Búsqueda Imágenes Maps Play YouTube Noticias Gmail Drive Más »
Iniciar sesión
Usuarios de lectores de pantalla: deben hacer clic en este enlace para utilizar el modo de accesibilidad. Este modo tiene las mismas funciones esenciales pero funciona mejor con el lector.

Patentes

  1. Búsqueda avanzada de patentes
Número de publicaciónUS20030236159 A1
Tipo de publicaciónSolicitud
Número de solicitudUS 10/178,931
Fecha de publicación25 Dic 2003
Fecha de presentación24 Jun 2002
Fecha de prioridad24 Jun 2002
Número de publicación10178931, 178931, US 2003/0236159 A1, US 2003/236159 A1, US 20030236159 A1, US 20030236159A1, US 2003236159 A1, US 2003236159A1, US-A1-20030236159, US-A1-2003236159, US2003/0236159A1, US2003/236159A1, US20030236159 A1, US20030236159A1, US2003236159 A1, US2003236159A1
InventoresCharles Worthy
Cesionario originalWorthy Charles S.
Exportar citaBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
Enlaces externos: USPTO, Cesión de USPTO, Espacenet
Reclosable bag and method of manufacture
US 20030236159 A1
Resumen
A reclosable bag is disclosed. The bag includes a body having sealed sides, a sealed bottom, a top opening, an inner surface and an outer surface. A hook and loop fastener constructed and arranged to permit selective opening and closing of the top opening is adhered to the inner surface of the body between the top opening and sealed bottom. A method of manufacturing a reclosable bag and a self-closing reclosable bag are also disclosed.
Imágenes(12)
Previous page
Next page
Reclamaciones(27)
What is claimed is:
1. A reclosable bag comprising:
a body having sealed sides, a sealed bottom and a top opening, the body including a front panel having an inner surface and a back panel having an inner surface; and
a fastener including a first member affixed to an inner surface of the front panel and a second member affixed to the inner surface of the back panel such that the second member is substantially aligned with and opposed to the first member, the body constructed and arranged to urge the first member into reclosable engagement with the second member such that the top opening is self-closing.
2. The reclosable bag of claim 1 wherein the fastener comprises a hook and loop fastener.
3. The reclosable bag of claim 1 wherein the sealed bottom comprises an expandable gusset.
4. The reclosable bag of claim 1 further comprising a reclosable pocket disposed on the outer surface of the body.
5. The reclosable bag of claim 4 wherein the pocket is formed from a transparent plastic material.
6. The reclosable bag of claim 1 further comprising an integral handle.
7. The reclosable bag of claim 6 wherein the integral handle is positioned between the fastener and the top opening.
8. The reclosable bag of claim 1, wherein each of the body and the fastener comprises a plastic material, and wherein the fastener is affixed to the body with heat.
9. A process of manufacturing a reclosable bag, the process comprising the steps of:
affixing a first fastening member to an inner surface of a front panel;
affixing a second fastening member to an inner surface of a back panel; and
securing the back panel to the front panel such that the first and second fastening members are substantially aligned with, opposed to, and urged into reclosable engagement with one another to form a body having sealed sides, a sealed bottom and a self closing top opening.
10. The process of claim 9 wherein the affixing steps comprise the steps of heating the front and back panels to a temperature sufficient to adhere the first and second fastening members to the inner surfaces of the front and back panels, respectively.
11. The process of claim 9 wherein the securing step comprises the step of thermally sealing the side edges of the back panel to the side edges of the front panel.
12. The process of claim 9 further comprising the step of forming an expandable bottom between the bottom of the front panel and the bottom of the back panel prior to the securing step.
13. The process of claim 9 further comprising the step of thermally adhering a sheet of plastic material to one of the front panel or back panel to form a reclosable pocket on the outer surface of the body.
14. The process of claim 9 further comprising the step of removing a portion of the front and back panel between the fastening members and the top opening to form a handle.
15. A reclosable bag comprising:
a body having sealed sides, a sealed bottom, a top opening, an inner surface and an outer surface; and
a hook and loop fastener thermally adhered to the inner surface of the body between the top opening and the sealed bottom, the hook and loop fastener constructed and arranged to permit selective opening and closing of the top opening.
16. The reclosable bag of claim 15 wherein the body is constructed and arranged to be self-closing.
17. The reclosable bag of claim 15 further comprising a reclosable pocket affixed to the outer surface of the body.
18. The reclosable bag of claim 17 wherein the reclosable pocket comprises a transparent sheet of plastic material thermally adhered to the body such that the pocket has sealed sides, a sealed bottom and a top opening.
19. The reclosable bag of claim 18 wherein the reclosable pocket further comprises an adhesive material positioned between the sheet of plastic material and the outer surface of the body to selectively seal the top opening of the pocket.
20. The reclosable bag of claim 18 wherein the sealed bottom comprises an expandable gusset.
21. The reclosable bag of claim 18 further comprising an integral handle positioned between the hook and loop fastener and the top opening.
22. A method of manufacturing a reclosable bag, the method comprising the steps of:
thermally adhering a hook and loop fastener including a hook member and a loop member to the inner surface of a plastic web material as the web material is paid out of a web material roll;
folding the web material over and onto itself such that the hook member is substantially aligned with and facing the loop member; and
sealing the sides of the plastic web material to form a body comprising a front panel, a rear panel, sealed sides, a sealed bottom and a top opening adapted to be selectively opened and closed by urging the hook member and loop member into and out of engagement with one another.
23. The method of claim 22 wherein the adhering step comprises the steps of heating a first portion of the plastic material to a temperature sufficient to bond the hook member to the first portion of the plastic web material and heating a second portion of the plastic web material to a temperature sufficient to bond the loop member to the second portion of the plastic web material.
24. The method of claim 22 further comprising the step of forming a bottom gusset in the folded web material prior to performing the sealing step.
25. The method of claim 22 wherein the sealing step comprises the step of cutting the plastic web material with a hot knife.
26. The method of claim 22 further comprising the step of forming a reclosable pocket on the exterior surface of the plastic web material.
27. The method of claim 22 further comprising the step of forming an integral handle between the hook and loop fastener and the top opening.
Descripción
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] 1. Field of the Invention

