US20040108243A1 - Packaging material and method and device for producing the same - Google Patents

Packaging material and method and device for producing the same Download PDF

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Publication number
US20040108243A1
US20040108243A1 US10339734 US33973403A US2004108243A1 US 20040108243 A1 US20040108243 A1 US 20040108243A1 US 10339734 US10339734 US 10339734 US 33973403 A US33973403 A US 33973403A US 2004108243 A1 US2004108243 A1 US 2004108243A1
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Prior art keywords
packaging element
paper
packaging
recited
cup
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Abandoned
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US10339734
Inventor
Philippe Jeannin
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HECTRON Co
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HECTRON Co
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    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B31MAKING ARTICLES OF PAPER, CARDBOARD OR MATERIAL WORKED IN A MANNER ANALOGOUS TO PAPER; WORKING PAPER, CARDBOARD OR MATERIAL WORKED IN A MANNER ANALOGOUS TO PAPER
    • B31DMAKING ARTICLES OF PAPER, CARDBOARD OR MATERIAL WORKED IN A MANNER ANALOGOUS TO PAPER, NOT PROVIDED FOR IN SUBCLASSES B31B OR B31C
    • B31D5/00Multiple-step processes for making three-dimensional articles ; Making three-dimensional articles
    • B31D5/0039Multiple-step processes for making three-dimensional articles ; Making three-dimensional articles for making dunnage or cushion pads
    • B31D5/0043Multiple-step processes for making three-dimensional articles ; Making three-dimensional articles for making dunnage or cushion pads including crumpling flat material
    • 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
    • B65D81/05Containers, 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 maintaining contents at spaced relation from package walls, or from other contents
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B31MAKING ARTICLES OF PAPER, CARDBOARD OR MATERIAL WORKED IN A MANNER ANALOGOUS TO PAPER; WORKING PAPER, CARDBOARD OR MATERIAL WORKED IN A MANNER ANALOGOUS TO PAPER
    • B31DMAKING ARTICLES OF PAPER, CARDBOARD OR MATERIAL WORKED IN A MANNER ANALOGOUS TO PAPER, NOT PROVIDED FOR IN SUBCLASSES B31B OR B31C
    • B31D2205/00Multiple-step processes for making three-dimensional articles
    • B31D2205/0005Multiple-step processes for making three-dimensional articles for making dunnage or cushion pads
    • B31D2205/0011Multiple-step processes for making three-dimensional articles for making dunnage or cushion pads including particular additional operations
    • B31D2205/0058Cutting; Individualising the final products
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B31MAKING ARTICLES OF PAPER, CARDBOARD OR MATERIAL WORKED IN A MANNER ANALOGOUS TO PAPER; WORKING PAPER, CARDBOARD OR MATERIAL WORKED IN A MANNER ANALOGOUS TO PAPER
    • B31DMAKING ARTICLES OF PAPER, CARDBOARD OR MATERIAL WORKED IN A MANNER ANALOGOUS TO PAPER, NOT PROVIDED FOR IN SUBCLASSES B31B OR B31C
    • B31D2205/00Multiple-step processes for making three-dimensional articles
    • B31D2205/0005Multiple-step processes for making three-dimensional articles for making dunnage or cushion pads
    • B31D2205/0011Multiple-step processes for making three-dimensional articles for making dunnage or cushion pads including particular additional operations
    • B31D2205/007Delivering
    • YGENERAL TAGGING OF NEW TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENTS; GENERAL TAGGING OF CROSS-SECTIONAL TECHNOLOGIES SPANNING OVER SEVERAL SECTIONS OF THE IPC; TECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER USPC CROSS-REFERENCE ART COLLECTIONS [XRACs] AND DIGESTS
    • Y10TECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER USPC
    • Y10TTECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER US CLASSIFICATION
    • Y10T428/00Stock material or miscellaneous articles
    • Y10T428/24Structurally defined web or sheet [e.g., overall dimension, etc.]
    • Y10T428/24355Continuous and nonuniform or irregular surface on layer or component [e.g., roofing, etc.]
