Patent application title: THERMOFORMED CONTAINER HAVING A TAMPER EVIDENT CLOSURE
Michael Brown (Jamestown, RI, US)
Larry Murdoch (Greenville, RI, US)
PACKAGING 2.0 INC.
IPC8 Class: AB65D4316FI
Class name: Receptacles closures pivotable, (e.g., hinged)
Publication date: 2011-01-06
Patent application number: 20110000929
A tamper evident container is disclosed. The container includes a body
portion having a mating formation extending therefrom. A closure having a
reciprocal mating formation configured and arranged for engagement with
the mating formation extending from the body portion is further included.
At least one tab extends from the closure. The tab is configured and
arranged to break away from the closure. Further provided is at least one
tab seat projecting from the body portion that is configured and arranged
to capture the at least tab when the closure is engaged with the body
portion. Disengaging the closure form the body portion breaks away the at
least one tab
1. A tamper evident container, comprising:a body portion having a mating
formation extending therefrom;a closure having a reciprocal mating
formation configured and arranged for engagement with the mating
formation extending from the body portion;at least one tab extending from
the closure, the tab configured and arranged to break away from the
closure; andat least one tab seat projecting from the body portion
configured and arranged to capture the at least tab when the closure is
engaged with the body portion;whereby disengaging the closure form the
body portion breaks away the at least one tab.
2. The container of claim 1, further comprising:at least one pin on the at least one tab; andat least one reciprocal pin configured to capture the at least one pin.
3. The container of claim 1, wherein the closure is hinged to the body portion.
4. The container of claim 1, further comprising at least one well on the at least one tab seat configured and arranged to partially enclose the at least one tab when the closure is engaged with the body portion.
5. The container of claim 1, further comprising at least one grip tab extending from the closure.
CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION
The present patent document claims priority to earlier filed U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 61/222,946, filed on Jul. 3, 2009, the entire contents of which are incorporated herein by reference.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
1. Field of the Invention
The present patent document relates generally to thermoformed containers and more specifically to a thermoformed container having a tamper evident closure.
2. Background of the Related Art
Rigid plastic packaging containers designed to be re-closable after opening are well-known in the art. For prepared foods that are ready to eat, however, these containers must also include a tamper resistant or tamper evident seal to protect the contents. One prior art solution to providing a tamper evident seal is accomplished with either secondary materials or processes like shrink banding or heat or energy sealing, respectively. However, consumers complain that these types of packages are hard to open. Further complicating the problem, though, is that it can be difficult to find a balance between good tamper resistance and ease of opening. Furthermore, secondary materials like lid stock and shrink bands become undesirable waste products and can leave behind residue that impedes recycling efforts.
Therefore, there is a perceived need in the prior art for a container with a tamper evident closure that is more easily opened by consumers. There is also a perceived need for a container with a tamper evident closure that minimizes waste materials and is easily recyclable.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
The container of the present invention solves the problems of the prior art by providing a mechanical closure that requires no energy, heat or secondary materials to provide a tamper evident seal. The container includes large easy to grip opening tabs that include three tear away perforations or attachments create an easy to break safety seal. After opening the container, the two tabs remain trapped in depressed wells so as not to present sharp point or choke hazards.
