US20020117421A1 - Protective device - Google Patents

Protective device Download PDF

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Publication number
US20020117421A1
US20020117421A1 US10084334 US8433402A US2002117421A1 US 20020117421 A1 US20020117421 A1 US 20020117421A1 US 10084334 US10084334 US 10084334 US 8433402 A US8433402 A US 8433402A US 2002117421 A1 US2002117421 A1 US 2002117421A1
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Prior art keywords
envelope
fluid
porous
object
device
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Legal status (The legal status is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the status listed.)
Abandoned
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US10084334
Inventor
Christopher Baker
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Sheffield Hallam University
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Sheffield Hallam University
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    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61FFILTERS IMPLANTABLE INTO BLOOD VESSELS; PROSTHESES; DEVICES PROVIDING PATENCY TO, OR PREVENTING COLLAPSING OF, TUBULAR STRUCTURES OF THE BODY, E.G. STENTS; ORTHOPAEDIC, NURSING OR CONTRACEPTIVE DEVICES; FOMENTATION; TREATMENT OR PROTECTION OF EYES OR EARS; BANDAGES, DRESSINGS OR ABSORBENT PADS; FIRST-AID KITS
    • A61F5/00Orthopaedic methods or devices for non-surgical treatment of bones or joints; Nursing devices; Anti-rape devices
    • A61F5/01Orthopaedic devices, e.g. splints, casts or braces
    • A61F5/04Devices for stretching or reducing fractured limbs; Devices for distractions; Splints
    • A61F5/05Devices for stretching or reducing fractured limbs; Devices for distractions; Splints for immobilising
    • A61F5/058Splints
    • A61F5/05833Splints rigidified by vacuum evacuation
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B65CONVEYING; PACKING; STORING; HANDLING THIN OR FILAMENTARY MATERIAL
    • B65DCONTAINERS FOR STORAGE OR TRANSPORT OF ARTICLES OR MATERIALS, e.g. BAGS, BARRELS, BOTTLES, BOXES, CANS, CARTONS, CRATES, DRUMS, JARS, TANKS, HOPPERS, FORWARDING CONTAINERS; ACCESSORIES, CLOSURES, OR FITTINGS THEREFOR; PACKAGING ELEMENTS; PACKAGES
    • B65D81/00Containers, packaging elements, or packages, for contents presenting particular transport or storage problems, or adapted to be used for non-packaging purposes after removal of contents
    • B65D81/02Containers, packaging elements, or packages, for contents presenting particular transport or storage problems, or adapted to be used for non-packaging purposes after removal of contents specially adapted to protect contents from mechanical damage
    • B65D81/03Wrappers or envelopes with shock-absorbing properties, e.g. bubble films
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B65CONVEYING; PACKING; STORING; HANDLING THIN OR FILAMENTARY MATERIAL
    • B65DCONTAINERS FOR STORAGE OR TRANSPORT OF ARTICLES OR MATERIALS, e.g. BAGS, BARRELS, BOTTLES, BOXES, CANS, CARTONS, CRATES, DRUMS, JARS, TANKS, HOPPERS, FORWARDING CONTAINERS; ACCESSORIES, CLOSURES, OR FITTINGS THEREFOR; PACKAGING ELEMENTS; PACKAGES
    • B65D81/00Containers, packaging elements, or packages, for contents presenting particular transport or storage problems, or adapted to be used for non-packaging purposes after removal of contents
    • B65D81/18Containers, packaging elements, or packages, for contents presenting particular transport or storage problems, or adapted to be used for non-packaging purposes after removal of contents providing specific environment for contents, e.g. temperature above or below ambient
    • B65D81/20Containers, packaging elements, or packages, for contents presenting particular transport or storage problems, or adapted to be used for non-packaging purposes after removal of contents providing specific environment for contents, e.g. temperature above or below ambient under vacuum or superatmospheric pressure, or in a special atmosphere, e.g. of inert gas
    • B65D81/2007Containers, packaging elements, or packages, for contents presenting particular transport or storage problems, or adapted to be used for non-packaging purposes after removal of contents providing specific environment for contents, e.g. temperature above or below ambient under vacuum or superatmospheric pressure, or in a special atmosphere, e.g. of inert gas under vacuum
    • B65D81/2023Containers, packaging elements, or packages, for contents presenting particular transport or storage problems, or adapted to be used for non-packaging purposes after removal of contents providing specific environment for contents, e.g. temperature above or below ambient under vacuum or superatmospheric pressure, or in a special atmosphere, e.g. of inert gas under vacuum in a flexible container
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B65CONVEYING; PACKING; STORING; HANDLING THIN OR FILAMENTARY MATERIAL
    • B65DCONTAINERS FOR STORAGE OR TRANSPORT OF ARTICLES OR MATERIALS, e.g. BAGS, BARRELS, BOTTLES, BOXES, CANS, CARTONS, CRATES, DRUMS, JARS, TANKS, HOPPERS, FORWARDING CONTAINERS; ACCESSORIES, CLOSURES, OR FITTINGS THEREFOR; PACKAGING ELEMENTS; PACKAGES
    • B65D81/00Containers, packaging elements, or packages, for contents presenting particular transport or storage problems, or adapted to be used for non-packaging purposes after removal of contents
    • B65D81/38Containers, packaging elements, or packages, for contents presenting particular transport or storage problems, or adapted to be used for non-packaging purposes after removal of contents with thermal insulation
    • B65D81/3888Containers, packaging elements, or packages, for contents presenting particular transport or storage problems, or adapted to be used for non-packaging purposes after removal of contents with thermal insulation wrappers or flexible containers, e.g. pouches, bags
    • B65D81/3897Containers, packaging elements, or packages, for contents presenting particular transport or storage problems, or adapted to be used for non-packaging purposes after removal of contents with thermal insulation wrappers or flexible containers, e.g. pouches, bags formed of different materials, e.g. laminated or foam filling between walls

