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Title:
METHOD OF FORMING BOTTOM-GUSSETED PACKAGE WITH TAPE ELEMENTS
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2019/075170
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A bottom-gusseted package comprises a package body, and a bottom gusset positioned transversely of a longitudinal axis of the package body. Formation of the bottom-gusseted package is effected by positioning individual sleeves transversely of the longitudinal axis of a flexible web which forms the package body. Tape elements are applied in overlapping relationship to opposite ends of each individual sleeve. During package formation, the flexible web is cut to form individual packages, and each individual sleeve can be cut to form a bottom gusset in one package, and a top sleeve portion in an adjacent package. A top sleeve portion of the package body can be configured to include a recloseable fastener. The tape elements facilitate formation such that the packages can be formed and filled on an associated vertical form, fill and seal apparatus have conventionally configured heat-sealing jaws.

Inventors:
YEAGER, James, W. (505 Cumberland Road, East Mobile, AL, 36608, US)
Application Number:
US2018/055356
Publication Date:
April 18, 2019
Filing Date:
October 11, 2018
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
INNOFLEX, INC. (3179 Green Valley Road, Birmingham, AL, 35243, US)
International Classes:
B31B70/26; B31B70/00; B31B70/14; B31B70/20; B31B70/60; B65B9/20
Foreign References:
US20140161373A12014-06-12
US6030123A2000-02-29
US20170057192A12017-03-02
US20160067937A12016-03-10
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
GEIMER, Stephen, D. et al. (Wood, Phillips Katz, Clark & Mortimer,500 West Madison Street,Suite 113, Chicago IL, 60661, US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

1 . A method of making bottom-gusseted packages, comprising the steps of: providing a flexible web of material having a longitudinal axis,

providing a plurality of individual sleeves;

joining said individual sleeves to said flexible web in spaced apart relationship longitudinally of said flexible web, with the spacing between said individual sleeves corresponding to the length of each of said bottom-gusseted packages being formed, including applying tape elements to said flexible web of material in respective overlapping relationship with opposite ends of each of said individual sleeves;

folding said flexible web of material and joining the lateral margins thereof to form a folded flexible web, and to thereby form a package body for each of said bottom- gusseted packages, each package body including a front package panel and a rear package panel joined at opposite side margins thereof, said individual sleeves being positioned generally within said folded flexible web; and

cutting said folded flexible web at intervals each corresponding in length to said length of each of said bottom-gusseted packages so each individual sleeve provides a bottom gusset for one of the packages being formed.

2. A method of making bottom-gusseted packages in accordance with claim 1 , wherein said cutting step includes cutting through each of said individual sleeves so that a portion of each individual sleeve provides: (1 ) said bottom gusset for one of the packages being formed, and (2) a top sleeve portion for an adjacent one of said packages being formed,

3. A method of making bottom-gusseted packages in accordance with claim

2, including:

providing each of said top sleeve portions with a recloseabie fastener positioned within the respective top sleeve portion, each said recloseabie fastener comprising fastener elements respectively joined to confronting inside surfaces of each top sleeve portion.

4. A method of making bottom-gusseted packages in accordance with claim

3, wherein:

each of said top sleeve portions includes an peelable seal positioned above said recloseabie fastener for gaining access to said recloseabie fastener.

5. A method of making bottom-gusseted packages in accordance with claim 1 , wherein

said folding step includes folding at least one of said tape elements.

8. A method of making bottom-gusseted packages in accordance with claim 5, wherein

said folding step includes folding at least one end of at least some of said individual sleeves.

7. A method of making bottom-gusseted packages in accordance with claim 1 , wherein:

inner and outer surfaces of each of said folding sleeves exhibit differing heat- sealing characteristics,

8. A method of making bottom-gusseted packages in accordance with claim 1 , wherein:

said step of applying said tape elements includes respectively applying individual tape elements to overlap each of the opposite ends of each of said individual sleeves.

9. A method of making bottom-gusseted packages in accordance with claim 8, wherein:

said applying step includes applying said individual tape elements to the opposite ends of said individual sleeves after said individual sleeves have been joined to said flexible web of material.

