US3905506A - Tray - Google Patents

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Publication number
US3905506A
US3905506A US41633773A US3905506A US 3905506 A US3905506 A US 3905506A US 41633773 A US41633773 A US 41633773A US 3905506 A US3905506 A US 3905506A
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United States
Prior art keywords
tray
cells
bottom wall
posts
flange
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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.)
Expired - Lifetime
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Inventor
John Florian
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ExxonMobil Oil Corp
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Mobil Oil Corp
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Publication date
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Priority to US41633773 priority Critical patent/US3905506A/en
Application granted granted Critical
Publication of US3905506A publication Critical patent/US3905506A/en
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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
    • B65D1/00Containers having bodies formed in one piece, e.g. by casting metallic material, by moulding plastics, by blowing vitreous material, by throwing ceramic material, by moulding pulped fibrous material, by deep-drawing operations performed on sheet material
    • B65D1/34Trays or like shallow containers
    • B65D1/36Trays or like shallow containers with moulded compartments or partitions

Abstract

A tray suitable for formation from thermoplastic resin capable of containing a multiplicity of frustro-conical containers is provided. Adequate strength to resist lateral and longitudinal compression and to resist twisting distortion is provided by a system of webs which constitute a girder structure with the walls and bottom of the tray. The whole is so formed as to provide easy access to the contents while retaining such contents in a desired stable relationship, one with the other. The tray is adapted to modification for packaging and dispensing of two or more different types of contents in an attractive arrangement suitable for serving, e.g., for concurrently serving of individual cream and sugar portions in aircraft and the like.

Description

United States atent 1191 Florian 51 Sept. 16, 1975 73 Assignee: Mobil oil Corporation, New York,

[22] Filed: Nov. 15, 1973 [21] App]. No.: 416,337

[52] U.S. Cl. 220/23.8; 206/72; 229/25 [51} Int. Cl. B65D 1/36; A47G 23/06 [58] Field of Search 220/23.8; 229/25; 206/72;

Primary E.raminerGeorge E. Lowrance Attorney, Agent, or FirmC. A. Huggett 5 7 ABSTRACT A tray suitable for formation from thermoplastic resin capable of containing a multiplicity of frustro-conical containers is provided. Adequate strength to resist latera] and longitudinal compression and to resist twisting distortion is provided by a system of webs which constitute a girder structure with the walls and bottom of the tray. The whole is so formed as to provide easy access to the contents while retaining such contents in a desired stable relationship, one with the other. The tray is adapted to modification for packaging and dispensing of two or more different types of contents in an attractive arrangement suitable for serving, e.g., for concurrently serving of individual cream and sugar portions in aircraft and the like.

1 Claim, 6 Drawing Figures FIG-6 PATENTEB qEP l 97 m. I k:

TRAY

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION The invention is concerned with packaging and dispensing of individual portions of food products, particularly those of liquid or semi-liquid nature. Such items as individual one-ounce portions of coffee cream, portions for individual serving of yogurt or ice cream, and many other like products, are packaged in frustoconical containers adapted to rest on the small circular end as a bottom and be consumed after removal of a circular cover from the large circular end. This is an arrangement of lessened stability since the small bottom end renders the container relatively easily upset and subject to leakage if the cover fits imperfectly.

The covers are generally of chipboard or plastic adapted to be received in a groove on the inner surface of the container adjacent the top or clamp about the top by means of skirt about the periphery of the cover. The containers are filled and closed by automatic machinery subject to minor malfunction and the elements to be fitted (container and closure) are also subject to imperfection arising from defects in material or malfunction of the machinery by which they were formed.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PRIOR ART Packaging of these containers has been, of necessity, carefully planned and executed to avoid upset of the containers during shipping and dispensing. This has been achieved by means which do not provide attractive appearance and hence, may not be satisfactorily used for serving the individual portions.

