Great research starts with great data.

Learn More
More >
Patent Analysis of

Display and distribution package for eggs

Updated Time 12 June 2019

Patent Registration Data

Publication Number

US10000332

Application Number

US14/433993

Application Date

11 September 2012

Publication Date

19 June 2018

Current Assignee

BRODRENE HARTMANN A/S

Original Assignee (Applicant)

ROTH, HANS ERIK,BUCKLEY, NICK

International Classification

B65D85/32,A47G19/03,B65D81/05,B65D43/16,B65D25/10

Cooperative Classification

B65D85/324,B65D25/108,D21J7/00,B65D81/051,B65D43/16

Inventor

ROTH, HANS ERIK,BUCKLEY, NICK

Patent Images

This patent contains figures and images illustrating the invention and its embodiment.

US10000332 Display distribution package 1 US10000332 Display distribution package 2 US10000332 Display distribution package 3
See all images <>

Abstract

A package for eggs having a bottom part, a cover part and upwardly extending retainment projections cooperating with apertures in the cover part. A pillow post may be formed between neighboring egg receiving compartments of the package. The retainment projections and corresponding apertures may be constructed so as to not be aligned after a molding process but then aligned after a subsequent drying process. The retainment projections may cooperate with apertures in the cover part including engaging a tongue located at the bottom of the apertures.

Read more

Claims

1. A package for eggs, said package being formed of a fibrous material, the package comprising, a bottom part having a back, a front and two ends, a cover part having a top, a front, a back and two ends, the backs of the bottom part and of the cover part being hingedly connected together so as to allow the cover part to move between an open position and a closed position relative to the bottom part, the bottom part having at least a plurality of egg receiving compartments arranged in a front row, the tops of the egg receiving compartments in the front of the package located along a top of the front of the bottom part, the bottom part having portions thereof located in a bottommost plane which would engage a support surface which supports the package, a pillow post arranged in the front row between the egg receiving compartments, the pillow post having a support portion lying in the said bottommost plane between egg receiving compartments such that a downward force exerted on the pillow post is transferred directly to the support surface, and the top of the pillow post located at a level lower than the top of the front of the bottom part, the front of the bottom part including a retainment projection having a lower end which engages the pillow post and an upper end located above the top of the front of the bottom part, and including an outwardly extending nose for locking engagement with a cooperating aperture in the front of the cover part, and wherein the engagement of the retainment projection with its respective pillow post increases the rigidity and stability of the retainment projection as a downward closing force exerted on the retainment projection is transferred to its respective pillow post and directly absorbed by the support surface.

2. The package according to claim 1, including at least two rows f egg receiving compartments, including said front row and a second row adjacent to the front row, wherein a pillow post is located in all of the spaces between egg receiving compartments in the front row and in the second row.

3. The package according to claim 2, wherein the height of the pillow posts in the front row is greater than the height of the pillow posts in the second row.

4. The package according to claim 3, wherein the height of the pillow posts in the front row is higher than 7 mm.

5. The package according to claim 4, wherein the height of at least one pillow post in the front row is between 7 mm and 20 mm.

6. The package according to claim 1, wherein the aperture in the front of the cover part extends from an upper part of the front of the cover part adjacent to the top of the cover part to approximately the middle of the front of the cover part.

7. The package according to claim 1, wherein the aperture comprises a tongue which extends upwardly and inwardly from a lower edge of its aperture, said tongue being located below the outward extending nose in the closed condition of the package.

8. The package according to claim 1, further comprising a label which is attached to the top and front of the cover part with an adhesive.

9. The package according to claim 1, wherein said egg package comprises at least eight egg receiving compartments formed in two parallel rows and at least three upwardly extending retainment projections arranged along a convex curve, so that the noses of the upwardly extending retainment projections closest to the end aides of the bottom part are placed closest to the front side of the bottom part.

10. The package according to claim 9, wherein the relative offset of the noses is between 0.3 mm and 2 mm.

11. A package according to claim 1, including at least three retainment projections and corresponding apertures, including a center retainment projection and aperture and other retainment projections and corresponding apertures on each side of the center retainment projection and corresponding apertures, and wherein each of the other retainment projections are offset back from their adjacent retainment projection by 0.3 mm to 2 mm.

12. A package according to claim 1, including at least two rows of egg receiving compartments, including said front row and a second row adjacent to the front row, and wherein a pillow post is located in all of the spaces between the egg receiving compartments in the front row.

Read more

Claim Tree

  • 1
    1. A package for eggs, said package being formed of a fibrous material, the package comprising,
    • a bottom part having a back, a front and two ends, a cover part having a top, a front, a back and two ends, the backs of the bottom part and of the cover part being hingedly connected together so as to allow the cover part to move between an open position and a closed position relative to the bottom part, the bottom part having at least a plurality of egg receiving compartments arranged in a front row, the tops of the egg receiving compartments in the front of the package located along a top of the front of the bottom part, the bottom part having portions thereof located in a bottommost plane which would engage a support surface which supports the package, a pillow post arranged in the front row between the egg receiving compartments, the pillow post having a support portion lying in the said bottommost plane between egg receiving compartments such that a downward force exerted on the pillow post is transferred directly to the support surface, and the top of the pillow post located at a level lower than the top of the front of the bottom part, the front of the bottom part including a retainment projection having a lower end which engages the pillow post and an upper end located above the top of the front of the bottom part, and including an outwardly extending nose for locking engagement with a cooperating aperture in the front of the cover part, and wherein the engagement of the retainment projection with its respective pillow post increases the rigidity and stability of the retainment projection as a downward closing force exerted on the retainment projection is transferred to its respective pillow post and directly absorbed by the support surface.
    • 2. The package according to claim 1, including
      • at least two rows f egg receiving compartments, including said front row and a second row adjacent to the front row, wherein a pillow post is located in all of the spaces between egg receiving compartments in the front row and in the second row.
    • 6. The package according to claim 1, wherein
      • the aperture in the front of the cover part extends from an upper part of the front of the cover part adjacent to the top of the cover part to approximately the middle of the front of the cover part.
    • 7. The package according to claim 1, wherein
      • the aperture comprises
    • 8. The package according to claim 1, further comprising
      • a label which is attached to the top and front of the cover part with an adhesive.
    • 9. The package according to claim 1, wherein
      • said egg package comprises
    • 11. A package according to claim 1, including
      • at least three retainment projections and corresponding apertures, including a center retainment projection and aperture and other retainment projections and corresponding apertures on each side of the center retainment projection and corresponding apertures, and wherein each of the other retainment projections are offset back from their adjacent retainment projection by 0.3 mm to 2 mm.
    • 12. A package according to claim 1, including
      • at least two rows of egg receiving compartments, including said front row and a second row adjacent to the front row, and wherein a pillow post is located in all of the spaces between the egg receiving compartments in the front row.
See all independent claims <>

Description

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present invention pertains to a display and distribution package for eggs.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Packages for packing and transporting eggs are known in a variety of forms. Traditionally, such packages have comprised a bottom part provided with suitably shaped compartments for accommodation of the eggs, and an upper part forming a cover over the bottom part for accommodating the upper portions of the eggs housed within the package and for closing the package. Often, the upper part is connected to the lower part by means of a suitable hinge portion, although packages comprising separate bottom and upper parts have also been used. In those packages that comprise a hingedly connected bottom and cover part, the vertical front side of the bottom part is often provided with a flexible flap comprising a number of protrusions for engagement with correspondingly located and shaped holes in the cover part, thereby locking the bottom and cover parts together in the closed state of the package. A package of this kind suffers from various disadvantages. In the closed position, the front face of the package will be subdivided into an upper part and a lower part and as the lower part is typically formed to be able to accommodate and support the articles contained within the package, it is only the upper part which can be given a planar shape that permits the application of text and pictures describing the contents of the package. In use in a store, such packages will often be stacked in a sales rack, and hence it is only the vertical front side, which is visible to the customer.

EP 1 373 100 discloses a display and distribution packaging unit for fragile articles, especially for eggs, comprising a bottom part which at least partially matches the outer contours of the eggs housed within the unit and a cover part comprising planar top- and side surfaces for the provision of graphical information about the contents of the unit, where portions of the end surfaces of the cover part are shaped to reflect the shape of the eggs housed within the display and distribution package. A problem with this egg package is that the closing and locking mechanism is provided by a traditional locking flap having a protrusion, which extends through an aperture in the front side of the cover part, thus, reducing the available place for a label.

