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Title:
TIE SLEEVE FOR FORMING AN ENCLOSURE FROM A SHEET
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2017/059408
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A device and method for assembling a pouch from a sheet material, including a hollow body with a passage formed therethrough and a slot extending across a width of the hollow body configured to receive a tying piece, wherein a sheet material may be placed through the passage of the hollow body so that a necking portion is formed in the sheet material by wrapping the ends of the tying piece at the slot around the sheeting material and securing the ends of the tying piece together, after which a pouch is formed from the sheet material and the tying device that may be removed from the device.

Inventors:
WESTPHAL GREGORY (US)
Application Number:
PCT/US2016/055120
Publication Date:
April 06, 2017
Filing Date:
October 03, 2016
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
WESTPHAL GREGORY (US)
International Classes:
D04D7/04; D04D11/00
Domestic Patent References:
WO2003086562A12003-10-23
Foreign References:
US6325426B12001-12-04
Other References:
None
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
JENSEN, Eric (209 Madison StSuite 50, Alexandria Virginia, US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
Claims

I claim...

1. A device for assembling a pouched product, comprising:

a hollow body forming a passage therethrough extending in a height direction, the hollow body including a top portion, a bottom portion, and a connecting portion,

the top portion including a first rim, the first rim surrounding a first hole extending through the top portion,

the bottom portion including an upper section and a lower section, the upper section comprising a second rim, the second rim surrounding a second hole extending through the bottom portion, and

the connecting portion connecting the top portion to the upper section of the bottom portion such that the first rim is maintained above the second rim with the first hole maintained in alignment with the second hole, and such that a gap is formed between a lowermost circumferential edge of the first rim and an uppermost circumferential edge of the second rim,

the gap forming a slot extending across a width of the hollow body from the connecting portion to opposite edges of the lowermost circumferential edge of the first rim and the uppermost circumferential edge of the second rim, the width occupying most of a cross-sectional area of the passage in a width direction.

2. The device in accordance with claim 1, wherein the top-portion and the bottom portion are each funnel-shaped.

3. The device in accordance with claim 1, wherein the hollow body is a rounded, monolithic structure formed of a uniform material.

4. The device in accordance with claim 1, wherein the hollow body has a total height between 3 and 6 inches, and the width of the slot extends across at least 70% of the cross-sectional area of the passage in the width direction.

5. The device in accordance with claim 1, wherein the hollow body is formed of a uniform molded material.

6. The device in accordance with claim 3, wherein the uniform material is ceramic.

7. A device for assembling a pouched product, comprising:

a top portion including a first rim, the first rim surrounding a first hole extending through the top portion;

a bottom portion including an upper section and a lower section, the upper section comprising a second rim, the second rim surrounding a second hole extending through the upper section; and

a connecting portion for connecting the top portion to the upper section of the bottom portion such that the first rim is maintained above the second rim to form a passage extending in a height direction, and such that a gap is formed between a lowermost circumferential edge of the first rim and an uppermost circumferential edge of the second rim, the gap forming a slot extending across a width of a cross-sectional area of the passage in a width direction.

8. The device in accordance with claim 7, wherein the first rim is funnel- shaped. 9. The device in accordance with claim 7, wherein the second rim is funnel- shaped.

10. The device in accordance with claim 7, wherein the width of the slot extends across at least 70% of the cross-sectional area of the passage in the width direction.

11. The device in accordance with claim 7, wherein the second hole extends vertically through the bottom portion from the upper section to the base to form a cavity surrounded by an inner surface of the bottom portion. 12. The device in accordance with claim 7, wherein a vertical length of the bottom portion is greater than a vertical length of the top portion, and the base is configured to stand freely upon a surface.

13. The device in accordance with claim 7, wherein the second hole extends vertically through the bottom portion from the upper section to the base to form a cavity surrounded by an inner surface of the bottom portion.

14. The device in accordance with claim 13, wherein the second hole extends vertically through the entirety of the bottom portion, a bottom-most edge of the base forming a third rim surrounding a third hole in vertical alignment with the second hole.

