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Title:
CAN END
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2000/058161
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A can end (10) having an end panel (12), a tab (14), a rivet (16), a score (18), a tongue (17), a first deboss (20), an emboss (22), a second deboss (24), and an embossed ridge (28). The first deboss (20) is formed entirely within the score (18). The second deboss (24) and emboss (22) are formed entirely within the first deboss (20). The second deboss (24) is formed by matching arcuate side walls, and has a sloped bottom surface. The rivet (16) is offset from a centre of the end. The tongue (17) is disposed between the rivet and end panel perimeter where the rivet is closest to the perimeter. The emboss (22) is uniformly spaced from the score. An embossed ridge (28) is uniformly spaced from the score outside of the score. In another embodiment, the second deboss is replaced with a contact emboss. A die insert (11) for forming the first deboss, emboss, and second deboss (and, alternatively, contact emboss) is also disclosed.

Inventors:
Heinicke, Paul R. (9500 Shakertown Drive, Canton, OH, 44718, US)
Price, Trevor (495 Sullivan Avenue, Akron, OH, 44305, US)
Application Number:
PCT/GB2000/001176
Publication Date:
October 05, 2000
Filing Date:
March 28, 2000
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
CROWN CORK & SEAL TECHNOLOGIES CORPORATION (11535 S. Central Avenue, Alsip, IL, 60803-2599, US)
CARNAUDMETALBOX PLC (Downsview Road, Wantage, Oxfordshire OX12 9BP, GB)
International Classes:
B21D51/44; B65D17/34; (IPC1-7): B65D17/34
Foreign References:
JPH07275976A1995-10-24
DE19639619A11997-03-27
US4024981A1977-05-24
US5653355A1997-08-05
US5563335A1996-10-08
Other References:
PATENT ABSTRACTS OF JAPAN vol. 1996, no. 10 31 October 1996 (1996-10-31)
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Ratliff, Ismay Hilary (Carnaudmetalbox plc, Downsview Road Wantage, Oxfordshire OX12 9BP, GB)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS
1. A can end comprising: an end panel; a tab, coupled to the end panel; a score, formed in the end panel, having a first end and a second end which define a hinge portion therebetween; a tongue, defined by the score and coupled to the hinge portion; and a deboss, formed in the tongue between the rivet and the emboss; characterised in that the deboss is a second deboss; and the can end further comprises: a first deboss formed entirely in the tongue; and an emboss formed in the tongue.
2. The can end of claim 1 wherein the emboss and the second deboss are formed within the first deboss.
3. The can end of claim 1 or claim 2, wherein the second deboss has a bottom surface of varying depth.
4. The can end of any one of claims 1 to 3, wherein the second deboss has a sloped bottom surface which has a shallow end and opposing deep end.
5. The can end of any one of claims 1 to 4, further comprising a rear deboss formed in the end panel beneath the tab heel, whereby a user's finger is insertable into a gap between the tab heel and the rear boss.
6. The can end of any one of claims 1 to 5, wherein the emboss comprises a heartshaped emboss.
7. The can end of any one of claims 1 to 6, wherein the emboss substantially follows the score.
8. The can end of any one of claims 1 to 7, further comprising an embossed ridge, disposed on the end outside of the tongue, most of the embossed ridge being spaced equidistant from the score.
9. The can end of any one of claims 1 to 7, further comprising an embossed ridge outside of the score.
10. The can end of any one of claims 1 to 9, in which the second deboss comprises an arcuate side and two opposing ends adjacent the arcuate side.
Description:
CAN END The present invention relates to containers, and more particularly to metal containers having a pull type opening tab.

Easy opening beverage containers are well known in the beverage industry. Typically, a beverage container comprises a body and a separate can end or lid formed of an aluminum sheet, typically 0.011" (0.28 mm) to 0.013" (0.33 mm) thick. A conventional can end may employ one of several pull-type tabs. A popular type of end has a tab which is attached to a top plate (hereinafter"end panel"), by a rivet to form a lever. To open the can, a user lifts one end of the tab to urge the other end downward against a tongue or tear panel formed by a pattern or line of weakening such as a score in the end panel. The tab member forces the tongue downward until the score pattern ruptures. The score may be discontinuous to form a hinge area which connects the tongue to the end panel, even after opening.

A common operation for forming a can end having a tongue defined by a score pattern comprises the step of placing a metal material between a score die and mating anvil. Thereafter, the score die is brought down upon the metal material with a force sufficient to depress the metal material to form the score.

Ease of opening and enhanced strength of the end components are long standing goals of designers and researchers. For example, US-5,563,335 (hereinafter "Tominaga") discloses a can end having an end panel, a tab, a tongue formed by a score, and a hinge area formed in the end. However, the end disclosed in the Tominaga patent has several drawbacks. Firstly, the end panel has a centre which is a fulcrum point. Such a layout may not be desired in light of tongue size and location, tab

length, aesthetics, strength characteristics, and like variables.

Secondly, the Tominaga patent discloses that the force application point, the fulcrum point, the tab nose, and the depression force point form a straight line. Such an alignment restricts the depression force point to a location which is not optimum with respect to the opening characteristics. Thirdly, the Tominaga patent discloses a recess which is disposed beneath the tab nose having a straight side perpendicular to the straight line as defined above. The straight side yields to an arcuate side generally to form a D-shaped recess. This D-shape inherently requires a large surface area in the critical tongue area, within which space should be conserved, and might position a stress riser at a problematic location.

