Patent application title: Thermoplastic Storage Bag Air Evacuation System
John Yoshiro Ajioka (Moraga, CA, US)
IPC8 Class: AB65B3104FI
Class name: Methods gas filling and/or evacuating and closing including evacuating
Publication date: 2009-11-05
Patent application number: 20090272077
A unique integration of a unidirectional, thermoplastic valve of specific
design with any common plastic or thermoplastic storage bag to create a
method by which a substantial amount of trapped air may be evacuated from
the bag after it is filled and sealed. While there are currently patented
methods of removing air from frozen food storage bags by using various
forms of valves, vacuum devices or human breath, the stipulation in the
present invention is the use of a valve of specific design in combination
with any common plastic or thermoplastic storage frozen, food, storage
bag that is unique and central to this inventive concept.
The method of closing plastic or thermoplastic, storage bags is not
central to the present inventive concept. This concept allows for the
removal of substantial excess air inside any plastic or thermoplastic
storage bag regardless of the means by which it is sealed.
The inventive concept covers the use of a specific unidirectional valve of
specific design in combination with plastic or thermoplastic, storage,
bags regardless of the specific location of the valve on the bags.
A valve is defined as a flat tubular flap valve which simply consists of a
flattened thermoplastic tube which is attached to the plastic or
thermoplastic storage bag and left open to the atmosphere at the other
end. When solid (non-liquid or non-powdered) items are placed inside of
the bag and sealed, the plastic bag can then be collapsed around the
content items inside to force substantial trapped air out through the
valve into the atmosphere. The open end of the valve will seal flat as
atmospheric air pressure outside the bag tries to re-enter through the
1. A unique method of removing or evacuating a substantial portion of
trapped air from within any plastic or thermoplastic, storage bag by
integrating a one way air valve of specific design with any typical
plastic or thermoplastic storage bag to form the concept of the
2. The use of a flattened thermoplastic tube used as a unidirectional air valve integrated with any sealable plastic or thermoplastic storage bag of any size or variety to create a unique means of evacuating trapped air from inside the bag after it is filled with contents and sealed.
3. That a whole range of potential plastic or thermoplastic storage bag products would arise using the concept as set forth in claim 2.
4. That a whole range of potential plastic or thermoplastic storage bag products would arise using the concept as set forth in claim 2, which would not require the consumer of such products to purchase any ancillary materials or equipment to effectuate the evacuation of substantial trapped air from within plastic or thermoplastic storage bags of any form or variety.
5. That a whole range of potential plastic or thermoplastic storage bag products arise using the concept as set forth in claim 2, which allows current manufacturers of plastic or thermoplastic bags to easily integrate the Invention into their present manufacturing processes using their currently understood art and technologies.
6. That a whole range of potential plastic or thermoplastic storage bag products arise using the concept as set forth in claim 2, that would present low or minimal implementation costs to any potential manufacturer of plastic or thermoplastic storage bag products.
7. That a whole range of potential plastic or thermoplastic storage bag products arise using the concept as set forth in claim 2, that by their nature would present low or minimal additional marginal costs of materials for any potential manufacturer of plastic or thermoplastic storage bag products.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
Re-sealable, frozen food, storage bags are widely used to package solid food for frozen storage in home freezers. The most notable food stuffs typically placed in thermoplastic, freezer, storage bags are meat, fish or poultry, however, many other classifications of freezable solid foods are similarly placed in thermoplastic storage bags. A common problem that arises when storing meat, fish or poultry in storage bags for freezing is a condition known as "freezer burn". "Freezer Burn" is defined as the dehydration that occurs when food is stored in the low humidity atmosphere of a freezer. It is commonly thought that air which is trapped inside the storage bag with the food stuff prior to freezing tends to exacerbates the problem of "Freezer Burn". If a substantial amount of this trapped air could be removed prior to the freezing process, it tends to reduce the efficacy of "Freezer burn" on the contents.
In addition to freezer stored foods, there are many storage bag problems that would be better served if the amount of trapped air inside the storage bag could be reduced. For example, a head of lettuce or brick of cheese will be better stored in an environment in which the amount of air surrounding the item is minimized.
In still other situations the volume of plastic bag storage, if diminished by removing substantial air, would greatly improve the storage solution. Examples of this might be household trash or lawn and garden wastes that are typically stored in plastic bags. By reducing the amount of trapped air inside the container after closure, the volume or cube of the bag could be greatly reduced, making even temporary storage of such items more efficient, i.e. take up less space.