Typically, the frustro-conical containers are packaged in chipboard or cardboard cartons with the wide, covered end up. Probability of accidental upset can be reduced by packaging in cartons which tightly fit the number of containers to be packaged. This, of course, rules out machine filling of the cartons. An insert, of chipboard or the like. may be provided with round openings approximating diameter of the container at points intermediate their ends and thus provide added stabililty to the package.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The invention provides a lustrous. attractive tray for packaging a multiplicity of individual food portions in stable relationship for shipment after an overwrap is applied to the open upper portion of the tray. Upon removal of the overwrap, the package constitutes an attractive service tray filled with the food product to be so dispensed. The tray is formed to provide an individual cell for each frustro-conical container. which cell is slightly larger than the container and provided with guidance surfaces for the container to facilitate machine filling. By reason of the stability so provided, a number of filled trays may be stacked one upon the other to a desired height. The trays are so formed that they nest snugly within each other to reduce bulk when empty.

The individual cells are completely surrounded by surfaces of the tray only for a minor portion of the cell height to provide ready finger access to individual containers and for a strengthening effect presently to be discussed.

In one preferred embodiment. illustrated in the drawings annexed hereto, the tray is adapted to shipping and dispensing of individual one-ounce portions of coffee cream in frustro-conical containers and individual oneteaspoon portions of sugar in envelopes.

THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 of the annexed drawings is a perspective view of a tray according to this invention for shipping and dispensing one-dozen coffee cream portions and onedozen sugar portions;

FIG. 2 is a front elevation of the tray of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a partial section on line 33 of FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 is a section on line 4-4 of FIG. 2;

FIG. 5 is a partial section on line 55 of FIG. 2; and

FIG. 6 is a plan view of the tray shown in FIG. 1.

DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS The exemplary tray shown in the drawings is, as stated, adapted for shipping and dispensing machine filled individual servings of coffee cream and sugar. As such, it is particularly well adapted to use in serving coffee on aircraft where any saving of time for the busy stewardesses is of major importance. The tray is readily filled by automatic machinery or by hand, an overwrap of plastic film is applied, and a desired number of such packages are set abroad the aircraft in stacked relation. To use, the stewardess strips the overwrap from a package and presents it to the passengers as a serving tray.

In order that the tray of this invention be suitable for discard after a single use, it is preferably formed of relatively inexpensive substance such as foamed plastic, molded fiber pulp and the like. Also, it is preferred that the tray be susceptible of formation by high-speed, automatic machinery as known in the foamed plastic and molded pulp arts. Such high-speed, automatic equipment is most economically designed with each mold being in one piece, cooperating male and female molds for foamed plastic or screen molds for pulp. These considerations impose certain severe constraints on permissible forms of the molded article.

It is a principal object of the invention to provide a package, particularly for foods, which is readily fabricated of such low cost materials having substantial'heat insulating qualities on automatic, high-speed machinery. It is a further object that the open package, as supplied for filling and closing shall be nestable in the sense that a large number of empty packages can be stacked together, each within the cavities of an adjacent carton, such that the volume occupied is very little more than the sum of the thicknesses of walls of the packages. Such nesting results in major economies in shipping and storage. It is a further object that the empty packages be readily denested; that is, the empty packages in a stack should be capable of easy, rapid and uniformly smooth removal from the stack at either end for convenience and low cost of the filling and closing operation.

The invention has, as additional objects, a rugged structure resistant to mechanical damage. It is intended that the package may be totally enclosed by films or like which protect the contents.

In addition to the constraints imposed by nature of the molding technique, it will be appreciated that a tray for the present purposes must have strengths which render it reliable in the intended uses. It must have adequate resistance to lateral, longitudinal and diagonal compression to protect the contents during transfer from filling station to supply depot, as at an airport, and

from supply depot to point of use. The tray must also have high resistance to force tending to twist the same about a lateral, longitudinal or diagonal axis tie. it must not be prone to hinge' on any such axis) that it can be used as a serving tray extended to an airline passenger when grasped by a stewardess at a side, an end,

or a corner.

These strength requirements in an article subject to the constraints discussed above pose an interesting cngineering problem. According to the present invention, that problem is solved by providing certain specific girder elements of confining surfaces for the articles contained in the tray and interconnecting webs to strengthen the structure as a whole.