Fourthly, a large deboss in the end panel of the Tominaga patent contains and is disposed outside of the score area and tab, which has inherent drawbacks, especially with respect to the score.

Furthermore, like many can end designs, the end disclosed in the Tominaga patent may be prone to loose metal or excess metal in the tongue area, and may generally not provide optimum accessibility to the finger of the user (that is, mechanical and geometrical characteristics of the tab with respect to the tongue and the end panel).

The present invention is directed to the goals of improving the opening considerations of pull type tabs, as well as possessing other attributes which will be apparent to persons familiar with such technology.

According to the present invention, there is provided a can end comprising an end panel and a tab which is coupled to the end panel by a rivet. The tab has a nose and an opposing heel. A score, which is formed in

the end panel, has a first end and a second end which define a hinge portion therebetween. The score defines a tongue, formed in the end panel, which is coupled to the hinge portion. A first deboss is formed entirely in the tongue within the score. An emboss is also formed in the tongue. An arcuate second deboss is formed in the tongue between the rivet and the emboss. The emboss and the second deboss may be formed within the first deboss.

The first deboss has a first arcuate side and an opposing second arcuate side. The second deboss is capable of receiving a depression force applied by the tab nose. The second deboss may have a bottom surface of varying depth. Specifically, the second deboss may have a sloped bottom surface which has a shallow end and opposing deep end so as to form an incline within the second deboss. Thus, the second deboss forms a cam.

According to a second embodiment of the present invention, a can end is provided which has an arcuate contact emboss disposed below the tab nose. According to a third embodiment of the present invention, a can end is provided which has a contact emboss having opposing straight sides. The can end according to the second and third embodiments lacks a second deboss, but includes an end panel, a tab, a rivet, a tongue, a score, a hinge area, a first deboss, and a primary emboss, as generally described above. The contact emboss may be disposed within the first deboss, which maybe disposed entirely in the tongue. Furthermore, the contact emboss may have a short end and a tall end, that is, one end raised more than the other, so that the contact surface on the tab nose contacts the tall end before contacting the short end.

According to another aspect of the present invention, a die insert for forming the first deboss,

second deboss, and emboss is provided. The die insert according to the present invention includes these features generally according to the description thereof as above.

The present invention has several inventive and beneficial aspects, including the following: the emboss and the second deboss may be formed entirely in the tongue; the first deboss is formed entirely within the score; the can end may comprise an embossed ridge, disposed on the end panel outside of the tongue, such that most of the emboss ridge is spaced equidistant from the score; the second deboss may be formed by two opposing arcuate sides equidistantly spaced apart; and the fulcrum point is not disposed at the centre of the end.

Furthermore, the sloped surface of the second deboss enables the tab nose to contact the shallow end of the second deboss prior to contacting the deep end. Thus, the contact point or depression force point is offset from a centreline defined by a centrelines of the tab heel, rivet, and tab nose, thereby providing control of the location, direction, and distribution of forces applied to the tongue by the tab. The sloped surface of the contact emboss provides similar advantages.

Providing a first deboss which is entirely within the tongue eliminates problems associated with loose metal which may be exacerbated in embodiments in which the score area is debossed. The heart shaped second deboss and embossed ridge generally follow the score, and thus provide stress and scratch barriers for the score.

Figure 1 is a perspective view of a first embodiment of a can end according to the present invention, with the tab removed for clarity and the rivet shown in an undeformed state;

Figure 2 is a top view of the embodiment of Figure 1, showing the tab; Figure 3 is a top view of a portion of the embodiment of Figure 1; Figure 4 is an enlarged top view of the forward portion of Figure 3; Figure 5 is a partial cross-sectional view of the embodiment of Figure 1 showing the forward portion of the can end; Figure 6 is an enlarged portion of Figure 5 which shows the tab nose and second deboss areas; Figure 7 is an enlarged portion of Figure 3 which shows the second deboss; Figure 8 is a cross-sectional view taken through Figure 7 along lines 8-8; Figure 9 is a partial cross-sectional view of a second embodiment of a can end according to the present invention; Figure 10 is an enlarged portion of Figure 9; Figure 11A is an enlarged top view of a portion of the embodiment of Figure 9 showing the contact emboss; and Figure 11B is an enlarged top view of a portion of another embodiment of a contact emboss according to the present invention; Figure 12 is a cross-sectional view taken through Figure 11A along lines 12-12; as well as showing a view taken through Figure 11B along lines 12-12; Figure 13 is a perspective view of a die according to another aspect of the present invention.; Figure 14 is a top view of the die of Figure 13; Figure 15 is a cross-sectional view of the die shown in Figure 14 taken along lines 15-15;

Figure 16 is a perspective view of a die according to another aspect of the present invention; Figure 17 is a top view of the die of Figure 16; and Figure 18 is a cross sectional view of the die of Figure 17 taken along lines 17-17.

Referring to Figures 1 through 8 which illustrate a first embodiment of the present invention, and especially Figures 1,2, and 3, a can end 10 is provided which includes an end panel 12, a tab 14, a rivet 16, a tongue 17, a score 18, a hinge area 19, a first deboss 20, a primary emboss 22, a second deboss 24 (best seen in Figure 3), an rear deboss 26, and an embossed ridge 28.

