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Title:
A CONTAINER COMPRISING A PORTION ABSORBING A NATURAL LIGHT FREQUENCY RANGE VARYING WHEN REACHING A CRITICAL TONING TEMPERATURE, AND A CAP OF SAID CONTAINER
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2018/020522
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The invention relates to a container (1) comprising a portion which changes in color when reaching or exceeding a corresponding threshold temperature, preferably a temperature from which at least one of the materials which form the container releases chemicals which are dangerous to health, such as Bisphenol A, or a temperature from which heat-sensitive substances contained in a food product which can be enclosed in the container undergo irreversible structural alterations. Said portion preferably corresponds to an annular band of a lateral wall (5) of the container, or to a cap (3) of the latter, or to a portion of said cap. The invention further relates to a cap applicable to a container and comprising a portion which changes in color when reaching or exceeding a predetermined threshold temperature.

Inventors:
FIORIGLIO, Cristian (Corso Indipendenza, 199, Catania, 95122, IT)
Application Number:
IT2016/000290
Publication Date:
February 01, 2018
Filing Date:
December 14, 2016
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
FIORIGLIO, Cristian (Corso Indipendenza, 199, Catania, 95122, IT)
International Classes:
B65D79/02; B65D1/02; G01K11/12
Foreign References:
US20160194132A12016-07-07
DE10021313A12001-11-08
GB2074975A1981-11-11
GB2408042A2005-05-18
Other References:
None
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
EMMI, Mario (Studio Brevetti Turini S.r.l, Viale Matteotti 25, Firenze, 50121, IT)
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Claims:
C L A I M S

1. A container (1 , 10, 15) comprising at least one portion (3, 7) which can be seen by a user of said container (1 , 0, 15),

characterized in that it comprises, at least at said portion (3, 7), means (8) for absorbing a natural light frequency range which is variable when reaching a predetermined critical temperature.

2. A container (1 , 10, 15) according to claim 1 , characterized in that said absorbing means (8) comprise a heat-sensitive dye (8) the color of which changes from a first shade to a second shade when reaching said critical toning temperature.

3. A container (1 , 10, 15) according to claim 2, characterized in that said toning temperature is a critical temperature for at least one material which forms said container (1 , 10, 15).

4. A container (1 , 10, 15) according to claim 3, characterized in that said ton- ing temperature is from 70°C to 90°C, said heat-sensitive dye reversibly changing color when reaching said toning temperature.

5. A container (1 , 10, 15) according to claim 2, characterized in that said toning temperature is a critical temperature for at least one food product which can be closed in said container (1 , 10, 15).

6. A container (1 , 10, 15) according to claim 5, characterized in that said toning temperature is from 40°C to 60°C, said heat-sensitive dye irreversibly changing color when reaching said toning temperature.

7. A container (1 , 10, 15) according to claim 2, characterized in that said dye (8) is externally applied to said container (1 , 10, 15) at said portion (3, 7). 8. A container (1 , 10, 15) according to claim 2, characterized in that it is substantially permeable to light at least at said portion (3, 7), said dye (8) being internally applied to said container (1 , 10, 15) at said portion (3, 7), or being dispersed in said portion (3, 7).

9. A container (10, 15) according to claim 1 , characterized in that it comprises:

· at least one opening for inserting and removing a product into/from said container (10, 15);

• a cap (3) to close said opening, said cap (3) comprising or corresponding to said portion (3).

10. A cap (3) which can be applied to a container at an opening thereof, said cap (3) comprising at least one portion (11 , 12) which can be seen by a user of said container when said cap (3) is applied thereto,

characterized in that it comprises, at least at said portion (11 , 12), means (8) for absorbing a natural light frequency range or being dispersed in said portion (3, 7).

Description:
A container comprising a portion absorbing a natural light frequency range varying when reaching a critical toning temperature, and a cap of said container

Application field of the invention

The present invention finds application in the technical field relating to the monitoring of the temperature of a container suitable for containing one or more substances, preferably food. In particular, the present invention relates to the determination of the container reaching a temperature deemed as critical.

More precisely, the present invention relates to a container comprising at least one portion capable of absorbing a natural light frequency range, which changes when reaching a critical toning temperature. The present invention also relates to a cap comprising such a portion.