15. The device in accordance with claim 7, wherein the device is suitable for assembling a party favor. 16. A method for assembling a pouched product, comprising: providing an assembly device, the assembly device including a top portion including a first rim, the first rim surrounding a first hole extending through the top portion, a bottom portion including an upper section and a lower section, the upper section comprising a second rim, the second rim surrounding a second hole extending through the upper section, and a connecting portion for connecting the top portion to the upper section of the bottom portion such that the first rim is maintained above the second rim to form a passage extending in a height direction, and such that a gap is formed between a lowermost circumferential edge of the first rim and an uppermost circumferential edge of the second rim, the gap forming a slot extending across a width of a cross-sectional area of the passage in a width direction;

inserting a length of flexible, open-end tying piece into the slot of the assembly device such that a mid-section of the tying piece rests against the connecting part of the assembly device;

placing a flexible sheet on the first rim of the assembly device such that a midsection of the flexible sheet extends over the first hole of the assembly device;

pressing the mid-section of the flexible sheet through the first hole of the assembly device and then past the slot of the assembly device, through the second hole and into the bottom portion of the assembly device while maintaining a peripheral edge of the flexible sheet outside the first hole so that the flexible sheet forms a pouch with an opening at the first hole, a neck portion of the pouch being exposed through the slot of the assembly device; depositing filler material into the opening at the first hole such that the filler material settles at a bottom of the pouch inside the bottom portion of the assembly device;

drawing opposite end-portions of the tying piece around the exposed neck portion and tying the tying piece about the neck portion to secure the filler in the bottom of the pouch and form an assembled pouch product; and

removing the assembled pouch product from the assembly device.

17. The method in accordance with claim 16, wherein the assembled pouch product is a party favor.

18. The method in accordance with claim 16, wherein the flexible sheet is selected from the group consisting of: cheese cloth, mylar, and cellophane fabric.

19. A kit for assembling a pouched product, comprising:

an assembly device in accordance with claim 1 ;

a tying piece suitable for insertion into the slot of the assembly device; and a flexible sheet suitable for insertion into the bottom portion of the assembly device through the first hole of the top portion.

20. A kit for assembling a pouched product, comprising:

an assembly device in accordance with claim 7;

a tying piece suitable for insertion into the slot of the assembly device; and a flexible sheet suitable for insertion into the lower section of the assembly device through the first hole of the top portion.

Description:
Title

TIE SLEEVE FOR FORMING AN ENCLOSURE FROM A SHEET

Summary of the Invention

The object of the invention is to ease the formation of sheet material such as fabric or thin, flexible plastic into an enclosure formed by bringing the edge portions of the sheet material together, thereby to enclose the sheet material around a space or some content or filler material to be enclosed within the space at or near the center of the sheet material. The edge portions of the sheet material are held together to form a necking portion, for example, by a tying piece such as ribbon around the necking portion. The assembled enclosure takes the form of a pouch.

One, non-limiting example of such a pouch is in the form of a wedding favor or wedding toss, wherein a sheet material encloses a small quantity of rice or candy, and tied with a decorative ribbon.

One way of forming such a wedding favor is to place the sheet material flat upon a surface, place the intended contents of the wedding favor into the center of the material, and then drawing the edges upward and toward the center until the edges meet. Once in this position, a ribbon is brought around a mid-section of the sheet material above the level of the enclosed contents and tightened thereby to close the favor.

However, the above method has several disadvantages. Particularly, it is difficult to perform these steps with only two hands. A person must draw up the edges of the sheet material evenly or else the contents will spill out. Also, once the edges are held together in one hand, the person must continue to hold the edges with this hand while wrapping the ribbon around the necking portion. The person thus does not have a hand free to tie the ends of the ribbon into a knot. This problem is solved by the invention presented herein, provided by an inventive device and method.

