US 3286833 A
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NOV 22, 1966 G. R. CHADBOURNE 3,286,833
`MOLDED PULP PACKAGING UNIT Filed Dec. z, 1955 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 IN VEN TOR NOV- 22, 1956 G. R. CHADBOURNE 3,286,833
MOLDED PULP PACKAGING UNIT Filed Dec. 2, 1965 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 wlgl ATTORNEYS United States Patent O 3,286,833 MOLDED PULP PACKAGING UNIT Gilbert R. Chadbourne, Oakland, Maine, assigner to Keyes Fibre Company, Portland, Maine, a corporation of Maine Filed Dec. 2, 1963, Ser. No. 327,269 12 Claims. (Cl. 20G-65) This invention relates to molded pulp articles for positioning plural containers in a package thereof, and more particularly to an inexpensive molded pulp article for forming a package of six cans of the type having upper and lower chimes or rims in cooperation with additional outer wrapping means.
IPrior to the present invention, a number of arrangements have been proposed for packaging cylindrical product containers such as cans and bottles by the popularly merchandized half dozen. Many designs of many materials have been advanced over the years, but the low cost and other advantages of molded pulp keep it a strong and unique contender for this sort of package. Over a quarter century ago, molded pulp positioners of the type which are folded in half from a unitary molded sheet were proposed by Read'2,(}89,297, August l0, 1937, who suggested a molded pulp insert for separating and cushioning six bottles in an open topped bag or carton. Modern merchandizing methods, however, are increasingly making use of unbreakable chimed or beaded cans, and cardboard or chipboard cartons which tightly enclose six cans have long since supplanted suggestions such asV Reads in popularity in spite of problems connected with opening such cartons. Furthermore, modern merchandizing methods make use of expensively established trademark labels printed directly on at least the cylindrical faces of cans. Consequently, the most recent molded pulp can positioners to meet with favor in advertisingl and marketing circles involve suggestions for devices which leave the can labels visible. For instance, Corwin 2,888,164, May 26, 1959, suggests a molded pulp device which permits full visibility of can labels.
Accordingly, it is an object of the present invention to provide a molded pulp can positioner which may be be used in cooperation with an outer packaging material.
such as heat shrinkable transparent lm for overwrapping an entire package of six rimmed or beaded cans to allow full visibility of the can labels.
Another object of the present invention is to provide a molded pulp can positioner which maintains cans aligned in two essentially parallel rows and includes means to maintain the cans in each of the two rows against lateral Y rolling or sliding movement as well as means to secure the cans against vertical axial motion in either direction relative to one another and to the positioner itself.
Another object of the present invention is to provide 4a molded pulp can positioner including convenient means serving as handle means for carrying a package of six cans which does not increase the overall dimensions or bulk of the package in any respect.
Another object of the present invention is to provide a molded pulp can positioner of reduced -bulk which may be inexpensively shipped to the can Packager, and may be conveniently disposed of by the ultimate consumer.
Another object of the present invention is to provide a six can package adapted for easy manual separation into. two packages of three securely wrapped cans to satisfy the consumer who requires less than a full package of six cans.
Another object of the present invention is to provide a package of plural rimmed cans cooperatively associated with a molded pulp inner positioner and a exible transparent outer overwrap'which has sufcient durability to ice withstand the rigors of transportation, may be quickly' chilled, and is easily opened by the ultimate consumer.
Other objects and advantages of the present invention Will become apparent to one skilled in the art from a reading of theV following description in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, wherein similar reference characters refer to similar parts, and in which:
FIG. l is a perspective view of a package including av molded pulp can positioner according to this invention;
FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a molded pulp can positioner withV the cans and transparent overwrap removed;
FlG. 3 is a side elevational view of the positioner of FIG. 2;
FIG. 4 is a plan view of the positioner of FIG. 2;
FIG. 5 is an end elevational view of the positioner of FIG. 2;
FIG. 6 is a plan view of the two halves of the positioner of FIG. 2 in the open as-molded condition;
FIG.V 7 is a side elevational view of the two halves of the positioner of FIG. 2 in the open as-molded condition;
FIG. 8 is a plan view of a modification of molded pulp positioner accordingto this invention;
FIG. 9 is a view similar to FIG. l showing an alternate overwrapping arrangement which may be employed with -a molded pulp can positioner of this invention; and
FIG. l() is a perspective view showing half offthe package illustrated in FIG. 9 after separation.