    • Y10T428/24446Wrinkled, creased, crinkled or creped
    • Y10T428/24455Paper

Abstract

A packaging material for cushioning an object packed in a container is disclosed herein. The packaging elements making up the packaging material may be made from sheets of paper, and be cup-shaped with a floor and thickened walls having irregular folds created by crushing the walls. Also disclosed herein is a method for manufacturing the packaging material that includes the steps of unrolling a paper roll, cutting the paper into paper sheets, pressing the cut paper sheets to form a cup, and crushing the walls of the cup towards the floor of the cup. A machine for implementing this method is also disclosed, and includes a mandrel for pressing the cut paper sheets, a sleeve for crushing the walls of the cup, and a stop block for holding the paper sheets.

Description

    CLAIM FOR PRIORITY
  • The present application claims priority of U.S. Provisional Patent Application Serial No. 60/430,874, filed Dec. 4, 2002, the disclosure of which being incorporated by reference herein in its entirety.[0001]
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • A. Field of the Invention [0002]
  • The present invention relates generally to packaging material, and, more particularly, to a packaging material that protects objects by cushioning and absorbing the shock or pressure experienced by the objects, and a method and device for producing the same. [0003]
  • B. Description of the Related Art [0004]
  • Various packaging materials and systems have been proposed in the past. The primary conventional packaging material consists of polymer foams or expanded synthetic materials. These materials have been used since they fill the irregular spaces formed between the packed object and the packaging container. Unfortunately, such materials need to be manufactured by specialist companies, and require large shipping and storage space. [0005]
  • Other shock absorbing systems have been proposed, but are not adapted for filling the irregular spaces between the packed object and the packaging container. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 3,244,347 and French Patent No. 2 624 103 disclose systems for inner packing and cushioning, but which are limited to the comers of the packaging container. Other references disclosing systems incapable of filing irregular spaces between the packed object and the packaging container include: European Patent Application No. 0 602 580, which implements a padding having a lattice structure; European Patent Application No. 0 888 879, which uses a corrugated or pleated padding; and International Publication No. WO 93/16940, which uses packing elements comprising preformed conical pockets, the functional angle of the cone having specific limits. [0006]
  • U.S. Pat. No. 5,179,952 proposes packaging material made from strips folded like accordions. However, such materials make for poor inner packaging and are easily crushable since the strips more or less overlap one another. [0007]
  • German Patent Application No. 40 18 173 proposes protective inner packing (or padding) and filling material comprised of hollow bodies in the form of cylinders or prisms made of pre-punched sections whose ends are glued together or inserted into each other. These materials offer little resistance to crushing and flatten too readily. [0008]
  • Packaging materials in the shape of curvettes or cups formed from paper sheeting have also been proposed. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 5,595,811 discloses elements in the form of cup-like configurations with more or less accentuated folding of the paper. The various folds cover the entire floor of the cup-like configuration. [0009]
  • International Publication No. WO 94/07765 discloses packaging material in the form of a die-shaped thimble having a flat bottom with a diameter of between 1.27 and 2.54 centimeters (cm), and a tubular wall. These die-shaped thimble cushioning elements are obtained by die-forming a sheet of paper by passing a mandrel through a form. The paper sheet disengages from the mandrel by the natural expansion of the folds of the tubular wall after the mandrel has passed through the form. [0010]
  • European Patent Application No. 0 667 304 discloses a packaging material having hollow bodies derived from strips similar to those used in German Patent Application No. 40 18 173. However, these hollow bodies may also have longitudinal folds or a rigid floor that gives them a pot-like shape. The longitudinal folds extend parallel to each other from the pot floor. [0011]
  • The packing materials disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 5,595,811, International Publication No. WO 94/07765, and European Patent Application No. 0 667 304 exhibit poor resistance to crushing, notably under the effects of forces running transversely to the lateral walls, and they flatten easily. The rigid floor disclosed in European Patent Application No. 0 667 304 improves resistance to crushing, but is still inadequate. The small thimble configuration disclosed in International Publication No. WO 94/07765 also improves resistance to crushing, but manufacturing a large number of these thimbles, in view of their smallness, complicates the manufacturing process. [0012]
  • Thus, there is a need in the art for a packaging material that protects objects by cushioning and absorbing the shock or pressure experienced by the objects, resists crushing, and is easily manufactured. [0013]