Abstract

The present invention relates to a protective device. The protective device includes a fluid sealable envelope of a non-porous material. The envelope has a plurality of resiliently deformable members and is designed to have a fluid evacuated state in which the plurality of resiliently deformable members forms into a rigid state within the envelope. The device includes sealing means to retain the envelope in the fluid evacuated state. The device also includes a porous inner lining designed to accommodate an object to be protected.

Description

  • The present invention relates to a protective device, in particular, a protective sheet for use in packaging and other applications where a protective covering would be beneficial for fragile items or items which could otherwise be damaged. [0001]
  • The most conventional and widely used method of protective packaging is commonly termed the “jiffy bag”. This type of bag has a cushioning layer inside a conventional envelope. However, such bags do not provide a high level of resistance to breakage and are susceptible to twisting and bending forces which if applied may cause damage to objects placed inside the bag. [0002]
  • EP 0460942 describes a packaging sheet which comprises a sealed plastic envelope containing beads of blown polystyrene. The sheet has perforations so that when the bag is placed around an object to be packaged and pressure is applied, air is forced out of the sheet and the bead filling contracts and forms a fairly rigid protective sheet. [0003]
  • However, the product described in EP 0460942 is cumbersome to use and requires a sealed crate or box to compress the sheet after the packaging sheet has been located around the object. Such compression could damage the object around which the sheet is placed. [0004]
  • According to a first aspect of the present invention there is provided a protective sheet comprising a plurality of resiliently deformable beads, a substantially flat envelope, having at least one surface of non-porous material, in which the beads are located and dispersed, the envelope being designed to have a fluid evacuated state in which the beads form an at least partially rigid barrier and sealing means to retain the sheet envelope in a fluid evacuated state. [0005]
  • Preferably, the at least one non-porous face of the envelope includes at least one access conduit through the surface thereof and communicating with the envelope interior to provide a means of fluid evacuation from the envelope. [0006]
  • Preferably, the sealing means is a non-return valve associated with the access conduit to prevent return of envelope evacuated fluid therethrough. [0007]
  • In practice, the fluid is preferably gas, typically air. [0008]
  • Preferably, the sheet is adapted for use as a wrapping and/or packaging material. The sheet may be formed into various configurations for instance two sheets may be superimposed and, preferably, heat sealed along corresponding mating edges to form the walls of a bag or package in which objects may be protectively stored or transported. Alternatively, it may be used as a simple sheet and wrapped around the object to be protected before fluid is evacuated therefrom. In a further embodiment the sheet is formed into a tube configuration to provide a protective sleeve. [0009]
  • Advantageously, it has been found that fluid evacuation from around the resiliently deformable beads is found to cause the beads to compress together providing a rigid or semi-rigid cover. By maintaining the sheet envelope, where the beads are located, in a fluid evacuated state, the rigidity of the cover is also maintained providing a protective sheet for any external object around which it is located. This is particularly important for fragile objects. [0010]
  • A vacuum pump may be provided and be associated with the non-return valve. The pump is typically a mechanical pump but alternative fluid evacuation means is also envisaged such as a chemical trigger which causes the air/fluid in the sheet envelope to be consumed by a chemical reaction, thus providing the required evacuation of the sheet envelope. [0011]
  • When the sheet is used for forming a packaging bag from two or more sheets, it is preferable that the inner sheet walls of the packaging are in fluid communication with each other. Advantageously, this may be provided by having the interior surface of each sheet and hence the interior sheet walls of the packaging bag made of a porous material and the exterior surface of each sheet made of a non-porous material. Preferably, the access conduit is then through the exterior surface of at least one of the sheets. As the sheets are sealed at their edges to each other, when the bag opening is sealed, fluid evacuation through one of the non-porous surfaces causes both sheet envelope interiors to be evacuated via the fluid communication provided by the porous interior walls of the package. The sealing means may at least be partially provided by a closure member at the opening to the inside of the package so that the package is retained in a fluid evacuated state until the package closure member is opened by the user at which point the envelopes will re-inflate with air from the surrounding environment. [0012]
