The invention covers a number of alternative improvements to the prior art pull tab opener used to open container such as soda cans. One improvement is by forming the nose of the pull tab at a certain angle to the body of the tab or to the lifter tip or the nose tip, thus allowing the user to tilt the tab thus lifting the pull tip higher and providing more room for the user to insert the finger tip under the pull tip thus making it easier to open the container. Another improvement is by providing a deeper finger well under the lifter tip, again providing more room to insert the finger tip and making it easier to open the container.
This present patent application is a DIVISIONAL non-provisional utility patent application, DIVISIONAL from MOTHER application Ser. No. 10/941,797, Filing Date: Sep. 14, 2004, Art Unit: 3781, which is now U.S. Pat. No. 7,617,945, issued Nov. 17, 2009, and from application Ser. No. 12/613,549, Filing Date: Nov. 06, 2009, Art Unit: 3728,
- this present Divisional Patent Application is claiming the priority and benefits of both these two above patent applications, and which are incorporated herein in their entirety by reference, and wherein
- said two applications were, in turn, claiming the priority and benefits of Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/503,823, filed Sep. 19, 2003, titled “Pull Tab”, and which is incorporated herein in its entirety by reference, as well.
Not ApplicableNAMES OF PARTIES TO A JOINT RESEARCH AGREEMENT
Not ApplicableINCORPORATION-BY-REFERENCE OF MATERIAL SUBMITTED ON A COMPACT DISK
Not ApplicableSEQUENCE LISTING
Not ApplicableBACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION FIELD OF THE INVENTION
The present invention generally relates to means for opening cans and container, which have a pull tab that the user lifts and/or pulls to open the can.
Specifically, the invention relates to cans used to contain soft drinks, or beer or soups or sardines or drinks and foods in general or the like. The pull-tab is usually lifted by the user to break a seal of some sort or shape. The pull-tabs presently used on the market are difficult to grab and lift and some users revert to special tools to start the lifting process.
The present invention relates to means and methods of making the tab lifting process more user friendly, and to do so without special tools.BACKGROUND INFORMATION
Many of the soda cans, beer cans, soup cans, or similar containers or the like, presently on the market, have a pull tab, which is supposed to help the user/consumer to open the can and partake of its contents. Usually the pull-tab is relatively flush with the surface of the lid. See the “Tutorial & Definitions” Section for more detailed explanations of some terms used here.
Since I am not directly working with and using these terms on a daily basis, I have copied many of these terms and phrases from a couple of existing patents that have been issued to companies that are in this line of business. I particularly like the words used in U.S. Pat. No. 6,375,029 to Anthony et al., assigned to Alcoa Inc., Pittsburgh, Pa. (USA) and U.S. Pat. No. 6,405,889 to Neiner, assigned to Metal Container Corporation, St. Louis, Mo. (USA). I have included some of their writings and teachings in the “Tutorial & Definitions” Section, elsewhere in this specification. Additional references used include the following, other than those listed in the “Prior Art” section below.
1. U.S. Pat. No. 4,276,993, to Hasegawa, entitled “EASY-OPENING CONTAINER WITH NON-DETACH TAB”,
2. U.S. Pat. No. 6,375,029 B2, to Anthony et al, entitled “EASY-OPEN MISTING CONTAINER”,
3. U.S. Pat. No. 6,405,889 B1, to Neiner, entitled “STAY-ON-TAB CONTAINER CLOSURE HAVING TEAR PANEL WITH LOW-RELIEF CONTOUR FEATURES ON THE UPPER SURFACE”,
It is usually hard to get at the pull-tab and to lift it from its resting position. If you try to lift it with your fingernails, you may break the fingernail, because you need a large force to lift the tab. If you try to push your fingertip under the tab tip, in order to use the tip of the finger instead the fingernail, there usually is not enough room to get your fingertip under the tab tip, and you would not be able to get a good “grip” on the ring.
