US20060032900A1 - Universal carton blank and method of manufacturing a carton therefrom - Google Patents

Universal carton blank and method of manufacturing a carton therefrom Download PDF

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Publication number
US20060032900A1
US20060032900A1 US11191533 US19153305A US2006032900A1 US 20060032900 A1 US20060032900 A1 US 20060032900A1 US 11191533 US11191533 US 11191533 US 19153305 A US19153305 A US 19153305A US 2006032900 A1 US2006032900 A1 US 2006032900A1
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Prior art keywords
minor
major
panel
flaps
carton
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Abandoned
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US11191533
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Jill Pratt
Curtis Deering
Chris Reed
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Pratt Jill M
Deering Curtis J
Chris Reed
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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
    • B65D5/00Rigid or semi-rigid containers of polygonal cross-section, e.g. boxes, cartons or trays, formed by folding or erecting one or more blanks made of paper
    • B65D5/20Rigid or semi-rigid containers of polygonal cross-section, e.g. boxes, cartons or trays, formed by folding or erecting one or more blanks made of paper by folding-up portions connected to a central panel from all sides to form a container body, e.g. of tray-like form
    • B65D5/30Rigid or semi-rigid containers of polygonal cross-section, e.g. boxes, cartons or trays, formed by folding or erecting one or more blanks made of paper by folding-up portions connected to a central panel from all sides to form a container body, e.g. of tray-like form with tongue-and-slot or like connections between sides and extensions of other sides
    • B65D5/301Rigid or semi-rigid containers of polygonal cross-section, e.g. boxes, cartons or trays, formed by folding or erecting one or more blanks made of paper by folding-up portions connected to a central panel from all sides to form a container body, e.g. of tray-like form with tongue-and-slot or like connections between sides and extensions of other sides the tongue being a part of a lateral extension of a side wall
    • B65D5/302Rigid or semi-rigid containers of polygonal cross-section, e.g. boxes, cartons or trays, formed by folding or erecting one or more blanks made of paper by folding-up portions connected to a central panel from all sides to form a container body, e.g. of tray-like form with tongue-and-slot or like connections between sides and extensions of other sides the tongue being a part of a lateral extension of a side wall combined with a slot provided in an adjacent side wall
    • 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
    • B65D5/00Rigid or semi-rigid containers of polygonal cross-section, e.g. boxes, cartons or trays, formed by folding or erecting one or more blanks made of paper
    • B65D5/02Rigid or semi-rigid containers of polygonal cross-section, e.g. boxes, cartons or trays, formed by folding or erecting one or more blanks made of paper by folding or erecting a single blank to form a tubular body with or without subsequent folding operations, or the addition of separate elements, to close the ends of the body
    • B65D5/0227Rigid or semi-rigid containers of polygonal cross-section, e.g. boxes, cartons or trays, formed by folding or erecting one or more blanks made of paper by folding or erecting a single blank to form a tubular body with or without subsequent folding operations, or the addition of separate elements, to close the ends of the body with end closures formed by inward folding of flaps and securing them by heat-sealing, by applying adhesive to the flaps or by staples
    • 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
    • B65D5/00Rigid or semi-rigid containers of polygonal cross-section, e.g. boxes, cartons or trays, formed by folding or erecting one or more blanks made of paper
    • B65D5/02Rigid or semi-rigid containers of polygonal cross-section, e.g. boxes, cartons or trays, formed by folding or erecting one or more blanks made of paper by folding or erecting a single blank to form a tubular body with or without subsequent folding operations, or the addition of separate elements, to close the ends of the body
    • B65D5/10Rigid or semi-rigid containers of polygonal cross-section, e.g. boxes, cartons or trays, formed by folding or erecting one or more blanks made of paper by folding or erecting a single blank to form a tubular body with or without subsequent folding operations, or the addition of separate elements, to close the ends of the body with end closures formed by inward-folding of self-locking flaps hinged to tubular body
    • 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
    • B31BMAKING CONTAINERS OF PAPER, CARDBOARD OR MATERIAL WORKED IN A MANNER ANALOGOUS TO PAPER
    • B31B2100/00Rigid or semi-rigid containers made by folding single-piece sheets, blanks or webs
    • 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
    • B31BMAKING CONTAINERS OF PAPER, CARDBOARD OR MATERIAL WORKED IN A MANNER ANALOGOUS TO PAPER
    • B31B2100/00Rigid or semi-rigid containers made by folding single-piece sheets, blanks or webs
    • B31B2100/002Rigid or semi-rigid containers made by folding single-piece sheets, blanks or webs characterised by the shape of the blank from which they are formed
    • B31B2100/0022Rigid or semi-rigid containers made by folding single-piece sheets, blanks or webs characterised by the shape of the blank from which they are formed made from tubular webs or blanks, including by tube or bottom forming operations
    • 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
    • B31BMAKING CONTAINERS OF PAPER, CARDBOARD OR MATERIAL WORKED IN A MANNER ANALOGOUS TO PAPER
    • B31B2120/00Construction of rigid or semi-rigid containers
    • B31B2120/30Construction of rigid or semi-rigid containers collapsible; temporarily collapsed during manufacturing
    • 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
    • B31BMAKING CONTAINERS OF PAPER, CARDBOARD OR MATERIAL WORKED IN A MANNER ANALOGOUS TO PAPER
    • B31B50/00Making rigid or semi-rigid containers, e.g. boxes or cartons
    • B31B50/60Uniting opposed surfaces or edges; Taping
    • B31B50/62Uniting opposed surfaces or edges; Taping by adhesives
    • B31B50/624Applying glue on blanks
    • 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
    • B31BMAKING CONTAINERS OF PAPER, CARDBOARD OR MATERIAL WORKED IN A MANNER ANALOGOUS TO PAPER
    • B31B50/00Making rigid or semi-rigid containers, e.g. boxes or cartons
    • B31B50/74Auxiliary operations
    • B31B50/76Opening and distending flattened articles

Abstract

A universal blank adapted for assembly as a carton by either a top/end load cartoner or locking tab cartoner, and related method of assembly. The universal blank includes one or more minor flaps forming locking tabs and one or more major flaps forming locking slots. The locking tab/slots facilitate assembly with a locking tab cartoner. Alternatively, the universal blank can be processed by a top/end load cartoner by first bonding two of the outer minor panels. Graphics formed on the universal blank present a desired, aesthetically pleasing appearance upon assembly by either cartoning technique. Further, preferred gluing techniques can be employed to promote consistent assembly by a top/end load cartoner.

Description

    REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION
  • This application claims the benefit of priority under 35 U.S.C. § 119(e)(1) of a provisional patent application, Ser. No. 60/591,984, filed Jul. 29, 2004, which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.
  • BACKGROUND
  • The present invention relates to a carton blank and methods of manufacturing a carton therefrom. More particularly, it relates to a universal carton blank and related methods of assembling a carton on a mass production basis with either a top/end load cartoner or a locking tab cartoner.
  • The packaging of consumer foods and other products has long required a suitable container for consumer use that is easy to open as well as being capable of re-closure. To this end, containers, including paperboard or corrugated cartons or boxes, have been used for many years to transport and store products and individually packaged products, including, for example, packaged food products, such as cereals, snack foods, dried food products, etc. Consumers and vendors expect these cartons to be relatively compact and self-standing.
  • In light of the above, conventional cartons are generally square or rectangular in shape, having front and back walls, opposing side walls, a bottom closure, and a top closure. For purposes of mass production, the carton is formed from a die cut blank or flat having a variety of panels and flaps that are folded and glued. As might be expected, equipment has been developed that automates the process of forming a carton from the blank and placing products therein. Over time, two relatively standard blank/carton designs have come to the forefront, as has the automated machinery adapted to assemble the so-designed blanks. A first standard blank/carton format is generally known as a side seam glued blank/carton, and is formed and filled by equipment referred to as a top load cartoner or an end load cartoner (collectively referred to herein as “top/end load cartoner”). Conversely, a second standard or carton/blank design is known as a locking tab blank/carton that is handled by automated equipment referred to as locking tab cartoners.
