(19)
(11)EP 2 805 895 A1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT APPLICATION

(43)Date of publication:
26.11.2014 Bulletin 2014/48

(21)Application number: 13169026.5

(22)Date of filing:  23.05.2013
(51)Int. Cl.: 
B65D 5/66  (2006.01)
(84)Designated Contracting States:
AL AT BE BG CH CY CZ DE DK EE ES FI FR GB GR HR HU IE IS IT LI LT LU LV MC MK MT NL NO PL PT RO RS SE SI SK SM TR
Designated Extension States:
BA ME

(71)Applicant: Krka Tovarna Zdravil, D.D., Novo Mesto
8501 Novo Mesto (SI)

(72)Inventors:
  • Makovec, Dean
    5296 Kostanjevica na Krasu (SI)
  • Pavsic, Savo
    4220 Skofja Loka (SI)

(74)Representative: UEXKÜLL & STOLBERG 
Patentanwälte Beselerstrasse 4
22607 Hamburg
22607 Hamburg (DE)

  


(54)Box having tamper-evident closure


(57) A box for packaging pharmaceutical preparations comprises a body (2, 3, 4, 5, 10') accessible via an access opening and a lid (10). The lid (10) is connected to the box body at a hinge line (12) and is swivelable about the hinge line (12). A tuck-in lid flap (14) is connected to the lid (10), via a fold line (16), at an edge zone of the lid (10) opposite to the hinge line (12). A tamper-evident flap (20) is connected to the box body, via a break line (22), and comprises a slot (24) adapted to accommodate the lid flap (14) when the lid (10) is in its closed state, in which the lid (10) covers the tamper-evident flap (20). The lid flap (14) is adapted to interlock with the temper-evident flap (20) when the lid (10) is in its closed state.




Description


[0001] The invention relates to a box for packaging pharmaceutical preparations (like, e.g. tablets or capsules in blister pack panels), which comprises a tamper-evident closure.

[0002] In packaging, temper-evident features, i.e. means which clearly indicate whether a package has already been opened or whether it is still in the original state, are widely spread. Examples are a transparent overwrap or a seal which secures a lid. Many temper-evident features involve disadvantages, however. For example, the application of an overwrap or a seal is an additional step in manufacturing which causes costs. In a consumer's view, removing of an overwrap can be a major challenge, and afterwards the overwrap has to be disposed of, or a broken seal looks unpleasant.

[0003] DE 100 46 179 A discloses a box comprising an additional flap connected via a break line to the major panel opposite to the hinge line of the lid. A tuck-in flap is secured in a slot when the lid is in its closed state. When the box is opened for the first time, short cuts at the tuck-in flap interact with the ends of the slot and tear off the additional flap. When the box is closed thereafter, the tuck-in flap is clamped at the major panel of the box so that it is visible from outside.

[0004] EP 2 239 203 B shows another box with an additional flap comprising a large slot for accommodating a tuck-in flap when the lid is in its closed state. In this case, there are several perforation lines in the side areas of the additional flap and of the tuck-in flap, respectively. When the lid is opened for the first time, at least some of these perforation lines tear, which provides the tamper-evident feature. In order to secure the lid in the closed state thereafter, the tuck-in flap interacts with edges of some remaining side parts of the additional flap.

[0005] DE 1 690 651 U discloses a foldable box of a similar design in which, however, the additional flap is not connected via a break line. Instead of that, the tuck-in flap is separated by a transversal slot, which provides for some flexibility. When the box is opened for the first time, a part in the centre area of the lid is removed along break lines, which enables a relative movement of the separated parts of the tuck-in flap with respect to each other so that the tuck-in flap can be pulled out of the slot. When the box is closed afterwards, edges at the tuck-in flap interact with edges of side flaps of the box.

[0006] DE 20 2012 001 557 U shows a collapsible box made of cardboard, in which short end cuts at the fold line of a tuck-in lid flap interlock with portions of side flaps. These side flap portions are connected to side panels of the box via break lines, which tear when the lid is opened for the first time. Thereafter, however, the end cuts of the lid flap cannot secure the lid any more so that the lid tends to re-open by itself.