Thus, in the prior art egg packages it has only been possible to place a label on the top surface of the cover part, which often is not visible, when the egg packages are stacked in a sales rack. There has thus always been a conflict between having a large surface for the placement of a label and at the same time having a reliable closing and locking mechanism, i.e. a large area for a label without compromising the reliability of the locking mechanism. Additionally, a closure flap as known from EP 1 373 100 is an element that increases the cost of manufacture and transport of the egg packages.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It is thus an object of the present invention to provide an egg package, which due to its form provides a clear, visible information about the contents of the unit and at the same time offers good opportunities for providing graphical and/or pictorial information on large surfaces of the unit.

It is a further object of the present invention to provide an egg package, which may be reliably closed and locked in a substantially error free manner by a machine.

It is a further object of the invention to provide a packaging unit which can be produced as one integrated unit for instance by suction moulding.

It is therefore a further object of the present invention to provide an egg package—without the provision of a traditional locking flap—which may be reliably closed and locked in a substantially error free manner by a machine.

According to the present invention, the above-mentioned and other objects are fulfilled by a first aspect pertaining to a method of manufacturing an egg package by suction moulding of a fibrous material, the package comprising:

    • a bottom part comprising a plurality of egg receiving compartments having non-planar side surfaces so as to match at least partially the outer contours of an egg, the plurality of compartments being formed in at least two parallel rows,
    • a cover part comprising a top surface, a front surface, a back surface, and two end surfaces,
    • the cover part being permanently connected to the bottom part by a hinge between the back surface of the cover part and the bottom part so as to allow the cover part to move between an open position and a closed position,
    • said cover part comprising partial ovoid portions extending outwardly from the two substantially planar end surfaces, wherein each of the two substantially planar end surfaces apart from the ovoid portions completely spans the entire end surfaces of the cover part,
    • the bottom part comprising a back side, a front side, two end sides, and
    • an upwardly extending retainment projection extending from the front side of the bottom part,
    • the upwardly extending retainment projection having a downwardly and outwardly extending nose for locking engagement with a co-operating aperture in the front surface of the cover part,
    • the nose not extending beyond the front surface of the cover part when the cover part is in its closed position,

      the method comprising the steps of: —placing said retainment projection and co-operating aperture relative to each other during moulding of the egg package in a moulding form, such that deformations in the cover part during manufacture are compensated for, —removing the egg package from the form, and —drying said egg package in an oven.

According to the present invention, the above-mentioned and other objects are fulfilled by a second aspect pertaining to an egg package formed by suction moulding of a fibrous material, the package comprising:

    • a bottom part comprising a plurality of egg receiving compartments having non-planar side surfaces so as to match at least partially the outer contours of an egg, the plurality of compartments being formed in at least two parallel rows,
    • a cover part comprising a top surface, a front surface, a back surface, and two end surfaces,
    • the cover part being permanently connected to the bottom part by a hinge between the back surface of the cover part and the bottom part so as to allow the cover part to move between an open position and a closed position,
    • said cover part comprising partial ovoid portions extending outwardly from the two substantially planar end surfaces, wherein each of the two substantially planar end surfaces apart from the ovoid portions completely spans the entire end surfaces of the cover part,
    • the bottom part comprising a back side, a front side, two end sides, and an upwardly extending retainment projection extending from the front side of the bottom part,
    • the upwardly extending retainment projection having a downwardly and outwardly extending nose for locking engagement with a co-operating aperture in the front surface of the cover part, and
    • the nose not extending beyond the front surface of the cover part when the cover part is in its closed position, wherein said retainment projection and co-operating aperture are placed relative to each other such that deformations in the cover part during manufacture are compensated for.

According to the present invention, the above-mentioned and other objects are fulfilled by a third aspect pertaining to a package for eggs, said package being formed of a fibrous material, the package comprising:

    • a bottom part comprising a plurality of egg receiving compartments having non-planar side surfaces so as to match at least partially the outer contours of an egg, the plurality of compartments being formed in at least two parallel rows,
    • a cover part comprising a top surface, a front surface, a back surface, and two end surfaces,
    • the cover part being permanently connected to the bottom part by a hinge between the back surface of the cover part and the bottom part so as to allow the cover part to move between an open position and a closed position,
    • said cover part comprising partial ovoid portions extending outwardly from the two substantially planar end surfaces, wherein each of the two substantially planar end surfaces apart from the ovoid portions completely spans the entire end surfaces of the cover part,
    • the bottom part comprising a back side, a front side, two end sides, and at least one upwardly extending retainment projection extending from the front side of the bottom part,
    • the upwardly extending retainment projection having a downwardly and outwardly extending nose for locking engagement with one or more co-operating apertures in the front surface of the cover part,
    • the nose not extending beyond the front surface of the cover part when the cover part is in its closed position,
    • a pillow post formed between each two neighboring egg receiving compartments, wherein at least one pillow post being formed between the egg receiving compartments adjacent to the front side of the bottom part is higher than 7 mm as measured from the bottom of the neighboring egg receiving compartments.

According to the present invention, the above-mentioned and other objects are fulfilled by a fourth aspect pertaining to a method of manufacturing an egg package by suction moulding of a fibrous material, the package comprising:

    • a bottom part comprising a plurality of egg receiving compartments having non-planar side surfaces so as to match at least partially the outer contours of an egg, the plurality of compartments being formed in at least two parallel rows,
    • a cover part comprising a top surface, a front surface, a back surface, and two end surfaces,
    • the cover part being permanently connected to the bottom part by a hinge between the back surface of the cover part and the bottom part so as to allow the cover part to move between an open position and a closed position,
    • said cover part comprising two partially ovoid portions extending outwardly from each of the two end surfaces, wherein the partially ovoid portions on the same end surface convexly and continuously extend into a continuous and concave middle section, connecting said two partially ovoid portions, said concave middle section together with said two partially ovoid portions being circumvented by a substantially planar rim part bounded by the top surface, front surface and back surface of the cover part.
    • the bottom part comprising a back side, a front side, two end sides, and an upwardly extending retainment projection extending from the front side of the bottom part,
    • the upwardly extending retainment projection having a downwardly and outwardly extending nose for locking engagement with a co-operating aperture in the front surface of the cover part,
    • the nose not extending beyond the front surface of the cover part when the cover part is in its closed position,

      the method comprising the steps of: —placing said retainment projection and co-operating aperture relative to each other during moulding of the egg package in a moulding form, such that deformations in the cover part during manufacture are compensated for, —removing the egg package from the form, and —drying said egg package in an oven.

According to the present invention, the above-mentioned and other objects are fulfilled by a fifth aspect pertaining to an egg package formed by suction moulding of a fibrous material, the package comprising:

    • a bottom part comprising a plurality of egg receiving compartments having non-planar side surfaces so as to match at least partially the outer contours of an egg, the plurality of compartments being formed in at least two parallel rows,
    • a cover part comprising a top surface, a front surface, a back surface, and two end surfaces,
    • the cover part being permanently connected to the bottom part by a hinge between the back surface of the cover part and the bottom part so as to allow the cover part to move between an open position and a closed position,
    • said cover part comprising two partially ovoid portions extending outwardly from each of the two end surfaces, wherein the partially ovoid portions on the same end surface convexly and continuously extend into a continuous and concave middle section, connecting said two partially ovoid portions, said concave middle section together with said two partially ovoid portions being circumvented by a substantially planar rim part bounded by the top surface, front surface and back surface of the cover part,
    • the bottom part comprising a back side, a front side, two end sides, and an upwardly extending retainment projection extending from the front side of the bottom part,
    • the upwardly extending retainment projection having a downwardly and outwardly extending nose for locking engagement with a co-operating aperture in the front surface of the cover part, and
    • the nose not extending beyond the front surface of the cover part when the cover part is in its closed position, wherein said retainment projection and co-operating aperture are placed relative to each other such that deformations in the cover part during manufacture are compensated for.

According to the present invention, the above-mentioned and other objects are fulfilled by a sixth aspect pertaining to a package for eggs, said package being formed of a fibrous material, the package comprising:

    • a bottom part comprising a plurality of egg receiving compartments having non-planar side surfaces so as to match at least partially the outer contours of an egg, the plurality of compartments being formed in at least two parallel rows,
    • a cover part comprising a top surface, a front surface, a back surface, and two end surfaces,
    • the cover part being permanently connected to the bottom part by a hinge between the back surface of the cover part and the bottom part so as to allow the cover part to move between an open position and a closed position,
    • said cover part comprising two partially ovoid portions extending outwardly from each of the two end surfaces, wherein the partially ovoid portions on the same end surface convexly and continuously extend into a continuous and concave middle section, connecting said two partially ovoid portions, said concave middle section together with said two partially ovoid portions being circumvented by a substantially planar rim part bounded by the top surface, front surface and back surface of the cover part.
    • the bottom part comprising a back side, a front side, two end sides, and at least one upwardly extending retainment projection extending from the front side of the bottom part,
    • the upwardly extending retainment projection having a downwardly and outwardly extending nose for locking engagement with one or more co-operating apertures in the front surface of the cover part,
    • the nose not extending beyond the front surface of the cover part when the cover part is in its closed position,
    • a pillow post formed between each two neighboring egg receiving compartments, wherein at least one pillow post being formed between the egg receiving compartments adjacent to the front side of the bottom part is higher than 7 mm as measured from the bottom of the neighboring egg receiving compartments.

