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Número de publicaciónUS20030168503 A1
Tipo de publicaciónSolicitud
Número de solicitudUS 10/384,033
Fecha de publicación11 Sep 2003
Fecha de presentación7 Mar 2003
Fecha de prioridad7 Mar 2002
Número de publicación10384033, 384033, US 2003/0168503 A1, US 2003/168503 A1, US 20030168503 A1, US 20030168503A1, US 2003168503 A1, US 2003168503A1, US-A1-20030168503, US-A1-2003168503, US2003/0168503A1, US2003/168503A1, US20030168503 A1, US20030168503A1, US2003168503 A1, US2003168503A1
InventoresPeter Collura
Cesionario originalCollura Peter C.
Exportar citaBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
Enlaces externos: USPTO, Cesión de USPTO, Espacenet
Multiple container carrier
US 20030168503 A1
Resumen
The beverage container apparatus utilizes die cut positioning points, which are mechanically engaged to assist accurate location of a two piece package, when joined on an automatic folder/gluer. A six fold top includes four flaps in the top four corners. A horizontal score line is located at the base of each flap, so that the flaps may be reverse folded approximately 90 degrees, allowing adhesive applicator to access the upper region of the partially closed end panels. The center gusset flap crease is slightly offset, to allow a pulling action forcing a tight closure of the flap against the unglued portion of the final closure. The flaps are designed to match up with the end wall alignment, when closed. The six-fold bottom has relief edges cut on both long panels. This assists accurate location of both panels. A die cut paper handle patch, or other separate and integrated handle options are included, which provides improved tear strength. Printed end and top panels are seamless, avoiding the problem of matching the top and bottom graphics. The diagonal grain direction of the bottle beverage carrier top portion, offers balanced tear strength in critical areas, and compliments broad caliper reduction. Seamless end flaps provide more positive and secure adhesive end closure.
Imágenes(14)
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Reclamaciones(20)
What is claimed is:
1. A container carrier assembly suitable for folding into a container carrier apparatus for carrying a plurality of containers, the container carrier assembly comprising:
a cover portion having an exterior surface and an interior surface, the cover portion including
a top portion having a handle;
a first cover side connected to the top portion, the first cover side having first and second cover flaps extending therefrom;
a second cover side connected to the top portion;
a third cover side connected to the top portion, the third cover side having third and fourth cover flaps extending therefrom;
a fourth cover side 60 connected to the top portion;
a bottom portion having an exterior surface and an interior surface, the bottom portion including
a base portion;
a first bottom side connected to the base portion, the first bottom side having first and second bottom flaps extending therefrom, a portion of the exterior surface of the first bottom side attached to a portion of the interiors surface of the third cover side;
a second bottom side connected to the base portion;
a third bottom side connected to the base portion, the third bottom side having third and fourth bottom flaps extending therefrom, a portion of the exterior surface of the third bottom side attached to a portion of the interiors surface of the first cover side; and
a fourth bottom side connected to the base portion.
2. The container carrier assembly of claim 1 wherein the bottom portion further includes a handle reinforcement strip releasable attached to the third bottom side, the handle reinforcement strip further attached to the interior surface of the handle.
3. The container carrier assembly of claim 1 wherein the bottom portion further includes a doubler strip foldably retained to the handle reinforcement strip, the doubler strip folded and attached to the handle reinforcement strip to form a three-ply handle configuration.
4. The container carrier assembly of claim 1 wherein the cover portion further has a grain direction oriented approximately 40°-50° to the long axis of the handle.
5. The container carrier assembly of claim 1 wherein the bottom portion comprises a material having a thickness greater than the material forming the cover portion.
6. The container carrier assembly of claim 5 wherein the bottom portion has a thickness of approximately 0.026 inch and the cover portion has a thickness of approximately 0.020 inch.
7. The container carrier assembly of claim 1 wherein the bottom portion comprises at least one relief edge on at least one of the bottom sides.
8. The container carrier assembly of claim 1 further comprising at least one positioning notch on at least one of the cover flaps and the bottom flaps.
9. The container carrier assembly of claim 1 further comprising at least one panel attached to at least one of the cover sides.
10. The container carrier assembly of claim 1 further comprising at least one gusset attached between at least one of the cover sides and at least one of the cover flaps.
11. The container carrier assembly of claim 1 further comprising a positioning notch on the third cover side and a corresponding positioning notch on the first bottom side.
12. The container carrier assembly of claim 1 further comprising a slot on the fourth bottom side, the slot configured to allow insertion of the fourth cover side.