[0007] The object of the invention is to provide a box, in particular for packaging pharmaceutical preparations, having a temper-evident closure, which box can be manufactured in a cost-effective manner, looks well after its closure has been opened for the first time, and preferably can be reliably re-closed.

[0008] This object is achieved by a box for packaging pharmaceutical preparations having the features of claim 1. Advantageous versions of the invention follow from the dependent claims.

[0009] The box according to the invention is primarily designed for packaging pharmaceutical preparations, e.g. tablets or capsules in blister pack panels. The box comprises a box body, the interior of which is accessible via an access opening, as well as a lid. The lid is adapted to close the access opening of the box body when in a closed state. At a hinge line, the lid is connected to the box body, and it is swivelable about the hinge line for transfer from the closed state to an opened state. Moreover, a lid flap (designed as tuck-in flap) is connected to the lid, via a fold line, at an edge zone of the lid opposite to the hinge line of the lid. So far, the design of the box is conventional.

[0010] According to the invention, a tamper-evident flap is connected to the box body, via a break line, at an edge zone of the access opening opposite to the hinge line of the lid. The tamper-evident flap comprises a slot adapted to accommodate the lid flap when the lid is in its closed state, in which the lid covers the tamper-evident flap so that the tamper-evident flap is not visible or is only slightly visible. The lid flap is adapted to interlock with the temper-evident flap when the lid is in its closed state. When the lid is opened for the first time, the break line of the tamper-evident flap is damaged, thus reliably indicating that the box is not in its original state any more.

[0011] In advantageous embodiments of the invention, the box can be designed as a collapsible box, in which all parts (including the temper-evident flap) are folded from a common blank, e.g. a blank made of cardboard or plastic sheet material. In the assembled state, the box may have a generally cuboidal shape. Generally, the box according to the invention can be manufactured in a cost-effective manner.

[0012] The appearance of the box according to the invention remains generally the same after it has been opened for the first time and re-closed thereafter. Although the tamper-evident flap is separated from the box body during the first opening, disposal thereof generally does not cause problems. For example, the tamper-evident flap may be put into the box.

[0013] The lid flap preferably comprises, beyond the fold line of the lid flap, an end area in which the lid flap is separated from the lid and which interlocks, when the lid is in its closed state, with an area of the temper-evident flap adjacent to an end of the slot. The lid flap can comprise end areas interlocking with respective areas of the temper-evident flap at both ends. When the package has been filled and the lid is closed for the first time, the somewhat flexible end areas of the lid flap will enter into the slot of the temper-evident flap without damaging the break line of the tamper-evident flap because the temper-evident flap is supported, as a whole, by the contents of the box. The temper-evident flap can also be supported by side flaps, see below. However, when upon opening the box for the first time the lid is swivelled in the opposite direction, the end areas of the lid flap pull at the temper-evident flap, thus damaging or destroying its break line. This concept works very reliably.

[0014] In advantageous embodiments of the invention, side flaps are provided, which are connected to the box body at fold lines running transversely to the hinge line of the lid and extend into the access opening. Preferably, the side flaps are adapted to underlie the temper-evident flap but not to obstruct the slot of the temper-evident flap. Thus, the side flaps virtually do not interfere with the temper-evident mechanism upon opening the box for the first time. After removal of the temper-evident flap, the end areas of the lid flap may slightly interlock with the side flaps, when the lid is in its closed state, which can be achieved by an appropriate shape of the edges of the side flaps. In this context, "slightly" means that the degree of interlocking is less or much less than the interlocking between the end areas of the lid flap and the tamper-evident flap. The effect of such a slight interlocking is that the lid is locked in the box body when it is re-closed, and that it nevertheless can be easily re-opened, as a consumer is used from conventional packages.

[0015] The total width of the lid flap, measured in parallel to the hinge line of the lid, can be smaller than the length of the hinge line of the lid. Such design allows for sufficient space on the temper-evident flap adjacent to the slot, which is advantageous for a secure interlocking with the end areas of the lid flap.

