CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
- BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
The invention of this application relates to the field of beverage containers of which the contents is accessible via a dispensing aperture of which the closure means is non re-usable as cover once removed to gain access to its contents.
- BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
The opening of beverage cans by way of a tab actuator in shearing a panel that is integrally formed with the can along a line of weakness is well known. The tab is conventionally fitted to the can by way of a rivet pin. The riveted tab is sheared on three sides from the body of the tab in being lifted on causing the exertion of a shearing force on the panel. The panel is caused to fold inward in the process of its becoming sheared from the container. Once opened a can cannot be closed off again by closure means forming part of the can, as compared with a bottle fitted with a cap. In the case of sweetened contents a tendency exists for insects and especially bees to be attracted to the can. In addition to creating a nuisance this can in the case where, for example, a bee finds its way into the can, be hazardous if a consumer that is not aware of such ingress drinks from the can again.
The present invention is for a beverage container of which the contents is accessible via a dispensing aperture of which the closure means is non re-usable as cover once removed to gain access, that is arranged to enable non-sealing closure of the dispensing aperture once unsealed. To this effect the invention makes provision for supplementary closure means that is fitted to the container and employable for closing off the dispensing aperture against the ingress of particulate matter that is at least undesirable if not hazardous, such as insects or bees.
The invention furthermore makes provision for using the supplementary closure means to still retain access to beverage in the can despite being fitted to guard against the undesired ingress of insects and bees.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
The object of the present invention is, amongst others, found in the provision of closure means fitted to a container and employable for closing off the contents of a container against the ingress of undesired particulate matter. Although not limited to cans fitted with tear can opening tabs the invention finds useful application in such case especially because the tab used for opening the can is also used as supplementary closure means in so closing off the discharge aperture of such can.
FIG. 1 shows in dispensing aperture sealed condition a top view one embodiment of a beverage container of which the contents is accessible via a dispensing aperture of which the closure means is non-re-usable as cover once removed to gain access, in the form of a conventional dispensing opening tear-fashion openable can as openable by means of a tab that also serves a supplementary closure means function for closing off the dispensing aperture against the ingress of particulate matter that is at least undesirable if not hazardous,
FIG. 2 shows the container of FIG. 1 in the dispensing aperture opened condition in response to conventional use of the tab,
FIG. 3 shows the container of FIGS. 1 and 2 in the dispensing aperture closed off condition in response to appropriate displacement of the tab,
FIG. 4 shows in plan view an embodiment of a specific tab configuration to promote effective covering of the dispensing opening by enabling securing of the tab the can,
FIG. 5 shows in side view the tab of the FIG. 4,
FIG. 6 shows the tab of FIGS. 4 and 5 as viewed from the front,
FIG. 7 shows in top view another embodiment of a conventional beverage holding can fitted with a tab that is displaceable into a dispensing aperture closing off condition, in the dispensing aperture still sealed condition,
FIG. 8 shows the container of FIG. 7 in the dispensing aperture closing off condition once unsealed and in response to the tab being appropriately displaced.
FIG. 9 shows in top view yet another embodiment of a conventional beverage holding can fitted with a tab that is displaceable into a dispensing aperture closing off condition, in the dispensing aperture still sealed condition,
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
FIGS. 1 to 6—One Embodiment of the Invention
FIG. 10 shows the container of FIG. 9 in the dispensing aperture closing off condition once unsealed and in response to the tab being appropriately displaced.
Referring to FIGS. 1 and 3 of the drawings a tab type openable beverage container of which the tab also serves a supplementary closure means function once the original sealing has been removed for closing off the dispensing aperture against the ingress of particulate matter that is at least undesirable if not hazardous such as insects or bees is generally indicated by reference numeral 10.
The can 10 is thus fitted with a tab 12 that is conventionally used for gaining access to the contents of the can 10 via the shearing of an integrally formed panel 14 sealing off the dispensing aperture 16 of the can 10 that is shearable along a line of shear 18 provided by a line of weakness formed in the can 10 during its process of manufacturing. The tab 12 is fitted to the body of the can 10 via a rivet pin 20 and is formed with a manually grippable handle and covering portion 12.1 and a panel-engaging portion 12.2. The portions 12.1 and 12.2 extend on opposite sides of the location of tab riveting 22. The rivet pin 20 thus serves as fulcrum when the portion 12.1 of the tab 12 is conventionally lifted in causing the exertion of the required force for shearing the panel 14 along the line of shear 18 via the tab portion 12.2 to open up the dispensing aperture 16. Lifting of the tab 12 in shearing the panel 14 from the can 10 involves raising the tab 12 along pre-formed cuts 24 formed in the tab 12 during manufacturing of the can 10.
To also perform a dispensing opening closing off function the handle portion 12.1 of the tab 12 is sized to be closely equal to the panel 14 and thus the dispensing aperture 16. In addition to serving as fulcrum in the process of shearing the panel 14 from the can 10, the tab 12 is also swivellably mounted to the pin 20. It is thus swivellable along an arc 26 from a non-closing off condition, as shown in FIG. 2, to a closing off condition as shown in FIG. 3. Closing off will naturally only be desired once the panel 14 has been released.