10. A method of making boitom-gusseted packages in accordance with claim 8, wherein:

said step of applying said tape elements includes applying said individual tape elements to the opposite ends of each of said individual sleeves before said individual sleeves are joined to said flexible web of material.

1 1. A method of making bottom-gusseted packages in accordance with claim 1 , wherein:

said step of applying said tape elements includes applying first and second elongated tape elements to extend between successive ones of said individual sleeves after said individual sleeves have been joined to said flexible web of material.

12. A bottom-gusseted package, comprising:

a package body formed from a flexible web having a longitudinal axis, said flexible web being folded to define a front package panel and a rear package panel of said package body, said front and rear package panels being joined to each other at respective lateral side margins of said package body,

said flexible web being joined to itself along a seam which extends parallel to said longitudinal axis of said flexible web;

a bottom gusset positioned between said front and rear package panels, and extending upwardly and inwardly from lower edges of said front and rear package panels; and a pair of tape elements applied to said flexible web in respective overlapping relationship with opposite ends of said bottom gusset.

13. A bottom-gusseted package in accordance with claim 12, including:

laterally opposite side seals that join the front and read package panels and said tape elements to each other at the respective lateral side margins of said package body.

14. A bottom-gusseted package in accordance with claim 12, wherein:

at least one of said tape elements is folded and extends between said front and rear package panels.

15. A bottom-gusseted package in accordance with claim 12, including:

a top sleeve portion positioned between said front and rear package panels at an upper portion of said package, generally opposite said bottom gusset.

16. A method of making bottom-gusseted packages, comprising the steps of: providing a flexible web of material having a longitudinal axis,

providing a plurality of individual sleeves;

joining said individual sleeves to said flexible web in spaced apart relationship longitudinally of said flexible web, with the spacing between said individual sleeves corresponding to the length of each of said bottom-gusseted packages being formed; folding said flexible web of materia! and joining the lateral margins thereof to form a folded flexible web, and to thereby form a package body for each of said bottom- gusseted packages, each package body including a front package panel and a rear package panel joined at opposite side margins thereof, said individual sleeves being positioned generally within said folded flexible web; and

cutting said folded flexible web at intervals each corresponding in length to said length of each of said bottom-gusseted packages so each individual sleeve provides a bottom gusset for one of the packages being formed,

wherein said cutting step includes cutting through each of said individual sleeves so that a portion of each individual sleeve provides: (1 ) said bottom gusset for one of the packages being formed, and (2) a top sleeve portion for an adjacent one of said packages being formed,

providing each of said top sieeve portions with a recloseabie fastener positioned within the respective top sleeve portion, each said recloseabie fastener comprising fastener elements respectively joined to confronting inside surfaces of each top sleeve portion,

each of said top sleeve portions including a peelable seal positioned above said recloseabie fastener for gaining access to said recloseabie fastener.

Description:
METHOD OF FORMING BOTTO -GUSSETED

PACKAGE WITH TAPE ELEMENTS

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] This is a non-provisionai application claiming priority to U.S. Provisional Serial No. 15/783,560, filed on October 13, 2017, which is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety.

FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT [0002] Not Applicable.

MICROFICHE/COPYRIGHT REFERENCE [0003] Not Applicable.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0004] The present invention relates generally to packages bottom-gusseted packages formed from polymeric film webs, and more particularly to a bottom-gusseted package including a bottom gusset positioned transversely of a longitudinal axis of the package, with tape elements applied to opposite ends of each bottom gusset to facilitate package formation, and permit use with associated form, fill, and seal equipment. BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0005] Packages formed from plastic, polymeric film material have found widespread application in the market place for convenient and efficient packaging of all manner of food and non-food products. Packages of this nature typically are formed by folding and heat-sealing a web of polymeric material to form a package body having front and rear package panels, with the package panels joined to each other at margins thereof.

[0006] For some applications, it is desirable to provide a bottom-gusseted package, that is, a package having an inwardly extending gusset at the bottom of the package body. By virtue of the breadth and stability provided by the bottom gusset, packages of this nature can frequently be configured to be self-standing, promoting efficient display for consumer selection.

