US20050000966A1 - Containers with optional venting - Google Patents

Containers with optional venting Download PDF

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Publication number
US20050000966A1
US20050000966A1 US10613827 US61382703A US2005000966A1 US 20050000966 A1 US20050000966 A1 US 20050000966A1 US 10613827 US10613827 US 10613827 US 61382703 A US61382703 A US 61382703A US 2005000966 A1 US2005000966 A1 US 2005000966A1
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US
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Patent type
Prior art keywords
lid
container
base
ventable
ventable area
Prior art date
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
Application number
US10613827
Inventor
Kate Nordland
Scott Hanson
Raj Mangla
Terry Cratsley
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Pactiv LLC
Original Assignee
Pactiv LLC
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    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B29WORKING OF PLASTICS; WORKING OF SUBSTANCES IN A PLASTIC STATE, IN GENERAL
    • B29CSHAPING OR JOINING OF PLASTICS; SHAPING OF MATERIAL IN A PLASTIC STATE, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR; AFTER-TREATMENT OF THE SHAPED PRODUCTS, e.g. REPAIRING
    • B29C51/00Shaping by thermoforming, i.e. shaping sheets or sheet like preforms after heating, e.g. shaping sheets in matched moulds or by deep-drawing; Apparatus therefor
    • B29C51/26Component parts, details or accessories; Auxiliary operations
    • B29C51/30Moulds
    • B29C51/32Moulds having cutting means
    • 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
    • B65D43/00Lids or covers for rigid or semi-rigid containers
    • B65D43/14Non-removable lids or covers
    • B65D43/16Non-removable lids or covers hinged for upward or downward movement
    • B65D43/162Non-removable lids or covers hinged for upward or downward movement the container, the lid and the hinge being made of one piece
    • 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
    • B65D51/16Closures not otherwise provided for with means for venting air or gas
    • B65D51/1672Closures not otherwise provided for with means for venting air or gas whereby venting occurs by manual actuation of the closure or other element
    • B65D51/1677Closures not otherwise provided for with means for venting air or gas whereby venting occurs by manual actuation of the closure or other element by rupturing a portion of the closure
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B29WORKING OF PLASTICS; WORKING OF SUBSTANCES IN A PLASTIC STATE, IN GENERAL
    • B29CSHAPING OR JOINING OF PLASTICS; SHAPING OF MATERIAL IN A PLASTIC STATE, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR; AFTER-TREATMENT OF THE SHAPED PRODUCTS, e.g. REPAIRING
    • B29C2793/00Shaping techniques involving a cutting or machining operation
    • B29C2793/0009Cutting out
    • B29C2793/0018Cutting out for making a hole
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B29WORKING OF PLASTICS; WORKING OF SUBSTANCES IN A PLASTIC STATE, IN GENERAL
    • B29CSHAPING OR JOINING OF PLASTICS; SHAPING OF MATERIAL IN A PLASTIC STATE, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR; AFTER-TREATMENT OF THE SHAPED PRODUCTS, e.g. REPAIRING
    • B29C2793/00Shaping techniques involving a cutting or machining operation
    • B29C2793/0054Shaping techniques involving a cutting or machining operation partially cutting through the material
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B29WORKING OF PLASTICS; WORKING OF SUBSTANCES IN A PLASTIC STATE, IN GENERAL
    • B29KINDEXING SCHEME ASSOCIATED WITH SUBCLASSES B29B, B29C OR B29D, RELATING TO MOULDING MATERIALS
    • B29K2105/00Condition, form or state of moulded material or of the material to be shaped
    • B29K2105/04Condition, form or state of moulded material or of the material to be shaped cellular or porous
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B29WORKING OF PLASTICS; WORKING OF SUBSTANCES IN A PLASTIC STATE, IN GENERAL
    • B29LINDEXING SCHEME ASSOCIATED WITH SUBCLASS B29C, RELATING TO PARTICULAR ARTICLES
    • B29L2031/00Other particular articles
    • B29L2031/22Hinges, pivots
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B29WORKING OF PLASTICS; WORKING OF SUBSTANCES IN A PLASTIC STATE, IN GENERAL