Some users revert to using special tools to lift the tab at least a little bit, so that the user can get his/her fingertip under the tab tip, to be able to grab the tab lifter and lift it and open the seal. Such tools vary across the board. They can be a knife, a fork, a spoon, a screwdriver or the like. There is even now on the market a special tool, designed and being marketed specifically for this purpose, which basically is a short metal piece, which has a thin edge that can fit in the tight space between the top surface of the lid and the bottom surface of the tab tip. The tip of the tool is inserted in that space and is forced in and/or twisted, so as to lift the tab tip enough to insert the user finger there and then to fully lift the tab lifter.TECHNICAL FIELD OF THE INVENTION
This invention relates generally to closures of the type used for metal beverage containers and, more particularly, to stay-on-tab closures in which an attached tab is lifted to partially sever and displace a tear panel to create an opening for dispensing the contents of the container. The current invention relates to a stay-on-tab closure having a tear panel with low-relief contour features on the upper surface.BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION (CONTINUED)
It is well known to use closures, also referred to as “ends” or “lids,” for sealing metal beverage containers of the type used for packaging beer, carbonated soft drinks, juice, tea, water, and other liquids or fluids. These closures are typically formed of an aluminum alloy or steel, although other materials such as metal-plastic laminates or composites can also be used. A common type of closure, often referred to as a “stay-on-tab” closure, incorporates an attached tab which is lifted to partially sever and displace a tear panel defined by a frangible curvilinear score line. The downward displacement of the tear panel creates an opening for dispensing the contents of the container without the use of a separate opening tool. Both the tear panel and the tab remain attached to the closure after opening.
Conventional stay-on-tab closures typically include a center panel having a generally planar or slightly upwardly domed surface. A tear panel is defined by a curvilinear, but non-closed, frangible score line formed on the center panel which defines the general periphery of the tear panel but leaves a narrow integral hinge connecting the tear panel to the remainder of the center panel. An opening tab is secured to the center panel of the closure by a rivet or other such fastener hingedly connected to the tab. When one tab end is lifted upward, the tab applies forces to the tear panel and center panel to rupture the score line and displace the tear panel down into the associated container to form an opening through which the container contents can be dispensed. The non-closed portion of the score line forms a hinge, which retains the tear panel with the closure. Similarly, the tab remains attached to the closure by its hinged connection to the rivet.
To facilitate the easy bending of the tear panel into the container during opening, conventional stay-on-tab closures connect the tear panel to the center panel using a narrow hinge, i.e., a hinge having a width less than about 25% of the maximum width of the tear panel. Unconventional container closures having displaceable panels and permanently affixed tabs are also known, such as described in U.S. Pat. No. 5,405,039 to Komura, and such closures may be referred to by some as “stay-on-tab” closures. The displaceable panels in such unconventional closures, however, are connected to the center panel by a hinge having a width significantly greater than 25% of the maximum width of the displaceable panel. For example, one closure in the previously mentioned Komura '039 patent provides a displaceable panel comprising approximately one-half of the top of the lid and a hinge having a width of approximately 100% of the maximum width of the displaceable panel.ADDITIONAL DEFINITIONS AND ABBREVIATIONS
- LR=Low Resistance
- HR=High Resistance
- IR=Immediate Resistance
- DR=Delayed Resistance
- SL=Starting Lift
- POP Pop
- CS=Crack Seal
- HT=Half Tear
- CT=Complete Tear
The following individual pairs of expressions are use in this specification as being equivalent and synonymous:
free or empty space, free clearance;
lid, container lid, can lid;
pull tab opener, opener, pull tab;
tail end, tail tip, tab tip, pull tab tip;
tail portion, lifter portion;
lifter portion, tab lifter, pull tab lifter.PRIOR ART
A patent search has revealed the following patents in the prior art.