These and other objects and advantages of the invention are embodied in a combined cream and sugar package/serving tray formed of polystyrene foam as illustrated by the annexed drawings.

As seen in FIG. 1, the exemplary tray provides six cells for receipt of six individual one-ounce cream servings on each side of a centrally disposed bin 11 adapted to receive single serving envelopes of sugar; generally twelve sugar envelopes, equivalent to the twelve cream servings in the tray. A rim 12, extending about the top periphery of the tray, provides a strengthening flange in the nature of a right angle beam with respect to the walls 13 of cells 10 and the end walls 14 defining the ends of bin 11. This beam provides a large measure of resistance to distortion under stresses parallel to the flange 12. Stresses having a component vector normal to the plane of flange 12 are counteracted and the resistance to stresses parallel to flange 12 is enhanced by structure intermediate the cells 10.

Side walls 13 of cells 10 are generally arcuate in horizontal section and sloped to diverge from the center lines of the cells in an upward direction as shown. The lines of junction of such walls 13 with cell bottoms 15 provide beam effects that cause the cells to individually retain their integrity against distorting forces. In addition, posts 16 are formed between adjacent cells 10 to retain the frustroconical containers in place in the cells 10.

Intermediate posts 16 and between certain posts 16 (namely those spaced one cell diameter from flange l2) and the outer extremes of walls 13 are webs 17. The webs are constituted by layers of the polystyrene foam which separate to become two distinct divergent layers at a saddle 18 intermediate the extremity of each web 17. To achieve their full purpose of strengthening the tray. the saddles 18 of webs 17 must be spaced substantially below the flange 12 and the tops of posts 16 and substantially above the bottom of the tray as typified by bottom 15 of a cell 10.

The posts 16 preferably terminate at an upper level lying in the plane of the upper surface of flange 12. Generally the tray will be so formed with reference to the containers to be packaged therein that the containers will extend at least some measure above the upper surface of flange l2. Filled packages will thus be readily loaded and contents readily removed because rims of the containers project above the tray. Such containers have great strength against stresses parallel to the axes of the containers and will provide the strength for vertical stacking of filled trays in which the bottom of one tray rests on tops of containers packaged in the next tray therebclow. It will be seen that posts 16 may have their upper termination below the level of upper surface of flange 12, but above saddle 18. A less desirable arrwwpcment has posts 16 extending to a higher level than lange 12. This can lead to unstable stacking of filled trays when the frustro-conical containers extend to the same level as. or only slightly above. flange 12.

It will be seen that the invention provides a useful tray for packing, storing, transporting and dispensing individual servings of food in frustro-conical containers. The novel tray is readily formed in and released from molds of conventional high-speed automatic molding machinery and nests snugly in stacks for minimum space requirements for storage and shipping of unfilled trays. The filled trays are conveniently stacked for storage and transport and provide stable reliable trays for service under conditions which may make it expedient for the server to grasp the tray by one side, one end or a corner.

Although the invention has been here illustrated as embodied in a combination tray for cream and sugar, it will be understood that the principles there embodied may be utilized in single purpose trays for packaging and dispensing only frustro-conical containers or to other multiple purpose trays. The invention may be applied to any such structure having at least two adjacent cells for receipt of frustro-conical containers thus permitting use of a web 17 characterized by a saddle 18.

The invention is particularly effective for trays to receive at least four frustro-conieal containers, whereby the four cells will be arranged in a pattern in which the axes of the cells define corners of a square, permitting use of four webs 17 and associated saddles 18 arranged in two lines of two webs each, the lines being at right angles to each other.