Presently there are numerous patented methods for addressing the issue of "Freezer Burn". These methods range from valve systems as described in U.S. Pat. No. 7,244,223 or vacuum sealing methods as described in U.S. Pat. No. 7,316,101 and U.S. Pat. No. 3,980,226. There are also vacuum sealing systems which utilize vacuum pumping mechanisms in combination with sealing mechanisms to actually vacuum pack the food item. There are significant issues with the current art . . . among them being the costs of manufacture and/or the costs to the consumer.
There is current art in the form of clothing storage, however, these systems also utilize vacuum storage and sealing systems which are cumbersome and expensive solutions to the air removal problem.
The genesis of the present inventive concept is the problem of removing substantial portions of trapped air from inside plastic or thermoplastic storage bags after they have been filled with contents and are sealed by one means or another.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
In contradistinction to current state of the art, the present inventive concept is a unique integration of a simple unidirectional air release valve with common plastic or thermoplastic storage bags to form a generalized solution for the problem of air removal from all varieties of plastic or thermoplastic storage bag products. This inventive concept will provide an easy and simple means for the consumer to extract a substantial portion of trapped air inside any sealed plastic or thermoplastic, storage bag and to provide a solution which substantially improves the costs of manufacture over the current art in storage bag air removal. Because of the simplicity of the present design and materials that comprise the solution, the present inventive concept is deemed superior and therefore valuable to plastic or thermoplastic storage bag manufacturers. This inventive concept is also of value to the consumer since it does not require the use of other extraneous materials or devices such as separate valves or vacuum/sealing machines which are currently used in some products to extract the air by pump and seal the bag. It is also felt that bags consistent with the inventive concept may be reused similar to current, non-valved bags as long as the air-tight integrity of the bag is maintained through subsequent cleaning or sanitation processes.
The invention consists of the integration of a valve fabricated from a flattened, thermoplastic tube with the common, plastic or thermoplastic, storage bag. The flattened tube may be an integral part of the bag or may be welded onto the bag in a secondary operation. The specifics of fabrication methodology is not central to this invention. While the inventive concept is the integration of this specific valve with any plastic or thermoplastic storage bag, in deference to this discussion, the term "tube valve" will be used to specify the unidirectional valve design and in combination with any plastic or thermoplastic storage bag will hereafter be referred to as "the Invention."
For the purpose of demonstrating the inventive concept behind the Invention four Figures have been attached to this application. These Figures demonstrate the Invention as it might look when applied to a common thermoplastic food storage freezer bag. The drawings are not intended to restrict the inventive concept to only thermoplastic freezer bags but only to demonstrate how the inventive concept might be applied to that specific line of products.
Thus, the principle of the Invention is that the open end of the tube valve is allowed to collapse while the end connected to the bag cannot. When the bag is closed and rolled or crumpled around it's contents, the trapped air inside the bag may be squeezed or forced out of the tube valve into the atmosphere. Once a substantial portion of the air has been squeezed from the bag, the open end of the tube valve will collapse and disallow atmospheric air to re-enter the bag. As long as this flattened condition of the tube valve is maintained and the bag is, initially, in fact, air tight, the bag should remain in a substantially airless inside.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
FIG. 1: A version of The Invention is shown in a plan view having been integrated with a typical, zip lock, food storage bag. The dimension of the bag is no substantive consequence to The Invention. Detail 1A is a typical air tight seal mechanism for a food storage bag. Detail 1B is the "tube valve". In this version of The Invention, the dimensions of the tube valve are approximately 23/4 inches long by 2 inches wide. The specific size may need to vary.
FIG. 2: A version of the Invention is depicted in an isometric view that shows a typical air tight seal mechanism on a food storage bag integrated with the "tube valve".
FIG. 3: A version of The Invention with a item of food (in this case a chicken drum stick) sealed in the food storage bag and the beginnings of rolling the bag around the drum stick to force the encased air out into the atmosphere through the "tube valve" (detail 1B).
FIG. 4: A version of The Invention is depicted with the food item enclosed and the food storage bag completely collapsed around it. The outside atmospheric pressure then forces the "tube valve", (detail 1B) to close thereby preventing air from re-entering the bag.
Patent applications in class Including evacuating
Patent applications in all subclasses Including evacuating