US20040026422A1 - Membrane penetrating closure with deformable top surface - Google Patents

Membrane penetrating closure with deformable top surface Download PDF

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Publication number
US20040026422A1
US20040026422A1 US10611249 US61124903A US2004026422A1 US 20040026422 A1 US20040026422 A1 US 20040026422A1 US 10611249 US10611249 US 10611249 US 61124903 A US61124903 A US 61124903A US 2004026422 A1 US2004026422 A1 US 2004026422A1
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Prior art keywords
membrane
penetrating
structure
fig
portion
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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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US10611249
Inventor
Scott Westphal
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TECHNOLOGY CENTER
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TECHNOLOGY CENTER
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    • 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
    • B65D51/00Closures not otherwise provided for
    • B65D51/18Arrangements of closures with protective outer cap-like covers or of two or more co-operating closures
    • B65D51/20Caps, lids, or covers co-operating with an inner closure arranged to be opened by piercing, cutting, or tearing
    • B65D51/22Caps, lids, or covers co-operating with an inner closure arranged to be opened by piercing, cutting, or tearing having means for piercing, cutting, or tearing the inner closure
    • B65D51/221Caps, lids, or covers co-operating with an inner closure arranged to be opened by piercing, cutting, or tearing having means for piercing, cutting, or tearing the inner closure a major part of the inner closure being left inside the container after the opening
    • B65D51/226Caps, lids, or covers co-operating with an inner closure arranged to be opened by piercing, cutting, or tearing having means for piercing, cutting, or tearing the inner closure a major part of the inner closure being left inside the container after the opening the piercing or cutting means being non integral with, or not fixedly attached to, the outer closure
    • 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
    • B65D51/00Closures not otherwise provided for
    • B65D51/18Arrangements of closures with protective outer cap-like covers or of two or more co-operating closures
    • B65D51/20Caps, lids, or covers co-operating with an inner closure arranged to be opened by piercing, cutting, or tearing
    • B65D51/22Caps, lids, or covers co-operating with an inner closure arranged to be opened by piercing, cutting, or tearing having means for piercing, cutting, or tearing the inner closure
    • B65D51/221Caps, lids, or covers co-operating with an inner closure arranged to be opened by piercing, cutting, or tearing having means for piercing, cutting, or tearing the inner closure a major part of the inner closure being left inside the container after the opening
    • B65D51/222Caps, lids, or covers co-operating with an inner closure arranged to be opened by piercing, cutting, or tearing having means for piercing, cutting, or tearing the inner closure a major part of the inner closure being left inside the container after the opening the piercing or cutting means being integral with, or fixedly attached to, the outer closure
    • B65D51/224Caps, lids, or covers co-operating with an inner closure arranged to be opened by piercing, cutting, or tearing having means for piercing, cutting, or tearing the inner closure a major part of the inner closure being left inside the container after the opening the piercing or cutting means being integral with, or fixedly attached to, the outer closure the outer closure comprising flexible parts
    • 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
    • B65D2251/00Details relating to container closures
    • B65D2251/0003Two or more closures
    • B65D2251/0006Upper closure
    • B65D2251/0015Upper closure of the 41-type
    • 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
    • B65D2251/00Details relating to container closures
    • B65D2251/0003Two or more closures
    • B65D2251/0006Upper closure
    • B65D2251/0025Upper closure of the 47-type
    • 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
    • B65D2251/00Details relating to container closures
    • B65D2251/0003Two or more closures
    • B65D2251/0037Intermediate closure(s)
    • B65D2251/0056Intermediate closure(s) of the 47-type
    • 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
    • B65D2251/00Details relating to container closures
    • B65D2251/0003Two or more closures
    • B65D2251/0068Lower closure
    • B65D2251/0093Membrane
    • 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
    • B65D2251/00Details relating to container closures
    • B65D2251/0003Two or more closures
    • B65D2251/0068Lower closure
    • B65D2251/0093Membrane
    • B65D2251/0096Membrane integral with the container

Abstract

A membrane penetrating closure device for a container on which a sealing membrane (e.g., a metal foil) is installed. The membrane penetrating closure includes a cap that is designed to be engaged on the container. The cap is sealed by a user deformable portion that includes a pressure application surface. A penetrating structure with a cutting edge is connected to the user deformable portion such that it extends towards the membrane when the container and closure are engaged. Retaining structure is provided to retain a severed portion of the membrane within the penetrating structure. In one embodiment, the retaining structure comprises a plurality of capture projections that extend inwardly from the cutting edge. In another embodiment, the retaining structure is a spear projection that extends beyond the cutting edge. Other embodiments are described wherein the severed portion of the membrane remains connected to unsevered portions of the membrane.

Description

    CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
  • [0001]
    This is a continuation-in-part of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/190,614, filed on Jul. 9, 2002. The contents of that application are incorporated by reference herein in their entirety.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • [0002]
    1. Field of the Invention
  • [0003]
    The invention relates generally to the field of packaging, and more specifically to devices for piercing and opening sealed packages.
  • [0004]
    2. Description of Related Art
  • [0005]
    Many types of commercial packages are sealed with thin membranes. For example, in the food industry, many food packages are heat sealed with a thin membrane that comprises a layer of metal foil coated on at least one side by a layer of a heat-sealable material, such as low density polyethylene (LDPE). The layer of metal foil in the membrane acts as a gas barrier and prevents oxygen or other contaminants from entering the package. The layer of heat-sealable material allows the membrane to be joined to the package by conventional heat-sealing techniques.
