Patent application title: Container Closure System
Juan Carlos Vinseiro (Mason, OH, US)
Martin Jay Marotti (Carmel, IN, US)
Raymond Charles Bell (Cincinnati, OH, US)
The Procter & Gamble Company
IPC8 Class: AB65D102FI
Class name: Bottles and jars neck
Publication date: 2010-09-02
Patent application number: 20100219150
The present invention is directed to a tamper resistant closure system for
a container having a body, a mouth or opening and a neck portion. The
container is fitted with a cap such as a screw-on or snap-on type to
cover and seal the mouth or opening. The cap is configured with a
sidewall extending beyond the top sealing portion of the cap thereby
defining a peripheral rim for a cavity or an open void created therewith.
Fitted over the cap and preferably at least the neck portion of the
container is a protective overwrap, such as heat shrinkable thermoplastic
band which extends beyond the cap sidewall. The engagement between the
band and the cap and container is attained by shrinking the band in tight
conformance around the cap and at least the neck portion of the
container, with overwrap material extending past the cap sidewall, such
extension providing a finger grip tab that may easily be pulled to remove
the overwrap when initially opening the container. The extension of the
cap sidewall prevents the overwrap material from securely adhering to the
top portion of the cap which would make removal or peeling difficult. In
this way, the tightly secured protective overwrap provides tamper
resistance yet enables easy and convenient means for removal by the
1. A closure system for a container having a body, a neck portion and an
opening, said closure system comprisinga) a cap fitted to cover and seal
the opening of said container, said cap comprising a cap top and sidewall
extending from said cap top to a cap bottom and further having an
extension beyond said cap top thereby defining a peripheral rim for an
open void created from said sidewall extension and said cap top andb) an
overwrap in tight conformance around the cap and at least the neck
portion, of said container, said overwrap extending beyond said
2. A closure system according to claim 1 wherein the sidewall extension has a height of from about 1 mm to about 20 mm.
3. A closure system according to claim 1 wherein the overwrap extends at least about 1 mm beyond the peripheral rim of the open void.
4. A closure system according to claim 1 wherein the overwrap comprises heat shrinkable thermoplastic material.
5. A closure system according to claim 4 wherein the overwrap heat shrinkable thermoplastic material is selected from oriented polystyrene (OPS), polyvinylchloride (PVC), polyethylene or polypropylene.
6. A closure system according to claim 1 wherein the overwrap is a shrink band having indicia printed thereon.
7. A closure system according to claim 1 wherein the overwrap is a shrink band including a weakened portion comprising one or more lines of perforation.
CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION
This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 61/156,608, filed Mar. 2, 2009.
FIELD OF INVENTION
This invention relates to a closure system for use on containers which hold consumer products such as foods, beverages, personal care items, and pharmaceuticals. The closure system includes a cap or lid and an outer wrap or overwrap such as a shrink band engaged tightly around the cap and preferably at least the neck portion of the container to provide both tamper resistance and evidence. The outer wrap functions to seal the filled and capped container thereby preventing inadvertent opening and spilling of its contents. Disruption or removal of the outer wrap prior to purchase of the product by the consumer would signal that the original packaging is no longer intact and the package may have been opened and possibly tampered with.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
Tamper evident bands, wraps or sleeves are used to seal and protect package containers and are extensively used in a wide variety of containment applications, in particular for consumer products such as foods, beverages, toiletries, pharmaceuticals, and the like. In order to ensure that such product packages have not been opened or tampered with prior to purchase by the consumer, a tamper-evident seal is provided on containers for such items. Such tamper-evident seals are applied to the product containers at the time of packaging the product after a closure has been applied to the filled product container, such seal intended to remain intact until the ultimate purchaser removes it. In this manner the purchaser is generally assured that the product within the package is in the same condition as when it was initially packaged and has not been tampered with at any point between its manufacture and purchase. Any opening or attempted opening of the container results in visually discernible alteration or destruction of the tamper-evident seal. Consumers are generally aware to only purchase products with intact packaging. Indeed it is common for products particularly pharmaceuticals, personal care products and cosmetics to have a warning on the label directing consumers to not purchase or use a product if the seal is broken or missing.