  • Thus, according to a further aspect of the invention, there is provided a protective device comprising a fluid sealable envelope of a non-porous material, the said envelope having a plurality of resiliently deformable members located therein, the envelope being designed to have a fluid evacuated state in which the said plurality of resiliently deformable members is operable to form into an at least partially rigid state within the envelope and sealing means to retain the envelope in the said fluid evacuated state, the device including a porous inner lining designed to accommodate an object to be protected. [0013]
  • Preferably, the porous inner lining is in the form of a bag and preferably comprises a porous inner envelope which is preferably in fluid communication with the space surrounding said resiliently deformable members. Alternatively, the lining may be in the form of a sleeve. [0014]
  • The device may be in the form of a packaging bag and may be formed in any suitable manner. By way of example only, the bag may comprise two or more sheets as previously defined in the first aspect or may comprise a single sheet folded into a bag with a porous face forming the interior of the bag and a non-porous face forming the exterior thereof or the bag exterior and interior may be formed from a single sheet or each may be formed from a single sheet. Typically, the resiliently deformable members are sandwiched between the inner lining and the non-porous outer envelope. [0015]
  • Preferably, in the said partially rigid state of the said members, the members collectively form a barrier to protect an object located within or adjacent to the said device. Preferably, in the said partially rigid state the members are urged into contact with adjacent members and remain in said contact during the fluid evacuated stage. [0016]
  • Preferably, the members are beads such as polymeric beads. The beads or members may be air filled to form, for example, balls, bubbles or the like. The beads or members may be any suitable shape and need not be spherical but spherical or hemi-spherical beads are generally preferred. [0017]
  • The fluid sealable envelope may be in the form of a package in which an object to be protected can be located via a suitable sealable opening. Preferably, the said object is located within the porous inner lining which is itself located in the fluid sealable envelope. Preferably, the opening(s) to the fluid sealable envelope and the inner lining are coincident but need not necessarily be so. After location of the object, the opening can be resealed and the fluid, generally air, evacuated. The effect of fluid evacuation is to force the said members into closer proximity around the object and at the same time to thereby increase rigidity to form a protective barrier around the object. [0018]
  • According to a still further aspect of the present invention, there is provided a method of protecting an object comprising: [0019]
  • (i) locating an object to be protected in a protective device, the protective device comprising a fluid sealable envelope of a non-porous material, the said envelope having a plurality of resiliently deformable members located therein, the envelope being designed to have a fluid evacuated state in which the said plurality of resiliently deformable members is operable to form into an at least partially rigid state within the envelope and sealing means to retain the envelope in the said fluid evacuated state, the device including a porous inner lining; [0020]
  • (ii) evacuating fluid from the device to form an at least partially rigid barrier with the said members located around the said object; [0021]
  • (iii) retaining the device in the said fluid evacuated state to thereby maintain the object in a protected state. [0022]
  • Preferably, the porous inner lining is formed into a porous inner bag within the said fluid sealable envelope which thereby forms a pocket within the envelope which separates the inner space of the pocket from the resiliently deformable members sandwiched between the porous inner bag and the outer non-porous envelope. [0023]
  • Preferably, the protective device may incorporate any one or more of the preferred features of the first aspect of the present invention except where such features may be mutually exclusive. [0024]
  • Preferably, at least one non-porous face of the envelope includes at least one access conduit through the surface thereof and communicating with the envelope interior to provide a means of fluid evacuation from the envelope and the space defined by the inner lining. [0025]
  • Preferably, the sealing means is a non-return valve associated with the access conduit to prevent return of envelope evacuated fluid therethrough. [0026]
  • The access conduit may extend only into the envelope or it may extend into the inner space defined by the inner lining. Advantageously, by exiting the access conduit into the space defined by the inner lining the beads may form a tighter fit around the object to be protected in the said inner lining and may preferentially evacuate the fluid from around the object to be protected for ease and efficiency of protection. [0027]
  • In practice, the fluid is preferably gas, typically air. [0028]
