(19)
(11)EP 3 369 670 B1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT SPECIFICATION

(45)Mention of the grant of the patent:
09.09.2020 Bulletin 2020/37

(21)Application number: 17179285.6

(22)Date of filing:  03.07.2017
(51)International Patent Classification (IPC): 
B65D 21/02(2006.01)
B65D 71/50(2006.01)

(54)

NESTING CONTAINER CARRIER

TRÄGER FÜR VERSCHACHTELTE BEHÄLTER

IMBRICATION DE RÉCIPIENT D'ÉCHANTILLON


(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

(30)Priority: 03.03.2017 US 201715449826

(43)Date of publication of application:
05.09.2018 Bulletin 2018/36

(73)Proprietor: OREGON PRECISION INDUSTRIES, INC. DBA PAKTECH
Eugene, OR 97402 (US)

(72)Inventors:
  • BORG, Zakary James
    Eugene, OR Oregon 97402 (US)
  • MELLOR, Ronald Lee Jr.
    Eugene, OR Oregon 97402 (US)

(74)Representative: Horn Kleimann Waitzhofer Patentanwälte PartG mbB 
Ganghoferstrasse 29a
80339 München
80339 München (DE)


(56)References cited: : 
EP-A1- 1 970 323
WO-A1-2011/138788
US-A1- 2012 073 997
WO-A1-03/035493
FR-A1- 2 898 589
  
      
    Note: Within nine months from the publication of the mention of the grant of the European patent, any person may give notice to the European Patent Office of opposition to the European patent granted. Notice of opposition shall be filed in a written reasoned statement. It shall not be deemed to have been filed until the opposition fee has been paid. (Art. 99(1) European Patent Convention).


    Description

    BACKGROUND



    [0001] Container carriers are used in retail environments to secure a group of containers so that they may be grasped and carried as a single unit. Manufacturers using these container carriers, such as beverage companies, may desire to purchase several container carriers for packaging and ease of distribution of their product. An integrally molded multiple-canister carrier is disclosed in document EP 1 970 323 A1, which accords with the preamble of appended claim 1. However, the multiple-canister carrier disclosed therein is substantially flat, and thus limited in the types of products that may securely transported. While lighter products may be carried with substantially flat container carriers, such as those disclosed in the above-referenced prior art document, heavier products, such as large containers of liquids, may require container carriers with three-dimensional support structures to support their weight. Additionally, products with caps, such as bottles, may need a taller container carrier to accommodate the caps. Such container carriers are often manufactured in one location and then shipped to a different location for application of the carriers to the containers. Packaging and shipping container carriers with such three dimensional structures and heights can be a challenge to conduct efficiently, since their increased size often results in fewer container carriers per shipping box and increased shipping cost per container carrier.

    SUMMARY



    [0002] The invention is defined by a container carrier according to appended claim 1 and by a manufacturing method according to appended claim 11. According to a first aspect, a container carrier for securing together and carrying multiple containers is provided comprising an integrally molded body that includes a plurality of annular structures. Each annular structure is connected by a bridge to at least one adjacent annular structure of the plurality of annular structures. Each annular structure includes a side wall formed of side wall portions and a top surface connecting the side wall portions. The side wall portions are separated by side wall voids formed in the side wall. Each side wall portion has a respective upper side wall segment and a respective lower side wall segment. The upper side wall segment has a reduced diameter relative to the lower side wall segment of the side wall portion. The upper and lower side wall segments are configured to join at a ledge that spans a difference between the respective diameters in the upper and lower side wall segments. A respective flange is positioned proximate a bottom end of each side wall void. The flanges of each annular structure are collectively configured to releasably engage a corresponding container of the multiple containers. The bottom portion of the lower side wall segment is shaped to have an inner diameter that is larger than an outer diameter of the upper side wall and smaller than an outer diameter of the ledge. As such, the bottom portion of the lower side wall segment will rest upon the ledge of a second, same-shaped container carrier when stacked. Potential advantages of this configuration are that multiple containers may be carried together yet individually removed from the container carrier, and the container carriers are configured to nest together when stacked such that the carriers efficiently fit in a shipping box.