1. U.S. Pat. No. 5,248,053, to Lundgren, entitled “OPERATING LEVER FOR BEVERAGE CONTAINER LEVER OPERATED OPENER”,
2. U.S. Pat. No. 6,026,971, to Lundgren, entitled “LEVER OPERATED OPENER FOR CONTAINER”,
3. U.S. Pat. No. 6,575,325 B2, to Dickie et al., entitled “ARTICULATED PULL TAB OPENER FOR CONTAINER”,
4. U.S. Pat. No. 6,253,946 B1, to Mäkinen, entitled “CLOSURE FOR A CAN OF DRINK WHICH CAN BE OPENED WITH ONE HAND”,
5. U.S. Pat. No. 6,588,617 B1, to Majcen et al., entitled “ROTATIVE CLOSURE FOR BEVERAGE CONTAINERS”,
6. U.S. Pat. No. 6,347,720, to Schley, entitled “BEVERAGE CAN RESEALABLE LID HAVING ROTATABLE COVER MEMBER AND BIASING PULL TAB”,
7. U.S. Pat. No. 6,443,323 B1, to DeRose, entitled “PROTECTIVE SEAL FOR CANS”,
8. U.S. Pat. No. 6,202,881 B1, to Chiang, entitled “BEVERAGE CONTAINER WITH EASY CLEANING UPPER PANEL”, and
9. U.S. Pat. No. 6,126,029, to Storgaard, entitled “CAN WITH A COVER PROVIDED WITH A PULL RING”.BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION Objective
The Object of this Invention is to create and to provide means and methods to facilitate the opening of cans and containers that have opening pull tabs, by hand, without the need for external tools. The route to do so, is basically by providing ways to increase the space or gap between the tab tip and the lid, so as to allow the user to more easily and readily insert a finger or at least a finger tip, in that space or gap, so as to have a better grip, or at least a better hold or pull on the pull tab lifter and hence be able to lift the tab lifter and to open the can, or rather the can seal.
Another object is to manufacture the pull tab and/or the lid in a new shape, so as to provide such a desirable space (gap) between the pull tab tip and the lid.
Yet another object is to make the pull tab, such that it can be lifted more easily.
A further object is to make the lid with certain protrusions or depressions, and assemble the pull tab to such a lid, so that the user would rotate the tab and thus move its tab tip higher so as to provide the desirable space/gap between the tab tip and the lid.
An additional object is to ensure that any of the above features would still allow the cans to be stacked up, one on top of the other, and still have enough room or space to accommodate the stacking.
A yet another further object is to combine two or more of the above features and improvements, and to get a multiplication of the ensuing benefits.
A yet another object is to be able to use some or all the above features with other containers.BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION The Problem
The problem with the present/conventional pull tabs is that it is difficult for a consumer/user to get his/her finger, or at least finger tip, under the edge of the tab tip of the pull tab lifter.
The words “consumer” or “user” or “you” are used as synonymous terms to indicate any person trying to open a can with a pull-tab and to access its contents.
You need to lift the tip of the tab ring, high enough, to at least get the tip of the finger under the tab tip of the lifter, so that you have some “good grip” on it to lift up the tab lifter.
The pull tab is riveted to the lid in such a strong way and in a way that the pull tab is flat and pretty close to the top surface of the lid, leaving hardly any space/room to get your finger under it, or at least under the tab tip of the lifter. Many cans have a small shallow recess in the top surface of the lid near the tab tip of the lifter, but usually that recess is so small and so shallow that it is almost worthless.
So the main object of this present invention is to provide such a space, i.e. to provide some space between the top surface of the lid and the bottom surface of the tab tip of the lifter, such a space will be referred to herein after as the finger tip gap, so that a consumer, at least a consumer with normal fingers sizes, would be able to push/insert his/her finger tip in this finger tip gap and get a reasonable good grip/grab, so as to be able to pull the lifter up, high enough to be able to pull the lifter further and finally open the can, or rather the can seal.
The present invention proposes several methods and means to accomplish this goal and to attain these objectives.
There are at least the following approaches or groups of solutions, which I will describe here by some keywords, and will describe in more details later:
- 1. Provide Deeper Finger Recesses.
- 2. Provide elevated tab tip of the lifter.
- 3. Reduce the resistance against starting the pull, using the “Push-Pull” method.
- 4. Reduce the resistance against starting the pull, by using the “Rotate-Pull” method.
- 5. Use a combination of any of the above.
Of course, the flanges could be longer as well. But no sense repeating every individual feature. It is obvious that this is doable.
This specification covers a number of embodiments or groups of embodiments, based on the present invention. Each embodiment will be described in detail here below.Embodiment Group 1 Deeper Finger Recesses
Basically, the idea is to make the finger recess deeper and possibly wider. We can even bring the recess closer to the edge, but leaving enough room for the tools, which seal the lid to the container's body to create the seals. This can be the “rolling” or sealing operation or the like. Sometimes it is called the “double seam” operation.Embodiment Group 2 Elevated Tip of the Pull Tab Ring
Embodiment Group 3 & 4 Reduced Resistance to Starting the Pull
The basic reasoning for these embodiments is the following.
