US 3605374 A
Descripción (El texto procesado por OCR puede contener errores)
Sept. 20, 1 971 c, MUELLER EI'AL 3,605,374
METHOD OF MAKING MULTI-UNIT PACKAGES Filed April 2. 1969 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 INVBNTORB David C. Mue/ler ATTORNEY Sept. 20, 1971 g, MUELLER ET AL 3,605,374
METHOD OF MAKING MULTI-UNIT PACKAGES Filed April 2, 1969 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 mvm roas David C. Mueller p TTORNEY United States Patent "ice METHOD OF MAKING MULTI-UNIT PACKAGES David Charles Mueller, Neenah, and Norman John Asman, Appleton, Wis., assignors to American Can Company, New York, N.Y.
Filed Apr. 2, 1969, Ser. No. 812,771 Int. Cl. B65b 43/00 US. Cl. 53-3 8 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE Multi-unit packaging wherein the individual pocket portions of each package unit are separated from each other while the group of package units is maintained in contiguous relation by a thin cover web overlying and connecting all pockets, the cover web being readily torn to separate individual package units. The multi-unit package is initially formed with the pockets serially con nected by weakened flanges which are fractured to separate the pocket portions after filling and closing thereof, and incident to the compact grouping for securing into a convenient merchantable package.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates to a multi-unit package which is principally characterized by ease of fabrication of the package in multiple units, and wherein further the connected package units may be readily individually separated for ultimate use by the consumer. To this end, the invention utilizes a unique cooperative relationship between a composite package-forming brittle flexible laminate in conjunction with the configuration of the package units.
The package units comprise sealed pockets of a form generally known in the art as to their overall appearance, as typified for example by the patent to Despres 2,917,216. The serially connected peripherally flanged pockets may be shaped as by thermoforming or other well-known techniques, and the pockets after filling are closed by an overlying cover web which is suitably secured or sealed to the periphery of each individual pocket thereby to define individual package units serially connected at their marginal flanges.
The pocket portion and cover web of each package unit comprise dissimilar laminates in that the pocket portion is preferably formed from a somewhat thicker and more brittle material, while the cover web is thinner and relatively more flexible. Such dissimilar laminates per se in package or carton-making are generally known in the art as typified by the patents to Gillam 2,233,207 or Hedberg 3,359,657, for example.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The instant invention improves upon these prior art teachings in the cooperative relationship between the disparate laminates forming the cover web and pocket portion of each package unit.
Specifically, our invention contemplates a method of making and utilizing a multi-unit package characterized by two-stage rupture of the weakened flange between pocket portions of each package unit.
During serial formation of the contents pockets which are connected by integrally formed flanges, and prefer- 3,65,374 Patented Sept. 20, 1971 ably subsequent to filling of the pocket portions and closing thereof by the cover web, the adjacent pocket flanges are provided with transverse lines of weakness, such as score lines. The pocket material is realtively brittle so as to readily rupture upon flexing of the weakened flange, so as to completely separate the pockets. The several package units remain connected, however, by virtue of the thin cover web, whereby the several package units may be handled as a group.
This unique construction permits compact assembly of the units for shipment or sale. Further, at the point of use, a consumer may readily separate each package unit from the group by tearing the connecting cover Web.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING FIG. 1 is a diagrammatic representation of an illustrative forming, filling, sealing, scoring and severing line for manufacturing a plurality of connected package units;
FIG. 2 is a perspective view of an illustrative multiunit package, shown inverted, prior to compact grouping thereof;
FIG. 3 is an enlarged fragmentary sectional view taken along a score line at the flange area between two adjacent package units;
FIG. 4 is an illustration, partly in phantom, indicating the steps in folding the four package units of FIG. 2 into a compactly grouped package;
FIG. 5 is an enlarged fragmentary view of the package of FIG. 4 illustrating rupture of the flexed pocket flanges;
FIG. 6 shows a completed package secured for easy handling by the consumer; and,
FIG. 7 is a side elevation of a package folded from a single eight-unit package length.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS Referring to the drawings, unique multiple connected package units 10 according to the invention may be formed by means of conventional apparatus. Such equipment per se is well known in the art and does not constitute a part of the present invention except in relation to the novel technique and method of making the package as hereinafter set forth.