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • The present invention solves the problems of the related art by providing a packaging or packing material, and a method and machine for producing the same. The packaging material is economical, inexpensive, simple to manufacture, and requires low volume for shipping and storage. The packaging material also resists crushing, provides good shock absorbing qualities, and may be prepared with a starting material having a relatively high density, low space requirements, high flame resistance, and safe to store. [0014]
  • The packaging material may be prepared from rolls of paper and, more particularly, high-resistance rolls of paper or still rolls of common paper. The method of preparing the packaging material may be implemented by the user of the packaging material or near the location where the packaging material is to be used. [0015]
  • Further scope of applicability of the present invention will become apparent from the detailed description given hereinafter. However, it should be understood that the detailed description and specific examples, while indicating preferred embodiments of the invention, are given by way of illustration only, since various changes and modifications within the spirit and scope of the invention will become apparent to those skilled in the art from this detailed description. It is to be understood that both the foregoing general description and the following detailed description are exemplary and explanatory only and are not restrictive of the invention, as claimed.[0016]
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • The present invention will become more fully understood from the detailed description given hereinbelow and the accompanying drawings which are given by way of illustration only, and thus are not limitative of the present invention, and wherein: [0017]
  • FIG. 1 is a schematic side elevational view of a machine for manufacturing a packaging material in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention; [0018]
  • FIG. 2 is a schematic side elevational view of a mandrel, a sleeve, and a hollow cylinder of the machine shown in FIG. 1, wherein the lateral walls of the paper making up a packaging element of the packaging material of the present invention have not been crushed; [0019]
  • FIG. 3 is a schematic side elevational view of the mandrel, sleeve, and hollow cylinder of the machine shown in FIG. 1, wherein the lateral walls of the paper making up the packaging element of the packaging material of the present invention are crushed by the sleeve to form the finished packaging material; [0020]
  • FIG. 4 is a schematic side elevational view of the mandrel, sleeve, and hollow cylinder of the machine shown in FIG. 1, wherein the finished packaging element is freed from the hollow cylinder; [0021]
  • FIG. 5 is an exploded, perspective view of an arrangement which could either be the mandrel and sleeve of the machine shown in FIG. 1, or the sleeve and hollow cylinder of the machine shown in FIG. 1, such an arrangement preventing the jamming of the paper in the machine; [0022]
  • FIG. 6 is a perspective view of a packaging element of the packaging material in accordance with one aspect of the present invention; [0023]
  • FIG. 7 is a perspective view of a packaging element of the packaging material in accordance with another aspect of the present invention, wherein the packaging element has a lower height and more open base or floor than the packaging element shown in FIG. 6; [0024]
  • FIG. 8 is a perspective view of a packaging element of the packaging material in accordance with still another aspect of the present invention, wherein the packaging element has a larger base or floor than the packaging element shown in FIG. 6; and [0025]
  • FIG. 9 is a perspective view of a container holding an object that is packed by the packaging material of the present invention.[0026]
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS
  • The following detailed description of the invention refers to the accompanying drawings. The same reference numbers in different drawings identify the same or similar elements. Also, the following detailed description does not limit the invention. Instead, the scope of the invention is defined by the appended claims and equivalents thereof. [0027]
  • A. The Packaging Material [0028]
  • In a first embodiment, as best shown in FIGS. [0029] 6-8, the present invention relates to an inner packaging, packing, padding, and/or cushioning material that is made up of a plurality of packaging elements. The packaging material may consist of more than one, more than ten, preferably more than twenty, and possibly several tens or hundreds of the packaging elements. Each packaging element is preferably made from paper, and has an overall cup-like (or curvette) shape with a central empty space, a floor 17, and a surrounding, folded lateral wall 18. The lateral wall 18 of the packaging element is preferably thick, having an average thickness more than ten times greater than the thickness of the paper. As used herein, the terms “cup-like” or “curvette” indicate that there is a floor to the packaging element, as in any type of container. However, the folded wall 18 does not resemble those of a conventional cup, as shown in FIGS. 6-8.