Prior art overview

Nowadays, the prepackaged food industry allows to place a product or sub- stance, either food or other type, in special containers ready for sale and eating. Once the products have been packaged, the containers with the product contained therein must however be transported from the place of packaging to the distribution or sale place. The transport of the containers can take place in a non-conditioned environment and possibly exposed to natural light. In these cases, during transport, the containers may exchange heat with the atmosphere. At particularly high temperatures, this can lead to heating of both the containers and the products contained therein. The heating of the containers causes, when reaching critical temperatures, the release of chemicals by the materials which form the containers. The above can occur, for example, in the case in which the containers are made of polymeric material. If the packaged products are liquid substances, the chemicals re- leased by the containers when reaching the critical temperature are dispersed in said substances, thus altering them. This problem is particularly felt when the packaged products are of a food nature. The dispersion of said chemicals in food products can in fact pose a hazard to the health of consumers. A significant example which allows to understand the seriousness of the problem are bottles made of a so-called "food-grade" plastic (such as polyethylene) and containing beverages. The bottles of this type are usually transported by truck in environments not conditioned and exposed to natural light. When the trucks are traveling along, for example, a sunny road during the summer season, the temperature of the bottles can reach 80°C. At this temperature, the plastic material which forms the bottles releases Bisphenol A, which is irreversibly dispersed in the beverage. Many scientific studies have shown that Bisphenol A is dangerous to health. After the transport, the bottles must be placed in distribution centers and there they return to room temperature. Bisphenol A does not alter the taste of a beverage in which it is dispersed, nor the appearance of the bottles or beverages contained therein. A consumer is not therefore able to determine, for example at the time of purchase, if a food-grade plastic bottle has reached, during transport thereof, such a temperature as to cause the release of Bisphenol A.

The alteration of a packaged product, in addition to the dispersion therein of chemicals released by the plastic container which encloses it, can be determined by the undesired heating of the product. This second type of alteration, like that described above, is a particularly felt problem in the case where the packaged product is of a food nature. Foods, in fact, contain heat-sensitive substances, i.e. substances (such as proteins and vitamins) whose structure un- dergoes modifications when reaching critical temperatures, usually close to 50°C. These changes are irreversible and cause an alteration of the food nutritional content, while leaving the taste and appearance of the latter unchanged. Similarly to what said with reference to Bisphenol A, a consumer is not therefore able to determine, for example at the time of purchase, if a packaged food has reached, from the packaging point onwards (transport, storage etc.), such a temperature as to cause a modification of its nutritional content.

Objects of the invention

It is the object of the present invention to overcome the aforesaid drawbacks by providing a container comprising at least one portion which, when reaching a predetermined temperature, undergoes a change (color change) which can be perceived by a user of the container. Incidentally, said user may for example be a consumer of the product enclosed in the container or an operator in charge of packaging, transporting or storing the container.

Summary of the invention

The present invention relates to a container comprising at least one portion which can be seen by a user of the container wherein, according to the inven- tion, the container comprises, at least at said portion, means for absorbing a natural light frequency range which changes when reaching a predetermined temperature.

The absorption of a predetermined natural light frequency range makes said portion of the container take a certain color. Upon reaching the toning tempera- ture, the range of frequencies absorbed undergoes a change which therefore causes a change in the color of said portion.

The absorption means preferably comprise a heat-sensitive dye applied at said portion or dispersed therein, which changes color when reaching the predetermined critical toning temperature. The latter preferably corresponds to a tem- perature deemed as critical for a product which may be enclosed in the container (such as, for example, 50°C) or for the material which forms the container (such as, for example, 80°C if the container is made of food-grade plastic).

In other words, when the container reaches the toning temperature, said portion changes in color. The color change can take place reversibly or irreversibly. In- cidentally, by asserting that said portion changes color reversibly, it is meant that it is able to take back its initial color (i.e. the color it has at temperatures lower than that of toning) when its temperature falls below the toning tempera- ture.

If the color change is reversible, the toning temperature is preferably between 70.0°C and 90.0°C, more preferably between 70.0°C and 80.0°C, and even more preferably it is 76.3°C.

Advantageously, an operator in charge of quality control can, for example, use of the container of invention as a sample to determine whether the temperature of the container reaches the toning temperature during a standard life cycle of the container, i.e. from the packaging of a product in the container to the sale thereof.

If the color change is irreversible, the toning temperature is preferably between 40.0°C and 60.0°C, more preferably between 40.0°C and 50.0°C, and even more preferably it is 45.0°C.

