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Número de publicaciónUS20060108370 A1
Tipo de publicaciónSolicitud
Número de solicitudUS 10/992,290
Fecha de publicación25 May 2006
Fecha de presentación19 Nov 2004
Fecha de prioridad19 Nov 2004
También publicado comoWO2006055452A2, WO2006055452A3
Número de publicación10992290, 992290, US 2006/0108370 A1, US 2006/108370 A1, US 20060108370 A1, US 20060108370A1, US 2006108370 A1, US 2006108370A1, US-A1-20060108370, US-A1-2006108370, US2006/0108370A1, US2006/108370A1, US20060108370 A1, US20060108370A1, US2006108370 A1, US2006108370A1
InventoresVladimir Vasil' Yev, Dmitry Logatchev, Alexander Medvedev, Nikolav Shkolnik, Andrei Matioushenko
Cesionario originalVasil Yev Vladimir P, Logatchev Dmitry N, Medvedev Alexander V, Nikolav Shkolnik, Matioushenko Andrei V
Exportar citaBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
Enlaces externos: USPTO, Cesión de USPTO, Espacenet
Dynamically expandable container
US 20060108370 A1
Resumen
A container having an expandable thickness for better insulation. The container has two walls which may be expanded to form an insulating air space therebetween. The expansion may be caused by compressible foam, an expandable strip material, a projection running on an inclined surface arrangement or by a gas generating material. The expansion may be activated by removing a vacuum, pulling a physical strip, by rotating one layer within the other or by crushing microcapsules to release gas. The expanded container provides better insulation for hot foods but allows a smaller thickness for storage.
Imágenes(5)
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Reclamaciones(20)
1. An expandable container comprising:
a inner wall;
an outer wall, said inner wall being nested in said outer wall; and
an expander between the walls so that the walls, the expander increasing distance between the inner wall and outer wall to provide greater heat insulation.
2. The container according to claim 1, wherein the container is a bowl.
3. The container according to claim 1, wherein the container is a plate.
4. The container according to claim 1, wherein the container is a bag.
5. The container according to claim 1, wherein the container includes an expandable lid.
6. The container according to claim 1, wherein the means for expanding includes at least one foam material compressed under pressure, which expands on the release of the pressure to force the inner wall and the outer wall apart.
7. The container according to claim 6, wherein the foam material is compressed using a vacuum seal and is allowed to expand by breaking the seal.
8. The container according to claim 6, wherein the foam is held in a compressed state by a strap and is released by removing the strap.
9. The container according to claim 1, wherein the expander is a sheet of material having slits which forms an expanded material by being pulled.
10. The container according to claim 1, wherein the expander includes projections on one wall and sloping recesses on the other wall which meet, with the projections sliding on the sloped walls of the recess to push the walls apart.
11. The container according to claim 1, wherein the expander includes a layer of material which generates gas when activated.
12. The container according to claim 11, wherein the material includes microcapsules of citric acid and bicarbonate.
13. The container according to claim 1, wherein the expander is a set of screw threads on each wall.
14. The container according to claim 1, wherein the expander is an accordion mechanism between the two walls.
15. The container according to claim 14, where the outer wall is a film which is stretched when corrugations of said accordion are unfolded.
16. A method of expanding a container to increase its thermal insulation, comprising:
providing an inner wall and an outer wall which are nested;
providing an expandable device between the inner wall and the outer wall; and
activating said expandable device to create a larger space between said inner wall and said outer wall.
17. The method according to claim 16, wherein the expandable device is a foam material.
18. The method according to claim 16, wherein the expandable device is a slitted material.
19. The method according to claim 16, wherein the expandable device is an arrangement of projections from one wall and recesses having a sloped bottom on another wall.
20. The method according to claim 16, wherein the expandable device is a material which is capable of generating gas.
Descripción
    BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • [0001]
    1. Field of the Invention
  • [0002]
    The present invention relates generally to a container for hot food products and more particularly to a container having an expandable space between two layers to provide a thermally insulating space to prevent hot food from cooling.