  • [0006]
    In one conventional arrangement, the type of thin membrane described above is sealed over the neck of a plastic food container, and a re-sealable cap is then threaded or otherwise connected to the container above the thin membrane. The re-sealable cap provides the user with a way to releasably close the container once the membrane has been removed. Similar types of packaging are also found in the pharmaceutical industry, where thin membranes are used to seal bottles containing medicament solutions. A variation of the typical arrangement is found in aseptic paperboard packaging. In the case of aseptic paperboard packaging (such as TETRA BRIK ASEPTIC® packaging), a thin membrane and re-sealable cap structure may be provided as a portion of a wall of the container itself.
  • [0007]
    In order to open a container with a thin sealing membrane, the user must either puncture or remove the membrane. Either opening process can be difficult. If the user tries to manually remove the membrane, it may be difficult to grip. Alternatively, if a user chooses to puncture the membrane, a separate sharp implement is usually required, and even after puncturing the membrane, the punctured pieces of the membrane may need to be manually removed. Moreover, the forces involved in puncturing or removing the membrane may jostle the contents of the container, which can cause a mess when the container opens.
  • [0008]
    An early attempt to deal with the problem of membrane removal is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 3,581,605. In that patent, the cap of the container is removed and a separate component is placed over the membrane-sealed opening to puncture and remove the membrane. The component used to penetrate and remove the membrane includes an annular serrated blade and a spear-shaped downwardly projecting member that captures the membrane as it is being penetrated, so that the penetrated membrane section stays lodged on the spear-shaped projection of the penetrating component. One disadvantage of this device is that the penetrating component (and thus, the membrane penetrating function) is not integrated into the cap. The lack of integration requires the user to remove the cap and manually install the penetrating component. Additionally, because the penetrating component is provided as a separate component, it is possible that the penetrating component may be lost altogether during shipping.
  • [0009]
    Integrated solutions to this problem have also been proposed. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 5,297,696 discloses a pour spout with a piercing insert therein. The pour spout of this reference is designed to be connected as an integral part of a paper-walled container. The piercing insert within the spout is driven downwardly to penetrate the membrane by application of manual downward pressure thereto. In the initial position, the piercing insert is fixedly connected to the pour spout, however, in the process of driving the piercing insert downward, its connection to the piercing spout is broken, such that the piercing insert may later move freely within the spout.
  • [0010]
    Other references, such as U.S. Pat. No. 6,223,924, disclose devices whereby a rotational movement of an internally threaded, specially designed cap is translated by means of cam surfaces into a downward movement of a piercing structure. Such devices are relatively complex and may be difficult or expensive to fabricate.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • [0011]
    One aspect of the invention provides a membrane penetrating closure for a container having an opening sealed by a membrane. A cap structure of the closure has a first end adapted to be engaged on the container. A second end of the cap structure is sealed by a user deformable portion that includes a pressure application surface. A penetrating structure is connected to an interior surface of the user deformable portion such that it extends towards the membrane when the container and membrane are engaged. The penetrating structure has a cutting edge adapted to sever at least a portion of the membrane. Retaining structure is positioned within the penetrating structure. The retaining structure is adapted to retain the severed portion of the membrane within the penetrating portion.
  • [0012]
    In one embodiment, the retaining structure comprises a plurality of capture projections provided on the cutting edge and extending inwardly therefrom. The capture projections may have a vertical position along the cutting edge such that when the user deformable portion is deformed towards the membrane, the capture projections will be forced under the membrane before the membrane is completely severed.
  • [0013]
    In another embodiment, the retaining structure comprises spear projection extending from the user deformable portion and terminating at a position below the cutting edge of the penetrating structure. The spear projection may include an enlarged end portion that defines a membrane-supporting ledge.
  • [0014]
    These and other aspects, features, and advantages of the invention will be described below.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0015]
    The invention will be described with respect to the following drawings, in which like numerals represent like features throughout the several views, and in which:
  • [0016]
    [0016]FIG. 1 is a sectional perspective view of a portion of a membrane-sealed container having a membrane penetrating closure according to an embodiment of the invention;
  • [0017]
    [0017]FIG. 2 is a top plan view of the penetrating structure in the closure of FIG. 1;
  • [0018]
    [0018]FIG. 3 is an elevational view of one side of the membrane penetrating closure of FIG. 1;
  • [0019]
    [0019]FIG. 4 is an elevational view of the other side of the membrane penetrating closure of FIG. 1;
  • [0020]
    [0020]FIG. 5A is a sectional view of the membrane penetrating closure of FIG. 1 installed in the container in an initial position;
  • [0021]
    [0021]FIG. 5B is a sectional view of the membrane penetrating closure of FIG. 1 in a piercing position;
  • [0022]
    [0022]FIG. 6A is a partially sectional elevational view of a membrane penetrating device according to another embodiment of the invention, shown as installed in a container in an initial position;
  • [0023]
    [0023]FIG. 6B is a partially sectional elevational view of the membrane penetrating device of FIG. 6A in a piercing position;
  • [0024]
    [0024]FIG. 7A is a partially sectional elevational view of a membrane penetrating device according to a further embodiment of the invention in an initial position;
  • [0025]
    [0025]FIG. 7B is a partially sectional elevational view of the membrane penetrating device of FIG. 7A in a piercing position;
  • [0026]
    [0026]FIG. 8 is a cross-sectional view of a pyramidal piercing blade suitable for use in membrane penetrating devices according to embodiments of the invention;