[0007] US Patents No. 9,126,383, and No. 9,272,481 , both hereby incorporated by reference, disclose methods of forming bottom-gusseted packages, which can be efficiently formed and filled in conjunction with a so-called form, fill and apparatus. This is achieved by forming each package with a bottom gusset positioned transversely of the longitudinal axis of the polymeric film web and each package. Bottom-gusseted packages of any selected height can be readily and efficiently formed.

[0008] Notably, the present invention contemplates a bottom-gusseted package, and a method of formation, which facilitates efficient formation, and permits package formation in conjunction with a vertical form, fill and seal apparatus having conventionally configured sealing jaws. SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0009] A bottom-gusseted package embodying the principles of the present invention comprises a package body formed from a flexible web having a longitudinal axis. The flexible web is folded to define a front package panel and a rear package of the package body, with the front and rear package panels joined to each other at respective lateral side margins of the package body. Notably, a package formed in accordance with the present invention includes a bottom gusset positioned between the front and rear package panels, wherein the bottom gusset is provided by a sleeve portion which is secured to the flexible web by tape elements applied to opposite ends of each sleeve portion.

[0010] In accordance with the present invention, a method of making bottom- gusseted packages, comprises the steps of providing a flexible web of material having a longitudinal axis, and providing a plurality of individual sleeves. The individual sleeves are joined to the flexible web in spaced apart relationship longitudinally of the web, with the spacing between the individual sleeves corresponding to the length of each of the bottom-gusseted packages being formed.

[0011] Notably, to facilitate formation and filling on machinery having conventionally configured sealing jaws, the present method includes applying tape elements to the flexible web of material in respective overlapping relationship with opposite ends of each of the individual sleeves. For some applications, it can be desirable to roll and store this "pre-formed" film material, with individual sleeves secured thereto with the tape elements, for subsequent use with an associated form, fill and seal apparatus. Alternatively, the above steps can be performed "in-line" with a filling apparatus.

[0012] Package formation is thereafter effected by folding the flexible web of material, and joining the lateral margins thereof to form a folded flexible web. This forms a package body for each of the bottom-gusseted packages, with each package body including a front package panel and a rear package panel joined at opposite side margins thereof. The individual sleeves and tape elements are positioned generally within the folded flexible web.

[0013] After filling with product, the folded flexible web is cut at intervals each corresponding in length to the length of the of the bottom-gusseted packages, so each individual sleeve provides a bottom gusset for one of the packages being formed.

[0014] Experience has shown that efficient package formation and filling can be promote by performing the cutting step so that it includes cutting through each of the individual sleeves so that a portion of each individual sleeve provides: (1 ) the bottom gusset for one of the packages being formed, and (2) a top sleeve portion for an adjacent one of said packages being formed.

[0015] For some applications, it can be desirable to provide each of the top sleeve portions with a recioseable fastener positioned within the respective top sleeve portion. For example, recioseable fastener in the form of adhesive fastener comprising cooperating adhesive layers can be employed. Alternatively, each recioseable fastener comprising a pair of fastener elements respectively joined to confronting inside surfaces of each top sleeve portion. If desired, each top sleeve portion can include a peelable seal positioned in association with the respective recloseabie fastener, such as for gaining access to the recioseable fastener and for providing a tamper-evident feature,

[0016] For some applications, in can be desirable to provide individual sleeves such that inner and outer surfaces of each of individual sleeve exhibit differing heat- sealing characteristics.

[0017] Depending upon the specific formation technique, the folding step can inciude folding at least one of the tape elements, and can include folding at least one end of at least some of the individual sieeves.

[0018] It is presently contemplated that the step of applying tape elements include applying individual tape elements to the opposite ends of the individual sieeves after the individual sleeves have been joined to said flexible web of material However, the step of applying the tape elements can include applying individual tape elements to respectively overlap each of the opposite ends of each of the individual sleeves before the individual sleeves are joined to the flexible web of material.

[0019] While the application of individual tape elements promotes efficient use of packaging material, for some applications formation can be facilitated by applying the contemplated tape elements in the form of first and second elongated tape elements which are applied to each extend between successive ones of the individual sleeves after said individual sleeves have been joined to the flexible web of material.