  • The inner linings are porous so as not to hinder fluid evacuation from around an object located therein and the formation of the rigid barrier therearound. Accordingly, the outer surface of the envelope may include an inner lining in such a manner that the inner lining forms a pocket for the location of an object and the resiliently deformable members are located between the inner lining and the outer envelope. As the lining sheet or sheets are porous, the resiliently deformable members remain in fluid communication with each other so that fluid evacuation from the envelope results in the inner lining collapsing around the object located therein and the close fitting rigid barrier forming against the lining thus collapsed, thus closely forming a barrier around the object. [0029]
  • Preferably, the process of fluid evacuation takes place after location of the object in the envelope or after wrapping of an object with the envelope. This causes a close fit of the resiliently deformable members around the object. Alternatively, it provides increased bending/twisting strength in the envelope compared with existing cushioned supports. [0030]
  • Optionally, the members may be concentrated in the centre area of the envelope against which an object to be protected will be located, or in any particular area where a greater member density is required. The resiliently deformable members may comprise a suitable foamed plastic such as polystyrene, polypropylene or polyvinyl chloride. The outer material may also be a suitable polymer such as polypropylene or nylon. [0031]
  • Additionally, in such embodiments, the package may also include further sealing means in the form of an access conduit and non return valve in the exterior wall of the package. However, this access conduit is not essential as fluid may be evacuated by vacuum pump during packaging and then the access conduit heat sealed so that it is not present in the final package product. [0032]
  • The accessable interior of such package bags may be sealed off, in use, via a plastic sealing strip/zip or other suitable sealing device, which can be reopened by the user to gain access to the object located in the package. In some cases, the package may be heat sealed in such manner as to require tearing or cutting to allow opening and re-inflation. As mentioned above, in some industrial applications, the fluid evacuation may take place followed by sealing of the access conduit. In this regard, the invention extends to products which have had the said access conduit sealed. This type of design may apply to single use products which may, thereafter, be returned to the manufacturer or discarded for recycling. [0033]
  • When the sheet is used directly as a packaging padding or wrapping material or sleeve material it is preferably, made of non-porous material on both sides so that it provides a sealed envelope to maintain the rigid barrier in use. In any case, any surface of the sheet open to the atmosphere, in use as a closed package, is made of a non-porous material to prevent the loss of the rigid barrier through pressure equilibration of the envelope with the atmosphere. [0034]
  • Preferably, the process of fluid evacuation takes place after location of the object in a package made from the sheet or after wrapping of an object with a sheet. This causes a close fit of the resiliently deformable beads around the object. Alternatively, it provides increased bending/twisting strength in the sheet compared with existing cushioned supports. [0035]
  • Preferably, the resiliently deformable members or beads form an increased rigidity layer, in use. Preferably, sufficient members or beads are provided to allow surface coverage of the target object. Typically, the member or bead barrier may be up to seven bead layers deep, preferably, up to 5 bead layers deep, more preferably up to 3 bead layers deep. Obviously, the depth of the barrier may vary across the sheet and the reference to bead layers above is a reference to the average bead layer depth in contact with the target object. [0036]
  • In one embodiment a pump may be integral with the access conduit so that the sheet envelope or envelope may be evacuated by the user activating the pump manually. Alternatively, the pump may be a separate device for mating with the access conduit. The evacuation can be carried out manually by the user or may be automated for certain applications, for instance, those involving mass packaging. [0037]
  • Alternative examples of packaging applications for the sheet include protection of sports injuries. For instance, in the sleeve configuration, the sheet or envelope may be located around an injured limb. [0038]
  • Preferably, the resiliently deformable member beads are made from thermally insulating material. As a result, the invention has applications where heat insulation of an object is important. For instance, food or biological samples could be transported using the invention to heat insulate as well as protect the samples in transit and storage. [0039]
  • For applications involving electronic components, the invention may also comprise an anti-static sleeve for object location therein or the invention may be made from a material with antistatic properties. [0040]
  • According to a second aspect of the present invention there is provided a method of packaging an item comprising the steps of: [0041]
  • (a) locating an item in a package comprising at least one protective sheet or envelope according to any aspect of the present invention; [0042]
  • (b) fluid evacuating the said at least one sheet or envelope to increase the rigidity thereof; [0043]
  • (c) activating sealing means which co-operate with a nonporous face of the sheet or envelope to thereby seal the said sheet or envelope in the fluid evacuated state and thereby protect the item during transportation and storage. [0044]