Thus, for illustrative purposes, a supply or source S of relatively thick and brittle plastic material is provided, the web W thereof being shaped into serially connected pockets 12, such as by cooperating die shaping means D, D. The successively formed pockets 12 are thereafter filled from conventional filling means F with any desired contents C, as liquids, foodstuffs, discrete articles, etc. The contents C may also include larger individual items of manufacture such as toys, hardware fittings, etc.
After filling, the successive pockets 12. are overlaid and closed by a realtively thin and flexible cover web W, such as polyethylene or the like from a roll R. The web W is bonded to the subjacent pocket flanges 16 as by heat sealing or adhesive in conventional manner as by suitably contoured sealing or pressing dies B, B.
In connection therewith, whether at the time of sealing or subsequent thereto, a line of weakness such as a partial crease or score line 14 is indented as by a tool T into the transverse flange area between the successive pockets. As seen in FIG. 3, this crease or indentation does not fully sever the relatively brittle and thicker plastic material forming the pockets, but structurally weakens 3 the same to a major degree for purpose hereinafter set forth, while temporarily maintaining pocket interconnection for facile handling. The formation of the line of Weakness 14 does not sever or otherwise damage the cover web W overlying the pocket flange.
Downstream therefrom, and at whatever interval may be convenient in the particular packaging operation, multi-unit package groups are severed as by tools T into, for example, the four unit package seen in FIG. 2, as may be desired for handling or further processing.
Referring to the multi-unit package 10, FIG. 2, it will be seen that the same comprises a plurality of pockets 12, each pocket being surrounded by a peripheral flange 16, with adjacent flange weakened as at 14. The flexible cover Web W is substantially coextensive with the pocketed web, and as above noted, is desirably peripherally sealed to each individual pocket 12 around the flanges 16 thereof to form connected package units P.
With the pocketed material 12 being of relatively rigid while yet somewhat frangible or brittle plastic, as for example, relatively thick regenerated cellulose, it will be seen that a running length thereof during package formation is easily handled during the pocket-forming, filling, and closing operationg. In like manner, a complete multipackage unit having two or more package units such as the four-package unit 10 in FIG. 2 is easily handled in the plant or in mass production operations.
In forming a finished multi-unit package for marketing and ultimate consumer use, it is desirable to have a package which is of compact form for easy handling and wherein also an individual service unit or package unit P thereof may be detached from the remaining units of the multi-pack, and therein lies a further aspect of the subject invention.
Thus, the four-unit package of FIG. 2, for example, may be grouped into more compact form for merchandising as seen in FIGS. 4-6. Referring to FIG. 4, the compact package group is formed by folding or bending the two adjacent and innermost package units P in the direction of arrows A along weakness line 14, to dispose the adjacent package units in contact or at substantially 90 to each other, and thereafter folding each endmost package unit P through substantially 180 in the direction of arrows B to overlie the innermost packages in confronting relation, wherein the endmost packages have been folded from dashed line to full line position. In lieu thereof, onehalf of the package units P in FIG. 2 may be folded through substantially 180, and thereafter the confronting package unit pairs flexed to the FIG. 4 position.
This operation of folding or partially bending the several package units P about the transverse weakness lines 14 causes the plastic flange material to rupture and break at 18 along the lines 14 to fully separate the flanges 16 as seen in FIG. 5, for example. This flexing action, while rupturing the pocket flanges, will not have a destructive effect on the thin flexible cover web W extending between the packages and over the flanges 16. The web W will readily flex or fold as required, as seen in FIG. 4.