Referring in more particularity to the drawings, the molded pulp can positioner as illustrated in FIGS.-2-5 may be formed as a unitary structure 10 manufactured according to known pulp slurry deposition processes to provide a molded sheet of generally uniform thickness throughout having the desired configuration. Such a conguration advisably includes two twin sheets 12 and 14 each having a generally rectangular overall margin. In the attitude in which the positioner is used, Vthe lower margin 16 of each sheet follows a generally straight line and, in the illustrated embodiment, has an overall length dimension at least twice the diameter lof the particular size can with which the pulp positioner is to be used. The upper margin 18 of each sheet lies in a horizontal plane substantially parallel with the horizontal line of the bottom margin. The vertical end margins 2G of each rectangular sheet are also of a generally straight configuration. The molded pulp positioner, as described in more K tain the cans in generally straight alignment in their parallel rows.
To secure the cans packaged in connection with the positioner against vertical or axial displacement relative to one another, the positioner includes means for engage ing the can rims to prevent axial motion in either direction relative thereto. The lower margins 16 and the upper margins 18 of each twin sheet include can rim support portions. Such portions are provided by the marginal edges of thesheets, and are vertically spaced from each other a distance equal to the spacing between the top and bott-om radially outwardly extending narrow shoulders formed by the surrounding rims or beads of the particular cans which are to be packaged in connection withY the unit. The rim or chime support portions are adapted to be engaged by the overhanging rims of the cans to prevent vertical or axial motion in either direction relative to the positioner.
The pulp positioner further includes means to secure at least one can in each row against lateral rolling or sliding movement relative to the positioner. This includes at least one protrusion against which cans may rest. A pair of ridges 22 are provided in the preferred embodiment in protruding fashion on each of the twin sheets. The ridges are integrally molded to form vertically extending barriers, the straight peaks 24 or midpoints'of they ridges on each sheet being spaced apart, in the illustrated embodiment, a distance equal to the diameter of a can which is to be packaged in connection with the positioner.
The pair of hollow ridges on each twin sheet define a trio of vertically extending can wall embracing valleys, advisably of a semi-cylindrical shape. A valley for the purposes of this disclosure is a relieved or depressed zone beside and defined by at least one raised or protruding ridge. The central valley 26 between the two ridges is slightly less than half a cylinder in shape,V and its center or deepest portion coincides approximately with the vertical centerline of the positioner; and, the end valleys 28 formed beside each ridge, that is between each ridge and the adjacent end margin 20 are approximately quarter cylinders in shape with their centers or deepest portions coinciding approximately with the end margins 20, as can be understood. The deepest portions of the three can embracing valleys of each sheet are generally tangent to a common flat plane.
The pulp positioner of this invention includes convenient handle means for carrying a package of six cans. Each one of the pair of ridges on each of the twin sheets is open at at least its upper end as at 30 to provide two apertures in which two fingers of a hand may be inserted for gripping Aa package. The vopen upper ends of the ridges are actually` a portion of the upper margin 18.0f each sheet, and may conveniently lie in the same plane `as the rimsupport portions of such margin. This provides additionalrim contacting edge surface, as the semi-cylindrical walls kof the can embracing valleys and ridges are adapted to contact the side walls of the cans between the upper Yand lower rims. Since the usual force against which the positioner must resist is caused by upward lifting of the positioner relative to the adjacent cans, therim support portions of increased extent are considered more critical at the upper margin of the positioner than at the lower margin thereof. The finger grip apertures between the twin layers are defined by the inner walls of the hollow ridges, as can be understood.
If desired, finger grip protrusions 32 in each finger grip aperture may be provided. Advisably, such protrusions 32 are molded as indentations in the semi-cylindrical walls of the central valley 26 formed between the two ridges of each sheet. Such indentations are located adjacent the upper margin of each sheet so as to be located where they will be automatically engaged by fingers inserted in the finger grip apertures.
A convenient manner of providing the above described twin sheet arrangement of molded pulp can positioner involves molding the two halves as a single unit which may be folded in half with the ridges on the outside. As best illustrated in FIGS. 6 and 7, the two halves are joined at their upper margins 18 to provide a large rectangular sheet of molded pulp having end walls formed by the bottom margins 16 and side walls formed by the margins 20. The ridges 22 extend longitudinally of the large sheet, and the central valley 26 formed therebetween has its center in alignment with the longitudinal centerline of the large sheet. The margins 18, it will be noted, lie in alignment with the lateral centerline of the large sheet. The open ends 30 of the ridges adjacent the upper margin 18 Vtake the form of slots through the pulp sheet extending across elongated ridges at their'midpoints, the slots also lying on the transverse centerline of the large sheet. or scribed along its lateral centerline as at 33 on either end of the slots to define a crease line which will become the rim supporting portions of the upper margins 18 when the sheet is folded. To insure that the rim support portions of the upper margin include at least part of the ridge and valley walls as suggested above, the width Conveniently, the sheet may be scored of the creasing groove 33 is equal to the width of the two slots 30. For convenience, incertain can packaging operations, this width is advisably equal to a distance which is twice the axial height of the upper rims of cans which are to be packaged in connection with the molded pulp unit to enable cans to be secured to each half before the unit is folded. The positioners may be stacked in the open or unfolded as-molded condition with the ridges nested after the known fashion to provide a compact arrangement for shipping from the pulp manufacturer to the can packager.V While the preferred embodiment is hinged along the upper` margin 18,it will be appreciated that any of the remaining three margins may be vutilized for purposes of hinging the twin molded pulp sheets together. Hinges along the upper margin, it should be noted, serve to provide a resistance against separation of the twin sheets at their upper` ends when wedging gripping force is applied between the two middle cans by fingers in the finger grip openings.