    [0003] In this aspect, each bridge between adjacent annular structures may be defined by a top surface that is connectively formed between adjacent annular structures, an inner side wall portion, and an outer side wall portion. Each of the inner and outer side wall portions may have a respective upper side wall segment that has a reduced width relative to a lower side wall segment of the side wall portion. The upper and lower side wall segments may be joined at a ledge that spans a difference between respective widths in the upper and lower side wall segments. Potential advantages of this configuration are that the bridge structure increases stability of the container carrier, and this configuration allows the bottom of the lower side wall segment of a bridge to rest upon the ledge of a bridge of a second, same-shaped container carrier when stacked.

    [0004] In this aspect, the top surface connecting the side wall portions of each annular structure may include notched voids continuous with respective side wall voids. As such, the flanges positioned proximate the bottom ends of each side wall void may be accommodated by the notched voids in the top surface of a second, same-shaped container carrier when stacked. A potential advantage of this configuration is that the height profile of a stack of container carriers is optimized such that more container carriers fit into a shipping carton, thereby reducing shipping costs of transporting the container carriers from the manufacturer to the packaging and distribution center.

    [0005] In this aspect, the flanges may project inwardly and may be oriented upwardly at an angle. The flanges may have a perimeter profile as viewed from above that is smaller and nests within a perimeter profile as viewed from above of the notched voids in the top surface. A potential advantage of this configuration is that the flanges do not inhibit efficient stacking of the container carriers. With this feature, the quantity of container carriers that fits into a shipping container is increased over a non-stacking type of container carrier.

    [0006] In this aspect, an integrally formed graspable loop may extend from a bottom of a lower side wall segment of an inner side wall portion of a bridge to a bottom of a lower side wall segment of an inner side wall portion of an opposite bridge. A peak height of the graspable loop may extend beyond the top surfaces of the annular structures and bridges. Potential advantages of this configuration are that a user may easily grasp the loop, and the integral formation of the loop provides increased strength and durability.

    [0007] In this aspect, the top surface connecting the side wall portions of each annular structure may have a central region defined by an intermediate perimeter. A potential advantage of this configuration is that the lids of the containers engaged in the container carrier are protected.

    [0008] In this aspect, a height of the lower side wall segments may be greater than a height of the upper side wall segments. One potential advantage of this configuration is that the container carriers nest together when stacked, which allows for more efficient packing and shipping of container carriers in comparison to similar products that are currently available.

    [0009] In this aspect, the side wall portions may be tapered such that the upper side wall segment has a smaller width relative to the width of the lower side wall segment. A potential advantage of this configuration is that the side wall voids between the side wall portions are inversely tapered to allow the flanges to smoothly nest into a second same-shaped container carrier when stacked.

    [0010] In this aspect, the plurality of annular structures may be one of two, three, four, six, or eight annular structures. A potential advantage of this configuration is that the container carrier may be customized as desired to hold different numbers of containers.

    [0011] In this aspect, the container carrier may be formed of a flexible plastic. Potential advantages of this configuration are that the container carrier is lightweight yet durable and may be recycled after use, and further the flanges of the container carrier may flexibly deform to secure and release containers therein.

    [0012] In another aspect, a manufacturing method for a container carrier for securing together and carrying multiple containers by the necks is provided. The manufacturing method includes molding an integrally formed body that includes a plurality of annular structures. Each annular structure is connected by a bridge to at least one adjacent annular structure of the plurality of annular structures. The method further includes forming a side wall in each annular structure. The side wall is formed of side wall portions separated by side wall voids formed in the side wall. A top surface connects the side wall portions. Each side wall portion has a respective upper side wall segment that has a reduced diameter relative to a respective lower side wall segment of the side wall portion. The upper and lower side wall segments are joined at a ledge that spans a difference between respective diameters in the upper and lower side wall segments. The manufacturing method further includes forming a respective flange proximate a bottom end of each side wall void. The flanges of each annular structure are collectively configured to releasably engage a corresponding container of the multiple containers. The bottom portion of the lower side wall segment is shaped to have an inner diameter that is larger than an outer diameter of the upper side wall and smaller than an outer diameter of the ledge. As such, the bottom portion of the lower side wall segment will rest upon the ledge of a second, same-shaped container carrier when stacked. Potential advantages of this configuration are that multiple containers may be carried together yet individually removed from the container carrier, and the container carriers are configured to nest together when stacked such that the carriers efficiently fit in a shipping box. This configuration has the further advantage that the container carriers nest snugly together when stacked to minimize lateral shifting of the stock while in shipping containers, thereby reducing the potential of damaging the container carriers during transit.