[0002] The present invention is directed generally to the field of reclosable bags, and more particularly to closure mechanisms for such bags and a method of manufacturing a reclosable bag that facilitates reliable and efficient removable retention of articles within such bags.

[0003] 2. Technical Background

[0004] Numerous containers exist for supporting articles and facilitating the transport of such articles from one location to another. For trips of limited duration, involving articles that do not require airtight sealing, are not hazardous, and are not particularly fragile, economically manufactured paper and plastic bags have become the container of choice for much of the consuming public. In certain settings such as grocery or convenience stores, plastic bags are now utilized more frequently than paper bags. In other settings, such as department stores and schools, paper bags seem to be the container of choice for transporting goods and consumables, respectively.

[0005] Generally speaking, such bags, either paper or plastic, are inexpensive to manufacture, are relatively easy to store in bulk without requiring a significant amount of storage space, and although they may be used on more than one occasion, are typically viewed by the consuming public as being disposable. As a result of these attributes, these bags generally have a limited number of utilitarian features. While such bags may have a carrying handle and/or an expandable bottom, such bags typically do not incorporate pockets or reliable closure mechanisms due, at least in part, to the increased costs associated with incorporating such features in the various manufacturing processes used to manufacture such bags. Tongue and groove fasteners, such as those known by the trade name, “Zip Lock®”, for example, are difficult to incorporate in bags used for carrying articles, increase the costs associated with manufacturing such carrying bags, and are typically difficult to manipulate and unreliable for repeated opening and closing operations.

[0006] In some instances, shopping bags and lunch bags, among others, have been fitted with inexpensive clips and other external closure devices. Often times, such closure devices are impractical to use, are difficult to properly engage, and/or require folding of the bag which can interfere with the bags carrying handle or otherwise make carrying the bag a difficult task.

