US 3589511 A
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United States Patent FOREIGN PATENTS 9/1963 France Primary Examiner- Leonard Summer Attorney-Leonard W. Suroff Thomas M. Britt Red Bank. NJ. 849.638
[72) lnventor 21 Appl. No. [22.] Filed Aug. 13, 1969  Patented June 29, 1971  Assignee Owens-"line's, Inc.
ABSTRACT: The invention discloses a package for use with  PACKAGE AND TR Y FOR TUBES OR THE LIKE frangible objects and a tray which when empty may be readily 20 Chin's 10 Drawing Figs. nested within a like tray and when filled the spaced-apart objects are positioned in holding means formed by a plurality of channels extending transversely to the length of the tray and of the objects. Retaining means is provided on each tray in the form of downwardly extending legs which when the which channels substantially conform to the contour  865d 25/10 trays are in l Field of 206/65- 65 their nested position the legs of an upper tray extend around 65 K; 217/265 the object ofa lower stacked tray so that substantial incapsulation of each object is obtained to secure them from movement  References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 7/1970 Nagleet when transported. Removing means is also provided in the form of a groove extending the length of the tray and forming a depression beneath each object such that the finger of th 9/1966 Weiner.........
person removing the objects from the tray may gently lift each 206/65 object from its seated position by placing his finger within the 217/26.5 X groove to lift up and grip the respective object.
3,223,234 12/1965 Weiss..... 1,960,279 5/1934 PATENTEU'JUNPQ ls?! 3589511 SHEET 1 OF 3 44 THOMAS M. BRITT PACKAGE AND TRAY FOR TUBES Ollil Tlii'llE MIKE BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION A. Field Of The Invention The present invention relates to a package for storing and shipping frangible objects, such as cylindrical tubes, and more particularly a tray in which the tubes are placed and stacked together during shipment or storage thereof.
B. Discussion Of The Prior Art It has been suggested in the prior art, to provide trays for both storing and shipping tubes, or like objects, and in which the trays themselves could be placed in a stacked position. An example of the prior art is U.S. Pat. No. 3,272,371, which issued on Sept. 13, 1966. The tube tray disclosed in this patent is of a stackable nestable construction with the trays all in alignment with each other when empty but alternately oriented in directly opposed directions such that every other tray has to be rotated 180 when the trays are filled and stacked. This obviously is a drawback of the prior art invention in that when packaging the trays provisions have to be made for alternating the position of every other tray such that they may be properly assembled Obviously, this results in an added operation in the assembling thereof which is rather cumbersome. The present invention avoids this problem.
The prior art is also deficient in not providing the necessary retaining means to assure that each tube is individually maintained in fixed position, this deficiency is overcome in the present invention. In addition, the prior art is deficient in not providing removing means to facilitate the gripping of each test tube and removing same from the tray, provisions for this is made in the present invention.
OBJECTS OF THE INVENTION An object of the present invention is to overcome the disadvantages of the prior art devices by providing a tray that is nestable one within the other when empty and wherein the trays may be filled with objects such as tubes and still permit the internestability of the trays in their same oriented positions.
Another object of the present invention is to provide a tray formed from sheet material, having a corrugated portion forming channels or pockets for receiving the objects therein withdownwardly extending legs from the bottom surface of the tray adapted to extend between like objects of the next lower filled tray.
Another object of the present invention is to provide a package having a plurality of spaced-apart trays with objects contained in each tray and the trays assembled together to retain the objects in substantially fixed position during shipment and storage thereof.
Other objects of the present invention will be obvious as the disclosure and description of the invention proceeds.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION material, and adapted to be nestable within a similar tray when.
they are initially stored prior to use. The body portion includes a bottom wall with an upwardly extending wall portion which terminals in a peripheral rim formed with and extending out 5 wardly from the wall portion and terminating in an outer free extremity. To facilitate handling of trays gripping means is provided in the form of indentations on the rim such that the user may easily place his finger therein for manipulation of the individual trays; To assure sufiicient rigidity of the tray, while being able to utilize a minimum of material in fabricating thereof, stiffening means is formed on the rim in the form ofa rib to provide the necessary rigidity to the tray for handling thereof. When the objects are on the tray and it is desired to remove them therefrom, removing means is provided which includes a depression extending along at least one of the walls of the body portion and which depression continues across the bottom wall in a direction transverse to that of the elongated objects positioned in the tray. The depth of the depression is such as to permit the user to insert at least a portion of his finger beneath the object and to pry it up so that he may grasp it with his remaining fingers and remove it from the confines of the tray.