  • FIG. 1 illustrates an exemplary side seam glued carton blank 10 for subsequent assembly as a carton. The blank 10 includes first and second major panels 12, 14, and first and second minor panels 16, 18. First and second closure flaps 20, 22 extend from generally aligned ends of the first and second major panels 12, 14, respectively. Conversely, third and fourth closure flaps 24, 26 extend from opposite, generally aligned ends of the first and second major panels 12, 14, respectively. First and second minor flaps 28, 30 extend from first ends of the first and second minor panels 16, 18, respectively, whereas third and fourth minor flaps 32, 34 extend from opposite, second ends of the first and second minor panels 16, 18, respectively. Finally, a glue flap 36 extends from the first major panel 12 opposite the first minor panel 16.
  • The side seam glued carton blank 10 is formed as a carton and loaded with desired product(s) by conventional top/end load cartoners. Though top/end load cartoners can vary in terms of production speed and capacity, the same general handling methodology is employed. Glue is applied to the glue flap 36, and the panels 12-18 are folded relative to one another. The glue flap 36 is adhered to the second minor panel 18, resulting in an open-ended carton shell. One end of the carton shell is then closed. For example, the first and second minor flaps 28, 30 are folded inwardly. The first closure flap 20 is then folded onto the minor flaps 28, 30. A glue bead is then applied to an exterior of the first closure flap 20. The second closure flap 22 is folded onto the first closure flap 20, and adhered thereto by the previously applied glue. Product is then dispensed into the partially formed carton via the still open opposite end (which can be either the “top” or the “bottom” of the resultant carton). Finally, the third and fourth minor flaps 32, 34 and third and fourth closure flaps 24, 26 are folded and adhered to one another in a manner identical to that previously described with respect to the first and second minor flaps 28, 30 and first and second closure flaps 20, 22.
  • An exemplary locking tab carton blank 40 is provided in FIG. 2. The locking tab blank 40 includes first and second major panels 42, 44 and first, second, and third minor panels 46-50. First and second major flaps 52, 54 extend from opposite ends of the first major panel 42, whereas third and fourth major flaps 56, 58 extend from opposite ends of the second major panel 44. First and second minor flaps 60, 62 extend from opposite ends of the first minor panel 46. Finally, third and fourth minor flaps 64, 66 extend from opposite ends of the second minor panel 48. Each of the minor flaps 60-66 forms a locking tab. Conversely, each of the first and second major flaps 52, 54 forms a pair of locking slots 68-74 sized to receive and capture a respective one of the minor flaps/locking tabs 60-66.
  • A locking tab cartoner is used to form the blank 40 as a carton, as well as load products within the carton. Once again, while different locking tab cartoners can provide varying features and production line speeds, all follow the same general assembly/filling technique. In particular, the first and second minor panels 46, 48 and the first and second major flaps 52, 54 are folded relative to the first major panel 42. The minor flaps/locking tabs 60-66 are then simultaneously assembled to, or captured by, the locking slots 68-74. In particular, the first minor flap/locking tab 60 is engaged within the first locking slot 68 of the first major flap 52, whereas the third minor flap/locking tab 64 is engaged within the second locking slot 70. Similarly, the second minor flap/locking tab 62 is captured within the first locking slot 72 of the second major flap 54, and the fourth minor flap/locking tab 66 is captured within the second locking slot 74. The resultant open tray-like structure is shown at 76 in FIG. 3.
  • Product is then loaded within the open tray 76. Glue is applied to an exterior of the first minor panel 46 (represented by a rectangle 78 in FIG. 3). In this regard, the glue 78 must be well spaced from the opposing ends or edges of the first minor panel 46 so as to avoid “bleeding” of the applied glue beyond the respective ends. By way of reference, a spacing of at least 0.75 inch is provided between ends of the glue bead 78 and respective ends of the first minor panel 46. Stated otherwise, a length of the glue bead 78 is typically not more than 85%-90% of a length of the first minor panel 46. With additional reference to FIG. 2, locking tab carton blanks conventionally include a partial cut glue assist area (designated at 79 in FIG. 2) at which the glue bead 78 is applied. The glue assist area 79 has a lateral length commensurate with that of the dimension described above with respect to the glue bead 78. Regardless, the second major panel 44 is folded toward the first major panel 42, and the third minor panel 50 folded over the first minor panel 46 and adhered thereto via the glue bead 78. Finally, the third major flap 56 is adhered over the first major flap 52, and the fourth major flap 58 is adhered over the second major flap 54. With this cartoning technique, the first and second major panels 42, 44 have nearly identical dimensions, including nearly identical lateral widths.
  • Regardless of exact form, virtually all cartons made available to consumers have highly stylized printed graphics on an exterior thereof. The graphics can assume a wide variety of forms, but typically provide a consumer with information regarding contents of the carton, and attempt to render the carton more aesthetically pleasing to a potential purchaser. The graphics are normally formed by applying ink to an otherwise off-white paperboard blank. Because ink and the process of applying the ink is relatively expensive (especially relative to overall mass production costs), carton designers make every effort to eliminate graphics from any portion of the carton blank that will not otherwise be viewed by a potential purchaser upon final assembly as a carton. Further, ink is conventionally not applied to any portion of a carton blank that will otherwise have glue placed thereon as the ink can negatively affect bonding of the glue to the panel/flap in question. With this background in mind, FIG. 2 shows (with cross-hatching) areas on the conventional locking tab carton blank that do not receive ink printing or graphics. For example, one section of each of the minor flaps 60-66 has graphics printed thereon and a second section does not. Relative to the first minor flap 60, for example, a first section 80 has graphics printed thereon, and a second section 82 has no printed graphics. This technique is commensurate with assembly and final appearance of the carton. For example, as shown in FIG. 3 and with additional reference to FIG. 2, a portion of the second section 82 of the first minor flap 60 is inserted within the first locking slot 68 of the first major flap 52, and thus a portion thereof resides “behind” or interiorly of the first major flap 52. With further assembly of the third major flap 56 over the first major flap 52 and as shown in FIG. 4, the third major flap 56 covers remaining portions of the second section 82. However, the first section 80 of the first minor flap/locking tab 60 remains exteriorly exposed, such that printed graphics are necessary to present an aesthetically pleasing appearance to a potential purchaser. Virtually an entirety of the first and second major flaps 52, 54 are covered by the flaps 60, 64, 56 and 62, 66, 58, respectively, upon final assembly, such that only a small segment (referenced at 84 in FIGS. 2 and 4) receives printed graphics. For example, relative to the first major flap 52, and in addition to the third major flap 56, the first and third minor flaps/locking tabs 60, 64 cover a vast majority of the first major flap 52.
  • Designers expend numerous hours and costs in engineering an optimized carton blank/graphic layout. As a point of reference, packaged good article manufacturers may have in-house cartoning lines available for performing the carton formation and filling operation. In addition, it is commonplace for packaged good article manufacturers to outsource these operations to one or more cartoning resources. In many instances, a preferred cartoning resource may not have the necessary equipment available to process a particular style of carton blank. For example, some cartoning resources will not have either a top/end load cartoner or a locking tab cartoner on site. Under these circumstances, where the packaged good article manufacturer needs to meet a customer order for products normally packaged in the carton style for which the preferred cartoning resource does not have an appropriate cartoning machine, that preferred cartoning resource cannot be used.
  • Similarly, even if a particular cartoning resource operates both types of cartoner lines and/or has a cartoner line capable of handling the carton blank format in question, common production constraints may overtly limit the availability of a particular cartoner for meeting an expedited production request. For example, a packaged good article manufacturer may rely upon a certain cartoning resource otherwise having a top/end load cartoner line and a locking tab-type cartoner or line on site. This cartoning resource will typically serve a number of other packaged good article manufacturers, scheduling production runs based upon orders received. It is quite common for packaged good article manufacturers to receive customer purchase requests with short lead times. The packaged good article manufacture, in turn, relies upon the cartoning resource to meet these needs. If, for example, the short turnaround customer request is for products sold in locking tab cartons and the cartoning resource has previously dedicated its locking tab cartoner line to another production run, the packaged good article manufacturer will be unable to use the preferred cartoning resource, and may be unable to meet the customer's order. It is virtually impossible for the packaged good article manufacturer to quickly design a new side seam glued carton/blank with appropriate graphics so as to otherwise use the cartoning resource's top/end load cartoner line; nor would such an exercise be cost effective. Stated otherwise, a packaged good article manufacturer cannot readily re-design a side seam glue carton blank as a locking tab blank, or vice-versa. As a result, under either of the above scenarios, the packaged good article manufacturer is forced to locate a new, less-preferred cartoning resource that otherwise has an appropriate cartoner line available, or must explain to the customer that the order cannot be filled in the time requested. Clearly, either result is unacceptable.