One type of tamper-evident seal used on containers comprises a heat-shrinkable member such as a band or wrap applied to each container. Such heat-shrinkable members are typically formed as annular shaped, cylindrical tubular segments which are positioned on the containers, and are thereafter heated so that the members heat-shrink into conformance with the associated containers. For tamper resistance and tamper-indication, the heat-shrinkable members are positioned such that they shrink into close-fitting association with the container cap or like closure so that removal or attempted removal of the cap is difficult and results in permanently deforming or removal of the associated heat-shrinkable member. For example, consumer product packages that utilize screw-on or snap-on caps use tamper evident bands to ensure that consumers receive unopened merchandise and the contents have not been adulterated after packaging. The heat-shrinkable members are fitted to containers such as to form closely-fitting sleeves. Such sleeves may be provided for protecting and rigidifying the container itself The cap and the bottle neck are adapted to be engaged by the shrink band or wrap in a way that protects the bottle from being tampered with and when threaded caps are used, helps prevent inadvertent loosening of the caps during shipment.
The close fit and adherence of the heat-shrinkable member to the cap and container improves tamper resistance but in many cases makes initial opening of the package difficult for the consumer. The shrink wrap material is essentially adhered to the surface of the package thereby presenting a fair amount of difficulty, particularly for an elderly or arthritic person to easily remove the wrap and open the package. Accordingly, the present invention is directed to a closure system which includes a cap and a protective overwrap such as a shrink band, which are configured to provide tamper resistance as well as a convenient and easy means for removal of the protective overwrap by the intended user.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a first embodiment of the present closure system for use on a bottle, comprising a double walled cap with inverted truncated cone shape and shrink band or wrap over the cap and neck portion of the bottle.
FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a conventional package comprising a truncated cone shaped cap with a flat top.
FIG. 3 is an enlarged view of the cap and shrink band of FIG. 1 and FIG. 4 is a side view thereof
FIG. 5 shows an enlarged cross-section of the cap and shrink band of FIG. 1.
FIG. 6 illustrates a second embodiment of the present closure system comprising a truncated cone shaped cap with upper sidewall extending beyond the top of the cap.
FIG. 7 illustrates a third embodiment of the present closure system comprising a cylindrical shaped cap with upper sidewall extending beyond the top of the cap.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
The present invention is directed to a closure system for a container having a body, a mouth or opening and a neck portion, wherein the closure system is configured to provide tamper resistance as well as being easy to open. The container is fitted with a cap such as a screw-on or snap-on type to cover and seal the mouth or opening, the cap comprising a cap top and sidewall extending from said cap top to a cap bottom and further having an extension beyond the cap top thereby defining a peripheral rim for an open void created from said sidewall extension and said cap top. Fitted over the cap and preferably at least the neck portion of the container is a protective overwrap, such as heat shrinkable thermoplastic band which extends beyond the cap upper sidewall extension The engagement between the overwrap band and the cap and container is attained by shrinking the overwrap band in tight conformance around the cap and at least the neck portion, with the band material extending past the cap sidewall, such extension providing a finger grip tab that may easily be pulled to remove the overwrap when initially opening the container. The cap sidewall extension prevents the overwrap material from securely adhering to the flat top portion of the cap, which would make removal or peeling difficult. In this way, the tightly secured protective overwrap provides tamper resistance yet enables easy and convenient means for removal by the intended user.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
While the specification concludes with claims particularly pointing out and distinctly claiming the invention, it is believed that the present invention will be better understood from the following description.
Herein, "comprising" means that other steps and other components which do not affect the end result can be added. This term encompasses the terms "consisting of" and "consisting essentially of."
As used herein, the word "include," and its variants, are intended to be non-limiting, such that recitation of items in a list is not to the exclusion of other like items that may also be useful in the materials, compositions, devices, and methods of this invention.
As used herein, the words "preferred", "preferably" and variants refer to embodiments of the invention that afford certain benefits, under certain circumstances. However, other embodiments may also be preferred, under the same or other circumstances. Furthermore, the recitation of one or more preferred embodiments does not imply that other embodiments are not useful, and is not intended to exclude other embodiments from the scope of the invention.