    • B29LINDEXING SCHEME ASSOCIATED WITH SUBCLASS B29C, RELATING TO PARTICULAR ARTICLES
    • B29L2031/00Other particular articles
    • B29L2031/56Stoppers or lids for bottles, jars, or the like, e.g. closures
    • B29L2031/565Stoppers or lids for bottles, jars, or the like, e.g. closures for containers
    • 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
    • B65D2251/10Details of hinged closures
    • B65D2251/1016Means for locking the closure in closed position
    • B65D2251/1041The closure having a part penetrating in the dispensing aperture and retained by snapping over integral beads or projections
    • 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
    • B65D2543/00Lids or covers essentially for box-like containers
    • B65D2543/00009Details of lids or covers for rigid or semi-rigid containers
    • B65D2543/00018Overall construction of the lid
    • B65D2543/00064Shape of the outer periphery
    • B65D2543/0012Shape of the outer periphery having straight sides, e.g. with curved corners
    • 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
    • B65D2543/00Lids or covers essentially for box-like containers
    • B65D2543/00009Details of lids or covers for rigid or semi-rigid containers
    • B65D2543/00018Overall construction of the lid
    • B65D2543/00259Materials used
    • B65D2543/00296Plastic
    • 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
    • B65D2543/00Lids or covers essentially for box-like containers
    • B65D2543/00009Details of lids or covers for rigid or semi-rigid containers
    • B65D2543/00342Central part of the lid
    • B65D2543/00351Dome-like
    • 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
    • B65D2543/00Lids or covers essentially for box-like containers
    • B65D2543/00009Details of lids or covers for rigid or semi-rigid containers
    • B65D2543/00444Contact between the container and the lid
    • B65D2543/00481Contact between the container and the lid on the inside or the outside of the container
    • B65D2543/0049Contact between the container and the lid on the inside or the outside of the container on the inside, or a part turned to the inside of the mouth of the container
    • B65D2543/00509Cup
    • 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
    • B65D2543/00Lids or covers essentially for box-like containers
    • B65D2543/00009Details of lids or covers for rigid or semi-rigid containers
    • B65D2543/00444Contact between the container and the lid
    • B65D2543/00481Contact between the container and the lid on the inside or the outside of the container
    • B65D2543/00537Contact between the container and the lid on the inside or the outside of the container on the outside, or a part turned to the outside of the mouth of the container
    • B65D2543/00546NO contact
    • 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
    • B65D2543/00Lids or covers essentially for box-like containers
    • B65D2543/00009Details of lids or covers for rigid or semi-rigid containers
    • B65D2543/00444Contact between the container and the lid
    • B65D2543/00592Snapping means
    • B65D2543/00601Snapping means on the container
    • B65D2543/00611Profiles
    • B65D2543/0062Groove or hollow bead
    • 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
    • B65D2543/00Lids or covers essentially for box-like containers
    • B65D2543/00009Details of lids or covers for rigid or semi-rigid containers
    • B65D2543/00444Contact between the container and the lid
    • B65D2543/00592Snapping means
    • B65D2543/00601Snapping means on the container
    • B65D2543/00675Periphery concerned
    • B65D2543/00694Segments
    • 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
    • B65D2543/00Lids or covers essentially for box-like containers
    • B65D2543/00009Details of lids or covers for rigid or semi-rigid containers
    • B65D2543/00444Contact between the container and the lid
    • B65D2543/00592Snapping means
    • B65D2543/00712Snapping means on the lid
    • B65D2543/00722Profiles
    • B65D2543/00759Flange or lip

Abstract

An optional venting container comprises a base and a lid. The lid is releasably latched to the base. The lid comprises at least one ventable area formed therein. The at least one ventable area is adapted to form a vent only upon a user asserting pressure thereon. The lid is made from a polymeric foam.