According to the present invention, the above-mentioned and other objects are fulfilled by a seventh aspect pertaining to an egg package formed of a fibrous material, the egg package comprising the following main parts:

    • a bottom part comprising a plurality of egg-receiving compartments having non-planar side surfaces so as to match at least partially the outer contours of an egg, the plurality of compartments being arranged in at least two parallel rows,
    • a cover part comprising a top surface, a front surface, a back surface, and two substantially planar end surfaces,
    • the cover part being permanently connected to the bottom part by a hinge between the back surface of the cover part and the bottom part so as to allow the cover part to move between an open position and a closed position,
    • said cover part comprising partial ovoid portions extending outwardly from the two substantially planar end surfaces, wherein each of the two substantially planar end surfaces apart from the ovoid portions completely spans the entire end surfaces of the cover part,
    • the bottom part comprising a back side, a front side, two end sides, and at least one upwardly extending retainment projection extending from the front side of the bottom part, the upwardly extending retainment projection having a downwardly and outwardly extending nose for locking engagement with one or more co-operating apertures in the front surface of the cover part,
    • the nose not extending beyond the front surface of the cover part when the cover part is in its closed position,
    • the cover part being provided with a label covering the top surface and a substantial part of the front surface of the cover part.

The packaging unit according to the present invention thus comprises a bottom part provided with one or more compartments for accommodating and supporting the eggs in the packaging unit and a cover part, where one or more portions of the cover part are shaped such that they reflect the shape of the eggs contained within the packaging unit, thereby making the shape of the eggs contained within the unit visible from outside. By shaping portions of the cover part in this manner the contents of the packaging unit becomes more apparent than in prior art packaging units, not only when the packaging unit is seen from the side—where both the bottom part and the cover part can be seen—but also when seen from above, in which case the bottom part may be more or less invisible to the viewer.

It should be noted that throughout this description and the appended claims the expression: partial ovoid portions should be understood as a portion having a shape that provides a viewer with a clear association of the form of an egg without necessarily having a form exactly corresponding to an egg. Thus, surfaces or sub-surfaces of a number of different solids of revolution, for instance of an ellipsoid, may reflect the shape of an egg within this context.

Moreover, a reliable and stable locking function that may be facilitated by simple mechanical closing means is achieved, for example provided by packing machinery without the risk of damaging the fragile eggs that are placed in the package. This is due to the fact that the egg package according to the above embodiment may be closed and locked in one operation by pivoting the cover part in relation to the hinge. This pivoting of the cover part may thus be facilitated by only one mechanical operation by the packing machinery. Typically, packaging machinery is adapted for handling a tremendous number of packages over a short time span. It is therefore an important advantage of the present embodiment that the package can be closed and locked in an error free and reliable manner by the packaging machinery. Since, the nose(s) are projecting downwardly and outwardly, the cooperating aperture(s) on the cover part can slide over the nose(s) during closing of the egg package and engage it in a locking manner, because the nose(s) will simply work as a hook that hooks onto a lower edge of the aperture. This way a simple—yet effective way—of providing reliable locking means on the cover part is achieved, which furthermore is easy to manufacture. Preferably, there is a number of such apertures that corresponds to the number of noses.

Since, the noses do not extend beyond the front surface of the cover part when the cover part is in its closed position, it is possible to equip the cover part with a label covering the top surface and the entire front surface of the cover part.

Accordingly, it is seen that the claimed locking mechanism and the ovoid portions of the end surfaces provides the synergetic effect by which all technical locking features are hidden beneath the label, thus providing an egg package, which due to its form provides a clear, visible information about the contents of the unit and at the same time offers good opportunities for providing graphical and/or pictorial information on remaining surfaces of the cover part.

Additionally consumer investigations have shown that a label does not provide enough sales appeal. However, if in addition to labels the egg package is distinguished by its form as well it provides a greater appeal to towards the consumer. Egg packages have more or less looked the same during the last decades. Thus, by the provision of an egg package of the kind as described above, wherein a label is placed over the top surface of the cover part and a substantial part of the front surface of the cover part, and which is provided with the ovoid portions on the end surfaces of the cover part a very consumer appealing egg package is provided, because there are no disrupting features (e.g. the locking mechanism), which may interfere with the impression the package will give the consumer. This simplicity and “cleanness” of the egg package will furthermore make it more easily recognizable for a consumer.

According to an embodiment of the seventh aspect the label covers substantially the entire front surface of the cover part.

According to a preferred embodiment of the seventh aspect, the one or more apertures are formed in one or more recesses in the front surface of the cover part. Hereby is achieved a safer locking mechanism because a larger nose may be used, which at the same time does not extend through the front surface of the cover part.

According to an embodiment of the seventh aspect, the one or more recess in the front surface of the cover part extends from the upper part of the front surface of the cover part, adjacent to the top surface of the cover part, and down to approximately the middle of the front surface of the cover part. Hereby is achieved an enhanced reliability of the locking mechanism, because recesses placed in this way will provide an anti-bowing effect on the front surface of the cover part in a direction along the longitudinal extension of the recesses.

Preferably, the recesses comprise a bottom wall and two opposing sidewalls extending from the front surface of the cover part to the bottom wall.

According to a preferred embodiment of the seventh aspect, the partial ovoid portions in the cover part are about one quarter of a complete ovoid. This gives a distinct and clear information to a consumer that this particular package contain eggs.

In a preferred embodiment of the seventh aspect, the partial ovoid portions of the cover part continue in the corresponding egg-receiving compartments in the bottom part, the corresponding portions in the cover part and in the bottom part thereby matching a continuous portion of a surface of an egg. Providing not only the cover part with portions reflecting the shape of the eggs in the unit but also shaping the corresponding portions of the bottom part such that they reflect the shape of the eggs further enhances the visual information about the content of the unit. The individual portions of the cover part and the corresponding portions of the bottom part may in the closed state of the unit merge into a substantially continuous surface reflecting a relatively large portion of the surface of an egg.

According to an embodiment of the seventh aspect, the partial ovoid portions located at the end surfaces of the cover part together with the corresponding egg-receiving compartments in the bottom part constitutes not less than approximately 60% of the total surface of an egg. Hereby, the eggs are supported in a manner which reduces the risk of damages of the eggs caused by the accelerations experienced for instance during vibrations of the unit and if the unit is accidentally dropped. Specifically said compartments can also be formed to support the eggs at the bottom portion of the compartments.

Preferably, the surface structure of the partial ovoid portions has a different surface structure than the remaining portions of the cover part. By providing those portions of the cover part, which reflect the content of the unit, with a surface structure differing from the surface structure of the remaining portions of the cover part, the content of the packaging unit is made even more apparent as seen from outside, for instance for a customer in a store.

For example the surface structure of the partial ovoid portions is relatively smooth, while the surface structure of the remaining surfaces of the package are relatively coarse, or alternatively the surface structure of the partial ovoid portions is relatively coarse, while the surface structure of the remaining surfaces of the package are relatively smooth.

According to the present invention, the above-mentioned and other objects are fulfilled by an eight aspect pertaining to a method of producing an egg package by suction moulding of a fibrous material, the egg package comprising the following main parts:

    • a bottom part comprising a plurality of egg receiving compartments having non-planar side surfaces so as to match at least partially the outer contours of an egg, the plurality of compartments being formed in at least two parallel rows,
    • a cover part comprising a top surface, a front surface, a back surface, and two end surfaces,
    • the cover part being permanently connected to the bottom part by a hinge between the back surface of the cover part and the bottom part so as to allow the cover part to move between an open position and a closed position,
    • the bottom part comprising a back side, a front side, two end sides, and a upwardly extending retainment projection extending from the front side of the bottom part,
    • the upwardly extending retainment projection having a downwardly and outwardly extending nose for locking engagement with a co-operating aperture in the front surface of the cover part,
    • the nose not extending beyond the front surface of the cover part when the cover part is in its closed position,

      wherein the method comprising the steps of:

    • placing said retainment projection and co-operating aperture relative to each other during moulding of the egg package in a moulding form, such that deformations in the cover part during manufacture are compensated for,
    • removing the egg package from the form, and
    • drying said egg package in an oven.

