US20110132976A1 - Protective wrappers for consumer products and methods of making - Google Patents

Protective wrappers for consumer products and methods of making Download PDF

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Publication number
US20110132976A1
US20110132976A1 US12/631,324 US63132409A US2011132976A1 US 20110132976 A1 US20110132976 A1 US 20110132976A1 US 63132409 A US63132409 A US 63132409A US 2011132976 A1 US2011132976 A1 US 2011132976A1
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United States
Prior art keywords
pair
protrusions
end
protective wrapper
sealed end
Prior art date
Legal status (The legal status is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the status listed.)
Abandoned
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US12/631,324
Inventor
Wojtek Drewnowski
Peter Preisner
Current Assignee (The listed assignees may be inaccurate. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy of the list.)
Eveready Battery Co Inc
Original Assignee
Playtex Products LLC
Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.)
Filing date
Publication date
Application filed by Playtex Products LLC filed Critical Playtex Products LLC
Priority to US12/631,324 priority Critical patent/US20110132976A1/en
Assigned to PLAYTEX PRODUCTS, LLC reassignment PLAYTEX PRODUCTS, LLC ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST (SEE DOCUMENT FOR DETAILS). Assignors: DREWNOWSKI, WOJTEK, PREISNER, PETER
Publication of US20110132976A1 publication Critical patent/US20110132976A1/en
Assigned to EVEREADY BATTERY COMPANY, INC. reassignment EVEREADY BATTERY COMPANY, INC. ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST (SEE DOCUMENT FOR DETAILS). Assignors: PLAYTEX PRODUCTS, INC., PLAYTEX PRODUCTS, LLC
Application status is Abandoned legal-status Critical

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    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61FFILTERS IMPLANTABLE INTO BLOOD VESSELS; PROSTHESES; DEVICES PROVIDING PATENCY TO, OR PREVENTING COLLAPSING OF, TUBULAR STRUCTURES OF THE BODY, e.g. STENTS; ORTHOPAEDIC, NURSING OR CONTRACEPTIVE DEVICES; FOMENTATION; TREATMENT OR PROTECTION OF EYES OR EARS; BANDAGES, DRESSINGS OR ABSORBENT PADS; FIRST-AID KITS
    • A61F13/00Bandages or dressings; Absorbent pads
    • A61F13/15Absorbent pads, e.g. sanitary towels, swabs or tampons for external or internal application to the body; Supporting or fastening means therefor; Tampon applicators
    • A61F13/551Packaging before or after use
    • A61F13/55175Packaging before or after use packaging of tampons
    • A61F13/5518Packaging before or after use packaging of tampons after use
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61FFILTERS IMPLANTABLE INTO BLOOD VESSELS; PROSTHESES; DEVICES PROVIDING PATENCY TO, OR PREVENTING COLLAPSING OF, TUBULAR STRUCTURES OF THE BODY, e.g. STENTS; ORTHOPAEDIC, NURSING OR CONTRACEPTIVE DEVICES; FOMENTATION; TREATMENT OR PROTECTION OF EYES OR EARS; BANDAGES, DRESSINGS OR ABSORBENT PADS; FIRST-AID KITS
    • A61F13/00Bandages or dressings; Absorbent pads
    • A61F13/15Absorbent pads, e.g. sanitary towels, swabs or tampons for external or internal application to the body; Supporting or fastening means therefor; Tampon applicators
    • A61F13/15577Apparatus or processes for manufacturing
    • A61F13/15707Mechanical treatment, e.g. notching, twisting, compressing, shaping
    • A61F13/15747Folding; Pleating; Coiling; Stacking; Packaging
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61FFILTERS IMPLANTABLE INTO BLOOD VESSELS; PROSTHESES; DEVICES PROVIDING PATENCY TO, OR PREVENTING COLLAPSING OF, TUBULAR STRUCTURES OF THE BODY, e.g. STENTS; ORTHOPAEDIC, NURSING OR CONTRACEPTIVE DEVICES; FOMENTATION; TREATMENT OR PROTECTION OF EYES OR EARS; BANDAGES, DRESSINGS OR ABSORBENT PADS; FIRST-AID KITS
    • A61F13/00Bandages or dressings; Absorbent pads
    • A61F13/15Absorbent pads, e.g. sanitary towels, swabs or tampons for external or internal application to the body; Supporting or fastening means therefor; Tampon applicators