In FIG. 8, a modification of the molded pulp can positioner is illustrated `cooperatively associated with six rimmed cans, shown in dash-dot outline. The modified positioner is generally similar in structure to the above described embodiment, and'similar elements are indicated by -similar reference numerals with the addition of a prime i a maximum protruding height significantly greater thanI the radius of a can which is to be packaged in connection with the positioner. molded with conventional draft angles, the dimension of the molded pulpV sheet between the edges 20' is materially increased. When cans are secured tightly against `the positioner, however, the walls of each side of each ridge 22' are shifted or collapsed Vinto contact adjacent the points 'of maximum can width. Because of the inherent resiliency of molded pulp, moreover, the increased structure of the ridge peaks 24' maintains original shape to an extent which is sufficient to embrace'the cylindrical WallsY of the 1 cans some distancerbeyond the mid-point of the cans. This provides an additional restraining feature `to main-y tain at least the central cans in each row `against lateral outward shifting when the entire package of cans is suitably overwrapped.
As best seen in FIG. l, the package 40 which utilizes the moldedfpulp positioner of this invention includes six generally cylindrical cans having cylindrical `wall portions 42, circular end portions 44, upper -rims 46 and lower rims 48. If desired, the cylindrical walls may include advertising or other identifying indicia of the canner. cans are arranged in vertically upright attitude in a single horizontal layer characterized by two parallel rows of three cans each. The rims of the end cans in each row are in contact with the rims of the middle canineach row. Advisably, the molded pulp positioner10 which lies between the two parallel rows is of a thickness which perl mits the rims of the cans in one rowV to contact the rims of the corresponding can in the other row when the pack-` age has been tightly overwrapped.
The molded pulp positioner, as noted, s positioned between the two parallel rows of cans to maintain them in generally straight, parallel alignment. The vertical ridges 22 protruding from each side of the positioner lie between the cans so at least the central can in each 'row is l.
secured against lateral lrolling or sliding motion relative to the positioner. The upper rims 46 of the six can over" The hinge portions 33 on the upper marginv To enable such configuration to beV hang the rim support portions of the upper margin 18 of the positioner whereby all cans will be raised as the positioner is raised. In addition, the lower rims 48- of the v six cans also overlie the rim support portions of the lower margin 16 of the positioner 1f). Thus, if a package is lifted, for instance by a single can, the positioner and remaining five cans will be lifted upwardly therewith.
The six cans and the central molded pulp positioner are overwrapped to complete the package by an outer covering which may take one of several possible forms. A flat band of tape, wire or film around the six cans is contemplated as wrapping means for securing the cans to the molded pulp positioner. Advisably, one form of over- Wrap shown in FIG. l comprises transparent film 50 en-` tirely surrounding the six can package with the exception of two heat punctured openings 51 in the top in registry with the finger grip openings 30 provided by the molded pulp positioner. Such an overwrap surrounds the six cans in a horizontal plane and secures them in tightly bunched array against the positioner to take full advantage ofthe functional features of the positioner. Additionally, such a full overwrap provides a surrounding restraining force in a vertical plane embracing at least the two central cans of each row and extending laterally across the top of the package between the finger grip openings to positively maintain the two central cans against outward tilting separation of their upper ends when wedging gripping force is applied between these two cans by fingers in the finger grip openings. The total overwrap, in addition to rendering the can labels completely and clearly visible, provides a protective and sanitary-covering for the tops 44 of the cans which is of considerable importance with cans which contain drinks which are habitually consumed directly from holes punctured in the can top. A suggested wrapping of this nature includes bi-axially oriented, heat shrinkable, transparent film.