13. A container carrier apparatus suitable for holding and carrying a plurality of containers, the carrier apparatus comprising:
a cover portion having an exterior surface and an interior surface, the cover portion including
a top portion having a handle;
a first cover side connected to the top portion, the first cover side having first and second cover flaps extending therefrom;
a second cover side connected to the top portion;
a third cover side connected to the top portion, the third cover side having third and fourth cover flaps extending therefrom;
a fourth cover side 60 connected to the top portion;
a bottom portion having an exterior surface and an interior surface, the bottom portion including
a base portion;
a first bottom side connected to the base portion, the first bottom side having first and second bottom flaps extending therefrom;
a second bottom side connected to the base portion;
a third bottom side connected to the base portion, the third bottom side having third and fourth bottom flaps extending therefrom;
a fourth bottom side connected to the base portion; and
attachment means for attaching a portion of the first bottom side exterior surface to a portion of the third cover side interior surface, for attaching a portion of the second bottom side exterior surface to a portion of the second cover side interior surface, for attaching a portion of the third bottom side exterior surface to a portion of the first cover side interior surface, and for attaching a portion of the fourth bottom side exterior surface to a portion of the fourth cover side interior surface.
14. The container carrier apparatus of claim 13 further comprising attachment means for attaching a portion the exterior surface of the cover flaps and the bottom flaps to corresponding interior surfaces of the cover sides and the bottom sides.
15. The container carrier apparatus of claim 13 wherein the attachment means comprises adhesive, glue, or a bonding method.
16. The container carrier apparatus of claim 13 wherein the cover portion further includes a handle reinforcement strip and a doubler strip attached to the interior surface of the handle such that a three-ply handle is formed.
17. The container carrier apparatus of claim 13 further comprising a backing board attached to the interior surface of the handle.
18. The container carrier apparatus of claim 17 wherein the backing board includes a pair of cutouts.
19. The container carrier apparatus of claim 17 wherein the backing board includes a flexible strap.
20. A method of fabricating a container carrier apparatus, said method comprising the steps of:
obtaining a cover portion having an exterior surface and an interior surface, the cover portion including a top portion having a handle, a first cover side connected to the top portion, the first cover side having first and second cover flaps extending therefrom, a second cover side connected to the top portion, a third cover side connected to the top portion, the third cover side having third and fourth cover flaps extending therefrom, a fourth cover side 60 connected to the top portion;
obtaining a bottom portion having an exterior surface and an interior surface, the bottom portion including a base portion, a first bottom side connected to the base portion, the first bottom side having first and second bottom flaps extending therefrom, a second bottom side connected to the base portion, a third bottom side connected to the base portion, the third bottom side having third and fourth bottom flaps extending therefrom, the third bottom side further having a handle reinforcement strip and a doubler strip, a fourth bottom side connected to the base portion;
attaching a portion of the first bottom side exterior surface to a portion of the third cover side interior surface, a portion of the second bottom side exterior surface to a portion of the second cover side interior surface, a portion of the third bottom side exterior surface to a portion of the first cover side interior surface, and a portion of the fourth bottom side exterior surface to a portion of the fourth cover side interior surface; and
attaching the handle reinforcement strip and the doubler strip to the interior of the handle so as to form a three-ply handle assembly.
Descripción
    FIELD OF THE INVENTION
  • [0001]
    The present invention relates to foldable blanks for forming a multiple container carrier apparatus and to a process and method for assembling the container carrier apparatus from a combination of two foldable blanks and a separate or integrated handle assembly.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • [0002]
    Container carriers are known in the present state of the art and often adapted for carrying multiple beverage bottles or cans. Such container carriers are typically formed of plastic, cardboard, or other such materials. However, it remains a goal in the relevant art to develop a beverage carrier or other such container carrier apparatus which is aesthetic in appearance, provides a strong and convenient carrying handle, and is capable of supporting the required load while being easier and less expensive to manufacture than presently-available multiple container carriers.
  • [0003]
    For example, U.S. Pat. No. 6,237,839 issuing to William L. Brown on May 29, 2001 discloses a paper board box for transporting beverages, utilizing a single piece construction having a handle on top. U.S. Pat. No. 6,131,803 issuing to James Oliff et al. on Oct. 17, 2000 discloses a beverage can carrying box utilizing a single piece construction with a handle. U.S. Pat. No. 6,065,590 issuing to Raymond R. Spivey on May 23, 2000 discloses a bottle carrier utilizing one piece construction, having an attached strap for a handle. U.S. Pat. No. 5,931,300 issuing to Robert L. Sutherland on Aug. 3, 1999 discloses a beverage can carrier of one piece construction, with holes in the top serving as a handle.
  • [0004]
    Another design approach is taught in U.S. Pat. No. 5,897,051 issuing to Sylvain Tessier et al. on Apr. 27, 1999 discloses a beverage carrier utilizing two-piece construction with a bar type handle on top. U.S. Pat. No. 5,609,251 issuing to Randall L. Harris on Mar. 11, 1997 discloses a two-piece box, with the bottom piece doubling as a display tray. U.S. Pat. No. 5,505,364 issuing to Boris Plesinger on Apr. 9, 1996 discloses a two-piece box having a two piece box with a bottom display piece and a top lid portion.
