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Title:
DATE INDICATOR
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2012/017244
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The invention provides a container (1) having a neck (2) extending from a surface (7) of the container, a cap (12) and a date indicator (3), the date indicator comprising a first portion (4) rotatable on the neck of the container and a second portion (6) rotatable relative the first portion, wherein one of the first and second portions has dates marked on it and the other of said portions has an indicator (5) on it, which indicator can be aligned with a date by rotating the first portion relative to the second portion, wherein the container (1) has a screw cap (2) and the first portion of the date indicator is a frangible tamperproof seal ring (4) of the cap (2). The invention provides a relatively cheap and convenient means of indicating when the contents of a container are to be used by, once the container has been opened.

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Inventors:
OAKLEY, Sarah Elizabeth (10 Cardiff Way, Abbots Langley Hertfordshire WD5 0TT, GB)
OAKLEY, Charles (21 Stanmore Hall, Woodlane, Stanmore Middlesex HA7 4JY, GB)
Application Number:
GB2011/051473
Publication Date:
February 09, 2012
Filing Date:
August 03, 2011
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
OAKLEY, Sarah Elizabeth (10 Cardiff Way, Abbots Langley Hertfordshire WD5 0TT, GB)
OAKLEY, Charles (21 Stanmore Hall, Woodlane, Stanmore Middlesex HA7 4JY, GB)
International Classes:
B65D79/02; B65D5/74; B65D41/34
Foreign References:
US5662224A1997-09-02
US4802438A1989-02-07
NL1017455C22002-08-29
US6805072B12004-10-19
Other References:
None
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
SAUNDERS & DOLLEYMORE LLP (9 Rickmansworth Road, Watford Hertfordshire WD18 0JU, GB)
Download PDF:
Claims:
Claims

1. A container (1) having a neck (2) extending from a surface (7) of the container, a cap (12) and a date indicator (3), the date indicator comprising a first portion (4) rotatable on the neck of the container and a second portion (6) rotatable relative the first portion, wherein one of the first and second portions has dates marked on it and the other of said portions has an indicator (5) on it, which indicator can be aligned with a date by rotating the first portion relative to the second portion, characterised in that the container (1) has a screw cap (2) and the first portion of the date indicator is a frangible tamperproof seal ring (4) of the cap (2).

2. A container as claimed in Claim 1, wherein the two portions (4, 6) of the date indicator are both arranged to fit around the neck (2) of the container and be retained in place by the neck.

3. A container as claimed in Claim 1, wherein the second portion (6) is a surface (7) of the container which has dates marked on it.

4. A container as claimed in Claim 3, wherein the dates are marked in an annular pattern on a surface (7) of the container around the neck (2) and the indicator (5) is on the tamperproof seal ring (4).

5. A container as claimed in Claim 3, wherein the indicator (5) is on the surface of the container and the dates are marked on the tamperproof seal ring (4).

6. A container as claimed in Claim 3, wherein one of the dates or indicator (5) are on a surface of the neck with the other is on the tamperproof seal ring (4).

7. A container as claimed in any preceding claim wherein the neck (2) has retaining means (16) to retain the tamperproof seal ring in place when the cap is unscrewed and the neck and tamperproof seal ring have cooperating engaging means (9, 10) which permit the ring to be rotated on the neck, but engage to avoid unintentional rotation.

8. A container as claimed in any preceding claim, wherein the neck (2) and

tamperproof seal ring (4) have engaging means (9, 10) to cause the ring (4) to be biased to one of a number of positions as it is rotated about the neck, each position being arranged to align the indicator (5) with one of the dates.

9. A container as claimed in any preceding claim, wherein the first portion (4) has a protruding indicator (5).

10. A container as claimed in any one of Claims 1 to 4, wherein the first portion (4) is annular with a window (8) towards a periphery, where the window is arranged to be aligned with a selected date on the second portion (6), so that the date is visible through the window.

11. A container as claimed in any preceding claim, wherein the neck has a flange (19) at a lower end and the container has an aperture (18) in a wall (17) thereof through which the neck, with the cap (12) and tamperproof seal (4) in place thereon, may be inserted during manufacture, with the flange (19) having a larger diameter than the aperture (18) sealed to a portion of an inner surface of the wall about the aperture. 12. A container as claimed in any preceding claim having a container body formed from card.