The handle portion 12.1 of the tab 12, as serving a covering function in closing off the dispensing aperture 16, displays an area of perforation 28 thus rendering the contents of the can 10 accessible without having to swivel the tab 12 out of registration with the dispensing aperture 16. The perforations 28 can be formed in any desired pattern. It can for example represent a picture or an emblem as long as the primary function of permitting the flow of beverage there through while closing off the aperture 16 against the ingress of undesired particulate matter such as insects and bees is met. It will be appreciated that the tab 12 need not be perforated to still perform its closing of function. In such case appropriate swivelling of the tab will however be desired into closing off or permitting access via the dispensing aperture 16.
Canned beverage is often consumed by way of a straw. In using a straw to drink from the can 10 the tab 12 is thus simply swivelled to its dispensing aperture uncovering condition, as shown in FIG. 2, and the straw positioned along the dispensing aperture 16. Should the can 10 still contain beverage when drinking is ceased the straw will have to be withdrawn before the tab 12 can be swivelled into the covering condition of FIG. 3. This poses no problem but holds some inconvenience. Also when access is gained in this way the dispensing aperture 16 is uncovered rendering the contents of the can 10 accessible for the ingress of undesired matter. To address this inconvenience the tab 12 can be formed with an openable flap 30 that is integrally secured to the remainder of the tab 12 while permitting displacement along a pre-cut line 32. Inward urging of the flap 30 thus results in the provision of a straw access opening 34 (as shown in FIG. 3). This can be achieved by simply pressing the flap 30 into the can 10 by means of a straw (not shown). As the aperture along a straw is small its fitting through the tab 12 will still retain the dispensing aperture 16 effectively closed off against undesired ingress.
While the tab 12 when swivelled to its aperture covering condition, as shown in FIG. 3, will perform its closing off function it will be appreciated that it will not necessarily lie flush against the upper face 10.1 of the can 10, especially as it is lifted about the pin 20 in the process of releasing the panel 14 from the can 10.
Referring also and more particularly to FIGS. 4 to 6 the tab 12 is shown profiled with opposite shoulders 36 and a catching lip 38. The remainder of the portion 12.1 is shaped to snugly fit into the discharge aperture 16. The body of the tab 12 is formed to be concave on the outside and accordingly convex on the inside. The central portion 12.3 of the tab 12 is thus sunken with respect to its peripheral region. Being so profiled the tab 12 of FIGS. 4 to 6 is received within the aperture 16 but is prevented from passing through the aperture 16 as the shoulders 36 come to urge against the peripheral edge of the aperture 16 once the tab 12 is positioned in its closing off condition. In the process the lip 38 becomes clipped below the leading end 16.1 of the aperture 16 thereby engaging the tab 12 against undesired release from its closing off condition. If the aperture 16 is for some or other reason desired to be fully exposed again the tab 12 can lifted from its closing off condition by way of the shoulder 36 also serving as lifting handles.
- FIGS. 7 and 8—Another Embodiment of the Invention
When closing off fashion fitted the concave inside zone 12.3 of the can 12 promotes the comfortable drinking of the beverage from the can 10.
In a further embodiment of the invention it differs from the FIGS. 1 to 3 embodiment in that the tab 12 is mounted to be moved between the dispensing aperture 16 uncovering and covering conditions in response to its being flipped over in stead of a swivelling action. In so far as the same as the FIGS. 1 to 3 embodiment like references carry the same reference numerals.
The tab 12 in this embodiment is secured to the pin 20 via an integral tab panel 42 that, in addition to enabling the normal tab lifting action on releasing the closure panel 14, as discussed in FIGS. 1 to 3 embodiment, also permits the further displacement of the panel 42 along pre-severed cuts 44 on flipping over of the tab 12 into an aperture covering condition, as shown in FIG. 8. Once so flipped the tab 12 still remains attached to the can 10 via an attachment strip 46 that maintains the panel 42 attached to the pin 20.
- FIGS. 9 and 10—Yet Another Embodiment of the Invention
It will be appreciated that the tab 12 of this embodiment, as is the case with the FIGS. 1 to 3 embodiment and perhaps even to a larger extent, will not necessarily lie flush against the upper face 10.1 of the can 10 once flipped over to its aperture closing off condition. This situation can also be addressed by way of the specific configuration of the tab 12 as discussed above with reference to FIGS. 4 to 6.
In yet a further embodiment of the invention the tab 12 is also mounted to be moved between the dispensing aperture uncovering and covering conditions in response to its being flipped over. In so far as the same as the FIGS. 1 to 3 and FIGS. 7 and 8 embodiments like references carry the same reference numerals.
The tab 12 is in this embodiment is hingedly mounted to the can 10 by way of hinging arms 48 forming part of the tab 12 and fitting swivellably to hinge pins 50 extending above the face 101 of the can 10. The tab 12 is mounted to swivel about the axis 52 passing along the hinge pins 50. Forceable release of the panel 14 in opening the dispensing opening 16 of the can 10 is achieved by simply lifting the tab 12. In swivelling about the axis 52 its panel-engaging portion 12.2 thus exerts a progressively increasing force on the panel 14 until it is sheared along its shearing line 18.
While the tab 12 can be of unitary construction it can also, as specifically shown in FIGS. 9 and 10, be of outer frame construction presenting a circumferentially extending frame 54 of which the enclosed zone 56 is fitted with a perforated insert 58 rendering it permeable. Although not shown the insert can also make provision for the fitting of a straw to the tab 12, as discussed with reference to both the FIGS. 1 to 3 and FIGS. 7 and 8 embodiments.