US 3730240 A
The invention disclosed herein relates to the use of dead air spaces to provide insulation for packaged materials. In one form of the invention, a nested pair of thermoplastic bags define an inflatable chamber therebetween, which chamber, upon being filled with air, provides a dead air space between the ambient atmosphere and the inner bag. The air space provides thermal insulation for the packaged material within the inner bag. In another form of the invention, a series of inflatable bi-walls, which are articulated to one another for subsequent formation into a rectangular parallelepiped shape, are disposed as a liner within a conventional corrugated paperboard container. When inflated, the bi-walls will insulate the packaged contents of the container. The bi-walls of the inflatable insulation used in either of the embodiments of the invention are fabricated from inexpensive, flexible but substantially non-elastic, thermoplastic film material which may be fabricated by conventional techniques and which may be readily heat sealed into any of the desired configurations.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent [191 Presnick INFLATABLE INSULATION FOR PACKAGING  Inventor: Michael C. Presnick, c/o Metatronics Manufacturing Corp., 1 ll Bloomingdale Road, Hicksville, N.Y. l 1801  Filed: Mar. 16, 1971  App]. No.: 124,717
 US. Cl ..l50/2.5, 206/DIG. 30, 165/46,
229/14 H [51 Int. Cl ..F28b 7/00  Field of Search 128/399-402, 258, DIG. 24, 403, 82.1; 165/46; 152/530, 1;206/D1G. 30;150/2.1, 2.5
[ 1 May 1, 1973 Primary ExaminerCharles .l. M'yhre Assistant Examiner-Theophil W. Streule, Jr. Attorney-Mandeville and Schweitzer ABSTRACT The invention disclosed herein relates to the use of dead air spaces to provide insulation for packaged materials. ln one form of the invention, a nested pair of thermoplastic bags define an inflatable chamber therebetween, which chamber, upon being filled .with air, provides a dead air space between theambient atmosphere and the inner bag. The air space provides thermal insulation for the packaged material within the inner bag. In another form of the invention, a series of inflatable bi-walls, which are articulated to one another for subsequent formation into a rectangular parallelepiped shape, are disposed as a liner within a conventional corrugated paperboard container. When inflated, the bi-walls will insulate the packaged contents of the container. The bi-walls of the inflatable insulation used in either of the embodiments of the invention are fabricated from inexpensive, flexible but substantially non-elastic, thermoplastic film material which may be fabricated by conventional techniques and which may be readily heat sealed into any of the desired configurations.
3 Claims, 5 Drawing Figures Patented May 1, 1973 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 FIG. 3
INVENTOR. MICHAEL C. PRESNI CK ATTORNEYS Patented May 1, 1973 3,730,240
2 Sheets-Sheet 2 mvsmon. MICHAEL'C. PRESNICK ATTORNEYS 1 INFLATABLE INSULATION FOR PACKAGING BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION dinary insulating characteristics of the dead air spaces contained in any inflated structure.
SUMMARY OF THE PRESENT INVENTION In one embodiment of the invention, an inflatable thermos structure is fabricated from a pair of nested, flat folded envelopes, which are joined together at a common filling neck portion. A filling and dispensing spout of suitable construction is arranged at the neck of the structure to permit the material to be packaged to be inserted into the inner bag or envelope and to be subsequently removed therefrom. In accordance with the principles of the present invention, both the inner and outer bag and the filling and dispensing neck are made from readily available, inexpensive thermoplastic materials. Accordingly, the new insulated, inflatable container may be a disposable item which is designed for single usage.
A more rigid and stronger type of container may be constructed in accordance with the principles of the invention by lining a conventional parallelepiped,- corrugated container with a series of inflatable wall members, which members, when inflated, provide dead air spaces which completely envelop the central storage portions of the container. Heretofore, when it was desired to provide thermal insulation for cardboard or paperboard or corrugated containers, it was necessary to line them with layers of expanded polystyrene foam or comparable insulating materials. This type of construction has proved to be not only expensive, but it typically necessitates the forming and application of the inner insulating layers at the site of container manufacture. Accordingly, this type of insulated containeris extremely space consuming, in terms of storage and shipping, before end use and is, therefore, extremely V costly. In significant contrast, by employing inflatable walls in lieu of foam plastic walls or the like, it is possible to ship corrugated containers and deflated thermal insulation in a flat, knocked-down state to the end user, thereby saving significant amounts of space in both shipping and storage of insulated containers. As a more specific aspect of this embodiment of the invention, the inflatable wall members include straps for securing cylindrical chemical heating or cooling elements disposed at corners of the container. I
Either embodiment of the invention may be rendered self-inflatable by the inclusion between the container walls of a small plastic cartridge containing a gas under pressure (i.e., a liquified gas), which container may be broken to liberate gas.
DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a perspectiveview showing an inflated thermos-type bag embodying the principles of the invention; i
FIG. 2 is a cross-section of the structure of FIG. 1 taken along line 2--2 thereof;
FIG. 3 is a plan view of an inflatable packaging liner;
FIG. 4 is a perspective view showing aninflated liner in place in a corrugated container in accordance with the principles of the present invention; and
FIG. 5 is a cross-sectional view of the structure of FIG. 4 taken throughline 5-5thereof.
DES'CRIPI'ION OF THE INVENTION Referring now to FIG. 1, a thermos-type of flexible, collapsible, bag structure isdisclosed therein. The new structure 10 comprises essentially an outer, substantially inelastic but flexible thermoplastic bag 11 and a nested, inner substantially inelastic but flexible thermoplastic bag 12. The two thermoplastic bags are...
maintained in a spaced relation to one another by the heatwelding or other like attachment of the outer bag 1 1 to an elongated thermoplastic filling-dispensing tube 13 which projects from the upper edges of the inner bag 12. Thus, as shown in FIG. 1, the external wall surfaces of the inner bag 12 are substantially uniformly spaced from the internal wall surfaces of the outer bag 11, both of which bags are advantageously of plastic construction. The space between the walls of the inner and outer bags 11, 12 is designated by the reference numeral 14 and when inflated, represents a dead air space.