I claim:

1. A one piece foamed plastic tray for transportation, storage and dispensing of different articles including frustro-conical containers disposed to rest on the small end and having an upper large end open for filling and discharge of contents; said tray being formed to provide a centrally disposed bin portion and two cell portions, one on each side of said bin portion;

a. a flange extending outwardly about the upper periphery of said tray;

b. said bin portion comprising a generally rectangular bottom wall and side walls integral with said bottom wall extending upwardly and outwardly therefrom, two of which side walls are integral at the upper edge thereof with said flange and two of which adjacent said cell portions extend upwardly to posts having an upper surface in the plane ofsaid flange and which are interrupted between said posts as hereinafter recited with respect to walls of cells;

c. each of said cell portions comprising a plurality of cells each having a flat circular bottom wall in the plane of the bottom wall of said bin portion and side walls which diverge upwardly from said bot tom wall to posts having an upper surface in the plane of said flange interrupted by openings between adjacent cells and between said bin portion and cells adjacent thereto by openings upwardly from a point intermediate said bottom wall and the upper surface of said posts;

d. and webs of foamed plastic constituted by the pertions of said side walls of adjacent cells and of said bin portion below said interruptions connected across their upper edges to provide girders which afford strength to the tray,

each of said cell portions having at least four cells, the same being arranged in a pattern in which the axes of four adjacent cells define the corners of a square.

Claims (1)

1. A one piece foamed plastic tray for transportation, storage and dispensing of different articles including frustro-conical containers disposed to rest on the small end and having an upper large end open for filling and discharge of contents; said tray being formed to provide a centrally disposed bin portion and two cell portions, one on each side of said bin portion; a. a flange extending outwardly about the upper periphery of said tray; b. said bin portion comprising a generally rectangular bottom wall and side walls integral with said bottom wall extending upwardly and outwardly therefrom, two of which side walls are integral at the upper edge thereof with said flange and two of which adjacent said cell portions extend upwardly to posts having an upper surface in the plane of said flange and which are interrupted between said posts as hereinafter recited with respect to walls of cells; c. each of said cell portions comprising a plurality of cells each having a flat circular bottom wall in the plane of the bottom wall of said bin portion and side walls which diverge upwardly from said bottom wall to posts having an upper surface in the plane of said flange interrupted by openings between adjacent cells and between said bin portion and cells adjacent thereto by openings upwardly from a point intermediate said bottom wall and the upper surface of said posts; d. and webs of foamed plastic constituted by the portions of said side walls of adjacent cells and of said bin portion below said interruptions connected across their upper edges to provide girders which afford strength to the tray, each of said cell portions having at least four cells, the same being arranged in a pattern in which the axes of four adjacent cells define the corners of a square.
US41633773 1973-11-15 1973-11-15 Tray Expired - Lifetime US3905506A (en)

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Cited By (17)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US4286715A (en) * 1978-09-12 1981-09-01 Nespak S.P.A. Societa Generale Per L'imballaggio Rectangular tray for packing and conveying spheroidal fruit
GB2130555A (en) * 1982-10-05 1984-06-06 Bellaplast Gmbh Transport storage and sales container
GB2162823A (en) * 1984-07-02 1986-02-12 Borden Inc Packaging trays
US4813544A (en) * 1987-04-03 1989-03-21 Pinckney Molded Plastics, Inc. Stackable pie tray
US4838444A (en) * 1987-12-29 1989-06-13 The Rogers Manufacturing Company Food service tray and assembly thereof
GB2224998A (en) * 1988-11-16 1990-05-23 Weaversvale Enterprises Ltd A tray for carrying glasses ,etc.
US5503858A (en) * 1993-12-13 1996-04-02 Tekni-Plex Inc. Molded plastic overwrap tray
US5513750A (en) * 1994-04-18 1996-05-07 Rychel; Gerald E. Roller blade wheel caddy
US5660281A (en) * 1995-11-07 1997-08-26 James Associates (U.S.A.), Ltd. Device for candle storage
US5927501A (en) * 1998-01-16 1999-07-27 Herbruck's Poultry Ranch Egg carton having compartment for other ingredients
US6264026B1 (en) * 1997-04-15 2001-07-24 Vincent H. Bradley Food, beverage and utility tray
US6293420B1 (en) 1997-07-25 2001-09-25 Kautex Textron Gmbh & Co., Kg. Fuel tank
US6453613B1 (en) 2001-01-12 2002-09-24 Fibreform Containers, Inc. Tray for use in the transport and the display of a plurality of flower pots
US20040251703A1 (en) * 2003-06-12 2004-12-16 Barry Griffith Carrier for plant starter pots
CN1305651C (en) * 2004-11-26 2007-03-21 郑贵田 Method for producing natural environment protection leaf shape plaited straw tray
US20080314259A1 (en) * 2006-06-21 2008-12-25 Gregory Alan Broom Baking tray
US10466143B2 (en) * 2016-11-14 2019-11-05 Sakura Finetek U.S.A., Inc. Microtome storage assembly