[0016] Depending on the shape of the box, it will be advantageous if the box body comprises a second access opening, which is closable by a second lid. In this case, a lid flap connected to the second lid may interlock with a second temper-evident flap before opening the second lid for the first time. Preferably, the lid and the second lid, including their temper-evident mechanisms, are designed in the same way. An example is a cuboidal box comprising lids at both of its end sides. If both lids can be opened, both lids should be secured by a temper-evident feature.

[0017] In the following, the invention is described in more detail by means of an embodiment. The drawing shows in
Figure 1
a plan view of a blank of an embodiment of a box according to the invention.


[0018] Figure 1 displays a plan view of a blank 1 for a box for packaging pharmaceutical preparations. In the embodiment, the blank 1 is made of cardboard. A person skilled in the art can well imagine how the box is folded from blank 1 and how it looks like in the finished state, including the temper-evident mechanism.

[0019] The box comprises two major panels 2 and 3 and two side panels 4 and 5. A gluing tab 6 is glued to the inner face of side panel 5, when the box is assembled and after the panels 2, 3, 4 and 5 have been folded about fold lines 8. After assemblage, the box has a cuboidal shape with relatively small end sides.

[0020] One of the end sides of the box can be closed by a lid 10, which is connected to major panel 2 via a hinge line 12. A lid flap 14 is connected to the lid 10 via a fold line 16, which is located at the edge of the lid 10 opposite to the hinge line 12. The width of the lid flap 14 is smaller than the width of lid 10, i.e. the length of its hinge line 12. In the embodiment, the fold line 16 runs slightly curved. In extension of the fold line 16, the material of lid 10 and lid flap 14 is cut so that beyond each end of the fold line 16 a cut 17 is formed. In the embodiment, both cuts 17 are angled, see Figure 1. Both end areas of the lid flap 14, i.e. the zones of lid flap 14 adjacent to the cuts 17, are designated by reference numeral 18.

[0021] The blank 1 comprises another flap, which is called temper-evident flap 20. The temper-evident flap 20 is connected to major panel 3 via a break line 22 and is provided with a longitudinal slot 24. Along the slot 24, the temper-evident flap 20 is separated from major panel 3, and in extension of slot 24 the material between the major panel 3 and the temper-evident flap 20 is cut completely for some distance, at both sides (in the embodiment by angled cuts, see Figure 1). Thus, the remaining break line 22 comprises two relatively short material connections only, see Figure 1, which may be further weakened by, e.g., short cuts. The areas of the temper-evident flap 20 adjacent to the ends of the slot 24 are designated by reference numeral 26, see Figure 1.

[0022] Moreover, the box includes a total of four side flaps 30, each having an edge 32 and being connected to the respective side panel 4, 5 by a fold line 34, see Figure 1.

[0023] At its opposite end side, the box comprises another lid, called second lid 10'. In the embodiment, the second lid 10' is designed in the same way as lid 10. This also holds for a second temper-evident flap 20', which is associated with the second lid 10'. In Figure 1, the reference numerals used for the second lid and the second temper-evident flap as well as the related parts are primed, but otherwise are the same as for lid 10 and temper-evident flap 20.

[0024] When the box has been folded from blank 1 to its finished state, gluing tab 6 is glued to side panel 5, as already mentioned. Before the box is filled with pharmaceutical preparations, the second lid 10' can be closed, which is performed in the same way as described in the following for lid 10. In this way, a box body is formed, which has an access opening at lid 10.

[0025] To close lid 10, both side flaps 30 in its neighbourhood are folded about the fold lines 34 by about 90°. Afterwards, the temper-evident flap 20 is folded about the break line 22, again by about 90°, so that it is supported on the side flaps 30. Finally, the lid flap 14 and the lid 10 are folded (by about 90° each) about the fold line 16 and the hinge line 12, respectively, so that the lid flap 14 can be guided through the slot 24 into the interior of the box. During this step, the lid flap 14 is flexible enough for the end areas 18 of the lid flap 14 to pass the slot 24, although the width of lid flap 14 is greater than the length of slot 24. After passing the slot 24, the end areas 18 bend back so that the lid flap 14 is interlocked with the temper-evident flap 20, in particular in the areas 26. The break line 22 is not damaged during this closing procedure because the temper-evident flap 20 is sufficiently supported by the side flaps 30.