    • A61F13/551Packaging before or after use
    • A61F13/55175Packaging before or after use packaging of tampons
    • A61F13/55185Packaging before or after use packaging of tampons in combination with the applicator
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B65CONVEYING; PACKING; STORING; HANDLING THIN OR FILAMENTARY MATERIAL
    • B65BMACHINES, APPARATUS OR DEVICES FOR, OR METHODS OF, PACKAGING ARTICLES OR MATERIALS; UNPACKING
    • B65B19/00Packaging rod-shaped or tubular articles susceptible to damage by abrasion or pressure, e.g. cigarettes, cigars, macaroni, spaghetti, drinking straws or welding electrodes
    • B65B19/34Packaging other rod-shaped articles, e.g. sausages, macaroni, spaghetti, drinking straws, welding electrodes
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B65CONVEYING; PACKING; STORING; HANDLING THIN OR FILAMENTARY MATERIAL
    • B65BMACHINES, APPARATUS OR DEVICES FOR, OR METHODS OF, PACKAGING ARTICLES OR MATERIALS; UNPACKING
    • B65B5/00Packaging individual articles in containers or receptacles, e.g. bags, sacks, boxes, cartons, cans, jars
    • B65B5/02Machines characterised by incorporation of means for making the containers or receptacles
    • B65B5/022Machines characterised by incorporation of means for making the containers or receptacles for making bags
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B65CONVEYING; PACKING; STORING; HANDLING THIN OR FILAMENTARY MATERIAL
    • B65BMACHINES, APPARATUS OR DEVICES FOR, OR METHODS OF, PACKAGING ARTICLES OR MATERIALS; UNPACKING
    • B65B5/00Packaging individual articles in containers or receptacles, e.g. bags, sacks, boxes, cartons, cans, jars
    • B65B5/04Packaging single articles
    • B65B5/045Packaging single articles in bags
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B65CONVEYING; PACKING; STORING; HANDLING THIN OR FILAMENTARY MATERIAL
    • B65BMACHINES, APPARATUS OR DEVICES FOR, OR METHODS OF, PACKAGING ARTICLES OR MATERIALS; UNPACKING
    • B65B7/00Closing containers or receptacles after filling
    • B65B7/02Closing containers or receptacles deformed by, or taking-up shape, of, contents, e.g. bags, sacks
    • B65B7/06Closing containers or receptacles deformed by, or taking-up shape, of, contents, e.g. bags, sacks by collapsing mouth portion, e.g. to form a single flap

Abstract

A protective wrapper is provided that includes a film having a first sealed end, a longitudinal seal, and a second sealed end with a first height, as well as an opening mechanism. The opening mechanism includes a pair of protrusions extending outward from the first sealed end by a first height, a line of weakness extending inward from a starting point where the pair of protrusions meet, and a pair of indentations extending inward from the second sealed end. The first height of the pair of protrusions is equal to or less than the second height of the second sealed end.

Description

    BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • 1. Field of the Invention
  • The present disclosure is related to protective wrappers for consumer products such as, but not limited to feminine care products. More particularly, the present disclosure is related to protective wrappers having easy to open structures and methods of making such wrappers.
  • 2. Description of Related Art
  • Feminine care products such as, but not limited to tampons, are typically made commercially available with protective wrappers. Wrappers provide protection of the consumer product (e.g., tampon) from being soiled prior to use. In the example of tampons, the wrapper is opened, the tampon is removed from the wrapper and inserted into the body. If the tampon has an applicator, the applicator will contact fluids from the user's body during insertion. The user must undesirably handle the used applicator prior to disposal after insertion. The wrapper and applicator are generally discarded separately.