[0020] Thus, a package formed in accordance with the present method includes a package body formed from a flexible web having a longitudinal axis, wherein the flexible web is folded to define a front package panel and a rear package panel of the package body, with the front and rear package panels being joined to each other at respective lateral side margins of the package body. The flexible web is joined to itself along a seam which extends parallel to the longitudinal axis of the flexible web.

[0021] The package further includes a bottom gusset positioned between the front and rear package panels, with the bottom gusset extending upwardly and inwardly from lower edges of the front and rear package panels, and with bottom gusset preferably extending less than the width of the front and rear package panels. In accordance with the present invention a pair of tape elements are applied to the flexible web in respective overlapping relationship with opposite ends of the bottom gusset of the package.

[0022] The present package can be formed with laterally opposite side seals that join and integrate the front and read package panels and tape elements to each other at the respective lateral side margins of the package body, with each of the side seals typically overlapping a respective end of the bottom gusset. At least one of the tape elements can be folded, and extend between the front and rear package panels. [0023] In accordance with the present method, a bottom-gusseted package can be formed including a top sleeve portion positioned between the front and rear package panels at an upper portion of the package, generaliy opposite the bottom gusset. The top sleeve portion can optionally include a recloseable fastener, and a peelable seal positioned in association with the recloseable fastener.

[0024] Other features and advantages of the present invention will become readily apparent from the following detailed description, the accompanying drawings, and the appended claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0025] F!G. 1 is a perspective view of a bottom-gusseted package, configured as a recioseabie package, embodying the principles of the present invention;

[0026] FIG. 2 is a perspective view similar to FIG. 1 , with portions of the package cut away to illustrate the bottom gusset of the package;

[0027] FIG. 3 is a diagrammatic view illustrating formation of the package shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, in accordance with the present invention;

[0028] FIG. 4 is a cross-sectiona! view taken generally along lines 4-4 of F!G. 3;

[0029] FIG. 5 is a cross-sectional view taken generaliy along lines 5-5 of FIG. 3;

[0030] FIG. 8 is a diagrammatic cross-sectional view illustrating formation of a recloseable, bottom-gusseted package having a recloseable fastener; and

[0031] FIG. 7 is a cross-sectional view illustrating opening of a package have a recloseable fastener. DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

[0032] While the present invention is susceptible of embodiment in various forms, there is shown in the drawings and will hereinafter be described the presently preferred embodiments, with the understanding that the present disclosure should be considered as an exemplification of the invention, and is not intended to limit the invention to the specific embodiments illustrated.

[0033] U.S. Pat Nos, 4,909,017, 4,617,683, 5,902,047, 6,971 ,794, 8,182,407,

9, 26,383, and 9,272,481 , and PCT Publication No. WO 2015/042505, illustrate various package constructions and formation methods, and are all hereby incorporated by reference.

[0034] With reference first to FIGS. 1 and 2, therein is illustrated a bottom- gusseted package 10 embodying the principles of the present invention. As will be further described, bottom-gusseted package 10 can be configured as a recloseable package, and include a recloseable fastener at an upper portion of the package. Notably, and as will be further described, package 10 is formed by joining a plurality of individual sleeves to an associated web of flexible material, in spaced apart relationship along the longitudinal axis of the flexible web. In accordance with the present invention, tape elements respectively applied in overlapping relationship to opposite end portions of each individual sleeve facilitate manufacture, and permit package formation and filling on an associated vertical form, fill and seal apparatus having conventionally configured sealing jaws.

[0035] Attendant to package formation, each individual sleeve and the respective tape elements can be cut as individual packages are formed, with each individual sleeve providing a bottom gusset in one package, and a top sleeve portion, in an adjacent one of the packages being formed. However, the present invention can be practiced without cutting of the individual sieeves which provide a bottom gusset for each package being formed. [0038] With further reference to FIGS. 1 and 2, the bottom-gusseted package 10 illustrated therein includes a package body 12 formed from a flexible film web having a longitudinal axis, wherein the flexible web has been folded to define a front package panel 14 (shown facing rearwardly in FIGS. 1 and 2) and a rear package panel 16 of the package body 12. The front and rear package panels 14 and 16 are joined to each other at respective lateral side margins of the package body 12.