An egg package formed by suction moulding of a fibrous material would possess some degree of stiffness in the bottom part, because the bottom part comprises the egg receiving compartments, whereas the cover part comprises larger substantially flat surfaces. These larger surfaces are less stiff and therefore also more prone to deformation during the manufacturing process, i.e. after they are removed from the mould and dried in the oven. These deformations are usually not large enough to cause problems in relation to the reliability of the traditional egg packages, which are equipped with a large locking flap. However, since the nose in the egg package manufactured according to the inventive method does not extend beyond the front surface of the cover part when the cover part is in its closed position, even very small deformations in the cover part may lead to an unreliable locking of the egg package. Since egg packages are machine handled at a tremendous speed in an egg packaging facility, the facilitation of a reliable and error free locking of them is of critical importance. Thus, by placing the retainment projection and co-operating aperture relative to each other during moulding of the egg package in a moulding form, such that the above mentioned deformations in the cover part during manufacture are compensated for, it is achieved that the egg package can be locked and closed in a substantially error free manner by the existing packaging machinery being used in handling prior art packages.

Hence, a reliable and stable locking function which may be facilitated by simple mechanical closing means is achieved, for example provided by packing machinery, without the risk of damaging the fragile eggs being placed in the package. This is due to the fact that the egg package according to the above embodiment may be closed and locked in one operation by pivoting the cover part in relation to the hinge. This pivoting of the cover part may thus be facilitated by the packaging machinery by only one mechanical operation. Typically, packaging machinery is adapted for handling a tremendous number of packages over a short time span. It is therefore an important advantage of the present embodiment that the package can be closed and locked in an error free and reliable manner by the packaging machinery. Since, the noses are projecting downwardly and outwardly, the cooperating apertures on the cover part can slide over the noses during closing of the egg package and engage them in a locking manner, because the noses will simply work as hooks that hook onto a lower edge of the aperture. This way a simple—yet effective way—of providing reliable locking means on the cover part is achieved and an easy manufacture of the egg package. The number of such apertures corresponds to the number of noses.

In an embodiment of the eight aspect, the method according to the invention further comprises the step of attaching a label to the top surface and front surface of the cover part with an adhesive. This label covers the apertures in the front side of the cover part, thereby giving it a more clean and appealing look. Since, the noses do not extend beyond the front surface of the cover part when the cover part is in its closed position, it is possible to equip the cover part with a label covering the top surface and the entire front surface of the cover part.

In a further embodiment of the eight aspect, the method comprises a step of after-pressing said egg package in order to provide an egg package with a more smooth surface.

In a further embodiment of the eight aspect, the method further comprises the step of forming a pillow post between each two neighboring egg receiving compartments, wherein at least one pillow post being formed between the egg receiving compartments adjacent to the front side of the bottom part is higher than 7 mm as measured from the bottom of the neighboring egg receiving compartments. Hereby is achieved that the upwardly extending retainment projection extending from the front side of the bottom part has an increased rigidity. This increased stability of the upwardly extending retainment projection (extending from the front side of the bottom part at the same place as the at least 7 mm high pillow post) increases further the reliability of the locking function of the egg package, which—as mentioned before—is machine handled at a tremendous speed in an egg packaging facility, where it is of critical importance that it may be closed and locked by an automatic packaging machine in an error free manner in order to reduce the need for human intervention during the packaging of eggs.

In a further embodiment of the method according to the of the eight aspect, the at least one pillow post being formed between the egg receiving compartments adjacent to the front side of the bottom part has a height between 7 mm and 20 mm, preferably a height between 7 mm and 15 mm, as measured from the bottom of the neighboring egg receiving compartments. Hereby is achieved a sufficient tradeoff between the desired form stability and stiffness of the upwardly extending retainment projection and the height of the adjacent pillow post.

In a further embodiment of the eight aspect, the at least one pillow post being formed between the egg receiving compartments adjacent to the front side of the bottom part is higher than all the other pillow posts in said egg package. Hereby is achieved that the required form stability and stiffness of the upwardly extending retainment projection is achieved without having to increase the height of the other pillow posts and therefore without having to use extra fibrous material, e.g. pulp, in the production of said egg package.

In a further embodiment of the eight aspect, said egg package may comprise at least eight egg receiving compartments formed in two parallel rows, and at least three upwardly extending retainment projections, wherein the step of compensating for deformations of the cover part during manufacture comprises the substep of forming said retainment projections along a convex curve, so that the noses of the upwardly extending retainment projections closest to the end sides of the bottom part are placed closest to the front side of the bottom part.

The inevitable deformations of the cover part during manufacture, which affects the reliability and stability of the locking function, are mainly caused by an outwardly bulging of the front side of the cover part. Accordingly, the size of this deformation is depending on the overall size of said front side of the cover part. This bulging of the front side of the cover part is at least in part compensated for by forming the retainment projections along a convex curve, so that the noses of the upwardly extending retainment projections closest to the end sides of the bottom part are placed closest to the front side of the bottom part. The relative offset of the noses may be between 0.3 mm and 2 mm, preferably between 0.3 mm and 1 mm. Investigations by the applicant have shown that good results may be achieved within these ranges by for example using an offset of 0.5 mm. It is a great advantage that these offsets may be performed by incorporating only minor changes in the already existing form tools used for other egg packages.

In a further embodiment of the method according to the eight aspect, the co-operating apertures in the front surface of the cover part are offset upwardly and/or downwardly relative to each other when the egg package is formed. Hereby is achieved a more reliable locking function of the egg package. The relative offset of the co-operating apertures in the front surface of the cover part may be between 0.3 mm and 2 mm, preferably between 0.5 mm and 1.3 mm, for example 1 mm.

The above mentioned and further objects are furthermore achieved by a ninth aspect of the invention, pertaining to an egg package formed by suction moulding of a fibrous material, the package comprising the following main parts:

    • a bottom part comprising a plurality of egg receiving compartments having non-planar side surfaces so as to match at least partially the outer contours of an egg, the plurality of compartments being formed in at least two parallel rows,
    • a cover part comprising a top surface, a front surface, a back surface, and two end surfaces,
    • the cover part being permanently connected to the bottom part by a hinge between the back surface of the cover part and the bottom part so as to allow the cover part to move between an open position and a closed position,
    • the bottom part comprising a back side, a front side, two end sides, and a upwardly extending retainment projection extending from the front side of the bottom part,
    • the upwardly extending retainment projection having a downwardly and outwardly extending nose for locking engagement with a co-operating aperture in the front surface of the cover part,
    • the nose not extending beyond the front surface of the cover part when the cover part is in its closed position, wherein said retainment projection and co-operating aperture are placed relative to each other, such that deformations in the cover part during manufacture are compensated for.

A preferred embodiment of the package according to the ninth aspect may further comprise a label which is attached to the top surface and front surface of the cover part with an adhesive.

A further embodiment of the package according to the ninth aspect may further comprise a pillow post formed between each two neighboring egg receiving compartments, wherein at least one pillow post being formed between the egg receiving compartments adjacent to the front side of the bottom part is higher than 7 mm as measured from the bottom of the neighboring egg receiving compartments.

In a further embodiment of the package according to the ninth aspect, the at least one pillow post being formed between the egg receiving compartments adjacent to the front side of the bottom part has a height between 7 mm and 20 mm, preferably a height between 7 mm and 15 mm, as measured from the bottom of the neighboring egg receiving compartments.

In a further embodiment of the package according to the ninth aspect the at least one pillow post being formed between the egg receiving compartments adjacent to the front side of the bottom part is higher than all the other pillow posts in said egg package.

In a further embodiment of the package according to the ninth aspect, the egg package comprises at least eight egg receiving compartments formed in two parallel rows, and at least three upwardly extending retainment projections, wherein the step of compensating for deformations of the cover part during manufacture comprises the substep of forming said retainment projections along a convex curve, so that the noses of the upwardly extending retainment projections closest to the end sides of the bottom part are placed closest to the front side of the bottom part.

In a further embodiment of the package according to the ninth aspect, the relative offset of the noses is between 0.3 mm and 2 mm, preferably between 0.3 mm and 1 mm.

In a further embodiment of the package according to the ninth aspect, the co-operating apertures in the front surface of the cover part are offset upwardly and/or downwardly relative to each other when the egg package is formed.

In a further embodiment of the package according to the ninth aspect, said relative offset of the co-operating apertures in the front surface of the cover part is between 0.3 mm and 2 mm, preferably between 0.5 mm and 1.3 mm.