The compactly grouped four-unit package of FIG. 4 may thereafter be handed or secured as at 20, as by a suitable label carrying indicia or advertising, shrink banding, or cardboard sleeve, etc., whereby the package may be picked up and conveniently handled during transit or by the consumer.
To obtain any one of the individual service package units P, it is only necessary after removal of any outer wrap or other securing means to grasp an endmost package unit P and tear the same away from the remaining package units so as to tear or rupture the thin cover film W which comprises the only connection between the grouped adjacent package units P, inasmuch as the harder and thicker material of the pocket-forming package portions has been previously severed or separated by the aforesaid folding operations.
FIG. 7 is illustrative of another multi-package unit ac- 4 cording to the invention, wherein an eight-unit package has been folded into grouped relation as illustrated, with inner and outer concentric series of four package units P in confronting relation. Alternatively, the multi-unit package of FIG. 7 could be formed from two four-unit package groups of the type shown in FIG. 2.
As before, the described folding operations in compacting the group effects cracking and severance of the brittle flanges 16 along the lines 14 while the cover web W effecting the sealing closure provides the contiguous membrane to retain several package units in connected relation. Such a package is therefore completed upon suitable banding thereof as at 22.
While we have described certain specific embodiments of the invention, it is evident that other and different forms thereof may be fabricated within the essential scope and spirit of the invention, as may be desired in particular manufacturing or packaging processes. Thus, while fourunit and eight-unit packages have been illustrated, any number of package units may be provided, and may be diversely folded or compactly grouped as may be desirable for the particular contents or mode of merchandizing.
Similarly, the shape and contour of the pocket portions may vary, and in like manner, the weakness lines 14 might comprise perforations or thinned areas in lieu of the score line shown. Other variations will readily occur to those skilled in the art.
What we claim as our invention is:
1. The method of making a multiple unit package comprising the steps of:
forming at least two adjacent pockets in a relatively frangible plastic web, with said pockets connected by a common flange,
filling said pockets with contents,
forming substantially planar closures on said pockets by covering and sealing said filled pockets with a single flexible web thereby to define flangeand webconnected package units,
forming a line of weakness in said flange between adjacent pockets suflicient to cause fracture of said frangible web when said 'web is flexed about said weakness line to an angle of at least and flexing each package unit relative to each adjacent package unit, said flexing occurring along said weakness line to form an angle of at least 90 in said frangible web about said weakness line, thereby to rupture said frangible web along said line of weakness while maintaining sealed package unit inter-connection by means of said flexible cover web.
2. The method of claim 1 wherein said step of forming a line of Weakness comprises forming a score line in said web.
3. The method of claim 1 including the step of compactly associating said package units by folding each package unit into proximity to an adjacent package unit along said line of weakness, and,
securing said package units in compactly associated relation.
4. The method of claim 3 wherein said securing step comprises overwrapping said package units to form a compact multi-unit package.
5. The method of claim 3 wherein said securing step comprises banding said package units to form a compact multi-unit package.
6. The method of claim 1 including the steps of forming in seriatim four flange-connected package units, and,
folding the endmost package units along their adja cent weakness lines through substantially into overlying relation respectively to the innermost package units to group the same, and,
securing said package units in grouped relation.
7. The method of claim 6 including the further step of folding the overlying pairs of outermost-innermost twopackage units along their common weakness line and into proximate relation before securing the same.
8. The method of claim 1 including the steps of forming seriatirn an even number of flange-connected package units, and, folding a group of one-half of said package units through substantially 180 along a said line of Weakness adjacent the remaining group of half of said package units to dispose said half groups in confronting relation, folding each confronting pair of package units into proximity to an adjacent pair to form a compact grouping, and securing the same to form a multi-unit package.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 10 TRAVIS S. MCGEHEE, Primary Examiner E. F. DESMOND, Assistant Examiner US. Cl. X.R.