  • [0027]
    [0027]FIG. 9 is a cross-sectional view of a curved piercing blade suitable for use in membrane penetrating devices according to embodiments of the invention;
  • [0028]
    [0028]FIG. 10 is a partially sectional side elevational view of a membrane piercing closure with a deformable top surface according to a further embodiment of the invention;
  • [0029]
    [0029]FIG. 11 is a top plan view of the membrane piercing closure of FIG. 10, showing the top surface thereof;
  • [0030]
    [0030]FIG. 12 is a bottom plan view of the membrane piercing closure of FIG. 10;
  • [0031]
    [0031]FIG. 13 is a sectional side elevational view of the membrane piercing closure of FIG. 10 in an initial position;
  • [0032]
    [0032]FIG. 14 is a sectional side elevational view of the membrane piercing closure of FIG. 10 in a first piercing position partially through the membrane;
  • [0033]
    [0033]FIG. 15 is a sectional side elevational view of the membrane piercing closure of FIG. 10 in a second piercing position completely through the membrane;
  • [0034]
    [0034]FIG. 16 is a sectional side elevational view of the membrane piercing closure of FIG. 10 having returned to the initial position with a severed portion of the membrane held within;
  • [0035]
    [0035]FIG. 17 is an enlarged sectional elevational view of a portion of FIG. 13;
  • [0036]
    [0036]FIG. 18 is an enlarged sectional elevational view of a portion of FIG. 14;
  • [0037]
    [0037]FIG. 19 is an enlarged sectional elevational view of a portion of FIG. 15;
  • [0038]
    [0038]FIG. 20 is an enlarged sectional elevational view of a portion of FIG. 16;
  • [0039]
    [0039]FIG. 21 is a sectional side elevational view of a membrane piercing closure according to another embodiment of the invention; and
  • [0040]
    [0040]FIG. 22 is a sectional side elevational view of the membrane piercing closure of FIG. 21 with a severed portion of the membrane held within.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION
  • [0041]
    One embodiment of a membrane penetrating closure, generally indicated at 10, is shown in the perspective view of FIG. 1. The membrane penetrating closure 10 is installed above a membrane 12 that seals the opening 14 of a container 16. The membrane 12 may be a metal foil, such as aluminum foil, or a metal foil laminate, i.e., a foil having layers of plastic heat-sealing material disposed on either or both sides. In one embodiment, the container 16 is formed of a plastic material such as low or high density polyethylene (LDPE or HDPE), polyethylene terephthalate (PET), or polypropylene (PP), and is adapted for food storage. In other embodiments, the container 16 may be made of glass, metals, or other materials, and may be adapted to contain other goods, for example, pharmaceutical compositions.
  • [0042]
    The container 16 may contain a fluid, semisolid substances, such as powders, or solids, such as tablets or capsules. If the container 16 contains semisolid or solid substances, the terms “flow pathway” and “flow path,” as used herein, may be interpreted to mean a pathway of sufficient size to allow the semisolid or solid contents of the container 16 to move out of the container 16.
  • [0043]
    The membrane penetrating closure 10 comprises a generally tubular neck structure 18. A first end 20 of the neck structure 18 is adapted to be attached to the container 16 above the membrane 12. As shown in FIG. 1, a lip 22 on the first end engages a flange 24 provided on the container 16, while an abutting lip 25 of the neck structure 18 rests on the edge 27 of the container 16. However, it is contemplated that the neck structure 18 could be formed integrally with the container 16, or the neck structure 18 could be snapped or threadedly engaged with the container 16.
  • [0044]
    The container 16 may be re-sealably closed by a cap 54 which is hingedly connected to the second end 23 of the neck structure 18 and fits sealingly over the second end 23 end. The cap 54 illustrated in FIG. 1 engages a flange 56 at the second end 23 of the neck structure 18 to seal the second end 23. However, the neck structure 18 may be provided with external threads, such that an internally threaded cap 54 may be screwed onto the second end 23 of the neck structure 18 to seal it.
  • [0045]
    The neck structure 18 contains a penetrating structure, generally indicated at 26, that is connected thereto. The penetrating structure 26 is suspended within the neck structure 18 by three preferably flexible support members 28 that extend between the exterior surface 30 of the penetrating structure 26 and the interior surface 32 of the neck structure 18. (In FIG. 1, one of the three flexible support members 28 is shown as connected to the neck structure 18; the other two support members 28 would be connected to portions of the neck structure 18 that are cut away in the view of FIG. 1.) The flexible support members 28 are in substantially the same generally horizontal plane and are distributed approximately equidistantly from one another around the periphery of the penetrating structure 26. The position of the three flexible support members 28 relative to one another is better seen in FIG. 2, a top plan view of the penetrating structure 26 in isolation. Although only three flexible support members 28 are shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, any number of flexible support members 28 may be used. One or more of the support members 28 may be frangible so as to break away from the penetrating structure 26 and/or the neck structure 18, although preferably, at least one of the support members 28 remains attached. Alternatively, a thin annulus of flexible material connected between the exterior surface 30 of the penetrating structure 26 and the interior surface 32 of the neck structure 18 may serve the function of the flexible support members 28.
  • [0046]
    The penetrating structure 26 itself is a one-piece molded component having a substantially cylindrical upper body portion 34 and a flared lower body portion 36. The penetrating structure 26 is generally hollow throughout, as shown in the sectional perspective view of FIG. 1. A pressure application surface 38 is provided at the top of the upper body portion 34. The pressure application surface 38 is of sufficient size to allow a user to apply manual downward pressure to the penetrating structure 26 with at least one finger or thumb. As shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, the pressure application surface 38 may be embossed with an appropriate directive, such as “PUSH.” Although the pressure application surface 38 is illustrated as solid in FIGS. 1 and 2, the pressure application surface 38 may include apertures therein. Additionally, any user-accessible surface of the penetrating structure 26 may serve as a pressure application surface.
