of claim 2, and said wire case having a marginal rim around its open side, and said closure panel also constructed of rigid wire and including arms which interlock removably under said rim.
Description



Great strides have been made in recent years in the development of both single service and reusable containers for bulk liquids, such as milk. The single service type bulk liquid containers have come to the forefront mainly because of aseptic or sanitary capabilities as contrasted to reusable containers of various sorts. Nevertheless, the presently used single service containers have certain weaknesses and are not fully satisfactory from the standpoint of economy, convenience of use, storability and disposability and for these, and other, reasons they have not yet been adopted universally.

The objective of the present invention, therefore, is to provide a completely satisfactory container for bulk liquids which is free of the deficiencies found in former single use types and reusable types. The present container employs a primary single use flexible plastic bag with sealed dispensing tube for maximum sanitation. It employs an initially flat semi-rigid single service protective cover for the bag which folds readily into a box-like configuration and does not require taping, stapling or other securing means. Both the bag and the protective cover are easy to dispose of after usage in substantially flat or knock-down conditions of minimum bulk. Spillage and wastage of the liquid is almost completely eliminated. Finally, the container features an exterior rigid reusable carrying and utilization case which maintains the folded configuration of the single use folded protective cover and prevents the latter from springing open in any position or during any type of manipulation of the total container assembly, for example, while up-ending the container for placement in a refrigerated cabinet or dispensing machine. The overall container assembly can be sized and shaped so that two or more units may be placed side-by-side in a conventional dispenser and each container can be manufactured to hold a desired volume of liquid, such as 3, 5, 6 or 7 gallons. It is believed that the container provides the ultimate in convenience, economy and sanitation. The container has the ability to be stacked with like containers and possesses other improvement features which will be brought to light during the course of the following detailed description.

The invention has particular utility and benefits for dining halls at military installations, colleges and the like. These benefits include the inherent sanitary aspects of a single service container with no exposure of the milk to air or contamination of the milk with some other outside substance. The milk or other liquid will be kept colder due to the provision for circulation of air around the entire container and the lesser insulating qualities of paper. Dining hall personnel will become more conscious of wasted milk with the provision of a sight opening in the container. Storing is greatly improved due to the stackability of the containers, thereby saving floor space and enhancing overall economy. As the container is universally adopted, there will be a significantly lower milk cost due to lower packaging cost. The disposal or trash problem is greatly lessened over conventional containers since the cardboard protective cover can be prepared for the trash substantially flat and the plastic bag can be placed directly in the garbage.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWING FIGURES

FIG. 1 is a plan view of a semi-rigid single service protective cover in the initially flat blank form prior to folding.

FIG. 2 is a perspective view showing the folding of the protective cover into a box-like form and the placement thereof into a reusable rigid utilization case, the single service flexible primary bag also being illustrated in the protective cover.

FIG. 3 is a further perspective view of the container assembly after filling of the primary bag with liquid and closing of the protective cover.

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of a stack of the containers as they would appear in storage.

FIG. 5 is a partly diagrammatic front elevational view showing a pair of the containers up-ended for use in a dispensing cabinet with the reusable closure or holding device in place on each container.

FIG. 6 is an enlarged perspective view of a container shown in the general use up-ended position which it would assume during placement into a dispensing cabinet.

FIG. 7 is an enlarged fragmentary cross section taken on line 7--7 of FIG. 6.

FIG. 8 is an exploded perspective view of the reusable case and holding device.

FIG. 9 is a cross sectional view through the container in the use position taken on line 9--9 of FIG. 6.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Referring to the drawings in detail wherein like numerals designate like parts, referring first to FIG. 1, a semi-rigid single use protective cover liner for the primary plastic bag, to be described, is indicated by the numeral 20. This protective cover may be formed as an initially flat blank of corrugated paper, fiberboard, plastic sheeting or the like in the configuration shown in FIG. 1. The flat blank is generally rectangular and is scored or otherwise conventionally treated to produce transverse folding lines 21 and longitudinal folding lines 22 thereon. These folding lines which are perpendicular form the margins of primary sides or panels 23 which are elongated and rectangular. A narrow tapered end flap 24 is provided on one end of the blank, as shown, as well as side flaps 25 and 26 along opposite sides of the blank separated by cuts or slits 27, as indicated. For a purpose to be described, a pair of the side flaps 26 on one side of the blank is provided with rectangular notches 28.