  • According to one aspect of the invention, the floor [0030] 17 of the cup is not folded but its wall 18 is folded in an irregular, zigzag configuration. This irregular, zigzag configuration may be obtained by crushing a sheet of paper along its length, i.e., transverse to the thickness of the paper sheet, in the direction of the floor 17 of the cup.
  • According to another aspect of the invention, the folds of the wall [0031] 18 of the cup include a plurality of folds, generally more than ten folds, and preferably more than twenty-five folds. The majority of the folds may extend up to the floor 17 of the cup and, advantageously, they overlap each other or form angles of intersection with each other.
  • According to one feature of the invention, a significant portion of the folds, e.g., greater than 20% of them, and more preferably more than 40% of them, but less than 95% of them, have a general orientation approximately parallel to the plane representing the floor [0032] 17 of the cup. An orientation parallel to the floor 17 of the cup enables, as described more fully below with reference to the manufacturing method of the cup, walls 18 to be created by crushing paper sheets in a direction substantially perpendicular to the floor 17 of the cup. Such folds are approximately parallel and can form angles running up to forty-five degrees, from one side to the other, with the floor 17 of the cup.
  • The cup-shaped packaging element of the present invention preferably has a uniform surface, preferably the floor [0033] 17, that is flat or rounded to enable an easily-readable inscription for advertising. The overall diameter (average) may be between one and fifteen centimeters (cm), and preferably between 2.6 and ten cm.
  • According to a preferred feature of the invention, the ratio of the volume of the packaging element to the surface area of the paper necessary to make the packaging element is within a range of 0.01 to five cm[0034] 3/cm2, preferably from 0.05 to one cm3/cm2, and more preferably from 0.1 to one cm3/cm2. The ratio of the volume of the packing element relative to the initial volume of paper necessary to make the packaging element is generally between ten and three-hundred, preferably between forty and two-hundred, and more preferably between fifty and one-hundred.
  • According to another advantageous feature of the invention, the packaging element may have a ratio of an average exterior diameter of the cylinder to the height of the wall [0035] 18 of between 0.2 and eight, preferably between 0.9 and six, and more preferably between 0.9 and three. The ratio of the exterior diameter of the cylinder to the average thickness of the lateral wall 18 may be between 2.1 and eight, and preferably between 2.2 and six.
  • Each packaging element making up the packaging material of the present invention has excellent resistance to crushing, exterior shock, and various deforming forces. Avoiding deformations is important because they can cause a loss of the padding character of the packaging material. The packaging material also has a superior cushioning effect and occupation rate of the empty spaces in the packing container. A further advantage of the packaging elements of the present invention is that they do not have a tendency to become inserted in each other. [0036]
  • The use of rigid paper, or very rigid paper, is preferable with the present invention, because it provides packaging elements more resistant to crushing. The paper known by the name Kraft paper (a strong, high-performance wrapping paper) is particularly advantageous for obtaining these results. Recyclable and/or recycled papers may also be used, however, non-recycled papers are preferred, especially those not having a natural tendency to unfold. The paper may be multilayered, but it is generally preferred, for efficiency and economy, to use single-layered paper. [0037]
  • FIGS. [0038] 6-8 show various types of packaging elements capable of being produced in accordance with the teachings of the present invention. As shown in these FIGS., packaging element 11 includes a floor 17, and a central cavity formed between thick walls 18. The overall shape of the packaging element 11 is that of a thick-walled cup or curvette. These FIGS. also highlight the irregular thicknesses, and folds of thick walls 18. Despite the irregular thicknesses of walls 18, an approximate average thickness may be determined for walls 18, as well as an internal and external diameter of the cylinder formed by walls 18, as discussed above. The packaging element 11 shown in FIG. 7 has a lower height and more open base or floor than the packaging element 11 shown in FIG. 6. Whereas the packaging element 11 shown in FIG. 7 has a larger base or floor than the packaging element shown in FIG. 6. FIGS. 6-8 are exemplary only, and other variations and sizes of packaging element 11 may be realized in accordance with the present invention.
  • FIG. 9 is a perspective view of a container ([0039] 19) holding an object (20) that is packed by a multitude of packaging elements 11 making up the packaging material of the present invention. Preferably, the multitude of packaging elements 11 completely covers the object to be packed, providing a cushion and shock absorber.