  • Tampon wrappers made of polypropylene that are currently available to consumers produce noise or sound upon a user tearing the wrapper to access the tampon. The noise may be heard by others, and, thus, does not allow the user to be discreet while using a tampon. However, materials other than polypropylene can be undesirably difficult to open.
  • Some prior art wrappers have a perforated line to assist the user to open the wrapper. Many prior art wrappers merely print an indicator on the wrapper to indicate where this perforated line is to the user. Other prior art wrappers include a die cuts at the sealed end leading into the perforated line. Unfortunately, these die cut ends result in “chads” needing to be removed from the wrapper and generates excess waste and excess process steps.
  • Accordingly, there is a need for protective wrappers for consumer products and methods of making that overcome, alleviate, and/or mitigate one or more of the aforementioned and other deleterious effects of prior art protective wrappers.
  • BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • The present disclosure provides a protective wrapper having an opening mechanism with one end cut to include one or more protrusions on a first end leading into a line of weakness and corresponding indentations on an opposite end that are hidden from view within the end seal.
  • A protective wrapper for a consumer product, such as a tampon, is provided that includes a film having a first sealed end, a longitudinal seal, and a second sealed end with a first height, as well as an opening mechanism. The opening mechanism includes a pair of protrusions extending outward from the first sealed end by a first height, a line of weakness extending inward from a starting point where the pair of protrusions meet, and a pair of indentations extending inward from the second sealed end. The first height of the pair of protrusions is equal to or less than the second height of the second sealed end.
  • A protective wrapper is also provided that includes a film having a first sealed end, a longitudinal seal, and a second sealed end. The wrapper further includes a pair of protrusions extending outward from the first sealed end, a line of weakness extending inward from a starting point where the pair of protrusions meet, and a pair of indentations extending inward from the second sealed end. The pair of indentations are hidden within the second sealed end so that the second sealed end has a continuous outer peripheral edge within which the pair of indentations are defined.
  • A method of making a protective wrapper for a consumer product, such as a tampon, is provided. The method includes: cutting a sheet of film along a cut line to simultaneously form a pair of protrusions in a first sheet and a corresponding pair of indentations in a second sheet; repeating the cutting step so that at least the second sheet comprises the pair of protrusions and the corresponding pair of indentations; rolling the second sheet and forming a longitudinal seal to form a tube-like shape; inserting the consumer product in the a tube-like shape; and forming a second end seal at the indentations so that the corresponding pair of indentations are hidden within the second end seal.
  • The above-described and other features and advantages of the present disclosure will be appreciated and understood by those skilled in the art from the following detailed description, drawings, and appended claims.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWINGS
  • FIG. 1 is a first side view of an exemplary embodiment of a protective wrapper for a consumer product according to the present disclosure in a sealed state;
  • FIG. 2 is a second, opposite side view of the protective wrapper of FIG. 1;
  • FIG. 3 is a side view of the protective wrapper of FIG. 2 in an opened state;
  • FIG. 4 is side view of the protective wrapper of FIG. 2 in a re-sealed state; and
  • FIG. 5 is a schematic diagram illustrating an exemplary embodiment of a method according to the present disclosure of making the protective wrapper of FIG. 1.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
  • Referring to the figures and, in particular, to FIGS. 1 and 2, a first exemplary embodiment of a protective wrapper according to the present disclosure is shown and is generally represented by reference numeral 10. Advantageously, protective wrapper 10 includes an opening mechanism 12 that allows an easy to grasp and easy to view mechanism for opening the wrapper. For ease of discussion, protective wrapper 10 is discussed herein by way of example in use with a tampon. Of course, it is contemplated by the present disclosure for protective wrapper 10 to find use with any consumer product.
  • Protective wrapper 10 is made from one or more sheets of film material that are configured to protect the consumer product and, in the example where the consumer product is a tampon, to produce a minimal noise or sound upon a user tearing the wrapper to access the tampon. It is contemplated by the present disclosure for wrapper 10 to be formed of polyethylene, polypropylene, or any material sufficient to protect the product inside and, when necessary provide for discrete opening by minimizing noise upon opening.