  • [0005]
    U.S. Pat. No. 5,495,943 issuing to Patrick Bienaime on Mar. 5, 1996 discloses a beverage bottle container using a first blank for the bottom, sides and small flaps and a second blank for the top and other two sides, with four perforated holes to serve as a handle. U.S. Pat. No. 4,915,218 issuing to Elmoe Crouch et al. on Apr. 10, 1990 discloses a beverage carrier utilizing a first blank for the sides and bottom and a second top blank internally connects to the sides. A handle is also provided. U.S. Pat. No. 4,871,067 issuing to Dante Valenti on Oct. 3, 1989 discloses a beverage carrier having two blanks, each blank forms three sides of a box with flaps to connect the flaps together at assembly. U.S. Pat. No. 4,869,424 issuing to Prentice J. Wood on Sept. 26, 1989 discloses a beverage carrier utilizing a first blank forming a bottom and two sides, and a second blank forming a top and the remaining two sides.
  • [0006]
    U.S. Pat. No. 4,848,651 issuing to Thomas S. Hartness on Jul. 18, 1989 discloses a beverage carrier having a lid type blank utilizing flaps to secure to a rigid base portion. U.S. Pat. No. 4,383,636 issuing to John M. Chaffers on May 17, 1983 discloses a beverage carrier having a first blank forming the bottom and sides, and a second blank forming the top and attaching side flaps. U.S. Pat. No. 3,910,483 issuing to Dale L. Ritter on Oct. 7, 1975 discloses a two piece box cut from two separate blanks. U.S. Pat. No. 3,815,808 issuing to Arthur Bunnell on Jun. 11, 1974 discloses a two piece box having a first blank forming a bottom and two sides, and a second blank forming a top and two sides.
  • [0007]
    U.S. Pat. No. 3,810,573 issuing to Lee E. Russell on May 4, 1974 discloses a beverage container having a first blank with bottom and sides, and a second blank forming a top with flaps that secure to the sides. U.S. Pat. No. 3,743,167 issuing to Lee E. Russell on Jul. 3, 1973 discloses a beverage carrier with a first blank forming the bottom and sides, and a second blank forming a top with flaps to secure to the sides. As can thus be appreciated, the beverage and packaging industries are continually seeking more cost-effective bottle beverage packages while retaining the consumer-friendly features of the present beverage package.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • [0008]
    A container carrier apparatus is disclosed which is relatively strong, inexpensive to manufacture, aesthetic in appearance, and easy to assemble. The container carrier apparatus includes a cover portion and a bottom portion, where the cover portion includes a top portion having a handle, four cover sides connected to the top portion where two cover sides include cover flaps, and where the bottom portion includes a base portion and four bottom sides connected to the base portion, where two bottom sides include bottom flaps. Each of the bottom sides is attached to a corresponding cover side. The container carrier apparatus provides a strong, convenient handle while reducing paper board costs and improving manufacturing costs when compared container carriers fabricated in accordance with the present state of the art. The container carrier apparatus retains the size and shape demanded by the marketing needs of the container industry and improves packaging line production at the container manufacturing location.
  • [0009]
    In particular, the disclosed container carrier apparatus utilizes die-cut positioning points which are mechanically engaged to assist accurate location of a two-piece package when joined on an automatic folder/gluer. Four-fold and six-fold embodiments are disclosed, where the six fold embodiment also includes four gussets proximate the top four corners. A fold line is located in each end flap, enabling a reverse fold to allow adhesive to be applied to the upper region of the partially closed end panels. A center flap crease is slightly offset, to allow a pulling action forcing a tight closure of the end flap against the unglued portion of the final closure. The six-fold embodiment utilizes relief edges to assist in accurate location of the cover and the bottom. A die cut handle or pre-assembled handle patch provides second ply tear strength, for an alternative handle design. Printed end and top panels are seamless, avoiding the problem of matching cover and bottom graphics. The diagonal grain direction of the bottle beverage carrier cover offers balanced tear strength in critical areas and compliments board caliper reduction. Seamless end flaps provide more positive and secure adhesive end closure. Each of the cover and bottom blanks is preferably formed as a die cut sheet, which is then accurately joined by adhesive applied to designated locations, and then folded to form a collapsed (i.e., unfolded) container carrier apparatus. The unfolded container carrier apparatus can be delivered to the container manufacturing location in the collapsed state and unfolded to allow insertion of containers as needed.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0010]
    Other objects and advantages of the present invention will be more readily apparent from the following detailed description when read in conjunction with the accompanying drawings in which:
  • [0011]
    [0011]FIG. 1 is a perspective diagrammatical view of an assembled and folded container carrier apparatus including a cover portion with a handle and a bottom portion, in accordance with the present invention;