  • According to a third aspect of the present invention there is provided a method of wrapping an item comprising the steps of: [0045]
  • (a) wrapping an item is at least one protection device according to any aspect of the present invention; [0046]
  • (b) fluid evacuating the said at least one sheet or envelope to increase the rigidity thereof; [0047]
  • (c) activating sealing means which co-operate with a nonporous face of the sheet or envelope to thereby seal the said sheet in the fluid evacuated state and thereby protect the item during transportation and storage. [0048]
  • The second and third aspects may optionally incorporate any one or more of the preferred or optional features of the first aspect or further aspects except where such features are mutually exclusive. [0049]
  • Preferably, to avoid settling of the members or beads, they are apportioned into partitioned sections or otherwise apportioned to thereby provide a predetermined distribution thereof across the sheet, preferably, a substantially even distribution thereof across the sheet or envelope. [0050]
  • Preferably, the said partitions allow fluid communication between the said sections to thereby allow the required fluid evacuation of the whole sheet from any one section. [0051]
  • Optionally, the partitions concentrate beads in the centre area of the sheet, against which an object to be protected will be located, or in any particular area where a greater bead density is required. [0052]
  • Preferably, the beads are free moving within the sheet or partitioned section, as the case may be, prior to fluid evacuation. [0053]
  • The pads may comprise a suitable foamed plastic such as polystyrene or polyvinylchloride. The outer material may also be a suitable polymer such as polypropylene or nylon. [0054]
  • Advantageously, a product in accordance with the invention provides cushioning as well as rigidity. [0055]
  • Preferably, the members or beads are 1-20 mm in width, more preferably 2-15 mm, most preferably 3-7 mm. Typically, the members or beads have a volume of 0.001-5×10[0056] 6 mm3, more preferably, 0.1-5×104 mm3, most preferably 1-5×103 mm3.
  • A preferred feature of the sheet, when in the form of a package, is the inclusion of an inner sleeve which is located in the package to accommodate the object therein and is positioned so as to maintain an object located in the sleeve in the package in the correct position within the package so as to provide optimum protection from the resiliently deformable beads which are located around the inner sleeve in a pre-determined manner suitable to provide maximum protection to an object in the sleeve. Preferably, the envelope material is made from a substantially tear resistant material such as, for example, polypropylene. [0057]
  • According to a further aspect of the present invention there is provided a protective sheet comprising a plurality of resiliently deformable members, a substantially flat envelope, having at least one surface of non-porous material, in which the members are located and dispersed, the envelope being designed to have a fluid evacuated state in which the members form an at least partially rigid barrier and sealing means to retain the sheet envelope in a fluid evacuated state. Preferably, the members are beads such as polymeric beads. The beads may also be air filled balls, bubbles or the like. The beads may be any suitable shape and need not be spherical or semi-spherical although spherical and semi-spherical beads are preferred.[0058]
  • The invention will now be described, by way of example, with reference to the accompanying drawings in which: [0059]
  • FIG. 1 shows a perspective view of a package in accordance with the present invention prior to assembly; [0060]
  • FIG. 2 shows a built-in pump in the wall of a package in accordance with the present invention; [0061]
  • FIG. 3 shows an external pump applied to a package in accordance with the present invention; [0062]
  • FIG. 4 shows a sleeve in accordance with the present invention; [0063]
  • FIG. 5 shows a sheet in accordance with the present invention; and [0064]
  • FIG. 6 shows a sheet wrapped around an object in accordance with the present invention; and [0065]
  • FIG. 7 shows a valve extending into the space defined by the inner porous lining.[0066]
  • Referring to FIG. 1, a package incorporates two facing sheets [0067] 11, 9 each having a non-porous outer layer of non-porous polypropylene 1, 7 and a superimposed inner layer of perforated polypropylene 3, 4. Sandwiched between the said inner 3 and outer 1 layers is a layer of blown polystyrene beads 2, 5. In use, the inner and outer layers are heat sealed along their mutually opposed edges to provide an envelope for the layer of polystyrene beads 2. One of the outer layers 7 has an overlapping flap portion 8 at one end thereof which extends the back of the package 9 and may be folded over the front of the package, in use, to provide a closure flap. To produce a suitable package bag, the two envelope sheets 11, 9 are, in turn, heat sealed along opposed edges along three sides to thereby provide a bag which is open at one end 10. The open end 10 of the bag is provided with a sealing strip 6 to substantially fluid seal the open end, in use. The sealing strip is of conventional construction and comprises a pair of mutually co-operating inner jaws each with a flat outer strip which is heat sealed along the open section to the corresponding inner surface of the perforated strip 3, 4. By closing the sealing strip 6 the bag interior provided between the perforated inner sheets 3 and 4 is sealed so that a vacuum may be applied via one of the outer sheets 1, 7 to thereby evacuate air from the respective envelope and the bag interior, causing the bag sides to become rigid and thereby protecting an object located inside the bag.
