US20100226600A1 - Package with releasable film access opening - Google Patents

Package with releasable film access opening Download PDF

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Publication number
US20100226600A1
US20100226600A1 US12713287 US71328710A US2010226600A1 US 20100226600 A1 US20100226600 A1 US 20100226600A1 US 12713287 US12713287 US 12713287 US 71328710 A US71328710 A US 71328710A US 2010226600 A1 US2010226600 A1 US 2010226600A1
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Prior art keywords
package
seal
portion
film
main panel
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Abandoned
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US12713287
Inventor
Mark Steele
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Mark Steele
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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
    • B65D75/00Packages comprising articles or materials partially or wholly enclosed in strips, sheets, blanks, tubes, or webs of flexible sheet material, e.g. in folded wrappers
    • B65D75/52Details
    • B65D75/58Opening or contents-removing devices added or incorporated during package manufacture
    • B65D75/5855Peelable seals
    • 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
    • B65D75/00Packages comprising articles or materials partially or wholly enclosed in strips, sheets, blanks, tubes, or webs of flexible sheet material, e.g. in folded wrappers
    • B65D75/52Details
    • B65D75/58Opening or contents-removing devices added or incorporated during package manufacture
    • B65D75/5861Spouts
    • B65D75/5866Integral spouts

Abstract

A flexible package having a releasable film access device is described and depicted. The access device can include a first peel seal film overlapping and sealed (e.g., temporary peel seal) to a second peel seal film. This formation of the sealed films can be provided in predetermined patches or strips that are, in turn, sealed to a sealant surface of a package panel proximate a main access opening. The overlapping peel seal film configuration provides a proper barrier for the package opening while simultaneously providing easy access into the package through separation of the overlapping peel seal films.

Description

    RELATED APPLICATION
  • This Application claims priority to and the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 61/155,769, filed Feb. 26, 2009, which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.
  • FIELD OF THE INVENTION
  • The present invention relates generally to flexible packaging and, more particularly, to flexible packaging having at least one releasable film access feature proximate a controlled opening of the package.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • Conventional flexible packaging typically utilizes peel seal technology in a very limited manner. As such, typical packaging requires additional formation and material costs in that a separate access device is needed and must be incorporated into the device to include barrier protection and opening access. Further, the relative rigidity of the additional access devices, such as zipper devices, limits their respective positioning on the package. For instance, it can be problematic to position such conventional access devices along gusset lines, panel folds, and the like.
  • As a result, there is a need for a flexible package that substantially solves the above-referenced problems with conventional package designs, configurations, and manufacturing methods.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • The present invention solves many of the problems that plague conventional flexible packages and packaging methods. Various embodiments of the present invention are directed to an internal releasable film access feature, such as a peel seal access device or opening in a package. The package is generally formed from a plurality of flexible, or relatively flexible, outer panel portions. These panel portions can include a front panel portion, a back panel portion, and a bottom panel portion. In addition, the main package can include a first side panel portion, and a second side panel portion. The formation of these panels into the package defines at least one internal cavity for holding material contents. Any of the panels can be gusseted with the processes and techniques known to one skilled in the art.
  • The package generally includes an internal releasable film access device. In one embodiment, the access device includes a peel seal device comprising a first peel seal film overlapping and sealed (e.g., temporary peel seal) to a second peel seal film. This formation of the sealed films can be provided in predetermined patches or strips that are, in turn, sealed to a sealant surface of a package panel during package formation. As such, the first and second peel seal films are disposed or operably sealed (e.g., directly or indirectly) to an inner surface of one of the main panel portions, proximate an access opening in the package. Further, the peel seal film configuration can be pre-applied to the main package panel(s) or web. The overlapping peel seal film configuration provides a proper barrier for the package opening while simultaneously providing access into the package by separating the overlapping films. The peel seal device is generally configured for single use (e.g., not re-closeable), but can be adapted to allow re-closeability. For instance, an adhesive or other bond can be provided at the overlapping seal of the peel seal films such that the films can be separated and re-sealed for re-closeable use. The relatively thin and flexible structure of the peel seal film device is adaptable for disposition along nearly any region of a package, including across gusset lines, folds, and the like.