Furthermore, the end 10 includes, at its outer periphery, an outer groove 30, a lower side wall 32, a shoulder 34, an upper side wall 36, a ring 38, and a lip 40. End 10 is of the type which may be placed onto a cylindrical can body to form a beverage container. For example, can end 10 may be used in a twelve ounce beverage container.

For illustrating the present invention, the convention of the axes shown in the Figures will be employed such that the positive x axis extends right as shown in Figures 2 and 3, and the positive y axis extends down as shown in Figures 2 and 3. Furthermore, the positive z axis is as shown in Figures 1,5, and 8. The axes x, y, and z are mutually perpendicular in each of the Figures. Furthermore, some figures define an x'and a y'axis, which are mutually perpendicular and perpendicular to the z axis. As used in the specification and appended claims, the term"forward" refers to a direction or disposition relatively in the positive y direction (that is, directed to the lower portion of Figures 2 and 3), and the terms"back"and "rear"refer to a direction or disposition relatively in the negative y direction (that is, directed to the upper

portion of Figures 2 and 3). The term"deboss"refers to a recessed area and the term"emboss"refers to a raised area.

End panel or top plate 12 is substantially circular, and is substantially flat except for embosses, debosses, and peripheral portions as described herein. An inner portion of end panel 12 is circular, and is continuously surrounded by outer groove 30. Groove 30 is a circular or annular recess preferably having a semicircular cross sectional shape defining a radius R1 which is preferably approximately mm). Lower side wall 32 rises from the periphery of outer groove 30 substantially to form a short cylinder or frustum of a right circular cone. Lower side wall 32 smoothly yields to a slightly inclined portion at its outer periphery to form shoulder 34, which smoothly yields to upper side wall 36 and to define a radius R2 which is approximately 0.035" (0.89 mm). Upper side wall 36 substantially is a short cylinder or frustum of a right circular cone which yields to a substantially horizontal ring 38, which is preferably wide compared to the width and height of groove 30, lower side wall 32, shoulder 34, and upper side wall 36. An upper side of ring 38 yields to a circular nose which forms lip 40. Preferably, end panel 12, outer groove 30, lower side wall 32, shoulder 34, upper side wall 36, ring 38, and lip 40 are formed from substantially flat metal having a circular shape.

Referring particularly to Figures 2,5, and 6, tab 14 includes a tab nose 42, a tab heel 44, a flange 46, a hole 48, and a contact surface 50. Tab 14 is preferably formed of thin gauge metal which forms two integral, side-by-side circular shapes to resemble a figure of eight. As best shown in Figure 2, tab nose 42 forms a forward end of tab 14 and preferably is arcuate. Tab heel

44 is formed on the rear end of tab 14 opposite tab nose 42, and preferably is arcuate. Tab heel 44 is less rounded than tab nose 42 to enhance gripping by a user's finger. The term"arcuate", as used in the present application, broadly refers to a rounded or curved shape which may be circular, but encompasses other rounded shapes such as (for example) elliptical, ovate, and irregularly rounded shapes. Furthermore, the term "arcuate"excludes straight or rectilinear line shapes.

Tab 14 preferably is formed by bending metal such that tab nose 42 has a rounded profile both in plan view (as best shown in Figure 2) and in elevation (best shown in Figures 5 and 6). Specifically, tab nose 42 is formed on a raised portion of tab 14 (that is, in the positive z direction with respect to flange 46) and bent over to form a smooth tip. Contact surface 50 is disposed on tab nose 42 near the distal tip of tab 14 on the rear of a bent-over portion of the tab nose 42.

Referring particularly to Figure 2, a tab centreline C is defined by the centre of tab heel 44, the centre of rivet 16, and the centre of tab nose 42. Centreline C is parallel to the y direction. As explained more fully below, and according to an aspect of the present invention, the centre of contact surface 50 preferably is not coincident with centreline C. Specifically, contact surface 50 defines a force application point at the point of contact between contact surface 50 and a portion of end panel 12 (which will be defined more fully below).

Flange 46 is substantially flat and projects inward from a circular portion of the tab 14 opposite tab nose 42. As best shown in Figure 5, flange 46 is disposed near a lower portion (that is, in the z direction) of tab 14. Hole 48 is formed in flange 46 to receive rivet 16, as described below. Flange 46 has an upward-facing top

side, and an rear which forms a bearing surface which is disposed on a flat portion of the top plate, that is end panel 12.

Referring particularly to Figures 1,2,3, and 5, end panel 12 forms a circle within groove 30. Rivet 16 is disposed on end panel 12 at a location which is forward (that is, in the positive y direction as shown in Figure 1) from the centre of end panel 12. Furthermore, tongue 17 is forward of the rivet 16 (that is, disposed further in the positive y direction). Preferably, the centre of rivet 16 is approximately 1.17" (2.97 cm) from the inside surface of lower side wall 32 (measured where lower side wall meets groove 30 along the C centreline) for a end having a diameter of 2.45" (6.22 cm) diameter (measured from the inside surfaces of lower side wall 32).