  • B. Method For Manufacturing The Packaging Material [0040]
  • The present invention also relates to a method for manufacturing the packaging material described above. The method comprises a first step of cutting a band of paper into a plurality of small paper sheets, and a second step of pressing the paper sheets through an aperture of a form or template, resulting in the formation of preliminary paper cups having edges with an overall tubular shape. The third step of the method includes crushing the walls of the paper cups in one direction substantially perpendicular to the axis of the tube of the preliminary paper cups, and in a direction towards the floor of the cup. The various steps of the method of the invention may be executed successively, repetitively, and continuously. [0041]
  • Preferably, the aperture (or hollow channel) has a diameter approximately equal to the diameter of the finished packaging element. Pressing is preferably done on a piece of paper cut from an unrolled roll of paper. The pressing step may be accomplished with a cylindrical mandrel having an axis of translation identical to that of the aperture of the form or template. The crushing step may be performed by a cylindrical sleeve sliding along the mandrel. [0042]
  • The pressing and the crushing steps are preferably performed without jamming the paper between the cylindrical sleeve and the walls of the aperture, and between the cylindrical mandrel and the cylindrical sleeve. In order to prevent the paper from jamming, beads, grooves, or serrations are preferably provided longitudinally on the cylindrical sleeve, the walls of the aperture, and the cylindrical mandrel. FIG. 5 shows such an arrangement, described more filly below, which could either be the mandrel and the sleeve, or the sleeve and the aperture. As shown, the beads, grooves, or serrations have corresponding shapes to enable sliding of the one in the other. [0043]
  • According to a preferred embodiment of the present invention, the method comprises a first step of supplying paper in the form of a flat sheet (mono-layered or multi-layered, preferably mono-layered), where the paper supply directs the paper to a position for covering the aperture of the hollow channel. The first step preferably uses paper in the form of a large flat sheet supplied by unrolling a roll of paper. This is particularly advantageous since storing of such paper rolls requires little space and is much less flammable than packing material made of expanded polystyrene. [0044]
  • The method also includes a second step of cutting the paper along parallel strips, preferably longitudinally, and a third step of cutting the parallel strips transversely to form small restricted area sheets (preferably rectangles or squares) of paper. The second and third steps may be performed simultaneously, continuously, or in inverted order (i.e., the third step precedes the second step). The method further includes a fourth step of pressing the small paper sheets into the interior of a hollow channel of a form or mold using a ramming or pressing mechanism (preferably, a mandrel pushing the small sheets at their centers), until the small sheets have completely penetrated the hollow channel and the centers of the small sheets abut against a rigid surface or stop block provided at the bottom of the hollow channel. [0045]
  • A fifth step of the method involves pushing the lateral parts of the small sheets in the direction of the stop block to produce a multiple, irregularly folded shape for the lateral parts. The method also includes a sixth step of removing the stop block to liberate the finished packaging element from the hollow channel, and a seventh step of causing the packaging element to exit from the hollow channel. The final step of the method involves collecting the finished packaging elements. [0046]
  • The small sheets of paper used to make the packaging material of the present invention have a limited surface. As used herein, the term “limited surface” is understood to mean that the surface of the small sheets is smaller than that of the initial large sheet since the large sheet has been cut once, and possibly twice. The limited-surface, small sheets may have a rectangular, square, or circular shape, and may have side dimensions (or the diameter in the case of a circle) between three and forty cm, preferably between four and twenty-five cm, and more preferably between five and twenty cm. [0047]
  • C. Machine For Manufacturing The Packaging Material [0048]
  • The present invention also relates to a machine for performing the method described above and for making the packaging elements of the packaging material described above. The machine for making the packaging elements of the present invention is generally shown in FIGS. [0049] 1-5. As shown, the machine includes a mold or form 3 connected to a flat surface 2, and having an aperture or hollow channel 15 provided therethrough. The machine further includes a mechanism for pressing 5 small sheets of paper 1 through hollow channel 15, and a mechanism for crushing 6 lateral parts 16 (lateral walls of a preliminary cup) of the small sheets of paper 1. A stop block 4 retains the paper sheets 1 in hollow channel 15, and is arranged so that the paper sheets 1 are between the stop block 4 and the crushing mechanism 6.