  • [0047]
    [0047]FIGS. 3 and 4 are front and back elevational views, respectively, of the penetrating structure 26. (In FIGS. 3 and 4, the container 16 and neck structure 18 are shown in section and the cap 54 is not shown.) The flared lower body portion 36 of the penetrating structure 26 extends outwardly from the upper body portion 34 and terminates in a penetrating portion 40. The penetrating portion 40 of this embodiment is an annular penetrating edge. The penetrating edge 40 has serrations 42 arrayed along at least a portion of its circumference. A portion of the penetrating edge 40 (best seen in FIG. 4) does not have serrations; this portion is a folding edge 44. The non-serrated folding edge 44 allows the penetrated portion of the membrane 12 to remain connected to the unpenetrated portions of the membrane 12, such that the penetrated flaps of membrane 12 material do not fall into the container 16. The folding edge 44 may be contoured to increase its folding effect during a downward, membrane penetrating motion of the penetrating structure 26. In this embodiment, the folding edge 44 forms a vertically arcuate cut-out that extends upward from the penetrating edge 40.
  • [0048]
    In addition to the folding edge 44, the penetrating structure 26 may include a folding arm 46 connected to interior surfaces of the penetrating structure 26 and extending downwardly therefrom. The folding arm 46 has at least one projection 48 (best seen in the sectional views of FIGS. 5A and 5B) extending to the level of the folding edge 44, and if provided, would cooperate with the folding edge 44 to fold the penetrated membrane 12 flap.
  • [0049]
    The flared lower body portion 36 also includes an aperture 50 which establishes a flow pathway through the penetrating structure 26 so that the contents of the container 16 may flow out of the container 16 once the membrane 12 is penetrated without being obstructed by the penetrating structure 26. In this embodiment, the aperture 50, which is a cut-out in the wall of the lower body portion 26, is sized so as to provide as much flow as possible through the penetrating structure 26 without compromising the strength of the penetrating structure 26 or the penetrating edge 40. The aperture 50 may be smaller or larger than that depicted, or a plurality of apertures 50 may be provided. Additionally, one of ordinary skill in the art may provide an aperture 50 having dimensions that provide for a particular flow rate. If the container 16 contains tablets or other solid contents, the aperture 50 may be sized in relation to the contents to dispense a certain number of tablets at a time (e.g., one or two tablets at a time).
  • [0050]
    The operation of the membrane piercing closure 10 and penetrating structure 26 are illustrated in the sectional views of FIGS. 5A and 5B. For simplicity, the cap 54 is not illustrated in FIGS. 5A and 5B, however, if the cap 54 were pivotably connected to the neck structure 18, it would be in an open position in FIGS. 5A and 5B. In FIG. 5A, the penetrating structure 26 is suspended just above the intact membrane 12. The three flexible support members 28 are connected at one end to the interior surface 32 of the neck structure 18 and extend slightly upwardly to the exterior surface 30 of the penetrating structure 26. (As shown, the three flexible support members 28 connect to the exterior surface 30 at the base of the upper body portion 34.) The vertical position of the penetrating structure 26 in the neck structure 18 is such that on application of manual force, the penetrating structure 26, mounted on the flexible support members 28, has enough range of travel to penetrate the membrane 12. (The range of travel of the penetrating structure 26 would typically be on the order of a few millimeters.)
  • [0051]
    To penetrate the membrane 12, the user would apply manual force to the pressure application surface 38, causing the penetrating structure 26 to move downward, from the position illustrated in FIG. 5A towards the position illustrated in FIG. 5B. During the movement from the position of FIG. 5A to the position of FIG. 5B, the flexible support members 28 remain connected between the penetrating structure 26 and the neck structure 18, but they invert in orientation during the movement. In FIG. 5B, the flexible members 28 extend downwardly from the interior surface 32 of the neck structure 18 to the exterior surface 30 of the penetrating structure 26. A membrane flap 52 is formed once the penetrating structure 26 penetrates the membrane 12. This membrane flap 52 stays connected to the membrane 12, but is folded out of the way by the action of the folding edge 44 and, if provided, the folding arm 46. The amount of manual force required to drive the penetrating structure 26 from the position illustrated in FIG. 5A to the position illustrated in FIG. 5B would depend on the number of flexible support members 28, the dimensions of the flexible support members 28, and their elastic modulus, and could be selected arbitrarily.
  • [0052]
    Once the membrane 12 has been penetrated, the penetrating structure 26 remains connected to the neck structure 18, and thus, will not fall into the container 16. Moreover, the flexible support members 26 allow the penetrating structure 26 to move from a protruded position (FIG. 5A) to a recessed position (FIG. 5B), in which the support members 28 assume an inverted position.
  • [0053]
    Membrane penetrating closures according to embodiments of the invention may be formed of any plastic material, although moldable thermoplastic materials may be preferred for some applications. It is advantageous if the membrane penetrating closure is molded of the same plastic material as the container, and it may also be desirable to use a recyclable plastic material. Examples of suitable recyclable plastic materials include low or high density polyethylene (LDPE or HDPE), polyethylene terephthalate (PET), and polypropylene (PP). Alternatively, if a membrane penetrating closure is used on a container holding a liquid that would react with plastics, the membrane penetrating closure 10 may be formed of a non-corroding metal, such as stainless steel or aluminum.
  • [0054]
    The embodiment of the membrane penetrating closure 10 illustrated in FIGS. 1-5B is designed to operate by application of manual force, as explained above. However, in other embodiments, a penetrating structure 26 may be coupled to the cap 54 to automatically penetrate the membrane 12 on opening of the cap 54.
  • [0055]
    [0055]FIGS. 6A and 6B are partially sectional elevational views of a membrane penetrating closure 100 according to another embodiment of the present invention in initial and piercing positions, respectively. (In FIGS. 6A and 6B, the container 16 is shown in section.) The penetrating structure 126 of this embodiment is tubular, with both ends open. The open, tubular nature of the penetrating structure 126 allows fluid, solid or semisolid contents to flow or move through the penetrating structure 126 without obstruction. If the penetrating structure 126 was not tubular, apertures could be provided therein to allow flow. A penetrating portion 140 is provided at one end having serrations 42 around at least part of its circumference. A non-serrated folding edge similar to the folding edge 44 of FIG. 4 (not shown in FIGS. 6A and 6B) is provided on one side of the penetrating portion 140. The penetrating structure 126 may have any diameter that will fit within the neck structure 118, and may be just smaller than the diameter of the neck structure 118 itself.