The above mentioned and further objects of the invention are achieved by a tenth aspect of the invention pertaining to a package for eggs, said package being formed of a fibrous material and comprising the following main parts:

    • a bottom part comprising a plurality of egg receiving compartments having non-planar side surfaces so as to match at least partially the outer contours of an egg, the plurality of compartments being formed in at least two parallel rows,
    • a cover part comprising a top surface, a front surface, a back surface, and two end surfaces,
    • the cover part being permanently connected to the bottom part by a hinge between the back surface of the cover part and the bottom part so as to allow the cover part to move between an open position and a closed position,
    • the bottom part comprising a back side, a front side, two end sides, and at least one upwardly extending retainment projection extending from the front side of the bottom part,
    • the upwardly extending retainment projection having a downwardly and outwardly extending nose for locking engagement with one or more co-operating apertures in the front surface of the cover part,
    • the nose not extending beyond the front surface of the cover part when the cover part is in its closed position, and
    • a pillow post formed between each two neighboring egg receiving compartments, wherein at least one pillow post being formed between the egg receiving compartments adjacent to the front side of the bottom part is higher than 7 mm as measured from the bottom of the neighboring egg receiving compartments.

Hereby is achieved an increased stability and stiffness of the upwardly extending retainment projection (extending from the front side of the bottom part at the same place as the at least 7 mm high pillow post), which thereby further increases the reliability of the locking function of the egg package, which—as mentioned before—is machine handled at a tremendous speed in an egg packaging facility, where it is of critical importance that it may be closed and locked by an automatic packaging machine in an error free manner in order to reduce the need for human intervention during the packaging of eggs.

In an embodiment of the tenth aspect of the invention, the at least one pillow post being formed between the egg receiving compartments adjacent to the front side of the bottom part has a height between 7 mm and 20 mm, preferably a height between 7 mm and 15 mm, as measured from the bottom of the neighboring egg receiving compartments.

In a further embodiment of the tenth aspect of the invention, the at least one pillow post being formed between the egg receiving compartments adjacent to the front side of the bottom part is higher than all the other pillow posts in said egg package.

In a further embodiment of the tenth aspect of the invention, the egg package comprises at least eight egg receiving compartments formed in two parallel rows, and at least three upwardly extending retainment projections, said retainment projections being formed along a convex curve, so they thereby are offset relative to each other such that the noses of the upwardly extending retainment projections closest to the end sides of the bottom part are placed closest to the front side of the bottom part.

In a further embodiment of the tenth aspect of the invention, the relative offset of the noses is between 0.3 mm and 2 mm, preferably between 0.3 mm and 1 mm.

In a further embodiment of the tenth aspect of the invention, the co-operating apertures in the front surface of the cover part are offset upwardly and/or downwardly relative to each other.

In a further embodiment of the tenth aspect of the invention, the relative offset of the operating apertures in the front surface of the cover part is between 0.3 mm and 2 mm, preferably between 0.5 mm and 1.3 mm.

In a further embodiment of the tenth aspect of the invention, the cover part is provided with a label covering the top surface and a substantial part of the front surface of the cover part.

In a further embodiment of any of the above mentioned aspects of the invention, the cover part comprises a tongue, which extends upwardly and inwardly from the lower edge of the one or more apertures, said lower edge of the one or more apertures being substantially flush with the front surface of the cover part, and said tongue being adapted for cooperating with the outwardly and downwardly extending nose. Hereby is achieved a simple—yet effective—locking mechanism, wherein the egg package can be closed and locked by a single mechanical operation of a packaging machinery, because when the package is closed, the inwardly and upwardly extending tongue will slide over the outwardly and downwardly extending nose. During this sliding, the nose and tongue will bend slightly, and then relax back to the normal position when these parts slide pass each other—due to the slight resilience of the fibrous material.

In a further embodiment of any of the above mentioned aspects of the invention, the interface between the cover part and bottom part inclines downwardly from the rear side of the package to the front side, thus yielding a higher front surface of the cover part than back surface of the cover part, thereby yielding a higher front side of the cover part than rear side of the cover part, the higher front side thereby providing more space for the attachment of labels, etc. On opening the cover part of the filled packaging unit, a larger part of the eggs contained in the unit thus becomes visible from the front side of the unit, which is normally the side of the unit facing the customer in a store. This provides for a better opportunity to inspect the eggs in the unit, for instance for possible damages of the eggs, and further has the effect that the eggs in the unit appear larger. The interface between the cover part and bottom part is preferably curved.

In a further embodiment of any of the above mentioned aspects of the invention, the lower edge of the front surface of the cover part is preferably curved in a downward direction beneath an interface between the cover part and bottom part for extension of the area of the front surface and for facilitating the opening of the unit. This is done in order to provide a better grip of the edge portion of the cover part for opening the unit—and also in order to further increase the area of the front surface of the cover part and hence the possibility to attach labels etc. to this portion of the cover part. For example, the lower edge of the front surface may according to the invention be extended in a downwards direction past the interface between the cover part and the bottom part. The downward extension of the front surface of the cover part may cover up to the total height of the bottom part.

In a preferred embodiment, the cover part according to any of the above mentioned aspects may comprise a rim portion extending outwardly from the cover part. This rim portion may function as a gripping area for automated de-nesting machinery used in most egg packaging facilities.

In most countries there is a legal requirement that egg packages are provided with technical information about the eggs, such as farming conditions, origin, nutritional information, etc. Thus, according to a preferred embodiment of any of the above mentioned aspects of the invention, the inner side of the top surface of the cover part comprises a substantially flat and preferably also rectangular info area, onto which technical details about the eggs are provided. Hereby it is achieved that such technical information is not directly visible from outside a closed egg package and that such information therefore cannot interfere with the label and brand that the producer wants to convey to the consumer.

According to a preferred embodiment of the egg package according to any of the above mentioned aspects of the invention, the fibrous material is pulp.

Advantageously, the bottom part may, according to any of the above mentioned aspects of the invention, comprise a rim portion extending outwardly from the bottom part.

According to an embodiment of any of the above mentioned aspects of the invention, the cover part and the bottom part is moulded as one integrated unit by suction moulding.

The cover of an egg package of the above mentioned kind, i.e. one that is made of a fibrous material, is usually too soft to support layers of additional egg packages filled with eggs on top of each other, for example in a sales rack. Without at least one upwardly extending projection located between the rows of egg receiving compartments to support the cover when the egg package is closed, the weight of the additional egg filled egg packages will rest on the eggs of the lower packages in the stack, which may then break during storage and transport. Thus, according to a preferred embodiment according to any of the above mentioned aspects of the invention, the inner side of the top surface of the cover part rests on the top of said upwardly extending projections of the bottom part when the cover part is in the closed position.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

A further understanding of the nature and advantages of the present invention may be realized by reference to the remaining portions of the specification and the drawings. In the following, preferred embodiments of the invention is explained in more detail with reference to the drawings, wherein

FIG. 1 shows a front view of an embodiment of an egg package according to the invention,

FIG. 2 shows a perspective view of an embodiment of an egg package according to the invention,

FIG. 3 shows an end view of an embodiment of an egg package according to the invention,

FIG. 4 shows an egg package according to the invention seen from above,

FIG. 5 shows an end view of an embodiment of an open egg package,

FIG. 6A-6B illustrates the closing mechanism of an embodiment of an egg package,

FIG. 7 shows a perspective view of an embodiment of an egg package according to the invention provided with a label,

FIG. 8 shows a front view of another embodiment of an egg package according to the invention,

FIG. 9 shows a perspective view of another embodiment of an egg package according to the invention,

FIG. 10 shows an end view of an another embodiment of an egg package according to the invention,

FIG. 11 shows another embodiment of an egg package—seen from above,

FIG. 12 shows an end view of another embodiment of an open egg package,

FIG. 13A-13B illustrate the closing mechanism of another embodiment of an egg package,

FIG. 14 shows a perspective view of another embodiment of an egg package according to the invention provided with a label,

FIG. 15 shows an embodiment of another egg package according to the invention in an open position seen from above, and

FIG. 16 shows an embodiment of another egg package according to the invention in an open position seen from the front side.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The present invention will now be described more fully hereinafter with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which exemplary embodiments of the invention are shown. The invention may, however, be embodied in different forms and should not be construed as limited to the embodiments set forth herein. Rather, these embodiments are provided so that this disclosure will be thorough and complete, and will fully convey the scope of the invention to those skilled in the art. Like reference numerals refer to like elements throughout. Like elements will, thus, not be described in detail with respect to the description of each figure.

FIG. 1-4 shows an embodiment of a display and distribution package 2 for eggs according to the invention as seen from different perspectives. The package 2 is formed of a fibrous and opaque material. The illustrated package 2 is shown in its closed position, and it comprises a bottom part 4 comprising a plurality of egg-receiving compartments 8 having non-planar side surfaces so as to match at least partially the outer contours of an egg, the plurality of compartments 8 are arranged in two parallel rows.