Description

    FIELD OF INVENTION
  • The present invention relates generally to the packaging industry. More particularly, the present invention relates to polymeric foam containers with optional venting.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • The use of inexpensive polymeric foam containers, such as foamed alkenyl aromatic polymeric containers, has become popular, especially for preparing and serving various food products These containers generally have been used for heating and storing the food product(s) disposed therein. These containers typically comprise a cover or lid and a base.
  • One disadvantage of existing containers is the lack of flexibility on venting given to the end users of these containers. Some food needs to be vented in a closed container, while other foods do not need venting in a closed container. For example, some fried foods tend to get soggy if the generated steam cannot exit the container, while other foods will lose heat quickly if the container has vents.
  • The lack of flexibility in existing containers often results in store owners purchasing both vented and non-vented polymeric foam containers. Alternatively, the store owners may be forced to vent the container by ripping or puncturing it. Such ripping or puncturing often will result in a container that is not aesthetically pleasing to the end user.
  • A need therefore exists for a polymeric foam container to have more flexibility and versatility in venting for the end user.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • According to one embodiment, an optional venting container comprises a base and a lid. The lid is releasably latched to the base. The lid comprises at least one ventable area formed therein. The at least one ventable area is adapted to form a vent only upon a user asserting pressure thereon. The lid is made from a polymeric foam.
  • According to another embodiment, an optional venting container comprises a base and a lid. The lid is releasably latched to the base. The lid comprises at least one ventable area formed therein. The at least one ventable area is adapted to form a vent only upon a user asserting pressure thereon. The at least one ventable area is formed by a perforation cut. The lid is made from a polymeric foam.
  • According to a further embodiment, an optional venting polymeric foam container comprises a base, a lid, and a hinge. The lid is releasably latched to the base. The lid comprises at least one ventable area formed therein. The at least one ventable area is adapted to form a vent only upon a user asserting pressure thereon. The at least one ventable area is formed by a perforation cut. The hinge connects the base and the lid and allows the lid to pivot with respect to the base. The base and the lid are made from the same polymeric foam.
  • According to one method, a polymeric foam container is formed by providing a foamable resin in an extruder. The foamable resin is melted in the extruder and then is extruded from the extruder to form an extruded material. The extruded material is thermoformed into a container comprising a base and a lid. The lid is releasably latched to the base. The lid comprises at least one ventable area formed therein. The at least one ventable area is adapted to form a vent only upon a user asserting pressure thereon.
  • According to yet another embodiment, a polymeric foam lid, which is adapted to be releasably latched to a base, comprises at least one ventable area formed therein. The at least one ventable area is adapted to form a vent only upon a user asserting pressure thereon. The lid is made from a polymeric foam.
  • According to another method, a polymeric foam lid, which is adapted to be releasably latched to a base, is formed by providing a foamable resin in an extruder. The foamable resin is melted in the extruder. The foamable resin is extruded from the extruder to form an extruded material. The extruded material is thermoformed into a lid. The lid comprises at least one ventable area formed therein. The at least one ventable area is adapted to form a vent only upon a user asserting pressure thereon.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • Other advantages of the invention will become apparent on reading the following detailed description and on reference to the drawings.
  • FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a container according to one embodiment of the present invention;
  • FIG. 2 is a top view of the container of FIG. 1;
  • FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view taken generally along the line 3-3 of FIG. 2 in a closed position; and
  • FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional view taken generally along the line 3-3 of FIG. 2 in a vented position.
  • While the invention is susceptible to various modifications and alternative forms, a specific embodiment thereof has been shown by way of example in the drawing and will herein be described in detail. It should be understood, however, that it is not intended to limit the invention to the particular form disclosed but, on the contrary, the intention is to cover all modifications, equivalents, and alternatives falling within the spirit and scope of the invention as defined by the appended claims.
  • DESCRIPTION OF ILLUSTRATIVE EMBODIMENTS
  • Referring to FIGS. 1-4, a container 10 according to one embodiment of the present invention is depicted. The height and shape of the container may vary from that shown without departing from the scope of the invention. For example, the container 10 is shown as being generally rectangular or square, but it is contemplated that shapes like oval, circular, and other polygonal and non-polygonal shapes may be used.
