BEVERAGE CONTAINER END WITH MULTIPLE OPENINGS
A beverage container has a tab member rotatably and pivotally mounted thereon. The tab member can be used to form two separate openings in the can top, and each opening can be used either independently or together. One opening is the main drink opening, and the other opening is designed to receive a straw. While the primary use for the second opening is to receive a straw, the second opening may also serve as a built in vent when the main drink opening is used.
This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 61/402,215 filed Aug. 26, 2010.STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT
Not ApplicableFIELD OF INVENTION
The present invention relates generally to end members of beverage containers, and, more particularly, to an easy-open, stay on tab (SOT) can end with an easy-open, secondary opening to receive a straw, that can be opened and used independent of the main drink opening, and that also serves as a built in vent when used with the main drink opening, in which an attached tab is lifted to partially sever and displace a scored tear panel, thereby creating a pouring or drinking opening, with the tab and tear panel remaining attached to the end. The attached tab is then rotated 180 degrees, again lifted partially to sever and displace a second scored tear panel, thereby creating a straw opening, that also serves as a built in vent, with the tab and tear panel remaining attached to the end.BACKGROUND
While a variety of beverage can end structures have been utilized as appropriate for particular drink applications, an inherent problem is difficulty achieving a “smooth” outlet flow from beverage cans, resulting in excessive foaming when pouring a beverage from such a can into a glass, or drinking a beverage from such a can directly, where use of a straw, or built in vent would be beneficial. In general, the most commonly encountered opening in beverage cans, an oval opening provided when the tear panel is popped inward using the attached tab, does not provide for a smooth flow of liquid from the can, and heavy carbonation in the beverage makes inserting a straw into the main drink opening unsteady and difficult. Typically, such openings result in restricted outward flow, as outbound carbon dioxide competes with inbound air in the available opening space. Thus, decreasing carbon dioxide release by decreasing turbulent flow assists in the flow of liquid from the beverage can and smoothes the liquid flow, and insertion and use of a straw is made easier. And, even though “wide mouth” cans have enhanced drinkability to a limited degree by providing more room for outbound carbon dioxide, such cans are less than satisfactory in providing smooth, continuous delivery of a beverage to the mouth of a user, and make insertion and use of a straw more difficult. A can designed specifically to receive a straw and with a built in vent would also provide an additional opening for gas to exit the can, thus reducing turbulent liquid flow, and assisting the smooth flow of liquid from the beverage can when poured into a glass or when a user drinks the beverage directly from the can, and when user drinks the beverage from the can using a straw.
Thus, there is a need for a beverage can end design which provides a secondary opening to receive a straw and which can also serve as a built in vent, that will minimize turbulence of exiting liquid during the process of drinking the beverage and promote improved drinkability and pourability.
It is accordingly an object of the invention to provide a beverage can in which a straw can be easily used, independent of the main drink opening, and where the straw opening also serves as a built in vent that improves the drinkability and pourabilty of liquids when used in conjunction with the main drink opening.
Another object of the invention is to provide a straw opening that can be opened independent of the drink opening, and in which a straw can be placed to drink from and which will prevent insects and debris from entering a beverage can, and provide a more sanitary means for consuming the beverage from the can.
Another object of the invention is to provide a ventilation opening to beverage can ends, which enhances removal of liquids from a beverage can during normal use.
Another object of the invention is to provide a structure and design in a beverage can end in which the can may be economically and conventionally packaged, stored, shipped and distributed, in that the can will have the same dimensions with the a straw opening and built in vent opening added.
Finally, an important object of the invention is to provide a liquid removal promoting straw and built in vent opening in a beverage can which can be conveniently and easily formed during normal can manufacturing processes, so that manufacturing costs are minimized, and so that the end member design can be easily used in modern can making machinery with minimal retrofitting requirements.SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
Aluminum or steel cans, typically filled with beer, soft drinks, tea, juice, water, concentrate, or the like, are provided with an easy-open, stay-on-tab can end wherein a non-closed score line is formed in the end and the tab is secured to the end at a location immediately outside a portion of the score line by a fastener such as a rivet. In this type of end, the tab is connected to the rivet. In operation, a force is supplied by the tab and through the hinge association with the rivet to the scored tear panel portion of the can end to initially rupture the score line. The continued application of force pushes the tear panel down into the container. The non closed portion of the score line retains the scored tear panel with the end and the tab remains attached by the rivet to remain with the end.
Embodiments of the invention include an improved beverage can end with a straw and vent opening is provided. The liquid flow enhancing straw and vent opening is generally located 180 degrees opposite of the drink opening on the can end, with a non-closed score line formed in the end to define the straw and vent opening, defining the severable tear panel portion of the straw and vent opening, except at the hinge portion thereof, so that the straw and vent tear panel, is opened and remains on the end just as the drink opening panel remains on the end when opened. The severable tear panel portion of the straw and vent opening is connected to the can end member. In operation, once the drink opening panel is opened, or with the drink opening closed, the tab is rotated 180 degrees and just as with the drink opening, a force is supplied by the tab and through the hinge association with the rivet to the scored tear panel portion of the can end straw and vent opening to initially rupture the score line. The continued application of force pushes the tear panel down into the container. The non closed portion of the straw and vent opening score line retains the scored tear panel with the end, and the tab remains attached by the rivet to remain with the end.