  • Cartons continue to be a highly popular format for packaging and selling products to consumers. Unfortunately, while side seam glued cartons/blanks and locking tab cartons/blanks, and the related cartoning equipment, are well accepted and understood, marketplace realities often times impede the ability to meet customer requirements with a desired cartoning resource. Therefore, a need exists for a blank and related method of assembly amenable for use with either a top/end load cartoner or a locking tab cartoner.
  • SUMMARY
  • One aspect of the present invention relates to a method of assembling a carton. The method includes providing a blank having first and second major panels; first, second, and third minor panels; first, second, third, and fourth major flaps; and first, second, third, and fourth minor flaps. The first major panel is connected to the first minor panel. The second minor panel is connected to the first major panel opposite the first minor panel. The second major panel is connected to the second minor panel opposite the first major panel. The third minor panel is connected to the second major panel opposite the second minor panel. The first and second major flaps extend from opposite ends of the first major panel, respectively. Similarly, the third and fourth major flaps extend from opposite ends of the second major panel, respectively. At least one of the first, second, third, and fourth major flaps forms a cut, locking slot. The first and second minor flaps extend from opposite ends of the second minor panel, whereas the third and fourth minor flaps extend from opposite ends of the third minor panel. At least one of the minor flaps forms a locking tab. With the above in mind, glue is applied to one of the first and third minor panels. The blank is then folded such that the first and third minor panels are aligned and the previously applied glue adheres the first and third minor panels. The major panels are then unfolded relative to the minor panels to define a carton shell having first and second open ends. In this regard, the first and third major flaps and the first and third minor flaps project from the first open end. Similarly, the second and fourth major flaps, and the second and fourth minor flaps project from the second open end. The first and third minor flaps are then folded inwardly relative to the second and third minor panels. One of the first and third major flaps is folded inwardly over the first and third minor flap, and glue is applied thereto. The other first or third major flap is then folded and adhered to the previously folded major flap. The second and fourth minor flaps and second and fourth major flaps are similarly folded and adhered, resulting in a completed carton. In this regard, the completed carton is characterized by the locking tab not being engaged within the locking slot. In one preferred embodiment, each of the minor flaps forms a locking tab, none of which are engaged within a locking slot upon completion of the carton.
  • Another aspect of the present invention relates to a method of assembling a carton. The method includes providing a blank as described in the above paragraph. A determination is made as to availability of a top/end load cartoner or a locking tab cartoner at a cartoning resource. The blank is provided to the cartoning resource based upon the cartoner availability determination. Finally, a carton is formed from the blank. Regardless of which type of cartoner is employed, an entirety of the resultant carton has a uniform exterior graphics appearance. In one embodiment, a determination is made that the cartoning resource has a top/end load cartoner available, and the step of providing the blank to the cartoning resource includes applying glue to one of the first and third minor panels and folding the blank such that the first and third minor panels are aligned and adhered to one another. The so-provided blank is then formed into a carton using a top/end load cartoner. In an alternative embodiment, the blank is processed by a locking tab cartoner.
  • Yet another aspect of the present invention relates to a universal blank for forming a carton using either a top/end load cartoner or a locking tab cartoner. The blank includes first and second major panels; first, second, and third minor panels; first, second, third, and fourth major flaps; and first, second, third, and fourth minor flaps. The first major panel is connected to the first minor panel. The second minor panel is connected to the first major panel opposite the first minor panel. The second major panel is connected to the second minor panel opposite the first major panel. The third minor panel is connected to the second major panel opposite the second minor panel. The first and second major flaps extend from opposite ends of the first major panel, respectively. Similarly, the third and fourth major flaps extend from opposite ends of the second major panel, respectively. At least one of the first, second, third, and fourth major flaps forms a cut, locking slot. The first and second minor flaps extend from opposite ends of the second minor panel, whereas the third and fourth minor flaps extend from opposite ends of the third minor panel. At least one of the minor flaps forms a locking tab. Finally, printed graphics are applied to an exterior of the universal blank such that all exposed surfaces display printed graphics regardless of whether the blank is assembled as a carton via a top/end load cartoner or a locking tab cartoner.
  • Yet another aspect of the present invention relates to a method of assembling cartons. Identical first and second blanks are provided in the form described above. The first blank is formed as a first carton using a locking tab cartoner. The second blank is formed as a second carton using a top/end load cartoner. While the first and second cartons have different constructions, each presents a uniform exterior graphics appearance.
  • Yet another aspect of the present invention relates to a carton including first and second major walls, opposing side walls, and first and second closures. The opposing side walls are connected at opposite sides of the first and second major walls such that the major walls are opposite one another to define a carton shell having first and second ends. A first closure is provided at the first end of the carton shell, and includes first and second minor flaps and first and second major flaps. At least one of the minor flaps forms a locking tab, whereas the first major flap forms at least one locking slot. With this in mind, the first closure is formed by the first major flap extending over an exterior of the first and second minor flaps, and the second major flap extending exteriorly over the first major flap. The first major flap is adhered to the second major flap. The second closure is provided at the second end of the carton shell and includes third and fourth minor flaps, and third and fourth major flaps. With this mind, the second closure is formed by the third major flap extending over an exterior of the third and fourth minor flaps, and the fourth major flap extending exteriorly over the third major flap. In this regard, the third major flap is adhered to the fourth major flap. Finally, the carton is characterized by the locking tab not being engaged within the locking slot. In one embodiment, each of the minor flaps forms a locking tab, and the first and third major flaps form a pair of locking slots, with the carton being characterized by none of the locking tabs being engaged within the locking slots. In another embodiment, portions of the first major flap, including opposing side edges, are exteriorly exposed relative to the second major flap. In accordance with this embodiment, the first major flap includes printed graphics on the exposed portions.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • FIG. 1 is a plan view of a prior art side seam glued carton blank;
  • FIG. 2 is a plan view of a prior art locking tab carton blank;
  • FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a partially assembled locking tab carton using the blank of FIG. 2 in accordance with corresponding prior art locking tab carton assembly methodology;
  • FIG. 4 is an end view of an assembled locking tab carton of FIG. 3;
  • FIG. 5 is a plan view of an embodiment of a universal carton blank in accordance with the present invention;
  • FIGS. 6A-6F are partial perspective views illustrating assembly of a carton from the blank of FIG. 5 in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention;
  • FIG. 7 is an end view of an assembled carton produced from the flap of FIG. 5;
  • FIG. 8 is a cross-sectional view of the carton of FIG. 7 along the lines 8-8;
  • FIG. 9 is a plan view of an alternative embodiment universal carton blank in accordance with the present invention;
  • FIGS. 10A and 10B illustrate partial assembly of a carton from the blank of FIG. 9 in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention; and
  • FIG. 11 is a cross-section of the partially assembled carton of FIG. 10B taken along the line 11-11.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION
  • One embodiment of a universal carton blank 100 for forming a carton (one embodiment of which is shown at 102 in FIG. 6F) in accordance with the present invention is provided in FIG. 5. The blank 100 can be made from a paperboard, plastic or corrugated material conventionally used in carton formation. The blank 100 includes or defines first and second major panels 104, 106; first, second, and third minor panels 108-112; first, second, third, and fourth major flaps 114-120; and first, second, third, and fourth minor flaps 122-128. These components, along with other details associated with the one embodiment blank 100 of FIG. 5, are described in greater detail below. In general terms, however, the first major panel 104 is connected to the first minor panel 108. The second minor panel 110 is connected between the first and second major panels 104, 106. The third minor panel 112 is connected to the second major panel 106 opposite the second minor panel 110. The first and second major flaps 114, 116 extend from opposite ends of the first major panel 104. Similarly, the third and fourth major flaps 118, 120 extend from opposite ends of the second major panel 106. The first and second minor flaps 122, 124 extend from opposite ends of the second minor panel 110. Finally, the third and fourth minor flaps 126, 128 extend from opposite ends of the third minor panel 112. As described in greater detail below, the universal blank 100 is configured to facilitate assembly thereof as a carton with either a top/end load cartoner or a locking tab cartoner.