  • The container of the present invention is typically used to hold food. The container may be used for serving, storing, preparing and/or re-heating the food such as pre-packed meals. The container of the present invention desirably has insulating properties to assist in maintaining the temperature of any food contained therein. One example of such a container is an alkenyl aromatic polymeric foam container.
  • The container 10 of FIGS. 1-4 includes a base 12, a lid 14 and a hinge 16. The hinge 16 connects the base 12 and the lid 14 and enables the lid to rotate relative to the base so as to open and close the container 10. The lid 14 is adapted to releasably engage the base 12. According to another embodiment, the base and the lid may be formed from separate pieces without using a hinge. In this embodiment, the lid is also adapted to releasably engage the base.
  • The base 12 comprises a bottom 18 and a sidewall 20 that encompasses and projects upwardly and outwardly from the bottom 18. It is contemplated that the sidewall may project only upwardly from the bottom. The bottom and/or sidewall may include ribs for additional carrying strength. It is contemplated that the base may be a generally flat surface that is adapted to releasably engage the lid. In such an embodiment, the base would not include a sidewall extending upwardly therefrom.
  • The base 12 may further include an optional rim (e.g. continuous rim 22 in FIGS. 3 and 4) that encompasses and projects laterally outwardly from the sidewall 20. The optional rim may be discontinuous, although, if used, it is preferred to be continuous. The rim is advantageous for a number of reasons including providing supporting strength when the container is being placed in the closed position. Additionally, the process of making the container, such as by thermoforming, is made easier by using a rim. Alternatively, the container may be formed without a rim.
  • The lid 14 comprises a top wall 24 and a sidewall 26 that encompasses and projects downwardly and outwardly from the top wall 24. The top wall 24 is desirably elevated with respect to the cooperating base 12 to accommodate the food products therein. The top wall 24 may include a central portion that is recessed relative to a remainder of the top wall to cooperate with the base (like base 12) of another container stacked atop the container 10. It is contemplated that the sidewall may project only downwardly from the top wall. The lid 14 further includes an optional rim 28 (see FIGS. 3 and 4) encompassing and extending upwardly and outwardly from the sidewall 26. It is contemplated that the optional rim may only project outwardly from the sidewall. If an optional rim is formed on the lid, it is desirable that it corresponds with an optional rim formed on the base.
  • The lid 14 further comprises a plurality of ventable areas 30 formed therein. The plurality of ventable areas 30 is shown in FIGS. 1 and 2 as being located in the generally corner of the lid 14 on a top wall 24 thereof. The plurality of ventable areas 30 enables a user, if desired, to vent steam, pressure and/or heat caused by food 32 located in the container 10 as shown in FIGS. 3 and 4. The plurality of ventable areas 30 stays closed, keeping in steam, pressure and heat until the user decides that the ventable areas should be opened to vent any steam, pressure and/or heat contained therein. Additionally, the plurality of ventable areas, when closed, functions as a protective barrier or wall to prevent or inhibit dust or other particles from entering the container 10.
  • The plurality of ventable areas 30 does not open automatically once the internal pressure reaches a certain point associated with the heating of foods. Thus, whether the contents of the container are vented is determined solely by the user. It is contemplated that the container may have at least one ventable area, which is formed in the lid. Thus, it is contemplated that the lid may form exactly one ventable area.
  • According to one embodiment, the plurality of ventable areas 30 of FIG. 2 has three sides 30 a-c that are not continuous connected. The three sides 30 a-c may be formed by a knife blade or sharpened section of tool steel that includes at least one score therein to assist in keeping the ventable area in a closed position. This is referred to herein as a perforated area. Because the at least one score is formed in one or more of the sides 30 a-c, for example, the three sides 30 a-c are not continuously connected. This is shown with score 30 g in FIGS. 2 and 3. It is contemplated that each side 30 a-c may have a plurality of scores formed therein.
  • The perforated areas may be moved to an open position by, for example, a hinge or crease upon a user asserting pressure thereon. For example, the user may push downwardly on the ventable area to assert pressure to move the ventable area to an open position. Alternatively, the user may grasp the ventable area and assert pressure to move the ventable area to an open position.
