Patent application title: Unit Package for Insulation Products
Andreas H. Unruh (Haderslev, DK)
Kenneth D. Knapp (Norristown, PA, US)
Richard J. Ray, Jr. (Downingtown, PA, US)
Calvin L. Trumbo (Royersford, PA, US)
IPC8 Class: AB65B1100FI
Class name: Package making methods applying a partial cover
Publication date: 2009-12-24
Patent application number: 20090313945
The invention pertains to a method of making a unit package. The unit
package includes, a flexible sleeve having opposite ends, and multiple
handles, wherein the handles are directly in a corresponding end of the
flexible sleeve, the corresponding end projects outwardly beyond the bags
of insulation products in the sleeve, and the corresponding end is
flexible to bend and move the handles away from the side of the sleeve,
such that the handles are accessible for grasping when the side of the
sleeve is covered.
1. A method of making a unit package for multiple bags of insulation
products, comprising:forming a flexible film wrapper into a flexible
sleeve having a side, and a corresponding end of the flexible sleeve
projects outwardly beyond the bags of insulation products;forming a pair
of handles in the corresponding end of the sleeve, wherein the pair of
handles are spaced apart a distance to deter a worker from using two
hands to grasp both of said handles, and wherein the corresponding end is
flexible to bend and move the handles away from the side of the flexible
sleeve, such that the handles become accessible for grasping when the
side of the sleeve is covered.
2. The method of claim 1, comprising:forming another end of the flexible sleeve, wherein each end of the flexible sleeve comprises an open end.
3. The method of claim 1, comprising:forming another end of the flexible sleeve and projecting said another end of the sleeve outwardly beyond the bags of insulation products to provide an overhang portion; andgathering together the overhang portion to comprise a closed end of the wrapper.
4. The method of claim 1, comprising:forming the flexible sleeve with a longitudinal seam along the side of the sleeve.
5. The method of claim 1, comprising:forming flexible film wrapper into the flexible sleeve as a seamless unitary sleeve.
6. The method of claim 1, comprising:forming each said handle as a handle opening through the flexible film wrapper;forming the flexible film wrapper with a flap along an uncut edge of each handle opening; anddoubling back the flap along the uncut edge of the handle opening.
7. The method of claim 1, comprising:forming the wrapper from sections of flexible film joined together along longitudinal side seams of the sleeve.
8. The method of claim 1, comprising:forming the flexible film wrapper with strands of a polymeric material, wherein the strands are woven in the flexible film wrapper.
9. The method of claim 1, comprising:forming the flexible film wrapper with strands of a polymeric material, wherein the strands are non-woven in the flexible film wrapper.
CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION
The present invention is a Divisional application of U.S. application Ser. No. 11/610,532, filed Dec. 14, 2006 (Attorney docket D0932-00762).
FIELD OF THE INVENTION
The present invention relates to unit packages for insulation products, wherein handles are incorporated into the unit packages.
Canadian application 2,090,125 A1 discloses an unit package in the form of a sleeve around multiple units of bulky insulation. Extended ends of the plastic sheet are welded together along a side of the sleeve to form a carrying strap. The carrying strap extends along the side of the sleeve. Handle openings are punched into the carrying strap. The handles are located along the side of the sleeve. The sleeve is capable of lying on its side in a position that covers the handles. Moreover, when a number of sleeves are stacked together for storage in a truck or in a warehouse, the sleeves lie on their sides, which covers the handles on the sides of the sleeves. Because the unit package is bulky and awkward to move, the handles must be uncovered for safe and convenient use. It would be advantageous for a unit package to have handles that are accessible for grasping when the side of the unit package is covered.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
The invention pertains to a unit package for multiple bags of insulation products, the unit package comprising, a flexible sleeve having opposite ends, and multiple handles, wherein the handles are directly in a corresponding end of the flexible sleeve, the corresponding end projects outwardly beyond the bags of insulation products in the sleeve, and the corresponding end is flexible to bend and move the handles away from the side of the sleeve, such that the handles become accessible for grasping when the side of the sleeve is covered.