Another overwrap arrangement for the package of this invention is illustrated in FIGS. 9 and l0. This includes six cans arranged as described above in connection with FIG. l in hunched -array againstthe molded pulp positioner. Instead of providing a complete overwrap, however, the three cans of each row are secured to one of the twin sheets of the positioner by separate lengths of sleeve type transparent shrink film 52. A surrounding band 54 occupying a vertical plane secures the two halves of the package together in the area of the middle cans of each row. While not fully covering the tops 44 of the six cans as in the previously described arrangement, the FIGS. 9, l0 arrangement is adapted to be readily separated into two packages of three cans each. Simply by removing the band 54 and tearing the positioner in half along its upper margin crease line 33, the six can package readily separates into two three-can packages, each having its own can positioner which continues to 'restrain or position the cans in every direction relative to the positioner.
In use, the molded pulp can positioner may be ernployed for packaging a variety of sizes and shapes of cans containing divergent products. For instance, it is currently popular to package beer, soft drinks, dietary products and other such liquids in l2 or 16 ounce rimmed cans. Additionally, other canned products such as fruits, vegetables land soups, or even non-edibles such as paint, wax and insect repellants, the latter especially in pressurized spray cans, are increasingly appearing in six-can packages, often of the type where cans of different but related products are sold as a mixed set or group. Simply by designing the dimensions of the above-disclosed molded pulp positioner to match the dimensions of the particular rimmed can, the packaging arrangement of this invention is usable with a wide number and variety of products and in conjunction with a wide range of overwraps.
Thus, a molded pulp packaging unit has been disclosed which positively positions rimmed cans in groups such as six in parallel row arrangement. The positioner allows for complete visibility of the can labels in con- 6 t junction with transparent overwraps. The cans are preeluded from relative axial shifting by the rim support portions at both the top and -bottom margins of the positioner. An extremely convenient and ultimately compact handle arrangement for the package is provided by the finger grip openings in the positioner between the cans. Additionally, the inexpensive throw-away pulp unit requires no printing and is completely compatible with esta-blished pulp manufacturing techniques, including nested stacking for shipment to the can packager. Finally, the small overall bulk of the unit combined with the exible overwrap results in a package of cans which may be quickly chilled, and the unit may be conveniently disposed of when the package is broken.
While the above described embodiments constitute the preferred mode of practicing this invention, other embodiments and equivalents may be resorted to within the scope of the actual invention, which is claimed as follows.
What is claimed is:
1. A molded pulp article comprising a sheet of pulp of generally rectangular overall configuration, a pair of integrally molded opstanding hollow ridge means extending lengthwise of the sheet, the ridge means defining therebetween an elongated valley having a center coinciding approximately with the longitudinal centerline of the sheet, the ridge means also defining valleys along the longitudinal edges of the sheet, a pair of slots extending through the sheet, one interrupting each ridge means,
the slots extending laterally across the ridge means and i being aligned with each other in a direction perpendicular to the direction in which the ridge means extend to enable the sheet to be folded in two back upon itself with the ridge means on the outside to provide a pair of openings interrupting the folded edge, the openings being formed by the slots and defined by the hollow ridge means.
2. A unitary molded pulp article comprising aV sheet of pulp of generally rectangular configuration, a pair ofV integrally molded, parallel, upstanding hollow ridges extending lengthwise of the sheet for substantially the full length thereof, the ridges defining therebetween a semicylindrical valley having its center coinciding approximately with the longitudinal centerline of the sheet, the ridges also defining semi-cylindrical valleys along the longitudinal edges of the sheet having their centers coinciding approximately with the longitudinal edges of the sheet, the three semi-cylindrical valleys each being substantially tangent along their deepest portion to a common plane, a pair of slots extending through the sheet, one interrupting each ridge across its longitudinal mid-point, the slots being aligned Vwith each other and extending in a direction perpendicular to the direction in which the ridges extend, a score line extending along the lateral centerline of the sheet in alignment with the slots to enable the sheet to 1be folded in half therealong back upon itself with the ridges on the outside to form a double thickness uni-t with a pair of openings interrupting the folded edge, the openings being formed by the slots Iand defined by the hollow ridges.
3. A unitary molded pulp article as in claim 2 wherein the .width of the slots and the width of the lateral score line are substantially identical.
4. A molded pulp article comprising twin sheets of molded pulp in two layers hinged together at one edge, each of the twin sheets including outwardly protruding hollow ridge means perpendicular to the hinged edge, the ridge means of each sheet defining a plurality of elongated valleys, the valleys having their centers in a common dat plane and approximately perpendicular to the hinged edge, the hollow ridge means being open at one end adjacent the hinged edge of the sheets to provide gaps where the hinge line is interrupted, and the valley centers being of equal length and extending fully across the article.
