Patent application title: Container Assembly
Peter A. Piscopo (Medford, NJ, US)
PLASTEK INDUSTRIES, INC.
IPC8 Class: AB65D5124FI
Class name: Package making methods opening only
Publication date: 2013-04-04
Patent application number: 20130081364
A container assembly has: a container body having a mouth; and a
container closure member having a mounting portion mounted to the body.
The closure member mounting portion has a lower portion (182) having an
inward barb projection (220) which engages an underside of a hollow
annular flange (250) of the body. A closure member mounting portion
includes an additional annular projection (224) above the barb projection
and engaging an underside of an outwardly projecting portion of the
1. A container (20; 300) comprising: a tub (22; 320) having a bottom (50)
and four sides (56, 58, 60, 62), adjacent said sides joined at junctions
(64, 66, 68, 70); and a closure (24; 322) comprising: a frame (26)
mounted to a mouth of the tub; a lid (28); a living hinge (29) coupling
the lid to the frame so as to allow the lid to shift between a closed
condition and an open condition; a web (100) extending partially across
the frame and having a hole (160) and a first edge (142); and a scoop
(120) having a bowl (122) and a handle, in an initial condition unitarily
molded with the frame, lid, and web and connected by a frangible junction
(140) and, in a condition post rupture of the frangible junction,
mountable partially within the hole (160) when not in use and, when in
use, dimensioned to scoop contents from the container and permit the edge
(142) to level the scoop contents, wherein: the scoop bowl has a distal
profile (150) complementary to at least one of the side junctions and
asymmetrical to a proximal profile (132) of the scoop.
2. The container of claim 1 wherein: the distal profile is a shallow arc; and the proximal profile is a tighter rounded corner.
3. The container of claim 1 wherein: the asymmetry of the distal profile to the proximal profile is effective to key the scoop in the hole.
4. The container of claim 1 wherein: said edge is asymmetrically positioned proximate a corner of the planform of the frame; and said scoop bowl in said initial condition nests partially between the web and a location on the frame adjacent the web.
5. The container of claim 1 wherein: the closure is unitarily molded as a single piece prior to said rupture of said frangible junction.
6. The container of claim 1 further comprising: a latch having a first portion on the lid and a second portion on the frame, the first portion releasably matable to the first portion to retain the lid in the closed condition and release to allow the lid to shift to the open condition.
7. A method for using the container of claim 1, the method comprising: opening the lid; rupturing the frangible junction; scooping contents from the container using the scoop; and mounting the scoop bowl partially within the hole.
8. The method of claim 7 wherein: the scooping comprises the distal profile passing along the interior of the tub along said at least one of the side junctions to provide thorough scooping of material.
9. A container assembly (20) comprising: a container body (22) having a mouth; and a container closure member (24) having a mounting portion mounted to the body wherein in cross-section: the closure member mounting portion has a lower portion (182) having an inward barb projection (220) which engages an underside of a hollow annular flange (250) of the body; and the closure member mounting portion includes an additional annular projection (224) above the barb projection and engaging an underside of an outwardly-projecting portion of the container body.
10. The container assembly of claim 9 wherein: below the additional projection, the mounting portion is the second additional inward projection (222) contacting an inwardly/upwardly tapering surface of the body.
11. The container assembly of claim 10 wherein: there are no additional sealing projections on the container closure member.
12. The container assembly of claim 10 wherein: there are no additional sealing between the container body and the container closure member.
13. The container assembly of claim 9 further comprising: a frangible seal across the mouth.
14. The container assembly of claim 9 wherein: the mounting portion is a frame connected to a cover by a living hinge; said cross-section is continuous around the container assembly; and the mouth planform is non-circular.
15. The container assembly of claim 9 wherein: the mounting portion is a single piece.
16. The container assembly of claim 9 wherein: the closure member is unitarily molded as a single piece.
17. The container of claim 1 wherein: said edge is asymmetrically positioned proximate a corner of the planform of the frame; and said scoop in said initial condition has the bowl open downward.
18. The container of claim 1 wherein: the tub has a rounded rectangular planform.
CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION
 Benefit is claimed of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 61/321,837, filed Apr. 7, 2010, and entitled "Container Assembly", the disclosure of which is incorporated by reference herein in its entirety as if set forth at length.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
 The invention relates to dispensing containers. More particularly, the invention relates to dispensing containers for powdered food product.
