Patent application title: MOISTURE PROOF SEED PACKET
John Sikina (Hatboro, PA, US)
W. Atlee Burpee Company
IPC8 Class: AB65D8500FI
Class name: Special receptacle or package for ampule, capsule, pellet, or granule plural loose content
Publication date: 2011-03-17
Patent application number: 20110062048
A moisture proof seed package is formed of a moisture proof material for
preventing the passage of moisture therethrough wherein all edges of the
package are sealed to prevent the passage of moisture therethrough. The
moisture proof material can be at least partially formed of PET, at least
partially formed of WLDPE, at least partially formed of foil, at least
partially formed of CRC1, and at least partially formed of LLDPE. The
moisture proof material can be provided on rolls of moisture proof
material and printed with UV ink. At least one edge of the moisture proof
package can be heat sealed. At least one edge of the moisture proof
package can be formed by folding the moisture proof material. The
moisture proof package can be date coded.
1. A moisture proof seed package formed of a moisture proof material for
preventing the passage of moisture therethrough wherein all edges of the
package are sealed to prevent the passage of moisture therethrough.
2. The moisture proof seed package of claim 1, wherein the moisture proof material is at least partially formed of PET.
3. The moisture proof seed package of claim 1, wherein the moisture proof material is at least partially formed of WLDPE.
4. The moisture proof seed package of claim 1, wherein the moisture proof material is at least partially formed of foil.
5. The moisture proof seed package of claim 1, wherein the moisture proof material is at least partially formed of CRC1.
6. The moisture proof seed package of claim 1, wherein the moisture proof material is at least partially formed of LLDPE.
7. The moisture proof seed package of claim 1, wherein the moisture proof material is provided on rolls of moisture proof material.
8. The moisture proof seed package of claim 1, wherein the moisture proof material is printed with UV ink.
9. The moisture proof seed package of claim 1, wherein at least one edge of the moisture proof package is heat sealed.
10. The moisture proof seed package of claim 1, wherein at least one edge of the moisture proof package is formed by folding the moisture proof material.
11. The moisture proof seed package of claim 1, wherein the moisture proof package is date coded.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
1. Field of Invention
This invention relates to seed packages and, in particular, to moisture proof seed packages for containing plant seeds.
2. Description Of Related Art
Many methods of packaging seeds are known in the art. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 5,664,402, entitled "Method And Means For Harvesting And Packaging Seeds," issued to Sandvik, discloses a seed packaging assembly. In the Sandvik method, the seed is blown into a receiving compartment of a bag roll including a plurality of bag portions, where the seed is weighed and tested for moisture. The bag roll is fed through power rollers in order to advance the bag portions to a seed deposit station. If the moisture content of the seed is determined to be acceptable according to predetermined target parameters, the blower blows open the endmost bag and the seed is deposited into the bag portion. If the moisture content is not acceptable the seed can be discarded. The current of air from the blower for opening the bag portion can continue during filling of the bag portion, in order to keep the bag portion open while the seed is being deposited.
When the correct amount of seed is deposited in the bag using the Sandvik method, a sealing pressure bar is pivoted toward a thermal bar. The top of the bag portion is positioned between the sealing pressure bar and the thermal bar to seal the bag. Bar codes can be imposed on the bags and scanned, for example, as the bags approach the deposit station. Powered feeding rollers feeding the bag can then reverse a short increment, thereby tearing the bags loose from the roll along a perforated line adjacent the top of each bag potion. The bag is then released and tipped downwardly into a storage bin. A computer is connected to all operating components to coordinate the sequence of operations in the Sandvik method.
U.S. Pat. Nos. 6,293,863 and 6,319,118, entitled "Package Conveyor System For Seed Test Plot Combines," and "Seed Package Handling System For Test Plot Combine," respectively, disclose the use of the Sandvik method in a combine to provide an improved seed package handling system for transporting the seed packages from the combine to a processing facility. In these two references hoppers in the combine receive large numbers of seed packages until a predetermined quantity or weight of packages is contained in the hoppers. The hoppers are then tilted to discharge the seed packages into a wagon, separate from the combine. The wagon can then transport the seed packages to the processing facility. Thus, seed packages such as the seed packages taught by Sandvik are sturdy and easy to manipulate and transport.