An embodiment of the unit package comprises the handles being spaced apart a distance to deter a worker from gripping more than one handle.
Another embodiment of the unit package comprises a seamless sleeve.
Another embodiment of the unit package comprises a longitudinal side seam along a side of the sleeve.
The above features, and other features of embodiments of the invention will become apparent from the following detailed description, by way of example, taken in conjunction with accompanying drawings.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
The accompanying drawings disclose by way of example, preferred embodiments of the invention, and other information pertinent to a disclosure of the invention, in which;
FIG. 1 is an isometric view of a unit package for insulation products contained in multiple bags.
FIG. 1A is an isometric view of a portion of a sleeve form wrapper prior to making into a unit package.
FIG. 1 B is an isometric view of a unit bag made from the sleeve form wrapper of FIG. 1A.
FIG. 2 is an isometric view of another embodiment of a unit package for insulation products contained in multiple bags.
FIG. 2A is an isometric view of the unit package disclosed in FIG. 2, with parts shown in exploded configuration.
FIG. 2B is a fragmentary enlarged view of a portion of the unit package, as shown in FIG. 2.
FIG. 2C is a view similar to FIG. 2B, disclosing an alternative embodiment of the unit package, as shown in FIG. 2.
FIG. 3 is a fragmentary isometric view of a tool for cutting a handle opening.
As disclosed by FIG. 1, the present invention relates to a unit package 1 that contains individual units comprised of individual bags 2 of insulation products 3 inside the bags 2. The insulation products 3 are in the form of, individual bags 2 of pre-unit packaged, loose fill insulation, batts or rolls, which bags 2 are cumbersome, due to having a relatively large bulk and weight. Preferably, a unit package 1 may contain 3-8 bags of batts or 3-18 bags of rolls, and has a weight of about 50 pounds to about 250 pounds. Typically, a unit package 1 contains four bags 2, as in each of the FIGS. 1, 2, 3 and 4.
U.S. Pat. No. 6,471,061 discloses a wrapping, in the form of a stretch wrap film that wraps spirally around an organized unit of insulation products to form a unit package. A portion of the wrapping film includes a band adjacent to the base of the package, which forms a loose-fitting loop adjacent to one side of the package, and which provides a loose handle for attaching a towing rope. The movement required to pull on the loose handle, to make the loop taut, can be referred to as being, lost motion. Then, while keeping the loop taut, the towing rope can continue to be pulled to initiate movement of the unit package.
Typically, many unit packages are densely packed inside a transport truck or trailer for shipment. Further, each unit package has a cumbersome size and weight, which may suggest the use of a towing rope to slide or drag the unit package from the front of a transport truck or trailer to the back (open end), especially when no direct access dock is available for unloading with mechanical apparatus, such as, a fork truck. After reaching a shipment destination, the unit packages are removed from the transport truck or trailer, and are moved to a warehouse where they are, again, arranged in a stack.
Because the unit size is generally large and awkward to move, and lacks a manually graspable handle structure that is relatively safe and convenient to use, it is common to move unit packages of insulation by mechanical apparatus, such as a fork truck or similar vehicle, commonly referred to as a clamp truck. Such vehicles tend to damage the product in two ways. First, while sliding the fork underneath the unit package, the fork tends to tear the unit package and the insulation product. Second, the edges of clamps that vertically squeeze the unit package against the fork underneath, tend to penetrate into the insulation product, or over compress the insulation, which breaks the insulation fibers, to the extent that the fibers are incapable of full thickness recovery, by "fluffing up" to assume its R-rated thickness value, after being freed from the confines of a unit package.
Prior to the invention, a towing rope could be attached to a unit package, to pull and free the unit package from a stack of tightly packed unit packages. After a single unit package was freed from a stack inside a truck, the unit package was dragged onto a lift gate or tail gate of the truck, or the unit package was allowed to fall to the ground, where the unit package could be engaged and moved by a fork truck or a clamp truck.