Preferably, tongue 17 lies substantially between rivet 16 and lower side wall 32 along the y direction, and even more preferably, tongue 17 is substantially symmetric about centreline C. Such a configuration reduces the distance from the rivet to the periphery of end panel 12, which enables a shorter (that is, in the y direction) tongue. This configuration has mechanical and ergonomic benefits in opening and pour characteristics because, for example, tongue 17 may be disposed near the lip of the end (that is, near lower side wall 32) while the distance between tab heel 44 and side wall 32 is increased to provided more space for a user to apply a force to tab heel 44. Co-pending United States Patent Application Number 08/805,204, filed February 27,1997 provides a discussion of the configuration and its advantages.

Referring particularly to Figures 1 through 5, rivet 16 protrudes upward from end panel 12, and preferably is integrally formed therefrom. Before assembly to tab 14, as best shown in Figures 1 and 4, rivet 16 preferably

forms a rounded or hemispherical button or knob projecting above a rivet base 52. Rivet 16 projects through hole 48 in tab 14 and, after assembly, is deformed to clamp flange 46 to end panel 12.

Specifically, rivet 16 is deformed against the top surface of flange 46 to form a contact surface 54 (as best shown in Figure 5) which forces the downward-facing bearing surface of flange 46 against end panel 12, thereby clamping tab 14 to end panel 12. Flange 46 is clamped to end panel 12 around hole 48, and is, thus, fixed thereto.

A forward portion of flange 46 which is near but spaced apart from contact surface 54 is capable of bending in response to actuation of tab 14 by a user. The bendable line on the forward portion is one definition of a fulcrum point within the can end industry. Other definitions may include, for example, the rivet centreline or the depression force application point.

Regardless of the definition employed, the fulcrum point of the present invention is offset from the centre of the end panel, and preferably is forward of the centre, and the precise location of the fulcrum may be chosen according to the particular geometry of the end components. Disposing the fulcrum forward of the centre enables a relatively shorter distance from the fulcrum to tab nose 42 and a relatively longer distance from the fulcrum to the tab heel 44, which provides enhanced leverage capabilities. Furthermore, because the distance between the tab heel and the perimeter of the can (for example, from side wall 32) compared with fulcrum at the centre of end panel 12, a user's finger may more easily access tab heel 44.

Referring particularly to Figures 1 through 5 to illustrate another aspect of the present invention, and

as best shown in Figure 4, a score 18 is disposed on end panel 12 forward of rivet 16. Score 18 includes an inner score line 56 and an outer score line 58. Score lines 56 and 58 are preferably uniformly spaced apart throughout their respective lengths except at their ends. Outer score line 58 forms the main score line which is capable of rupturing in response to actuation of tab 14 such that tongue 17 separates from the remainder of end panel 12 to form an opening therein (not shown). Inner score line 56 is an anti-fracture score line which prevents rupture of the main score line during forming.

The score residual (that is, the thickness of the metal at the bottom of the score line) of outer score line 58 is approximately 0.004" (0.10 mm), although this dimension may be varied along the length of the score.

The score residual of inner score line 56 is preferably approximately 0.002" (0.05 mm) larger than the score residual of outer score line 58. Score 18 preferably is 0.015" (0.38 mm) above an end base line, which is defined by the rear of outer groove 30, as measured from the base line to the upper side of end panel 12 between score lines 56 and 58. This distance is identified by reference numeral D2 in Figure 5.

At a first end, score lines 56 and 58 meet at a head 60, as best shown in Figure 4. At a second end, score lines 56 and 58 meet at a tail 62. Head 60 is preferably a bulbous transition between score lines 56 and 58. Head 60 is preferably disposed forward of rivet 16 on a first side thereof. Tail 62 is preferably a smooth, roughly semicircular transition between score lines 56 and 58.

Head 60 is generally disposed on the left, or in a negative x direction and to the front of rivet 16. From head 60, score 18 slants generally obliquely in front of rivet 16 such that score 18 has a relatively large

positive x component and a relatively small (but preferably non-zero) positive y component. Score 18 makes a smoothly curved transition toward the positive y direction on the right side of rivet 16. Below, the curved transition, score 18 forms a roughly parabolic shape or horseshoe shape having its apex at the forwardmost point of score 18. The left leg of the parabola or horseshoe continues in the negative y direction until it ends at tail 62. Although score design 18 is preferred, the present invention encompasses employing scores of other configurations, although it is desirable for the score to follow the shape of the emboss.

Score 18 defines tongue 17 therein. Specifically, tongue 17 is defined by inner score line 56 to form a roughly parabolic or horseshoe shape. The portion of end panel 12 between head 60 and tail 62 defines hinge area 19, which is capable of bending to enable tongue 17 to form an opening upon actuation of tab 16 by the user. The rounded nature of head 60 and tail 62 prevents the rupture during opening from continuing into the hinge area 19.

According to another aspect of the present invention, first deboss 20 is formed in end panel 12 preferably entirely within score 18, as shown in best in Figure 4. First deboss 20 has a wide end 68 on its rear end and a narrow end 70 on its forward end to form an ovate shape. First deboss 20 includes lower portions (that is, referring to the z direction) 64a and 64b. At the perimeter of first deboss 20, end panel 12 yields to an inclined surface 66, which levels out and yields to lower portion 64a. Inclined surface 66 is indicated in the Figures by two, uniformly spaced apart lines to indicate the top edge and bottom edge of incline 66.