In addition to being sturdy and easy to manipulate, seed packages such as the Sandvic seed packages are easy to use. For example, Williams discloses a method for dispensing seeds from such a package in U.S. Pat. No. 4,257,534, entitled "Apparatus And Method For Dispensing Seeds From Seed Packages." The apparatus taught by Williams is a hand held device which receives and secures the seed package. A tubular member is provided on the apparatus. The tubular member has a long straight portion for insertion into the seed package after a small portion of the seed package, for example a corner, is torn off. The tubular member has an angled end portion with a dispensing opening. A gripping means is provided for gripping and tilting the apparatus in order to dispense the seeds.
However, the foregoing known methods of packaging seed do not result in packaging the seeds in a sturdy moisture proof manner. Each of the packages produced thereby can result in the seeds getting wet, and possibly ruined, if the packages are subjected to moisture, for example, if they are dropped into water or left in the rain. In fact, the Sandvik disclosure teaches that the bags can be perforated after they are formed. While this is done to permit drying of the seeds after they are packaged, it results in shipping the seeds in packages that are not moisture proof.
U.S. Pat. No. 4,168,002, entitled "Multiple-Seed Package Card," issued to Crosby discloses a carrier card integrating a group of separable blister packages containing seeds of different kinds or varieties having compatible properties. This facilitates planting the different varieties of seeds in a common ground area during the same season. The integral blister package card disclosed by Crosby is divided by a transverse perforation line into an upper display section and a lower section. On the face of the upper portion the compatible plants produced by the packaged seeds are pictured. The lower portion is subdivided by longitudinal perforation lines into a group of strips.
Each strip on the lower portion has a clear plastic bubble backed by and sealingly attached to a plastic base. The plastic bubble and the plastic base cooperate to create separate hermetically sealed blister packages. Charges of pelleted seeds are housed in the blister packages. The bubbles are shaped to define a tapered spout at their lower ends which can be snipped off to permit the housed seeds to be dispensed. While the package taught by Crosby may thus be moisture proof, it is expensive to manufacture and is more difficult to handle and transport than conventional envelope type packages.
Another waterproof packaging system is taught in PCT Patent Publication No. WO 87/03167, entitled "A Method Of And Apparatus For Heating Plants To Promote Growth And A Seed Pack Suitable For Use In Carrying Out The Method," filed by Applied Agricultural Research Limited of Great Britain. The disclosed seed package is adapted for growing plants under microwave radiation.
It includes a plastic envelope defining two adjacent bubbles, and a communicating bridge or passage between the bubbles. The bridge or passage is sealed off by a temporary seal. One of the compartments contains at least one seed in a dry growing medium and the other compartment contains a dose of water. When the package is subjected to microwave radiation, the temporary seal is ruptured and the water in its bubble passes through the bridge into the bubble containing the seed. This causes the germination of the seed to initiate inside the seed bubble. The envelope is foimed of biodegradable plastics and is designed to degrade sufficiently to prevent the plastic from impeding growth of a plant from the seed.
Another seed packaging system suitable for helping in the planting of the seeds is PCT Patent Publication No. WO 01/70206, entitled "Plant Seed Packaging And Sowing," filed by Taylor, which discloses a method of packaging very small seeds. The method taught by Taylor permits accurate placement of very small seeds in order to eliminate the complications and waste involved in thinning the plants after they begin growing.
In the Taylor method the surface of a web is treated, preferably with spots of adhesive delivered by an adhesive application head. Each spot of adhesive can be approximately the size of the seed to be packaged. Thus, in the preferred embodiment, only one seed can attach to each adhesive spot. The web is passed through a supply of the seeds so that the seeds get located at the respective adhesive spots. Excess seeds lying on the surface of the web can be removed. The web is then treated to retain the seeds. For example, an air blast can be used to ensure that the adhesive is dried and the seed is thereby adhesively attached. Additionally, the web can be passed through a coating tank to provide a coating that can help maintain the seeds on the web. The coating can contain a nutrient.