As can be seen more clearly in FIG. 3 the cover part 6 comprising a top surface 10, a front surface 12, a back surface 14. The cover part 6 is permanently connected to the bottom part 4 by a hinge 16 between the back surface 14 of the cover part 6 and the bottom part 4 so as to allow the cover part 6 to move between an open position and a closed position.

As can be seen more clearly in FIG. 2 and FIG. 4, the cover part also comprises two substantially planar end surfaces 18. Referring now to FIG. 1-4, it is seen that the cover part 6 comprises furthermore partial ovoid portions 20 extending outwardly from the two substantially planar end surfaces 18, wherein each of the two substantially planar end surfaces 18 apart from the ovoid portions 20 completely spans the entire end surfaces of the cover part 6.

FIG. 5 shows the same embodiment of an egg package as shown in FIG. 1-4, but here in an end-view and in the open position. In FIG. 5 it is shown that the bottom part 4 comprises a back side 22, and a front side 24 (and two end sides, which are not illustrated). Also shown in FIG. 5 is an upwardly extending retainment projection 26 extending from the front side 24 of the bottom part 4. The upwardly extending retainment projection 26 has a downwardly and outwardly extending nose 28 for locking engagement with one or more co-operating apertures 30 in the front surface 12 of the cover part 6 (see for example FIG. 1 for a better view of the apertures). The nose 28 is configured for not extending beyond the front surface 12 of the cover part 6 when the cover part 6 is in its closed position,

As illustrated in FIG. 1, the apertures 30 are formed in corresponding recesses 32 in the front surface 12 of the cover part 6. Hereby is achieved a safer locking mechanism because a larger nose 28 may be used, which at the same time does not extend through the front surface 12 of the cover part 6.

As can be clearly seen in FIG. 1 and FIG. 2, the recess 32 in the front surface 12 of the cover part 6 extends from the upper part of the front surface 12 of the cover part 6, adjacent to the top surface 10 of the cover part 6, and down to approximately the middle of the front surface 12 of the cover part 6. Hereby is achieved an enhanced reliability of the locking mechanism, because recesses 32 placed in this way will provide an anti-bowing effect on the front surface 12 of the cover part 6 in a direction along the longitudinal extension of the recesses 32.

The recesses 32 comprises a bottom wall 34 and two opposing sidewalls 36 extending from the front surface 12 of the cover part to the bottom wall 34 (these features are only marked in one of the recesses 32 in FIG. 1, in order to increase the intelligibility of the Figures).

FIG. 6A shows a cross section of the egg package 2 illustrated in FIG. 1-5. The cover part 6 of an egg package 2 of the above mentioned kind, i.e. one that is made of a fibrous material, is usually too soft to support layers of additional egg packages 2, filled with eggs, on top of each other, for example in a sales rack. Without at least one upwardly extending projection 38 located between the rows of egg receiving compartments 8 to support the cover part 6 when the egg package is closed, the weight of the additional egg filled egg packages will rest on the eggs of the lower packages in the stack, which then may break during storage and transport. Thus, according a preferred embodiment, the inner side of the top surface 10 of the cover part 6 rests on the top of said upwardly extending projections 38 of the bottom part 4, when the cover part 6 is in the closed position.

In the close-up FIG. 6B is illustrated a cover part 6, which comprises a tongue 40 that extends upwardly and inwardly from the lower edge of the one or more apertures 30, said lower edge of the one or more apertures being substantially flush with the front surface 10 of the cover part 6, said tongue 40 being adapted for cooperating with the outwardly and downwardly extending nose 28. Hereby is achieved a simple—yet effective—locking mechanism, wherein the egg package 2 can be closed and locked by a single mechanical operation of a packaging machinery, because when the package 2 is being closed the inwardly and upwardly extending tongue 40 will slide over the outwardly and downwardly extending nose 28. During this sliding the nose 28 and tongue 40 will bend slightly, and then relax back to the normal position when they slide pass each other—due to the slight resilience of the fibrous material. The illustrated part of the front surface 12 of the cover part 6 is equipped with a label 42 covering all the locking mechanism of the egg package 2. When a user needs to open the package 2 he/she only needs to pull outwardly in the lower edge 46 of the front surface 12.

FIG. 7 shows a perspective view of the egg package 2, wherein the cover part 6 is provided with a label 42 covering the top surface 10 and the entire front surface 12 of the cover part 6, whereby all the technical features of the locking mechanism are hidden by the label. Thus, giving a clean and smooth appearance. The partial ovoid portions 20 in the cover part 6 are about one quarter of a complete ovoid. This gives distinct and clear information to a consumer that this particular package 2 contains eggs.

As illustrated, the partial ovoid portions 20 of the cover part 6 continue in the corresponding egg-receiving compartments 8 in the bottom part 4, the corresponding ovoid portions 20 in the cover part 6 and in the bottom part 4 thereby matching a continuous portion of a surface of an egg. Providing not only the cover part 6 with portions reflecting the shape of the eggs in the unit but also shaping the corresponding portions 8 of the bottom part 4 such that they reflect the shape of the eggs further enhances the visual information about the content of the unit. The individual ovoid portions 20 of the cover part 6 and the corresponding portions 8 of the bottom part 4 may in the closed state of the unit merge into a substantially continuous surface reflecting a relatively large portion of the surface of an egg.

Preferably, the partial ovoid portions 20 located at the end surfaces 10 of the cover part 6 together with the corresponding egg-receiving compartments 8 in the bottom part 5 constitutes not less than approximately 60% of the total surface of an egg. Hereby, the eggs are supported in a manner which reduces the risk of damages of the eggs caused by the accelerations experienced for instance during vibrations of the package 2 and if the package 2 is accidentally dropped. Specifically said compartments 8 can also be formed to support the eggs at the bottom portion of the compartments 8.

Preferably, the surface structure of the partial ovoid portions 20 has a different surface structure than the remaining portions of the cover part 6. By providing those portions of the cover part 6, which reflect the content of the package 2, with a surface structure differing from the surface structure of the remaining portions of the cover part 6, the content of the package 2 is made even more apparent as seen from outside, for instance for a customer in a store.

For example the surface structure of the partial ovoid portions 20 is relatively smooth, while the surface structure of the remaining surfaces of the package 2 are relatively coarse, or alternatively the surface structure of the partial ovoid portions 20 is relatively coarse, while the surface structure of the remaining surfaces of the package 2 are relatively smooth.

As illustrated in FIG. 7, and more clearly in FIG. 3, the interface 44 between the cover part 6 and bottom part 4 inclines downwardly from the rear side of the package 2 to the front side, thus yielding a higher front surface 12 of the cover part 6 than back surface 14 of the cover part 6, the higher front surface 12 thereby providing more space for the attachment of labels 42, etc. On opening the cover part 6 of the filled package 2 a larger part of the eggs contained in the unit thus becomes visible from the front side of the package 2, which is normally the side of the package facing the customer in a store. This provides for a better opportunity to inspect the eggs in the unit, for instance for possible damages hereof and has the further effect that the eggs in the package 2 appear larger. The interface between the cover part 6 and bottom part 4 is preferably curved.

The lower edge 46 of the front surface of the cover part is preferably curved in a downward direction beneath an interface 44 between the cover part 6 and bottom part 4 for extension of the area of the front surface 12 and for facilitating opening of the unit. This is done in order to provide a better grip of the edge portion 46 of the cover part 6 for opening the package 2—and also in order to further increase the area of the front surface 12 of the cover part 6 and hence the possibility to attach labels 42 etc. to this portion of the cover part 6. For example, the lower edge 46 of the front surface 6 may according to the invention be extended in a downwards direction past the interface 44 between the cover part 6 and the bottom part 4. The downward extension of the front surface 12 of the cover part 6 may cover up to the total height of the bottom part 4.

In order to enhance the locking engagement between the noses 28 and the corresponding cooperating apertures 30 in the cover part, the egg package 2 may according to a preferred embodiment be so constructed that the lower part 46 of the front surface 12 of the cover part 6 bulges slightly inwardly. Such an inwardly bulging lower part 46 of the front surface 12 of the cover part 6 will—due to the slight resilience of the pulp material—slide over the upwardly extending retainment projections 26 which will force the front surface 12 to bulge outwardly in such a manner that it will slide over these projections 26 in an abutting manner until the apertures in the cover part will slide over the noses 28, and therefore provide a more reliable locking engagement between the cover part 6 and the bottom part 4.

The egg illustrated egg package 2 is preferably formed by suction moulding of the fibrous material, which preferably is pulp.