  • Wrapper 10 is made of one or more sheets of film material having at least a longitudinal seal 14, a first end seal 16, and a second end seal 18 providing the body of the wrapper between the end seals with a generally tube-like shape 20. Seals 14, 16, and 18 can be formed in any desired manner such as, but not limited to, adhesive seals, heat seals, knurled seals, and combinations thereof.
  • Advantageously, opening mechanism 12 includes two grasping protrusions 22, a line of weakness 24, and two hidden indentations 26 (shown in FIG. 1), which correspond in size and shape to the grasping protrusions for reasons that will be explained in detail herein below.
  • Protrusions 22 can have any desired shape, such as, for example, a polygonal shape, a semi-circular shape, or combinations thereof. Importantly, protrusions 22 extend a first height 28 above first end seal 16 that is equal to or less than a second height 30 of second end seal 16. In this manner, protrusions 22 can be hidden from the view of the user within second end seal 16. Thus, the user clearly sees the end of wrapper 10 that has protrusions 22 as being the end from which the wrapper should be opened. In other words, since the user can not see indentations 26 within second end seal 18, the user is not confused whether wrapper should be opened from first end seal 16 or second end seal 18.
  • In some embodiments, protrusions 22 identifies the end of the wrapper 10, when used with a tampon 34, that upon opening the wrapper 10 exposes a plunger end 32 of the tampon therein, allowing the user to avoid contact with the barrel end 36 before use.
  • In some embodiments, first height 28 may be in a range between about 3.6 millimeters (mm) to about 4.4 mm, and, preferably, between about 3.8 millimeters to about 4.2 millimeters, with about 4.0 millimeters being most preferred, or any subranges therebetween.
  • Line of weakness 24 can be defined within wrapper 10 by any desired method. For example, line of weakness 24 can be, for example, a plurality of perforations 40 defined within wrapper 10. Since wrapper 10 has generally tube-like shape 20, the wrapper, when sealed at end seals 16, 18, includes two walls, namely a front wall 42 (FIG. 1) and a rear wall 44 (FIG. 2). It is contemplated by the present disclosure for line of weakness 24 to be defined in one or both walls 42, 44.
  • Line of weakness 24 begins at a starting point 46 where protrusions 22 meet and extends through first end seal 16 longitudinally along tube-like shape 20 a predefined length 48 to an end point 50. Length 48 can, in some embodiments, be in a range of between about 78 millimeters to about 85 millimeters, and, preferably, is about 81 millimeters.
  • Length 48 is, in some embodiments, less than the overall length 52 of wrapper 10. In this manner, protrusions 22 provide a lead-in to line of weakness 24 so that the user can easily tear open wrapper 10 along the line of weakness with end point 50 of the line of weakness acting as a natural stopping mechanism, which makes it more difficult to tear the wrapper past the end due to the natural tear resistance of the polyethylene material.
  • As shown in FIG. 3, the user may tear wrapper 10 along line of weakness 24 from starting point 46 to end point 50 to split the wrapper into a first portion 54 and a second portion 56 to open the wrapper. Thus, when used with tampon 34, opening mechanism 12 and polyethylene material of wrapper 10 allow the user to open the wrapper easily and with reduced noise over the prior art tampon wrappers, such as tampon wrappers made of polypropylene material.
  • In another embodiment shown in FIG. 4, first portion 54 and second portion 56 may be tied into a knot 58 to form a closed volume, thereby facilitating disposal of a used consumer product, such as a tampon applicator and/or applicator plunger, therein. Thus, after splitting wrapper 10 along line of weakness 24 to end point 50 to define first portion 54 and second portion 56, the user may place a used consumer product, such as the tampon applicator and/or applicator plunger, into the wrapper and tie the first and second portions with the used tampon applicator and/or applicator plunger therein. In this manner, the user is provided with a sanitary method of storing used consumer products, such as the tampon applicators and/or applicator plungers, in the closed volume of wrapper 10.