  • [0012]
    [0012]FIG. 2 is a view of the exterior surface of a first embodiment of an unfolded cover portion of the container carrier apparatus of FIG. 1;
  • [0013]
    [0013]FIG. 3 is a view of the exterior surface of an unfolded bottom portion of the container carrier apparatus of FIG. 1;
  • [0014]
    [0014]FIG. 4 is a view of exterior surfaces of the unfolded cover portion of FIG. 2 attached to the unfolded bottom portion of FIG. 3;
  • [0015]
    [0015]FIG. 5 is a view of the exterior surface of the cover portion and the bottom portion of FIG. 4 folded into an unassembled first embodiment of the container carrier apparatus of FIG. 1;
  • [0016]
    [0016]FIG. 6 is a view of the exterior surface of a second embodiment of an unfolded cover portion of the container carrier apparatus of FIG. 1;
  • [0017]
    [0017]FIG. 7 is a view of the exterior surface of a third embodiment of an unfolded cover portion of the container carrier apparatus of FIG. 1;
  • [0018]
    [0018]FIG. 8 is a view of the exterior surface of the cover portion of FIG. 7 and the bottom portion of FIG. 4 folded into an unassembled second embodiment of the container carrier apparatus of FIG. 1;
  • [0019]
    [0019]FIG. 9 is a detail view of positioning notches used in the assembly of the cover portion of FIG. 2 to the bottom portion of FIG. 3;
  • [0020]
    [0020]FIG. 10 is a view of an alternative embodiment of the bottom portion of FIG. 3 including a handle reinforcement strip;
  • [0021]
    [0021]FIG. 11 is an alternative embodiment of the cover portion and the bottom portion of FIG. 5;
  • [0022]
    [0022]FIG. 12 is cross-sectional view of the handle and handle reinforcement strip of FIG. 11;
  • [0023]
    [0023]FIG. 13 is a second embodiment of the handle of FIG. 1;
  • [0024]
    [0024]FIG. 14 is a third embodiment of the handle of FIG. 1;
  • [0025]
    [0025]FIG. 15 is a fourth embodiment of the handle of FIG. 1; and
  • [0026]
    [0026]FIG. 16 is an alternative method of assembling the container carrier apparatus of FIG. 1.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
  • [0027]
    There is shown in FIG. 1 a container carrier apparatus 10, including a cover portion 20 and a bottom portion 70. The container carrier apparatus 10 is typically used to hold and transport containers (not shown) within the volume interior to the cover portion 20 and the bottom portion 70. Parts of the exterior surfaces of the cover portion 20 and the bottom portion 70 are visible in the illustration, while the interior surfaces of the cover portion 20 and the bottom portion 70 form the inside of the container carrier apparatus 10 and are, accordingly, hidden from view. The container carrier apparatus 10 is shown in an assembled and folded state with the exception that a fourth cover side 60 is shown detached and positioned away from the bottom portion 70 for clarity of illustration. An integral handle 16, or other handle as described in greater detail below, is provided in a top portion 29 of the cover portion 20. In a preferred embodiment, the assembled and folded container carrier apparatus 10 is configured to enclose and retain multiple containers, for example, as many as twelve cans or bottles containing a beverage or other product.
  • [0028]
    [0028]FIG. 2 shows the exterior surface of the cover portion 20 in a flat, unfolded configuration, here including a flexible carrying strap 18, which is an alternative handle embodiment. The cover portion 20 comprises the top portion 29 and, extending therefrom, a first cover side 30, a second cover side 40, a third cover side 50, and the fourth cover side 60. A first cover flap 32 and a second cover flap 34 extend from opposite ends of the first cover side 30. A third cover flap 52 and a fourth cover flap 54 extend from opposite ends of the third cover side 50.
  • [0029]
    The cover portion 20 includes scored crease lines 84 a-d to induce predetermined creasing in the cover portion 20 when the container carrier apparatus 10 is lifted by the flexible strap 18. The cover portion 20 also includes scored cover side fold lines 85 a-d to facilitate downward bending of the first cover side 30, the second cover side 40, the third cover side 50, and the fourth cover side 60 respectively to form the container carrier apparatus 10, as described in greater detail below. The cover portion 20 further includes scored cover flap fold lines 85 e-h to facilitate inward bending of the first cover flap 32, the second cover flap 34, the third cover flap 52, and the fourth cover flap 54 respectively to form the container carrier apparatus 10. The cover portion 20 is fabricated from a sturdy flexible material, such as paper or cardboard, preferably having a grain direction 81 oriented approximately 40°-50° to any one of the cover side fold lines 85 a-d or to the long axis of the handle 18.
  • [0030]
    [0030]FIG. 3 shows the exterior surface of the bottom portion 70 in a flat, unfolded configuration. The bottom portion 70 comprises a base portion 79 and extending therefrom a first bottom side 72, a second bottom side 74, a third bottom side 76, and a fourth bottom side 78. A first bottom flap 71 and a second bottom flap 73 extend from opposite ends of the first bottom side 72. A third bottom flap 75 and a fourth bottom flap 77 extend from opposite ends of the third bottom side 76.