The container of the present invention provides cost and environmental benefits. Specifically, there is no need for expensive sealing equipment, or a need to purchase film or shrink band materials. As a consequence, no film or debris for consumers to dispose of after opening the container is produced. Furthermore, the container includes no chemical film or adhesive residue on the parts which can hamper recycling. The container, ultimately, has a reduced carbon footprint due to less energy and materials use to manufacture and dispose of it.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
These and other features, aspects, and advantages of the present invention will become better understood with reference to the following description, appended claims, and accompanying drawings where:
FIG. 1 is a top view of a container of the present invention with the closure fully open;
FIG. 2 is a right side view of a container of the present invention with the closure fully open;
FIG. 3 is a rear view of the container of the present invention with the closure fully open;
FIG. 4 is a front view of the container of the present invention with the closure fully open;
FIG. 5 is a top view of the container of the present invention with the closure closed;
FIG. 6 is a bottom view of the container of the present invention with the closure closed;
FIG. 7 is a top perspective view of the container of the present invention with the closure partially open;
FIG. 8 is a bottom perspective view of the container of the present invention with the closure fully open;
FIG. 9 is a top perspective view of the container of the present invention with the closure closed.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT
Referring now to FIGS. 1-9 of the drawings, the container of the present invention is shown generally 10. Specifically, the container 10 includes a body portion 12 and a hinged closure 14. The closure 14 is configured to snap-closed onto the body portion 12 of the container 10. Specifically, the body portion 12 includes a top peripheral edge 16 that includes mating formations 18 formed thereon. The closure 14 includes reciprocal mating formations 20 that interlock with the mating formations 18 on the body portion 12 of the container 10. The mating formations 18 and reciprocal mating formations 20 may form a water-tight seal if desired. However, optional vent holes 22 may be included to allow air to circulate through the container 10.
The container 10 is preferably manufactured by thermoforming recycled or recyclable plastics materials in a mold and mold press as is known in the plastics forming art. A hinge 24 formed between the closure 14 and the body portion 12 is preferably a living hinge. Although the profile of the embodiment of the container 10 is roughly square-shaped, other profiles may be used. For instance, circular, oval, triangular and rectangular profiles may be easily used as well.
The closure 14 further includes two break-away tabs 26 at the top peripheral edge 16 of the closure 14. Although two tabs 26 are preferred, one or more tabs 26 may be used. The tabs 26 may be located along a forward most portion of the top peripheral edge 16 of the closure 14, but may also be on different position along the top peripheral edge 16 of the closure 14 as well. The tabs 26 each have three micro attachment points 28 connecting the tabs 26 to the top peripheral edge 16 of the closure 14. However, the number of micro attachment points 28 may be varied depending upon the desired tear strength needed to break away the tab 26. Including additional micro attachment points 28 will increase the necessary strength needed to free the tab 26 and, accordingly, reducing the number of micro attachment points 28 will have the opposite effect. Projecting from each tab 26 is a male pin 30 that may include at least one flat surface 32 on a side thereof.
The closure 14 further includes a pair of large grip tabs 34 used to break the break-away tabs 26 and open the closure 14.
Projecting from the body portion 12 of the container 10 is a pair of tab seats 36. Each tab seat 36 includes a depressed retention well 38, which is sized and dimension to receive a tab 26. Each tab seat 36 further includes a female pin 40, which also has at least one flat side 42. The female pin 40 is sized and dimensioned to receive the male pin 30 on the tab 26 therein. The flat surfaces 32, 42 on the male and female pins 30, 40, respectively, align to prevent the tab 26 from rotating out of the depressed retention well 38. During closure, the male and female pins 30, 40 are compressed or crushed on the underside of the container 10, which prevents removal therefrom. Although the tabs 26 have been described as male pins 30 and the tab seats 36 include female pins 40, these structures could be reversed.
When the closure 14 of the container 10 has been closed and the pins 30, 40 crushed together, the closure 14 is locked in place on the body portion 12 of the container 10. To open the container 10, the consumer pulls up on the large grip tabs 34 and severs the micro attachments 28, resulting in an audible "zip" that indicates that the container 10 has not been previously opened. Because the male and female pins 30, 40 have been crushed together, the break-away tabs 26 remain locked in the depressed retention wells 38 on the tab seats 36.
Therefore, it can be seen that the present invention provides a unique solution to the problem of providing a container that includes a closure with a tamper evident seal.
It would be appreciated by those skilled in the art that various changes and modifications can be made to the illustrated embodiments without departing from the spirit of the present invention. All such modifications and changes are intended to be within the scope of the present invention except insofar as limited by the appended claims.
Patent applications in class Pivotable, (e.g., hinged)
Patent applications in all subclasses Pivotable, (e.g., hinged)