As used herein, the terms "outer wrap" and "overwrap" are used interchangeably and encompass forms such as "shrink wrap", "shrink band" "shrink neckband" and plastic/thermoplastic band or wrap.
In accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention such as shown in FIG. 1 and in greater detail in FIGS. 3, 4 and 5, a shrink band (30) is applied to a package (10), i.e., comprising a container (15) and cap (20), such that the band overlaps the junction between the container body and the outer lowermost edge of the cap sidewall (21), thereby encompassing the space therebetween, with the shrink band extending below this juncture along the body of the container and above the junction along and beyond the upper portion of the cap sidewall. The term "cap sidewall" as used herein is equivalent to the term "cap skirt" as used in the packaging art. The upper portion of the cap sidewall extends beyond the cap top (22), the sidewall extension and the cap top creating a cavity or open void. The top portion of the sidewall extension defines the peripheral rim or lip of the cavity or open void. The height (25) of the sidewall extension may be uniform throughout or non-uniform, measuring at least about 1 mm, or in some embodiments from about 2 mm to about 20 mm, or preferably from about 5 mm to about 15 mm. Having the sidewall of non-uniform height creates a rim with an undulating or wave-like appearance. The shrink band is cut to extend beyond the sidewall with sufficient material to form a finger grip tab that facilitates tearing off the shrink band. The shrink band extension (35) is at least about 1 mm, preferably at least about 2 mm or more past the peripheral sidewall rim. The band is shrunk onto the cap and preferably at least the neck portion of the container forming a close-fitting overwrap which protects the package from being tampered with and helps prevent inadvertent loosening of the cap during shipment. Although not required, areas of longitudinal mechanical weakness in the shrink band, such as one or more lines of perforations, may be provided, which together with the finger grip tab create a tear-away portion that may be easily removed by a user. Removal of the shrink band prior to purchase of the packaged product would indicate possible tampering.
The present invention can comprise any of a variety of containers, bottles or bottle types (with screw cap, snap cap, etc.), boxes, or reasonably rigid objects depending upon the specific products to be packaged. The shape, size and type of material from which the container body and closure or cap are constructed may be widely varied without departing from the spirit of the invention. Likewise the particular shrink band material utilized as well as the method of application may be varied without departing from the spirit of the invention. The term "container" is used throughout as an exemplary label for items capable of being surrounded by a shrink band and is not limited to a single type of "bottle" per se. Examples of containers include jars, glass bottles and blow molded bottles made of various plastic materials such as polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP) and polyethylene terephthalate (PET). A bottle shape is used for ease and clarity of illustration in showing the advantages of the present invention. The terms "closure", "cap", or "lid" are used interchangeably and refer to the package component fitted for sealing the opening or dispensing portion of the container. The cap for use in bottle containers may made of various materials including glass or plastic such as polypropylene and may be of various shapes, including truncated cone such as a frustum illustrated in FIG. 6, essentially cylindrical (FIG. 7) or inverted truncated cone, i.e., with the sidewall flaring outward (FIG. 1). The inverted cone such as illustrated in FIG. 1 is particularly advantageous as it provides improved handleability of the bottle, the cap together with the neck defining a comfortable grip portion.
In certain embodiments, the cap or closure includes a child resistance feature, which is required for packaging certain products such as medicines and non-ingestible compositions to prevent inadvertent access by children or other persons who may not have the mental capacity to comprehend the threat of serious injury from contact with or improper use of such products. Examples of child resistant closures that may be used are described in U.S. Pat. No. 3,941,268; issued to Owens, et al.; U.S. Pat. No. 4,099,639 issued to Boxer et all; U.S. Pat. No. 4,134,513 issued to Mumford; U.S. Pat. No. 4,913,299 issued to Petro; U.S. Pat. No. 4,948,002 issued to Thornock et al.; U.S. Pat. No. 5,413,233 issued to Hall; U.S. Pat. No. 5,836,466 issued to Briere, et al.; U.S. Pat. No. 6,036,036 issued to Bilani et al. and U.S. Pat. No. 6,102,223 issued to Montgomery.