  • [0031]
    The bottom portion 70 includes scored bottom side fold lines 87 a-d to facilitate downward bending of the first bottom side 72, the second bottom side 74, the third bottom side 76, and the fourth bottom side 78 respectively when the container carrier apparatus 10 is formed. The bottom portion 70 also includes scored bottom flap fold lines 87 e-h to facilitate inward bending of the first bottom flap 71, the second bottom flap 73, the third bottom flap 75, and the fourth bottom flap 77 respectively to form the container carrier apparatus 10. The bottom portion 70 is fabricated from a sturdy flexible material, such as paper or cardboard, preferably having a grain direction 82 oriented approximately parallel to either of the bottom side fold lines 87 b or 87 d, or alternatively, parallel to either of the bottom side fold lines 87 a or 87 c. It can thus be appreciated by one skilled in the relevant art that the material from which the bottom portion 70 is fabricated need not be the same as the material from which the cover portion 20 is fabricated. In way of example, the bottom portion 70 can be fabricated from 0.026 inch thick carrier-grade board to provide adequate support for enclosed containers, while the cover portion 20 can be fabricated from 0.020 inch thick board to reduce cost.
  • [0032]
    In a first embodiment, herein referred to as a “four-fold” configuration, an unfolded container carrier assembly 10′ is formed by attaching the unfolded cover portion 20 to the unfolded bottom portion 70. In a first attachment step, shown in FIG. 4, a part of the interior surface of the third cover side 50 is attached to a part of the exterior surface of the first bottom side 72 by a suitable attachment method known in the relevant art, such as applying an adhesive, a glue or otherwise bonding the parts to be attached. In a second attachment step, the bottom portion 70 is folded at the bottom fold line 87 a and the cover portion 20 is folded at the cover side fold line 85 a. A part of the interior surface of the first cover side 30 is then attached to a part of the exterior surface of the third bottom side 76, as shown in FIG. 5. Accordingly, the four-fold container carrier assembly 10′ presents a flat configuration with the cover side fold line 85 c and the bottom fold line 87 c unfolded, and the cover side fold line 85 a and the bottom fold line 87 a folded 180°.
  • [0033]
    With additional reference to FIG. 1, the four-fold container carrier assembly 10′ is subsequently formed into the container carrier apparatus 10 by performing a further series of folding and attachment operations. The series of folding operations includes folding the cover portion 20 at the cover side fold lines 85 b-h approximately 90° and folding the bottom portion 70 at the bottom fold lines 87 b-h approximately 90°.
  • [0034]
    The attachment operations include attaching the exterior surfaces of the first cover flap 32 and the third cover flap 52 to the interior surface of the second cover side 40, and attaching the exterior surfaces of the second cover flap 34 and the fourth cover flap 54 to the interior surface of the fourth cover side 60. The attachment operations also include attaching the exterior surfaces of the first bottom flap 71 and the third bottom flap 75 to the interior surface of the second bottom side 74, and attaching the exterior surfaces of the second bottom flap 73 and the fourth bottom flap 77 to the interior surface of the fourth bottom side 78. The attachment operations further include attaching part of the interior surface of the second cover side 40 to the exterior surface of the second bottom side 74 and attaching part of the interior surface of the fourth cover side 60 to the exterior surface of the fourth bottom side 78.
  • [0035]
    It should be noted that in certain applications, the size of the top portion 29 is not the same as the size of the base portion 79. By way of example, if the unfolded container carrier assembly 10′ has been configured to enclose and carry “longneck” beverage bottles (not shown), the top portion 29 will be somewhat smaller in both dimensions than the size of the base portion 79. This configuration serves to accommodate the smaller total area presented by the enclosed array of bottle tops in comparison to the size of the array of bottle bottoms supported by the base portion 79. Accordingly, as can be appreciated by one skilled in the relevant art, the cover flap fold lines 85 e and 85 g will not lie along a common straight line with the cover side fold line 85 b, and the cover flap fold lines 85 f and 85 h will not lie along a common straight line with the cover side fold line 85 d.
  • [0036]
    In a preferred embodiment, the cover portion 20 and the bottom portion 70 also include optional positioning notches so as to provide for precise registration of the cover portion 20 with the bottom portion 70 to assure optimal alignment when the cover portion 20 is attached to the bottom portion 70. As best seen in FIG. 4, a first bottom positioning notch 80 a (n.b, all optional notches are indicated by the dashed lines) may be provided on a corner of the first bottom flap 71 approximately as shown. Similarly, a second bottom positioning notch 80 b may be provided on the second bottom flap 73, a third bottom positioning notch 80 c may be provided on the third bottom flap 75, and a fourth bottom positioning notch 80 d may be provided on the fourth bottom flap 77.
  • [0037]
    Likewise, a first cover positioning notch 90 a may be provided on the tip of the first cover flap 32, a second cover positioning notch 90 b may also be provided on the tip of the second cover flap 34, a third cover positioning notch 90 c may be provided on the tip of the third cover flap 52, and a fourth cover positioning notch 90 d may also be provided on the tip of the fourth cover flap 54. The positioning notches 80 a-d and 90 a-d can be formed by a die-cutting operation, as is well-known in the relevant art. Note that, for purpose of illustration, the four-fold container carrier assembly 10′, in FIG. 5, is shown with all the positioning notches 80 a-d and 90 a-d provided on the respective flaps but it should be understood that fewer than all eight of the positioning notches 80 a-d and 90 a-d can be utilized on fewer than all eight of the flaps 32, 34, 52, 53, and 71-75 without departing from the spirit of the invention.