[0007] What is needed therefore but seemingly unavailable in the art is a flexible bag that may be readily used for both the temporary storage and/or the transport of a wide variety of items. Such a reclosable bag should be appropriate for containing an individuals lunch, personal items, purchased items, or other items, and should be convenient to use, reusable when desired, but inexpensive enough to manufacture so that the bag may be disposed of after a single use. Moreover, the bag of the present invention should have a fastening mechanism that is robust enough to provide for multiple openings and reclosings of the bag without altering the functionality of the fastening device or damaging the bag and that is easy to open and reclose. It is to the provision of such a reclosable bag and method of manufacturing a reclosable bag that the present invention is primarily directed.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0008] One aspect of the present invention is directed to a reclosable bag including a body having sealed sides, a sealed bottom and a top opening. The body includes a front panel having an inner surface, a back panel having an inner surface, and a fastener. The fastener includes a first member affixed to an inner surface of the front panel and a second member affixed to the inner surface of the back panel such that the second member is substantially aligned with and opposed to the first member. The body is constructed and arranged to urge the first member into reclosable engagement with the second member such that the top opening is self-closing.

[0009] In another aspect the present invention relates to a process of manufacturing a reclosable bag. The process includes the steps of affixing a first fastener to an inner surface of a front panel and affixing a second fastener to an inner surface of a back panel. The back panel is secured to the front panel such that the first and second fastening members are substantially aligned with, opposed to, and urged into releasable engagement with one another to form a body having sealed sides, a sealed bottom and a self-closing top opening.

[0010] In yet another aspect the present invention is directed to a reclosable bag. The reclosable bag includes a body having sealed sides, a sealed bottom, a top opening, an inner surface, and an outer surface. The bag further includes a hook and loop fastener thermally adhered to the inner surface of the body between the top opening and the sealed bottom. The hook and loop fastener is constructed and arranged to permit selective opening and closing of the top opening.

[0011] A still further aspect of the present invention relates to a method of manufacturing a reclosable bag. The method includes the steps of thermally adhering a hook and loop fastener including a hook member and a loop member to the inner surface of a plastic web material as the web material is paid out of a web material roll, and folding the web material over and onto itself so that the hook member is substantially aligned with and facing the loop member. The sides of the plastic web material are sealed to form a body including a front panel, a rear panel, sealed sides, a sealed bottom and a top opening adapted to be selectively opened and closed by urging the hook member and loop member into and out of engagement with one another.

[0012] The reclosable bag and method of manufacturing a reclosable bag in accordance with the present invention provides a number of advantages over other reclosable bags and methods of manufacturing reclosable bags currently known in the art. For example, the reclosable fastening member is disposed along the inner surface of the reclosable bag of the present invention. As a result, the reclosable bag of the present invention is less likely to be inadvertently opened when the exterior surface of the bag comes into contact with any of a variety of foreign surfaces during transport. As a result, the contents contained within the bag are less likely to spill out or otherwise be inadvertently lost. In a preferred embodiment of the present invention, the fastening member may be positioned between an integral handle formed in the front and back panels of the bag, and the bottom of the bag. As a result, the bag is less likely to be inadvertently opened when the bag is being carried by the handle.

[0013] Further advantages result from the manufacture of the reclosable bag in accordance with the present invention. For instance, the reclosable bag of the present invention may be manufactured from a continuous sheet of web material with a single cut. In addition, a reclosable fastening member may now be applied to the inner surface of a reclosable bag in a cost-effective manner.

[0014] Additional features and advantages of the invention will be set forth in the detailed description which follows and in part will be readily apparent to those skilled in the art from that description or recognized by practicing the invention as described herein.

[0015] It is to be understood that both the foregoing general description and the following detailed description are merely exemplary of the invention, and are intended to provide an overview or framework for understanding the nature and character of the invention as it is claimed. The accompanying drawings are included to provide further understanding of the invention, illustrate various embodiments of the invention, and together with the description serve to explain the principles and operation of the invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0016] The invention will now be described in a non-limiting manner, with reference to the accompanying figures.

[0017]FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a preferred embodiment of a reclosable bag shown in an expanded configuration in accordance with one aspect of the present invention.

[0018]FIGS. 2A is a perspective view of the reclosable bag depicted in FIG. 1 shown in a collapsed configuration in accordance with another aspect of the present invention.

[0019]FIGS. 2B is a perspective view of the reclosable bag depicted in FIG. 2A shown in an expanded configuration with the top opening fastened in accordance with another aspect of the present invention.