  • An exemplary embodiment of a method 60 of making the protective wrapper 10 according to the present disclosure is described with reference to FIG. 5. Again, for ease of discussion, method 60 of making protective wrapper 10 is discussed herein by way of example in use with tampon 34. Of course, it is contemplated by the present disclosure for method 60 to find use with any consumer product.
  • Method 60 includes a first step in which a sheet of film 62 is cut along cut lines 64 to simultaneously form protrusions 22 in a first or leading sheet 66 and indentations 26 in a second or trailing sheet 68. The sheet of film 62 is advanced through the first cutting step so that the first or leading sheet 66 and the second or trailing sheet 68 both include protrusions 22 and indentations 26.
  • Advantageously, protrusions 22 and indentations 26 can be formed in a single step without requiring any scrap material to be removed from the manufacturing equipment, leading to an easier to manufacture wrapper.
  • It should be recognized that method 60 is described by way of example as having protrusions 22 cut in first or leading sheet 66 and indentations 26 cut in second or trailing sheet 68. Of course, it is contemplated by the present disclosure for method 60 to be configured so that protrusions 22 are cut in second or trailing sheet 68 and indentations 26 are cut in first or leading sheet 66.
  • In some embodiments, the first step of method 60 further provides line of weakness 24 to protective wrapper 10 simultaneous to or sequentially to the cutting along cut line 64. Here, wrapper is laid open instead of being formed into tube-like shape 20. Thus, front wall 42 and a rear wall 44 are illustrated for ease of analysis as being separated by phantom lines 70 in leading sheet 66. During this embodiment of method 60, front wall 42 and/or rear wall 44 can be modified to include line of weakness 24.
  • When both front wall 42 and rear wall 44 include line of weakness 24, the lines are positioned in the front and rear walls so that, once the sheet of film 62 is formed into tube-like shape 20, the lines of weakness are aligned with one another. Alternately, when only front wall 42 or rear wall 44 includes line of weakness 24, the line is positioned in the front or rear wall so that, once the sheet is formed into tube-like shape 20, the line of weakness is aligned with starting point 46 between protrusions 22.
  • Method 60 further includes a second step in which the sheet of film 62 is rolled over to form tube-like shape 20 and a third step in which longitudinal seal 14 is formed to secure the sheet of film in the tube-like shape.
  • In some embodiments of method 60, line of weakness 24 can be defined in protective wrapper 10 during the third step. Here, tube-like shape 20 can be flattened and line of weakness 24 can be defined through front wall 42 and/or rear wall 44.
  • Method 60 further includes a fourth step in which a consumer product, such as tampon 34, is inserted into the tube-like shape 20 of wrapper 10. In some embodiments, tampon 34 is inserted into wrapper 10 so that plunger end 32 of the tampon is proximate protrusions 22 and barrel end 36 is remote from the protrusions. Of course, it is contemplated by the present disclosure for tampon 34 to be inserted into wrapper 10 in any desired orientation.
  • Method 60 also includes a fifth step in which first and second end seals 16, 18 are formed thereby sealing the consumer product, such as tampon 34, inside of wrapper 10. Although illustrated having both end seals 16, 18 formed after insertion of the consumer product such as tampon 34, it is contemplated by the present disclosure for one of the end seals to be formed before the insertion of the consumer product with the other of the end seals being formed after insertion of the consumer product.
  • Since method 60 forms indentations 26 before formation of second end seal 18 and forms the indentations with the first height 28 equal to or smaller than the second height 30 of the second end seal, the indentations can be concealed or hidden from the user within the second end seal. As used herein, the terms “concealed” or “hidden” shall mean that second end seal 18 of wrapper 10 has an continuous outer peripheral edge 72 within which indentations 26 are defined. The continuous outer peripheral edge 72 is present because, after defining second end seal 18, indentations 26 within front wall 42 not visible since they are against and hidden by rear wall 44.