The loose-fitting loop can be manually grasped by a worker, to move the unit package a short distance, or to maneuver the unit package to a slightly changed position. First, the worker must exert lost motion movement to pull the loop taut. Then, while the loop is taut, the worker must exert a force on the loop to move the unit package. Such an operation is difficult to perform manually. Further, the loop is large enough to be manually grasped by one worker, using both hands. The worker using both hands could suffer an injury, especially a back or shoulder injury, due to overexertion, when attempting to move the unit package without seeking assistance from an additional worker.
It would be desirable to provide a unit package for insulation products with handles that eliminate the lost motion associated with a loose-fitting loop on the unit package. Further, it would be desirable to provide handles that discourage an attempt to move a unit package by one worker without assistance from another worker. Further still, it would be desirable to provide a unit package for insulation products, which incorporates a relatively safe to use, manually grasped handle structure, to avoid handling by mechanized equipment and consequent damage to the unit package or to the insulation product.
Each unit package 1 of the invention has a wrapper 4 made with a plurality of handles 5, each of which a worker can grasp with one hand. The handles 5 are arranged on the unit package 1, and are each sized to receive substantially only a single hand, which discourages a singular worker from using both hands to grip the same handle 5, in an attempt to lift or move the unit package 1. According to an embodiment of the invention, the handle 5 is cut into and through the wrapper 4, by slitting, shearing, punching or die cut, for example.
According to a further embodiment of the invention, a unit package 1 of the invention has at least, first and second handles 5, thereby comprising multiple handles 5, which are spaced apart a sufficient distance that makes it awkward and unlikely for a worker to extend his or her arms to grasp two handles 5. In a preferred embodiment, the handles 5 are spaced apart, preferably at least 36 inches, and, more preferably, a range of about 36 inches to 48 inches, and even more preferably, a range of about 42 inches to 48 inches. The spaced apart handles 5 thereby discourage a worker from an attempt to move the unit package with both hands, and, further, encourage the worker to seek the assistance of a tow rope or the assistance of an additional worker or other workers to assist in moving or lifting the unit package. The handles 5 further reduce the likelihood that mechanical equipment will be called upon to move the unit package and cause damage to the unit package. The distance between the spaced apart handles 5 will encourage a worker to seek the assistance of a tow rope, another worker, or other workers, to lift or move the unit package 1. The handles 5 according to the invention differ from a known shopping bag, according to which, two handle holes near the top of the bag are held by a shopper's hand, to facilitate carrying of the bag, and to facilitate holding the top of the bag closed while carrying the bag. The handles 5 according to the invention do not facilitate holding the unit package 1 closed while grasping the handles 5.
Further, preferably, a unit package 1 of the invention has a plurality of handles 5 for grasping by multiple workers, to drag and move the unit package 1, and even, perhaps, to lift the unit package 1.
Typical insulation products 3 comprise, loose blown insulation product, standard duct wrap (SDW), and Residential and Commercial batts and/or rolls, which are preferably formed from organic fibers, such as, polymeric fibers, alternatively, inorganic fibers, such as, rotary spun glass fibers, textile fibers, stonewool, also known as, rockwool, or a combination thereof.
A loose blown insulation product 3 refers to loose pieces of insulation which are installed by being dispensed from a hose, having a diameter typically in the range of 2 inches to 4 inches, and using compressed air to transport the insulation material through the hose, and to impel the insulation into hollow cavities in buildings. The loose blown insulation product 3 is compacted, and is packaged in bags 2 for shipment and storage.
Standard duct wrap (SDW) insulation product 3 further can comprise one or more rolls of SDW that is precut to have a predetermined width. The SDW is rolled up into a compact, generally cylindrical roll, which is then pre-unit packaged in a loose fitting tubular bag 2, and tied with a plastic twist tie. The bag 2 is typically manufactured with printed markings 6.