[0020]FIG. 3 is a flow chart illustrating a preferred process of manufacturing a reclosable bag in accordance with another aspect of the present invention.

[0021]FIG. 4 schematically illustrates a preferred process of manufacturing a reclosable bag in accordance with the present invention.

[0022]FIG. 5 schematically illustrates a preferred method of applying a reclosable adhesive to the web material depicted in FIG. 4 in accordance with another aspect of the present invention.

[0023]FIG. 6 schematically depicts a preferred method of forming a reclosable pocket on the web material depicted in FIG. 4 in accordance with another aspect of the present invention.

[0024]FIG. 7 schematically depicts a preferred method of affixing a fastener to the web material depicted in FIG. 4 in accordance with another aspect of the present invention.

[0025]FIG. 8A schematically depicts a preferred method of manipulating the web material depicted in FIG. 4 to form the elements of the body of the reclosable bag in accordance with another aspect of the present invention.

[0026]FIG. 8B schematically depicts a preferred method of forming an expandable bottom gusset in accordance with another aspect of the present invention.

[0027]FIG. 8C is an exploded partial perspective view depicting the cooperation of the gusseting bar and gusset wheel depicted in FIG. 8B.

[0028]FIG. 9 schematically depicts a preferred method of forming a handle in the web material depicted in FIG. 4 in accordance with another aspect of the present invention.

[0029]FIG. 10 schematically depicts a preferred method of sealing the side edges and bottom of the web material depicted in FIG. 4 to form a reclosable bag in accordance with another aspect of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

[0030] Reference will now be made in detail to the present preferred embodiments of the invention, examples of which are illustrated in the accompanying drawing figures. Wherever possible, the same reference numerals will be used throughout the drawing figures to refer to the same or like parts. An exemplary embodiment of the reclosable bag of the present invention is shown in FIGS. 1, 2A, and 2B and is designated generally throughout by reference numeral 10.

[0031] Generally speaking, a preferred reclosable bag 10 includes a body 12 formed from the mating of a front panel 14 to a back panel 16. Reclosable bag 10 preferably includes a sealed bottom 18, sealed sides 20 and 22, and a top opening 24. Together, front panel 14, back panel 16 and bottom 18 define a cavity 26 capable of receiving a variety of items to be stored and/or transported within reclosable bag 10.

[0032] A fastener 28 (FIG. 2A) including a first member 30 preferably affixed to an inner surface of front panel 14 and a second member 32 preferably affixed to an inner surface of back panel 16 permits a user to repeatedly open and close top opening 24 of reclosable bag 10. In a preferred embodiment and as will be described in greater detail below with reference to FIGS. 2A and 2B, reclosable bag 10 may preferably be constructed and arranged to urge first member 30 and second member 32 of fastener 28 into releasable engagement with one another such that top opening 24, and thus reclosable bag 10, is self-closing.

[0033] In a preferred embodiment, and in order to increase the capacity of cavity 26, bottom 18 is preferably expandable and may preferably be gusseted. In addition, and in order to facilitate the transport of reclosable bag 10, reclosable bag 10 preferably includes a handle 33 (FIGS. 2A and 2B). In order to expedite manufacturing and to minimize the cost associated with manufacturing reclosable bag 10, handle 33 is preferably an integral handle formed by punching or otherwise removing a portion of body 12 to preferably form a first orifice 34 near the top of front panel 14 and a second orifice 36 near the top of back panel 16. Although either orifice 34 or 36 may be grasped to facilitate carrying of reclosable bag 10, orifices 34 and 36 are preferably aligned so that a user may pass the fingers of a single hand through both orifices in order to securely support reclosable bag 10.

[0034] Although not required, reclosable bag 10 may also include a reclosable pocket 38 disposed on the exterior surface of body 12. Reclosable pocket 38 preferably includes a flap 40 sealed along its sides and bottom to front panel 14 of reclosable bag 10. Flap 40 preferably cooperates with a reclosable fastener 42 disposed on the exterior surface of front panel 14 to provide a reclosable opening through which items may be inserted into and removed from reclosable pocket 38.