  • [0003]
    2. Description of the Background
  • [0004]
    Due to the pace of modern life, it has become very common for many people to rely on carry-out food services for the preparation of many of their meals. This presents a special problem for the food providers since food which is prepared and sold at a certain temperature may be very delectable, but is less tasty if the food is allowed to cool before eating. While this may be a problem of a lesser degree if the food is being eaten on the spot, it is a real difficulty for take-out services. Over the years, a number of different types of containers have been developed, especially of the paper product variety and especially with various coatings to prevent the moisture from the food from softening the paper. Other products have also been used, such as styrofoam which provides insulation in the thickness of the container wall.
  • [0005]
    No matter what the actual material, the user of a container is faced with a two pronged problem. On the one hand, a thicker walled container typically provides better insulation and allows the customer to keep his food hot longer, thus providing a better experience for the customer. On the other hand, thicker walled material require additional storage space and often additional cost. Thus, it is difficult to have a container which is thin for storage and transportation but which provides superior insulation ability in use.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • [0006]
    Accordingly, the present invention is an improvement over previous arrangements by providing a container which is thin for storage, but which can be dynamically expanded at the time of the use.
  • [0007]
    The present invention further provides a two walled container which has walls close to each other for storage and which are expanded in use to provide extra insulation.
  • [0008]
    The present invention also provides a two walled container which is expanded before using.
  • [0009]
    The present invention still further provides a multi-walled container which is expanded during use to provide for extra space between the walls.
  • [0010]
    The present invention provides a double walled container having compressed foam inserts under pressure between the walls which are expanded upon use to provide an air space between the walls.
  • [0011]
    The present invention also provides a double walled container having a flat insert between the layers, which when activated forms an expanded shape to separate the walls and provide extra insulation.
  • [0012]
    The present invention further provides a double walled container having corresponding shapes which when rotated causes the shapes to separate and provide space between the walls.
  • [0013]
    The present invention further provides a container having double walls with a material placed therebetween to generate gas when activated.
  • [0014]
    The present invention also provides a method for expanding a container.
  • [0015]
    Briefly, the invention achieves this by providing a container in the form of a bowl or bag which has two layers with a mechanism therebetween which can be released by a physical action such as pulling a string, by releasing a vacuum seal or by crushing microcapsules or a matrix material or allowing reactants in separated chambers to come together, to generate gas so as to force the two layers apart and leave an air space between the layers which acts as insulation.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0016]
    The present invention will become more fully understood from the detailed description given hereinbelow and the accompanying drawings, which are given by way of illustration only, and thus are not limitative of the present invention, and wherein:
  • [0017]
    FIGS. 1A and 1B show a first embodiment of the present invention.
  • [0018]
    FIGS. 2A and 2B show an enlarged detail of one portion of FIG. 1.
  • [0019]
    FIGS. 3A and 3B show a second embodiment of the present invention.
  • [0020]
    FIGS. 4A-4C show a third embodiment of the present invention.
  • [0021]
    FIGS. 5A and 5B show a fourth embodiment of the present invention.
  • [0022]
    FIG. 6 shows a variation of the second embodiment of the present invention.
  • [0023]
    FIGS. 7 and 8 show two variations of a fifth embodiment of the present invention.
  • [0024]
    FIGS. 9-11 show three variations of a sixth embodiment of the present inventions.
  • [0025]
    FIGS. 12A and 12B show a variant of the sixth embodiment of the present invention.
  • [0026]
    FIGS. 13A and 13B show a second variant on the sixth embodiment of the present invention.
  • DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS
  • [0027]
    Further scope of the applicability of the present invention will become apparent from the detailed description given hereinafter. However, it should be understood that the detailed description and specific examples, while indicating preferred embodiments of the invention, are given by way of illustration only, since various changes and modifications within the spirit and scope of the invention will become apparent to those skilled in the art from this detailed description.