[0037] In the illustrated embodiment, the front and rear package panels are joined to each other where the flexible film web from which the body is formed has been folded. The flexible film web from which the package body 12 is formed is joined to itself along a longitudinal seam 18, typically comprising a heat-seal, which extends parallel to the longitudinal axis of the flexible web. While seam 18 has been illustrated generally at the middle of rear package panel 16, the flexible web can otherwise be joined to itself, such as at along one of the lateral side margins of the package body.

[0038] Package 10 includes a bottom gusset 20 which is positioned between the front and rear package panels 14 and 16, and which extends upwardly and inwardly from lower edges of the front and rear package panels. The pleat-like bottom gusset 20 is formed from a sleeve of material which is positioned within the flexible web from which the package body is formed, with the sleeve of material ordinarily cut attendant to formation of individual packages.

[0039] The bottom gusset 20 is joined to and integrated with the package body by a pair of side seals 22 at opposite lateral margins of the package body, and a pair of end seals 23 which respectively join the legs or edges of the bottom gusset 20 to the front and rear package panels 14 and 16. The side and end seals typically comprise heat-seals formed during package formation. The bottom gusset 20 can be configured to have a width less than that of the package 0, Formation of side seals 22 acts to join and integrate the package components.

[0040] In accordance with the present invention, package 10 further comprises a pair of tape elements 27 positioned in respective, overlapping relationship with the opposite ends of bottom gusset 20. As wii! be further described, tape elements 27 are applied to each sleeve which forms the bottom gusset 20 of each package being formed. The tape elements 27 are preferably selected for heat-sea!ing application to the sleeves and the associated flexible web from which each package is formed, with both surfaces of each tape elements being heat-sealable.

[0041] The tape elements act to close and seal the ends of each sleeve, and thus provided the desired hermetic seal between the bottom gusset 20 and the package body 12. By formation of these sealed regions by the provision of the tape elements 27, the desired seals at each of the ends of gusset 20 need not be formed during the contemplated formation on a form, fill and seal apparatus. Thus, a form, fill and seal apparatus having conventionally configured, generally rectangulariy-shaped sealing jaws, can be used for formation and filling of the present bottom-gusseted package.

[0042] With reference now to Figures 5-7, a method of making bottom-gusseted packages in accordance with the present invention is illustrated.

[0043] For package formation, a flexible web 40 preferably comprising heat- sealable polymeric material is provided, with the flexible web typically advanced in a direction along its longitudinal axis. Formation of the present bottom-gusseted package is further effected by providing a flexible, sleeve-forming web, also preferably comprising suitable polymeric, heat-sealable material. The sleeve-forming web 42 is folded cut into individual sleeves 44, which sleeves provide the bottom gusset 20 for each package being formed.

[0044] The composition of the sleeve-forming web can differ from the flexible web 40 for forming the package of the body, as may be desired. By way of example, the sleeve-forming material can be selected to exhibit certain gas permeability characteristics, or even be perforated, which can be desirable for some types of packaging. For some applications, in can be desirable to provide individual sleeves such that inner and outer surfaces of each of individual sleeve exhibit differing heat- sealing characteristics. It is presently contemplated that only one side of the sleeve- forming web be heat-sea!able, so that the inside surface of the folded, sleeve-forming web does not heat seal to itself. This permits the eventual opening and spreading of the legs of the bottom gusset 20 so that the package 10 can assume a generally self- standing orientation.

[0045] As further illustrated, individual sleeves 44 cut from the sleeve-forming web are positioned transversely of the longitudinal axis of the flexible web 40 from which the package body is formed. The individual sleeves 44 are joined such as by heat-sealing to the flexible web 40 in spaced apart relationship longitudinally of the web 40. The spacing between the individual sleeves 44 corresponds to the length of each of the bottem-gusseted packages 10 being formed.