  • [0056]
    As shown in FIGS. 6A and 6B, the penetrating structure 126 is positioned within and is guided by a channel 120 that is disposed within the neck structure 118. In this embodiment, the channel 120 is a central ring of material that is connected to the neck structure 118. In other embodiments, the walls of the neck structure 118 may perform the function of the channel 120.
  • [0057]
    A cap 54 is hingedly connected to the neck structure 118 by a hinge 58 for movement between closed and open positions. (The closed position of the cap 54 is shown in FIG. 6A, while the open position of the cap 54 is shown in FIG. 6B.) As in the previous embodiment, the cap 54 engages a flange 56 on the neck structure 118 when closed. The penetrating structure 126 is coupled to the cap 54 for automatic penetration of the membrane 12 by a strap 128. The strap 128 is connected on one end to the underside surface 60 of the cap 54 and on the other end to an upper portion 134 of the penetrating structure 126. Between the underside surface 60 of the cap 54 and the penetrating structure 126, the strap 128 is trained over a portion of the channel 120 such that it extends downwardly from the underside 60 of the cap 54 to the channel 120, and then upwardly from the underside of the channel 120 to the upper portion 134 of the penetrating structure 126. In this way, the strap 128 translates an opening motion of the cap 54 into a downward, membrane penetrating movement of the penetrating structure 126. FIG. 6B illustrates the opening movement of the cap 54 and the resultant downward movement of the penetrating structure 126 that is caused by the strap 128.
  • [0058]
    Initially, the strap 128 is connected between the cap 54 and penetrating structure 126 such that there is essentially no “slack” therein. Therefore, the penetrating structure 126 will immediately penetrate the membrane 12 when the cap 54 is opened the first time. After the membrane 12 has been penetrated, the penetrating structure 126 may slide up and down within the channel 120 during subsequent openings and closings of the cap 54, but will remain within the channel 120 and connected to the strap 128. Thus, the penetrating structure 126 will not fall into the container 16 after opening. The strap 128 may be connected to the cap 54 and penetrating structure 126 by adhesives, or by fasteners such as staples. Alternatively, if the strap 128, penetrating structure 126 and cap 54 are all made of thermoplastic materials, the strap 128 may be fused to the penetrating structure 126 and cap 54, or the strap 128 may include hooked ends that cooperate with the cap 54 and/or penetrating structure 126.
  • [0059]
    [0059]FIGS. 6A and 6B also illustrate an alternative way in which a membrane penetrating closure according to the invention may engage a container 16. In other embodiments, a lip 22 on the closure engages a flange 24 on the container 16. In this embodiment, a channel 122 on the membrane penetrating closure 100 engages the flange 24. The channel 122 may be more difficult to disengage from the flange 24 than a lip 22, and thus, may be more tamper-resistant. Additionally, the channel 122 is notched or otherwise weakened (e.g., by notches 121 in FIGS. 6A and 6B) at a location proximate to the flange 24 such that any attempt to remove the membrane penetrating closure 100 from the container 16 would likely result in damage to the membrane penetrating closure 100, such that tampering would be evident. Although shown with respect to membrane penetrating closure 100, this tamper-resistant and tamper-evident connection may be used with any membrane penetrating closure according to the invention. Additionally, the lip 22 may include weakened portions or notches 121.
  • [0060]
    [0060]FIGS. 7A and 7B are elevational views of a membrane penetrating closure 200 according to yet another embodiment of the invention of the present invention in initial and piercing positions, respectively. In the embodiment illustrated in FIGS. 7A and 7B, a spring 202 is used to drive the penetrating structure 226 to penetrate the membrane 12.
  • [0061]
    The penetrating structure 226 of this embodiment is substantially similar to the penetrating structure 126 that was described above. However, the penetrating structure 226 may be shorter than the penetrating structure 126. The penetrating structure 226 is slidably positioned within and is guided by a channel 220. The channel 220 of FIGS. 7A and 7B comprises a thickened section of the interior walls of the neck structure 218, although a channel 120 similar to that described above may be used with this embodiment.
  • [0062]
    The spring 202 is in driving relation with the penetrating structure 226. At one end, the spring is connected to a projection 204 in the neck structure 218 and at the other end, the spring 202 is coupled to, and may be fixedly connected to, the penetrating structure 226. A restraining trigger 206 is connected at one end to the underside 60 of the cap 54 and at the other end, is hooked about the bottom coil of the spring 202. (Alternatively, the restraining trigger 206 may be hooked about a lip at the end of the spring 202.) The restraining trigger 206 thus prevents the spring 202 from driving the penetrating structure 226 while the cap 54 is in the closed position illustrated in FIG. 7A.
  • [0063]
    The restraining trigger 206 is constructed of a plastic material of sufficient rigidity to act against the force bias provided by the spring 202. However, when the cap 54 is opened, as shown in FIG. 7B, the additional force on the restraining trigger 206 would cause the restraining trigger 206 to deform and disengage from the spring 202, allowing the spring 202 to drive the penetrating structure 226 to penetrate the membrane. Alternatively, depending on the particular dimensions of the restraining trigger 206, the movement of the cap 54 may move the restraining trigger 206 away from the spring 202 enough to allow the spring 202 to drive the penetrating structure 226.
  • [0064]
    Those of ordinary skill in the art will realize that a channel similar to channel 220 may be used with the embodiment illustrated in FIGS. 6A and 6B if an “L” shaped passageway is provided in the wall of the channel for passage of the strap 128. In addition, although a conventional spring 202 is shown in FIGS. 7A and 7B, any resilient member capable of storing mechanical energy may be used in its place. If a conventional spring is used, the spring may be made of metals or plastics.