[0035] A preferred embodiment of reclosable bag 10 is depicted in FIG. 2A in a collapsed or unexpanded configuration. Reclosable bag 10 is preferably made from a plastic material such as polyethylene and is preferably manufactured from a 3-layer co-extruded polyethylene film. A preferred polyethylene film is manufactured by Transco, USA, and preferably includes a first linear low density hexene layer, a second high density layer and a third low density layer including a matting agent. The linear low density hexene layer preferably forms the inner surface of reclosable bag 10 while the third layer, also preferably low density, forms the exterior of reclosable bag 10. The high density lager is preferably sandwiched between these two layers as is commonly known in the art to provide some amount of stiffness to reclosable bag 10. The above-mentioned polyethylene film is typically produced in a 32″ wide roll at a thickness of approximately 2.75 mil. in a single wound sheeting format. As will be described in greater detail below, the inner low density layer is well-suited to be heat sealed while the low density outer layer's matte finish is well-suited for accepting inks, dyes, pigments and other indicia depositing materials. Accordingly, the exterior surface of reclosable bag 10 may preferably be printed with words, graphics, puzzles, games, pictures and/or other indicia prior to manufacturing reclosable bag 10 in accordance with the present invention. Those skilled in the art will recognize that the indicia may be deposited on reclosable bag 10 after manufacture, if desired.

[0036] Sealed sides 20 and 22 are preferably heat sealed along their entire lengths to form sealed side edges. When formed with a gusseted bottom 18, bottom 18 may also be heat-sealed such that bottom 18 is recessed within reclosable bag 10 when reclosable bag 10 is in a collapsed or unloaded configuration as depicted in FIG. 2A. As a result of this configuration, among other things, front panel 14 and back panel 16 may preferably be urged toward one another, and as a result, first fastening member 30 and second fastening member 32 may themselves be urged toward one another to provide the self-closing functionality of the present invention. Thus, when unloaded, reclosable bag 10 is substantially flat and may be stacked atop other reclosable bags 10 to, among other things, facilitate the packaging of a large number of reclosable bags 10 within a small volume of packaging space.

[0037] A preferred reclosable bag 10 may also provide such self-closing functionality when reclosable bag 10 is in an expanded or loaded configuration as shown in FIG. 2B. When loaded or otherwise expanded, bottom 18 may be urged away from top opening 24 and expanded as front panel 14 is moved away from back panel 16. When so expanded, bottom 18 preferably provides a sufficiently stable base for reclosable bag 10 to rest upon when reclosable bag 10 is positioned on a substantially horizontal surface in an upright position. The stiffness provided by the middle high density polyethylene layer preferably provides sufficient rigidity for reclosable bag 10 to remain in an upright position, and in conjunction with the construction of the sealed sides 20 and 22 may preferably enable reclosable bag 10 to retain its self-closing functionality when reclosable bag 10 is in a loaded configuration as depicted in FIG. 2B.

[0038] While reclosable bag 10 may be utilized to hold and carry a wide variety of items, reclosable bag 10 is particularly well suited for carrying consumable items such as food. Accordingly, reclosable bag 10 is well suited for application as a “lunch bag”. When constructed as described above, a large number of reclosable bags 10 may be manufactured at low cost, may be packaged in large quantities to be sold in bulk at retail establishments, and may be treated as a disposable bag or may be reused as desired by the user. Unlike a traditional paper lunch bag, fastener 28, preferably a hook and loop fastener, provides a reliable closing mechanism that enables food items to be securely retained within reclosable bag 10. Reclosable bag 10 may be easily opened for filling cavity 26 with food and other items, quickly closed with fastener 28, easily carried via handle 33 formed, for example, by first orifice 34 and second orifice 36, and easily opened to retrieve food items from within cavity 26 during lunch or as desired. In accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention, reclosable pocket 38 may be utilized for storing smaller items such as change or other currency, or notes for a teacher.

[0039] Because fastener 28 is preferably positioned within reclosable bag 10, reclosable bag 10 is unlikely to be inadvertently opened during transit. Unlike other reclosable bags, the fastener is not disposed on the exterior surface of the bag and is thus unlikely to be inadvertently opened due to contact with objects that come into contact with the bag. Moreover, fastener 28 is preferably positioned beneath orifices 34 and 36 so that small items contained within reclosable bag 10 are unlikely to spill out of orifices 34 and 36.