  • [0038]
    [0038]FIG. 6 shows an alternative embodiment of an unfolded cover portion 20′ including a first cover flap 32′ and a second cover flap 34′ extending from opposite ends of the first cover side 30, and a third cover flap 52′ and a fourth cover flap 54′ extending from opposite ends of the second cover side 50. The unfolded cover portion 20′ includes a plurality of cover positioning notches 90 a′-90 d′ located in the side edges of the respective flaps 32′, 34′, 52′, and 54′ as shown. The third cover flap 52′ also includes a slot 95 which receives a tab 91 extending from the first cover flap 32′ when the cover portion 20′ is folded. Preferred grain direction 81 is oriented approximately 40°-50° to any one of the cover side fold lines 85 a-d or to the long axis of the handle 18.
  • [0039]
    During the folding of the cover portion 20′, the first cover flap 32′ and the third cover flap 52′ are folded inward, the first cover side 30 and the second cover side 50 are folded downward, and the tab 91 mates with the slot 95. This serves to facilitate the attachment of the interior surface of the second cover side 40 with both the exterior surface of the first cover flap 32′ and the exterior surface of the third cover flap 52′. Similarly, the fourth cover flap 54′ includes a slot 97 which receives a tab 93 extending from the second cover flap 34′ when the interior surface of the fourth cover side 60 is attached to both the exterior surface of the second cover flap 34′ and the exterior surface of the fourth cover flap 54′.
  • [0040]
    [0040]FIG. 7 shows the exterior surface of another alternative embodiment of a cover portion 120 in a flat, unfolded configuration. The cover portion 120 comprises a top portion 129 and, extending therefrom, a first cover side 139 and first cover panel 130, a second cover side 142 and a second cover panel 140, a third cover side 159 and a third cover panel 150, and a fourth cover side 162 and a fourth cover panel 160. A first cover flap 132 and a second cover flap 134 extend from opposite ends of the first cover side 139. A third cover flap 152 and a fourth cover flap 154 extend from opposite ends of the second cover side 159. A first gusset 144 connects the first cover flap 132 and the cover side 142. Similarly, a second gusset 146 connects the second cover flap 134 and the cover side 162, a third gusset 164 connects the third cover flap 152 and the cover side 142, and a fourth gusset 166 connects the fourth cover flap 154 and the fourth cover side 162.
  • [0041]
    The cover portion 120 includes scored crease lines 184 a-d to induce predetermined creasing in the top portion 129. The cover portion 120 also includes scored cover side fold lines 185 a-d to facilitate downward bending of the first cover side 139, the second cover side 142, the third cover side 159, and the fourth cover side 162 respectively. The first cover side 139 includes scored cover flap fold lines 131 and 133 to facilitate inward bending of the first cover flap 132 and the second cover flap 134 respectively, and includes scored cover flap fold lines 151 and 153 to facilitate inward bending of the third cover flap 152 and the fourth cover flap 154 respectively. Preferred grain direction 181 is oriented approximately 40°-50° to any one of the cover side fold lines 185 a-d or to the long axis of the handle 18.
  • [0042]
    A first longitudinal fold line 135 is provided approximately between the intersections of the cover flap fold lines 131 and 133 with the outer edge of the first cover panel 130. A second longitudinal fold line 155 is provided approximately between the intersections of the cover flap fold lines 151 and 153 with the outer edge of the third cover panel 150. Fold lines 135, 155, 185 a, and 185 c are thus substantially parallel to one another. Gusset fold lines 145 a-d are provided to allow flexing of the gussets 144 and 146, and gusset fold lines 165 a-d are provided to allow flexing of the gussets 164 and 166.
  • [0043]
    There is shown in FIG. 8 a second embodiment of a container carrier assembly 110, herein referred to as a “six-fold” configuration, which can be formed into a second embodiment of the container carrier apparatus 10 of FIG. 1. Referring to FIG. 8, the six-fold container carrier assembly 10 includes a partially-folded cover portion 120 attached to an unfolded bottom portion 70. For assembly, the cover portion 120 is positioned over the bottom portion 70 such that the first longitudinal fold line 135 is substantially aligned with the outside edge of the third bottom side 76, and the second longitudinal fold line 155 is substantially aligned with the outside edge of the first bottom side 72. In a preferred embodiment, optional first and second relief edges 88 a and 88 b (not shown in FIG. 8 for purpose of clarity and shown as dashed lines in FIG. 3) are provided on the bottom portion 70 to improve the positioning of the cover portion 120 relative to the bottom portion 70 during assembly of the six-fold container carrier assembly 110.
  • [0044]
    The first relief edge 88 a serves to more positively position the third cover panel 150 between the first bottom flap 71 and the second bottom flap 73, and the second relief edge 88 b serves to more positively position the first cover panel 130 between the third bottom flap 75 and the fourth bottom flap 77.