To maintain the objects in a fixed position during shipment of the package holding means and retaining means are provided to accomplish their end purposes in interrelated 'combination. The holding means is formed on the bottom wall and includes a plurality of elongated spaced-apart channels for receiving the objects therein. The respective channels are separated by ridges from which the retaining means extend downwardly in the form of spaced-apart tapered hollow legs. Each leg includes a tip integrally formed with a pair of side lips and end lips continuing upwardly and outwardly therefrom, and terminating in an open end. The separation between the respective lips of adjacent rows is designed to encompass an object in a lower nested tray such that an interlocking relationship is obtain to both cushion the object and prevent substantial movement thereof. Since the legs are hollow the degree of resiliency provided tends to enhance the cushioning effect such that each object may be properly isolated from each other.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS For a better understanding of the present invention reference should be had to the accompanying drawings, wherein like numerals of reference indicate similar parts throughout the several views and wherein:
FIG. I a fragmentary perspective view of a package utilizing the novel trays of the invention, portions being broken away for purposes of showing details;
FIG. 2 is a top plan view of the trays of FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a vertical section taken substantially on the plane of line 3-3 of FIG. 2 of a stack of trays to illustrate the removing means;
FIG. 4 is a vertical section taken substantially on the plane of line 4-4 of FIG. 2 of a stack of trays to illustrate the retaining means;
FIG. 5 is a vertical section taken substantially on the plane ofline 5-5 of FIG. 2;
FIG. 6 is a vertical section taken substantially on the plane of line 6-6 of FIG. 2; to illustrate the retaining means;
FIG. 7 is a longitudinal sectional elevation, similar to FIG. 3, of the empty trays of the invention shown in nested relation;
FIG. 8 is a longitudinal sectional elevation, similar to FIG. 4, of the empty trays of the invention shown in nested relation;
FIG. 9 is a longitudinal sectional elevation, similar to FIG. 5, of the empty trays of the invention shown in nested relation; and
FIG. 10 is a longitudinal sectional elevation, similar to FIG. 6, of the empty trays of the invention shown in nested relation.
DETAILED DISCUSSION OF THE DRAWINGS i present invention which consists of a plurality of individual trays 12 stacked one above the other with the desired objects 15 contained therein and a cover tray 16 inserted over the objects 15 of the uppermost nested tray 12 for enclosing same.
The stacked trays 12 are contained in a carton 18, which may be opened in a conventional manner after shipment to the end user and include a cover 20, side panels 22, and end panels 24. In their assembled relationship each tray 12 may contain one or more elongated objects 15 therein, as seem particularly in FIG. 2, which are illustrated in the form of tubes which may be made of glass, plastic, or some other material, which may be frangible having a stopper 26 at one end thereof with a neck 28 positioned within the tubular portion of the tube 15 and an enlarged head portion 30 integrally formed with the neck 28 and extending exteriorly of the tube 15.
The trays 12 may be made out of a variety of materials such as plastic, paper, or molded pulp, or any combination thereof, but applicant has found that certain characteristics of the tray 12 are enhanced by the use of a foam plastic material such as foam polystyrene, starting with a sheet having a thickness in the range of from 0.0l-0.l25 and a density in the range from 2 to 30 lbs/cubic foot. For trays having a dimension of approximately 6 inches by inches a suitable thickness has been found in the range of0.0500.090 inches, and a density in the range of 3 to 6 lbs/cubic foot.
The tray 12 as illustrated in FIGS. 310, is integrally formed and includes a body portion 32 having a bottom wall 34 and extending upwardly and outwardly at a taper from the bottom wall 34 integrally formed therewith is a wall portion. The wall portion includes a pair of spaced-apart sidewalls 36 extending upwardly and outwardly extending end walls 38 in spaced relationship to each other. Integrally formed with the respective walls 36 and 38 of the body portion 32 is a continuously peripherally outwardly extending flange portion or rim 40 having an outer free edge or extremity 42 and which defines the open top of the tray. The flange portion includes side sections 44 integrally formed with the sidewalls 36, and end sections 46 integrally formed with the end walls 38, all connected together. The lateral width of the end sections 46 are shown as somewhat larger that the side sections 44, but this is primarily a matter of choice.
