1. A packaging structure comprising a head, a neck and a body, wherein the body comprises two confronting body portions of cohesive packaging material and a removable separator therebetween, whereby upon removing the separator and pressing the two confronting body portions together, the confronting body portions are bonded together.
2. A packaging structure according to claim 1, wherein at least one of the confronting portions of cohesive packaging material is stamped to form a flap to facilitate access to a lamina placed between said two confronting portions .
3. A packaging structure according to claim 1, wherein the head comprises two confronting head portions of cohesive packaging material connected together along a fold line and the neck comprises two confronting neck portions of cohesive packaging material connecting the head portions respectively to the body portions.
4. A packaging structure according to claim 3, wherein the separator includes a head portion interposed between the two confronting head portions of cohesive packaging material, a neck portion interposed between the two confronting neck portions of cohesive packaging material, and a body portion interposed between the two confronting body portions of cohesive packaging material.
5. A method of packaging a lamina, comprising providing a packaging structure including a head and a body attached to the head, wherein the body comprises two confronting portions of cohesive packaging material and a removable separator therebetween, the method comprising removing the separator from between the confronting portions of cohesive packaging material, placing the lamina between the confronting portions, pressing the confronting portions together, whereby the confronting portions are bonded together, and detaching
the body of the packaging structure from the head of the packaging structure.
6. A method according to claim 5, wherein the packaging structure includes a neck connecting the head to the body and the method includes detaching the body of the packaging structure from the head of the packaging structure by severing the neck of the packaging structure.
PACKAGE STRUCTURE AND PACKAGING METHOD
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
This invention relates to a package structure and packaging method.
Currently, four of the five most popular (by dollar value) gifts in the United States are gift cards, recorded music on CD, recorded audio/video works on DVD, and video game programs (many of which are recorded on CD-ROM) . Gift cards, CDs, DVDs and CD-ROMs are all relatively thin, stiff and fairly compact. The common jewel cases that are used for CDs, DVDs and CD-ROMs are made of brittle material that is easily cracked, thus spoiling its appearance.
As used in connection with the present invention, packaging material means a sheet-form material, such as paper or paperboard, that can be used to form a package or container for an object whereas wrapping material means a material (which may be paper or paperboard) having a decorative surface treatment, such as a graphic design, that is not functionally related to packaging. Wrapping materials include gift wrapping materials, which are specifically designed for use in connection with gifts.
The two most common types of gift wrapping materials currently used in the United States are paper gift wrap and gift bags. Gift wrap is popular with gift recipients because it conceals the nature of the gift and affords the recipient the experience of unwrapping the gift and progressively exposing the gift to view. However, applying paper gift wrap is time-consuming for the donor and requires additional material and equipment, such as tape and scissors, to such an extent that many stores offer gift wrapping service for a fee. A donor who uses a gift bag places the gift, such as a music CD, in the bag and conceals the gift with crumpled tissue paper. The gift bag is convenient for the donor but the recipient does not have the relatively intense experience associated with removing paper gift wrap. Moreover, the gift bag offers little or no
protection to the contents. Commonly, gift cards are simply placed in a folder made of light paperboard.
Gift wrapping materials that are currently in use are not well suited for mailing.
One commercially available type of packaging material comprises a sheet of corrugated paper material adhered to a sheet of flat liner paper on one side and provided with a coating of cold seal adhesive on its other side. This material, which is sometimes referred to elsewhere as cohesive corrugated flexible wrap but is referred to in this application as cohesive corrugated packaging material, is highly flexible when bent about a line parallel to the corrugations. The cold seal adhesive sticks to itself and not to most other materials so that the cold seal adhesive does not leave a residue on objects that it contacts.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
According to a first aspect of the present invention, there is provided a packaging structure comprising a head, a neck and a body, wherein the body comprises two confronting body portions of cohesive packaging material and a removable separator therebetween, whereby upon removing the separator and pressing the two confronting body portions together, the confronting body portions are bonded together.
According to a second aspect of the present invention, there is provided a method of packaging a lamina, comprising providing a packaging structure including a head and a body attached to the head, wherein the body comprises two confronting portions of cohesive packaging material and a removable separator therebetween, the method comprising removing the separator from between the confronting portions of cohesive packaging material, placing the lamina between the confronting portions, pressing the confronting portions together, whereby the confronting portions are bonded together, and detaching the body of the packaging structure from the head of the packaging structure.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
For a better understanding of the invention, and to show how the same may be carried into effect, reference will now be made, by way of example, to the accompanying drawings, in which :
FIG. 1 is an elevation of a packaging structure embodying the present invention,
FIG. 2 is a plan view of components of the packaging structure,
FIG. 3 is a plan view of the components when partially assembled,
FIG. 4 is a plan view of a component of a first alternative implementaton of the subject matter disclosed in this application, and
FIG. 5 is a plan view of a component of a second alternative implementaton of the subject matter disclosed in this application.