  • In yet another embodiment, the releasable film access device can include a film material having a laser score, or other cut or line not completely penetrating or separating the film, that is provided along a portion of a target sealant surface of one of the package panels proximate a controlled or package opening.
  • In one embodiment, a “destructive” or fusion seal is provided at a selected portion of each of the peel seal films such that the films are bonded to the inner surface of the film at the target seal location. Further, a temporary or non-destructive seal is provided at a portion where the two peel seal films overlap. This temporary seal can be released or broken to allow separation of the films respective to each other and the package access opening to permit access into the package and its contents. A key advantage of such a configuration is that a controlled opening is provided wherein a user can access the slit or opening in the main package panels, and through the peel seal device without using scissors or a knife, which in turn promotes safety and ease-of-use.
  • The peel seal access device of the present invention can be employed in a myriad of packages, including form-fill-and-seal packages, pre-made packages, stand-up packages, side access packages, top access packages, front and back access packages, and any a myriad of other package configurations and designs known to those of ordinary skill in the art.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a package with a releasable film access device in accordance with embodiments of the present invention.
  • FIG. 2 is a partial sectional schematic view of the releasable film access device of FIG. 1.
  • FIG. 3 is a perspective view of an opened package with a releasable film access device in accordance with embodiments of the present invention.
  • FIG. 4 is a perspective view of the package of FIG. 1 in an opened position.
  • FIG. 5 is a perspective view of a package with a releasable film access device across a gusset fold in accordance with embodiments of the present invention.
  • FIG. 6 is a partial sectional close-up schematic view of the releasable film access device for the package of FIG. 5.
  • FIG. 6 a is a partial close-up schematic view of a laser scored internal releasable access device in accordance with embodiments of the present invention.
  • While the invention is amenable to various modifications and alternative forms, specifics thereof have been shown by way of example in the drawings and will be described in detail. It should be understood, however, that the intention is not to limit the invention to the particular embodiments described. On the contrary, the invention is to cover all modifications, equivalents, and alternatives falling within the spirit and scope of the invention as defined by the appended claims. For illustrative purposes, hatching or shading in the figures is provided to demonstrate sealed portions and/or integrated devices for the package. In addition, the size and proportions of seal portions may be exaggerated with respect to the surrounding material and films to improve visual depictions of the corresponding seal and structure.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS
  • Referring generally to FIGS. 1-6 a, a flexible package 10 in accordance with the present invention, and the steps for forming the flexible package 10, are shown. The package 10 generally includes a front panel portion 12 and a back panel portion 14. The package 10 can further include a bottom panel portion 16 and one or more side panel portions 18. Panel portions 12-18 can be joined to form or define an inner cavity of the main package 10 for holding, transporting, or otherwise containing material contents. Each of the panel portions can include internal sealant surfaces. The joining of the front and back panels 12, 14 can create corresponding side or seal edges 26, and top 19 and bottom 21 seals. Alternatively, the panels can be formed of a single web material and folded or formed to define the distinct panel portions. The cross-hatching in the figures is generally used to denote sealing and/or panel edges or folds.
  • The package panel portions are generally constructed of flexible sheet material such as polyethylene, polyester, metal foil, polypropylene, or polyethylenes or polypropylenes laminated with other materials such as nylon, polyester, and like films. To provide for higher barriers, embodiments can use combination layers of said materials and material of the like. In addition, various panel portions can be constructed of, or incorporated with, materials that provide preferred sealing characteristics. One skilled in the art will understand that a myriad of materials and material laminates are available for selective use for the sealant surfaces to facilitate the bonding attachment described herein. In one embodiment, at least one of the sealant surfaces will comprise “contaminants” that permit a varying level of bonding, wherein the level of bondable attachment depends on the heat applied from a corresponding heat sealing bar or other device. Higher temperatures will create “destructive” (e.g., generally permanent) bonds while lower temperatures will create a more temporary bond for selective disengagement. Seal pressures and dwells can also affect the bond level.
