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Title:
CLOSURE FOR A CONTAINER
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2022/137152
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A closure for a container comprising a neck (1) terminating with an opening (11), said closure comprises: a closure body comprising a cap (2) and an overcap (3) and a skirt (4) made of a heat-shrinkable material; wherein the cap (2) comprises a closing member (21) adapted to be coupled to the neck (1) of the container to removably close the opening (11) of the neck (1), the overcap (3) comprises a seat (31), the closing member (21) of the cap (2) is at least partially arranged in the seat (31) to be constrained inside the seat (31), the skirt (4) comprises a first portion (41) configured to surround and be stably fixed to an outer surface (13) of the neck (1) of the container, a second portion (42) attached to the closure body and an intermediate portion (43) interposed between the first (41) and second (42) portions, the intermediate portion (43) comprising a frangible portion (44) configured to break upon first opening of the container.

Inventors:
GIOVANNINI MARCO (LU)
VIALE LUCA (IT)
ROSSI ANNALISA (IT)
Application Number:
PCT/IB2021/062167
Publication Date:
June 30, 2022
Filing Date:
December 22, 2021
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
GUALA CLOSURES SPA (IT)
International Classes:
B65D39/00; B65D39/08; B65D39/16; B65D51/16; B65D55/08
Domestic Patent References:
WO2003050009A22003-06-19
Foreign References:
US20160297597A12016-10-13
US4000824A1977-01-04
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
GIRLANDO, Mario et al. (IT)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

1. A closure for a container comprising a neck (1) terminating with an opening (11) and having a finish (12) at the opening (11), said closure comprising:

- a closure body comprising a cap (2) and an overcap (3);

- a skirt (4) made of heat-shrinkable material; wherein:

- the cap (2) comprises a closing member (21) adapted to be coupled to the neck (1) of the container to removably close the opening (11) of the neck (1),

- the overcap (3) comprises a seat (31), the closing member (21) of the cap (2) being at least partly arranged in said seat (31) to be locked inside said seat (31),

- said seat (31) has an insertion opening (311) defined by an edge (35) of the overcap (3),

- said skirt (4) comprises a first portion (41) configured to surround and be stably fixed to an outer surface (13) of the neck (1) of the container, a second portion (42) attached to the closure body and an intermediate portion (43) interposed between the first portion (41) and the second portion (42), said intermediate portion (43) comprising a breakable portion (44) which is configured to break upon first opening of the container,

- the second portion (42) is attached to the cap (2) or the overcap (3), characterized in that:

- the second portion (42) of the skirt (4) is constrained at least partially between the edge (35) of the overcap (3) and a corresponding abutment element (14, 23).

2. A closure as claimed in claim 1, wherein the abutment element (14, 23) is defined by a perimetral edge (14) of the neck (1) of the container. 3. A closure as claimed in claim 1 or 2, wherein the abutment element (14, 23) is defined by a ring element (23).

4. A closure as claimed in any of claims 1 to 3, wherein the second portion (42) is at least partly locked between the overcap (3) and the cap (2).

5. A closure as claimed in any of claims 1 to 4, wherein said first portion (41) of the skirt (4) is configured to be arranged below the finish (12) of the neck (1) of the container.

6. A closure as claimed in claim 4 or 5, wherein:

- the overcap (3) has a first fixation surface (32) having a first zone (32a) delimiting the seat (31);

- the cap (2) has a second fixation surface (22);

- the second portion (42) of the skirt (4) being at least partly locked between the first fixation surface (32) and the second fixation surface (22).

7. A closure as claimed in claim 6, wherein:

- the second fixation surface (22) is defined on the closing member (21) of the cap (2);

- the closing member (21) of the cap (2) is at least partly locked inside the seat (31) with the second fixation surface (22) facing the first zone (32a) of the first fixation surface (32).

8. A closure as claimed in claim 6, wherein: 14

- the cap (2) comprises the ring element (23), the closing member (21) of the cap (2) being arranged inside the ring element (23);

- the second fixation surface (22) is defined on the ring element (23);

9. A closure as claimed in any of claims 1 to 8, wherein the closure comprises attachment members adapted to reversibly attach the closing member (21) of the cap (2) to the neck (1) of the container.