The flat blank is readily foldable on the lines 21 and 22 to produce the rectangular box-like protective cover in the erected form shown in FIG. 2 as it is being introduced into a rigid reusable utilization case, yet to be described. The disposition of the various panels 23, flaps 25 and 26, and other components, is readily apparent in FIG. 2. The folded and erected protective cover 20 requires no stapling, taping or bonding since it is maintained in the erected condition by the rigid case into which it fits snugly. It may be mentioned here that in the rectangular panel 23 carrying the flap 24 two parallel score lines 29 are provided in closely spaced relation to provide for the formation of an elongated sight opening or slot 30 in the completed container, FIG. 6, formed by the tearing away of the material enclosed between these two score lines. Portions of the same panel 23 and one adjacent flap 25 are similarly scored along shorter divergent lines 31 to provide for the formation of a flap 32 in the front wall of the container at the bottom thereof in the use position, FIG. 6. These elements will be further discussed.

A primary single service flexible plastic bag 33 of a conventional type adapted to hold from three to seven gallons of milk is shown in FIG. 2 as it will be placed into the protective cover 20 prior to filling with milk and closing the panel 23 with flaps 24 and 25. As is well known, the bag is provided with a nipple or fitting 34 and a dispensing tube 35 plugs into this nipple after the bag is filled with milk or other liquid. The free end of the tube 35 is sealed at 36 and remains closed until the seal is cut off after placement of the container into a dispensing cabinet. The bag 33 is preferably filled after placement in the erected cover 20 but it may be prefilled and then placed into the protective cover.

In any event, referring to FIGS. 2 and 3, the erected semi-rigid protective cover 20 will be slipped into the exterior rigid reusable utilization case 37, while the upper panel or flap 23 remains open, as shown. The bag 33 is then introduced into the protective cover 20 and filled and the nipple 34 and sealed tube 35 are tucked inside in the region of the notches 28 which now register at the tube end of the assembly, FIG. 2. The end flaps 25 are folded downwardly as is the narrow flap 24 and the cover panel 23 is closed so that the entire rectangular box-like protective cover 20 with the filled bag 33 inside of it is disposed within the confines of the reusable case 37, FIG. 3. The flaps 24 and 25 will engage between the walls of the protective cover 20 and the opposing walls of the rigid case 37. As shown in FIG. 3, the top panel 23 is spaced slightly below the open top of the case 37 defined by a continuous marginal rim 38.

As best shown in FIG. 8, the reusable rigid utilization case 37 is constructed of heavy wire, and in addition to the top rim 38 includes suitable corner posts 39, a desirable number of intermediate reinforcing rims or frames 40, and a plurality of crossing intersecting side right angular wires 41. The case 37 further embodies a bottom marginal rim or frame 42 having secured thereto a bottom gridwork of wires or rods 43 constituting the rigid bottom of the case. All of the metal elements which make up the case are secured integrally by welding and the details of construction are not important to the invention. In any event, the case 37 will be sturdy, rigid and durable, easy to clean as by steaming, and long-lasting during rugged usage. Below the bottom gridwork 43 and rim 42, shown upwardly in FIG. 9, a reduced width and length rectangular stacking frame 44 of rigid construction is welded to the bottom of the case to facilitate nesting or stacking within the tops of identical utilization cases. In this regard, FIG. 4 of the drawings illustrates the stacking of the filled bulk liquid containers prior to usage and prior to withdrawing the dispensing tubes 35 or otherwise opening the containers. The containers can be stacked to any reasonable height with the stacking frame 44 on the bottom of each case 37 fitting inside of the open top of the next underlying case as defined by the rim 38. The top wall of the protective cover 20 is sufficiently below the rim 38 to allow the entrance of stacking frame 44 without the latter contacting the protective cover.