[0040] A method of manufacturing reclosable bag 10 in accordance with the present invention will now be described with references to FIGS. 3-10. In accordance with a preferred process of manufacturing a reclosable bag 10 in accordance with the present invention, and as shown in the flow chart depicted in FIG. 3, a fastener is preferably adhered to the inner surface of a web material as the web material is paid out of a web material roll as indicated at block 44. As indicated at block 46, the web material may then be folded over and onto itself. Thereafter, the sides of the web material may be sealed, preferably by heat, as indicated at block 48.

[0041] The various phases of a preferred method of manufacturing reclosable bag 10 of the present invention will now be described with reference to the schematic diagram depicted in FIG. 4. As shown in the drawing figure, a web material roll 50 of web material 52 is preferably positioned on a roll stand (not shown) at a conventional unwind station 54. Web material 52, preferably a co-extruded polyethylene film as described above, is paid out of web material roll 50 by conventional bag forming machinery and conveyed to an adhesive station 56 where reclosable fastener 42 is preferably adhered to one side of web material 52. Web material 52 is then preferably conveyed to a pocket forming station 58 where a flap 40, preferably a co-extruded polyethylene film, is preferably paid out of a roll and brought into engagement with web material 52 such that flap 40 is aligned with respect to one edge of web material 52 and reclosable fastener 42. As web material 52 and web of flap 40 pass through pocket forming station 58, the bottom edge of flap 40 is preferably sealed to the bottom edge of web material 52. Web material 52 with adhered flap 40 may then pass through a fastener forming station 60 where fastening members 30 and 32 are preferably positioned on and heat sealed to a side of web material 52 opposite the side of web material 52 carrying flap 40. Web material 52 so configured is then preferably conveyed to a folding station 62 where web material 52 is folded over and onto itself such that the ends of web material 52 and the fastening members 30 and 32 are aligned with and adjacent one another. The folded web material 52 may then be turned and conveyed to a handle forming station 64 where orifices 34 and 36 are formed in web material 52, but is preferably first conveyed through a gusset forming station 63 as will be described in greater detail below. Web material 52 may then pass through a cutting/sealing station 66 where web material 52 and flap 40 are preferably cut to form sealed sides 20 and 22. The resulting reclosable bag 10 may then be removed from the path of web material 52 and stacked at a stacking station 68 for packaging.

[0042] A preferred method of applying a reclosable fastener 42 to the web material depicted in FIG. 4 is shown schematically in FIG. 5. In a preferred embodiment, a reclosable fastener roll 70 is conventionally suspended above web material 52 at adhesive station 56. Reclosable fastener 42, preferably a reusable adhesive, is preferably paid out of reclosable fastener roll 70 and thereafter aligned and adhered to web material 52. While not shown in the drawing figure, reclosable fastener 42 preferably includes a release liner (not shown) that may be carried on and cover the adhesive as web material 52 is conveyed to pocket forming station 58. Those of skill in the art will recognize that the release liner will remain on reclosable fastener 42 when the final reclosable bag 10 is shipped for retail sale. While not required, the release liner is preferably utilized to prevent premature reclosable adherence of flap 42 to the adhesive covered by the release liner.

[0043] A preferred method of forming a reclosable pocket 38 on web material 52 depicted in FIG. 4 is shown schematically in FIG. 6. As web material 52 carrying reclosable fastener 42 arrives at pocket forming station 58, a flap material roll 72, again conventionally suspended on an unwind stand, pays out a web of flap 40. A tension roller 73 brings the web of flap 40 onto web material 52 such that flap 40 is positioned over reclosable fastener 42 and aligned on web material 52 such that bottom edge 74 of flap 40 will be substantially aligned with the bottom of front panel 14 at the completion of the reclosable bag 10 forming process. As web material 52 and flap 40 continue through pocket forming station 58, a first drum sealer 76 will preferably apply sufficient heat to seal bottom edge 74 of flap 40 to web material 52. Once sealed, web material 52 may continue to fastener forming station 60 where first fastening member 30 and second fastening member 32, preferably a hook member and a loop member, respectively, may preferably be adhered to web material 52 by heat.