The rim portion 40 is provided with stiffening means 45 to prevent fracture thereof and also strengthen the peripheral edge 42 thereby making it highly resistant to flexure, as by providing a downwardly, or upwardly as shown, peripherally extending arcuate rib 48 which adds the requisite rigidity to the tray 12 to facilitate handling thereof, especially when filled with the objects 15. The rib 48 may be continuous as shown, or intermittent depending impart on the size and weight of the objects to be positioned therein.
Holding Means The objects 15 are positioned within the confines of the walls 36 and 38 of the body portion 32 and are seated within the holding means 50 provided to maintain the objects 15 in substantial parallel spaced-apart relationship to each other during shipment and storage. The holding means includes a scalloped configuration forming a plurality of transversely extending pockets or channels 52 shown most clearly in FIG. 4 and formed having a base 54 which provides the bottom of the elongated channels 52 which extend substantially across the bottom wall 34 between the sidewalls 36. The respective channels 52 extend from the base 54 and meet at ridges of crests 55, with an upwardly extending contoured concave surface channel wall 56 connecting the base 54 and ridges 55 to accept the tubes 15 in the channels 52 and held therein in place. The elongated ridges 55 in the horizontal plane are below the plane of the rim 40, and laterally spaced from each other approximately one-half the diameter of the object 15, as seen in FIGS. 3 and 4. Since the object 15 may be placed in the chan- Obviously, if the object does not have an enlarged head portion then either no side channel is required at all, or the bottom wall may be on an even plane or stepped up above the rest of the bottom wall if desired. The fit between the adjacent ridges 55 and the outside diameter of the objects 15 is such that either a slight degree of interference, or a loose fit, may be provided. As seen in the drawings and particularly in FIG. 3 a slight spacing between each respective channel ridge 55 and the object 15 may be provided, since the holding means 50 is used in conjunction with the retaining means 60, hereinafter explained in detail, to assure that the objects 15 are maintained in position during shipment from where they are assembled to the end user.
Retaining Means For packaging frangible objects 15, which may be glass, so that they do not fracture or break during shipment it is important that almost complete incapsulation of each object 15 is obtained to provide a packaging system with the highest obtainable degree of safety. This is important in that the breakage of one vial 15 often results in the entire package 10 or a single filled tray being discarded. Accordingly, retaining means 60 is provided such that a positive locking force is obtained for each object 15 and in accordance with the present invention a plurality of legs 62 are provided in substantial alignment with each of the ridges 55 to extend between and engage an object in a lower nested tray to provide an interlocking relationship therewith. The legs 62 extend downwardly from the bottom wall 34 and extend between the objects 15 positioned within the holding means 50 of a lower nested tray 12. As seen in particular with respect to FIGS. 2, 4 and 5, each channel 52 essentially is associated with a pair of spaced-apart legs 62 which in turn forms two rows along substantially opposite sides of the tray 12. The number of legs 62 provided is dependent upon the longitudinal length, diameter, shape and other characteristics of the object contained therein. Thus, one or more legs 62 may be used for the desired shape and size of a particular tray. The legs 62 are preferably tapered and hollow with a tip 64 at one end thereof integrally formed with diverging upwardly and outwardly extending side lips 66 and end lips 68 that merge with the channel 52 and terminate in an open top. The lips 66 and 68 extend upwardly and outwardly from the tip 64 and merge respectively with the channel base 54, and the channel wall 56. A tapered hollow configuration for the leg provides a degree of resiliency which assists in the retaining of the objects 15 in place. The degree of taper depends upon the distance between the spaced-apart objects 15 into which the tips 64 of the leg 62 must extend as seen in FIGS. 3 and 4. By providing a hollow leg 62 the degree of flexibility and resiliency is provided which helps cushion the movement of the objects 15 during transportation. Since the tray preferably is made of foam polystyrene the hollow leg 62 permits the degree of compressability to cushion the shocks transmitted by the objects 15 during the shipment. The legs could also be made of solid material by injection molding the tray or by some other means and same would also be suitable for the present invention.