[0046] Notably, to facilitate package formation, and permit formation and filling in machinery having conventionally configured sealing jaws, the present method includes applying tape elements 27 to the flexible web of material 40 in respective overlapping relationship with opposite ends of each of the individual sleeves 44. For some applications, it can be desirable to roil and store this "pre-formed" film material, with individual sleeves 44 secured thereto with the tape elements 27, for subsequent use with an associated form, fill and seal apparatus. Alternatively, the above steps can be performed "in-line" with a filling apparatus.

[0047] It is presently contemplated that the step of applying tape elements 27 include applying individual tape elements to the opposite ends of the individual sleeves 44 after the individual sleeves have been joined to the flexible web of material 40. Alternatively, the step of applying the tape elements 27 can include respectively applying individual tape elements to overlap each of the opposite ends of each of the individual sleeves 44 before the individual sleeves 44 are joined to the flexible web of material 40.

[0048] While the application of individual tape elements promotes efficient use of packaging material, for some applications formation can be facilitated by applying the contemplated tape elements in the form of first and second elongated tape elements, shown in phantom line at 27', which are applied to each extend between successive ones of the individual sleeves 44 after the individual sleeves have been joined to the flexible web of material 40.

[0049] After each of the individual sleeves 44 is joined to the flexible web 40, and tape elements 27 applied thereto, the flexible web is folded, and the lateral margins thereof joined together to form a folded flexible web (see FIG. 3). In this way, a package body is formed for each of the bottom-gusseted packages. By folding of the flexible web 40, the front and rear package panels 14 and 8 of each package are formed. The folded flexible web 40 can be joined to itself to form back seam 18, with the front and rear package panels joined to each other at the folded, lateral margins of the folded web.

[0050] As illustrated, the individual sleeves 44 are positioned within the folded flexible web 40, with tape elements 27 overlapping respective opposite ends of each sleeve 44. Depending upon the specific formation technique, and subject to manufacturing tolerances, the folding step can include folding at least one of the tape elements 27, and can include folding at least one end of at least some of the individual sleeves 44.

[0051] Package formation is thus effected by folding the flexible web of material 40, and joining the lateral margins thereof to form a folded flexible web. This forms a package body for each of the bottom-gusseted packages, with the front and rear package panels joined at opposite side margins thereof. The individual sleeves 44 are positioned generally within the folded flexible web. Because the exterior surface of each sleeve 44, and both surfaces of each tape element 27, are heat-seaiable, the desired side seals 22 are readily formed to close the ends of each sleeve 44, and integrate each sleeve with the front and rear package panels. Formation of side seals 22 which extend to a position above each of the bottom gussets 20 is preferred. [0052] After filling with product, the folded flexible web is cut at intervals each corresponding in length to the length of the of said bottom-gusseted packages, so each individual sieeve 44 provides a bottom gusset 20 for one of the packages being formed.

[0053] Experience has shown that efficient package formation and fiiling can be promoted by performing the cutting step so that it includes cutting through each of the individual sleeves 44, and the tape elements 27 applied thereto, so that a portion of each individual sieeve 44 provides: (1 ) the bottom gusset 20 for one of the packages being formed, and (2) a top sleeve portion 24 for an adjacent one of said packages being formed. Thus, the present invention contemplates that each individual sleeve 44 spans and extends between two adjacent ones of the packages being formed, with subsequent cutting of the flexible web into individual packages providing a bottom gusset 20 for one package, and a top sleeve portion 24 for an adjacent package.

[0054] A pair of top seals 30 respectively join the pair of legs or flanges of the top sleeve portion 24 to the front and rear package panels 14, 16. The top sleeve portion 24 is positioned above an end sea! 25 of the package formed by joining the front and rear package panels 14, 16 to each other. Side seals 28 are provided at respective opposite ends of the sieeve portion 24, and integrate the sleeve portion 24, and the portions of tape elements 27 overlapping the ends of the sleeve portion 24, with the front and rear package panel to close the interior of the package.