In particular, according to a first aspect of the invention, there is provided a device for assembling a pouched product, including a hollow body forming a passage therethrough extending in a height direction, the hollow body including a top portion, a bottom portion, and a connecting portion, the top portion including a first rim, the first rim surrounding a first hole extending through the top portion, the bottom portion including an upper section and a lower section, the upper section comprising a second rim, the second rim surrounding a second hole extending through the bottom portion, and the connecting portion connecting the top portion to the upper section of the bottom portion such that the first rim is maintained above the second rim with the first hole maintained in alignment with the second hole, and such that a gap is formed between a lowermost circumferential edge of the first rim and an uppermost circumferential edge of the second rim, the gap forming a slot extending across a width of the hollow body from the connecting portion to opposite edges of the lowermost circumferential edge of the first rim and the uppermost circumferential edge of the second rim, the width occupying most of a cross-sectional area of the passage in a width direction.

Also in a preferred embodiment, the slot extends in a horizontal direction past a vertical centerline extending through an axial center of the passage formed by the hollow body. In a more preferred embodiment, the width of the slot extends in a horizontal width direction across at least 70% of the cross-sectional area of the passage.

In a preferred embodiment of the invention above, the top-portion and the bottom portion are each funnel-shaped.

In another preferred embodiment of the invention, the hollow body is a rounded, monolithic structure formed of a uniform material. In yet another preferred embodiment of the invention, the hollow body is formed of a uniform molded material.

In yet another preferred embodiment of the invention, the uniform material is ceramic.

The inventive device may also be described as a top portion including a first rim, the first rim surrounding a first hole extending through the top portion; a bottom portion including an upper section and a lower section, the upper section comprising a second rim, the second rim surrounding a second hole extending through the upper section; and a connecting portion for connecting the top portion to the upper section of the bottom portion such that the first rim is maintained above the second rim to form a passage extending in a height direction, and such that a gap is formed between a lowermost circumferential edge of the first rim and an uppermost circumferential edge of the second rim, the gap forming a slot extending across a width of a cross-sectional area of the passage in a width direction.

In an embodiment of the invention described above, the first rim is funnel- shaped.

In another embodiment, the second rim is funnel-shaped, or both the first and second rims are funnel-shaped.

In a preferred embodiment, the width of the slot extends across at least 70% of the cross-sectional area of the passage in the width direction.

In an embodiment, the second hole extends vertically through the bottom portion from the upper section to the base to form a cavity surrounded by an inner surface of the bottom portion.

In yet another embodiment, a vertical length of the bottom portion is greater than a vertical length of the top portion, and the base is configured to stand freely upon a surface. In yet another embodiment, the second hole extends vertically through the bottom portion from the upper section to the base to form a cavity surrounded by an inner surface of the bottom portion.

In yet another embodiment, the second hole extends vertically through the entirety of the bottom portion, a bottom-most edge of the base forming a third rim surrounding a third hole in vertical alignment with the second hole.

In a particular, non-limiting embodiment of the invention, the device is suitable for forming a sheet material into a party favor, such as a wedding toss. In such an embodiment, it is preferable that the hollow body has a total height between 3 and 6 inches. In such an embodiment, it is also preferable that the height of the gap forming the slot is about 0.08 inches to about 0.24 inches.

According to another aspect of the invention, there is provided a method for assembling a pouched product including the steps of providing an assembly device, the assembly device including a top portion including a first rim, the first rim surrounding a first hole extending through the top portion, a bottom portion including an upper section and a lower section, the upper section comprising a second rim, the second rim surrounding a second hole extending through the upper section, and a connecting portion for connecting the top portion to the upper section of the bottom portion such that the first rim is maintained above the second rim to form a passage extending in a height direction, and such that a gap is formed between a lowermost circumferential edge of the first rim and an uppermost circumferential edge of the second rim, the gap forming a slot extending across a width of a cross-sectional area of the passage in a width direction; inserting a length of flexible, open- end tying piece into the slot of the assembly device such that a mid-section of the tying piece rests against the connecting part of the assembly device; placing a flexible sheet on the first rim of the assembly device such that a mid-section of the flexible sheet extends over the first hole of the assembly device; pressing the mid-section of the flexible sheet through the first hole of the assembly device and then past the slot of the assembly device, through the second hole and into the bottom portion of the assembly device while maintaining a peripheral edge of the flexible sheet outside the first hole so that the flexible sheet forms a pouch with an opening at the first hole, a neck portion of the pouch being exposed through the slot of the assembly device; depositing filler material into the opening at the first hole such that the filler material settles at a bottom of the pouch inside the bottom portion of the assembly device; drawing opposite end-portions of the tying piece around the exposed neck portion and tying the tying piece about the neck portion to secure the filler in the bottom of the pouch and form an assembled pouch product; and removing the assembled pouch product from the assembly device.