Insulation products 3 known as Residential Batts and/or rolls are standard lengths of a mat of insulation material. First, the mat is manufactured in continuous lengths, and has standard widths, typically in the single width range of about 11 inches to about 24 inches. The fibers are often bound together with a thermoplastic or heat cured binder, such as, nylon and known resinous phenolic materials, for example, phenol formaldehyde resins or phenol urea formaldehyde (PUFA), melamine formaldehyde. Acrylic, polyester, nylon, urethane and furan binder may also be used in some applications. A vapor retarding facing, in the form of a flexible film of water vapor retarding material, can be applied on the continuous length insulation. In one embodiment, the facing comprises a kraft paper layer, which may be coated with a bituminous adhesive material, such as, asphalt, or, a water based adhesive, such as, acrylic or polyvinyl acetate, or a hot-melt adhesive. The continuous length insulation mat can be manufactured, either with the facing, or without the facing. The facing can be repeatedly marked with information, which can describe an R-Value of the insulation product, as well as, a brand name and other useful information.
The continuous insulation mat is divided into standard lengths corresponding to batts or rolls. Batts are insulation pieces, preferably, about 42 inches to about 105 inches in standard lengths. Relatively long batts are doubled back and folded to fit in shorter bags 2. Residential and Commercial batts are essentially the same products, with perhaps some minor physical characteristic product and packaging variations.
Residential rolls are insulation pieces, having standard single widths, from about 11 inches to about 25 inches, and which have standard lengths, preferably, about 18 feet to about 71 feet, and further, which are rolled up to form spiral rolls of such standard lengths. The diameter D of a roll of insulation is typically between 1.5 feet and 3 feet, more typically about 20 inches to 30 inches, with a width W typically about 23 inches. Commercial rolls are insulation pieces, having standard single widths, from about 30 inches to about 96 inches, and which have standard lengths, preferably about 50 feet to about 200 feet, and further, which are rolled up to form spiral rolls. The diameter D of a commercial roll is typically between 1.5 feet and 2.5 feet, more typically, about 20 inches to about 24 inches, with a width typically about 48 inches. Such rolls may be compacted by applying a predetermined compression while being tightly rolled up and prepackaged in a loose fitting plastic bag 2, such that the bag 2 and its contents undergo further compaction by packaging the bag in a unit package 1. Alternatively, such rolls may be rolled up first, and then compacted while being prepackaged in heavy duty bags 2. The heavy duty bags 2 are typically grouped together, generally in units of four, using stretch wrap film to hold the group together. A unit of four heavy duty bags 2 can be packaged in a unit package 1 according to the invention.
Insulation material intended for thermally insulating buildings typically has a low glass fiber density, such as from about 0.4 to 1.5 pounds per cubic foot (6.4×kg/m3 to 24×kg/m3), which has a prescribed R-value thickness at such fiber density. Batts and rolls of such insulation are compressed and compacted to expel air. While in a compressed or compacted state, the batts and rolls are unit packaged as the insulation products 3 in corresponding bags 2. For example, the length of a typical bag 2 is about 52 inches, which contains batts or rolls of insulation products 3 that have been compacted in thickness, and/or folded or rolled, so as to fit in a bag 2 of such length. A single bag 2 may contain one roll, or multiple batts stacked one on another. Prior to installation of the insulation in a building, the bag 3 and other packaging materials are removed, which allows the compacted fibers of the insulation products 3 to expand or "fluff up" to their prescribed R-value rated thickness.
According to a preferred embodiment of the invention, a sleeve form wrapper 4 is adapted to contain one or a plurality of bags 2, in turn, containing one or more insulation products 3. In the wrapper 4, the bags 2 are placed side to side, and/or in a stack one on another, to form at least one row of bags 2. Alternatively, shorter bags 2 can be placed in multiple rows of bags 2, one row behind another, such that the bags 2 in one row are end to end with the bags in another row. The bottoms of the bags 2 can be either open or closed, and can face perpendicular to the row thereof.