  • It is contemplated that the plurality of ventable areas may be formed with a knife cut. The knife cut may cut completely through the surface of the lid. In this embodiment, the plurality of ventable areas remains generally closed until the user asserts pressure thereon. Thus, in a closed position, the ventable areas retain a substantial amount, if not virtually all, of the steam, pressure and/or heat contained therein and, thus, does not vent until the user moves the ventable area to an open position by asserting pressure thereon. For example, the user may push downwardly on the ventable area to assert pressure to move the ventable area to an open position. Alternatively, the user may grasp the ventable area and assert pressure to move the ventable area to an open position.
  • It is contemplated that the knife cut may not extend completely through the surface of the lid. For example, the knife cut may extend at least 50% into the surface so as to allow a user to move the ventable area to an open position by asserting pressure thereon. The knife cut typically extends at least 75% or even 90% or 95% into the surface of the lid so as to allow a user to move the ventable area to an open position by asserting pressure thereon.
  • The area between ends 30 d and 30 e of respective sides 30 a, 30 c may form a hinge. The hinged area allows a respective one of the plurality of ventable areas 30 to pivot in a manner that allows the steam, pressure and/or heat to escape from the container 10. Alternatively, the area between ends 30 d and 30 e of respective sides 30 a, 30 c may form a crease. The crease assists in moving a respective one of the ventable areas to a vented position. It is contemplated that the plurality of ventable areas may be moved to an open position without using a hinge or crease. A crease, however, may form after opening the ventable area.
  • To vent the container according to one method, a user presses downwardly on the ventable area 30 as shown in FIG. 3, resulting in the ventable area 30 opening and venting steam, heat and/or pressure from the container 10 as shown in FIG. 4. Alternatively, a user may grasp the ventable area and assert pressure thereon to move the ventable area to an open position. The ventable area 20 after being moved to a vented position desirably remains with the remainder of the lid. It is contemplated that the ventable areas may be detached from the remainder of the lid during movement to the vented position.
  • The plurality of ventable areas may be located in different areas on the lid than depicted in FIGS. 1 and 2, including the sidewalls 26 of the lid 14 and other locations of the top wall 24 of the lid 14. It is desirable to locate the plurality of ventable areas near or in the top wall so as to assist in preventing or inhibiting any liquid juices of the food product from escaping the container 10. The liquid juices, if present, should remain in the container 10 as long as the container 10 is not substantially tilted towards any of the plurality of ventable areas 30. It is also contemplated that if a compartmented container is used, then at least one ventable area may be located over certain foods. Thus, if a certain food in one of the compartments is the only one to be vented, then the ventable area located nearest to this compartment is opened, while the remaining ones of the ventable areas remain closed.
  • At least one ventable area may be located on a relative flat surface such as top wall 24 to assist in preventing or inhibiting a scraping action similar to a shear key. This assists in forming a ventable area that will open on pressure from the user. This also assists in making the cut without having to push the material out of the way. At least one ventable area may also be formed on a slight angle (such as shown in FIG. 1) to allow improved venting when the containers are stacked upon each other. For example, this angle may be from 0 to about 45° and, more specifically, from about 10° to about 20° relative to a parallel plane of the top of the container.
  • The base and the lid may be formed with one of a variety of latching or closure mechanisms known to those skilled in the art. For example, the base and lid may be releasably latched by a latching mechanism described in U.S. Pat. No. 5,758,791. Releasably latched is defined herein as including snap engagements, firmly-held engagements and substantially leak-resistant engagements. It is contemplated that the container 10 of the present invention may be releasably latched by other known latching mechanisms, such as that described in U.S. Pat. No. 5,607,709. It is also contemplated that the base and the lid may be releasably latched by using undercuts. To assist a user in disengaging the lid 14 and the base 12, the lid and the base may include one or more tabs.