In a particular embodiment of the method described above, the assembled pouch product is a party favor, such as a wedding toss.

In another particular embodiment of the method described above, the flexible sheet is selected from the group consisting of: cheese cloth, mylar, and cellophane fabric.

According to a fourth aspect of the invention, there is provided a kit for assembling a pouched product, including an assembly device in accordance with either of the devices described above, and also including a tying piece suitable for insertion into the slot of the assembly device and a flexible sheet suitable for insertion into the bottom portion of the assembly device through the first hole of the top portion.

These and other embodiments and advantages of the present invention may become apparent from the following detailed description, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, illustrating by way of example the principles of the invention. Brief Description of the Drawings

Figure la provides a perspective view of a non-limiting example of a device for assembling a pouched product in accordance with the invention.

Figure lb provides a top-down view of the device.

Figure 2a provides a side view of the device.

Figure 2b provides a rear view of the device.

Figure 3 provides a perspective view of the device with a tying piece placed within a slot of the invention.

Figure 4 illustrates the device provided with the tying piece placed within the slot, and a sheet to be formed by the device into a pouch.

Figure 5a illustrates the sheet placed over a top of the device.

Figure 5b illustrates the sheet having been pressed through the hollow body of the device through the rim of a top portion past the slot to a bottom portion of the device.

Figure 5c illustrates the opposite ends of the tying piece brought together to encircle a necking portion of the sheet

Figure 5d illustrates the assembled pouch product having been separated from the device.

Detailed Description of the Preferred Embodiments

As shown in Figure 1, the device is provided by a hollow body 10 having a passage extending therethrough extending in a vertical height direction. The hollow body 10 is formed by three main parts: a top portion 12, a bottom portion 14, and a connecting portion 16 that connects the top portion 12 to the bottom portion 14. In the non-limiting embodiment shown in Figures 1 and 2a-b, the top portion 12 is funnel-shaped with a wider portion being at the top at a top rim 12a. The top rim 12a surrounds a first hole extending through the top portion 12.

The bottom portion 14 includes an upper section 18 and a lower section 20. The bottom portion 14 may also be funnel-shaped, with the wider portion being at a bottom rim 18a of the bottom portion 14 for stabilizing the hollow body 10 on a surface. The bottom rim 18a surrounds a second hole extending through the bottom portion.

The top portion 12 is connected to the bottom portion 14 by a connecting piece 16 which is sufficiently rigid to hold the top portion 12 and the bottom portion 14 separate from each other with the first hole maintained in alignment with the second hole, thereby to form a gap 22 extending across a width of the hollow body 10 from the connecting portion 18 to opposite edges of the lowermost circumferential edge of the rim 12a and the uppermost circumferential edge of the rim 18a, the width of the gap extending horizontally past a vertical centerline through the passage formed by the hollow body 10 across most of a cross- sectional area of the passage in a horizontal width direction.

The gap 22 between the top portion 12 and the bottom portion 14 forms a slot that is high enough to receive a tying means. The height of the slot would depend on the kind of tying means intended to be used for tying the pouch. In the non-limiting example of an embodiment of the invention for forming a wedding toss, the height of the gap 22 forming the slot would be from about 0.08 inches to about 0.24 inches (or about 2 mm to about 6 mm).

The gap 22 forming the slot also extends across the width of the hollow body 10 described above so that the tying means may enter an open portion of the gap 22 and travel past a center of the passage extending through the hollow body 10 by a sufficient margin for a sheet 40 to travel through the passage between the open end of the gap 22 and the tying means resting against a back of the slot at the location of the connecting portion 16. For example, a suitable width of the slot formed by the gap 22 is such that the slot extends across at least 70% of the cross-sectional area of the passage in a width direction. The slot may extend across a greater percentage of this cross-sectional area, so long as the connecting portion 16 is not rendered so small that it does not have sufficient structural strength to hold the top portion 12 and the bottom portion 14 in place.