When a person tries to lift the tip of the pull-tab lifter, he is working usually against a number of resisting forces, which act either sequentially and/or simultaneously.
The goal of the proposed embodiments is to delay the onset of the high resisting forces against the pull-tab, until the user gets a good hold on the tab tip. I will explain below, first, the existing “unfavorable” conditions that exist presently in conventional prior art embodiments, and then, second, the improvements set of conditions proposed by the present invention.First, The Existing Prior Art “Unfavorable” Conditions
The forces involved while lifting the pull-tab and breaking the seal can be described and analyzed as follows. I will use the chart in
When we want to open a can having a pull-tab, we pull the tab tip of the lifter upwards, i.e. in a direction perpendicular to the general surface of the lid I will refer to it also as the “vertical” direction. This upward movement of the lifter creates a downward movement of the pull tap nose, which applies a downward force against the seal, and eventually breaks the seal open. The pull tab and the seal, and to a certain extent the lid itself, create some resistance against this action, which resistance materialized itself in a force at the lifter tab tip, which the user observes and will have to overcome, if he wants to open the can seal.F1—Low Tab Flexing Resistance
If the tab was not acting against the lid seal and is simply held in place by the rivet and we wanted to lift the tab tip up, then we would have to “bend” the central portion or “plate”, which is the part of the pull tab containing the “donut”. The force required to bend the plate and the donut will be referred to hereinafter as F1. The pull tab is usually constructed to have a certain amount of rigidity/flexibility, and has been referred to in prior art patents as having “a controlled flex central portion, which I have referred to as the tab plate or tab donut, or simply the donut, which is disposed between the tab nose and the tab lifter. So, this F1 is the force provided by this controlled flex donut, against any attempt to lift the tab tip, assuming that there are no other resisting forces. So, I will refer to this force as the “tab flexing resistance” force, F1. F1 is usually pretty small compared to the other forces that I will describe next. In addition, it can be “controlled” to be larger or smaller, depending on the needs.
We can actually get a good feel of the magnitude of the F1, as follows. After we open a can, and bent the seal inwards inside the can, the pull-tab will be acting on its own from that moment on. If at this time, we go ahead and push or pull on the tab, we will be working against this “tab flexing resistance”, which is what I will refer to as force F1. We will be able to see, to feel and to realize how small this resistance is, compared to the force required to open the can in the first place.
So, the donut enables the lifter to be lifted and moved upwards, presenting only a small amount of resistance, referred to hereinafter as the tab flexing resistance. This condition remains so, until the nose touches the seal.F2—Seal Breaking Resistance
Upon further raising the lifter at the tab tip or by any other way, the nose would move further downward and would apply forces on the seal with the purpose of breaking the seal, all this happening in a sequence of events, as mentioned above. At first, the lower surfaces of the nose touch the upper surfaces of the lid and of the seal and transmits the upward movement and force applied at the lifter inversely to the seal. Upon increasing the force, the seal will start to break, at which time a pop may be heard. And upon further application of the movement and force, the seal will crack open to a larger extent, and gradually upon still further application of the movement and force, the seal will open fully.
The forces required to crack and break the seal itself can be calculated and predicted. Basically, it is a “shear” force, which is equal to the shear strength of the material multiplied by the surface area of the area to be sheared. If this happens gradually, then the area to be sheared is only the area that will be cracking at any particular instant. If the action is fast and/or sudden, then the affected or impacted area can be considerably larger. In any event, this force is much larger than the F1 force, the force required to simply flex the tab or the tab donut area.
In addition, if the container is pressurized, that is has some pressure inside it, say from having a carbonized liquid inside it, then this pressure will add to the resisting forces opposing the action of the pull tab.
So, again but in different words, if the tab body were attached to the donut by a frictionless hinge/connection, i.e. F1 would be equal to zero, and then we would try to lift the tip of the pull tab lifter to open the seal, then the only force resisting this lifting action would be the force required to crack and break the seal, which would be, a) the force required to shear the material of the lid along the “score” line, plus b) the force against the pressure inside the can, if the can is pressurized for example by some carbonated drink. We will refer to this force hereinafter as F2.