Gripping Means When the package 10 is opened for use in a conventional manner, then the cover tray 16 may be removed from within the carton to gain access to the top tray. Since a cover tray 16 is provided as seen in FIG. 1 it is possible to invert the entire package 10 and remove all of the trays 12 entirely from the carton 18 but this can result in separation and falling out of certain of the objects 15. It has been found that the preferable approach is to provide gripping means 70 which permits the user to unstack each tray 12 individually when either in the carton 18 or removed therefrom, and the gripping means may include at least two indentations 72 preferably one on each end of the rim portion 46 as seen in FIG. 2, with the indent 72, being of the size to permit the finger of the user 74 to be engaged therein. By placing one finger in each indent 74 a tray 12 may be then removed from its stacked relationship with the other trays 12 while they remain in the carton 18. The gripping means 70 may also be used, if desired, in placing each individual filled tray 12 within the carton 18 when initially assembling the package 10. The number and location of the indents 72 may vary as to the size of the tray being manufactured as well as the weight of the individual objects contained thereon. It is appreciated that the trays of applicants invention are adaptable to tubular items of from a fraction of an inch to several feet in length.
Removing Means Once a tray has been separated from the package and placed in use the objects positioned thereon have to be other hand and remove it from its seated position within the tray 12. The bottom of the groove connecting depression 78 may extend below the bottom wall 34 of the tray 12 and transversely to the direction of the elongated channels 52 with the depression 76 extending vertically substantially the height of at least one of said spaced-apart end walls 36.
FIGS. 710 illustrate the relationship of the trays 12 when assembled and nested together prior to the objects being positioned therein. The design of the tray is such that they are adapted to benested one within the other and easily removed either manually or by automatic means. As seen in assembled relationship the tapered walls 36 and 38 of the nested trays 12 are parallel to each other and the upwardly and outwardly tapered walls might engage each other with the legs 62 of each respective tray 12 extending into the open end or top formed by the tray below it such that they are stacked together with a minimum distance therebetween.
The trays may be made by well-known thermoforming processes, and of a symmetrical pattern which permits one tray to be nested and stacked relative to another irrespective to the orientation thereof. In this manner the actual assembly procedure is simplified in that the trays do not have to be predisposed in any particular position. Therefore, when trays are stacked as shown in FIG. 4 the channels are in longitudinal alignment with each other and a vertical column of articles is formed. The cover tray 16 as illustrated in FIG. 1 may be a conventional tray 12 with the rim 40 removed therefrom so that it may fit therein.
1. A tray for storing and shipping elongated objects comprising: v
A. a body portion of substantially uniform thickness for containing said objects and including a bottom wall with a pair of spaced apart sidewalls and a pair of spaced apart end walls, each of said walls extending upwardly from said bottom wall and terminating in an open top in spaced relation to said bottom wall,
B. holding means associated with the bottom wall of said body portion, and including a plurality of elongated substantially parallel spaced apart channels for receiving the objects extending between said sidewalls and separated by ridges, and
C. retaining means downwardly extending from said body portion in substantial alignment with each of said ridges to extend around and engage an object in a lower nested tray to provide an interlocking relationship therewith.
2. A tray as in claim 1, wherein said retaining means includes at least one pair of spaced-apart tapered hollow legs along each of said ridges, said legs including a tip integrally formed with a pair of tapered side lips and end lips extending upwardly and outwardly therefrom and tenninating in an open end, said tips being in substantially a horizontal plane below the bottom wall of said body portion.
3. A tray as in claim 2, wherein each of said legs is nestable with a like leg when said trays are assembled together when empty.
4. A tray as in claim 2, wherein said side lips of said legs are resilient so as to extend around and engage the objects on a lower tray.
5. A tray as in claim 2, wherein two legs are contained along each of said ridges and said legs extend in two transverse rows substantially parallel to said sidewalls.
6. A tray as in claim ll, wherein said row of elongated channels terminate at one end thereof in a side channel connected directly to one of said sidewalls.
7. A tray as in claim 1,
a. wherein said walls are tapered and extend upwardly and outwardly from said bottom wall to said open top, and
b. said retaining means includes a pair of hollow tapered spaced-apart legs adjacent each of said channels, so that said trays may be nested together with said tapered walls and legs in interfitting relationship when empty while when said trays contain objects they can be stacked one above the other with each tray oriented in the same position as when empty.