[0026] Now, when lid 10 is opened for the first time, the end areas 18 of the lid flap 14 pull at the temper-evident flap 20, which results in damage of the break line 22. This is easily visible. In case the temper-evident flap 20 is still somewhat connected to the major panel 3, it can be completely separated. Moreover, it can be disposed of (e.g. by putting it into the box).

[0027] When the lid 10 is closed thereafter, the end areas 18 of the lid flap 14 slightly interlock with the edges 32 of the side flaps 30 so that the lid 10 is secured in a convenient way and does not open by chance.


Claims

1. Box for packaging pharmaceutical preparations, comprising

- a box body (2, 3, 4, 5, 10'), which is accessible via an access opening,

- a lid (10), which is adapted to close the access opening of the box body when in a closed state, the lid (10) being connected to the box body at a hinge line (12) and being swivelable about the hinge line (12) for transfer from the closed state to an opened state, a tuck-in lid flap (14) being connected to the lid (10), via a fold line (16), at an edge zone of the lid (10) opposite to the hinge line (12),
characterised by

- a tamper-evident flap (20), which is connected to the box body, via a break line (22), at an edge zone of the access opening opposite to the hinge line (12) of the lid (10), wherein the tamper-evident flap (20) comprises a slot (24) adapted to accommodate the lid flap (14) when the lid (10) is in its closed state, in which the lid (10) covers the tamper-evident flap (20),

- wherein the lid flap (14) is adapted to interlock with the temper-evident flap (20) when the lid (10) is in its closed state, the break line (22) of the tamper-evident flap (20) being damaged upon opening the lid (10) for the first time.


 
2. Box according to claim 1, characterised in that the lid flap (14) comprises, beyond the fold line (16) of the lid flap (14), an end area (18) in which the lid flap (14) is separated from the lid (10) and which interlocks, when the lid (10) is in its closed state, with an area (26) of the temper-evident flap (20) adjacent to an end of the slot (24).
 
3. Box according to claim 2, characterised in that the lid flap (14) comprises end areas (18) interlocking with respective areas (26) of the temper-evident flap (20) at both ends.
 
4. Box according to anyone of claims 1 to 3, characterised in that side flaps (30) extend into the access opening, which are connected to the box body at fold lines (34) running transversely to the hinge line (12) of the lid (10).
 
5. Box according to claim 4, characterised in that the side flaps (30) are adapted to underlie the temper-evident flap (20) but not to obstruct the slot (24) of the temper-evident flap (20).
 
6. Box according to claims 3 and 5, characterised in that, after removal of the temper-evident flap (20), the end areas (18) of the lid flap (14) slightly interlock with the side flaps (30), when the lid (10) is in its closed state.
 
7. Box according to anyone of claims 1 to 6, characterised in that the total width of the lid flap (14), measured in parallel to the hinge line (12) of the lid (10), is smaller than the length of the hinge line (12) of the lid (10).
 
8. Box according to anyone of claims 1 to 7, characterised in that the box body comprises a second access opening, which is closable by a second lid (10'), wherein a lid flap (14') connected to the second lid (10') interlocks with a second temper-evident flap (20') before opening the second lid (10') for the first time.
 
9. Box according to anyone of claims 1 to 8, characterised in that all parts of the box are folded from a common blank (1).
 
10. Box according to claim 9, characterised in that the blank (1) is made from cardboard.
 
11. Box according to anyone of claims 1 to 10, characterised by a generally cuboidal shape.
 




Drawing














REFERENCES CITED IN THE DESCRIPTION



This list of references cited by the applicant is for the reader's convenience only. It does not form part of the European patent document. Even though great care has been taken in compiling the references, errors or omissions cannot be excluded and the EPO disclaims all liability in this regard.

Patent documents cited in the description