Actually, F2 can then be divided into two forces, which are: 1) the force required to just crack and break the seal along the score line and 2) the force to work against the internal pressure from inside the can.F3—Seal Bending or Folding Resistance
After the seal is cracked and broken, we would still need to push the seal inwards to get it away from the opening. In other cases, like if we are opening a sardine can for example, the seal is usually pulled out. Here the resisting force is the force required to bend and fold the seal about the connecting neck or lip. We will refer to this force hereinafter as F3.
If we evaluate these various forces, we would most probably determine that F1 is the smallest of the three and that F2 is the largest one. These F1 and F2 forces are the two important forces that we want to address at this moment, especially since F3 does not come into play until we go through F1 and F2 first.
We can generally find that the graph/chart shown in
Also, please keep in mind that the chart is exactly not to scale. First of all, different containers made of different material and different designed would have different forces or force levels. And depending on the design, sizes, dimensions, etc, the amount of lift required to reach certain events would be different as well. The chart simply gives a “comparable” picture, showing the approximate relation of the forces coming into play during these events. The vertical scale could be showing the “relative percentages” of the forces involved.
In addition, the chart shows three sets of curves. The middle solid dark curve is the most probable, and the dotted curves above and below it, show the possible variations in the level of the forces.
Also, please keep in mind that this chart represents the present existing or conventional method of opening the cans.
All the curves are illustrative approximations, and are not to scale, but they simply show the “relative” magnitudes of the various acting forces.
Please refer also to
At the start of the tab movement, i.e. at tab rotation of 0 degrees or at zero lift of the tab tip, the force is zero. This is represented by the point S on the curve in
This is represented in
At this moment, we would notice a sudden dip in the force required for keeping the tab at this position. If we go slowly in lifting the tab tip, the point will be pretty noticeable. I called this low level of force the point P2 on the curve in
Then we notice that, if we keep pulling on the tab tip, i.e. try to lift it further, then the force would rise back up and may reach the level shown by point C. This is a point where a certain length of the seal score has sheared through, almost at the same time. It is the darkened length of the seal score that I have highlighted between the “Pop and the “Crack” in
At this moment, we may feel a sudden dip in the amount of resistance, where the resisting force may dip to some point like point C2.
Upon lifting the tab tip higher, the force curve continues further until it reaches point HO. See chart in
From this point on, the force-deflection curve shows that the force will start to diminish rapidly until point FO, “Fully Open”.
At this moment, the seal is hanging on to the lid only by a narrow strip of material, which I refer to as the neck. If we push the pull tab farther, rather rotate it through a larger angle in that same direction as before, then the tab nose will push the seal inwards, inside the can. In this case, the only force resisting the movement will be the force required to “bend” or “fold” the neck of the seal through the traveled angle. This force is relatively small, as any user could feel when actually opening any similar can. This force stays relatively constant for as long as we want to keep folding the seal further inside the can. See the relatively flat curve in
At this moment, the seal at the score line has been fully broken and the seal will dip inside the can. During this stage, the forces resisting the movement of the tab are F1 and F3.
From this point on, the curve shows that the remaining resisting force is pretty small. Actually, the forces acting here are F1 and F3 and a smaller portion of F2-b.
Again, I am showing three probable shapes of the curve, which I called 1-Conventional High, 2-Conventional Steep, and 3-Conventional Most Probable. These are simply illustrative representations and do not come into play at the beginning of the operation, i.e. at the time we start to lift the tip of the tab.
The important parts of the curve are at the beginning of the operation, starting from 0 degrees to approximately 25 degrees. This is where the finger needs to be inserted and placed under the tip of the tab to start the lifting process.
We can see that almost from the “get go”, we have to overcome a high resisting force (F1 plus F2).Proposal as Per Present Invention
As will be shown down below, I have at least two different ways to reduce this resisting force.
First, I will show how to decrease the starting resisting forces from the present curve shape to a more favorable one. I will refer to this lower curve shape as the “F1-Only” Curve, or the “LOW STARTING AND DELAYED RESISTANCE”.