  • The machine according to the present invention may also include some or all of the following preferential characteristics. The pressing mechanism [0050] 5 may be a mandrel having a generally cylindrical shape, such as polygonal, circular, or curvilinear, and preferably having an anti-jamming mechanism in the form of longitudinal serrations, grooves, or beads provided parallel to the axis of the cylinder. The pressing mechanism 5 may also be a cylinder that may slide into the interior of the crushing mechanism 6, as shown in FIGS. 1-4. For quality and safety purposes, the cylinder of the pressing mechanism 5 may have a rounded, spherical, or ovoid bottom.
  • The crushing mechanism [0051] 6 may be a sleeve capable of sliding along the mandrel 5. The mandrel 5 and sleeve 6 may act successively to create the preliminary cup and then, thereafter, to crush the walls 16 of the cup for creating the packaging element 11 of the present invention, as shown in FIGS. 2 and 3. Stop block 4 is moveable and may be withdrawn so that the finished packaging element 11 may be removed from hollow channel 15. The crushing mechanism 6 may also be in the form of a cylinder or disk connected to one or several stems (or bars). The stems or bars are used to move the disk and crush the paper sheets. The crushing mechanism 6 may also have the shape of a piston.
  • Preferably, the hollow channel [0052] 15 is cylindrical having a round, polygonal, regular, or irregular shaped base. A mechanism may be provided that retracts stop block 4 to permit the finished packaging element 11 to exit hollow channel 15. A mechanism for collecting the finished packaging material may also be provided.
  • In order to prevent the paper from jamming, beads, grooves, or serrations are preferably provided longitudinally on the cylindrical sleeve [0053] 6, the walls of the hollow channel 15, and the cylindrical mandrel 5. FIG. 5 shows such an arrangement, where elements 7 and 8 could either be mandrel 5 and sleeve 6, or sleeve 6 and hollow channel 15. As shown, the beads, grooves, or serrations have corresponding shapes to enable sliding of the one in the other. The size and the shape of the grooves, beading, or serrations may vary. However, in one aspect of the present invention, the size of the beads, grooves, or serrations are between ½ millimeter (mm) and one cm, but sizes exceeding these dimensions may also be provided. The beads, grooves, or serrations may be disposed on more than half of the surfaces of the cylinders (hollow channels 15, pushing mechanism 5, and crushing mechanism 6), preferably over more than two-thirds of the surfaces, and more preferably over the entire surfaces.
  • The mechanism supplying the small sheets of paper [0054] 1 may include a mechanism for supplying large paper sheets from a roll of paper 12, and, if appropriate, an unrolling mechanism 14 for unrolling the continuous roll of paper 12 so to create a large sheet. If required, a mechanism for longitudinal cutting of the large sheet into parallel strips, and a mechanism 13 for transverse cutting of the parallel strips into small sheets of paper may be provided.
  • In one aspect of the invention, springs (or an equivalent structure) may join pressing mechanism [0055] 5 to crushing mechanism 6. The springs bias pressing mechanism 5 to extend outside of crushing mechanism 6, providing a spatial offset between the end of pressing mechanism 5 and the end of crushing mechanism 6, as shown in FIG. 1. By maintaining pressing mechanism 5 in an offset position, pressing mechanism 5 is able to press the centers of the small sheets of paper 1 prior to the crushing of the lateral walls 16 of the paper 1 by crushing mechanism 6. When pressing mechanism 5 abuts against stop block 4, crushing mechanism 6 impinges upon the springs (or equivalent structure) and pushes the lateral walls 16 of the paper sheets to crush the same, as shown in FIG. 3. The springs may be replaced with any equivalent structure, such as, for example, motors that separately and successively actuate pressing mechanism 5 and crushing mechanism 6, etc.
  • The specific examples of the machine of the present invention illustrated in FIGS. [0056] 1-4 in no way limit the scope of the present invention, but rather provide a better understanding of the machine and method of the present invention. FIG. 1 shows pressing mechanism 5 and crushing mechanism 6 prior to pressing the small sheets of paper 1. The hollow channel 15 is thus covered at one end by the small sheets of paper 1, and at the other end by stop block 4. The mechanism for preventing jamming of the paper is present, although it is not shown in FIG. 1. The paper is rolled off from a roll of paper 12 by a mechanism 14 for engaging and unrolling the paper, and sent towards the cutting mechanism 13. From cutting mechanism 13, the paper 1 is provided over hollow channel 15 for pressing and crushing.