5. A molded pulp article comprising twin generally rectangular sheets of molded pulp in two layers hinged together at one edge, each of the twin sheets including a pair of outwardly protruding hollow ridge means perpendicular to the hinged edge and extending substantially from the hinged edge fully across the article, the ridge means of each sheet defining a trio of elongated valleys, the central valley having its center coinciding approximately with the centerline of each sheet which is perpendicular to the hinged edge 4and the outer valleys having their centers coinciding approximately with the edges of the sheet which are perpendicular to the hinged edge, the valley centers being of equal length and extending fully across -the article substantially tangent to a common fiat plane, and the hollow ridge means being open at one end adjacent the hinged edge of the sheets to provide gaps where the hinge line is interrupted `:tor access between the layers to the inner walls of the hollow ridge means.
6. A molded pulp article for holding a group of cylindrical rimmed cans positioned in two parallel rows with the cans in each row having their upper and lower rims,
respectively, in contact comprising a sheet of molded.
pulp adapted to be positioned between the two rows of cans, the positionery including an upper margin providing rim support portions adjacent each can position and a lower margin providing rim support portions adjacent each can position, the distance between the rim support portions of the upper and lower margins being equal `t the distance between the upper and lower rims of the cans so that can rims may closely overhang the marginal rim support portions, a relatively rigid wall portion between the upper and lower margins to retain the two rows of cans in generally parallel alignment, ridge ymeans formed on Opposite sides of the wall portion to restrain the cans in each row against movement in a lateral direction parallel` with the VWall portion of the positioner, and portions on at least the upper margin which extend out of the plane dividing the two rows of cans toY provide finger grip openings. Y
71A molded pulp article for holding a group of cylindrical rimmed cans positioned in two parallel rows with the cans in each row having their upper and lower rims, respectively, in contact vcomprising a pair of twin generally rectangular sheets of molded pulp integrally hinged together and adapted to be positioned between the two rows of cans, each sheet having a length dimension at least twice the diameter of a can and a height dimension equal to the distance between the top and bottom rims, of a can, each sheet being provided with integrally molded, vertically extending, parallel -hollow ridges with their peaks spaced from each other a distance equal to the diameter of a can, the sheets being positioned back-to back whereby the four protruding ridges are adapted to maintain the cans positioned in parallel rows, each ridge being open at its upper end to form a pair of finger grip apertures between the sheets 'of molded pulp.
8. A package comprising six similar cylindrical rimmed cans positioned in two'parallel rows of three cans each with the rims of the cans in each row having the upper and lower rims, respectively, in contact, a molded pulp positioner between the two rows of cans, the positioner including twin generally rectangular sheets of molded pulp each having an upper margin providing rim support portions adjacent each can and a lower margin: providing rim support portions adjacent each can, thel height dimension of each sheet between the rim support portions of the upper and lower margins being equal to the distance between the upper and lower rims of the cans so that the can rims closely overhang the marginal rim support portions, each sheet having a length dimension at least twice the diameter of a can, each sheet being p provided with a pair of integrally molded, vertically extending, parallel, hollow ridges with their peaks spaced from each other a distance equal to the diameter of a can to restain the cans in each row against movement in a lateral direction, each ridge extending to the upper margin andbeing open at its upper end to form a pair of finger grip apertures between the sheets of molded pulp centered on the plane dividing the two rows of cans, the
sheets of molded pulp comprising the positioner beingcontoured for nested stacking in ready-to-use condition when they are disassociated .from the package, outer wrapping means securing the cans of each row to the positioner,
the wrapping means being a flexible transparent film and including portions permitting access to the two finger [grip openings of the positioner between the cans.
9. A package as defined in claim 8 wherein the wrap-` ping means essentially completely encircles the six'cans and secures them as a group to the positioner.
10. A package as defined in claim 8 wherein the wrapping means includes separate portions each encircling the three cans of a row to secure them to one of the twin` sheets of the positioner as well as means laterally spanning l the middle cans in each row to secure them against outward movement.
A11. A package as defined in claim 8 wherein finger grip protrusions are provided in the finger` grip apertures on the inside of the hollow ridges-adjacent the upper margin of the positioner.
12. A package as defined in claim 11 wherein the peaks Y of the hollow ridges are spaced from the plane dividing the two rows of cans by a distance significantly more than one-half the diameter of the cans torrestrain cans against lateral outward shifting. i
. References Cited by theExaminer UNITED STATES PATENTS THERON E. CONDON, Primary Examiner.
MARTHA L. RICE, Examiner.-
Citations de brevets