FIG. 8-11 shows another embodiment of an egg package 2 according to the invention as seen from different perspectives. The package 2 is formed of a fibrous and opaque material. The illustrated package 2 is shown in its closed position, and it comprises a bottom part 4 comprising a plurality of egg receiving compartments 8 having non-planar side surfaces so as to match at least partially the outer contours of an egg, the plurality of compartments 8 being arranged in two parallel rows.

As can be seen more clearly in FIG. 10, the cover part 6 comprises a top surface 10, a front surface 12, and a back surface 14. The cover part 6 is permanently connected to the bottom part 4 by a hinge 16 between the back surface 14 of the cover part 6 and the bottom part 4 so as to allow the cover part 6 to move between an open position and a closed position.

As can be seen more clearly in FIG. 9 and FIG. 11, the cover part also comprises two end surfaces. Referring now to FIG. 8-11, it is seen that the cover part 6 furthermore comprises partial ovoid portions 20 extending outwardly from the two end surfaces, wherein the partially ovoid portions 20 on the same end surface convexly and continuously extend into a continuous and concave middle section 32 connecting said two partially ovoid portions 20, said concave middle section 32, and the two partially ovoid portions 20 being circumvented by a substantially planar rim part 18, which is bounded by the top surface 10, front surface 12, and back surface 14 of the cover part 6. In essence, the concave middle section 32 and the two ovoid portions 20, together with the substantially planar rim part 18, form an end surface of the cover part 6.

In FIG. 8-11 is also shown the downwardly and outwardly extending noses 28 for locking engagement with one or more co-operating apertures 30 in the front surface 12 of the cover part 6 (see for example FIG. 1 for a better view of the apertures).

As can be e seen more clearly in FIG. 11, the downwardly and outwardly extending noses 28 (see FIG. 12 for a cross-sectional view) are placed along a convex curve such that they are offset relative to each other by a distance, D, in such a way that the noses 28 of the upwardly extending retainment projections 26 closest to the end sides of the bottom part 4 are placed closest to the front side 24 (see e.g. FIG. 12 for better view of element 24) of the bottom part 4. The inevitable deformations of the cover part 6 during manufacture, which affects the reliability and stability of the locking function, are mainly caused by an outwardly bulging of the front side 12 of the cover part 6. Accordingly, the size of this deformation is depending on the overall size of said front side 12 of the cover part 6. This bulging of the front side 12 of the cover part 6 is at least in part compensated for by forming the retainment projections 26 (see FIG. 12) along a convex curve, so that the noses 28 of the upwardly extending retainment projections 26 closest to the end sides of the bottom part 4 are placed closest to the front side 24 of the bottom part 4. The relative offset D of the noses 28 may be between 0.3 mm and 2 mm, preferably between 0.3 mm and 1 mm. Investigations performed by the applicant have shown that good results may be achieved within these ranges by for example using an offset D of 0.5 mm. It is a great advantage that these offsets may be performed by incorporating only minor changes in the already existing form tools used for other egg packages.

FIG. 12 shows the same embodiment of an egg package as shown in FIG. 8-11, but here in an end view and in the open position. In FIG. 12 it is shown that the bottom part 4 comprises a back side 22 and a front side 24 (and two end sides, which are not illustrated). Also shown in FIG. 12 is an upwardly extending retainment projection 26 extending from the front side 24 of the bottom part 4. The upwardly extending retainment projection 26 has a downwardly and outwardly extending nose 28 for locking engagement with one or more co-operating apertures 30 in the front surface 12 of the cover part 6 (see for example FIG. 8 for a better view of the apertures). The nose 28 is configured for not extending beyond the front surface 12 of the cover part 6 when the cover part 6 is in its closed position.

FIG. 13A shows a cross section of the egg package 2 illustrated in FIG. 8-12. The cover part 6 of an egg package 2 of the above-mentioned kind, i.e. one that is made of a fibrous material, is usually too soft to support layers of additional egg packages 2 filled with eggs on top of each other, for example in a sales rack. Without at least one upwardly extending projection 38 located between the rows of egg receiving compartments 8 to support the cover part 6 when the egg package is closed, the weight of the additional egg-filled egg packages will rest on the eggs of the lower packages in the stack, which may then break during storage and transport. Thus, according to a preferred embodiment, the inner side of the top surface 10 of the cover part 6 rests on the top of said upwardly extending projections 38 of the bottom part 4 when the cover part 6 is in the closed position.

Furthermore, the pillow posts 39 and 41 are shown. Pillow posts are formed between each two neighboring egg receiving compartments 8, and in the illustrated embodiment the pillow posts 41 being formed between the egg receiving compartments 8 adjacent to the front side 24 of the bottom part 4 are higher than 7 mm as measured from the bottom of the neighboring egg receiving compartments 8. The bottom of the pillow posts lie in a bottom plane of the package, which would engage a flat surface, and which may be referred to as a bottommost plane of package. Hereby is achieved an increased stability and stiffness of the upwardly extending retainment projections 26 that extend from the front side 24 of the bottom part 4 at the same place as the at least 7 mm high posts 41, which thereby further increases the reliability of the locking function of the egg package 2, which—as mentioned before—is machine handled at a tremendous speed in an egg packaging facility, where it is of critical importance that it may be closed and locked by an automatic packaging machine in an error free manner in order to reduce the need for human intervention during the packaging of eggs.

In the illustrated embodiment the pillow posts 41 being formed between the egg receiving compartments 8 adjacent to the front side 24 of the bottom part 4 are higher than all the other pillow posts 39 (and pillow posts 43 illustrated in FIG. 15) in said egg package 2. Hereby is achieved that the required form stability and stiffness of the upwardly extending retainment projection 26 is achieved without having to increase the height of the other pillow posts 39 and 43, and therefore without having to use extra fibrous material, e.g. pulp, in the production of said egg package 2.

The pillow posts 41 being formed between the egg receiving compartments 8 adjacent to the front side 24 of the bottom part 4 has a height between 7 mm and 20 mm, preferably a height between 7 mm and 15 mm, as measured from the bottom of the neighboring egg receiving compartments 8.

In the close-up FIG. 13B is illustrated a cover part 6 comprising a tongue 40, which extends upwardly and inwardly from the lower edge of the one or more apertures 30, said lower edge of the one or more apertures being substantially flush with the front surface 10 of the cover part 6, and said tongue 40 being adapted for cooperating with the outwardly and downwardly extending nose 28. Hereby is achieved a simple—yet effective—locking mechanism, wherein the egg package 2 can be closed and locked by a single mechanical operation of a packaging machinery, because when the package 2 is closed, the inwardly and upwardly extending tongue 40 will slide over the outwardly and downwardly extending nose 28. During this sliding, the nose 28 and tongue 40 will bend slightly and then relax back to the normal position when they slide pass each other—due to the slight resilience of the fibrous material. The illustrated part of the front surface 12 of the cover part 6 is equipped with a label 42, covering all the locking mechanism of the egg package 2. When a user needs to open the package 2, he/she only needs to pull outwardly in the lower edge 46 of the front surface 12.

FIG. 14 shows a perspective view of the egg package 2, wherein the cover part 6 is provided with a label 42 covering the top surface 10 and the entire front surface 12 of the cover part 6, whereby all the technical features of the locking mechanism are hidden by the label, thereby giving the unit a clean and smooth appearance. The partial ovoid portions 20 in the cover part 6 are about one quarter of a complete ovoid. This gives distinct and clear information to a consumer that this particular package 2 contains eggs.

As illustrated, the partial ovoid portions 20 of the cover part 6 continue in the corresponding egg receiving compartments 8 in the bottom part 4, the corresponding ovoid portions 20 in the cover part 6 and in the bottom part 4 thereby matching a continuous portion of a surface of an egg. Providing not only the cover part 6 with portions reflecting the shape of the eggs in the unit, but also shaping the corresponding portions 8 of the bottom part 4 such that they reflect the shape of the eggs, further enhances the visual information about the contents of the unit. The individual ovoid portions 20 of the cover part 6 and the corresponding portions 8 of the bottom part 4 may in the closed state of the unit merge into a substantially continuous surface, reflecting a relatively large portion of the surface of an egg.

In some embodiments, the surface structure of the partial ovoid portions 20 and the concave middle section 32 are different than the surface structure of the remaining portions of the cover part 6. By providing those portions of the cover part 6, which reflect the contents of the package 2, with a surface structure differing from the surface structure of the remaining portions of the cover part 6, the contents of the package 2 is made even more apparent as seen from the outside, for instance by a customer in a store.

For example the surface structure of the partial ovoid portions 20 and the concave middle section 32 may be relatively smooth, while the surface structure of the remaining surfaces of the package 2 may be relatively coarse, or alternatively the surface structure of the partial ovoid portions 20 and the concave middle section 32 may be relatively coarse, while the surface structure of the remaining surfaces of the package 2 is relatively smooth.