  • [0028]
    Referring now to FIG. 1A, a first embodiment of the invention is shown as container 10 in the shape of a bowl. The container includes an outer layer 12 and an inner layer 14. This Figure shows a container in the compressed or storage state. FIG. 1B shows the container after it has been expanded to the state in which is used. The two layers meet at their outer edges to form a pair of lips 18 and 19 which are connected. A layer of foam material 16 is placed between the two layers. While the Figures shows this foamed material in separate pieces, it is possible that it may be in the shape of a solid sheet, a matrix, web, or any other shape. Also, although the foam is shown only on the bottom of the bowl, it also could extend up the sides.
  • [0029]
    The foam is compressed in the storage state and allowed to expand in the expanded state as shown in FIG. 1B. The expansion may occur in a number of different manners. It is possible that the foam is physically compressed and held in place by a band or tape which may then be removed when the container is about to be used, in order to allow the foam to expand. It is also possible to replace the air between the walls with a vacuum seal which will then be released by puncturing the seal and allowing air to enter.
  • [0030]
    The particular manner of compression is not as important as the fact that the two layers may be expanded to allow an air space to be formed between layers 12 and 14. This dead air space acts as a marvelous insulator and retains generally more heat than traditional single walled containers. The lips 18 and 19 are originally formed as shown in FIG. 2A and are allowed to expand as shown in FIG. 2B while remaining in contact. Such an arrangement is necessary due to the separation of the two layers.
  • [0031]
    Although the present invention has been described in terms of a bowl shape, similar arrangements can be made in the form of a plate, or even in the form of a bag for carrying the food home. Lids having this arrangement could also be supplied. Also, although the discussion centers on keeping foods hot, it is equally applicable for cold foods which must remain cold. Of course, the containers can be used for materials other than food which require heat retention.
  • [0032]
    The second embodiment of the invention is shown in FIGS. 3A and 3B. In this arrangement, container 20 is formed by a two wall structure including an outer wall 22 and an inner wall 24, in a fashion similar to that of the first embodiment. However, in place of compressed foam, the bottom contains an expandable flat mesh 26. This mesh may be for example, a sheet of material having slits formed therein. When the material is pulled from one side, the slits cause the material to turn slightly sideways and to expand the areas between slits so as to form an expanded material. If the space between slits is of the appropriate size, the distance between the two layers increases and is supported by the expanded material.
  • [0033]
    In FIG. 3B, the expanded material 26 forms zig-zag shapes which supports the two layers with a space therebetween. The result is an increased distance between the layers and an air space which acts as an insulator.
  • [0034]
    In order to actuate the expandable material, a strap 28 is attached to one end thereof. The employees prepares the container for use by pulling on the strap, which causes the expandable material to stretch and form the extended arrangement causing the two walls to separate. The actual shape of strap 28 is unimportant and can be a loop, a handle or a tape and may be of any material which is strong enough to withstand the pulling necessary to expand the material. FIG. 6 shows such a two strap arrangement with the two straps being joined by velcro and holding the lid and container together.
  • [0035]
    The strap can serve a second purpose of bundling the two walls of the container, or in configurations of a container and matching lid, the strap can serve to tie the lid and container together in storage. The strap can loop around the container and lid elastically or can be a two strap arrangement tied together by any convenient fastening means including clips, velcro, buttons, spring biased fasteners and the like.
  • [0036]
    A third embodiment is shown in FIGS. 4A to 4C. In this arrangement, container 30 includes an outer layer 32 and an inner layer 34. These layers are similar to the two previous arrangements, except that the bottoms of the two layers are different. That is, the bottom of the inner layer has short legs or projections 36 which are arranged at equal distances around the bottom. The outer layer contains 3 recesses 38 which have sloped inner walls. As shown better in FIG. 4B, in the stored or compressed state, projection 36 extends downwardly into the deepest part of recess 38 so that the two layers are close to each other. When an expansion is desired, the employee rotates the inner layer relative to the outer layer. The result is that the projection 30 rides along the inclined bottom of the recess 38 until it reaches the shallow end. As a result, the projection is lifted upwardly along with the inner layer 34. The result is that the two layers are separated and an air space is formed therebetween.