10. A closure as claimed in claim 9, wherein said attachment members comprise a first thread associated with the closing member (21) of the cap (2), said first thread being adapted to engage with a second thread associated with the neck (1) of the container to reversibly connect the closing member (21) of the cap (2) to the neck (1) of the container.

11. A closure as claimed in any of claims 1 to 10, wherein the closing member (21) of the cap (2) has a cylindrical shape and is adapted to engage within a section of said neck (1) through said opening (11) to reversibly close the opening (11) of the neck (1).

12. A closure as claimed in any of claims 1 to 11, wherein:

- the closing member (21) extends between a base (24) and an opposite top (25) in a longitudinal direction (X-X) and comprises a perimetral wall (213) extending between the base (24) and the top (25), said closing member (21) comprising a through channel (26) between a bottom opening (27) located at the base (24) and a top opening (28) spaced apart from the bottom opening in the longitudinal direction (X-X); said 15 through channel (26) being in fluid communication with the interior of the container when the closure is applied to the neck (1) of the container;

- said closure comprising a one-way valve (6) located at the top opening (28) of the through channel (26) and configured to allow gases to flow out from the interior of the container through the top opening (28).

13. A closure as claimed in claim 12, wherein said one-way valve (6) is configured to prevent gases from flowing into the interior of the container through said top opening (28) of the through channel (26).

14. A closure as claimed in any of claims 1 to 13, wherein the overcap (3) comprises a first body (33) and a second body (34) joined together to define the seat (31).

Description:
Title: “Closure for a container”

DESCRIPTION

Field of the invention

The present invention relates to a closure for a container, for example containing valuable alcoholic beverages.

State of the art

Closures for containers comprising a neck terminating with an opening are known in the art.

WO 03/050009 discloses a container comprising a fixing element and a closure body, held in position in the container by the fixing element. In one embodiment, the container comprises an opening ring, which is configured for easier removal of the fixing element. The opening ring is protected by a cover attached to the closure body.

WO 2018/193422 discloses a closure comprising a cap and an overcap. In particular, the cap comprises a closing member adapted to be coupled to the neck of the container to removably close the opening of the neck. The overcap comprises a seat and the closing member of the cap is partially constrained in such seat so that the cap will be fixed to the overcap.

DE 2604330 discloses a closure comprising a cap and a skirt made of heat- shrinkable material. The cap is partially inserted in the opening of the neck of the container, with the skirt surrounding the neck of the container and the cap. Once the skirt is heated, it adheres to the neck and the cap, thereby maintaining the cap inside the neck of the container. In addition, a check on the integrity of the skirt will confirm whether a first opening of the container has occurred.

Problem of the prior art Nevertheless, such prior art closures may be more or less easily tampered.

The fixing element of the container as disclosed in WO 03/050009 may be made of a deformable material that can be removed by bending, or of a flexible material that can be removed by being slid past the edge of the container.

The closure as disclosed in WO 2018/193422 has no “tamper evident” system, i.e. a system providing evidence of whether first opening of the container has occurred.

On the other hand, in the closure as disclosed in DE 2604330, the skirt of heat- shrinkable material can be easily removed and applied again after replacing the beverage initially held in the container. As a result, a simple check on the integrity of the skirt does not ensure that no tamper has occurred.

Summary of the invention

Therefore, the technical purpose of the present invention is to provide a closure for a container that can obviate the drawbacks of the prior art.

In particular, an object of the present invention is to provide a closure that can provide evidence of whether first opening of the container has occurred.

Also, an object of the present invention is to provide a closure that cannot be easily altered.

A further object of the present invention is to provide a closure that can avoid leakage of the beverage in the container during transport of such container.

The aforementioned technical purpose and objects are fulfilled by a closure that comprises the technical features as disclosed in one or more of t\he accompanying claims.

Benefits of the invention

A preferred embodiment of the invention can provide a closure that provides visual evidence of whether first opening of the container has occurred while also being not easily tampered.

Such preferred embodiment of the invention can also ensure liquid tightness when the closure is applied to a container, thus preventing the beverage from leaking out of the opening of the neck of the container during transport of such container.