  • [0065]
    Moreover, although hollow, generally tubular penetrating structures 26, 126, 226 have been shown with respect to the various embodiments, penetrating structures of various configurations may be used. FIGS. 8 and 9 are cross-sectional views illustrating two appropriate types of penetrating structures 326, 426. Penetrating structure 326 of FIG. 8 is generally tubular but has a pyramidal blade 328 disposed on its cutting end. The pyramidal blade 328 is provided with channels 330 therein that provide a passage through the blade 328. Penetrating structure 426 of FIG. 9 is also generally tubular but has a curved blade 428 disposed on its cutting end. The curved blade 428 is provided with channels 430 therein that provide a passage through the blade 428. In addition, conical blades similar to pyramidal blade 328 may be used.
  • [0066]
    [0066]FIG. 10 is a partially sectional perspective view that illustrates a membrane penetrating closure 500 according to another embodiment of the invention. The membrane penetrating closure 500 is similar in some respects to the membrane piercing closure 10 described above. In general, the membrane penetrating closure 500 has the form of a cap sealed by a convex, user deformable portion 502 that includes an exterior pressure application surface 503. The membrane penetrating closure 500 may be made of any of the materials listed above with respect to the other embodiments. In this embodiment, the lower portion of the membrane penetrating closure 500 has threads 504 along its inner circumferential surface which engage corresponding threads 506 provided on the container 508. Only the upper neck portion of the container 508 is shown in FIG. 10; however, those of ordinary skill in the art will realize that the container 508, as in the embodiments described above, may have substantially any shape, may be made of substantially any material, and may contain fluids, semisolids or solids. A membrane 12 seals the opening 510 of the container 508.
  • [0067]
    A penetrating structure 526 extends and flares outwardly from the underside of the user deformable portion 502 towards a lower cutting edge 528 that defines a generally circular shape in the embodiment shown in FIG. 10. The lower cutting edge 528 is adapted to penetrate the membrane 12 and to completely sever a portion of the membrane 12 that corresponds to the shape of the lower cutting edge 528.
  • [0068]
    Typically, the membrane penetrating closure 500 would be engaged on the container 508 such that the lower cutting edge 528 is close enough to the membrane 12 that a downward deflection of the user deformable portion 502 (caused, for example, by the user pressing on the pressure application surface 503) will cause the lower cutting edge 528 to penetrate and sever the membrane 12. A raised rim 530 extends around the perimeter of the membrane penetrating closure 500 upwardly from the pressure application surface 503 so as to prevent accidental deflection of the user deformable portion 502. The raised rim 530, for example, may prevent accidental breakage of the membrane 12 during transportation and storage. As shown in FIG. 10 as well as in the top plan view of FIG. 11, the pressure application surface 503 may be embossed with an appropriate directive, such as “PRESS” or “PUSH.”
  • [0069]
    Unlike the membrane penetrating closure 10 described above, the membrane penetrating closure 500 is designed to retain the severed portion of the membrane 12. For that purpose, generally horizontally extending capture protrusions 532 extend inwardly along the inner circumference of the lower cutting edge 528. The capture protrusions 532 have a vertical position that places them between the bottom and the top of the lower cutting edge 528, such that a partially severed portion of the membrane becomes lodged on the capture protrusions 532 before the lower cutting edge 528 has completely severed the membrane 12. This method of operation will be explained below in more detail with reference to the sectional elevational views of FIGS. 13-20.
  • [0070]
    [0070]FIG. 12 is a plan view of the underside of the membrane penetrating closure 500 illustrating the lower cutting edge 528 and capture protrusions 532 in more detail. The lower cutting edge 528 of this embodiment comprises a plurality of individual serrations 534. The positions of the capture protrusions 532 are selected to correspond with the positions of the serrations 534 of the lower cutting edge 528. Any number of serrations 534 and capture protrusions 532 may be used. The positions of the serrations 534 and the capture protrusions 532 need not correspond. Alternatively, the cutting edge 528 could be a continuous sharp edge.
  • [0071]
    [0071]FIG. 13 is a sectional side elevational view of the membrane penetrating closure 500 in an initial position. The user deformable portion 502 has a convex shape and the lower cutting edge 528 is positioned just above the membrane 12. As those of ordinary skill will appreciate, the initial position of the penetrating structure 526 and, in particular, its vertical distance to the membrane 12, may be chosen by selecting the pitch and other characteristics of the threads 504, 506 that engage the membrane penetrating closure 500 and the container 508. In general, the initial position of the penetrating structure 526 relative to the membrane 12 should be chosen such that a downward deflection of the user deformable portion 502 is sufficient to penetrate the membrane 12. FIG. 17 is an enlarged sectional elevational view of a portion of FIG. 13, showing the initial position in more detail.
  • [0072]
    [0072]FIG. 14 is a sectional side elevational view of the membrane penetrating closure 500 in a first penetrating position. FIG. 18 is an enlarged sectional elevational view of a portion of FIG. 14, showing the first penetrating position in more detail. To reach the position illustrated in FIGS. 14-18, the user applies manual pressure to the pressure application surface 503. In the first penetrating position illustrated in FIGS. 14 and 18, the serrations 534 are partially through the membrane 12, to a position just below the horizontally extending capture protrusions 532.
  • [0073]
    As the user continues to apply manual pressure to the pressure application surface 502, the membrane penetrating closure 500 moves through the first penetrating position illustrated in FIGS. 14 and 18 and into a second, fully penetrating position illustrated in the sectional side elevational view of FIG. 15 and the enlarged sectional elevational view of FIG. 19. In the position illustrated in FIGS. 15 and 19, the serrations 534 have advanced through the membrane 12, carrying the capture protrusions 532 to a supporting position beneath the membrane 12, causing the severed portion 536 of the membrane 12 to become lodged on the capture protrusions 532.