As illustrated in FIG. 14, and more clearly in FIG. 10, the interface 44 between the cover part 6 and bottom part 4 inclines downwardly from the rear side of the package 2 to the front side, thus yielding a higher front surface 12 of the cover part 6 than back surface 14 of the cover part 6, the higher front surface 12 thereby providing more space for the attachment of labels 42, etc. On opening the cover part 6 of the filled package 2, a larger part of the eggs contained in the unit thus becomes visible from the front side of the package 2, which is normally the side of the package facing the customer in a store. This provides for a better opportunity to inspect the eggs in the unit, for instance for possible damage of the eggs, and has the further effect that the eggs in the package 2 appear larger. The interface between the cover part 6 and bottom part 4 is preferably curved.

The lower edge 46 of the front surface of the cover part is preferably curved in a downward direction beneath an interface 44 between the cover part 6 and bottom part 4 for extension of the area of the front surface 12 and for facilitating the opening of the unit. This is done in order to provide a better grip of the edge portion 46 of the cover part 6 for opening the package 2, and also in order to further increase the area of the front surface 12 of the cover part 6 and hence the possibility to attach labels 42, etc. to this portion of the cover part 6. For example, the lower edge 46 of the front surface 6 may according to the invention be extended in a downward direction, past the interface 44 between the cover part 6 and the bottom part 4. The downward extension of the front surface 12 of the cover part 6 may in some (not illustrated embodiments) cover up to the total height of the bottom part 4.

In order to enhance the locking engagement between the noses 28 and the corresponding cooperating apertures 30 in the cover part, the egg package 2 may according to a preferred embodiment be so constructed that the lower part 46 of the front surface 12 of the cover part 6 bulges slightly inwardly. Such an inwardly bulging lower part 46 of the front surface 12 of the cover part 6 will, due to the slight resilience of the pulp material, slide over the upwardly extending retainment projections 26, which will force the front surface 12 to bulge outwardly in such a manner that it will slide over these projections 26 in an abutting manner until the apertures in the cover part slide over the noses 28, and therefore provide a more reliable locking engagement between the cover part 6 and the bottom part 4.

The egg package 2 illustrated in FIG. 8-16 is preferably formed by suction moulding of the fibrous material, which is preferably pulp.

As can be seen from the egg package 2 illustrated in FIG. 14, one of the partially ovoid portions 20 of the cover part 6 and the middle sections 32 is provided with an embossment 47. The embossment 47 extends outwardly from one of the partially ovoid portions 20 and the middle section 32. Said embossment is preferably a text and/or an ornament.

FIG. 15 shows a top view of an embodiment of an open egg package 2, which has just been removed from a mould. The illustrated egg package 2 comprises twelve egg receiving compartments 8 formed in two parallel rows, and five upwardly extending retainment projections 26, wherein said five retainment projections 26 have been formed along a convex curve, so that the noses 28 of the upwardly extending retainment projections 26 closest to the end sides of the bottom part 4 are placed closest to the front side 24 of the bottom part 4.

When the egg package 2 is removed from the mould, the front surface is substantially straight. However, during the subsequent steps of drying and labeling the egg package 2, the cover part 6 undergoes slight deformations, while the bottom part 4 remains more form stable due to its many non-planar parts. The inevitable deformations of the cover part 6 during manufacture affecting the reliability and stability of the locking function are mainly caused by an outwardly bulging of the front side 12 of the cover part 6. Accordingly, the size of this deformation is depending on the overall size of said front side of the cover part 6. This bulging of the front side 12 of the cover part 6 is at least in part compensated for by forming the retainment projections 26 along a convex curve, so that the noses 28 of the upwardly extending retainment projections 26 closest to the end sides of the bottom part 4 are placed closest to the front side 24 of the bottom part 4. The relative offset D of the noses 26 may be between 0.3 mm and 2 mm, preferably between 0.3 mm and 1 mm. Investigations performed by the applicant have shown that good results may be achieved within these ranges, by for example using an offset D of 0.5 mm. It is a great advantage that these offsets can be performed by incorporating only minor changes in the already existing form tools used for other egg packages.

In a further embodiment, the co-operating apertures 30 in the front surface 12 of the cover part 6 are offset upwardly and/or downwardly relative to each other when the egg package 2 is formed. Hereby is achieved a more reliable locking function of the egg package 2. The relative offset of the co-operating apertures 30 in the front surface 12 of the cover part 6 may be between 0.3 mm and 2 mm, preferably between 0.5 mm and 1.3 mm, for example 1 mm.

FIG. 16 shows the same egg package 2 as illustrated in FIG. 15, also in the open position, and seen from the front side. In this view the raised pillow posts 41 are illustrated. The height of these pillow posts 41 is at least 7 mm as measured from the bottom 48 of the neighboring egg receiving compartments 8.

LIST OF REFERENCE NUMBERS

In the following is given a list of reference numbers that are used in the detailed description of the invention.

  • 2 egg package,
  • 4 bottom part,
  • 6 cover part,
  • 8 egg-receiving compartments,
  • 10 top surface of the cover part,
  • 12 front surface of the cover part,
  • 14 back surface of the cover part,
  • 16 hinge,
  • 18 substantially flat end surface of the cover part,
  • 20 partially ovoid portions,
  • 22 back side of bottom part,
  • 24 front side of bottom part,
  • 26 upwardly extending retainment projection,
  • 28 outwardly and downwardly extending nose,
  • 30 apertures in the front surface of the cover part,
  • 32 recesses in the front surface of the cover part,
  • 34 bottom wall of the recesses,
  • 36 sidewalls of the recesses,
  • 38 upwardly extending projections of the cover part,
  • 40 upwardly and inwardly extending retainment tongue in the cover part,
  • 42 label,
  • 44 interface between the cover part and the bottom part,
  • 45 lower edge of the front surface of the cover part,
  • 47 embossment, and
  • 48 bottom of an egg receiving compartment.

Read more
PatSnap Solutions

Great research starts with great data.

Use the most comprehensive innovation intelligence platform to maximise ROI on research.

Learn More

Patent Valuation

$

Reveal the value <>

33.0/100 Score

Market Attractiveness

It shows from an IP point of view how many competitors are active and innovations are made in the different technical fields of the company. On a company level, the market attractiveness is often also an indicator of how diversified a company is. Here we look into the commercial relevance of the market.

46.0/100 Score

Market Coverage

It shows the sizes of the market that is covered with the IP and in how many countries the IP guarantees protection. It reflects a market size that is potentially addressable with the invented technology/formulation with a legal protection which also includes a freedom to operate. Here we look into the size of the impacted market.

75.49/100 Score

Technology Quality

It shows the degree of innovation that can be derived from a company’s IP. Here we look into ease of detection, ability to design around and significance of the patented feature to the product/service.

58.0/100 Score

Assignee Score

It takes the R&D behavior of the company itself into account that results in IP. During the invention phase, larger companies are considered to assign a higher R&D budget on a certain technology field, these companies have a better influence on their market, on what is marketable and what might lead to a standard.

20.5/100 Score

Legal Score

It shows the legal strength of IP in terms of its degree of protecting effect. Here we look into claim scope, claim breadth, claim quality, stability and priority.

Citation

Patents Cited in This Cited by
Title Current Assignee Application Date Publication Date
Display package BRO-DRENE HARTMANN A/S 20 December 2002 15 December 2005
Molded pulp carton latch KEYES FIBRE COMPANY 20 November 1963 02 November 1965
Containers BRITISH PETROLEUM CO. LTD.:THE 05 March 1968 09 September 1969
Pulp partition molding and pressing KEYES FIBRE COMPANY 02 August 1965 21 February 1967
Method and apparatus for producing moulded pulp articles with a plastic film laminated thereon FREDERIKSEN JOHN HOFFMANN,RASMUSSEN TORBEN 04 April 2001 24 July 2003
See full citation <>

More Patents & Intellectual Property

PatSnap Solutions

PatSnap solutions are used by R&D teams, legal and IP professionals, those in business intelligence and strategic planning roles and by research staff at academic institutions globally.

PatSnap Solutions
Search & Analyze
The widest range of IP search tools makes getting the right answers and asking the right questions easier than ever. One click analysis extracts meaningful information on competitors and technology trends from IP data.
Business Intelligence
Gain powerful insights into future technology changes, market shifts and competitor strategies.
Workflow
Manage IP-related processes across multiple teams and departments with integrated collaboration and workflow tools.
Contact Sales
Clsoe
US10000332 Display distribution package 1 US10000332 Display distribution package 2 US10000332 Display distribution package 3