13. A container as claimed in any one of Claims 1 to 10 in the form of a plastic bottle where the neck (2) is an integral part of the bottle.

14. A container substantially as hereinbefore described, with reference to and/or as illustrated in one or more of the accompanying drawings.

Description:
Date Indicator

The present invention relates to a container having a date indicator, and particularly, although not exclusively, relates to a date indicator operable by a consumer for monitoring the use-by date of foodstuffs once opened.

Food products are usually supplied in containers with a "best before" or "use by" indicated on the container. However, once opened, the shelf life of a food product is often dependent, not on this best before date, but instead on the date of opening of the container.

It is an object of the current invention to provide a container having a convenient and inexpensive date indicator that can indicate the date the contents of a container are to be used by, after the container has been opened, or to indicate the date the container was first opened.

According to a first aspect of the present invention, there is provided a container having a neck extending from a surface of the container, a cap and a date indicator, the date indicator comprising a first portion rotatable on the neck of the container and a second portion rotatable relative the first portion, wherein one of the first and second portions has dates marked on it and the other of said portions has an indicator, which indicator can be aligned with a date by rotating the first portion relative to the second portion, wherein the container has a screw cap and the first portion of the date indicator is a frangible

tamperproof seal ring of the cap. Throughout this specification, including the claims, the term "date" is to be interpreted to include any indication of time. It may be a calendar date, a day of the week, a week, month or year, or any combination thereof.

The present invention provides a container arranged such that when the cap is first unscrewed, the tamperproof seal may remain in place so as to be separated from the cap. This tamperproof seal ring may then be rotated to indicate the date. This permits a date indicator to be provided simply by modifying a tamperproof seal ring so that it can also be used as the date indicator.

In one embodiment, the printing on the container can form the other portion of the date indicator. Thus a date indicator can be provided without the provision of any additional components over those already present on most screw top containers. The dates may be marked in an annular pattern on a surface of the container around the neck of the container with the indicator on the tamperproof seal ring.

The second portion could alternatively comprise an annular card having a backing sheet, the backing sheet being adhered to the surface of the container, and the card having dates marked on it.

The two portions of the date indicator may both be arranged to fit around the neck of the container and be retained in place by the neck so that the date indicator can form part of the neck and cap assembly, which can be fitted to a main body portion of the container, for example where the container is a cardboard drink container.

Alternatively one of the dates or indicator may be marked on a surface of the neck with the other marked on the tamperproof seal ring.

Preferably the neck has retaining means to retain the tamperproof seal ring in place when the cap is unscrewed and the neck and tamperproof seal ring have cooperating engaging means which permit the ring to be rotated on the neck, but engage with the neck to avoid unintentional rotation.

The neck and tamperproof seal ring may have engaging means to cause the ring to be biased to one of a number of positions as it is rotated about the neck, each position being arranged to align the indicator with one of the dates. The first portion may be annular with a window towards its periphery, where the window is arranged to be aligned with a selected date on the second portion, so that the date is visible through the window.

Embodiments of the present invention will now be described, by way of example, with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which like numerals are used to indicate like parts and of which:

Figure 1 is a perspective view of a container in accordance with the invention; Figure 2 is a top view of the date indicator of the container of Figure 1;

Figure 3 is a top view of an alternative embodiment;

Figure 4 is a top view of a further alternative embodiment;

Figure 5 is a top view of a further alternative embodiment;

Figure 6 is plan view of a top portion of a container in accordance with a further embodiment of the invention; and

Figure 7 is a partial cross section along the line 7-7 of Figure 6.

Referring to Figures 1 and 2, a container 1 comprises a neck 2 and date indicator 3. The date indicator comprises a first portion 4 rotatable around the neck with an indicator 5 on it, and a second portion 6 with dates marked on it, which dates could be days of the month days of the week, months or any such suitable unit. In this embodiment the second portion is a surface of the container with the dates printed around the neck of the container, as shown in Figure 2. The first portion 4 is the tamper proof seal ring 4 of a cap (not shown), which separates from the cap when the cap is unscrewed. This is described below with reference to the embodiment of Figure 6 and 7.

Ring 4 engages with the neck 2 so that it may be rotated, but is retained axially in place on the neck 2. The ring 4 may be close fitting or mechanically engage with indentations (not shown) on the neck so that the ring may be rotated on the neck and then retained in place by friction, or cooperating with the indentations on the neck. Preferably, if employing indentations, these and corresponding engaging means on the ring are all in register with the dates, so that the indicator can be correctly aligned with a selected date.