However, the inclined surface may be formed by a gradual transition from end panel 12 to lower portion 64a, in which case the location of the lines defining inclined surface 66 may change from as shown in the Figures.

Lower portion 64a is short (that is, in the plane defined by the x and y axes) in the lower narrow end 70, as lower portion 64a yields to emboss 22. Narrow end 70 substantially follows, and is uniformly spaced from, the parabolic or horseshoe portion of inner score line 56.

Providing deboss 20 entirely within score 18 protects the score from scratching (that is, inclined surface 66 may catch any objects which may be sending toward score 18 from tongue 17). Furthermore, first deboss 20 enhances the strength or stiffness of score 18 as manifested in improved drop test or water pressure tests results. Also, because deboss 20 is lower (in the Z direction) than end panel 12, tab heel 44 may be pulled upward by a user by a predetermined distance before tab nose 42 encounters deboss 24, thereby easing opening.

According to another aspect of the present invention, emboss 22 is a substantially heart shaped emboss disposed entirely within first deboss 20. Emboss 22 has an arcuate portion 72 disposed at its rear end which smoothly yields to a parabolic or horseshoe portion 73. Arcuate portion 72 forms an emboss wide end 74 at a back end of emboss 22 and a parabolic or horseshoe portion 73 which forms a narrow end 76 at a forward end of emboss 22. Portion 73 of emboss 22 preferably substantially follows, and is uniformly spaced from, the parabolic or horse shoe portion of first deboss 20, although the present invention is not limited to this spacing. Lower portion 64b of first deboss 20 lies within emboss 22. An rear of lower portion 64b is substantially at the same level as the base line defined by the rear

surface of groove 30. The peak of the upper side of emboss 22 defines a dimension D1 (from the peak to the top surface of lower portion 64b) that is preferably approximately 0.020" (0.51 mm).

According to another aspect of the present invention, second deboss 24 is formed entirely within first deboss 20 forward of the rear portion of score line 18 and in back of emboss 22. Preferably, second deboss 24 is formed such that its perimeter is symmetric with a line in the y direction through the centreline C. Except for its perimeter, deboss 24 is asymmetric around such a y axis centre line. The perimeter of second deboss 24 is formed by first arcuate side 78 and a matching second arcuate side 80 which is uniformly spaced apart from first arcuate side 78. Arcuate side 78 and 80 meet at opposing ends. Although the present invention describes sides 78 and 80 as matching, the present invention is not limited thereto. For example, the present invention encompasses arcuate sides having radii which are not the matching and/or which are not uniformly spaced apart.

Referring particularly to Figures 7 and 8, second deboss defines an axis x'along a longitudinal centre line of second deboss 24, and an axis y'which is perpendicular to the tangent of axis x'at any point thereon. The x'axis is oriented such that the direction from left to right is positive. The x'and y'axes will be used to describe second deboss 24. According to another aspect of the present invention, a lower portion (that is, referring to the z axis) of second deboss 24 forms a sloped bottom 82 which yields to a shallow end 84 and an opposing deep end 86. Shallow end 84 preferably is disposed on the negative x'side of second deboss 24 relative to deep end 86, which preferably is disposed on the positive x'end. Shallow end 82 and deep end 84 refer

generally to the ends of second deboss 24, and include sloped, inclined, or tapered surfaces adjacent to the ends, as well as portions of bottom 82 adjacent the ends 84 and 86. Bottom surface 82 is not inclined in the y' direction. The slope of bottom surface 82, according to a mathematical definition, is negative in the x'direction, and zero in the y'direction. Specifically, the surface of bottom 82 is flat (that is, not inclined) in the y' direction (the y'component taken along the bottom surface is zero). Preferably, bottom 82 forms an angle A (shown in Figure 8) with end panel 12 of approximately 1 to 10 degrees, more preferably 2 to 6 degrees, and. more preferably 3 to 3.5 degrees.

According to another aspect of the present invention, the contact point on contact surface 50 between tab nose 42 and end panel 12 is offset or spaced apart from a transverse centre axis of second deboss 24, which preferably is in-line with centreline C.

Specifically, as tab nose 42 moves downward during opening in response to a user lifting tab heel 44, tab nose 42 (at a point on the left or negative x side of tab nose 42) contacts end panel 12 at second deboss 24 on the left or negative x'side of second deboss 24. Preferably, tab 42 contacts shallow end 48.

A contact or depression force application point which is offset or spaced apart from the centre lines on the left or negative x (and x') side (as defined above) has the benefit of disposing the depression point relatively close to the portion of rupture of the score 58. Furthermore, such a depression force point is disposed relatively close to the hinge area 19 such that the location of the point at which score 58 first begins to rupture can be controlled. Employing such a force depression point enhances the degree of rupture upon

opening. Specifically referring to Figure 4, score 18 ruptures from just to the right or positive x side of head 60 to near the first bend at the upper right hand corner of score 18 upon initial pop (that is, immediately upon initial rupture).