  • The first major panel 104 is, in one embodiment, rectangularly shaped, generally defined by first, second, third, and fourth ends 140-146. Each of the ends 140-146 are designated in FIG. 5 by dashes that otherwise represent a fold line. The fold lines are preferably defined by, but not limited to, crimping, some form of marking or some other line-forming process, or adjacent elements of the blank 100 having a common edge. Alternatively, a partial-cut score line (e.g., cut to a depth of approximately 50% of the thickness of the paperboard material) can be employed to define one or more of the ends or fold lines 140-146. For example, in one embodiment, the first end 146 is defined by a perforation cut. As used throughout the specification, the terms “fold” or “fold line” encompass any known technique for demarcating one panel/flap from an adjacent panel/flap in a manner that facilitates folding of the two components relative to one another. With this designation in mind, the first major flap 114 extends from the first end 140, the second minor panel 110 extends from the second end 142, the second major flap 116 extends from the third end 144, and the first minor panel 108 extends from the fourth end 146.
  • In one embodiment, the second major panel 106 approximates a shape and size to the first major panel 104, and is defined by first, second, third, and fourth ends or fold lines 150-156. The third major flap 118 extends from the first end 150, whereas the fourth major flap 120 extends from the third end 154. The third minor panel 112 is connected to the second end 152, whereas the second minor panel 110 is connected to the fourth end 156.
  • The second minor panel 110 is, as previously described, positioned between the first and second major panels 104, 106. In this regard, the second minor panel 110 is defined by opposing, first and second ends or fold lines 160, 162. The first minor flap 122 extends from the first end 160, whereas the second minor flap 124 extends from the second end 162. In one preferred embodiment, the first and second ends 160, 162 are defined by spaced cut lines extending through a thickness of the blank material. Alternatively, a conventional fold line can be generated.
  • The third minor panel 112 is similarly defined by first and second ends 170, 172. The third minor flap 126 extends from the first end 170, whereas the fourth minor flap 128 extends from the second end 172. In one preferred embodiment, the first and second ends 170, 172 are defined by perforation cuts. Alternatively, other fold line formation techniques can be employed. Regardless, in one embodiment, the third minor panel 112 forms a re-closure slot 174. As is known in the art, the re-closure slot 174 is configured to selectively receive a re-closure tab 176 formed by the first minor panel 108. Alternatively, the first minor panel 108 can form the re-closure slot 174 and the third minor panel 112 can form the re-closure tab 176.
  • Regardless, the re-closure slot and tab 174, 176 facilitate re-closure of an assembled carton by a consumer following opening thereof. Further, in alternative embodiments described below, the re-closure slot 174 and the re-closure tab 176 can be eliminated.
  • Adjacent ones of the major and minor flaps 114-120 and 122-128 are laterally separated from one another by full cuts (i.e., cuts that extend through the entire thickness of the paperboard material) to allow each flap to be freely folded inwardly or outwardly. Thus, for example, the first minor flap 122 is separated from the first and third major flaps 114, 118 by full cuts such that the major flaps 114, 118 do not impede folding of the first minor flap 122 relative to the second minor panel 110.
  • In one embodiment, each of the minor flaps 122-128 defines a locking tab 180 (referenced generally for the first minor flap 122). The minor flap/locking tabs 122-128 are configured to interface with, or be captured by or “locked” relative to, a corresponding locking slot. For example, in one embodiment, the third major flap 118 forms first and second locking slots 186, 188, and the fourth major flap 120 forms third and fourth locking slots 190, 192. The first locking slot 186 is configured to receive the first minor flap/locking tab 122; the second locking slot 188 is configured to receive the third minor flap/locking tab 126; the third locking slot 190 is configured to received the second minor flap/locking tab 124; and the fourth locking slot 192 is configured to receive the fourth minor flap/locking tab 128. Alternatively, less than all of the minor flaps 122-128 can form a locking tab and one or both of the first and second major flaps 114, 116 can form one or more of the locking slots 186-192.
  • An additional preferred feature of the blank 100 relates to printed ink graphics (e.g., colors, symbols, alphanumeric characters, pictures, trademarks, etc.) on an exterior surface thereof. FIG. 5 illustrates the printed side of the blank 100 (i.e., the side of the blank 100 that will otherwise define an exterior of the resultant carton). With this in mind, unprinted sections of the blank 100 are represented by cross-hatching in FIG. 5 (referenced generally at 200). All other portions of the blank 100 (relative to the face or view of FIG. 5) preferably have printed graphics applied thereto. For example, an entirety of the first major panel 104 is covered with ink printed graphics. Several of the flaps have printed and unprinted segments configured to render the blank 100 appropriate for two different carton configurations. In particular, the minor flaps 122-128 preferably each include a printed segment 202 and an unprinted segment 204 (identified in FIG. 5 for the first minor flap 122). For reasons made clear below, the shape and layout of the printed and unprinted segments 202, 204 conforms with conventional locking tab carton blank designs.
  • Each of the third and fourth major flaps 118, 120 preferably includes a printed segment 206 and an unprinted segment 208 (identified in FIG. 5 for the third major flap 118). In this regard, the third and fourth major flaps 118, 120 each define a free leading edge 210 and opposing free side edges 212, 214 (identified in FIG. 5 for the third major flap 118). With these designations in mind, the printed segment 206 includes sub-segments 216, 218 that include and extend from the first and second free side edges 212, 214, respectively. As made clear below, in accordance with one assembly technique, the sub-segments 216, 218 will be exteriorly exposed upon final assembly of the blank 100 as a carton using a top/end load cartoner such that by providing printing on the sub-segments 216, 218, an aesthetically pleasing carton is presented to potential purchasers. The sub-segments 216, 218 each define an interior demarcation line 220, 222 that represents a point of transition from the printed segment 206 to the unprinted segment 208. In one embodiment, the demarcation lines 220, 222 each continue to or intersect the free leading edge 210 at a point spaced from the corresponding free side edge 212, 214. More particularly, the first demarcation line 220 intersects the free leading edge 210 and is spaced from the first free side edge 212 by at least 0.0625 inch, more preferably 0.125 inch; the second demarcation line 222 extends to the free leading edge 210 and is similarly spaced from the second free side edge 214. Further, the demarcation lines 220, 222 preferably extend in an angular fashion relative to a plane defined by the corresponding free side edge 212, 214. For example, the first demarcation line 220 defines an included angle 0 relative to the first free side edge 212 of at least 40, more preferably 80. The second demarcation line 222 is identically oriented relative to the second free side edge 214. It surprisingly has been found that these preferred dimensions and orientations uniquely satisfy and support the carton construction techniques described below.
  • The third minor panel 112 also preferably includes a printed segment 224 and an unprinted segment 226. In contrast to prior art locking tab blank designs in which only a small portion of the third minor panel 112 is unprinted, the unprinted segment 226 of the blank 100 in accordance with the present invention is relatively large. As described in greater detail below and in accordance with one carton assembly technique, a relatively large amount of glue is applied to the third minor panel 112. To ensure adequate bonding, the unprinted segment 226 defines an enlarged bleed area for expected flow of this glue during assembly. Thus, in one preferred embodiment, the unprinted segment 226 extends to a free leading end 228 of the third minor panel 112. Further, the unprinted segment 226 extends to a demarcation line closely spaced to the first and second ends 170, 172. Also, in one embodiment, the unprinted segment 226 encompasses a portion of the re-closure slot 174. In one preferred embodiment, the unprinted segment 226 assumes a size and shape commensurate with a size and shape of the first minor panel 108, except for the re-closure tab 176.
  • In addition to the printed and unprinted segments 224, 226 described above, the third minor panel 112 preferably includes a glue assist area 230 (represented by a rectangle in FIG. 5). The glue assist area 230 is preferably formed by a partial cut (e.g., cut through 50% of a thickness of the blank material), and ensures that during opening of the resultant carton via tearing of the first minor panel 108 from the third minor panel 112, the paperboard material (or other material used for the blank 100) will not tear past the glue assist area 230. In other words, the glue assist area 230 serves to ensure integrity of the re-closure slot 174 during opening of the resultant carton. The size, location, and orientation of the glue assist area 230 associated with the universal blank 100 of the present invention is preferably commensurate with that of conventional locking tab carton blanks. Alternatively, the glue assist area 230 need not be provided.