 Powdered food product is sold in a variety of containers. One exemplary product is infant formula. Other products include adult meal replacement mixes. In recent decades, such food products have been sold in containers along with a measuring scoop. In one basic example, the container is a metal can and the scoop is initially packed as loosely within the can. The can is typically sold along with a plastic snap-on cover which is used to close the can once the metal lid is removed (e.g., via can opener). Such cans have largely been replaced by molded plastic jars with screw-on plastic closures (but also loosely containing a measuring scoop). More recently, dedicated containers have been proposed. In one example, US2006/000840 discloses a molded plastic container having a rounded rectangular planform. The lid includes features for mounting the scoop. The scoop has a round bowl of profile (e.g., radius selected to be complementary to a radius of corner junctions between the sidewall and the base of the container) so as to allow clean scooping of material from the bottom of the container.
 It has also been proposed to unitarily mold the scoop with the closure of the container and connected thereto via a frangible connection. The user ruptures the connection for first use and may then replace the scoop with its bowl in a complementary hole in a web extending partially across a frame of the closure.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
 In one aspect, a container assembly has: a container body having a mouth; and a container closure member having a mounting portion mounted to the body. The closure member mounting portion has a lower portion having an inward barb projection which engages an underside of a hollow annular flange of the body. A closure member mounting portion includes an additional annular projection above the barb projection and engaging an underside of an outwardly projecting portion of the container body.
 The details of one or more embodiments of the invention are set forth in the accompanying drawings and the description below. Other features, objects, and advantages of the invention will be apparent from the description and drawings, and from the claims.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
 FIG. 1 is a view of a container in a closed condition.
 FIG. 2 is a top view of the container of FIG. 1.
 FIG. 3 is a front view of the container.
 FIG. 4 is a right side view of the container (right being arbitrarily defined from the point of view of a person facing the front of the container and further reference thereto should not be regarded as being limiting).
 FIG. 5 is a transverse vertical sectional view of the container, taken along line 5-5 of FIG. 2.
 FIG. 5A is an enlarged view of a closure-to-body junction of the container of FIG. 5.
 FIG. 6 is a view of the container in an open condition.
 FIG. 7 is a top view of the container of FIG. 6.
 FIG. 8 is a front view of the container of FIG. 6.
 FIG. 9 is a right side view of the container of FIG. 6.
 FIG. 10 is a view of the body of the container.
 FIG. 11 is a top view of the body of FIG. 10.
 FIG. 12 is a rear view of the body of FIG. 10 (a front view being a mirror image thereof).
 FIG. 12A is an enlarged view of a mouth area of the body of FIG. 12.
 FIG. 13 is a left end view of the body.
 FIG. 14 is a bottom view of the body.
 FIG. 15 is a view of the closure in an as-molded/open condition.
 FIG. 16 is a top view of the closure of FIG. 15.
 FIG. 17 is a front view of the closure ("front" being associated with a base/mounting portion of the closure rather than a lid portion).
 FIG. 18 is a right end view of the closure.
 FIG. 19 is a top view of the closure in the closed condition.
 FIG. 20 is a transverse vertical sectional view of the closure, taken along line 20-20 of FIG. 19.
 FIG. 20A is an enlarged view of a lid-base interface of the closure.
 FIG. 21 is a view of a second container in an open condition.
 FIG. 22 is a top view of the container of FIG. 21.
 FIG. 23 is a front view of the container of FIG. 21.
 FIG. 24 is a right side view of the container of FIG. 21.
 Like reference numbers and designations in the various drawings indicate like elements. Various of the drawings include artifacts of computer aided design (CAD) such as stitching lines which may be unseen in the actual container but help illustrate shape.
 FIGS. 1-5 show an exemplary container assembly 20 having a body (tub) 22 and a closure 24. The exemplary body is an extrusion blow-molded multi-layered tub for beneficial moisture and light blocking The exemplary closure 24 is unitarily-molded as a single piece (e.g., injection molded polypropylene). The closure 24 comprises a base or frame 26 mounted to the tub and a lid/cover 28 connected to the frame by a living hinge 29 (FIG. 2). A latch 30 may be formed on the lid and frame (e.g., including a button 32 of the frame and a clasp 34 of the lid).