BRIEF DESCRIPTIONS OF THE DRAWINGS

Further features and advantages of the present invention will result more clearly from the illustrative, non-limiting description of a preferred, non-exclusive embodiment of a closure for a container as shown in the annexed drawings, in which:

- Figure l is a sectional perspective view of a closure of the present invention, applied to a neck of a container;

- Figure 2 is a partially sectional front view of an alternative embodiment of the closure of Figure 1, applied to a neck of a container;

- Figure 3 is partially sectional exploded view of the closure of Figures 2 and of a neck of a container

- Figure 4 is a partially sectional front view of an alternative embodiment of the closure of Figure 1, applied to a neck of a container;

- Figure 5 is a partially sectional front view of an alternative embodiment of the closure of Figure 1;

- Figure 6 is a partially sectional front view of an alternative embodiment of the closure of Figure 1, applied to a neck of a container.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Particularly referring to the accompanying figures, there is shown a closure for a container (not shown) comprising a neck 1 terminating with an opening 11 and having a finish 12 at the opening 11. The opening 11 of the neck 1 is delimited by a perimetral edge 14. The container is well-known to the skilled person and will not be further described herein.

The closure comprises a closure body comprising a cap 2 and an overcap 3. The cap 2 comprises a closing member 21 adapted to be coupled to the neck 1 of the container to removably close the opening 11 of the neck 1. As further explained below, the closing member 21 seals the opening 11 of the neck 1, thereby preventing leakage of beverages held in the container.

Preferably, the closing member 21 extends between a base 24 and an opposite top 25 in a longitudinal direction X-X. Still preferably, the closing member 21 comprises a perimetral wall 213 extending between the base 24 and the top 25 of the closing member 21. In other words, the perimetral wall 213 of the closing member 21 connects the base 24 and the top 25 of the closing member 21.

The overcap 3 comprises a seat 31.

Preferably, the seat 31 extends between an insertion opening 311 delimited by an edge 35 of the overcap 3 and an opposite upper surface 312 in the longitudinal direction X-X. In addition, a connecting surface 313 connects the insertion opening 311 to the upper surface 312.

Also preferably, the overcap 3 comprises a first body 33 and a second body 34 joined together to define the seat 31.

The closing member 21 of the cap 2 is at least partially arranged in the seat 31 to be constrained within the seat 31. Preferably, the top 25 of the closing member 21 faces the upper surface 312 of the seat 31 of the overcap 3.

Still preferably, the closing member 21 of the cap 2 has a coupling portion 211 and an insert portion 212. The base 24 of the closing member 21 is defined on the coupling portion 211 of the closing member 21, whereas the top 25 of the closing member 21 is defined on the insert portion 212 of the closing member 21. The coupling portion 211 can be coupled to the neck 1 of the container, whereas the insert portion 212 is arranged in the seat 31 of the overcap 3. Preferably, the insert portion

212 is shaped to mate the seat 31 of the overcap 3.

In addition, the closure comprises a skirt 4 made of heat-shrinkable material. Preferably, such skirt 4 is defined by a membrane made of a heat-shrinkable material. The skilled person will appreciate that a membrane made of a heat-shrinkable material is configured to shrink to about 50% its respective initial size, which will allow it to adhere to the object around which it has been wrapped.

The skirt 4 comprises a first portion 41 configured to surround and be stably fixed to an outer surface 13 of the neck 1 of the container. Since the skirt 4 is made of a heat-shrinkable material, as heat is applied to the skirt 4 after the first portion 41 of the skirt 4 has been arranged around the neck 1 of the container, the first portion 41 firmly adheres to the outer surface 13 of the neck 1.

In addition, the skirt 4 comprises a second portion 42 attached to the closure body. Therefore, the second portion 42 of the skirt 4 has an inner zone 421 attached to the closure body and an outer zone 422, which is exposed when the closure is applied to the container.

Finally, the skirt 4 comprises an intermediate portion 43 interposed between the first 41 and the second 42 portions. The intermediate portion 43 of the skirt 4 connects the outer zone 422 of the second portion 42 of the skirt 4 to the first portion 41 of the skirt 4.

As a result, when the closure is applied to the container, the first portion 41 of the skirt 4, the intermediate portion 43 of the skirt 4 and the outer zone 422 of the second portion 42 of the skirt 4 are exposed, i.e. visible to a user, whereas the inner zone 421 of the second portion 42 of the skirt 4 is not visible.