Second, I will show how to decrease the resisting forces against the lifting of the tab tip one more step yet. I will refer to this curve as the “Zero F1/F2” Curve, or the “ROTATE FIRST AND LIFT SECOND”.One Proposed Preferred Embodiment Embodiment Group 3 Reduced Resistance to Starting the Pull, by Using the “Push-Pull” Method
“Low Starting and Delayed Resistance”, or “F1-Only” Curve
Now, I want to introduce the chart in
The chart shows the old “Force-Deflection” curve, which was shown in
The chart of
Now I will describe the new Proposed Methods curve. It can be seen that the proposed curve starts at the same point, point S, like the old one. However, the curve goes to point P on the X-axis, which is the LR level on the Y-axis, i.e. the Low Resistance point, because we are working against only the controlled, low tab flexing resistance, without encountering any of the higher resisting forces of breaking the seal etc. This low initial resistance will be referred to hereinafter as the “low initial resistance” or simply the “LOW-RESISTANCE”.
We reach this point P on the X-axis, at around 20-30 degrees of lifting at the tab tip. This distance of 20-30 degrees will be referred to hereinafter as the “delay in the onset of the high resistance” or simply the “DELAYED-RESISTANCE”
This creates a nice desirable amount of opening at the tab tip, which allows the user to easily insert his finger tip under the tab tip, and to get a good hold on it and to lift it further to finally crack and break the seal. This gap was called the tab tip finger gap.
The rest of the new solid curve shows practically a copy of the old dotted curve, but shifted horizontally to the right by that delay distance, or rather by the rotation angle, of 20-30 degrees.
To recap, it can be seen that the resisting forces here follow the new Curve in
This way, we bypass the area in the curve marked “Area 1”. This area represents the “work”, i.e. force times travel, which has been eliminated by shaping the pull-tab as shown. In turn, this allows the consumer to lift the tab tip to the more desirable position, without exerting a high force, so you don't need to break your fingernails.Another Embodiment Delayed Resistance Resulting from a Depression in the Lid SUMMARY
I have also shown in
Note: The reference numerals in
All this is done in a way, such that at least the portions of the container lid 9113 and of the frangible push-in closure 9115, underlying the nose portion 9133 of the pull tab opener, are shaped so as to have a depression 9151 below the original surrounding general level 9153 of the container lid top surface 9155, said depression starting adjacent to said fixation point and extending towards and including a portion of the frangible push-in closure, creating a certain free space or a certain free clearance angle 9161 underneath the nose portion 9133 of the pull tab opener and above the underlying portions 9113 of the container lid and the frangible push-in closure 9115, said certain free clearance allowing the pull tab opener to pivot through a certain free clearance angle 9161 downwards, rotating or pivoting about the pull tab pivot portion 9141, before the bottom surface 9163 of the nose portion 9133 of the pull tab opener 9123 engages or touches the top surfaces 9165 of the underlying portions 9113 of the container lid and of the frangible push-in closure 9115, said certain free clearance angle being referred to as the free depression angle 9161.
Based on this construction, the process sequence of opening the container lid and breaking open said frangible push-in closure comprises at least two distinguishably individual and separate incremental process steps, which occur consecutively or sequentially, wherein
the first incremental process step comprises the step of pivoting the pull tab opener 9123 through said free depression angle 9161, so as to move the nose portion 9133 of the pull tab opener downwards towards the frangible push-in closure 9115, traversing said certain free clearance and pivoting through said free depression angle 9161, until the bottom surface 9163 of the nose portion 9133 reaches and touches the top surface 9165 of the underlying depressed portions 9113 of the container lid and/or of the frangible push-in closure 9115, during which first step a first incremental force F1 is required to be applied or exerted on the pull tab opener, the magnitude of said first incremental force being equal to the force required to overcome only the elastic resistance of the pull tab pivot portion 9141 against being bent; and wherein
the subsequent second incremental process step comprises the step of urging the nose portion 9133 of the pull tab opener 9123 to break open the frangible push-in closure 9115, during which second step a second incremental force F2 is required to be applied or exerted, in addition to the first incremental force F1, the magnitude of said second incremental force F2 being equal to the force required to break open the frangible push-in closure 9115, wherein said second incremental force F2 is larger than said first incremental force F1;
in other words,
said depression 9151 in the selected areas of the container lid 9113 and of the frangible push-in closure 9115, underlying the nose portion 9133 of the pull tab opener 9123, which creates said certain free space or said certain free clearance 9151 between the bottom surface 9163 of the nose portion 9133 of the pull tab opener 9123 and the top surfaces 9165 of the underlying areas, resulting in said free depression angle 9161, creates and introduces a delay in the onset of the larger second incremental force F2 which is required to break open the frangible push-in closure 9115, thus making it easy to go through the first incremental process step, by applying only the smaller first incremental force F1 to the pull tab opener which is required to overcome only the elastic resistance of the pull tab pivot portion 9141 against being bent, before the need to apply the larger second incremental force F2 which is required to break open the frangible push-in closure 9115.