A wrapper 4 is tightly wrapped around the bags 2 to comprise a flexible sleeve form, unit package 1. The wrapper 4 comprises a flexible film of polymeric material. For example, FIGS. 1-3 disclose the insulation products 3 as being unit packaged in four compacted bags 2 in a wrapper 4. Further, preferably, three to eight bags 2 containing compacted batts, rolls or loose insulation products 3 can be combined in a single wrapper 4. Further, preferably, 3-18 bags 2 containing compacted rolls can be combined in a single wrapper 4.
FIGS. 1 and 1A disclose a wrapper 4 in the form of a seamless flexible sleeve, wherein the sleeve is formed by extruding fluent hot polymeric material in a continuous sleeve configuration, and cooling the hot polymeric material to ambient temperature to a solidified state. Preferably, the material is extruded with a rough surface in the sleeve interior, rather than a smooth surface, and with a coefficient of sliding friction to prevent sliding of the bags 2 out from the sleeve. Alternatively, the wrapper 4 comprises a flexible film made by yarns or strands that are either woven, or non-woven and joined to one another to form a flexible film. The strands are joined to one another by being interlaced, or by a water-resistant binder or by being partially melted by heat and solvent, followed by fusing to one another by solidification after being partially melted. The roughness of the film surface topography contributes to an elevated coefficient of friction. Especially a woven film has a roughness of surface topography provided by having a surface of interlaced strands of such a woven film. An extruded film is formed with a rough surface topography by passing through an extrusion die that that forms the polymeric material into a film or sheet. Alternatively, after extrusion the film surface is roughened while the surface remains heated to at least at its heat deflection temperature, such that the rough surface topography is formed on the film by brushing the surface or by rolling the surface with a rough surface roller. Further, for example, the continuous sleeve configuration is folded along multiple folds 8, which allows the sleeve configuration to collapse and fold flat, followed by rolling up the flat film to provide a roll of continuous sleeve form material. Later, the continuous sleeve form material is unrolled, cut to a desired length, and unfolded to provide a wrapper 4 of desired length, in the form of a sleeve having two open ends.
The sleeve is assembled over the bags 2 to form a unit package 1, which tightly envelops the bags 2, while the bags 2, and the insulation products 3 in the bags 2, are compressed to a compacted, lesser volume than before being enveloped. In one preferred embodiment, disclosed in FIG. 1, the unit package 1 made from the wrapper 4 of FIG. 1A, comprises an open ended sleeve that retains the bags 2 therein by compaction and friction. In another preferred embodiment, disclosed by FIG. 1B, the unit package 1 made by the wrapper 4 of FIG. 1A, comprises a unit bag having one closed end, FIG. 1B. The closed end is made by gathering together portions of an overhang portion 9 of the wrapper 4, and joining the gathered portions of the overhang portion 9, for example, by heat sealing or by the use of an adhesive.
FIG. 2 discloses another embodiment of a wrapper 4 in the form of a flexible sleeve. As disclosed in FIG. 2A the wrapper 4 is constructed with two sheets 4a and 4b of a flexible film, joined together and forming a sleeve, which tightly envelops the bags 2, while the bags 2, and the insulation products 3 in the bags 2, are compressed and held in compression to assume a compacted, lesser volume than before being enveloped.
Further, as disclosed by FIGS. 2B and 2C, the two sheets 4a and 4b meet and partially overlap each other lengthwise along overlapping film sections 4c and 4d. The overlapping film sections 4c and 4d are joined together to form a closed longitudinal side seam on each opposite side of the wrapper 4 and extending to opposite ends 7 of the sleeve form wrapper 4, for example, by, an adhesive bond, ultrasonic weld, a heat seal, or a sewn side seam. The seams extend through the ends 7 of the sleeves.
The polymer material of the wrapper 4 determines its chemical compatibility with an adhesive, including, but not limited to, epoxy, urethane, cyanoacrylate, anaerobic, hot melt and silicone. According to an exemplary process step, the adhesive is applied to overlapping film sections 4c and 4d to form a closed side seam.