  • Referring to FIG. 2, a suitable pump [0068] 30 for fluid extraction from the bead envelope 19 is shown. The pump includes a thumb grip 16 which sealingly engages via sealing ring 32 with a close fitting cavity 18 located in the side of the bag and extending into the bead envelope, via a compression spring 15. The thumb grip is fitted at its inner end with a one way valve 17 and the innermost end of the cavity is similarly fitted with a one way valve 14. Accordingly, in use, the thumb grip 16 is pressed into the cavity 18 thereby forcing the air in the cavity to be expelled via the one way valve 17. Release of the thumb grip causes air to be drawn into the cavity 18 as the compression spring 15 forces the thumb grip 16 to its outermost position. At the limit of its compression, the thumb grip 16 has a catch (not shown) which allows the thumb grip to remain compressed into the cavity and hence conveniently stored in the side of the bag, during use.
  • An alternative mechanism for extracting the fluid from the sheet envelope is shown in FIG. 3. An external air pump (not shown in entirety) is fitted with a nozzle [0069] 20 which is tapered at its outer end to form a sealing engagement with the outer end of a valve cavity 22 in the side of the bag. The cavity 22 is fitted at its innermost end with a one way valve 24 of the type as previously described with respect to FIG. 2 and, similarly, a one way valve is fitted to the interior end of the tapered nozzle so that air can be extracted from the envelope between the inner and outer sheets of the bag via the said pair of one way valves. Removal of the air pump from the bag is possible after a suitable level of air extraction has been effected via the one way valve 24. The one way valve 24, although allowing evacuation of the envelope 25 prevents ingress of air during use.
  • Referring to FIG. 4, an alternative configuration for the sheet in accordance with the present invention is shown whereby the sheet is formed into an endless sleeve [0070] 34 which is shown in circular cross section. A valve 31 is located on one side of the outer sheet 32 of the sleeve 34 to allow access to the interior envelope 33. Both inner 40 and outer 32 sheets are non-porous and are made from a suitably stretchable material to ensure that the sleeve fits tightly to the limb of the user during use.
  • Referring to FIG. 5, the sheet is shown in the form of a flat rectangular envelope [0071] 36 fitted at one end thereof with a one way valve 41. In FIG. 6, the sheet 36 is shown wrapped around a cylindrical object 42 and an extraction valve 44 is fitted at one end thereof to allow the envelope to be evacuated rendering the sheet rigid in the usual manner.
  • Referring to FIG. 7, a further embodiment shows a similar arrangement to that shown in FIG. 3 but with the valve [0072] 102 extending through the porous inner wall 104 of the bag to have direct access to the interior space 106 defined by the inner bag 108. In use, the air is evacuated from the said interior space so that the inner bag 108 collapses around an object located therein. Simultaneously, the air is evacuated from the cavity 110 via the pores of the inner wall 104 so that a rigid layer forms around the collapsed inner wall. The porous inner wall is made from a material suitable for use in the evacuation process.
  • For the avoidance of doubt, the porosity of the inner lining is sufficient to allow air or other fluid to transfer through the wall but is not sufficient to allow the resilient members or the internal object located in the bag to transfer through the wall. [0073]
  • The reader's attention is directed to all papers and documents which are filed concurrently with or previous to this specification in connection with this application and which are open to public inspection with this specification, and the contents of all such papers and documents are incorporated herein by reference. [0074]
  • All of the features disclosed in this specification (including any accompanying claims, abstract and drawings), and/or all of the steps of any method or process so disclosed, may be combined in any combination, except combinations where at least some of such features and/or steps are mutually exclusive. [0075]
  • Each feature disclosed in this specification (including any accompanying claims, abstract and drawings), may be replaced by alternative features serving the same, equivalent or similar purpose, unless expressly stated otherwise. Thus, unless expressly stated otherwise, each feature disclosed is one example only of a generic series of equivalent or similar features. [0076]
  • The invention is not restricted to the details of the foregoing embodiment(s). The invention extend to any novel one, or any novel combination, of the features disclosed in this specification (including any accompanying claims, abstract and drawings), or to any novel one, or any novel combination, of the steps of any method or process so disclosed. [0077]