It should be noted that, since the first portion 41 of the skirt 4 is exposed when the closure is applied to the neck 1 of the container, one or more graphic indicia representing, for example, the producer of the beverage in the container may be provided in such first portion 41. In one aspect, the intermediate portion 43 comprises a frangible portion 44 which is configured to break upon first opening of the container. Therefore, a user may hold the overcap 3 and pull it in the longitudinal direction X-X away from the neck 1 and/or impart a rotation to the overcap 3 about the longitudinal direction X-X, to cause the frangible portion 44 to break and allow removal of the cap 2 and the overcap 3 from the neck 1 of the container.

Even after the cap 2 and the overcap 3 have been removed, at least the first portion 41 of the skirt 4 remains stably fixed to the neck 1 of the container.

It should be noted that a check on the integrity of the frangible portion 44 will provide evidence of whether first opening of the container has occurred. Also, since the second portion 42 of the skirt 4 is attached to the closure body, such second portion 42 will be hardly removed from the skirt 4 and replaced. This is because, should a counterfeiter even remove the closure from the container to replace the beverage contained therein, thereby tampering the container, the inner zone 421 of the second portion 42 of the skirt 4 would be still attached to the closure body. In addition, should the counterfeiter be even able to also remove the inner zone 421 of the second portion 42 of the skirt 4, he would find it difficult to apply a new skirt 4 without producing evidence that opening of the container occurred, at a first glance on the closure.

According to a preferred embodiment of the invention, the first portion 41 of the skirt 4 is configured to be arranged below the finish 12 of the neck 1 of the container.

In the preferred embodiment of the invention, the second portion 42 is attached to the cap 2 or the overcap 3. Preferably, the second portion 42 is at least partly constrained between the overcap 3 and the cap. Still according to the preferred embodiment of the invention, the overcap 3 has a first fixation surface 32 having a first zone 32a delimiting the seat 31. When the closure is applied to the container, the first fixation surface 32 faces the neck 1 of the container.

Preferably, the first zone 32a of the first fixation surface 32 correspond to the connecting surface 313 and the upper surface 312 of the seat 31.

The second fixation surface 32 also has a second zone 32b contiguous to the first zone 32a and defined on the edge 35 of the overcap 3.

Still according to the preferred embodiment of the invention, the cap 2 has a second fixation surface 22.

The second portion 42 of the skirt 4 is at least partially constrained between the first fixation surface 32 and the second fixation surface 22. Preferably, the inner zone 421 of the second portion 42 of the skirt 4 is constrained between the first fixation surface 32 and the second fixation surface 22. Furthermore, the second portion 42 of the skirt 4 is constrained at least partially between the edge 35 of the overcap 3 and a corresponding abutment element 14, 23. Preferably, the inner zone 421 is at least partially constrained between the edge 35 and the corresponding abutment element 14, 23.

According to a first embodiment of the invention, the second fixation surface 22 is defined on the closing member 21 of the cap 2. Preferably, the second fixation surface 22 is defined on the insert portion 212 of the closing member 21. More preferably, the fixation surface 22 is defined on the insert portion 212 at the perimetral wall 213 of the closing member 21.

The closing member 21 of the cap 2 is at least partly constrained inside the seat 31 with the second fixation surface 22 facing the first zone 32a of the first fixation surface 32. According to this first embodiment of the invention, the second portion 42 of the skirt 4 is at least partly constrained in the seat 31 between the first zone 32a of the first fixation surface 32 and the second fixation surface 22.

Preferably, according to this first embodiment of the invention, the second portion 42 of the skirt 4 is at least partly constrained in the seat 31 between the connecting surface 313 and the second fixation surface 22 defined on the insert portion 212 at the perimetral wall 213 of the closing member 21. In other words, according to this first embodiment, the inner zone 421 of the second portion 42 of the skirt 4 is constrained between the connecting surface 313 of the seat 31 and the perimetral wall 213 of the closing member 21 and, at the same time, when the closure is applied to the container, the inner zone 421 of the second portion 42 of the skirt 4 is partially constrained between the second zone 32b of the first connecting surface 32 and the perimetral edge 14 of the neck 1 of the container. More in detail, the inner zone 421 of the second portion 42 of the skirt 4 is constrained between the edge 35 of the overcap 3 and the corresponding abutment element 14, 23. In the first embodiment, the corresponding abutment element 14, 23 is defined by the perimetral edge 14 of the neck 1 of the container.