FIG. 1 of the drawings shows a packaging structure made principally of cohesive corrugated packaging material. The packaging material is usable to wrap a gift card or other lamina, such as a CD, a DVD or a CD-ROM, for mailing. It is convenient to describe the packaging structure as having a head or header 2, a neck 4 and a body 6. The packaging structure shown in FIG. 1 is constructed from a blank having the configuration shown in FIG. 2. The blank comprises a median portion 12 connected by two neck portions 14A, 14B to respective body portions 16A, 16B. The blank is substantially symmetrical about an axis 20 that bisects the median portion 12 such that the body portions 16A, 16B are to opposite respective sides of the axis 20. The corrugations or flutes of the packaging structure are parallel to the axis 20. As shown in FIG. 2, the sheet of corrugated paper material is toward the observer.
The packaging structure also comprises a separator or insert 22 having a neck portion 24 and a body portion 26. Preferably, the neck portion 24 of the separator is the same
width as the neck portions 14 of the blank and is somewhat longer than the neck portions 14, and the body portion 26 of the separator is of essentially the same shape and size as the body portions 16 of the blank. However, to facilitate disclosure of the packaging structure, the body portion 26 of the separator is illustrated as being slightly smaller than the body portions 16 of the blank and the neck portion 24 of the separator is shown as being slightly narrower than the neck portions 14 of the blank. The separator may also have a head portion 27 (shown in dashed outline) . The body portion 26 has a surface such that it does not adhere to the cold seal adhesive of the cohesive corrugated packaging material whereas the neck portion 24 has a coating of cold seal adhesive on each side so that it will adhere to the cold seal adhesive of the blank.
Referring to FIG. 3, the packaging structure is assembled by placing the separator 22 on the body portion 16A so that the neck portion 24 of the separator lies on the neck portion 14A of the blank and then folding the blank about the axis 20 so that the corrugated surface of the body portion 16B is brought into parallel confronting relationship with the corrugated surface of the body portion 16A of the blank but is separated from the body portion 16A by the body portion 26 of the separator 22. When the blank is folded in this manner and the two parts are pressed together, the cold seal adhesive on the two parts of the median portion 12, to opposite sides of the axis 20, bonds those parts together to form the head 2 of the structure shown in FIG. 1 and the two sides of the neck portion 24 of the separator 22 are bonded to the two neck portions 14A, 14B of the blank to form the neck 4 of the structure shown in FIG. 1. The body portion 26 of the separator, however, prevents contact between the cold seal adhesive coating on the body portions 16A, 16B and accordingly these portions are not bonded together.
Price information and information or instructions regarding use of the packaging structure may be printed on
the separator. In addition, advertising material may be printed on the separator.
The packaging structure may be used for packaging a gift card by removing the body portion 26 of the separator, for example by tearing along the line 28 (FIG. 2), which is preferably perforated to facilitate detachment of the body portion 26, and placing the gift card between the two body portions 16A, 16B. The user presses the two body portions together and the cold seal adhesive securely bonds the two body portions together without adhering to the gift card. The purchaser can then detach the head 2 from the body 6, for example by cutting with scissors along the line 30 (FIG. 1) . Preferably, the packaging structure is perforated along the line 30, allowing the user to tear the head and neck from the body. The gift card is then sealed within the body and the recipient of the gift card experiences the pleasure of unwrapping a package that efficiently conceals the gift card from view.
In the case of the packaging structure shown in the drawings, the body 6 is rectangular and preferably has a shape and size suitable for mailing without an envelope. In this case, the liner paper that forms the outer surface of one of the body portions 16A, 16B may bear printed information designating locations for a mailing address and a return address. Alternatively, the packaging structure may be configured for mailing in an envelope or it may be configured for personal delivery, in which case the body 6 need not be of a regular rectangular shape but may have an irregular shape that is associated with a particular occasion or theme. For example, for a recipient who is interested in sports, the body 6 may be circular and printed with a design representing a basketball or baseball.
Typically, a gift card is about 8.5 cm long by about 5.4 cm wide and the body of a packaging structure suitable for packaging a gift card would be about 11 cm by 8 cm, leaving a margin of about 1.2 cm along each edge of the gift card. A CD jewel case is about 14 cm by about 12.5 cm and accordingly the body of the packaging structure must be rather larger,
and may be about 19 cm by 17.5 cm allowing a margin of about 2.5 cm along each edge of the jewel case.
In order to remove the gift card from the packaging structure, the recipient cuts or tears the body of the packaging structure and to avoid the possibility of damage to the gift card, the packaging structure may have printed indicia thereon indicating the line along which to tear or cut. the packaging structure may be perforated along the line to facilitate tearing. In another embodiment, the body portion 16B, for example, may be stamped to form a hinged flap. Referring to FIG. 2, the body portion is cut along the line 40, perforated along the two parallel lines 42 and creased along the two parallel lines 44A and 44B. The recipient who receives the body 6 of the packaging structure as shown in FIG. 1, with the head 2 and neck 4 removed by cutting or tearing along the line 30, may then flex the body 6 and the tab 46 of the flap is released from the body portion 16B and can be grasped by the recipient. The recipient can then fold the tab 46 away from the body 6, about the line 44A, and can peel back the flap, tearing along the perforated lines 42 and folding the flap about the line 44B, thus opening a window in the body portion 16B and exposing the gift card so that it can be readily removed.