  • In one embodiment, as demonstrated in FIGS. 1-2, the package 10 includes a peel seal releasable access device 30 comprising a first or top main panel portion 32, a second or bottom main panel portion 34, a first peel seal film 36, and a second peel seal film 38. The portions 32, 34 can be any part of (e.g., interior surface of), or provided with, a main panel portion, such as panels 12, 14, 16, 18, and the like. A portion of first peel seal film 36 is operably (e.g., directly or indirectly) sealed to the first main panel portion 32 at seal 40. Likewise, a portion of second peel seal film 38 is operably sealed to the second main panel portion 34 at seal(s) 42. To provide a package with a larger access opening, the films 36, 38 can extend across multiple main panel portions. For instance, in one embodiment, one or more of the films 36, 38 can extend along or transverse across the side panel 18 and extend over to at least a portion of the respective front 12 and back 14 panels. Other configurations are envisioned as well to permit the sealing or operable attachment of the films 36, 38 to multiple main panel portions to provide various access opening designs, sizes and shapes.
  • In general, the seals 40, 42 are destructive or permanent seals such that the peel seal films 36, 38 will not easily tear away from the inner sealant surface of the panel portions 32, 34. In the embodiment of FIG. 2, the main panel portions 32, 34 correspond with a portion or region of the side panel portion 18. However, one skilled in the art will understand that the present invention can be employed in or with any of the panels of the package 10, such as the front, back, top and bottom panels. As described herein, the level of bond for the seals can be directly related to the level of heat applied along the target seal location or by the use of materials at the target seal location to facilitate the desired degree of bonding. Further, the films 36, 38 or seal areas can be constructed of known materials having barrier properties to protect the contents from oxygen exposure, moisture, insect infestation, and the like.
  • Bond or seal 44 is provided at a material portion where the peel seal films 36, 38 overlap or otherwise come into contact or confrontation. In addition to overlapping, the films 36, 38 can be offset relative to their widths such that only the edge regions of the films 36, 38 confrontingly overlap, which reduces the amount of film material that must be displaced to release the seal 44 and provide access into the package. In general, the seal 44 is a temporary seal that enables a user to selectively separate the films 36, 38 from each other proximate an opening 46 of the package 10. As such, the peel seal films 36, 38 themselves provide the access mechanism into the opening 46 and the package 10. The seal 44 can include one or more separate seals and/or a material or agent, such as an adhesive, that is adapted to provide selective one-time or re-usable bonding or joining of the overlapping peel seal films 36, 38. Accordingly, while the peel seal access device 30 is generally configured as a one-time use device, it can be configured for re-closeable use.
  • In one embodiment, the peel seal access device 30 can be premade and self-contained as a patch, as described further herein. As such, those forming the package can simply seal or otherwise dispose the premade or pre-sealed device 30 to a portion of the package (e.g., inside panel portion) proximate the opening 46. This, in turn, eliminates complications that may arise from separately sealing the films 36, 38 to the package, and one another, at the time of formation.
  • In an alternative “patch” embodiment, the peel seal access device 30 can be separately operably sealed to a carrier patch, and shaped and sized according to the particular package formation or opening (e.g., design and shape of opening, including a spout, semicircular, etc.) needs. For instance, the device 30 could be operably sealed or attached to a rectangular or oval material which would then be operably sealed to the inside target sealant surface of one of the package panels 12-18. Regardless of the attachment method, it will be clear to those of ordinary skill in the art that the peel seal access device 30 can be employed with any of the package or access opening designs or configurations depicted herein or otherwise known. With such embodiments, the patch portions can be represented by the panel portions 32, 34 in the figures (e.g., FIGS. 2, and 6-6 a), which can then be attached or sealed to the main panel portions (e.g., 12-18).
  • As an alternative to the described patch embodiment, the peel seal device and its respective films and seals can be pre-applied to the main package web or panel prior to final formation, filling, etc.