According to a further embodiment of the invention, preferably, the polymer material of the wrapper 4 is a self-fusing polymer material, such as, polyethylene. A heat seal or ultrasonic bond is formed, according to exemplary process steps, for example, by applying heat or ultrasonic energy, while holding the overlapping film sections 4c and 4d against each other under pressure, causing the self-fusing polymer material to melt and become fusible. The melted polymer material fuses the two overlapping film sections 4c and 4d against each other. When the melted polymer material is cooled and solidified, the overlapping film sections 4c and 4d become permanently fused together to form a closed side seam.
A hand held, heated implement, for example, a hot iron shaped in a bar or rod, not shown, applies heat and pressure on the overlapping film sections 4c and 4d to melt and fuse the polymer material of the overlapping film sections 4c and 4d. A commercially available machine, the Multipack® machine, supplied by SEELEN A/S, Denmark, can be adapted to form the closed side seam. Alternatively, a commercially available ultrasonic generator is used to apply ultrasonic energy on the overlapping film sections 4c and 4d to melt and fuse the polymer material thereof.
FIG. 2 discloses that the overlapping film sections 4c and 4d of the sleeve extend lengthwise along the side of the sleeve. Alternatively, FIG. 2B discloses the overlapping film section 4c can be sufficiently large and wide to form a projecting flange 4e extending lengthwise along the side of the sleeve. Each flange 4e is formed by an edge section 4c, for example, of one of the sheets 4a and 4b, which extends outwardly beyond the film sections 4a and 4b that are joined together to form a closed side seam.
Further, FIG. 2C discloses a respective alternative embodiment wherein, a second flange 4f extends unitary with the film section 4d. The second flange 4f extends beside, and coextensively with the flange 4e.
The wrapper 4 in the form of a sleeve, as disclosed by FIGS. 1 and 2, has either one or two open ends 7, and further, comprises a unit package 1 containing the bags 2. Preferably, the bag surfaces, have a corresponding coefficient of friction in the range of about 0.35 to about 0.5, which avoids slipping of the bags 2 over one another within the unit package 1, and which avoids slipping of the bags 2 out of the open end or two open ends 7 of the sleeve. The film material of the unit package 1 has a similar coefficient of friction.
FIG. 1B discloses an opposite end 7 of the sleeve, which is closed to form a unit bag. In an alternative embodiment the opposite end 7 of the sleeve is open to provide a sleeve with two open ends 7 as disclosed by FIGS. 1 and 2. In FIGS. 1 and 2, the bottoms of the bags 2 are exposed at an open end 7 of the wrapper 4 in the form of a sleeve. Further, the markings 6 on the bottoms of the bags 2 are visible at the open end 7 of the sleeve or the open end of the unit bag of FIG. 1B to identify the insulation products 3 in the unit package 1. Preferably, the bags 2 are stacked in the unit package 1 with the bottoms facing in the same direction toward the one open end 7. When the unit package 1 is stacked with other such unit packages 1 in a truck or in a warehouse, the markings 6 on bottoms of the bags 2 are visible to assist in identifying the insulation products 3.
The bags 2 are visible through a preferred transparent polymer film material of the unit package 1. Markings 6 on the bags, when present, are also visible through the transparent film material covering the markings 6.
Preferably, a unit package 1 in the form of, a sleeve or a unit bag having at least one open end 7 comprising at least one overhang portion 9 projecting outwardly beyond the bags 2 containing the insulation product 3. According to a preferred embodiment, an overhang 9 is at each open end 7 the sleeve, FIGS. 1 and 2 and at the open end of the unit bag, FIG. 1B.