The corrugated paper material of the packaging structure provides some protection against damage, but in the event that the packaging structure is to be sent through the mail, it may be desirable to include an additional stiffening member. Although it is preferred that the blank should be made of cohesive corrugated flexible wrap, it may alternatively be made of another sheet form cohesive material, depending on the needs of the user. For example, in some cases it may be desirable for the blank to include, in addition or instead of the sheet of corrugated paper material, a sheet of foam material provided with a coating of cold seal adhesive.
A packaging structure having a head, neck and body as shown in FIG. 1 is particularly attractive for display adjacent a point of sale terminal in a retail store, since a
hole may be punched in the head of the packaging structure to facilitate hanging of the packaging structure on a store display and avoiding the need for any additional retail packaging. A packaging structure that is configured to facilitate hanging from a suitable support may be used as a Christmas (or other holiday) decoration. Alternatively, or in addition, a hole may be punched in the body 6 to facilitate hanging of the body 6 (after the neck and head have been detached) from a Christmas tree, for example.
The head of a packaging structure designed for hanging at a point of sale terminal may be printed with price and inventory control information. As mentioned above, price information may be printed on the separator. In each case, the price information is removed by the retail customer before delivery of the packaging structure, with the enclosed gift, to the recipient. In addition, in order to encourage purchase of the packaging structure the head of the packaging structure may conceal an additional item, such as a promotional item, that may be retrieved by the retail purchaser .
The packaging structure shown in FIG. 1 includes the neck 4 that separates the head 2 from the body 6 to facilitate separating the body 6 from the head 2 when the gift card has been sealed within the body. However, it is not necessary that the packaging structure should have a neck that is substantially narrower than the head and body, and a line of perforation between the head 2 and body 6, with the body and head being contiguous and of substantially uniform width, may be sufficient to allow ready separation of the body from the head. In another embodiment, the function of the neck may be provided by a part of the body. For example, the body may be in the shape of a generally triangular two dimensional representation of a tree (such as a Christmas tree) and the line along which the body is separated from the head may be at the narrow top of the tree.
In another implementation, illustrated in FIG. 4, the separator itself may include the gift card or a greeting card to be used with the gift card. As illustrated, the separator
100 may be made of paperboard or plastic and perforated or die cut at 102 so that the gift card or greeting card 104 can be pressed out from the main body 106 of the separator 100 and thereby detached from the separator 100 and retained for placing between the two body portions 16A, 16B. In still another implementation, illustrated in FIG. 5, the separator may function as a greeting card for receiving the gift card.
In this case, the separator 200 may be printed with a greeting and designated spaces for adding "From" and "To" information. The purchaser folds the separator 200 in two along the fold line 202 with the gift card between the two leaves 204, 206 of the separator 200, and places the separator 200 and gift card between the body portions 16A, 16B. To appropriately size the separator 200 for use as a greeting card, a portion 208 of the separator may be detachable from the remainder of the separator 200, such as along a perforation 210.
A particularly popular type of greeting card is the audio greeting card that contains a solid state memory device, a small storage cell and a loud speaker. When the card is opened, an audio work, such as a song, that has been stored in electronic form in the memory device is played back through the loud speaker.
In a variation of the packaging structure shown in FIG. 1, a storage and playback mechanism similar to that used in the conventional audio greeting card may be secured between the body portions of the blank. It will be appreciated that in this case the storage and playback mechanism is sealed between the body portions of the blank before delivery to the retail customer. In a further development, a microphone may be incorporated in the head portion and connected to recording circuitry to allow the retail customer of the packaging structure to record a custom greeting in the solid state memory device for play back when the recipient opens the packaging structure. After recording the greeting, the purchaser disconnects the microphone by cutting or tearing
along the line 30 and thereby prevents overwriting of the message .
It is preferred that the cohesive corrugated packaging material have a decorative treatment on the outer surface of the flat liner paper. Thus, the packaging material is a wrapping material and is particularly suited for packaging a gift.
It will be appreciated that the invention is not restricted to the particular embodiment that has been described, and that variations may be made therein without departing from the scope of the invention disclosed in this application. Unless the context indicates otherwise, a reference to the number of instances of an element, be it a reference to one instance or more than one instance, requires at least the stated number of instances of the element but is not intended to exclude a structure or method having more instances of that element than stated. The word "comprise" or a derivative thereof is used in a nonexclusive sense that is not intended to exclude the presence of other elements or steps .
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