  • Various handles or handle portions 60 (FIGS. 1, 3-4), graphics, closeable and re-closeable devices, gussets 62 (FIG. 5), and like features known to one skilled in the art are also envisioned for use with this invention and can be implemented without deviating from the spirit and scope of the present invention. All references to front, back, top, bottom, and the like are merely for demonstrative purposes and are not intended to limit the variations and positional references and orientations of the panels in the present invention.
  • In one embodiment, the internal releasable access device 30 can include a single film material 37 spanning across the opening 46, as demonstrated in FIG. 6 a. The film 37 can be operably sealed or joined to the internal target sealant surface of one of more of the panels at seals 40, 42. A laser scored region 39 can be included along or across a portion of film 37, generally proximate the controlled package opening 46, such that the user can apply a level of pressure at or proximate the score 39 to release or break open film 37 and obtain access into the package through the opening 46 and corresponding access device 30. Such a scored embodiment can provide the desired internal barrier protection for the opening region while still permitting the use of the above-described outer perforations, slits, tabs and the like, around the opening 46 of the package 10. Like other embodiments described herein, the film 37 can be implemented or utilized as a patch or strip, joinable with the internal sealant surface of the package 10. Typically, the application of laser scores to film material transverse to machine direction is slower and more difficult when added during package formation. However, because the scored embodiment of the present invention allows for application of the laser score to the film 37 at an earlier manufacturing or formation process, the scored film 37, or a patch or strip of the same, can be later applied during formation of the package 10 proximate an opening in the package running either transverse or in-line with machine/formation direction. Again, as described herein, the releasable access device 30 can be employed with nearly any package design and along or across any portion of a package.
  • A method of forming a peel seal embodiment of the present invention is hereby described utilizing a strip or patch to dispose the peel seal access device 30 at a target sealant location of a package panel 12-18. Two separate rolls of peelable seal film, corresponding to seal films 36, 38, of a predetermined width can be joined or sealed together at their respective peel seal sides. While the film widths can vary greatly depending on the particular package application, one embodiment will implement a width or length of approximately 1½ inches. A first film 36 of the two films is overlapped and/or offset with the second roll of film 38, with the peel seal surface of the first film 36 facing the peel seal surface of the second film 38. The two film rolls are then ran through a sealing process (e.g., a seal apparatus or bar) to create the disengageable peel seal 44 of the device 30. In one embodiment, the width or length of the seal 44 can be approximately ¼ inch. As such, the films 36, 38 are joined at seal 44 to create a single film roll or patch. In an embodiment requiring additional barrier protections or characteristics for the device 30, one or more of the films 36, 38 can include a barrier structure such as Ethylene Vinyl Alcohol (EVOH), a polyamide such as Nylon, or like known materials.
  • The single roll made up of the joined films 36, 38 can be cut in various desired lengths, shapes and widths to define a patch, and sealed to the package panel 12-18 (e.g., interior sealant surface) transverse or in machine direction relative to the package formation process. In one embodiment, the patch or device 30 can be disposed across a gusset in the package (e.g., longitudinal gusset or fold). Unlike bulky and relatively rigid zipper devices, providing the relatively thin and flexible films of the device 30 (e.g., approximately 1-6 mm thin, or other acceptable dimensions, depending on the package function) of the present invention across a gusset line 62 (FIG. 5) in the package does not limit folding, collapsing or expansion of the package at the gusset 62. This, in turn, permits implementation of the peel seal device 30 in nearly any package design and along or across any portion or surface of a package.
  • To form the seal structure of the device 30 strip or patch, the films can be sealed together at one predetermined (e.g., relatively lower) temperature, with pressure for a dwell period to make a seal that can be peeled apart when desired. Alternatively, other seals along the device 30, such as those seals 40, 42 joining the device 30 to the package panel(s) can be sealed with a higher temperature, for different or longer dwelling periods and at different pressure levels to make a destruct or permanent hermetic seal.