[0044] A preferred method of affixing fastener 28 to web material 52 depicted in FIG. 4 is shown schematically in FIG. 7. As web material 52 arrives at fastener forming station 60, a hook member roll 78 and a loop member roll 80 are preferably suspended beneath web material 52 on conventional unwind stands to apply first member 30 and second member 32 to the underside of web material 52. Tension rollers (not shown) are used to track and align first member 30 and second member 32 onto predetermined locations on the underside of web material 52. As first member 30 and second member 32 are brought into engagement with web material 52, web material 52 preferably passes under a second drum sealer 82 and third drum sealer 84 positioned above the location where first member 30 and second member 32 come into contact with web material 52. The second and third drum sealers 82 and 84, respectively, transfer a sufficient amount of heat directly onto the upper surface of web material 52, thereby adhering first member 30 and second member 32 to their respective positions on the underside of web material 52. As discussed above, first member 30 and second member 32 are preferably positioned and aligned on web material 52 such that first member 30 will mate with second member 32 to form fastener 28, preferably a hook and loop fastener, when reclosable bag 10 has been formed in accordance with the preferred manufacturing process of the present invention. Once first member 30 and second member 32 are fixedly adhered to web material 52, web material 52 may preferably be conveyed to folding station 62.

[0045] A preferred method of manipulating web material 52 depicted in FIG. 4 to form the elements of body 12 of reclosable bag 10 in accordance with the present invention is shown schematically in FIG. 8A. As web material 52 enters folding station 62, web material 52 is preferably manipulated by a folding mechanism 86, which preferably folds web material 52 over and onto itself at its center. As shown in FIG. 8A, the center of web material 52 preferably becomes the bottom edge 88 of body 12 as a result of the folding step. The halves of web material 52 folded over and onto each other as a result of the folding step form front panel 14 and the back panel 16 of body 12. In a preferred embodiment folding mechanism 86 is preferably a conventional V-board, although other folding mechanisms may be utilized.

[0046] Once web material 52 has been folded as described above, nip rollers (not shown) squeeze the web material 52 together and turn folded web material, preferably 90°, so that folded web material 52 may be conveyed through to the next processing station.

[0047] Folded web material 52 may optionally be conveyed directly onto handle forming station 64 as shown in FIG. 4, but it is preferably conveyed to a gusset forming station 63 depicted in phantom lines in FIG. 4. One of ordinary skill in the art will recognize that when web material 52 is conveyed directly to handle forming station 64, the bottom edge 88 of body 12 depicted in FIG. 8A will also be the bottom edge of reclosable bag 10 at the completion of the reclosable bag 10 forming process. However, when folded web material 52 is first conveyed to gusset forming station 63 as depicted in FIG. 8B, folded web material 52 may preferably first be conveyed through an expandable bottom gusset forming station 63. Although expandable bottom gussets may be formed in a number of ways, a preferred method in accordance with the present invention is depicted in FIG. 8B.

[0048] After folded web material 52 has been rotated, preferably by 90°, a gusseting bar 90 having a slotted end 92 is preferably inserted into the open top 94 of folded web material 52 and a gusset wheel 96 is preferably urged into the slotted end 92 of gusseting bar 90. As a result, bottom edge 88 of folded web material 52 is carried by gusset wheel 96 into slotted end 92 of gusseting bar 90. The construction of and cooperation of a preferred gusseting bar 90 having a slotted end 92 and gusset wheel 96 are depicted in greater detail in FIG. 8C. Generally speaking, the distance gusset wheel 96 is inserted into slotted end 92 of gusseting bar 90 determines the overall width of the expandable gusset formed in gusseting station 63. For example, in order to obtain a gusseted bottom having a four (4) inch expanded width, gusseting wheel 96 is preferably inserted two (2) inches into slotted end 92 of gusseting bar 90. As shown in FIG. 8B, once folded web material 52 passes over gusseting wheel 96, an expandable gusset 100 is formed in folded web material 52. Those of skill in the art will recognize that sufficient tension is applied to folded web material 52 during this step in order to retain the formed expandable gusset 100 after bottom end 98 of folded web material 52 leaves gusset wheel 96.