 FIG. 6 shows the exemplary container interior 38 as containing a body of powdered food product 40 (shown below a cutaway seal 274 (discussed below)).
 FIGS. 10-14 show the tub/body 22 in an as-molded condition (but after removal of molding gates, flash, and the like). The exemplary tub has a base 50 and a sidewall 52 extending upward from the base to a rim 54 which defines/bounds a mounting. The exemplary tub is of slightly rounded rectangular planform so that, for ease of reference, the four sides are a front 56, a back 58, a left side/end 60, and a right side/end 62 (from the point of view of the container rather than someone facing the container). The sides meet at generally vertical junctions/corners 64, 66, 68, and 70. The exemplary sidewall has a pair of finger reliefs 72 and 74 extending inward from the front and back near the right side 62. These allow gripping by the user (e.g., between thumb and forefinger). The body further includes a neck portion 80 extending to the rim 54 from a main portion 82 of the sidewall. As is discussed further below, the closure frame 26 mounts to the neck.
 FIGS. 15-18 show the closure 24 in an as-molded condition (but after removal of molding gates, flash, and the like). The frame planform is complementary to the rounded rectangular planform of the neck of the body and has a front portion 90, a rear portion 92, a left portion 94, and a right portion 96. The hinge 29 is formed along the rear portion 92. At a junction/corner of the rear portion 92 and right portion 96, an enlarged web 100 spans between the rear portion and right portion. As is discussed further below, the web 100 forms a scoop-holder. FIG. 15 further shows a scoop 120 having a bowl 122 which includes a bottom or base 124 and a sidewall 126 extending from the base 124 to a rim 128 of the bowl. A handle 130 extends from a root at a proximal end 132 of the bowl to a handle end 134. In the as-molded condition, along a side of a handle, the handle is joined to the web via a frangible connection 140. The exemplary connection 140 is along a facet or edge portion 142 of the web. The exemplary facet 142 is between respective facets or edge portions 144 and 146 which extend between the opposite ends of the portion 142 and the respective frame rear portion 92 and right portion 96. The exemplary facet 142 is longer than the facets 146 and 144 and asymmetrically positioned (i.e., at a different angle to those facets or not centered on or orthogonal to the centerline/centerplane 520 of the associated corner).
 The bowl has an exemplary distal portion 150 which has/defines a profile (e.g., cross-section) shaped complementary to at least one of the vertical edges of the tub (e.g., to closely accommodate the interior surface along such vertical edge to allow thorough scooping of material from such vertical edge) (e.g., the edge 70). This is in distinction, for example, to the profiling of the scoop of the '840 publication which is complementary to the edge/junction between the sidewall and the base rather than between individual sides of the sidewall. If the user is seeking to extract the last scoops full of product from the container, the user may hold the container at an angle, with the desired edge (e.g., the edge 70) lower than the other edges and thus better remove the product from the tub.
 The distal profile of the scoop may be asymmetrical to the proximal profile. For example, whereas the exemplary distal profile is a shallow arc, the exemplary proximal profile is a tighter rounded corner (e.g., a rounded right angle corner). This asymmetry keys the scoop when the scoop bowl is fit into a complementary aperture 160 in the web after initial use. The exemplary bowl planform is thus like a modified rounded corner square or rhomboid where two adjacent sides and their corner junction are replaced by an arc, so as to resemble a baseball field, diamond where the arc is the beginning of the outfield grass and the intact portions of the square are the first and third base lines (or, the overall field where the arc would be a continuously curving outfield wall).
 Additionally, the elongate nature of the edge 142 allows it to be used to level the contents of the scoop.
 FIGS. 19&20 show the closure in a closed condition. In situations where the closure is installed in its closed condition, this may represent such pre-installation condition after closing from the as-molded/open condition. Otherwise, this may merely represent suppressing of the container body from in the assembled condition. FIGS. 20&20A further details of the cross-sectional profile of the closure. The frame extends upward from a lower rim 180. In the illustrated embodiment, a lower wall portion 182 extends upward from the rim 180 to a shoulder portion 184. An upper portion 186, inward of the lower portion, extends upward from the shoulder to an upper rim 188. Offset slightly below the rim 188, a structurally reinforcing flange 190 extends inward to define a mouth opening 192.