  • Various embodiments can further include slits, scores, cuts, removable slugs, perforations, notches, and the like in the package 10. For instance, a perforation or slit region 50 can be provided at the access 46 (e.g., main panel film material) to maintain closure and/or tamper evidence for the opening until the region 50 is separated or opened. The placement of the peel seal device 30 behind a slit or perforated region 50 of a package panel (e.g., main panel) maintains any barrier and infestation prevention required of the package, assists in preventing the package from opening if dropped or otherwise pressured by the internal package contents, and provides additional tamper evidence with the opening 46 or device 30, while still maintaining a controlled and easy-opening procedure for the package. Because the peel seal films 36, 38 can extend beyond (e.g., above and below) the slit 50 and can be operably sealed to the inner sealant surface of the particular main panel portion, the opening 46 will not tear or open wider than intended when operated by the end user, or when subjected to a drop test. Other peel-back materials, tabs 52, or tear portions, can be located proximate the access 46 and region 50 to facilitate selective access to the package opening 46.
  • In one embodiment, a tab 52 can be provided with one of the films 36, 38 proximate the opening 46 to facilitate pulling away (e.g., manual) or otherwise separating the films 36, 38 at seal 44. In other embodiments, a tab 52 can be included with one of the main panel portions to facilitate separation of the seal 44 to provide access to the opening 46 through the device 30 and its corresponding films.
  • The present invention may be embodied in other specific forms without departing from the spirit or essential attributes thereof, and it is, therefore, desired that the present embodiment be considered in all respects as illustrative and not restrictive. Similarly, the above-described methods and techniques for forming the present invention are illustrative processes and are not intended to limit the methods of manufacturing/forming the present invention to those specifically defined herein. A myriad of various unspecified steps and procedures can be performed to create or form the inventive package 10.

Claims (22)

  1. 1. A package for holding contents, comprising:
    a first main panel portion having an exterior surface and an interior surface;
    a second main panel portion having an exterior surface and an interior surface, such that at least the first and second main panel portions define a package interior;
    an opening defined in at least the first main panel portion; and
    a releasable film access device including a first film and a second film, with a main seal portion of the first film operably sealed to the interior surface of the first main panel portion above the opening, a main seal portion of the second film operably sealed to the interior surface of the first main panel portion below the opening, and a portion of the first film and second film operably joined at an overlap seal to provide selective access into package interior via the opening.
  2. 2. The package of claim 1, wherein the operable sealing of the main seal portion of the first film and the main seal portion of the second film to the interior surface of the first main panel portion includes a generally permanent seal.
  3. 3. The package of claim 1, wherein the overlap seal is a generally temporary seal.
  4. 4. The package of claim 1, further including a tab included with one of the first or second films of the access device to facilitate separation of the overlap seal.
  5. 5. The package of claim 1, further including a score line included along at least a portion of the overlap seal to facilitate separation of the overlap seal.
  6. 6. The package of claim 1, wherein the first and second main panel portions are constructed of a generally flexible polymer material.
  7. 7. The package of claim 1, wherein the first main panel portion includes a gusset, with the first and second films of the access device extending across the gusset.
  8. 8. The package of claim 1, wherein at least one of the first and second films of the access device are constructed of a polymer material having protective barrier properties.
  9. 9. The package of claim 1, further including a slit region provided along a portion of the first main panel portion to define the opening upon separation of the first main panel portion at the slit region.
  10. 10. A package for holding contents, comprising:
    a first main panel portion having an exterior surface and an interior surface;
    a second main panel portion having an exterior surface and an interior surface, such that at least the first and second main panel portions define a package interior;
    an opening defined in at least the first main panel portion;
    a carrier patch adapted for operable attachment to the interior surface of at least the first main panel portion; and
    a film access device including a first film and a second film, with a main seal portion of the first film operably sealed to a first seal surface of the carrier patch, a main seal portion of the second film operably sealed to the first seal surface of the carrier patch, and a portion of the first film and second film operably joined at an overlap seal, such that providing the carrier patch to the interior surface of the first main panel generally aligns the overlap seal with the opening in the first main panel portion to provide selective access into the package interior.