8. A tray as in claim 1, and further including a peripheral rim integrally formed with and extending outwardly from said walls and terminating in an outer free extremity.
9. A tray as in claim 8, and further including gripping means comprising at least two indentations in said rim, said indentations being adjacent a pair of said opposed walls.
10. A tray as in claim 8, and further including stiffening means integrally formed with said rim in the form of a rib so as to provide the requisite rigidity to said tray for handling thereof.
llll. A tray as in claim 1, and further including removing means to facilitate the removal of the objects from within the tray, and including a depression extending transversely to the direction of said elongated channels at a depth to at least partially accept the finger of the user to pry up an object contained in said holding means, said depression extending vertically substantially the height of at least one of said spacedapart end walls and continuing across said body portion.
12. A tray as in claim 1, wherein said tray is made from foam plastic material.
13. A tray as in claim 12, wherein said foam plastic material has a density in the range of from 2 to 30 lbs/cubic foot.
14. A tray as in claim 12, wherein said tray has a thickness in the range offrom 0.0l0-0. l 25 inches.
15. A tray for storing and shipping elongated objects comprising:
A. a body portion of substantially uniform thickness for containing said objects and including a bottom wall with a pair of spaced-apart sidewalls and a pair of spaced-apart end walls, the latter being shorter than said sidewalls, each extending upwardly therefrom and terminating in an open top in spaced relation to said bottom wall,
B. a peripheral rim integrally formed with and extending outwardly from said walls and terminating in an outer free extremity,
C. gripping means to facilitate handling of said trays, and including at least two indentations in said rim, said indentations being adjacent a pair of said opposed walls,
D. stiffening means integrally formed with said rim in the form of a rib so as to provide the requisite rigidity to said tray for handling thereof,
E. holding means associated with the bottom wall of said body portion, and including a plurality of elongated substantially parallel spaced-apart channels for receiving the objects extending between said sidewalls and separated by ridges.
F. retaining means downwardly extending from said body portion in substantial alignment with each of said ridges to extend around and engage an object in a lower nested tray to provide an interlocking relationship therewith, and
G. removing means to facilitate the removal of the object from within the tray, and including a depression extending transversely to the direction of said elongated channels, and ofa depth to at least partially accept the finger of the user to pry up an object contained in said holding means, said depression extending vertically substantially the height of at least one of said spaced-apart end walls and continuing across said body portion.
16. A tray as in claim 15, wherein said elongated channels have a base with upwardly extending contoured channel walls terminating in said ridge between each of said channels.
17. A tray as in claim 15, wherein said retaining means includes at least one pair of spaced-apart tapered hollow legs along each of said ridges, said legs including a tip integrally formed with a pair of tapered side lips and end lips extending upwardly and outwardly therefrom and terminating in an open end, said tips being in a substantially horizontal plane below the bottom wall of said body portion.
18 A package for shipping elongated objects comprising:
A. a carton, and
B. a stack of trays in said carton each one containing a plurality of elongated objects maintained in fixed position by interrelated holding means and retaining means,
C. said trays including a body portion of substantially unifonn thickness for containing said objects with a bottom wall and a pair of spaced-apart sidewalls and a pair of spaced apart end walls, each of said walls extending upwardly from said bottom wall and terminating in an open top in spaced relation to said bottom wall,
D. said holding means associated with the bottom wall of said body portion, and including a plurality of elongated substantially parallel spaced-apart channels for receiving the objects extending between said sidewalls and separated by ridges,
B. said retaining means downwardly extending from said body portion in substantial alignment with each of said ridges to extend around and engage an object in a lower nested tray to provide an interlocking relationship therewith.
19. A package as in claim 18, and further including a cover tray extending over the uppermost tray in said carton.
20. A tray as in claim 18, wherein said retaining means includes at least one pair of spaced-apart tapered hollow legs substantially aligned with each of said ridges, said legs including a tip integrally formed with a pair of tapered side lips and end lips extending upwardly and outwardly therefrom and terminating in an open end, said tips being in a substantially horizontal plane below the bottom wall of said body portion and extending between objects in a lower nested tray.
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