[0049] Once gusset 100 has been formed as described above, folded web material 52 having an expandable gusset 100 is preferably conveyed to a handle 33 forming station 64. A preferred method of forming a handle in folded web material 52 is shown schematically in FIG. 9. In accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention, folded web material 52 enters handle forming station 64 and passes under a handle punch 102, which repeatedly engages folded web material 52 to punch a portion of web material 52 and create first orifice 34 and second orifice 36 in folded web material 52. One of skill in the art will recognize that prior to entering handle forming station 64, folded web material 52 preferably passes through a plurality of compensating dancer rollers and dancer bars that enable the folded web material to be continuously conveyed while a portion of the folded web material is periodically stopped to conduct the handle punching step.

[0050] Once the handles have been punched at the handle forming stations 64, folded web material 52 is preferably conveyed to a cutting/sealing station 66. While the steps of cutting and sealing may be performed as separated steps in accordance with the present invention, a preferred method of sealing the side edges 20 and 22 and bottom 18 of folded web material 52 is shown in FIG. 10. As folded web material 52 is conveyed into cutting/sealing station 66, folded web material 52 passes beneath a hot knife 104, which is periodically passed through folded web material 52 at the required location to form reclosable bag 10 having the desired width. For example, if requirements call for a reclosable bag that is twelve (12) inches tall, eight and three-quarters (8¾) inches wide and having a four (4) inch bottom gusset, such as reclosable bag 10 designed to function as a “lunch bag,” hot knife 104 will be passed through folded web material 52 as each 8¾″ length of folded web material 52 passes beneath hot knife 104.

[0051] In a preferred embodiment of the process of the present invention, hot knife 104 is preferably maintained at a temperature sufficient to both cut and seal folded web material 52 at a location where hot knife 104 passes through folded web material 102. A sufficient temperature is defined herein as a temperature of between about 600° F. and 800° F. More preferably, hot knife 104 will be maintained at temperature of about 700° F. Once a cut is made with hot knife 104, a final sealed side 22 is formed along the entire length of reclosable bag 10 extending beyond hot knife 104, and an initial sealed side 20 is formed on the lead end of folded web material 52. Subsequent cuts may preferably form subsequent reclosable bags 10 until the assembly line is stopped or the end of web material roll 50 is reached.

[0052] It will be apparent to those skilled in the art that various modifications and variations can be made to the present invention without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention.

[0053] While the present invention has been described in detail, it is to be expressly understood that it will be apparent to persons skilled in the relevant art, that the invention may be modified without departing from the spirit of the invention. Various changes of form, design or arrangement may be made to the invention without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. Therefore, the above-mentioned description is to be considered exemplary, rather than limiting, and the true scope of the invention is that defined in the following claims.

Citada por
Patente citante Fecha de presentación Fecha de publicación Solicitante Título
US7328789 *22 Ene 200412 Feb 2008Illinois Tool Works Inc.Odor-eliminating camouflaged reclosable storage bag
US7419300 *16 Jun 20042 Sep 2008S.C. Johnson Home Storage, Inc.Pouch having fold-up handles
US8517609 *16 Jul 200827 Ago 2013Christopher W. ConnerResizable food container
US20090022431 *16 Jul 200822 Ene 2009Conner Christopher WResizable food container
DE102011017073A1 *15 Abr 201118 Oct 2012Nordfolien GmbhBehälter zum Verpacken von Füllgütern und Verfahren zur Bearbeitung einer Materialbahn
WO2014032024A1 *23 Ago 201327 Feb 2014Waterview Innovation, LlcReusable multi-purpose bag formed of nonwoven fibrous material
Clasificaciones
Clasificación de EE.UU.493/394, 383/43, 383/10, 383/122, 383/95, 383/40, 383/106
Clasificación internacionalB65D33/08, B65D33/24
Clasificación cooperativaB65D33/24, B65D2313/02, B65D33/08
Clasificación europeaB65D33/24, B65D33/08
Eventos legales
FechaCódigoEventoDescripción
3 Sep 2002ASAssignment
Owner name: BOMARK 100, INC., ALABAMA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:WORTHY, JR., CHARLES S.;REEL/FRAME:013256/0647
Effective date: 20020819