  • [0074]
    Preferably, the material of which the user deformable portion 502 is made behaves elastically, such that when the user releases the pressure on the pressure application surface 502, the user deformable portion 502 deflects upwardly towards the initial position illustrated in FIGS. 13 and 17, carrying the penetrating structure 526 with it. This final position is illustrated in the sectional elevational view of FIG. 16 and in the enlarged sectional elevational view of FIG. 20. As shown, the severed portion 536 of the membrane 12 remains within the penetrating structure 526, lodged on the capture protrusions 532.
  • [0075]
    Unlike the previous embodiments, the membrane penetrating closure 500 does not necessarily contain a flow pathway. Therefore, once the membrane 12 has been severed, the user can access the contents of the container 508 by unscrewing the membrane penetrating closure 500 from the container 508. The user may leave the severed portion 536 of the membrane 12 within the penetrating structure, or may choose to remove it.
  • [0076]
    [0076]FIG. 21 is a sectional side elevational view of a membrane penetrating closure 600 according to the present invention. Most features of the membrane penetrating closure 600 are identical to the features of the membrane penetrating closure 500 that was described above; therefore, the description above will suffice for those features.
  • [0077]
    The membrane penetrating closure 600, like the membrane penetrating closure 500 that was described above, is designed to retain a severed portion of the membrane within its penetrating structure 626. However, instead of capture protrusions 532, the membrane penetrating closure 600 has a membrane penetrating spear 632 extending downwardly from the underside of its user deformable portion 602. The lower cutting edge 628 of the penetrating structure 626 includes serrations 634 without capture protrusions 532.
  • [0078]
    The membrane penetrating spear 632 has an enlarged end 635 that defines a ledge 637. The enlarged end 635 of the membrane penetrating spear 632 extends below the lower cutting edge 628 of the penetrating structure 626, such that the enlarged end 635 of the membrane penetrating spear 632 contacts and penetrates the membrane 12 before the lower cutting edge 628. As the user continues to apply pressure to the pressure application surface 603, the enlarged end 635 membrane penetrating spear 632 advances through the membrane 12 until the ledge 637 of the enlarged end 635 of the membrane penetrating spear 632 is beneath the membrane 12. Concurrently, the serrations 636 of the lower cutting edge 628 sever a generally circular portion of the membrane 638. When the user releases the pressure on the pressure application surface 603, user deformable portion 602 deflects toward its initial position, causing the membrane penetrating spear 632 to carry the severed portion 636 with it, as shown in the sectional elevational view of FIG. 22.
  • [0079]
    In alternative embodiments, the membrane penetrating spear 632 may not include an enlarged end 635 that defines a ledge 637. Instead, frictional forces between the membrane penetrating spear 632 and the severed portion 638 of the membrane 12 may be sufficient to allow the membrane penetrating spear 632 to retain the severed portion 636 without a ledge 637.
  • [0080]
    In the foregoing description, the membrane penetrating closures 500, 600 have been described as having user deformable portions 502, 602 that are convex. However, as one of ordinary skill in the art will readily appreciate, the user deformable portion 502, 602 need not be convex, or even of continuous curvature. In embodiments of the invention, the user deformable portion 502, 602 may be of any shape that can be deformed downwardly a sufficient distance to cause the penetrating structure 526, 626 to advance through the membrane 12.
  • [0081]
    Although the invention has been described with respect to several exemplary embodiments, those of ordinary skill will realize that variations and modifications are possible within the scope of the invention. The embodiments described herein are intended to be exemplary only and are not to be construed as limiting.

Claims (17)

    What is claimed is:
  1. 1. A membrane penetrating closure for a container having an opening sealed by a membrane, comprising:
    a cap structure having a first end adapted to be engaged on the container, a second end of said cap structure being sealed by a user deformable portion that includes a pressure application surface;
    a penetrating structure connected to an interior surface of the user deformable portion such that it extends towards the membrane when the container and membrane penetrating closure are engaged, the penetrating structure having a cutting edge adapted to sever at least a portion of the membrane; and
    retaining structure positioned within the penetrating structure, the retaining structure being adapted to retain the severed portion of the membrane within the penetrating structure.
  2. 2. The membrane penetrating closure of claim 1, wherein the cutting edge includes a plurality of serrations.
  3. 3. The membrane penetrating closure of claim 2, wherein the retaining structure comprises a plurality of capture projections provided on the cutting edge and extending inwardly therefrom.
  4. 4. The membrane penetrating closure of claim 3, wherein the capture projections have a vertical position along the cutting edge such that when the user deformable portion is deformed towards the membrane, the capture projections will be forced under the membrane before the membrane is completely severed.
  5. 5. The membrane penetrating closure of claim 4, wherein the positions of ones of the plurality of capture projections correspond to the positions of ones of the plurality of serrations.
  6. 6. The membrane penetrating closure of claim 1, wherein the retaining structure comprises a spear projection extending from the user deformable portion and terminating at a position below the cutting edge of the penetrating structure.
  7. 7. The membrane penetrating closure of claim 6, wherein the spear projection includes an enlarged end portion that defines a membrane-supporting ledge.
  8. 8. The membrane penetrating closure of claim 7, wherein the spear projection extends downwardly such that when the user deformable portion is deformed towards the membrane, the spear projection will be advanced through the membrane before the membrane is completely severed.
  9. 9. The membrane penetrating closure of claim 1, further comprising a raised rim extending upwardly of the user deformable portion.
  10. 10. The membrane penetrating closure of claim 1, wherein the first end of the cap structure includes threads for engaging corresponding threads provided on the container.
  11. 11. The membrane penetrating closure of claim 1, wherein the closure is made of a plastic material.