  • The plurality of ventable areas 30 of container 10 is shown as being generally finger shaped or U-shaped. It is contemplated that the at least one ventable area may be other shapes, such as a triangular shape, rectangular shape, other polygonal shapes or non-polygonal shapes. The ventable areas are desirably formed to be aesthetically pleasing to the user in both the open and closed positions.
  • According to one embodiment, the lid 14 of the container 10 is made from an alkenyl aromatic polymeric foam. The term “alkenyl aromatic polymer” as used herein includes polymers of aromatic hydrocarbon molecules that contain an aryl group joined to an olefinic group with only double bonds in the linear structure, such as styrene, α-methylstyrene, o-methylstyrene, m-methylstyrene, p-methylstyrene, α-ethylstyrene, α-vinylxylene, α-chlorostyrene, α-bromostyrene, and vinyl toluene. Alkenyl aromatic polymers also include homopolymers of styrene (commonly referred to as polystyrene), copolymers of styrene and butadiene, and rubber-toughened polystyrene (commonly referred to as high impact polystyrene or HIPS). The alkenyl aromatic polymer may be an oriented polystyrene (OPS). The lid may be made from more than one alkenyl aromatic polymer.
  • The lid of the container may also be formed from foams comprising polyolefins such as polypropylene, polyesters such as polyethylene terephthalate (PET), and combinations thereof. The polymeric foam lid may be made from a mineral-filled polymeric material such as, for example, talc or calcium carbonate-filled polyolefin.
  • The base 12 of the container 10 may be made of the same materials described above in forming the lid 14. Specifically, the base 12 may be formed of alkenyl aromatic polymeric foams, polyolefins foams such as polypropylene, polyesters foams such as polyethylene terephthalate (PET), and combinations thereof The base may be made from a mineral-filled polymeric material such as, for example, talc or calcium carbonate-filled polyolefin. It is also contemplated that the base may be formed of other non-foamed materials such as, for example, aluminum, paper and non-foamed polymeric materials, such as polyolefins and polyesters.
  • The containers of the present invention are typically disposable, but it is contemplated that they may be reused at a future time. It is contemplated that the containers may be formed of multiple compartments. Such containers are desirable for placing food items in different compartments to prevent or inhibit commingling of items. Undesirable mixing of food items can corrupt the flavor and the consistency of the food items. The thickness of the container generally ranges from about 30 to about 150 mils, but is typically from about 70 to about 100 mils.
  • A method of using such a container includes placing the food therein, venting the container by opening at least one ventable area such as shown in FIGS. 3 and 4. The container may then be placed in a heating apparatus, such as a microwave, to heat the food. The container may contain solid food products. The container may be used for storage in the refrigerator and/or the freezer.
  • The polymeric foam container may be formed using conventional thermoforming (e.g., by pressure, vacuum or the combination thereof). According to one method of thermoforming, polymeric pellets such as an alkenyl aromatic polymer resin and additives, if any, are added into an extruder. The pellets of the alkenyl aromatic polymeric resin and additives, if any, are melted to form a blend. The blend is extruded through a die to form an extruded foamed sheet. The extruded foamed sheet is thermoformed to a desired shape of a container.
  • According to this method, the container is made in a thermoforming mold. The mold includes a knife blade or sharpened section of tool material that is located to form the at least one ventable area. The knife blade may be serrated. The knife blade or sharpened section of tool material may be made of material such as steel. It is contemplated that other materials may be used in forming the knife blade or sharpened section of tool material. The at least one ventable area may be formed in a trimming step of the process.
  • The knife blade or sharpened section of tool material is positioned to form the desired shape of the ventable areas. To assist in allowing the ventable areas to remain closed until opened by the user, there may be at least one score in the knife or sharpened section of tool material to form a perforated cut. To maintain the sharpness of the knife or sharpened section of tool material, the contact area below it may have some cushion while still ensuring reliable contact. This contact area may be a striker plate that assists in aligning the knife blade or sharpened section of tool material to assist in properly locating the at least one ventable area. To assist in replacing of worn or spent tooling, the striker plate and the knife blade or sharpened section of tool material are often made of materials with different hardness. For example, the striker plate may be made of a harder material than the knife blade or sharpened section of tool material such that the knife blade or sharpened section of tool material will be replaced more often than the striker plate.