A variation of the above embodiment construction and design is to make the depression 9151 shaped so that it is in a semi-spherical shape, as if a part of a sphere has been pushed in and has deformed the respective portions of the container lid 9113 and of the frangible push-in closure 9115, as illustrated in
Another variation is to shape said depression 9151 as in
Yet another approach, shown in
The nose portion of this pull tab opener is similar to the one shown as #7 in
The rest of the opening sequence follows a similar routine. The big difference is that now with the present invention, the large force F2 is delayed, so that the user will need to overcome ONLY the smaller force F1 to start the can opening process.
This larger gap 9441 can accomplish one or both of the two following things. One: For a same size free rotation angle 9467, similar in size as the angle 9567 in
It then becomes a matter of trade-off between these two features of any embodiment, to obtain the same, similar end result. The can manufacturer or designer would have more leeway and freedom to choose the size of these two features, to obtain a maximum benefit for the end user, taking into consideration any other issues related to the manufacturing processes or the like.
This combination/embodiment in
Any of the finger wells shown in
Thus I have demonstrated that by shaping the pull tab, and/or the lid and the seal, in a certain way, we provide a predefined clearance between the nose and the seal, so that the tab lifter and the tab lifter tip will be able to move upward only against the low tab flexing resistance F1, before encountering the considerably higher seal breaking forces. This will create a favorable “tab tip finger gap”, allowing the user to easily apply his fingertip to the tab tip to move the lifter to open the seal. All this in spite of the fact that all the forces required to break the seal F2 are considerably larger than the tab flexing resistance F1, requiring the user to apply a considerably larger force at the tab tip during the seal breaking process than the force required to oppose the tab flexing resistance.
So, again, by shaping the pull-tab, and/or the lid and/or the seal, as per our proposed method, we have overcome and solved the problem of breaking the fingernails when attempting to open such containers. In other words, we have made the pull tab/lid combination more user friendly.More Embodiments/Variations
Such finger wells will also give more flexibility to the designer or manufacturer to optimize the selection of each one of the available features, to make the pull tab opener more user friendly.
Also the finger wells shown in
The figures also show the advantage of the deep recess suggested elsewhere here in the specification.Embodiment Group 4 Reduced Resistance to Starting the Pull Using the “Rotate-Pull” Method
The figures in this group will be numbered
In addition, I have included some new drawings, showing the concept of using a trough or well. They are
Of course the option of having two scored seals still exists, as explained further down below.
The figures show the tab in “both” positions, superimposed one on top of the other, just to show the concept more clearly. In reality, there is only ONE tab, and it is simply shown at the beginning of the rotation and at the end of the rotation as well. Most of the following figures in this group will show the tab one time at the beginning of the rotation and another time at the end of the rotation, and one more time at both positions superimposed one on top of the other.
By the way, the flanges can also be on the lower side of the tab, following the contour of the “domed” surface of the lid. Or they can just be on the lower side of the tab, without any part of the flange above the top surface of the tab, or they can be partially above and partially below the tab.
Please notice also two additional features in
Right-Hand Rotation, Left-Hand Rotation & Double-Sided Rotation
All the above rotational drawings show the tab being rotated counter-clock-wise. Some users may prefer to have it rotate in the opposite direction, i.e. clock-wise. The manufacturers may opt to have both versions on the market. However, this may not be economical. The alternative would be to make the tab able to rotate either way.