Claims (11)

  1. 1. A protective device comprising a fluid sealable envelope of a non-porous material, the said envelope having a plurality of resiliently deformable members located therein, the envelope being designed to have a fluid evacuated state in which the said plurality of resiliently deformable members is operable to form into an at least partially rigid state within the envelope and sealing means to retain the envelope in the said fluid evacuated state, the device including a porous inner lining designed to accommodate an object to be protected.
  2. 2. A device as claimed in claim 1, wherein the porous inner lining is in the form of a bag.
  3. 3. A device as claimed in claim 1, wherein the lining comprises a porous inner envelope which is in fluid communication with the space surrounding said resiliently deformable members.
  4. 4. A device as claimed in claim 1, wherein the porous inner lining in the form of a sleeve.
  5. 5. A device as claimed in claim 1, wherein the resiliently deformable members are sandwiched between the porous inner lining and the non-porous outer envelope.
  6. 6. A protective device according to claim 1, wherein the non-porous fluid sealable envelope includes at least one access conduit providing fluid communication from the exterior environment to the envelope interior to thereby provide a means of fluid evacuation from the envelope.
  7. 7. A protective sheet according to claim 1, wherein the sealing means is a non-return valve associated with the access conduit to prevent return of envelope evacuated fluid therethrough.
  8. 8. A protective sheet according to claim 1, wherein a vacuum pump is provided and associated with the sealing means.
  9. 9. A protective device according to claim 1, in the form of a package and wherein the sealing is at least partially provided by a closure member at the opening to the inside of the package so that the package is retained in a fluid evacuated state until the package closure member is opened by the user at which point the envelopes will re-inflate with fluid from the surrounding environment.
  10. 10. A protective device as claimed in claim 1 wherein the access conduit extends into the inner space defined by the inner lining to thereby provide means of priority evacuation of the said inner space.
  11. 11. A method of protecting an object comprising
    (i) locating an object to be protected in a protective device, the protective device comprising a fluid sealable envelope of a non-porous material, the said envelope having a plurality of resiliently deformable members located therein, the envelope being designed to have a fluid evacuated state in which the said plurality of resiliently deformable members is operable to form into an at least partially rigid state within the envelope and sealing means to retain the envelope in the said fluid evacuated state, the device including a porous inner lining;
    (ii) evacuating fluid from the device to form an at least partially rigid barrier with the said members located around the said object;
    (iii) retaining the device in the said fluid evacuated state to thereby maintain the object in a protected state.
US10084334 2001-02-28 2002-02-28 Protective device Abandoned US20020117421A1 (en)