  • It should also be noted that the terms “first”, “second”, “third”, “upper”, “lower”, and the like may be used herein to modify various elements. These modifiers do not imply a spatial, sequential, or hierarchical order to the modified elements unless specifically stated.
  • While the present disclosure has been described with reference to one or more exemplary embodiments, it will be understood by those skilled in the art that various changes may be made and equivalents may be substituted for elements thereof without departing from the scope of the present disclosure. In addition, many modifications may be made to adapt a particular situation or material to the teachings of the disclosure without departing from the scope thereof. Therefore, it is intended that the present disclosure not be limited to the particular embodiment(s) disclosed as the best mode contemplated, but that the disclosure will include all embodiments falling within the scope of the appended claims.

Claims (18)

1. A protective wrapper for a consumer product, comprising:
a film having a first sealed end, a longitudinal seal, and a second sealed end with a first height;
an opening mechanism having a pair of protrusions extending outward from said first sealed end by a first height, a line of weakness extending inward from a starting point where said pair of protrusions meet, and a pair of indentations extending inward from said second sealed end, wherein said first height of said pair of protrusions is equal to or less than said second height of said second sealed end.
2. The protective wrapper of claim 1, wherein said line of weakness comprises a plurality of perforations.
3. The protective wrapper of claim 1, wherein said pair of protrusions have a shape selected from the group consisting of a polygonal shape, a semi-circular shape, and any combinations thereof.
4. The protective wrapper of claim 3, wherein said pair of indentations have a corresponding shape to said shape of said pair of protrusions.
5. The protective wrapper of claim 1, wherein the consumer product comprises a tampon and wherein said first sealed end defines a plunger end of the protective wrapper and said second sealed end defines a barrel end of the protective wrapper.
6. The protective wrapper of claim 1, wherein said line of weakness extends inward from said starting point to an ending point to define a predetermined length, said predetermined length being less than an overall length between said first and second end seals.
7. The protective wrapper of claim 1, wherein said film comprises polyethylene film.
8. A protective wrapper for a consumer product, comprising:
a film having a first sealed end, a longitudinal seal, and a second sealed end;
a pair of protrusions extending outward from said first sealed end;
a line of weakness extending inward from a starting point where said pair of protrusions meet; and
a pair of indentations extending inward from said second sealed end, said pair of indentations being hidden within said second sealed end so that said second sealed end has a continuous outer peripheral edge within which said pair of indentations are defined.
9. The protective wrapper of claim 8, wherein said line of weakness comprises a plurality of perforations.
10. The protective wrapper of claim 8, wherein said pair of protrusions have a shape selected from the group consisting of a polygonal shape, a semi-circular shape, and any combinations thereof.
11. The protective wrapper of claim 10, wherein said pair of indentations have a corresponding shape to said shape of said pair of protrusions.
12. The protective wrapper of claim 8, wherein the consumer product comprises a tampon and wherein said first sealed end defines a plunger end of the protective wrapper and said second sealed end defines a barrel end of the protective wrapper.
13. The protective wrapper of claim 8, wherein said line of weakness extends inward from said starting point to an ending point to define a predetermined length, said predetermined length being less than an overall length between said first and second end seals.
14. The protective wrapper of claim 8, wherein said film comprises polyethylene film.
15. A method of making a protective wrapper for a consumer product, comprising:
cutting a sheet of film along a cut line to simultaneously form a pair of protrusions in a first sheet and a corresponding pair of indentations in a second sheet;
repeating said cutting step so that at least said second sheet comprises said pair of protrusions and said corresponding pair of indentations;
rolling said second sheet and forming a longitudinal seal to form a tube-like shape;
inserting the consumer product in said a tube-like shape; and
forming a second end seal at said indentations so that said corresponding pair of indentations are hidden within said second end seal.
16. The method of claim 15, further comprising forming a first end seal at said pair of protrusions.
17. The method of claim 15, wherein said first sheet is a leading sheet or a trailing sheet.
18. The method of claim 15, further comprising defining a line of weakness in the sheet of film from a starting point where said pair of protrusions meet.
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