  • [0037]
    The recesses 38 are placed equally around the bottom of the outer layer 32. The extent of each recess must be short enough that the recesses do not contact each other. However, the recesses must be otherwise long enough so that the incline in the recess is gentle enough for the projection to move easily. Although the example shows 3 projections on 3 recesses, any number can be utilized as long as the number of projections and recesses are similar.
  • [0038]
    A fourth embodiment is shown in FIGS. 5A and 5B. In this arrangement, a container 40 includes an outer layer 42 and an inner layer 44. The space between the layers includes a material which is capable of generating gas when activated. Thus, the material may include microcapsules which have citric acid and bicarbonate or they may utilize any type of sequestered reactants which can generate gas on being activated. The activation can occur by pressing the layers so as to crush the microcapsules or other activation means may be employed. When the gas is generated, the material swells causing the layers to separate. The layers will normally be sealed so as to prevent the loss of gas.
  • [0039]
    In each of these cases, the distance between the two layers of the container is increased. For example, in the embodiment of FIG. 1, the compressed state may have a thickness of 0.08 inches while the expanded state may have a thickness of 0.20 inch. In the embodiment of FIG. 3, the stored state may have a thickness of 0.006 inch and an expanded state of 0.2 inch. Likewise, other embodiments may have a similar size changes. The particular stored thickness and expanded thickness may vary due to physical limitations in the various constructions. However, it should be noted that the difference in thicknesses allow for the container to be stored in a much smaller area. This difference is incredibly important, especially for a small establishments where the amount of storage space is very limited.
  • [0040]
    FIGS. 6 and 7 show other arrangements for expanding the two layers, based on a screw mechanism. In FIG. 7, the outer layer 60 contains a protrusion 64 having screw threads around its outer periphery. The inner layer 62 contains a recess 66 also containing screw threads. The two layers can be screwed together to make a compact unit. When the container is being used, the two layers are unscrewed relative to each other to provide an air separation therebetween.
  • [0041]
    FIG. 8 shows a similar arrangement, but where the outer layer 70 has screw threads 74 formed in the sloping sidewalls of this layer. Inner layer 72 similarly has screw threads on the outside of the sidewall which engage the screw threads 74. The screw threads can extend circumferentially so as to engage around the entire periphery of the layer. When the inner layer is turned relative to the outer layer, the screw threads cause the inner layer to be lifted relative the outer layer causing an increase in the air spacing.
  • [0042]
    FIGS. 9-11 show additional embodiments based on the use of an accordion section which is used to couple the two layers together. In each of the three figures, the outer layer 80 and the inner layer 82 are joined by an accordion section 84, 86 or 88. This section can be similar to those used for drinking straws which can be expanded by being pulled. Thus, in FIG. 9, the two walls are joined at the top by accordion section 84. In FIG. 10, the two walls are joined by accordion section 88 which is mounted between the bottoms of the two layers. In FIG. 11, accordion section 88 is formed on the sidewalls of the outer layer only. In each of the three embodiments, the container can be expanded by pulling the inner layer upwardly in order to expand the accordion section and separate the two layers.
  • [0043]
    FIGS. 12A and 12B disclose a variant of the accordion arrangement. As seen in FIG. 12A, the two layers have walls which are formed with corrugations. The inner layer is a load carrying layer manufactured of a strong dense polymer such as polyethylene. An outside layer is formed from a polymer film such as polyethylene which covers the inner layer and follows the shape of the inner layer. Both walls have corrugations which nest in order to minimize the containers size during transportation. When the container is used, a special ring-shaped protrusion near the bottom holds the outer layer away from the internal load carrying container layer as the container is unfolded. Thus, before the container is expanded, the external polymer film lies against the surface of the inner layer. The employee then moves the corrugations of the container apart until the required volume is obtained. The separating corrugation at the container bottom is unfolded which stretches the external film and moves it away from the inner layer. Thus, the inner layer is pulled upwardly to unfold the corrugations which then causes the external film to be stretched. Thus, the separation between layers is formed to acquire insulating properties.