  • FIG. 2 depicts the step of the method of the invention where the pressing mechanism [0057] 5 has pushed the paper sheet 1 completely inside hollow channel 15, without jamming between crushing mechanism 6 and pressing mechanism 5, and up to the point where paper sheet 1 contacts or abuts stop block 4. The portion of paper sheet 1 contacting stop block 4 becomes the floor of the cup of the packaging element of the present invention. At this stage of the method, crushing mechanism 6 has not crushed lateral parts 16 of paper sheet 1.
  • FIG. 3 shows the step of the method of the invention where crushing mechanism [0058] 6 has crushed lateral parts 16 of paper sheet 1. At this stage, the packaging element 11 of the present invention is complete, but has not been freed from the machine.
  • FIG. 4 shows the step of the method where the finished packaging element [0059] 11 is freed from the machine by the pressing mechanism 5, and on retraction of stop block 4.
  • Although FIGS. [0060] 1-4 show only one pushing mechanism 5, crushing mechanism 6, hollow channel 15, etc. arrangement, the machine of the present invention may have a plurality of these arrangements running simultaneously or at different times so that packaging elements 11 may be mass produced. The mass-produced packaging elements 11 may then be collected and stored for use as packaging material or directly placed in packaging containers for use as packaging material.
  • It will be apparent to those skilled in the art that various modifications and variations can be made in the packaging material, method, and machine of the present invention and in construction of the packaging material, method, and machine without departing from the scope or spirit of the invention. Examples of such modifications and variations were set forth above. [0061]
  • Other embodiments of the invention will be apparent to those skilled in the art from consideration of the specification and practice of the invention disclosed herein. It is intended that the specification and examples be considered as exemplary only, with a true scope and spirit of the invention being indicated by the following claims. [0062]

Claims (29)

    What is claimed is:
  1. 1. A packaging element formed from a paper and substantially cup-shaped, the packaging element comprising:
    a floor; and
    an encircling lateral wall forming a central cavity with said floor, wherein said wall is non-uniform and made from folded portions of the paper.
  2. 2. A packaging element as recited in claim 1, wherein the paper comprises Kraft paper.
  3. 3. A packaging element as recited in claim 1, wherein said wall has an average thickness greater than ten times the thickness of the paper.
  4. 4. A packaging element as recited in claim 1, wherein said floor is substantially flat and the majority of the folded portions of the paper making up said wall overlap each other, or form angles or intersections with each other.
  5. 5. A packaging element as recited in claim 1, wherein said wall comprises more than ten folded portions of the paper.
  6. 6. A packaging element as recited in claim 1, wherein said wall comprises more than twenty-five folded portions of the paper.
  7. 7. A packaging element as recited in claim 1, wherein the ratio of the volume of the packaging element to the surface area of the paper used to make the packaging element is in the range of 0.01 to five cm3/cm2.
  8. 8. A packaging element as recited in claim 1, wherein the ratio of the volume of the packaging element to the surface area of the paper used to make the packaging element is in the range of 0.05 to one cm3/cm2.
  9. 9. A packaging element as recited in claim 1, wherein the ratio of the volume of the packaging element to the surface area of the paper used to make the packaging element is in the range of 0.1 to one cm3/cm2.
  10. 10. A packaging element as recited in claim 1, wherein the ratio of the volume of the packaging element to the volume of the paper used to make the packaging element is in the range of ten to three-hundred.
  11. 11. A packaging element as recited in claim 1, wherein the ratio of the volume of the packaging element to the volume of the paper used to make the packaging element is in the range of forty to two-hundred.
  12. 12. A packaging element as recited in claim 1, wherein the ratio of the volume of the packaging element to the volume of the paper used to make the packaging element is in the range of fifty to one-hundred.
  13. 13. A packaging element as recited in claim 1, wherein the ratio of the average exterior diameter of the packaging element cylinder to the height of the packaging element is between 0.2 and eight.