  12. 12. The membrane penetrating closure of claim 11, wherein the plastic material is selected from the group consisting of polyethylene terephthalate, high density polyethylene, low density polyethylene, and polypropylene.
  13. 13. The membrane penetrating closure of claim 1, wherein the cutting edge is substantially annular.
  14. 14. The membrane penetrating closure of claim 1, wherein the user deformable portion is convexly shaped with respect to the container.
  15. 15. A container comprising a vessel having an opening, a membrane sealing the opening, and a membrane penetrating closure according to claim 1.
  16. 16. A membrane penetrating closure for a container having an opening sealed by a membrane, comprising:
    a cap structure having a first end adapted to be engaged on the container, a second end of said cap structure being sealed by a user deformable portion that includes a pressure application surface;
    a penetrating structure connected to an interior surface of the user deformable portion such that it extends towards the membrane when the container and membrane penetrating closure are engaged, the penetrating structure having a cutting edge adapted to sever at least a portion of the membrane; and
    a plurality of capture projections arranged on an inner portion of the cutting edge and extending inwardly therefrom, the capture projections having a vertical position along the cutting edge such that when the user deformable portion is deformed towards the membrane, the capture projections will be forced under the membrane before the membrane is completely severed.
  17. 17. A membrane penetrating closure for a container having an opening sealed by a membrane, comprising:
    a cap structure having a first end adapted to be threadedly engaged on the container, a second end of said cap structure being sealed by a user deformable portion that includes a pressure application surface;
    a penetrating structure connected to an interior surface of the user deformable portion such that it extends towards the membrane when the container and membrane penetrating closure are engaged, the penetrating structure having a cutting edge adapted to sever at least a portion of the membrane; and
    a spear projection attached to an underside of the user deformable portion and extending downwardly therefrom, the spear projection terminating at a vertical position below the cutting edge of the penetrating structure.
US10611249 2002-07-09 2003-07-02 Membrane penetrating closure with deformable top surface Abandoned US20040026422A1 (en)

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US10190614 US20040007587A1 (en) 2002-07-09 2002-07-09 Membrane piercing closure
US10611249 US20040026422A1 (en) 2002-07-09 2003-07-02 Membrane penetrating closure with deformable top surface

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EP1719710A1 (en) * 2005-05-04 2006-11-08 GEFIT S.p.A. Opening and closing device for containers of sheet material
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US20090272745A1 (en) * 2008-05-02 2009-11-05 Ryan Dohse Disposable Substance Dispensing Apparatus
US20090301988A1 (en) * 2004-12-09 2009-12-10 Hee Kwon Rho Vessel cap and system for manufacturing the same
US20100000996A1 (en) * 2005-11-18 2010-01-07 Hee Kwon Rho Closure of vessel and process for manufacturing same
US20110155687A1 (en) * 2004-07-01 2011-06-30 Rainer Ammann Method For Detaching or Separating A Sealing Film or Foil Sealingly Attached to The Rim of The Neck of A Bottle, or The Like, And A Screw Cap For Implementation of Said Method
US20110220651A1 (en) * 2007-08-01 2011-09-15 Hee Kwon Rho Closure of vessel
US20110240647A1 (en) * 2010-04-01 2011-10-06 Michael J Broyles Container with foil seal
US20120193362A1 (en) * 2011-02-01 2012-08-02 Granite State Product Development LLC Dispensing cap for a container
US20120241451A1 (en) * 2011-03-24 2012-09-27 Fred Pether Tamper Device
US20130140198A1 (en) * 2010-02-10 2013-06-06 Liquid Health Lams, Inc. Inverted Dome to Supply Dose
US20130221032A1 (en) * 2012-02-24 2013-08-29 The Coca-Cola Company Mechanical Dispensing System
US20130221006A1 (en) * 2011-03-17 2013-08-29 Aleksandr Charnetskiy Bottle stopper
US20130291441A1 (en) * 2010-11-10 2013-11-07 Hee Kwon Rho Sealing member for vessel
US20140123505A1 (en) * 2012-11-05 2014-05-08 Puthalath Koroth Raghuprasad Snap-can opener
US8746476B1 (en) 2009-02-13 2014-06-10 Berlin Packaging, Llc Closure having a seal piercing unit
US20140166157A1 (en) * 2012-12-13 2014-06-19 Jose Rodrigo Oliva SALINAS One Piece Dispensing Lid
US20140216958A1 (en) * 2012-08-12 2014-08-07 Bevaswiss Ag Oxygen-impereable, fillable closure with a push button for triggering
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WO2005075517A2 (en) * 2004-01-30 2005-08-18 Crown Packaging Technology, Inc. Easy-open closure
WO2005075517A3 (en) * 2004-01-30 2005-10-27 Crown Packaging Technology Inc Easy-open closure
US9517869B2 (en) * 2004-07-01 2016-12-13 Rainer Ammann Method for detaching or separating a sealing film or foil sealingly attached to the rim of the neck of a bottle, or the like, and a screw cap for implementation of said method
US20110155687A1 (en) * 2004-07-01 2011-06-30 Rainer Ammann Method For Detaching or Separating A Sealing Film or Foil Sealingly Attached to The Rim of The Neck of A Bottle, or The Like, And A Screw Cap For Implementation of Said Method
US8820554B2 (en) * 2004-12-09 2014-09-02 Hee Kwon Rho Vessel cap having a cutter and hook for removing and retaining a seal
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EP1719710A1 (en) * 2005-05-04 2006-11-08 GEFIT S.p.A. Opening and closing device for containers of sheet material
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US20110220651A1 (en) * 2007-08-01 2011-09-15 Hee Kwon Rho Closure of vessel
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US8746476B1 (en) 2009-02-13 2014-06-10 Berlin Packaging, Llc Closure having a seal piercing unit
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