  • [0044]
    FIGS. 13A and 13B show another arrangement where corrugations are utilized in order to completely fold the container. In a similar fashion to the arrangement of FIGS. 12A and 12B, the load carrying layer is deformed and wrapped with a layer of polymer film. The container is shaped into a plane using the corrugations and folded. The folded body may then be inserted into the container lid which is folded in two. It is also possible to insert elastic elements with equal spacing into the folding lines of the body and lid which will act as springs. When the container is removed from the lid, the springs, as well as the elasticity of the material will allow the container lid to reacquire the original shape. The bends in the lid and body have protrusions that separate the external film from the inner layer in the same fashion as in the arrangement of FIGS. 12A and 12B.
  • [0045]
    The invention being thus described, it will be obvious that the same may be varied in many ways. Such variations are not to be regarded as a departure from the spirit and scope of the invention, and all such modifications as would be obvious to one skilled in the art are intended to be included within the scope of the following claims.
Citas de patentes
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Citada por
Patente citante Fecha de presentación Fecha de publicación Solicitante Título
US833327911 Sep 200818 Dic 2012Simple Container Solutions, Inc.Expandable insulated packaging
US20100062921 *11 Sep 200811 Mar 2010Simple Container Solutions, Inc.Expandable insulated packaging
US20110162583 *7 Ene 20107 Jul 2011Tigris Enterprises, LlcDisposable custom fit pet feeding bowl liner with mating engagement and release tip
WO2014039388A1 *30 Ago 201313 Mar 2014Ringsulate, LlcTwo-state automatically deploying container insulators
Clasificaciones
Clasificación de EE.UU.220/592.25
Clasificación internacionalB65D81/38
Clasificación cooperativaB65D81/3823, B65D81/3818
Clasificación europeaB65D81/38B2, B65D81/38B4
Eventos legales
FechaCódigoEventoDescripción
19 Nov 2004ASAssignment
Owner name: APPLETON PAPERS, INC., WISCONSIN
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:VASIL YEV, VLADIMIR PETROVICH;LOGATCHEV, DMITRY NIKOLAYEVICH;MATIOUSHENKO, ANDREI VLADIMIROVICH;AND OTHERS;REEL/FRAME:016011/0006;SIGNING DATES FROM 20040921 TO 20041002
29 Jun 2007ASAssignment
Owner name: BANK OF AMERICA, N.A., AS ADMINISTRATIVE AGENT, IL
Free format text: NOTICE OF GRANT OF SECURITY INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:APPLETON PAPERS INC.;REEL/FRAME:019489/0751
Effective date: 20070605
Owner name: BANK OF AMERICA, N.A., AS ADMINISTRATIVE AGENT,ILL
Free format text: NOTICE OF GRANT OF SECURITY INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:APPLETON PAPERS INC.;REEL/FRAME:019489/0751
Effective date: 20070605
11 Feb 2010ASAssignment
Owner name: APPLETON PAPERS INC.,WISCONSIN
Free format text: RELEASE BY SECURED PARTY;ASSIGNOR:BANK OF AMERICA, N.A., AS ADMINISTRATIVE AGENT;REEL/FRAME:023915/0760
Effective date: 20100208
Owner name: APPLETON PAPERS INC., WISCONSIN
Free format text: RELEASE BY SECURED PARTY;ASSIGNOR:BANK OF AMERICA, N.A., AS ADMINISTRATIVE AGENT;REEL/FRAME:023915/0760
Effective date: 20100208