Figure 3 illustrates a date indicator similar to that of Figure 2. Here the tamperproof seal ring 4 is in the form of an annular disc. A window 8 on the ring 4 is arranged to be rotated on the ring about the neck 2, so as to be aligned with a selected date printed on the surface 7 of the container 1. The ring 4 has protrusions 9 which engage with indentations 10 provided on the surface of the neck 2 of the container 1. If thirty-one protrusions 9 and corresponding indentations 10 are provided, then window 8 may be correctly aligned with the selected one of 31 dates. Alternatively, a mechanically equivalent engaging means could be provided between the ring 4 and neck 2, or the ring 4 could be a friction fit with the neck 2.

Figure 4 illustrates an embodiment of the invention in which the dates are provided on the tamper proof seal ring 4, the ring 4 again being rotatable on the neck 2, with the indicator 5 printed on a surface 7 of the container 1. Thus a selected day may be aligned with the indicator 5 by rotating the ring 4 on the neck 2.

Figure 5 illustrates a further alternative embodiment where tamper proof seal ring 4 forms a first portion of the date indicator and also retains a second portion 11 of the date indicator on the neck 2. The ring 4 is a tight fit on the neck 2 and is arranged not to rotate on the neck 2. The first portion of the date indicator, in the form of tamper proof seal ring 4 is arranged to rotate on the neck 2, as described above with reference to previous embodiments. The first and second portions of the date indicator can thus be rotated relative to each other to indicate a desired date. The dates are shown on the ring 4 with the indicator 5 on the second portion 11. However these could be arranged the other way about.

Similarly the first portion could be arranged to be fixed to the neck 2 with the second portion being able to rotate. Figures 6 and 7 illustrates an embodiment of the invention where the tamper proof seal ring 4 has dates marked on the side of it with the indicator 5 is printed on a surface 7 of the container 1. However, as in previous embodiments, the dates could be printed on the surface 7 and the indicator 5 marked on the ring 4.

In Figure 6 the cap 12, shown in Figure 7, has been omitted for clarity. However, referring to Figure 7, separated frangible portions 13 can be seen on the bottom of the cap 12 and top of the tamper proof seal ring 4. These have been separated by the action of the threads 14 on cap 12 moving the cap in the direction of arrow 14 as the cap 12 is unscrewed. As the cap is rotated the tamper proof seal ring 4 rotates with it, but is axially retained on the neck 2 by flange 16, causing the cap to separate from the tamper proof seal ring 4, thus indicating the product has been opened.

The tamper proof seal ring 4 engages with indentations on the neck 2, as described and illustrated with reference to previous embodiments, so that a selected date may be retained in alignment with indicator 5, to avoid unintentional rotation of the dates on the ring 4. In a modification, the dates could be on the surface 7 of the container and the indicator 5 on the ring 4. Alternatively the dates or indicator 5 could be on one of the neck 2 or ring 4 with the other on the ring 4 or neck 2, respectively.

To manufacture a container as illustrated in Figures 6 and 7, the neck 2 will normally come with the cap 12 and tamper proof seal ring 4 assembled on it. These are then inserted through a base of the container 1, normally manufactured from card, with the cap 12, ring 4 and neck being passed through an aperture 18 in the wall 17 of the container 1. A flange 19 extending from a proximal edge of the neck 2, of larger diameter than the aperture 18, is then sealed to the inside of the wall 17 of the container 1, prior to the container being filled. To permit this type of assembly the cap 12, tamper proof seal ring 4 and all portions of the neck above the flange are of a diameter less than the aperture 18.

In any of the above embodiments of the invention, a user may open the container 1 and then set the date on the date indicator 3 to the date by which product in the container must be used, which may for example be four days after opening. Alternatively it may be set it to the date the container was opened.

Although the above description details preferred embodiments of the invention, it will be appreciated that different configurations will be possible which fall within the scope of the appended claims. Particularly the invention has been described with reference to application on a cardboard drinks container. However the invention is equally applicable to other types of container such as plastic bottles. For example the neck 2 in Figure 7 could be the neck of a plastic bottle or container, with the indicator 5 on the bottle, either printed on the bottle or moulded as part of the bottle.




 
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