  14. 14. A packaging element as recited in claim 1, wherein the ratio of the average exterior diameter of the packaging element cylinder to the height of the packaging element is between 0.9 and six.
  15. 15. A packaging element as recited in claim 1, wherein the ratio of the average exterior diameter of the packaging element cylinder to the height of the packaging element is between 0.9 and three.
  16. 16. A packaging element as recited in claim 1, wherein the ratio of the exterior diameter of the packaging element to the average thickness of said wall is between 2.1 and eight.
  17. 17. A packaging element as recited in claim 1, wherein the ratio of the exterior diameter of the packaging element to the average thickness of said wall is between 2.2 and six.
  18. 18. A method of manufacturing a packaging element, comprising:
    pressing a sheet of paper through an aperture of a template to form a tubular paper cup; and
    crushing the walls of the tubular paper cup in a direction substantially perpendicular to the axis of the tube of the tubular paper cup to form the packaging element.
  19. 19. A method of manufacturing a packaging element as recited in claim 18, wherein the sheet of paper is cut from an unrolled roll of paper.
  20. 20. A method of manufacturing a packaging element as recited in claim 18, wherein the pressing and crushing steps are executed successively, repetitively and continuously.
  21. 21. A machine for manufacturing a packaging element, comprising:
    a mold having a hollow channel provided therein;
    a pressing mechanism for pressing a paper sheet into the hollow channel of said mold to form a preliminary cup;
    a crushing mechanism for crushing of the lateral walls of the preliminary cup; and
    a stop block retaining the paper sheet so that the paper sheet is between said stop block and said crushing mechanism.
  22. 22. A machine for manufacturing a packaging element as recited in claim 21, wherein said pressing mechanism comprises a mandrel in the shape of a cylinder with a polygonal, circular, or curvilinear base; said crushing mechanism comprises a sleeve that is capable of sliding on the mandrel; and the mandrel and sleeve act successively to initially form the preliminary cup and then subsequently crush the walls of the cup to create thick, non-uniform walls of the packaging element.
  23. 23. A machine for manufacturing a packaging element as recited in claim 21, wherein said stop block is moveable to allow the packaging element to exit from the hollow channel.
  24. 24. A machine for manufacturing a packaging element as recited in claim 22, wherein the mandrel and sleeve further include mating beads, grooves, or serrations running parallel to their axes to prevent the paper sheet from jamming between the mandrel and the sleeve.
  25. 25. A machine for manufacturing a packaging element as recited in claim 22, wherein the sleeve and hollow channel further include mating beads, grooves, or serrations running parallel to their axes to prevent the paper sheet from jamming between the sleeve and the hollow channel.
  26. 26. A machine for manufacturing a packaging element as recited in claim 21, further comprising:
    a mechanism for unrolling a continuous paper roll to create a large sheet; and
    a mechanism for cutting the continuous paper roll into paper sheets.
  27. 27. A packaging material comprising a plurality of packaging elements, each packaging element being formed from a paper, being substantially cup-shaped, and comprising:
    a floor; and
    an encircling lateral wall forming a central cavity with said floor, wherein said wall is non-uniform and made from folded portions of the paper.
  28. 28. A system for protecting an object, comprising:
    a container for housing the object; and
    a packaging material comprising a plurality of packaging elements provided in said container and around the object to protect the object, wherein each packaging element is formed from a paper, is substantially cup-shaped, and comprises a floor, and an encircling lateral wall forming a central cavity with the floor, the wall being non-uniform and made from folded portions of the paper.
  29. 29. A container padded with a packaging material comprising a plurality of packaging elements, each packaging element being formed from a paper, being substantially cup-shaped, and comprising a floor, and an encircling lateral wall forming a central cavity with the floor, the wall being non-uniform and made from folded portions of the paper.
US10339734 2002-12-04 2003-01-09 Packaging material and method and device for producing the same Abandoned US20040108243A1 (en)

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US9211974B2 (en) * 2001-08-21 2015-12-15 Wanda M. Weder & William F. Straeter Container assemblies having collapsible and erectable containers containing a packaging material and methods of production and use thereof

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