  11. 11. The package of claim 10, wherein sealing of the main seal portion of the first film and the main seal portion of the second film to the first seal surface of the carrier patch includes a generally permanent seal.
  12. 12. The package of claim 10, wherein the overlap seal is a generally temporary seal.
  13. 13. The package of claim 10, further including a tab included with one of the first or second films of the access device to facilitate separation of the overlap seal.
  14. 14. The package of claim 10, further including a score line included along at least a portion of the overlap seal to facilitate separation of the overlap seal.
  15. 15. The package of claim 10, wherein the first and second main panel portions are constructed of a generally flexible polymer material.
  16. 16. The package of claim 10, wherein the first main panel portion includes a gusset, with the carrier patch extending across the gusset.
  17. 17. The package of claim 10, further including an opening defined along a portion of the carrier patch proximate the overlap seal of the first and second films.
  18. 18. The package of claim 10, wherein the overlap seal is further operably sealed to a portion of the carrier patch.
  19. 19. A package for holding contents, comprising:
    a first main panel portion having an exterior surface and an interior surface;
    a second main panel portion having an exterior surface and an interior surface, such that at least the first and second main panel portions define a package interior;
    an opening region defined in at least the first main panel portion; and
    a film seal access device including a film portion, with a first seal portion of the film portion sealed to the interior surface of the first main panel portion above the opening, and a second seal portion of the first film portion sealed to the interior surface of the first main panel portion below the opening, with a score region provided with the film portion intermediate the first and second seal portions and proximate the opening region of the first main panel portion to provide selective access to the package interior.
  20. 20. The package of claim 19, wherein the sealing of the first and second film portions to the interior surface of the first main panel portion includes a generally permanent seal.
  21. 21. The package of claim 19, further including a tab provided with the film portion to facilitate separation of the film portion at the score region.
  22. 22. The package of claim 19, wherein the first and second main panel portions are constructed of a generally flexible polymer material.
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Cited By (11)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US20090180716A1 (en) * 2007-10-31 2009-07-16 Mark Steele Package handle
US20090214142A1 (en) * 2006-05-12 2009-08-27 Daniel Bossel Packing bag
US20090245699A1 (en) * 2008-03-07 2009-10-01 Mark Steele Gusseted package with impact barrier
US20090277916A1 (en) * 2008-05-06 2009-11-12 Mark Steele Package with strap handle
US20100111453A1 (en) * 2008-10-31 2010-05-06 Frito-Lay North America, Inc. Two Side Cut Reseal With Pressure Sensitive Adhesive and the Method for Making Same
US20100209026A1 (en) * 2009-02-13 2010-08-19 Rusty Koenigkramer Easy open woven polypropylene bag
US20110182531A1 (en) * 2009-12-18 2011-07-28 Mark Steele Package having a fill and seal feature
US20130036710A1 (en) * 2010-04-29 2013-02-14 Thomas Knoke Method and device for producing and filling packaging means
US9108381B2 (en) 2002-06-06 2015-08-18 Mark Steele Multi-compartment flexible package
US9309036B2 (en) 2012-10-25 2016-04-12 Mark Steele Package with enclosed utensil
US10093457B2 (en) 2014-02-25 2018-10-09 Mark Steele Package having a lap or fin seal without an air gap formed adjacent the seal

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US20090180716A1 (en) * 2007-10-31 2009-07-16 Mark Steele Package handle
US20090245699A1 (en) * 2008-03-07 2009-10-01 Mark Steele Gusseted package with impact barrier
US8540427B2 (en) 2008-03-07 2013-09-24 Mark Steele Gusseted package with impact barrier
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US20130036710A1 (en) * 2010-04-29 2013-02-14 Thomas Knoke Method and device for producing and filling packaging means
US10046878B2 (en) * 2010-04-29 2018-08-14 Windmoeller & Hoelscher Kg Method and device for producing and filling packaging means
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US10093457B2 (en) 2014-02-25 2018-10-09 Mark Steele Package having a lap or fin seal without an air gap formed adjacent the seal

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