According to a second embodiment of the invention, which is alternative to the first embodiment, the cap 2 comprises a ring element 23. The closing member 21 of the cap 2 is arranged inside the ring element 23.

Preferably, the ring element 23 at least partially faces the edge 35 of the overcap 3.

Still preferably, when the closure is applied to the container, the ring element 23 is arranged at least partially at the perimetral edge 14 of the neck 1 of the container. According to this second embodiment of the invention, the second fixation surface 2 is defined on the ring element 23.

Preferably, according to this second embodiment of the invention, the second portion 42 of the skirt 4 is at least partly constrained in between the second zone 32b of the first fixation surface 32 and the second fixation surface 22 defined on the ring element 23. In other words, according to this second embodiment of the invention, the inner zone 421 of the second portion 42 of the skirt 4 is constrained between the edge 35 of the overcap 3 and the corresponding abutment element 14, 23. In the second embodiment, the corresponding abutment element 14, 23 is defined by the ring element 23.

According to an alternative embodiment, not shown, the closure comprises attachment members adapted to reversibly attach the closing member 21 of the cap 2 to the neck 1 of the container. Preferably, the attachment members are associated with the closing member 21 of the cap 2. More preferably, the attachment members are associated with the coupling portion 211 of the closing member 21.

Still preferably, the attachment members comprise a first thread associated with the closing member 21 of the cap 2. The first thread can be engaged with a second thread associated with the neck 1 of the container to reversibly connect the closing member 21 of the cap 2 to the neck 1 of the container.

In a further aspect, the closing member 21 of the cap 2 has a cylindrical shape and is adapted to engage within a section of the neck 1 through the opening 11 to reversibly close the opening 11 of the neck 1. In other words, by assuming that the closing member 21 of the cap 2 is formed as a cylinder, the coupling portion 211 of the closing member 21 is meant to have a substantially cylindrical shape, whereas the insert portion 212 may have any shape as long as it mates the seat 31 of the overcap 3. The coupling portion 211 of the substantially cylindrical closing member 21 engages by interference fit with an inner surface 15 of the neck 1 of the container.

According to a further aspect, the closing member 21 comprises a through channel 26 between a bottom opening 27 located at the base 24 of the closing member 21 and a top opening 28 located at a distance from the bottom opening 27 in the longitudinal direction X-X. Preferably, the through channel 26 extends in the longitudinal direction X-X.

The through channel 26 is in fluid communication with the interior of the container when the closure is applied to the neck 1 of the container.

Such closure comprises a one-way valve 6 located at the top opening 28 of the through channel 26 and configured to allow gases to flow out from the interior of the container through the top opening 28.

The one-way valve 6 is actuated as a result of a pressure increase inside the container, thereby affording control of the pressure level inside the container. Advantageously, upon excessive pressure increase inside the container, the one-way valve 6 prevents the pressure inside the container from acting on the closure and leading, for example, to a deformation of the skirt 4. A deformation of the skirt 4 might cause a loss of liquid tightness in the closure, thereby leading to leakage of drops of beverage during transport of the container.

Preferably, the one-way valve 6 is configured to prevent gases from flowing into the container through the top opening 28 of the through channel 26. Advantageously, the closure prevents gases from flowing into the container, which may lead to deterioration of the properties of the beverage held in the container, and thus maintains the organoleptic properties of the beverage. With the through channel 26 and the one-way valve 6, as closure may be provided which ensures effective maintenance of liquid tightness when this closure is applied to a container.

Preferably, the top opening 28 is formed on the insert portion 212 of the closing member 21.

According to a first embodiment of the through channel 26, the top opening 28 is formed in the perimetral wall 213 of the closing member 21.

According to a second embodiment of the through channel 26, which is alternative to the first embodiment of the through channel 26, the opening is formed at the top 25 of the closing member 21. Preferably, according to this second embodiment of the through channel 26, the top opening 28 faces the upper surface 312 of the seat 31 of the overcap 3.