  • [0045]
    The first cover panel 130 is folded over 180° at the first longitudinal fold line 135 and the third cover panel 150 is folded over 180° at the second longitudinal fold line 155. The interior surface of the folded-over third cover panel 150 is then attached to the exterior surface of the first bottom side 72, and the interior surface of the folded-over first cover panel 130 is attached to the exterior surface of the third bottom side 76. When in a flat configuration, the six-fold container carrier assembly 110 presents the cover side fold lines 185 a and 185 c unfolded (see FIG. 7), the bottom fold lines 87 a and 87 c unfolded, and the longitudinal fold lines 135 and 155 folded 180°.
  • [0046]
    Gusset fold lines 145 b, 145 d, 165 b, and 165 d located at the respective bases of gussets 144, 146, 164, and 166 can be reverse-folded approximately 90°. In the present state of the art, such reverse folding may provide for an adhesive applicator to access the cover side 142 and the cover side 162 when the second cover panel 140 and the fourth cover panel 160 are positioned away from the second bottom side 74 and the fourth bottom side 78, respectively. The gusset fold lines 145 a, 145 c, 165 a, and 165 c are slightly offset (e.g., approximately one to two degrees). When the second cover side 142 and the fourth cover side 162 are closed, this offset results in a pulling action forcing a tight closure of the gussets 144, 146, 164, and 166 against the respective unglued portions of the second cover side 142 and the fourth cover side 162. Preferably, the gussets 144, 146, 164, 166 are each designed to match up with the end wall alignment, when closed. This feature provides registration between the fourth cover panel 160 and the cover flaps 134 and 154.
  • [0047]
    In yet another preferred embodiment, shown in FIG. 9, a set of positioning notches 89 a-d are provided to more accurately register the third cover side 50 with the first bottom side 72 before attaching the cover portion 20 to the bottom portion 70, as illustrated above in FIG. 4. Referring to FIG. 9, the first positioning notch 89 a is located on the edge of the third cover side 50 proximate the cover flap fold line 85 h, and the second positioning notch 89 b is located on the edge of the third cover side 50 proximate the cover flap fold line 85 g. The third positioning notch 89 c is located on the edge of the first bottom side 72 proximate the bottom fold line 87 f, and the fourth positioning notch 89 d is located on the edge of the first bottom side 72 proximate the bottom fold line 87 b. When attaching the cover portion 20 to the bottom portion 70, the third cover side 50 is aligned with the first bottom side 72 by engaging the positioning notch 89 a with the positioning notch 89 c and the positioning notch 89 b with the positioning notch 89 d.
  • [0048]
    There is shown in FIG. 10 another preferred embodiment of a bottom portion 170 including the base portion 79 and extending therefrom the first bottom side 72 and a third bottom side 176. The bottom portion 170 further includes a handle reinforcement strip 191 removably attached to a fourth bottom flap 177, to the third bottom side 176, and to a third bottom flap 175 by a plurality of nicks, here exemplified by a set of three nicks 197 a-c. The handle reinforcement strip 191 includes attachment pads 191 a and 191 b, a doubler strip 193, and also includes a plurality of fold lines 199 a-f. During the assembly operation described below, the cross-hatched areas 193 a and 193 b are discarded and the doubler strip 193 is retained as part of the handle reinforcement strip, folded downward along a fold line 195, and attached to the underside of the handle reinforcement strip 191.
  • [0049]
    The handle reinforcement strip 191 is preferably attached to the interior surface of the cover portion 20 when the integral handle 16 is present, as shown in the alternative embodiment of a four-fold container carrier assembly 210, in FIG. 11, which can be formed into a third embodiment of the container carrier apparatus 10 of FIG. 1. For purpose of clarity, most fold lines are not shown in the illustration. Referring to FIG. 1, the integral handle 16 is formed in the top portion 29 by providing a set of cutouts 211 a and 211 b such that two handle flaps 213 a and 213 b are formed. The two handle flaps 213 a and 213 b are subsequently folded into the cover portion 20 when a user inserts a hand to carry containers using the completed four-fold container carrier assembly 210.
  • [0050]
    The four-fold container carrier assembly 210 includes the bottom portion 170 folded at the bottom side fold line 87 a, and the cover portion 20 folded at the cover side fold line 85 a. In this configuration, the handle reinforcement strip 191 is advantageously positioned proximate the integral handle 16. The handle reinforcement strip 191, the attachment pad 191 a, and the attachment pad 191 b are attached to the interior surface of the top portion 29 as can be seen with additional reference to FIG. 12 (not drawn to scale), which is a cross section of the integral handle 16. Accordingly, when the four-fold container carrier assembly 210 is unfolded prior to the attachment of sides and flaps, as described above for the four-fold container carrier assembly 10′ of FIG. 5, the attachment pads 191 a and 191 b are separated from the bottom flaps 175 and 177 at the nicks 197 a and 197 c. The two-ply combination of the handle reinforcement strip 191 and the doubler strip 193 thus remain attached to the interior side of the integral handle 16 to form a three-ply handle unit. The addition of two plies increases mechanical strength at the integral handle 16 while allowing use of a thinner material for the cover portion 20, as discussed above.