 The cover extends upward from a lower rim 200. In the exemplary embodiment, the cover includes a lower portion 202 extending upward from the rim 200 to a shoulder 204. A further portion 206 extends upward from the shoulder to a second shoulder 208. An upper portion 210 extends upward from the shoulder 208 to a top web 212. At the exemplary junction of the shoulder 204 and portion 206, a flexible sealing gland 214 extends downward and inward and seals against the portion 216 of the frame above the flange 190 when the cover is in its closed position. The tapered outside surface of the gland provides a lead-in action to guide closing of the cover. In the closed condition, the radiused rim area of the portion 216 seals with a radiused root area of the gland outer surface to prevent product from getting between the outside of the frame and the inside of the cover.
 For sealing between the frame and the top, the frame has an exemplary three inward projections 220, 222, and 224. The exemplary projection 220 is along the inner surface along the lower portion 182 and also serves to retain the closure to the tub. The exemplary projections 222 and 224 are along the inner surface of the upper portion 186 and essentially serve only sealing functions.
 FIGS. 5&5A show the snap-fit assembly junction of the closure to the tub. Above the main portion of the tub sidewall, a portion 240 of the sidewall extends inward to form a channel 242 that receives the frame projection 220. The frame projection 220 has a gradually sloping lower surface portion 244 and a less sloping (more radial) upper surface portion 246. The lower portion allows a camming action when the frame is assembled to the tub (e.g., via downward translation to allow the frame to snap over an outwardly projecting portion 250 of the body above the channel). The relatively shallow portion 246 serves as a barb to resist extraction of the frame. In addition to retention, inference fit along the portion 246 and along the inner surface of the frame lower portion 182 provides a first sealing area. Above the portion 250, the tapering portion 260 extends upward from a shoulder junction. Above the portion 260, a portion 262 also extends upward and tapers inward (e.g., at about a 5° half angle) but is separated by a slight outward step 264. In the assembled condition, the underside of the step 264 engages the upper projection 224 to form a second sealing region/zone. Lower on the portion 260, there is sealing contact between the portion 260 and the projection 222 which provides a third sealing region/zone. In the CAD-based drawing, interference is shown via overlap; whereas compliance/deformation would be present in the actual container to provide sealing engagement.
 The exemplary system thus provides three inwardly-directed sealing projections from the frame and may avoid the need to add additional separate sealing material (e.g., there is no additional elastomeric seal over molded to the frame to intervene between the primary plastic material of the frame and the tub).
 Above the portion 262, an uppermost/terminal portion 270 extends at a shallow upward angle (e.g., about 10° off-radial) to an annular vertical mouth surface 272 at the rim 54. Along the outer surface of the body, the portion 270 may bear an induction foil or other seal (e.g., for pre-use sealing or preservation and/or for tamper-evidence ruptured or peeled away by the consumer at first use). The exemplary seal 274 is shown schematically of exaggerated thickness. After filling of the tub and before closure installation, the seal may be applied (e.g., via pressing and heating). The slight upward/inward taper of the portion 270 provides a springback-resistance when the seal is pressed in place so as to facilitate good bonding between the seal and the tub.
 FIGS. 21-24 show an alternate container 300 having a tub 320 and a closure 322, differing from the container 20 only in latch configuration. The cover 302 has a barbed latch tab 304 that is received in a clasp 306 on the frame 308. In the closed condition a lower/distal portion 310 of the tab engages in internal rib 312 in the clasp. A user can press on a forwardly protruding intermediate portion 314 of the tab to allow the barb to release from the clasp and retract upward through the clasp to open. The tub 320 front has a complementary protruding profile.
 One or more embodiments of the present invention have been described. Nevertheless, it will be understood that various modifications may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. For example, when implemented in the modification of an existing container configuration, details of the existing configuration or its use may influence details of any particular implementation. Accordingly, other embodiments are within the scope of the following claims.
Patent applications by Peter A. Piscopo, Medford, NJ US
Patent applications by PLASTEK INDUSTRIES, INC.
Patent applications in class Opening only
Patent applications in all subclasses Opening only