According to an embodiment of the invention, a plurality of handles 5 are cut into one or more overhang portions 9 at the open ends 7, and the handles 5 are spaced apart a distance that makes it awkward for a single worker to grip more than one handle, while attempting to lift or move the package 1. For example, according to and embodiment of the invention, when a pair of handles 5 is employed, they are preferably spaced apart at least 36 inches, and, more preferably, a range of about 36 inches to 48 inches, and even more preferably, a range of about 42 inches to 48 inches. The spaced apart handles 5 thereby discourage a worker from an attempt to move the package 1 with both hands, and, further, encourage the worker to seek the assistance of a tow rope or the assistance of an additional worker or other workers to assist in moving or lifting the package 1. The handles 5 are present to reduce the likelihood that mechanical equipment will be called upon to move the package 1 and cause damage to the package.
According to an embodiment of the invention, the wrapper 4 has spaced apart handles 5 cut into the wrapper 4 to form respective handle openings. For example, the wrapper 4 is cut by performing a process including, but not limited to, slitting, punching, slicing, perforating and tearing. Slitting is preferred. For example, in each of FIGS. 2 and 2A, at least one handle 5 is cut by slitting through at least one film thickness of an overhang portion 9 to form a corresponding handle opening in the form of a slit. More specifically, FIG. 2 discloses two overhang portions 5. Two spaced apart handles 5 are cut into each overhang portion 9. The wrapper 4 is preferably cut by slitting to provide an elongated slit, for the handle opening in an arc shape, or arcuate shape, at opposite ends of an oblong section, which avoids potential tearing of the film due to excessive stress concentration, when the handle 5 is grasped and pulled. For example, a handle 5 is formed by cutting an elongated C-shaped slit having a rounded shape without sharp intersecting corners that would concentrate stress when the handle 5 is being pulled. In an alternative embodiment, the handle 5 can be formed by cutting an elongated straight slit without the rounded shape. The orientation of the elongated slit can vary. For example, each of FIGS. 1 and 2 discloses a vertically oriented slit for each handle 5.
The handle 5 is cut through a single thickness layer of the wrapper 4. Alternatively the wrapper 4 or sleeve is formed of two or more layers one inside another. The handle 5 is cut through each of the multiple layers, with such layers surrounding the opening of the handle 5 to provide strength. In addition, one of the multiple layers surrounding the opening of the handle 5 comprises a reinforcement layer, such as, by laminating or adhering a fiberglass reinforcing tape or by laminating of adhering a layer of melt bonded material, such as, a 5-10 mil thickness layer of polyethylene film. The reinforcement layer prevents material necking, caused by stretching of the material.
FIG. 3 discloses a cutting die 12 having a thin, elongated, C-shaped, punch blade 13 that can form the handle opening 5 with the desired rounded shape without sharp intersecting corners. The ends 13a and 13b of the C-shaped, punch blade curl, and point away from each other, which stress relieves the ends of the slit formed by the ends 13a and 13b, to avoid a stress concentration that would tend to tear the wrapper 4. FIG. 1A discloses handles 5 that preferably, are manufactured by being cut into a precursor of material from which the wrapper 4 is made. Alternatively, the wrapper 4 can be cut by the cutting die 12 after the wrapper 4 has been made and wrapped over the bags 2. As shown in FIG. 3B, the handle opening 5 is cut through two layers of the wrapper 4.
The handle opening of each handle 5 is sized with a width, preferably about 1.5 inches, and height, preferably about 5 inches, to receive the fingers on a single hand of a worker who manually grasps the handle 5. Alternatively, a tow rope (not shown) can be attached to the handle 5, for example, by the tow rope being looped through the handle opening and tied. Alternatively, the tow rope comprises a disconnect coupling member (not shown) that can be attached to the handle 5. Further, each handle 5 is sized with a width and height that is less than the space for receiving two hands of the worker who can use but one hand to grasp the handle 5. By discouraging the use of two hands, the worker will resort to use of the tow rope, and thereby will avert overexertion and worker injury.