  • The universal blank 100 of the present invention can be assembled into carton form using either a locking tab cartoner or a top/end load cartoner, with the resultant carton satisfying all aesthetic requirements desired by the packaged good article manufacturer. Relative to a locking tab cartoner, the universal blank 100 is processed in accordance with conventional techniques previously described and shown in FIGS. 2-4. In general terms, an open tray (akin to the tray 76 of FIG. 3) is formed by folding the third and fourth major flaps 118, 120 and the second and third minor panels 110, 112 relative to the second major panel 106, and inserting the minor flaps/locking tabs 122-128 within corresponding ones of the locking slots 188-192. Following placement of product within the tray, glue is applied at the glue assist area 230 of the third minor flap 112, and the first major panel 104 and the first minor panel 108 folded such that the first minor panel 108 is positioned over, and thus adhered to, the third minor panel 112. Finally, the first and second major flaps 114, 116 are folded and adhered to the third and fourth major flaps 118, 120, respectively. Upon final assembly as a carton using the locking tab cartoner, the printed segment 202 of each of the minor flaps 122-128 are exteriorly exposed such that the printing thereon serves to provide an aesthetically pleasing carton. Notably, portions of the printed segment 206 of the third and fourth major panels 118, 120 will be covered by the first and third minor flaps 122, 126 and the second and fourth minor flaps 124, 128, respectively.
  • Alternatively, the universal blank 100 can be assembled as a carton using a top/end load cartoner, such as a Tisma, Jones, or Langen cartoner. For example, and with additional reference to FIG. 6A, the blank 100 is oriented such that the non-printed surface faces upwardly or outwardly (i.e., the opposite side of the blank 100 from the view of FIG. 5). The third minor panel 112 is folded inwardly, onto the second major panel 106 as illustrated in FIG. 6A. A strip or bead of glue (represented at 240 in FIG. 6A) is applied to the third minor panel 112 in a region of the glue assist area 230. In one embodiment, the glue bead 240 extends laterally beyond the glue assist area 230. In particular, and in one embodiment, the glue bead 240 is defined by a lateral length between first and second ends 242, 244. The first end 242 is positioned so as to be only slightly spaced from the first end 170 of the third minor panel 112, and the second end 244 is only slightly spaced from the second end 172 of the third minor panel 112. For example, in one embodiment, the first and second ends 242, 244 of the glue bead 240 are spaced not more than 0.5 inch from the first and second ends 170, 172, respectively, of the third minor panel 112; more preferably not more than 0.4 inch; even more preferably not more that 0.3 inch. Additionally, a lateral length of the glue bead 240 is preferably at least 90% of a lateral length of the third minor panel 112 (defined as a distance between the first and second ends 170, 172). Thus, the glue bead 240 extends well beyond the confines of the conventional glue assist area 230 (shown with dotted lines in FIG. 6A). As made clearer below, by providing additional glue beyond the glue assist area 230 (that is otherwise sized for processing by a locking tab cartoner), the glue bead 240 promotes subsequent formation as a carton with a top/end load cartoner. Further, in alternative embodiments, a second glue bead (not shown) can be applied.
  • With reference to FIG. 6B, following placement of the glue bead 240 (FIG. 6A), the first major panel 104 is folded relative to the second minor panel 110 (FIG. 6A) such that the first minor panel 108 is aligned over the third minor panel 112. As a point of reference, in the view of FIG. 6B, an exterior surface of the first major panel 104, the first minor panel 108, a portion of the third minor panel 112, first and second major flaps 114, 116, and third and fourth minor flaps 126, 128 is visible, as is an interior surface of a portion of the third and fourth major flaps 118, 120. The second minor panel 110 and the first and second minor flaps 122, 124 are hidden in the view of FIG. 6B. The previously applied glue bead 240 adheres the first and third minor panels 108, 112, resulting in the flattened carton shell 250 shown in FIG. 6B.
  • The flattened carton shell 250 is amenable for processing by a top/end load cartoner. For example, FIG. 6C illustrates the carton shell 250 positioned upright, with the first major panel 104, and the second major panel 106 (hidden in FIG. 6C) partially unfolded relative to the minor panels 108-112 (the second minor panel 110 is hidden in the view of FIG. 6C). With this orientation, the carton shell 250 defines opposing, first and second open ends 252, 254 (referenced generally in FIG. 6C). With this in mind, and by way of reference, the first and third major flaps 114, 118 and the first and third minor flaps 122, 126 extend or project at the first open end 252 (it being understood that the first minor flap 122 is hidden in the view of FIG. 6C).
  • The first open end 252 is closed by first folding the first and third minor flaps 122, 126 inwardly as shown in FIG. 6D. The third major flap 118 is subsequently folded inwardly onto the first and third minor flaps 122, 126 as shown in FIG. 6E. Notably, the locking slots 186, 188 otherwise formed by the third major flap 118 do not engage the first and third minor flaps/locking tabs 122, 126. Instead, the third major flap 118, and thus the locking slots 186, 188, are placed over the minor flaps/locking tabs 122, 126. A glue bead or line 260 is then applied to an exterior of the third major flap 118. Finally, the first major flap 114 is folded inwardly, onto the third major flap 118 as shown in FIG. 6F. The previously applied glue bead 260 (FIG. 6D) adheres the first major flap 114 to the third major flap 118.
  • With the first open end 252 (FIG. 6C) now closed, the partially completed carton 102 is inverted (for a top load cartoner) or otherwise positioned to receive or be loaded with product (not shown) via the second open end 254 (FIG. 6C). Once filled with a desired amount of product, the second open end 254 is closed in a manner highly similar to that described with respect to FIGS. 6D-6F. In particular, and with reference to FIGS. 5 and 6C, the second and fourth minor flaps 124, 128 are first folded inwardly. The fourth major flap 120 is subsequently folded onto the second and fourth minor flaps 124, 128. A glue bead (not shown) is applied to an exterior of the fourth major flap 120, with the second major flap 116 then being folded onto the fourth major flap 120 and adhered thereto by the glue. Once again, with this one preferred methodology, the second and fourth minor flaps/locking tabs 124, 128 are not engaged within the locking slots 190, 192 provided by the fourth major flap 120.
  • As part of the above-described method of assembly, the glue bead 240 (FIG. 6A) preferably ensures that the bond between the first and third minor panels 108, 112 provides maximum support or rigidity adjacent the ends 170, 172 of the third minor panel 112. With this preferred technique, the third minor panel 112 will not undesirably curl or otherwise deflect with folding of the minor flaps 122-128 or subsequent gluing/folding of the first and third major flaps 114, 118 or second and fourth major flaps 116, 120, respectively.
  • An end view of the carton 102 produced by the top/end load cartoning technique described above is provided in FIG. 7. In particular, FIG. 7 illustrates the first major flap 114 folded onto the third major flap 118. Notably, the first and third minor flaps 122, 126 (FIG. 5) are completely covered by the third major flap 118, and thus no portion thereof (including the printed segment 202 (FIG. 5)) is exteriorly exposed. However, the printed segment 206 (represented by stippling on the third major flap 118 in the view of FIG. 7) of the third major flap 118 is exteriorly exposed relative to the first major flap 114. For example, the graphics associated with the printed segment 206 of the third major flap 118 is consistent with, or presents a continuous transition from, graphics on the first major flap 114 in terms of color(s), words, characters, etc. (it being understood that for ease of illustration, graphics on the exterior surface of the first major flap 114 are not shown in FIG. 7). Though not shown, a similar relationship is provided at an opposite end of the carton 102 between the printed segment 206 of the fourth major flap 120 relative to the second major flap 116. Thus, the resultant carton 102 provides a uniform, aesthetically pleasing appearance.
  • Finally, FIG. 8 fully illustrates a relationship of several of the flaps of the carton 102 otherwise assembled via a top/end load cartoner. In particular, the first major flap 114 is exteriorly positioned relative to the third major flap 118. Additionally, the third major flap 118 encompasses or covers the first minor flap 122 (and the third minor flap 126 (not shown)). Once again, the first minor flap/locking tab 122 is not engaged by or within the locking slot 186 formed by the third major flap 118.