Citations (4)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US3139208A (en) * 1959-07-06 1964-06-30 Marine Nat Exchange Bank Compartmented container
US3638849A (en) * 1970-07-14 1972-02-01 Harford E Goings Folding plastic tray
US3664574A (en) * 1970-06-29 1972-05-23 Grace W R & Co Egg carton
US3670938A (en) * 1970-10-19 1972-06-20 Samuel C Brocato Dish tray

Patent Citations (4)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US3139208A (en) * 1959-07-06 1964-06-30 Marine Nat Exchange Bank Compartmented container
US3664574A (en) * 1970-06-29 1972-05-23 Grace W R & Co Egg carton
US3638849A (en) * 1970-07-14 1972-02-01 Harford E Goings Folding plastic tray
US3670938A (en) * 1970-10-19 1972-06-20 Samuel C Brocato Dish tray

Cited By (19)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US4286715A (en) * 1978-09-12 1981-09-01 Nespak S.P.A. Societa Generale Per L'imballaggio Rectangular tray for packing and conveying spheroidal fruit
GB2130555A (en) * 1982-10-05 1984-06-06 Bellaplast Gmbh Transport storage and sales container
GB2162823A (en) * 1984-07-02 1986-02-12 Borden Inc Packaging trays
GB2162823B (en) * 1984-07-02 1989-05-17 Borden Inc Plastics trays
US4813544A (en) * 1987-04-03 1989-03-21 Pinckney Molded Plastics, Inc. Stackable pie tray
US4838444A (en) * 1987-12-29 1989-06-13 The Rogers Manufacturing Company Food service tray and assembly thereof
GB2224998A (en) * 1988-11-16 1990-05-23 Weaversvale Enterprises Ltd A tray for carrying glasses ,etc.
US5503858A (en) * 1993-12-13 1996-04-02 Tekni-Plex Inc. Molded plastic overwrap tray
US5513750A (en) * 1994-04-18 1996-05-07 Rychel; Gerald E. Roller blade wheel caddy
US5660281A (en) * 1995-11-07 1997-08-26 James Associates (U.S.A.), Ltd. Device for candle storage
US6264026B1 (en) * 1997-04-15 2001-07-24 Vincent H. Bradley Food, beverage and utility tray
US6293420B1 (en) 1997-07-25 2001-09-25 Kautex Textron Gmbh & Co., Kg. Fuel tank
US5927501A (en) * 1998-01-16 1999-07-27 Herbruck's Poultry Ranch Egg carton having compartment for other ingredients
US6168021B1 (en) 1998-01-16 2001-01-02 Herbruck's Poultry Ranch Egg carton having compartment for other ingredients
US6453613B1 (en) 2001-01-12 2002-09-24 Fibreform Containers, Inc. Tray for use in the transport and the display of a plurality of flower pots
US20040251703A1 (en) * 2003-06-12 2004-12-16 Barry Griffith Carrier for plant starter pots
CN1305651C (en) * 2004-11-26 2007-03-21 郑贵田 Method for producing natural environment protection leaf shape plaited straw tray
US20080314259A1 (en) * 2006-06-21 2008-12-25 Gregory Alan Broom Baking tray
US10466143B2 (en) * 2016-11-14 2019-11-05 Sakura Finetek U.S.A., Inc. Microtome storage assembly

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