The shrink band material may comprise one of a variety of heat shrinkable, thermoplastic materials known in the art, such as oriented polystyrene (OPS), polyvinylchloride (PVC), polyethylene or polypropylene. U.S. Pat. No. 5,067,612 to Tsuchiya et al. and U.S. Pat. No. 5,201,463 to George disclose typical wrap packaging materials and methods well known in the art. Preferred for use herein are materials such as PVC and OPS, because very thin layers of such materials can provide high strength bands, which can easily be molded or contracted using a heat source at about 300 degrees Fahrenheit. These conditions are generally acceptable in that no damage occurs to most containers or goods contained therein. PVC, OPS and like materials have also proven to be good printing surfaces for package indicia e.g., labeling, decoration and graphics, or instructions. The shrink band around the neck portion, i.e., a neckband, generally consists of a continuous tubular web of a preprinted heat shrinkable film. In one method of application, the film goes first through an accumulator where the web is conditioned in a controlled humidity temperature environment as well as providing surge prior to the applicator. The film is formed into a tube and then wound onto a core. If desired, a tear-away portion is perforated into the film via a rotary cutter as the film is unwound from the core. The roll of tubing is then cut to length. Each cut piece is then placed on the bottle neck. The neckband is tacked in place via a blast of hot air and then transferred to a heat or steam tunnel where the neckband is shrunk by effect of the high temperature inside the tunnel Glue tack or pre-shrinkage heat tunnels may also be used for the heat shrinking operation.
The normal procedure for initially opening a container in accordance with the present invention would be to tear off the shrink band, using the finger grip tab to facilitate tearing off the shrink band, thus exposing the cap. Thereafter, the fact that the shrink band has been torn off indicates that the original packaging is no longer intact and the container may have been opened. Obviously, once the shrink band is torn off, it would be difficult to replace it onto the package in its original condition; its removal other than by the intended user provides tamper evidence.
A package such as shown in FIG. 1 is used for containing a mouthwash product. The package comprises a blow-molded polyethylene terephthalate bottle, a polypropylene cap and printed oriented polystyrene (OPS) shrink neckband with a longitudinal perforation. In consumer testing, over 60% of consumers definitely saw an advantage for the present package as being easier to remove the shrink neckband compared to other mouthwash packages having conventional caps with flat tops, i.e., without the present extended upper sidewall, such as illustrated in FIG. 2 wherein the shrink band (30b) is adhered to the flat top portion (22b) of the cap (20b).
FIG. 6 shows an alternate embodiment of a package (15c) comprising a truncated cone shaped cap (20c) with the upper sidewall (21c) extending beyond the cap top (22c). The shrink band (30c) additionally features a perforated or tear line (40c).
FIG. 7 shows a further embodiment of the present closure system comprising a cylindrical shaped cap (20d) with upper sidewall (21d) extending beyond the cap top (22d). The shrink band (30d) in this embodiment wraps the entire package (container and cap) and features a label printed thereon.
For consistency, the same number is used to designate each corresponding element in the Figures illustrating the embodiments herein. Thus for example, the cap is designated as 20 in
FIGS. 1, 3, 4, and 5; 20b in FIG. 2; 20c in FIGS. 6 and 20d in FIG. 7. The cap sidewall is designated 21, 21b, 21c and 21d, respectively; the cap top is designated 22, 22b, 22c and 22d, respectively and so on.
The dimensions and values disclosed herein are not to be understood as being strictly limited to the exact numerical values recited. Instead, unless otherwise specified, each such dimension is intended to mean both the recited value and a functionally equivalent range surrounding that value. For example, a dimension disclosed as "40 mm" is intended to mean "about 40 mm."
All documents cited in the Detailed Description of the Invention are, in relevant part, incorporated herein by reference; the citation of any document is not to be construed as an admission that it is prior art with respect to the present invention. To the extent that any meaning or definition of a term in this document conflicts with any meaning or definition of the same term in a document incorporated by reference, the meaning or definition assigned to that term in this document shall govern.
While particular embodiments of the present invention have been illustrated and described, it would be obvious to those skilled in the art that various other changes and modifications can be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. It is therefore intended to cover in the appended claims all such changes and modifications that are within the scope of this invention.
Patent applications by Martin Jay Marotti, Carmel, IN US
Patent applications by The Procter & Gamble Company
Patent applications in class NECK
Patent applications in all subclasses NECK