When it is desired to take a container from the storage stack in FIG. 4 and place it in a conventional refrigerated dispensing cabinet 45 shown diagrammatically in broken lines in FIG. 5, it is necessary to up-end the assembled container so that the end possessing the tube 35 and the flap 32 will be lowermost, FIGS. 5 and 6. FIG. 5 actually shows a dispenser which accommodates two of the bulk storage containers of the invention and naturally this arrangement may vary depending upon installation facilities. Before the composite container is up-ended for placement inside of the cabinet 45, a reusable holding or securing element 46 in the form of a rigid wire grid is placed across the open forward side of the reusable case 37. This holding or securing grid includes a rectangular body portion 47 and a pair of projecting arms 48 rigid therewith and secured thereto by welding. The opposite ends of the arms 48 are provided with short hook-like projections 49 readily engageable beneath the sides of the open marginal rim or frame 38. The holder 46 lies flat against the forward panel 23 of the semi-rigid protective cover 20 and assures that this folded cover cannot open and the cover with the filled bag therein cannot be displaced from the utilization case 37 during usage. The holder 46 need only be employed when the container is in the up-ended use position and therefore an installation which employs two of the containers according to the invention will require only two of the holders 46 and these may be employed with any number of the assembled containers as depicted in FIGS. 3 and 4. That is to say, it is unnecessary for the user to stock a holder 46 for every container in storage or on order.

Prior to placement of the holder 46 into position, FIGS. 5 and 6, and prior to the final positioning of the complete container in the cabinet 45, the sight opening 30 is produced by tearing out the material bounded by the score lines 29, as stated. Also, at this time, the flap 32 is torn open along the score lines 31 and as shown a portion of this flap lies in the plane of the panel 23 while an end tab portion 50, FIG. 6, lies in the plane of the flap 25 so as to produce an approximately semi-circular notch 51, FIG. 7, in this flap 25 when torn out. FIG. 7 shows how the conventional nipple 34 or fitting interlocks slidably with the notch or slot 51 in the flap 25 produced by the lifting or tearing of the elements 32 and 50. The notches 28 will lie rearwardly of the fitting 34 to accommodate an inward flange 52 thereof and the adjacent neck portion of the single service bag 33. The notch 51 maintains the nipple or fitting 34 securely in the vertical use position and the dispensing tube 35 projects downwardly therefrom for gravity feeding, as shown in FIGS. 5 and 6. As is well known, the sealed end 36 of the tube 35 is merely cut off to release the milk and some conventional form of pinch valve of the like is employed on the dispenser cabinet to open and close the tube for dispensing the milk or other liquid. At all times, the level of the milk within the container may be observed through the sight opening or slot 30 which extends substantially to the bottom of the container, the bag 33 being transparent or semi-transparent.

When the contents of the container is exhausted, it is merely necessary to remove the entire container assembly from the dispensing cabinet 45 and replace it by a new container from storage. The holder 46 is transferred from the empty container to the new container. The protective cover 20 of the empty container is removed from the reusable case 37 and the empty bag 33 is removed. The empty bag is conveniently dropped intact into a garbage can and all wastage and spillage should be completely avoided by the proper use of the invention. The semi-rigid cover 20 is unfolded either to a completely flat condition, or perhaps folded in two and this element can be discarded in the trash alone or with other like covers in a non-bulky condition. This is a great advantage in the disposal operation over conventional stapled or taped boxes which are rarely discarded in a crushed or knock-down state.

The invention provides a very economical and efficient container for bulk liquids particularly milk. As explained fully, the container embodies two single service components, namely the primary bag 33 and the semi-rigid foldable protective cover 20 for this bag which maintains the proper shape of the filled bag. Two reusable sturdy components are included, namely the rigid utilization case 37 and the holder 36, as explained. The case 37 is employed in the lifting, transporting and storage of the contents as well as during use in the dispenser. The utmost sanitation and convenience are provided by the container. Spilling and wasting of milk are completely eliminated and the disposal of the single service components is rendered much more efficient. The various advantages of the container over the prior art should be readily apparent to those skilled in the art without the necessity for any further description herein.

It is to be understood that the form of the invention herewith shown and described is to be taken as a preferred example of the same, and that various changes in the shape, size and arrangement of parts may be resorted to, without departing from the spirit of the invention or scope of the subjoined claims.

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