Referring to Figures 1,2,3, and 5, rear, or"back- side"deboss 26 is formed in end panel 12 to the rear of rivet 16. Rear deboss 26 is substantially symmetrical around a line in the y direction which intersects rivet 16. Deboss 26 is defined by a first arcuate edge 88, a second arcuate edge 90, a bottom surface 92, and sloped transitions 94a and 94b. First arcuate edge 88 is disposed on end panel 12 to the rear of second arcuate edge 90. Edges 88 and 90 each have a concave side which faces rivet 16, and are joined at smooth transitions to form an overall banana-shaped or kidney-shaped deboss.

Rear deboss bottom surface 92 is substantially flat, and substantially parallel to end panel 12. The rear of deboss bottom surface 92 is approximately 0.023" (0.58 mm) below the rear of top surface bottom surface, as identified by dimension D4 in Figure 5.

Transitions 94a and 94b preferably comprise sloped surfaces which smoothly transition between top plate 12 and bottom surface 92. Transition 94a is disposed between first arcuate edge 88 and bottom surface 92, and transition 94b is disposed between second arcuate edge 90. Transitions 94a and 94b meet in a smooth transition near the ends of deboss 26. Preferably transition 94a has a more shallow incline (that is, has a lower slope) compared with transition 94b to enhance the ability of a user's finger to access the rear of tab heel 44.

Referring to Figures 1 through 5 to illustrate another aspect of the present invention, embossed ridge 28 is formed in end panel 12 outside of score 18.

Embossed ridge 28 is substantially uniformly spaced apart from score 18 along most of the parabolic or horseshoe portion of score 18. Thus, the forward portion of embossed ridge 28 is parabolic or horseshoe shape.

Overall, embossed ridge 28 includes a main portion 96 and two ends 98a and 98b. Main portion 96 forms a substantially truncated oval shape which substantially surrounds score 18, except at its rear end. The ovality of main portion 96 terminates at ends 98a and 98b, each of which are substantially oriented in the y direction.

Ends 98a and 98b, which are preferably spaced equidistant apart from rivet 16 (that is, spaced apart in the x direction), each have an end which smoothly yields to main portion 96, and another end which terminates preferably to the rear of rivet (although laterally spaced apart from rivet 16, that is, in the x direction).

Embossed ridge 28 is disposed such that its apex (referring to the z direction) is preferably approximately 0.020" (0.51 mm) apart from a topside surface of end panel 12, as shown as dimension D3 in Figure 5.

Referring to Figure 4, an end panel intermediate portion 102 lies between an inside of embossed ridge 28 and outer score line 58. End panel intermediate portion 102 has a substantially uniform width, as embossed ridge 28 is preferably uniformly spaced apart from outer score line 58. An inner edge of intermediate portion 102 abuts outer score line 58 and forms an edge 104 which defines the opening after tongue 17 is separated from end panel 12.

To operate can end 10, a user places his finger underneath tab heel 44 into rear deboss 26. Placement of the user's finger is facilitated by the gradual slope of transition 94a. As the user lifts tab heel 44, tab nose

42 is urged downward against end panel 12. Specifically, contact surface 50 urges downward against second deboss 24. Figure 6 shows, in phantom, tab 14 pushing against bottom surface 82. Preferably, contact surface 50 pushes against bottom surface 82 at shallow end 84 to provide the depression force application point which is offset from the centre axis formed by the centreline C, as described above.

Because tab 14 is relatively rigid, tab nose 42 undergoes only a small amount of deflection or pivoting around the y axis. Such small amount of pivoting around the y axis enhances contact between tab nose 14 and second deboss 24. Because contact surface 50 urges against the incline of sloped bottom 82, a component of the depression force, has a component in the negative x and/or negative x'direction. Thus, the depression force which tab 14 exerts on tongue 17 has an overall direction which is not vertical (that is, not parallel to the z axis), as well being applied at a point which is offset from centreline C. Because the arc of second deboss 24 at upper end 84 is oriented such that the x'axis goes through or near hinge area 19, the direction of the depression force is generally downward and toward hinge area 19 and/or score 18 near head 60. The direction of the depression force enhances the opening of tongue 17.

Contact surface 50 urges against shallow end 84 until tongue 17 ruptures from end panel 12 at outer score line 58, preferably in front of rivet 16. The contact point or depression force point remains offset (as described above) even while tongue 17 is driven downward after rupture as contact surface 50 sendes within second deboss 24.

As the user continues to lift tab heel 44, contact surface 50 continues to urge against second deboss 24,

thereby driving tongue 17 further down (in the negative z direction) until score 18 ruptures to tail 62. Tongue 17 bends at hinge area 19. Pivoting of tab 14 is facilitated by flange 46, which deforms to enable tab 14 to bend therearound. As hinge 19 deforms to enable tongue 17 to rotate, contact surface 50 sendes along second deboss 24 from shallow end 84 preferably through deep end 86.

Referring to Figures 9 through 12 to illustrate another embodiment of the present invention, a can end 10'is provided which includes end panel 12, tab 14, rivet 16, tongue 17, score 18, hinge area 19, first deboss 20, primary emboss 22, rear deboss 26, and embossed ridge 28, as well as, at its outer periphery, an outer groove 30, a lower side wall 32, a shoulder 34, an upper side wall 36, a ring 38, and a lip 40. Can end 10' includes a contact emboss 108a.

Contact emboss 108a has substantially the same perimeter shape and location on end panel 12 as does second deboss 24 in the embodiment of can end 10. As best shown in Figures 11A and 12, contact emboss 108a is raised (in the positive z direction) from end panel 12.