Preferably, an embodiment of the invention has a plurality of two or more handles 5 cut into the wrapper 4. The handles 5 are in one or more overhang portions 9. Preferably, the handles 5 are spaced apart by a span that is more lengthy than can be reached by two outstretched hands of a worker. According to an embodiment of the invention, the handles 5 are spaced apart, preferably, a distance greater than the width between shoulders of a worker, and preferably, a distance of at least about 36 inches, and a range preferably about 36 inches to about 48 inches, and more preferably, about 42 inches to about 48 inches, which will require that a worker spread apart his or her arms to span the distance awkwardly, in an attempt to grasp two handles 5. The awkwardness required to grip two handles 5 will discourage a single worker from attempting to use two hands for lifting or moving the unit package 1. By discouraging the use of two hands, the worker using one hand will be limited in the amount of worker exertion that can be expended. Then the worker will resort to seek the assistance of a tow rope, or will be required to seek the assistance of an additional worker or workers who can grasp respective handles and lift or move the unit package 1. Thereby, the invention will avert overexertion and worker injury.
According to an embodiment of the invention, the wrapper 4 has a unitary flap 14 for each layer of the wrapper 14 that is cut to make a handle 5. Each flap 14 extends along an uncut edge of each opening defining a corresponding handle 5. Each flap 14 results from cutting the wrapper 4 with the C-shaped, punch blade 13. The punch blade 13 punches through each thickness of the wrapper 4, and produces a C-shaped cut. Further, the C-shaped, punch blade 13 produces an uncut flap 14 that remains attached along an uncut edge of the C-shaped cut. Each flap 14 can be pushed out of the thickness plane of the cut wrapper 4, for example, when a worker inserts the fingers on one hand through the opening of the handle 5. Further, each flap 14 is capable of being doubled back along the uncut edge of the handle 5 to form a doubled back section of the wrapper 4 that resists a pulling force applied to the handle 5 by the worker's hand. Further, each flap 14 is capable of being folded where it is doubled back, although a fold is not required. Doubling back or folding the wrapper material in the direction of the applied force increases the strength of the handle 5 to resist tearing of the wrapper 4.
Each sleeve is capable of lying on its side in a position that covers the handles 5. Moreover, when a number of sleeves are stacked together for storage in a truck or in a warehouse, the sleeves lie on their sides, which covers the handles 5. Because the unit package 1 is bulky and awkward to move, the handles 5 must be uncovered for safe and convenient use. According to embodiments of the invention, the ends 7 of the sleeve comprising the overhang portions 9 extend beyond the bags 3 that are encircled by the sleeve. The overhang portions 9 are flexible to bend away from the side of the sleeve to move the handles 5 in the overhang portions 9 away from the side of the sleeve and accessible for grasping when the side of the sleeve is covered, either by the sleeve lying on its side or by a number of sleeves stacked together.
This description of the exemplary embodiments is intended to be read in connection with the accompanying drawings, which are to be considered part of the entire written description. In the description, relative terms such as "lower," "upper," "horizontal," "vertical,", "above," "below," "up," "down," "top" and "bottom" as well as derivative thereof (e.g., "horizontally," "downwardly," "upwardly," etc.) should be construed to refer to the orientation as then described or as shown in the drawing under discussion. These relative terms are for convenience of description and do not require that the apparatus be constructed or operated in a particular orientation. Terms concerning attachments, coupling and the like, such as "connected" and "interconnected," refer to a relationship wherein structures are secured or attached to one another either directly or indirectly through intervening structures, as well as both movable or rigid attachments or relationships, unless expressly described otherwise.
Although the invention has been described in terms of exemplary embodiments, it is not limited thereto. Rather, the appended claims should be construed broadly, to include other variants and embodiments of the invention, which may be made by those skilled in the art without departing from the scope and range of equivalents of the invention.
Patent applications by Andreas H. Unruh, Haderslev DK
Patent applications by Calvin L. Trumbo, Royersford, PA US
Patent applications by Kenneth D. Knapp, Norristown, PA US
Patent applications in class Applying a partial cover
Patent applications in all subclasses Applying a partial cover