  • While the present invention has been described with reference to one or more particular embodiments, those skilled in the art will recognize that many changes may be made thereto without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention. Each of these embodiments and obvious variations thereof is contemplated as falling within the spirit and scope of the claimed invention, which is set forth in the following claims.

Claims (43)

  1. 1. An optional venting container comprising a base and a lid being releasably latched to the base, the lid comprising at least one ventable area formed therein, the at least one ventable area being adapted to form a vent only upon a user asserting pressure thereon and wherein the lid is made from a polymeric foam.
  2. 2. The container of claim 1, wherein the base and the lid are made from the group consisting of alkenyl aromatic polymeric foams, polyolefin foams and polyester foams.
  3. 3. The container of claim 1, wherein the base and the lid are made from the same polymeric foam.
  4. 4. The container of claim 1, wherein the base comprises a bottom, a sidewall and a first rim, the sidewall encompasses the bottom and extends upwardly from the bottom, the first rim encompasses the sidewall and extends generally outwardly therefrom.
  5. 5. The container of claim 4, wherein the lid further includes a second rim, a second sidewall and a top wall, the second sidewall encompasses and extends generally downward from the top wall, the second rim extends generally outwardly from the second sidewall, the second rim of the lid is adapted to releasably latch with the first rim of the base.
  6. 6. The container of claim 1, wherein the lid forms a plurality of ventable areas.
  7. 7. The container of claim 6, wherein the lid further includes a second sidewall and a top wall, the second sidewall encompasses and extends generally downward from the top wall, the top wall forms a plurality of ventable areas.
  8. 8. The container of claim 1, wherein the lid further includes a second sidewall and a top wall, the second sidewall encompasses and extends generally downward from the top wall, the top wall has an angle located near the intersection of the top wall and the second sidewall, the at least one ventable area is formed on this angle so as to improve venting when containers are stacked upon each other.
  9. 9. The container of claim 1, wherein the at least one ventable area is a general U-shape.
  10. 10. The container of claim 1, wherein the lid forms a hinge to assist in moving the at least one ventable area to a vented position.
  11. 11. The container of claim 1, wherein a crease is forming in the lid after the at least one ventable area is moved to a vented position.
  12. 12. The container of claim 1, wherein the at least one ventable area is formed by a perforation cut with at least one score formed therein.
  13. 13. The container of claim 12, wherein the at least one ventable area is formed by a perforation cut with a plurality of scores formed therein.
  14. 14. The container of claim 1, wherein the at least one ventable area is formed by a knife cut.
  15. 15. The container of claim 1, wherein the container further comprises a hinge, the hinge connects the base and the lid and allows the lid to pivot with respect to the base.
  16. 16. The container of claim 1, wherein the container has a thickness of from about 30 to about 150 mils.
  17. 17. The container of claim 1, wherein the base comprises a bottom and a sidewall, the sidewall encompasses the bottom and extends upwardly from the bottom.
  18. 18. The container of claim 1, wherein the at least one ventable area, after forming the vent, remains with the remainder of the lid.
  19. 19. An optional venting container comprising a base and a lid being releasably latched to the base, the lid comprising at least one ventable area formed therein, the at least one ventable area being adapted to form a vent only upon a user asserting pressure thereon, the at least one ventable area being formed by a perforation cut, and wherein the lid is made from a polymeric foam.
  20. 20. The container of claim 19, wherein the polymeric foam is an alkenyl aromatic polymer foam.
  21. 21. The container of claim 20, wherein the polymeric foam is a polystyrene foam.
  22. 22. The container of claim 19, wherein the base and the lid are made from the same polymeric foam.
  23. 23. The container of claim 19, wherein the lid further includes a second sidewall and a top wall, the second sidewall encompasses and extends generally downward from the top wall, the top wall has an angle located near the intersection of the top wall and the second sidewall, the at least one ventable area is formed on this angle so as to improve venting when containers are stacked upon each other.