In various embodiments, the generally triangular or oval shaped straw and vent opening will be significantly smaller in size to the drink opening oval.
The invention will now be described more fully with reference to the drawings, showing preferred embodiments of the invention. However, this invention can be embodied in many different forms and should not be construed as limited to the embodiments set forth.
Various embodiments of the invention provide for an improved container end that may be used on a drinking container, such as a can. It should be understood that a container end in accordance with embodiments of the invention is generally useful in, but not limited to, any application in which it is desirable to drink liquids from a container with a straw or to pour liquids from a container in a smoother, less turbulent manner.
A container end according to a preferred embodiment of the invention is shown in
The end wall 12 includes a first severable tear panel 20 created by score line 24. It should be understood that only a portion of line 24 is scored sufficiently to allow first severable tear panel 20 to be severed from end wall 12. A remaining portion of score line 24 is not sufficiently scored and therefore a portion of tear panel 20 remains attached to end wall 12. Such an opening results in the opening tab 14 (drawn transparent) and the tear panel 20 remaining attached to the container, thereby limiting the likelihood of litter or injury resulting from the pieces of the container end 10.
The end wall 12 includes a second severable tear panel 22. The split winged shaped tear panel 22 is created by two curved score lines 38 and one straight score line 26 with enhanced leverage created by raised embossings 34. Once severed at score lines 26 and 38 the wings of split tear panel 22 remain hingedly attached to end wall 12 at embossing lines 36 to accept insertion of a straw.
Disposed between the first tear panel 20 and the second tear panel 22 is an opening tab 14. The end wall 12 includes means for attaching opening tab 14 (drawn transparent) substantially flatly against the end wall 12. An example of a suitable attachment means is a rivet. The attachment means allows the opening tab 14 (drawn transparent) to rotate and move freely, but prevents it from easily being removed from end wall 12.
The rear portion 28 of opening tab 14 (drawn transparent) has an upwardly inclined terminal portion to facilitate grasping or lifting thereof. When the rear portion 28 is lifted, the forward portion 30 of opening tab 14 (drawn transparent) moves down so as to engage the first tear panel 20 or second tear panel 22. The opening tab 14 (drawn transparent) may be rotated as needed so that the forward portion 30 engages the desired tear panel.
As shown in
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The foregoing is provided for disclosure of various embodiments, aspects and structures relating to the invention. Various modifications, additions and deletions may be made to these embodiments and/or structures without departing from the scope and spirit of the invention.
1. A beverage container having a top with a non-detachable fulcrum type lifting tab, having a pushing end and a lifting end, attached thereto, said lifting tab being adapted to form an opening in the container top for pouring-out access of the container contents; the container top comprising means for forming two separated openings therein, with formation of a first opening, providing for access to the container contents, and formation of a second opening, providing for insertion of a straw to consume contents of container. The second opening also provides air access to the interior of the container to facilitate pouring out of the container contents if needed; and wherein each of said openings is formed by a lifting of the lifting end of said tab; wherein said container top comprises a centrally located, integrally formed rivet member, said lifting tab being affixed to the container top by said rivet with the lifting end positioned on one side of the rivet and the pushing end positioned on the other side of the rivet and the lifting tab being swivelable about the rivet; the means for forming the two separated openings comprising two separate scored sections of the container top adjacent to and spaced from the rivet and extending therefrom, the swivelable tab held by the rivet is able to separately engage each of said scored sections with the pushing end thereof, so that lifting of the lifting end of the tab causes the pushing end of the tab to apply pressure to one of said two scored sections, causing said section to separate from the remainder of the container top, thereby forming the respective openings.
2. The beverage container of claim 1, wherein the container top comprises an elongated inwardly dished section which passes through the center of the container top, with the rivet being located within said dished section and, wherein a portion of the dished section on one side of the rivet is scored in a direction away from the rivet to form a first of said scored section and wherein a second portion of the dished section, on the opposite side of the rivet, is scored in a direction away from the rivet, wherein a split, winged shaped, trap door style tear panel is located to accept a straw and is created by two curved score lines and one straight score line with enhanced leverage created by raised embossing to form the other of said scored sections. Once severed at score lines the wings of split tear panel remain hingedly attached to end wall at embossing lines.
3. The beverage container of claim 2, wherein each of the scored sections respectively circumscribes a substantial portion of the dished section on the respective sides of the rivet whereby the respective openings comprise a substantial portion of the dished section.
4. The beverage container of claim 3, wherein an area between the respective scored sections is of sufficient width to provides a support for the rivet and a support for the lift tab to effect formation of the straw access and air access opening after formation of the first opening for access to the container contents.
5. The beverage container of claim 4, wherein the connection between the tab and the rivet is of sufficient strength to enable the lift tab to effect formation of the a straw insertion access opening after formation of the first opening for access to the container contents.
6. The beverage container of claim 5, wherein the connection between the tab and the rivet is of sufficient strength to enable the lift tab to effect formation of the a straw insertion access opening independent of the formation of the first opening, which remains unopened, for access to the container contents.
International Classification: A47G 19/22 (20060101); B65D 17/32 (20060101);