It is also known to provide other complex and sophisticated packaging systems for seeds. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 3,362,106, entitled "Seed Package And Farming Methods," issued to Goldring, discloses a seed package which is a self-contained system for supplying a complete, preselected nutritional environment to sustain and control the growth of seeds into mature plants. The seed package taught by Goldring includes an integral irrigation system capable of supplying water and fertilizer solutions to each plant at uniform rates.
The Goldring seed package also includes an outer flexible envelope of a durable material which contains a plant life support material including plant nutrients. The seeds are embedded in the life support material at predetermined intervals along an envelope. The envelope is perforated adjacent each seed to allow the maturing plants to escape from the interior of the envelope. The envelope also incorporates a conduit communicating with the location of each seed for selectively providing water and liquid fertilizers to each individual seed. The conduit can be connected to a central water storage and delivery system. However, the package system taught by Goldring is unnecessarily complex and expensive for normal household use.
Therefore, what is needed is a simple, sturdy, inexpensive moisture proof seed package that is easy to manufacture and handle.
All references cited herein are incorporated herein by reference in their entireties.
BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
A moisture proof seed package is formed of a moisture proof material for preventing the passage of moisture therethrough wherein all edges of the package are sealed to prevent the passage of moisture therethrough. The moisture proof material can be at least partially fog Hied of PET, at least partially formed of WLDPE, at least partially formed of foil, at least partially formed of CRC1, and at least partially formed of LLDPE. The moisture proof material can be provided on rolls of moisture proof material and printed with UV ink. At least one edge of the moisture proof package can be heat sealed. At least one edge of the moisture proof package can be formed by folding the moisture proof material. The moisture proof package can be date coded.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWINGS
The invention will be described in conjunction with the following drawings in which like reference numerals designate like elements and wherein:
FIG. 1 is a front plan view of the seed package of the invention.
FIG. 2 is a rear plan view of the seed package of the invention.
FIG. 3 is a cross sectional view of the seed package of the invention.
FIG. 4 is a cross sectional view of the seed package of the invention.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
Referring now to FIGS. 1-4, there are shown front and rear views of the seed package 10 of the present invention. The seed package 10 of the invention can be manufactured as an envelope type package formed from a multi-layer metallized film roll stock material. The material can be formed of layers of fused material. For examples, it can be formed of layers of 0.48 PET, 0.75 WLDPE, 0.285 Foil, 0.75 CRC1, 1.5 LLDPE. These materials are selected in order to provide the seed package 10 with strength and a high degree of moisture proofing. However, any other materials providing sufficient strength, tear resistance and moisture resistance can be used.
The selected film can be delivered to a printing device in rolls. For example, rolls that are 18 inches wide can be used in one preferred embodiment of the invention. The rolls of film can be printed with UV white ink followed by four colors, also using UV ink. The use of UV ink permits high quality graphics. A UV coating can be provided to protect the UV ink. The UV coating also enhances moisture protection.
The printed rolls can then be slit in half and wound, palletized and readied for further production. The rolls of film can be mounted onto a packaging machine that draws the film over a blade that folds the roll stock in half, vertically.
The next process step can place two vertical seals on each package edge using compressed smooth-surface heat bars. The seed package can then be mechanically moved into position for the depositing of seed into the package. The amount of seed to be packaged can then be measured and dispensed into the side-sealed bags.
For quality control purposes, the package with the seed can be measured and the seed weight can be adjusted and further monitored. The filled seed package can then be transported to a top heat seal operation that makes a hermetic seal. The hermetic sealing protects the seed from moisture and thus protects the seed viability. In a preferred embodiment the filled, sealed package has a packaging code ink-jet printed on the back/top flap. Dated packets can be packed in cartons for further packaging into merchandise displays. Seed packets can be statistically checked to assure proper seals are made.
While the invention has been described in detail and with reference to specific examples thereof, it will be apparent to one skilled in the art that various changes and modifications can be made therein without departing from the spirit and scope thereof. For example, those skilled in the art will know many other processes for making seed packages of any shapes and sizes. The contemplated seed package of the invention any such shape or size and can be formed using any of these known processes, provided the materials of the package and the forming process is effective to provide moisture proof see packages.
Patent applications in class Plural loose content
Patent applications in all subclasses Plural loose content