Contact emboss 108a includes a first arcuate side wall 110, a second arcuate side wall 112, a sloped surface 114a, a short end 116a, and a tall end 118a. Arcuate side walls 110 and 112 are matching side walls which are preferably uniformly spaced apart and meet smoothly at opposing ends 116a and 118a. Axes x'and y'will be used to describe the contact emboss.

Tall (that is, higher) end 118a is preferably formed on the negative x'side of emboss 108a. End 118a and arcuate side walls 110 and 112 smoothly yield to sloped surface 114a. Arcuate side walls 110a and 112a, and sloped surface 114a smoothly yield end panel 12 at short

end 116a. Sloped surface 114a is not inclined in the y' direction. The slope of sloped surface 114a, according to a mathematical definition, is negative in the x' direction, and zero in the y'direction. Specifically, sloped surface 114a is flat (that is, not inclined) in the y'direction (the y'component taken along the sloped surface 114a is zero). Preferably, sloped surface 114a forms and angle A'with end panel 12, as shown in Figure 12.

Referring to Figure 11B and Figure 12 to illustrate another embodiment of the present invention, a contact emboss 108b includes a first side wall 111, a second side wall 113, a sloped surface 114b, a short end 116b, and a tall end 118b. Contact emboss 108b is raised (in the positive z direction) from end panel 12. Side walls 111 and 113 are matching straight or rectilinear side walls which are preferably uniformly spaced apart and meet smoothly at opposing ends.

Tall end 118b is preferably formed on the negative x side. Tall end 118b and side walls 111 and 113 smoothly yield to sloped surface 114b. Side walls 111 and 113, and sloped surface 114b, smoothly yield to end panel 12 at short end 116b. Sloped surface 114b is not inclined in the y direction. The slope of sloped surface 114b, according to a mathematical definition, is negative in the x direction, and zero in the y direction.

Specifically, sloped surface 114b is flat (that is, not inclined) in the y direction (the y component taking along the sloped surface 114b is zero). Preferably, sloped surface 114b forms and angle A'with end panel 12, as shown in Figure 12.

The operation of can end 10'having arcuate emboss 108a is similar to that described with respect to can end 10, and, therefore, the description of operation of can

end 10 applies to the operation of can end 10', with the a few clarifications. Contact surface 50 urges against tall end 118a, offset from centreline C, as described above. Because of the incline of surface 114a, the depression force has a component in the negative x' direction, as explained above. Tab nose 14 sendes down contact emboss 108a from tall end 118a to short end 116a as hinge 19 deforms.

The operation of can end 10'having rectilinear emboss 108b is similar to that described with respect to can end 10, as well as with respect to can end 10'having arcuate emboss 108a. Therefore, those operating discussions apply to the embodiment containing rectilinear emboss 108b, with a few clarifications.

Contact surface 50 urges against tall end 118b, offset from centreline C, as described above. Because of the incline of surface 114b, the depression force has a component in the negative x direction, as explained above. Because rectilinear emboss 108b lacks arcuate surfaces to mate with arcuate tab nose 14, contact surface 50 preferably sendes down a forward portion of emboss 108b. Tab 14 may, thus, may deform forwardly as it pivots downward. Alternatively, contact surface 50 may sende from a forward portion of tall end 118b to a relatively rear portion of short end 116b.

Referring to Figures 13 through 15 to illustrate another aspect of the present invention, a die insert 11 is provided which has a top surface 12'which includes a first deboss 20', emboss 22', and second emboss 24'.

First deboss 20'has a wide end 68'on its back end and a narrow end 70'on its forward end to form an ovate shape.

First deboss 20'includes lower portions (that is, referring to the z direction) 64a'and 64b'. An inclined transition 121 which corresponds to the boundaries of

first deboss 20'is disposed at its perimeter. Transition 121 is defined by outer boundary 122 and inner boundary 120, which are shown in dashed lines in Figure 14 to illustrate their curved nature. Surfaces 64a'and 64b' within inner boundary 120 are substantially flat. Lower portion 64a is narrow (that is, in the plane defined by the x and y axes) in the lower narrow end 70', because lower portion 64a'is bounded by transition 121 and emboss 22'.

Emboss 22'is a substantially heart shaped emboss disposed entirely within first deboss 20'. Emboss 22'has an arcuate portion 72'disposed at its back end which smoothly yields to a parabolic or horseshoe portion 73'.

Arcuate portion 72'forms an emboss wide end 74'at a back end of emboss 22'and a parabolic or horseshoe portion 73'which forms a narrow end 76'at a forward end of emboss 22'. Portion 73'of emboss 22'substantially follows, and is uniformly spaced from, the parabolic or horseshoe portion of first deboss 20'. Lower portion 64b' of first deboss 20'lies within emboss 22'. An rear of lower portion 64b'is substantially at the same level as the base line defined by the rear surface of groove 30'.

The peak of the upper side of emboss 22'defines a dimension from surface 64b'that is preferably approximately 0.023" (0.58 mm).

Second deboss 24'is formed entirely within first deboss 20'in back of emboss 22'. The perimeter of deboss 24'is asymmetric around a y axis centre line. The perimeter of second deboss 24'is formed by first arcuate side 78'and a matching second arcuate side 80'which is spaced apart from first arcuate side 78'. Arcuate side 78'and 80'meet at opposing ends.