[0055] The top sleeve portion 24 consists of first and second elongate strips S1 , S2 placed against each other between the front and rear package panels 14, 18. Each of the strips S1 , S2 is in the form of a single, flat layer cut from the sleeve 44. Each of the strips S1 , S2 extends to the top of the front and rear panels 14, 18. The top sleeve portion 24 is confined generally within an end seal formed by side seals 28, and end sea! 25 joining the front and rear package panels below the end of the top sleeve portion that is in the top seal of the package,

[0058] It is presently contemplated that formation in this manner can be effected, if desired, during packaging on a vertical form, fill, and seal machine, or that individual packages can be formed for subsequent filling. Depending upon the specific formation technique, side seals 22 and 28 are typically formed prior to filling, with either end seals 23 or end seals 30 formed after the contents of each package have been positioned therein.

[0057] Package formation and heat-sealing can be effected in accordance with the teachings of US Patent Publication No. 2016/0067937, published March 10, 2016, the disclosure of which is hereby incorporated by reference. Because the ends of each gusset 20 are sealed by tape elements 27, formation of side seals 22 and 28 is optional. This feature of the present invention permits formation and filling on a form, fill and seal apparatus having conventionally configured, generally rectangular sealing jaws for formation of the bottom and top, end seals 23, 30 of the package, without use of Li- shaped sealing jaws as disclosed in the above-referenced US Patent Publication.

[0058] As noted, the present package can be efficiently formed attendant to package filling on a vertical form, fill and seal apparatus. Given the normal manufacturing variations on a such an apparatus, formation could in some instances result in packages having bottom gussets only, without a top sleeve portion 24. Specifically, in some instances, the individual sleeve 44 forming the bottom gusset 20 of the package would be positioned so that the sleeve would not be cut, and no portion of the sleeve would extend from the bottom gusset of one package to provide a top sleeve portion of an adjacent package after cutting of individual packages. In other instances, the individual sleeve 44 would be positioned so that cutting results in formation of the desired bottom gusset for one package, with a top sleeve portion such as 24 formed in an adjacent package.

[0059] For some applications, it can be desirable to provide each of the top sleeve portions 24 with a recioseable fastener positioned within the respective top sleeve portion. This is illustrated diagrammaticaliy in the cross-sectional view of Figure 6, which show an recioseable fastener 31 positioned within the folded individual sleeve 44, prior to cutting to form bottom gusset 20 and top sleeve portion 24. [0060] The recioseable fastener 31 can comprise an adhesive fastener comprising cooperating adhesive layers can. Alternatively, a pair of fastener elements respectively joined to confronting inside surfaces of each top sleeve portion, such as comprising a pair of interlocking profile strips which are identically configured, or complementary, can be employed, A recioseable fastener comprising hook-and-loop fastener components, "unisex" self-engaging fastener components, or like recioseable fastening arrangements can be employed.

[0061] If desired, each top sleeve portion 24 can include a so-called "peal seal", that is, a peelable seal 32 positioned in association with the respective recioseable fastener 31 , such as above or outwardly of the fastener, for gaining access to the recioseable fastener and for providing a tamper-evident feature to provide visually discernible evidence of the initial opening to the recioseable package 10.

[0082] Figure 7 illustrates the manner in which the package contents can be accessed by separating the peelable sea! 32 to gain access to the recioseable fastener 31. If desired, the peelable seal 32 can be opened to inspect that fastener 31 is unopened and intact, without opening fastener 32.

[0063] Thus, access to the contents of the package 10 is provided via the top sleeve portion 24 and recioseable fastener 32. For opening, the legs or flanges of the top sleeve portion 24 are separated, and the fastener elements of the recioseable fastener 32 separated. By merely pressing the sleeve portion 24 together, and urging the components of the recioseable fastener 32 together, the package 10 can be easily reclosed.

[0084] The top sleeve portion 24 can be otherwise configured to permit access to the contents of the package through the top sleeve portion, such as by the provision of a preferentially weakened region, such as comprising laser scoring, perforations, or the like.

[0065] From the foregoing, it will be observed that numerous modifications and variations can be effected without departing from the true spirit and scope of the novel concept of the present invention. It is to be understood that no limitation with respect to the specific embodiments illustrated herein is intended or should be inferred. The disciosure is intended to cover, by the appended claims, all such modifications as fall within the scope of the claims.