In accordance with the invention, both bags may be totally collapsed or flat folded for shipping and storage,
in which case the space 14 is eliminated and the bag walls are in face-to-face, multilayered contact. Insulating air may be forced into the dead air space 14 through a thermoplastic inflation tube 15 formed along the upper edge corner of the outer bag 11. The tubes l3 and 15 themselves may be collapsible and are in any event closed off to the atmosphere by appropriate stopper members 13', 15' as shown in FIG. I. Alternatively, they may be otherwise sealed, e.g., by ultrasonic volumes with simple, conventional techniques. Ad-- vantageously, to enhance the thermal insulatingpro-L perties of the new thermos-type structure, the outer walls of the inner bag 12 and the inner walls of the outer bag 11 are provided with an appropriate reflective coating, i.e., a so-called silvered coating, by standard coating techniques, suchas, for example, by vacuum deposition ofaluminum.
As will be appreciated, the collapsible, thermos-type containers of the present invention may be shipped in a flat folded condition, and at the place and time of use, the inner bags may be filled throughthe filling tubes 13 with a commodity required to be maintained at a predetermined non-ambient temperature while the dead-air space 14 can be established by introducing air intothe outer bags ll through the tubes 15. Alternatively, and in lieu of inflation tube 15, a small plastic capsule or cartridge 20 containing an inflation medium 24 ('a' gas under pressure, e.g., a liquified gas), may be located between the walls 11, 12 for tacticle access from without the structure. The capsule or cartridge 20 may be rupturable or otherwise include a valve which is manipulatable from without the thermos structure to liberate an inflating gas from the capsule.
An alternate preferred embodiment of the invention is illustrated in FIGS. 3-5 and is an inflatable liner 4% used in conjunction with large, corrugated containers of the type heretofore lined with foamed-in-place expanded plastic for thermal insulating applications. In this embodiment, a thermo-plastic liner made from ap propriately shaped and heat-welded flexible but sub stantially inelastic thermoplastic sheets includes a plurality of interconnected bi-walled panels 41-48, each of which may be subsequently inflated when the liner 40 is inserted into a corrugated container or the like. More specifically, as shown in FIG. 3, the new liner includes consecutively articulated bi-walls 41-44 to biwalls 42 and 44 of which are articulated bi-walled end closing flaps 45-48. As stated and shown best in FIG. 5, the panels 41-48 are bi-walled, that is, they comprise inner and outer walls joined at all but limited portions 57 of their perimeters 56. The portions 57 are interconnecting air passages. When the panels 41-48 are inflated, dead air spaces 50 (see FIG. are established therein. Inflation may be effected through an inflation 7 tube 51 formed integrally with the blank 40 and through passages 57 or by use of self-inflation arrangements such as described hereinabove.
As an important specific aspect of the present invention, horizontal holding straps 55 are placed across at at least one and advantageously at two vertical lines of articulation 58 of the new liner 40, and are held in place by heat welds 59.
In use, the insulating liner 40 is inserted within a standard corrugated shipping container 60 and thereafter inflated through the tube 51 (or a capsule to create the dead air spaces 50 defined between the bi-walls of each of the panels 41-48 of the liner 40. The opposite inner walls of the liner 40 may be advantageously coated with a silvering material, such as vacuum deposited aluminum, to enhance the insulating properties of the inflated liner.
In accordance with the principles of the invention, a heat-transfer device 70, in the form of a sealed cylinder, may be inserted before inflation, between the bands 55 and the corners formed by the meeting of adjacent insulating walls of the liner 40 to provide a shipping container with both built-in insulation and built-in thermal properties. For example, the heattransfer member 70 may be comprised of a chemical compound commercially available as Transit Heat, a material designed to have predetermined thermal characteristics which are useful for heating and/or cooling packaged goods. Advantageously, the cylinders 70 are held firmly between the pillow-like edges of adjacent bi-walls and the straps 55.
As will be appreciated, the insulating liners 40 may be shipped in flat folded form to the site of package filling and carton erecting, and there, the liners may be inserted and inflated in place. This represents a departure from the previous practice of formin a ri id I foamed insulating medium in place at the s1 e of e carton manufacture. In accordance with the invention, it will now be possible for end users to form insulation in place only when actually needed and thus the new invention will enable insulating containers to be shipped and stored economically in flat-folded collapsed condition.
l. A collapsible flexible insulated package for holding and shipping material comprising a. a substantially flexible thermoplastic pouch means having a plurality of planer first walls b. elongated dispensing-opening means disposed at an upper edge of said inner pouch means;
c. an outer flexible thermoplastic pouch means enveloping said inner pouch means having an opening means;
d. said outer pouch means having a plurality of second walls spaced from said first walls and defining therwith a closed, airtight, inflatable insulating chamber;
e. stopper means for closing said inner and outer opening means on said inner and outer pouches;
f. inflation means associated with said chamber for filling the same with a gas;
2. A flexible package as recited in claim 1 wherein said inflation means comprises a rupturable capsule of pressurized fluid disposed in said second chamber and rupturable from without said outer pouch means for releasing the gas and maintaining a dead air space insulating said inner pouch means;
3. A flexible package as recited in claim 2, in which the walls facing said chamber have a reflective coating disposed thereon.