Curve 5 in
1. A combination of a container lid and a pull tab opener,
- said container lid applied to a container body,
- said container lid comprising
- a panel having a generally flat horizontal surface, and a scored area in said panel for defining a push-in seal, which is frangibly secured to said panel for enabling said push-in seal to be at least partially severed from said panel and
- said pull tab opener, comprising
- a rigid non-articulated elongated tab body, having a tab longitudinal axis and a tab transverse axis, said pull tab opener comprising
- a nose portion, ending with a nose end and a nose tip, at one end of said tab body, along said tab longitudinal axis,
- a lifter portion, ending with a lifter end and a lifter tip, at the opposite end of said tab body, along same said tab longitudinal axis, and
- a controlled flex donut plate, being disposed between said nose portion and said lifter portion, proximate the intersection of said tab longitudinal and transverse axes,
- two rigid side rails, connecting said nose portion and said lifter portion to each other and to said donut plate and running at a certain distance and a certain angle to said longitudinal axis of the pull tab opener, and
- a cross-bridge, connecting said two side rails together, running transverse to the tab longitudinal axis, at a certain distance from said donut plate, and
- said combination also comprising a rivet for pivotally securing said pull tab opener to said panel, said rivet being disposed proximate the intersection of said tab longitudinal and transverse axes, said rivet attaching said donut plate to said panel,
- said donut plate being flexible enough to allow said tab body to have a vertical seesaw rotation or movement, i.e. to seesaw and to rotate in a vertical clockwise or counter-clockwise direction, about the tab transverse axis, when viewed from a cross-sectional side view direction, if and when a force is applied to any part of the tab body, e.g. a downward force on the nose portion or an upward force on the lifter portion, wherein an upward movement of said lifter portion creates a downward movement of said nose portion,
- said nose end being disposed proximate said push-in seal and said lifter end being disposed remote therefrom, and wherein
- the pull tab opener and container lid are shaped such that the nose end is overlying a portion of the push-in seal, but with a certain predetermined nose initial vertical clearance angle between the bottom surface of the nose end and top surface of the push-in seal, requiring that the tab body be rotated through a certain vertical angle, say by raising the lifter end of the pull tab opener a certain initial vertical clearance angle or distance, before the nose end touches the push-in seal, and wherein
- the process sequence of opening the container lid and breaking open said push-in seal comprises at least two distinguishably individual and separate incremental process steps, which occur consecutively or sequentially, wherein
- the first incremental process step or movement comprises the step of vertically rotating and pivoting or seesaw-ing the pull tab opener, so as to close the nose initial vertical clearance angle,
- by moving the nose portion of the pull tab opener downwards towards the push-in seal, traversing said nose initial vertical clearance angle or distance, until the bottom surface of the nose portion reaches and touches the top surface of the underlying push-in seal, but just before engaging the push-in seal, and
- the subsequent second incremental process step comprises the step of urging the nose portion of the pull tab opener to break open the push-in seal,
- in other words,
- said nose initial vertical clearance between the nose end and the push-in seal creates and introduces a delay in the onset of the larger second incremental force which is required to break open the push-in seal, thus making it easy to go through both the first incremental step, by applying only the smaller first incremental force to the pull tab opener, before encountering the need to apply the larger second incremental force which is required to break open the push-in seal, and wherein
- while during the first incremental step, the rotating action does not totally eliminate all the nose initial vertical clearance angle, so that the nose end still remains above a certain minimum clearance elevation away and above the push-in seal, in other words, even at the end of the first rotation action, neither the nose end nor the nose tip will engage the push-in seal, so that neither the nose end nor the nose tip will apply any force on the push-in seal, which makes it that the first rotation of the pull tab opener takes place without the need of any force related to breaking or to opening the push-in seal.
2. A combination of a container lid and a pull tab opener, as in claim 1, wherein
- a deep finger recess is provided underneath the lifter tip of the pull tab opener, to enable a user to more easily insert the tip of his/her finger tip under the lifter tip, to facilitate the process of lifting the lifter tip
3. A combination of a container lid and a pull tab opener, as in claim 1, wherein
- the lifter tip of the pull tab opener is raised or rather tilted at an angle to the general direction of the main body of the pull tab opener, to enable a user to more easily insert the tip of his/her finger tip under the lifter tip, to facilitate the process of lifting the lifter tip
4. A combination of a container lid and a pull tab opener, as in claim 1, wherein
- the nose tip of the pull tab opener is raised or rather tilted at an angle to the general direction of the main body of the pull tab opener, to enable a user to more easily vertically rotate the pull tab opener, to increase the initial vertical clearance angle or distance, to facilitate the process of lifting the lifter tip
Filed: Mar 6, 2013
Publication Date: Sep 19, 2013
Inventor: Gabe Cherian (Sun Valley, ID)
Application Number: 13/787,776
International Classification: B65D 51/22 (20060101);