  24. 24. The container of claim 19, wherein the lid forms a hinge to assist in moving the at least one ventable area to a vented position.
  25. 25. The container of claim 19, wherein a crease is forming in the lid after the at least one ventable area is moved to a vented position.
  26. 26. The container of claim 19, wherein the container further comprises a hinge, the hinge connects the base and the lid and allows the lid to pivot with respect to the base.
  27. 27. The container of claim 19, wherein the container has a thickness of from about 30 to about 150 mils.
  28. 28. The container of claim 19, wherein the base comprises a bottom and a sidewall, the sidewall encompasses the bottom and extends upwardly from the bottom.
  29. 29. The container of claim 19, wherein the at least one ventable area, after forming the vent, remains with the remainder of the lid.
  30. 30. An optional venting polymeric foam container comprising a base, a lid and a hinge, the lid being releasably latched to the base, the lid comprising at least one ventable area formed therein, the at least one ventable area being adapted to form a vent only upon a user asserting pressure thereon, the at least one ventable area being formed by a perforation cut, the hinge connecting the base and the lid and allowing the lid to pivot with respect to the base, and wherein the base and the lid are made from the same polymeric foam.
  31. 31. The container of claim 30, wherein the lid forms a plurality of ventable areas.
  32. 32. The container of claim 30, wherein the perforation cut is formed with a plurality of scores therein.
  33. 33. A method of forming a polymeric foam container comprising:
    providing a foamable resin in an extruder;
    melting the foamable resin in the extruder;
    extruding the foamable resin from the extruder to form an extruded material;
    thermoforming the extruded material into a container comprising a base and a lid, the lid being releasably latched to the base, the lid comprising at least one ventable area formed therein, the at least one ventable area being adapted to form a vent only upon a user asserting pressure thereon.
  34. 34. The method of claim 33 further including a user moving the at least on ventable area to a venting position.
  35. 35. The method of claim 33, wherein the lid forms a plurality of ventable areas.
  36. 36. The method of claim 33 further including forming the at least one ventable area by a perforation cut with at least one score formed therein.
  37. 37. The method of claim 36 further including forming the at least one ventable area by a perforation cut with a plurality of scores formed therein.
  38. 38. The method of claim 33 further including forming the at least one ventable area by a knife cut.
  39. 39. The method of claim 33, wherein the container further comprises a hinge, the hinge connects the base and the lid and allows the lid to pivot with respect to the base.
  40. 40. The method of claim 33, wherein a crease forms in the lid after the at least one ventable area is moved to a vented position.
  41. 41. The method of claim 26, wherein the container has a thickness of from about 30 to about 150 mils.
  42. 42. A polymeric foam lid adapted to be releasably latched to a base, the lid comprising at least one ventable area formed therein, the at least one ventable area adapted to form a vent only upon a user asserting pressure thereon and wherein the lid is made from a polymeric foam.
  43. 43. A method of forming a polymeric foam lid, the lid being adapted to be releasably latched to a base, the method comprising:
    providing a foamable resin in an extruder;
    melting the foamable resin in the extruder;
    extruding the foamable resin from the extruder to form an extruded material;
    thermoforming the extruded material into a lid, the lid comprising at least one ventable area formed therein, the at least one ventable area being adapted to form a vent only upon a user asserting pressure thereon.
US10613827 2003-07-03 2003-07-03 Containers with optional venting Abandoned US20050000966A1 (en)

Priority Applications (1)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
US10613827 US20050000966A1 (en) 2003-07-03 2003-07-03 Containers with optional venting

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US10613827 US20050000966A1 (en) 2003-07-03 2003-07-03 Containers with optional venting
CA 2472972 CA2472972C (en) 2003-07-03 2004-07-02 Containers with optional venting
US13349395 US8613368B2 (en) 2003-07-03 2012-01-12 Containers with optional venting

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US11508135 Continuation-In-Part US20080042311A1 (en) 2006-08-21 2006-08-21 Method of forming a polymeric foam container
US11508135 Continuation US20080042311A1 (en) 2006-08-21 2006-08-21 Method of forming a polymeric foam container

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