  • [0051]
    As can be appreciated by one skilled in the relevant art, other handle configurations, in addition to those described above, can be utilized in any of the container carrier assemblies 10′, 110, and 210. In one alternative embodiment of a handle 220, shown in FIG. 13, here illustrated in the top portion 29 as an example, a cutout 221 is provided in the region defined by the cover side fold lines 85 a-d. A handle assembly, including a backing board 223 and the flexible strap 18, is attached to the interior surface of the top portion 29. In another alternative embodiment of a handle 230, shown in FIG. 14, here illustrated in the top portion 129 as an example, a pair of cover cutouts 231 and 233 are provided in the region defined by the cover side fold lines 185 a-d. A backing board having a pair of board cutouts 237 and 239, is attached to the interior surface of the top portion 129, positioned such that the board cutouts 237 and 239 align with the cover cutouts 231 and 233 and a two-ply handle configuration is formed.
  • [0052]
    In another preferred embodiment of a handle 240, shown in FIG. 15, here illustrated in the top portion 29 as an example, a pair of openings 241 and 243 are provided in the region defined by the cover side fold lines 85 a-d. The opening 241 is formed by cutting a flap 245 and folding the flap 245 along a flap fold line 242 into the top portion 29, and attaching the flap 245 against the interior surface of the top portion 29. The attachment process for the flap 247 is similar to that for the flap 245. The handle reinforcement strip 191 is also attached to the interior surface of the top portion 29, as described above. This embodiment serves to reduce “tenting” when the handle 240 is used to lift the weight of the container carrier apparatus 10, and provides additional ply in the cover portion of the container carrier apparatus 10. In way of example, the additional ply can serves to reduce visible embossed pattern of bottle caps on the cover portion 20 which may be caused by stacking weight during shipping and handling. The addition ply can also provide support for a cover portion having an “easy open” feature which allows a consumer to tear open the cover portion for easier removal of containers.
  • [0053]
    There is shown in FIG. 16 another alternative embodiment of any of the container carrier assemblies 10′, 110, and 210. A slot 251 is provided in the fourth bottom side 78 positioned so as to receive the narrow end of the fourth cover side. This configuration serves to automatically ‘square” the cover portion 20 and closure with the bottom portion 70.
  • [0054]
    The above-described embodiments require less material and produce a reduction in manufacturing costs in comparison to container carriers found in the present state of the art. As can be appreciated by one skilled in the relevant art, the cover portions 20, 20′, and 120, and the bottom portions 70 and 170, are seamless components, and hence avoid the problem of having to match graphics registration during a printing operation. It can also be appreciated by one skilled in the relevant art that seamless end components provide for a more positive and secure adhesive end closure. Moreover, the diagonal grain directions 81 and 181 of the cover portions 20, 20′, and 120 offer balanced tear strength in critical areas, and compliments board caliper reduction.
  • [0055]
    The top portions 20, 20′, and 120, and bottom portions 70 and 170, can be paired side-by-side or run separately on conventional print/cut equipment (not shown). When printed and cut separately, different paper grades can be selected for the top and bottom portions. The diagonal grain directions 81 and 181 of the cover portions distribute balanced tear and stiffness qualities to critical locations. In many applications, this feature can reduce paper specifications. The above-described container carrier apparatuses can be run over existing modified adhesive packaging systems and use approximately 12% less total board area than present packaging systems.
  • [0056]
    In a preferred embodiment, the bottom portion of material is separately cut as sheet or web-fed print/cut process. The printed top portion can run four-up per impression on printing and cutting processes on a web-fed 40-inch capacity press. In comparison, a conventional printed top portion requires a two-up per impression, necessitating twice the run time to accomplish the desired production capacity. This is primarily due to the added thickness required for a conventional handle, which is conventionally made as part of the top portion of a conventional beverage carrier.
  • [0057]
    The four-square top profile of the above-described top portions does not require “deep nesting,” as currently specified in a conventional container carrier apparatus, resulting in improved separation and delivery, following web process cutting. The die-cut positioning points described above allow mechanical engagement to assist in accurate location of the cover and bottom portions when joined on an automatic folder/gluer.
  • [0058]
    The invention being thus described, it will be evident that the same may be varied in many ways. For example, it is within the scope of one of average skill in the relevant art to adapt these advantages to other-sized container carrier apparatus, including beverage carriers for holding different quantities of beverage containers, or for beverages of various capacity sizes, and is further adapted for use with either bottles or cans. Such variations are not to be regarded as a departure from the spirit and scope of the invention and all such modifications are intended to be included within the scope of the claims.
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US783708929 May 200823 Nov 2010International PaperBulk material box
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Clasificaciones
Clasificación de EE.UU.229/125.19, 229/117.13
Clasificación internacionalB65D5/462, B65D71/00, B65D71/36
Clasificación cooperativaB65D2571/00666, B65D2571/00469, B65D2571/00549, B65D2571/00796, B65D2571/0053, B65D2571/00141, B65D2571/0087, B65D2571/00493, B65D71/36
Clasificación europeaB65D71/36