  • Another embodiment of a universal blank 300 in accordance with the present invention is shown in FIG. 9. The blank 300 is specifically shown as being formed of corrugated, microfluted material (referenced generally at 301), although again any other conventional carton material is equally acceptable. The blank 300 includes or defines first and second major panels 302, 304; first, second, and third minor panels 306-310; first, second, third, and fourth major flaps 312-318; and first, second, third, and fourth minor flaps 320-326. As described in greater detail below, the universal blank 300 is highly similar to the blank 100 (FIG. 5) previously described, and is configured to facilitate assembly thereof as a carton with either a top/end load cartoner or a locking tab cartoner.
  • The first major panel 302 is generally defined by first, second, third, and fourth ends or fold lines 330-336. Once again, each of the ends 330-336 are designed in FIG. 9 by dashes that otherwise represent a fold line. In one embodiment, at least the end 336 is a scoreline. The first major flap 312 extends from the first end 330; the second minor panel 308 extends from the second end 332; the second major flap 314 extends from the third end 334; and the first minor panel 306 extends form the fourth end 336.
  • The second major panel 304 is similarly defined by first, second, third, and fourth ends or fold lines 340-346. The third major flap 316 extends from the first end 340, whereas the fourth major flap 318 extends from the third end 344. The third minor panel 310 extends from the second end 342, whereas the second minor panel 308 extends from the fourth end 346.
  • The second minor panel 308 is positioned between the first and second major panels 302, 306. In this regard, the second minor panel 308 is defined by opposing first and second ends or fold lines 350, 352. The first minor flap 320 extends from the first end 350, whereas the second minor flap 322 extends from the second end 352.
  • Finally, the third minor panel 310 is defined by first and second ends 360, 362. The third minor flap 324 extends from the first end 360, whereas the fourth minor flap 326 extends from the second end 360.
  • In many respects, the blank 300 is highly similar to the blank 100 (FIG. 5) previously described. For example, at least one, preferably all, of the minor flaps 320-326 define locking tabs. Further, at least one, preferably both, of the third and fourth major flaps 316, 318 form at least one, preferably two, locking slots (referenced generally at 370). Further, the blank 100 preferably includes unprinted sections represented by cross-hatching in FIG. 9 (referenced generally at 380). All other portions of the blank 300 (relative to the face or view of FIG. 9) preferably have printed graphics applied thereto. Once again, the location, size, and dimensions associated with the unprinted sections 380 of the third minor panel 310, the third and fourth major flaps 316, 318, and the first, second, third, and fourth minor flaps 318-326 is preferably selected to ensure that the resultant carton presents a desired, aesthetically pleasing, continuous printed graphic appearance regardless of whether the blank 300 is processed by a top/end load cartoner or a locking tab cartoner. However, unlike the blank 100 previously described, the first and third minor panels 306, 310 do not include a re-closure tab or re-closure slot. Further, although the illustrations of FIGS. 5 and 9 are not precisely to scale, it should be recognized that the various panels and flaps of the blank 300 have differing dimensions as compared to corresponding panels and flaps of the blank 100.
  • In addition to the variations identified above, the blank 300 embodies an alternative feature of the present invention whereby a location of the fold line or scoreline 336 is selected to facilitate assembly of the blank 300 with either a top/end load cartoner or a locking tab cartoner, and can be adjusted as a function of a thickness of the blank 300. As a point of reference, conventional blanks otherwise providing two major panels (e.g., akin to the first and second major panels 302, 304) design the major panels to have identical dimensions, and in particular, identical lateral widths. With increased material thicknesses (such as when a corrugated material is employed), however, this accepted layout can impede desired assembly, especially with a top/end load cartoner. For example, and as described in greater detail below, the enlarged material thickness may result in mis-aligned fold lines during assembly, that in turn impedes the assembly process. As a point of reference, the first major panel 302 defines a lateral width W1 and the second major panel 304 defines a lateral width W2. In one preferred embodiment in which the blank 300 is made from a corrugated material, the fold line 336 is positioned such that the lateral width W1 of the first major panel 302 is greater than the lateral width W2 of the second major panel 304. In one exemplary embodiment, for example, the first major panel 302 has a lateral width W1 of 6.468 inch, whereas the second major panel 304 has a lateral width W2 of 6.416 inches. Of course, other dimensions are equally acceptable. Notably, the location of the fold line 336 is preferably selected as a compromise between a desired location for processing of the blank 300 with a top/end load cartoner and a locking tab cartoner. That is to say, were the blank 300 to only be processed by a top/end load cartoner, the fold line 336 would be positioned to define an even greater lateral width W1 for the first major panel 302; conversely, were the blank 300 to be processed solely by a locking tab cartoner, the fold line 336 would be positioned to define a lesser lateral width W1.
  • Assembly of the blank 300 as a carton is highly similar to that previously described and can be performed with either a locking tab cartoner or a top/end load cartoner. Assembly with a locking tab cartoner is similar to that previously described with respect to FIGS. 3 and 4. Conversely, assembly of the blank 300 with a top/end load cartoner is highly similar to the methodology previously described with respect to FIG. 6A-6E. For example, beginning at FIG. 10A, the blank 300 is oriented such that the non-printed surface faces upwardly or outwardly (i.e., the opposite side of the blank 300 from the view of FIG. 9). The third minor panel 310 is folded inwardly, onto the second major panel 304 as illustrated in FIG. 10A. A first strip or bead of glue (represented at 400 in FIG. 10A) is then applied to the third minor panel 310. Notably, where desired, the third minor panel 310 can include a glue assist area (not shown) akin to the glue assist area 230 (FIG. 6A) previously described with respect to the blank 100. Regardless, and in one preferred embodiment, a second glue bead 410 is also applied to the third minor panel 310 adjacent the fold line 342.
  • With reference to FIG. 10B, following placement of the glue beads 400, 410 (FIG. 10A), the first major panel 302 is folded relative to the second minor panel 308 (FIG. 10A) such that the first minor panel 306 is aligned over the third minor panel 310. As a point of reference, in the view of FIG. 10B, an exterior surface of the first major panel 302, the first minor panel 306, a portion of the third minor panel 310, first and second major flaps 312, 314 and third and fourth minor flaps 324, 326 is visible, as is an interior surface of a portion of the third and fourth major flaps 316, 318. The second minor panel 308 and the first and second minor flaps 320, 322 are hidden in the view of FIG. 10B. The previously applied glue beads 400, 410 adheres the first and third minor panels 306, 310, resulting in a flattened carton shell 420, shown in FIG. 10B. The dual glue beads 400, 410 sufficiently holds the first and third minor panels 306, 310 together so that they move as one when the cartoner (or operator) attempts to open the carton shell 420 for filling. In particular, the first minor panel 306 will not partially disengage from or otherwise project from the third minor panel 310 in a manner that might otherwise interfere with the handling of the carton shell 420. Further, the dual glue beads 400, 410 also significantly increase the structural strength of a resultant carton (not shown) for large dimension cartons. This area is subjected to pressure during routine production handling or customer inspection since the natural tendency is to hand (or machine) “squeeze” the carton in this area.
  • FIG. 11 provides a cross-sectional view of the folded carton shell 420. As a point of reference, the various panels 302-310 are illustrated with differing cross-section lines for purposes of clarity. It will be understood that in a preferred embodiment, the blank 300 is formed from a single sheet of material, such that the panels 302-310 are of an identical material cross-section. With this in mind, the third minor panel 310 is folded over the second major panel 304, and the first major panel 302 is folded over the second minor panel 308. With the one embodiment blank 300 otherwise comprised of a corrugated material, the material thickness creates excess material in the region of the folds. That is to say, for example, the first major panel 302 defines a slight curve upon folding relative to the second minor panel 308 as opposed to a “clean” fold or corner. Due to the previously described adjustment of the fold line 336 location, however, the fold line 336 is approximately aligned with a leading edge 430 of the third minor panel 310. In other words, if the previously described fold line adjustment were not employed (and thus the first and second major panels 302, 304 configured to have identical lateral widths), the fold line 336 would be spaced from the edge 430 such that upon subsequent folding of the now bonded first and third minor panels 306, 310 relative to the second major panel 304, the edge 430 of the third minor panel 310 would interfere with desired folding along the fold line 336. In an alternative embodiment, the third minor panel 310 is crushed along the edge 430 prior to assembly to further reduce interference with the fold line 336. Regardless, subsequent processing of the carton shell 420 preferably continues in a manner previously described with respect to FIG. 6C-6E.