Priority Applications (2)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
GB0104917.0 2001-02-28
GB0104917A GB0104917D0 (en) 2001-02-28 2001-02-28 A protective sheet

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US20020117421A1 true true US20020117421A1 (en) 2002-08-29

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US10084334 Abandoned US20020117421A1 (en) 2001-02-28 2002-02-28 Protective device

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US (1) US20020117421A1 (en)
EP (1) EP1236655B1 (en)
DE (1) DE60226089D1 (en)
GB (1) GB0104917D0 (en)

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US9623622B2 (en) 2010-02-24 2017-04-18 Michael Baines Packaging materials and methods

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GB0812426D0 (en) 2008-07-08 2008-08-13 Baker Christopher M Protective devices
JP5429660B2 (en) * 2009-03-26 2014-02-26 ヤマト包装技術研究所株式会社 The article packaging unit

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US3762404A (en) * 1969-08-21 1973-10-02 Olympic Surgical Co Inc Positioning aid
US4683702A (en) * 1984-05-23 1987-08-04 U.S. Philips Corporation Method for vacuum-packaging finely divided materials, and a bag for implementing the method
US4848364A (en) * 1986-10-23 1989-07-18 Patentico Ltd. Covering sheet which can be made form-retaining
US5009318A (en) * 1986-04-09 1991-04-23 Lepinoy Industrie Method, device and padded product for maintaining an object
US6308353B1 (en) * 1999-04-09 2001-10-30 The Or Group, Inc. Method and apparatus for positioning a patient

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US3212497A (en) * 1963-04-09 1965-10-19 Joseph A Kaplan & Sons Inc Moldable temporary splint
US3762404A (en) * 1969-08-21 1973-10-02 Olympic Surgical Co Inc Positioning aid
US4683702A (en) * 1984-05-23 1987-08-04 U.S. Philips Corporation Method for vacuum-packaging finely divided materials, and a bag for implementing the method
US5009318A (en) * 1986-04-09 1991-04-23 Lepinoy Industrie Method, device and padded product for maintaining an object
US4848364A (en) * 1986-10-23 1989-07-18 Patentico Ltd. Covering sheet which can be made form-retaining
US6308353B1 (en) * 1999-04-09 2001-10-30 The Or Group, Inc. Method and apparatus for positioning a patient

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US9623622B2 (en) 2010-02-24 2017-04-18 Michael Baines Packaging materials and methods

Also Published As

Publication number Publication date Type
GB0104917D0 (en) 2001-04-18 grant
EP1236655A2 (en) 2002-09-04 application
DE60226089D1 (en) 2008-05-29 grant
EP1236655A3 (en) 2004-01-07 application
EP1236655B1 (en) 2008-04-16 grant

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