The irreversibility ensures that, even if the container, after having reached or exceeded the toning temperature, cools down to a temperature lower than that of toning, said portion no longer changes in color.

Advantageously, a user of the container who knows the color that said portion should have if the toning temperature has not been reached, looking at said portion can immediately realize whether the container has ever reached or exceeded said temperature.

Although the toning temperature values and ranges indicated above are preferred, as an alternative to the above, if the color change is reversible, the toning temperature may be between 40.0°C and 60.0°C. Likewise, if the color change is irreversible, the toning temperature may be between 70.0°C and 90.0°C.

The invention also relates to a cap which can be applied to a container at an opening thereof, comprising at least one portion which can be seen by a user of the container when the cap is applied to the latter, wherein, according to the invention, the cap comprises, at least at said portion, means for absorbing a natural light frequency range which is variable when reaching a predetermined criti- cal temperature.

Further innovative features of the present invention are described in the dependent claims. Brief description of the drawings

Further objects and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from the following detailed description of an exemplary embodiment thereof and from the accompanying drawings, which are merely illustrative and non-limiting, in which:

- figure 1 shows a perspective view of a container according to the present invention;

- figure 2 shows a perspective view of a first variant of the container in figure 1 ;

- figure 3 shows a perspective view of a second variant of the container in figure 1.

Detailed description of some preferred embodiments of the invention

In the present description, for convenience of description, reference is only made to a preferred exemplary embodiment of the invention, in which the con- tainer is a bottle provided with a cap. It should be understood that the invention described is not limited to the above example but can be implemented with any kind of container.

Hereinafter in the present description, a figure may also be illustrated with reference to elements not expressly indicated in that figure but in other figures. The scale and proportions of the various elements depicted do not necessarily correspond to the actual ones.

Figure 1 shows a container 1 of the invention comprising a bottle 2 having an opening at an upper part thereof closed by a cap 3. Incidentally, at said opening, a product, preferably of food nature such as a beverage, can be introduced into and withdrawn from bottle 2. The latter preferably comprises a circular base 4 from which a cylindrical lateral wall 5 extends orthogonally and converges to form a neck 6 ending in the opening closed by cap 3. Bottle 2 and cap 3 are preferably made of a so-called "food-grade" plastic, such as polyethylene (or PET).

As can be seen in figure 1 , a portion 7 of the lateral wall 5 is externally coated with a heat-sensitive dye 8 preferably applied by screen printing. Portion 7 is preferably an annular band easily visible by a user of bottle 2. By way of exam- pie, portion 7 is closer to neck 6 than to base 4 of bottle 2. Dye 8 belongs to the type of dyes which change color upon reaching a certain critical temperature, usually referred to as "toning temperature". In other words, dye 8 absorbs a predetermined range of frequencies of natural light until its temperature remains below the toning temperature. When reaching or exceeding of the toning temperature, the range of frequencies of natural light which is absorbed changes (thereby changing color). Said change may be reversible or irreversible. If dye 8 changes color irreversibly, once the toning temperature has been reached or exceeded, even if the temperature of bottle 2 (and thereby of dye 8) falls below the toning temperature, no color change occurs anymore. If the color change is reversible, dye 8 is able to take back its initial color (i.e. the color it has at temperatures lower than that of toning) when its temperature falls below the toning temperature.

Reversible or irreversible heat-sensitive dyes are known. Therefore, further de- tails are not provided.

Preferably, until the toning temperature is not reached, dye 8 has a pink shade. If dye 8 changes color reversibly, when the toning temperature is reached or exceeded, dye 8 preferably turns a lilac shade. If dye 8 changes color irreversibly, when the toning temperature is reached or exceeded, dye 8 preferably turns a magenta shade and keeps such a shade over time, irrespective of the subsequent variations in temperature.

The toning temperature of dye 8 is preferably a "critical" temperature for the material or at least one of the materials which form bottle 2. Herein, "critical temperature of a material" means a temperature from which the material releases chemicals into the substance (such as a beverage) with which it is in contact. The toning temperature of dye 8 is preferably between 70.0°C and 90.0°C, more preferably between 70.0°C and 80.0°C, and even more preferably 76.3°C. When these temperatures are reached, food-grade plastics tend to release the dangerous Bisphenol A.