To enhance the structural strength of the connecting portion 16, the connecting portion may include a reinforcing structure, such as a spine 16a. It is also preferable, as shown in the Figures, that the top portion 12, the bottom portion 14, and the connecting portion 16 are formed as a single piece, such as through molding, and formed of a single, uniform material such as ceramic or rigid plastic.

The embodiments described above and illustrated in the Figures are suitable for assembling a party favor, such as a wedding toss, which would easily fit in the hand. In this case the entire height of the hollow body 10 would be between 3-6 inches (or 70 mm to 155 mm). However, the hollow body 10 as described above and shown in the figures may be larger or smaller without departing from the spirit of the invention. For example, larger embodiments of the hollow body 10 are envisaged for forming larger pouches or pouch-like assemblies from larger sheet materials. The hollow body 10 may be of any size without departing from the spirit of the invention so long as the content to be enclosed within a sheet fits through the passage formed by the hollow body 10 and fits within the area formed by the bottom portion 14 beneath the gap 22.

In accordance with the invention, a non-limiting example of a kit for assembling a pouched product is shown in Figures 3 and 4, including the hollow body 10 described above, a tying piece 30 having first and second ends 30a, 30b, and a sheet 40. In a particular embodiment of the kit for assembling a wedding toss or party favor, a plurality of tying pieces 30 are provided, each formed of material having decorative and/or colorful qualities, and a plurality of sheets 40 are provided formed of a material that festive or decorative. In a particular embodiment, the material of the sheets may be permeable, so that the fragrance of a filler material such as potpourri may be perceptible without having to untie an assembled pouch.

In accordance with the invention, a method for forming the pouch from the sheet 40 and the tying piece 30 includes a first step of providing the hollow body 10 having a slot formed of a gap 22 as described above, and inserting a tying piece 30 so that the first and second ends 30a, 30b of the tying piece 30 extend on either side of the connecting portion 16 and a mid-section of the tying piece rests against the connecting portion 16, as shown in Figures 3 and 4.

A sheet 40 is placed on top of the hollow body as shown in Figure 5a, such that a center portion 42 of the sheet 40 is aligned with the upper rim 12a. Next, this center of the sheet 40 is pressed though the upper rim 12a, past the gap 22, and through the lower rim 18a, as shown in Figure 5b. This may be accomplished, for example by depositing content or filler material onto the center of the sheet 40 such that this center falls, by the weight of the filler material, through the upper rim 12a and the lower rim 18a. Alternatively, or if the filler material is too lightweight to sufficiently deform the sheet 40 to pass through the rims 12a, 18a, a finger or a tool may be used to force the sheet 40 downward and then withdrawn once the sheet 40 has passed through the lower rim 18a. The filler material may be pressed down by the tool at the same time as the sheet 40, or the filler material may be placed or poured into the sheet 40 through the upper rim 12a and the lower rim 18a after the tool has been removed.

With the sheet 40 maintained in the position shown in Figure 5b, the first and second ends 30a, 30b of the tying piece 30 are drawn together to wrap around a necking portion of the sheet 40 that is formed at the portion of the sheet that is exposed at the gap 22 of the hollow body 10 (see Figure 5c).

The first and second ends 30a, 30b of the tying piece 30 are then secured together, afterwhich the sheet 40 forms a pouch that is removed from the hollow body 10 (Figure 5d) by either of pulling upward through the top rim 12a or by lifting the hollow body 10 over a top of the sheet 40.

In a particular embodiment this method for preparing wedding tosses, the method may be performed by hand. However, this method may also be performed by automated machinery without departing from the spirit of the invention.

In the preceding description, for purposes of explanation, numerous details are set forth in order to provide a thorough understanding of the embodiments of the present invention. However, it will be apparent to one skilled in the art that these specific details are not required in order to practice the present invention. The invention as described herein may comprise one, several, all, or any of the embodiments provided above in any combination.

The above-described embodiments of the present invention are intended to be examples only. Alterations, modifications and variations can be effected to the particular embodiments by those of skill in the art without departing from the scope of the invention, which is defined solely by the claims appended hereto.