  • The universal blank 100, 300 of the present invention provides packaged good article manufacturers with the flexibility necessary to meet customer requirements. For example, upon receiving a customer order, the packaged good article manufacturer reviews the availability of top/end load cartoner(s) and/or locking tab cartoner(s) at a cartoning resource (either owned by the packaged good article manufacturer or a third party). If it is determined that the cartoning resource has a locking tab cartoner available to meet the packaged good article manufacturer's timing needs, the packaged good article manufacturer can provide the cartoning resource with a requisite number of the blanks 100 in flat form (i.e., un-glued). The cartoning resource can then assemble and load cartons using the available locking tab cartoner. Conversely, if it is determined that the cartoning resource only has a top/end load cartoner line available to meet the packaged good article manufacturer's timing needs, the packaged good article manufacturer can generate and provide the same, identical blanks 100 or 300 to the cartoning resource. In one embodiment, the packaged good article manufacturer provides the cartoning resource with the blanks 100 or 300 in a pre-glued flattened carton shell form (as shown at 250 in FIGS. 6B). Alternatively, the blanks 100 or 300 can be provided in flat form (i.e., un-glued) for subsequent gluing by the cartoning resource. Regardless, the cartoning resource assembles the blanks 100 or 300 as cartons and fills the same with product using their top/end load cartoners. The universal blank 100 or 300 of the present invention can be used with any “standard” cartoning equipment, and no re-designing of the blank 100 or 300, including the graphics printed thereon, is required. Thus, the universal blank and related method of assembly of the present invention provides a marked improvement over previous designs.
  • Although the present invention has been described with reference to preferred embodiments, workers skilled in the art will recognize that changes can be made in form and detail without departing from spirit and the scope of the present invention. For example, while the method of assembling a carton using the blank of the present invention has been described with reference to an outsourced cartoning resource, packaged good article manufacturer's can utilize the blank with in-house cartoning equipment. Further, virtually any type of product normally packaged in a carton can be loaded into a carton made by the universal blank of the present invention, including consumable products, non-consumable products, separately packaged products (e.g., products that are packaged within a separate bag prior to loading with the carton formed by universal blanks), etc.

Claims (36)

  1. 1. A method of assembling a carton comprising:
    a) providing a blank including:
    a first minor panel,
    a first major panel connected to the first minor panel,
    a second minor panel connected to the first major panel opposite the first minor panel,
    a second major panel connected to the second minor panel opposite the first major panel,
    a third minor panel connected to the second major panel opposite the second minor panel,
    first and second major flaps extending from opposite ends of the first major panel, respectively,
    third and fourth major flaps extending from opposite ends of the second major panel, respectively,
    wherein at least one of the first, second, third, and fourth major flaps forms a cut, locking slot,
    first and second minor flaps extending from opposite ends of the second minor panel, respectively,
    third and fourth minor flaps extending from opposite ends of the third minor panel, respectively,
    wherein at least one of the first, second, third, and fourth minor flaps forms a locking tab;
    b) applying glue to one of the first and third minor panels;
    c) folding the blank such that the first and third minor panels are aligned, and the glue applied at step b) adheres the first and third minor panels;
    d) unfolding the major panels relative to the minor panels to define a carton shell having first and second open ends;
    e) folding the first and third minor flaps inwardly relative to the second and third minor panels, respectively, to encompass a portion of the first open end;
    f) folding one of the first and third major flaps inwardly over the first and third minor flaps;
    g) applying glue to the first or third major flap folded at step f);
    h) folding an other of the first and third major flaps inwardly onto the major flap folded at step f), wherein the glue applied at step g) adheres the first and third major flaps;
    i) folding the second and fourth minor flaps inwardly relative to the second and third minor panels, respectively, to encompass a portion of the second open end;
    j) folding one of the second and fourth major flaps inwardly over the second and fourth minor flaps;
    k) applying glue to the second or fourth major flap folded at step j); and
    l) folding an other of the second and fourth major flaps inwardly onto the major flap folded at step j), wherein the glue applied at step k) adheres the second and fourth major flaps, resulting in a completed carton;
    wherein the completed carton is characterized by the at least one locking tab not being engaged within the at least one locking slot.
  2. 2. The method of claim 1, wherein the first minor panel forms the re-closure tab and the second minor panel forms the re-closure slot.
  3. 3. The method of claim 1, wherein each of the first, second, third, and fourth minor flaps forms a locking tab.
  4. 4. The method of claim 3, wherein:
    each of the third and fourth major flaps forms a pair of locking slots;
    and further wherein the method is characterized by none of the locking tabs being engaged within the locking slots upon formation of the completed carton.
  5. 5. The method of claim 4, wherein step f) is characterized by folding the third major flap onto the first and third minor flaps, and step h) is characterized by folding the first major flap onto the third major flap.
  6. 6. The method of claim 5, wherein step j) is characterized by folding the fourth major flap onto the second and fourth minor flaps, and step 1) is characterized by folding the second major flap onto the fourth major flap.
  7. 7. The method of claim 1, wherein upon completion of step h), the first and third minor flaps are covered by the first and third major flaps.
  8. 8. The method of claim 1, wherein the major flap folded at step f) has a free leading edge and opposing free side edges, and further wherein upon completion of step h), an entirety of an exterior of the opposing free side edges of the major flap folded at step f) are exteriorly exposed.
  9. 9. The method of claim 8, wherein providing a blank includes printing graphics on an exterior of the major flap to be folded at step f), and further wherein the printed graphics encompass the opposing free side edges.
  10. 10. The method of claim 1, wherein each of the first and third minor panels has a lateral length defined by opposing first and second ends, and further wherein step b) is characterized by applying a glue bead to one of the first and third minor panels, the glue bead having a length not less than 90% of the lateral length of the minor panel to which the glue bead is applied.
  11. 11. The method of claim 10, wherein step b) is further characterized by a first end of the glue bead being spaced not more than 0.4 inch from the first opposing end of the minor panel to which the glue bead is applied.
  12. 12. The method of claim 10, wherein the minor panel to which the glue bead is applied forms a glue assist area, and wherein step b) is further characterized by the glue bead extending beyond a lateral length of the glue assist area.
  13. 13. The method of claim 10, wherein step b) is characterized by applying the glue bead to the third minor panel.
  14. 14. The method of claim 1, wherein step b) is characterized by applying first and second glue beads to one of the first and third minor panels, the glue beads being laterally spaced from one another.
  15. 15. The method of claim 1, wherein a partially-closed carton is formed upon completion of step h), the method further comprising:
    dispensing product into the partially-closed carton following step h).
  16. 16. A method of assembling a carton comprising:
    a) providing a blank including:
    a first minor panel,
    a first major panel connected to the first minor panel,
    a second minor panel connected to the first major panel opposite the first minor panel,
    a second major panel connected to the second minor panel opposite the first major panel,
    a third minor panel connected to the second major panel opposite the second minor panel,
    first and second major flaps extending from opposite ends of the first major panel, respectively,
    third and fourth major flaps extending from opposite ends of the second major panel, respectively,
    wherein at least one of the first, second, third, and fourth major flaps forms a cut, locking slot,
    first and second minor flaps extending from opposite ends of the second minor panel, respectively,
    third and fourth minor flaps extending from opposite ends of the third minor panel, respectively,
    wherein at least one of the first, second, third, and fourth minor flaps forms a locking tab;
    b) determining an availability of a locking tab cartoner or a top/end load cartoner at a cartoning resource;
    c) providing the blank to the cartoning resource based upon the determination at step b); and
    d) forming a carton from the blank;
    wherein an entirety of the carton has a uniform exterior graphics appearance whether formed by a locking tab cartoner or a top/end load cartoner.
  17. 17. The method of claim 16, wherein the method is characterized by using an identical blank for assembly by a top/end load cartoner or a locking tab cartoner.