As an alternative, the toning temperature of dye 8 is preferably a "critical" temperature for a food product which can be closed into bottle 2. Herein, "critical temperature of a food product" means a temperature from which one or more heat-sensitive substances contained in the food product (such as proteins and vitamins) undergo irreversible structural modifications. In this case, the toning temperature of dye 8 is preferably between 40.0°C and 60.0°C, more preferably between 40.0°C and 50.0°C, and even more preferably is 45.0°C.

Preferably, if dye 8 changes color reversibly, the toning temperature is a critical temperature for the material or at least one of the materials which form bottle 2. In this case, due to the presence of dye 8, a user of bottle 2 aware of the color that dye 8 should have if its temperature is lower than that of toning, by looking at portion 7 is able to determine whether the bottle is below the toning tempera- ture or at a temperature equal to or higher than that of toning.

Conversely, if dye 8 changes color irreversibly, the toning temperature preferably is a critical temperature for at least one food product which can be closed into bottle 2.

In this case, due to the presence of dye 8, a user of bottle 2 aware of the color that dye 8 should have if the toning temperature has not been reached, by looking at portion 7 is able to determine whether the bottle has ever reached or exceeded said temperature.

Container 1 further comprises a protective film (not shown in the figures) which externally covers portion 7 at least where dye 8 is applied. The protective film prevents a direct contact between the dye and the environment outside bottle 2. Rather than being applied directly on bottle 2 by screen printing, dye 8 may be applied to a support integrally adhering to bottle 2 at portion 7.

Alternatively to being applied outside bottle 2, if the latter is made of a material substantially permeable to light at least at portion 7, dye 8, irrespective of whether it changes color reversibly or irreversibly, can be applied to bottle 2 inside the latter, at least at portion 7. The transparency of portion 7 ensures that dye 8, even if internal to bottle 2, is visible by a user thereof. Also in this case, container 1 further comprises a protective film (not shown in the figures) which internally covers portion 7 at least where dye 8 is applied. The protective film prevents a direct contact between the dye and a product possibly contained into bottle 2.

In a different embodiment of the invention, if bottle 2 is made of a material sub- stantially permeable to light at least at portion 7, as an alternative to being applied inside bottle 2, dye 8 may be dispersed into portion 7. The transparency of portion 7 ensures that dye 8, even if dispersed therein, is visible by a user of bottle 2. Since dye 8 is dispersed into portion 7, there can be no contact be- tween dye 8 and the product contained in bottle 2 or with the environment external to the latter. Therefore, no protective film is needed.

Advantageously, compared to the case where dye 8 is applied externally to bottle 2, if dye 8 is applied inside bottle 2 or dispersed into portion 7, there is a lower risk that dye 8 may be accidentally removed from bottle 2 during opera- tions such as the packaging of a product into bottle 2 or the transport thereof. Figure 2 shows a container 10 which differs from container 1 in that dye 8, instead of being applied at the lateral wall 5 of bottle 2, is applied on cap 3. The latter preferably comprises a circular base 11 and a cylindrical lateral wall 12 internally threaded, so as to be screwed to a corresponding externally threaded portion of neck 6 of bottle 2. Preferably, dye 8 is applied at base 11.

Like the annular band 7 of bottle 2, base 11 of cap 3 when the latter is screwed onto bottle 2, is easily visible by a user of container 10. In addition to that, the cap is a component of a container to which attention must necessarily be paid to access the product introduced into the container.

Similarly to what said for portion 7 of container 1 , dye 8 is preferably applied externally to cap 3. Alternatively, if the latter is made of a material substantially permeable to light at least at base 11 , dye 8 is preferably dispersed in base 11 or is applied thereto inside cap 3. Cap 3 comprises a protective film (not shown in the figures) which covers base 11 , at least where dye 8 is applied, or con- tainer 10 comprises a protective film which separates base 11 from the product contained in the container.

Figure 3 shows a container 15 which differs from container 10 in that dye 8, instead of being applied only at base 11 of cap 3, is also applied at the lateral wall 12 thereof, either externally or internally to the latter, or dispersed therein.

Incidentally, as for container 1 , also containers 10 and 15, when closed, comprise a portion which changes color when reaching or exceeding a critical toning temperature. In fact cap 3, which is also the subject of invention, comprises (in the case of container 10) or corresponds to (in the case of container 15) said portion.

On the basis of the description provided for an example of preferred embodiment, it is apparent that some changes may be introduced by those skilled in the art without departing from the scope of the invention as defined by the following claims.