A lower portion (that is, referring to the z axis) of second deboss 24'forms a sloped bottom 82'which

yields to a shallow end 84'and an opposing deep end 86'.

Shallow end 84'and deep end 86'are oriented as shown in Figure 14. Shallow end 84'and deep end 86'refer generally to the ends of second deboss 24', and include sloped, inclined, or tapered surfaces adjacent to the ends, as well as portions of bottom 82'adjacent the ends 84'and 86'. Bottom surface 82'is not inclined in the direction relative to the y'direction (as defined with reference to Figure 7, and shown in Figure 14). The slope of bottom surface 82', according to a mathematical definition, is negative in the x'direction (as defined with reference to Figure 7), and zero in the y' direction. Specifically, the surface of bottom 82'is flat (that is, not inclined) in the y'direction (the y' component taking along the bottom surface is zero).

Referring to Figures 16 through 18 to illustrate another embodiment of the present invention, a die insert 11'is similar to die insert 11, and, thus, the description relating to die insert 11 applies to die insert 11'with a few clarifications. Die insert 11' lacks second deboss 24'and includes a contact emboss 108a'. Thus, die insert 11'includes top surface 12', first deboss 20' (including transitions 120,121, and 122), emboss 22', and contact emboss 108a'. Contact emboss 108a'has substantially the same perimeter or outline shape and location on end panel 12'as does second deboss 24'in the embodiment of die insert 11'.

Contact emboss 108a'is raised (in the positive z direction) from end panel 12'. Contact emboss 108a' includes a first arcuate side wall 110', a second arcuate side wall 112', a sloped surface 114a', a short end 116a', and a tall end 118a', which are correspond to like components shown in Figures 9,10, lla and 12. Arcuate side walls 110'and 112'are matching side walls which

are preferably uniformly spaced apart and meet smoothly at opposing ends. Thus, die insert 11'may be employed to form can end 10'having arcuate emboss 108a.

According to another embodiment of the present invention, which will be also described with reference to Figure 18, another die insert 11''is similar to die inserts 11 and 11', except that die insert 11'' according to this embodiment lacks second deboss 24'and contact emboss 108a', and includes a contact emboss 108b'. Thus, the description relating to die insert 11 and die insert 11'having contact emboss 108a'applies to die insert 11''having contact emboss 108b', with a few clarifications. Die insert 11'includes top surface 12', first deboss 20' (including transitions 120,121, and 122), emboss 22', and contact emboss 108b'. Contact emboss 108b'is raised (in the positive z direction) from end panel 12'. Contact emboss 108b'may include a first side wall 111', a second side wall 113', a sloped surface 114b', a short end 116b', and a tall end 118b', which are not shown in Figure 16, but are analogous to the corresponding components shown in Figure 11B. A top view and perspective view are omitted as cumulative except for contact emboss 108b of Figure 11B replacing contact emboss 108a of Figure 11A. Rectilinear side walls 111'and 113'are matching side walls which are preferably uniformly spaced apart and meet smoothly at opposing ends. Thus, die insert 11'may be employed to form can end 10'having arcuate emboss 108b.

The following description of die insert 11'applies to embodiments of the present invention having emboss 108a'and/or 108b' (the latter, which is embodiment 11", is referred to in parentheses for clarity). Tall end 118a' (118b') is preferably formed on the negative x' (negative x) side. Tall end 118a' (118b') and arcuate

side walls 110'and 112' (rectilinear side walls 111'and 113') smoothly yield to sloped surface 114a' (114b').

Arcuate side walls 110'and 112'rectilinear side walls 111'and 113'), and sloped surface 114a' (114b') smoothly yield to top surface 12'at short end 116a' (116b').

Sloped surface 114' (114b') is not inclined in the y' (y) direction as defined in Figure 11A (Figure 11B). The slope of sloped surface 114a' (114b'), according to a mathematical definition, is negative in the x' (x) direction, and zero in the y' (y) direction.

Specifically, sloped surface 114a' (114b') is flat (that is, not inclined) in the y' (y) direction (the y' component taking along the sloped surface 114a' (114b') is zero).

Die inserts 11 and 11'may be employed with conventional die equipment, including mating die surfaces, as will be understood by those familiar with such operations and processes. Die insert 11 may be employed to form first deboss 20, emboss 22, and second emboss 24, and may be sized to fit within score 18. Die insert 11'may be employed to form first deboss 20, emboss 22, and contact emboss 108a (and/or contact emboss 108b) and may be sized to fit within score 18, as will be apparent to persons familiar with die forming operations and principles. As will be understood by persons familiar with metal working and/or can forming technology, die inserts 11 and 11'each have a cooperating punch (not shown) which matches the inserts. Specifically, the punches have a shape which is the reverse of the corresponding die insert such that the embossed structures on the insert fits into corresponding debossed structures on the punch, and the debossed structures on the insert fits into corresponding embossed structures on the punch.

Modifications may be made to the embodiments described above without departing from the broad inventive concepts thereof. Accordingly, the present invention is not limited to the particular embodiments nor to the theoretical description disclosed, but is intended to cover all modifications which are within the scope of the invention as defined by the appended claims.