  18. 18. The method of claim 16, wherein a determination is made at step b) that a top/end load caser is available at the cartoning resource, and further wherein step c) includes:
    applying glue to one of the first and third minor panels;
    folding the blank such that the first and third minor panels are aligned and the glue adheres the first and third minor panels resulting in a flattened carton shell;
    wherein the flattened carton shell is provided to the cartoning resource as part of step c).
  19. 19. The method of claim 16, wherein a determination is made at step b) that a top/end load cartoner is available from the cartoner resource, and further wherein step d) includes:
    e) providing the blank as a flattened carton shell by:
    applying glue to one of the first and third minor panels,
    folding the blank such that the first and third minor panels are aligned, and the glue adheres the first and third minor panels to form the flattened carton shell,
    f) unfolding the major panels relative to the minor panels to define a carton shell having first and second open ends;
    g) folding the first and third minor flaps inwardly relative to the second and third minor panels, respectively, to encompass a portion of the first open end;
    h) folding one of the first and third major flaps inwardly over the first and third minor flaps;
    i) applying glue to the first or third major flap folded at step h);
    j) folding an other of the first and third major flaps inwardly onto the major flap folded at step h), wherein the glue applied at step i) adheres the first and third major flaps;
    k) folding the second and fourth minor flaps inwardly relative to the second and third minor panels, respectively, to encompass a portion of the second open end;
    l) folding one of the second and fourth major flaps inwardly over the second and fourth minor flaps;
    m) applying glue to the second or fourth major flap folded at step 1); and
    n) folding an other of the second and fourth major flaps inwardly onto the major flap folded at step 1), wherein the glue applied at step m) adheres the second and fourth major flaps, resulting in a completed carton.
  20. 20. The method of claim 16, wherein a determination is made at step b) that a locking tab cartoner is available at the cartoning resource, and further wherein step d) is characterized by using the locking tab cartoner to form the carton.
  21. 21. A method of assembling cartons, the method comprising:
    a) providing identical first and second blanks each including:
    a first minor panel,
    a first major panel connected to the first minor panel,
    a second minor panel connected to the first major panel opposite the first minor panel,
    a second major panel connected to the second minor panel opposite the first major panel,
    a third minor panel connected to the second major panel opposite the second minor panel,
    first and second major flaps extending from opposite ends of the first major panel, respectively,
    third and fourth major flaps extending from opposite ends of the second major panel, respectively,
    wherein at least one of the first, second, third, and fourth major flaps forms a cut, locking slot,
    first and second minor flaps extending from opposite ends of the second minor panel, respectively,
    third and fourth minor flaps extending from opposite ends of the third minor panel, respectively,
    wherein at least one of the first, second, third, and fourth minor flaps forms a locking tab;
    b) forming a first carton from the first blank using a locking tab cartoner;
    and
    c) forming a second carton from the second blank using a top/end load cartoner;
    wherein the first and second cartons have a different construction; and further wherein an entirety of the first and second cartons has a uniform exterior graphics appearance.
  22. 22. The method of claim 21, wherein step c) includes:
    applying glue to one of the first and third minor panels; and
    folding the blank such that the first and third minor panels are aligned and the glue adheres the first and third minor panels resulting in a flattened carton shell.
  23. 23. A universal blank for assembly as a carton, the blank comprising:
    a first minor panel;
    a first major panel connected to the first minor panel;
    a second minor panel connected to the first major panel opposite the first minor panel;
    a second major panel connected to the second minor panel opposite the first major panel;
    a third minor panel connected to the second major panel opposite the second minor panel;
    first and second major flaps extending from opposite ends of the first major panel, respectively;
    third and fourth major flaps extending from opposite ends of the second major panel, respectively;
    wherein at least one of the first, second, third, and fourth major flaps forms a cut, locking slot;
    first and second minor flaps extending from opposite ends of the second minor panel, respectively;
    third and fourth minor flaps extending from opposite ends of the third minor panel, respectively;
    wherein at least one of the first, second, third, and fourth minor flaps forms a locking tab; and
    printed graphics on an exterior face of the blank, the printed graphics including printed segments of the first minor flap and the third major flap such that in a first carton construction, the printed segment of the first minor flap is exteriorly exposed, and in a second carton construction, the printed segment of the third major flap is exteriorly exposed.
  24. 24. The universal blank of claim 23, wherein the third major flap includes a free leading edge and opposing, first and second free side edges, and further wherein the printed segment of the third major flap encompasses an entirety of the free side edges.
  25. 25. The universal blank of claim 24, wherein the printed segment includes a sub-segment defined by an interior demarcation line that extends from the free leading edge.
  26. 26. The universal blank of claim 25, wherein the demarcation line extends adjacent the first free side edge and intersects the free leading edge at a point spaced from the first side edge by a distance of at least 0.065 inch.
  27. 27. The universal blank of claim 26, wherein the demarcation line extends from the free leading edge in an angular fashion relative to the first free side edge, defining an included angle of at least 4°.
  28. 28. The universal blank of claim 23, wherein the printed graphics further includes a printed segment and an unprinted segment on the third minor panel, the unprinted segment extending to a free leading end of the third minor panel.
  29. 29. The universal blank of claim 28, wherein the unprinted segment of the third minor panel encompasses a portion of the re-closure slot formed by the third minor panel.
  30. 30. The universal blank of claim 23, wherein the first minor panel and the first major panel are separated by a scoreline, and further wherein a location of the scoreline relative to an opposite end of the first major panel is dictated by a thickness of the blank.
  31. 31. A carton comprising:
    a first major wall;
    a second major wall opposite the first major wall;
    opposing side walls connecting opposite sides of the first and second major walls, respectively, to define a carton shell having first and second ends;
    a first closure provided at the first end of the carton shell, the first closure including:
    a first minor flap,
    a second minor flap,
    wherein at least one of the minor flaps forms a locking slot,
    a first major flap,
    a second major flap,
    wherein the first major flap forms at least one locking slot,
    and further wherein the first closure is formed by the first major flap extending over an exterior of the first and second minor flaps and the second major flap extending exteriorly over the first major flap, the first major flap being adhered to the second major flap;
    a second closure provided at the second end of the carton shell, the second closure including:
    a third minor flap,
    a fourth minor flap,
    a third major flap,
    a fourth major flap,
    wherein the second closure is formed by the third major flap extending over an exterior of the third and fourth minor flaps, and the fourth major flap extending exteriorly over the third major flap, the third major flap being adhered to the fourth major flap;
    wherein the carton is characterized by the locking tab not being engaged within the locking slot.
  32. 32. The method of claim 31, wherein each of the first, second, third, and fourth minor flaps form a locking tab.
  33. 33. The carton of claim 32, wherein the first major flap forms a pair of locking slots and the third major flap forms a pair of locking slots, and further wherein the carton is characterized by none of the locking tabs being engaged within the locking slots.
  34. 34. The carton of claim 33, wherein the locking slots of the first major flap are positioned over the first and second minor flaps, respectively, and the locking slots of the third major flap are positioned over the third and fourth minor flaps, respectively.
  35. 35. The carton of claim 31, wherein the first and second minor panels are adhered to one another by a glue line extending at least 90% of a lateral length of the first and second minor panels.
  36. 36. The carton of claim 31, wherein upon final assembly, portions of the first major flap, including opposing side edges, are exteriorly exposed relative to the second major flap, and further wherein the first major flap includes printed graphics on the exposed portions.
US11191533 2004-07-29 2005-07-28 Universal carton blank and method of manufacturing a carton therefrom Abandoned US20060032900A1 (en)

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US11191533 US20060032900A1 (en) 2004-07-29 2005-07-28 Universal carton blank and method of manufacturing a carton therefrom

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USD662412S1 (en) * 2011-04-01 2012-06-26 The Quaker Oats Company Carton blank
US20150010443A1 (en) * 2012-03-15 2015-01-08 Sysmex Corporation Reagent container for biological sample analyzer and method for manufacturing reagent container
US9440762B2 (en) * 2014-11-25 2016-09-13 Fujifilm Corporation Wrap around case
US9932142B2 (en) 2015-09-18 2018-04-03 Fujifilm Corporation Wraparound case

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US9440762B2 (en) * 2014-11-25 2016-09-13 Fujifilm Corporation Wrap around case
US9932142B2 (en) 2015-09-18 2018-04-03 Fujifilm Corporation Wraparound case

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