    [0013] In this aspect, each bridge between adjacent annular structures may be defined by a top surface that is connectively formed between adjacent annular structures, an inner side wall portion, and an outer side wall portion. Each of the inner and outer side wall portions may have a respective upper side wall segment that has a reduced width relative to a lower side wall segment of the side wall portion. The upper and lower side wall segments may be joined at a ledge that spans a difference between respective widths in the upper and lower side wall segments. Potential advantages of this configuration are that the bridge structure increases stability of the container carrier, and this configuration allows the bottom of the lower side wall segment of a bridge to rest upon the ledge of a bridge of a second, same-shaped container carrier when stacked.

    [0014] In this aspect, the top surface connecting the side wall portions of each annular structure may include notched voids continuous with respective side wall voids. As such, the flanges positioned proximate the bottom ends of each side wall void may be accommodated by the notched voids in the top surface of a second, same-shaped container carrier when stacked. A potential advantage of this configuration is that the height profile of a stack of container carriers is optimized such that more container carriers fit into a shipping carton, thereby reducing shipping costs of transporting the container carriers from the manufacturer to the packaging and distribution center.

    [0015] In this aspect, the flanges may project inwardly and may be oriented upwardly at an angle. The flanges may have a perimeter profile as viewed from above that is smaller and nests within a perimeter profile as viewed from above of the notched voids in the top surface. A potential advantage of this configuration is that the flanges do not inhibit efficient stacking of the container carriers. With this feature, the quantity of container carriers that fits into a shipping container is increased over a non-stacking type of container carrier.

    [0016] In this aspect, an integrally formed graspable loop may extend from a bottom of a lower side wall segment of an inner side wall portion of a bridge to a bottom of a lower side wall segment of an inner side wall portion of an opposite bridge. A peak height of the graspable loop may extend beyond the top surfaces of the annular structures and bridges. Potential advantages of this configuration are that a user may easily grasp the loop, and the integral formation of the loop provides increased strength and durability.

    [0017] In this aspect, the top surface connecting the side wall portions of each annular structure may have a central region defined by an intermediate perimeter. A potential advantage of this configuration is that the lids of the containers engaged in the container carrier are protected.

    [0018] In this aspect, a height of the lower side wall segments may be greater than a height of the upper side wall segments. One potential advantage of this configuration is that the container carriers nest together when stacked, which allows for more efficient packing and shipping of container carriers in comparison to similar products that are currently available.

    [0019] In this aspect, the side wall portions may be tapered such that the upper side wall segment has a smaller width relative to the width of the lower side wall segment. A potential advantage of this configuration is that the side wall voids between the side wall portions are inversely tapered to allow the flanges to smoothly nest into a second same-shaped container carrier when stacked.

    [0020] In this aspect, the plurality of annular structures may be one of two, three, four, six, or eight annular structures. A potential advantage of this configuration is that the container carrier may be customized as desired to hold different numbers of containers.

    [0021] This Summary is provided to introduce a selection of concepts in a simplified form that are further described below in the Detailed Description. This Summary is not intended to identify key features or essential features of the claimed subject matter, nor is it intended to be used to limit the scope of the claimed subject matter. Furthermore, the claimed subject matter is not limited to implementations that solve any or all disadvantages noted in any part of this disclosure.

    BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS



    [0022] 

    FIG. 1 shows a top perspective view of a container carrier according to one embodiment of the present description.

    FIG. 2 shows a bottom perspective view of the container carrier of FIG. 1.

    FIG. 3 shows a top view of the container carrier of FIG. 1.

    FIG. 4 shows a bottom view of the container carrier of FIG. 1.

    FIG. 5 shows a front view of the container carrier of FIG. 1, wherein the back view is an identical image thereof.

    FIG. 6 shows a right view of the container carrier of FIG. 1, wherein the left view is an identical image thereof.

    FIG. 7 shows a top perspective view of a stack of two container carriers of the type shown in FIG. 1.

    FIG. 8 shows a front view of the stack of two container carriers of FIG. 7.

    FIG. 9 shows a top perspective sectional view of the stack of two container carriers of FIG. 7.

    FIG. 10 shows a front sectional view of the stack of two container carriers of FIG. 7.

    FIGS. 11A-11D show top schematic views of container carriers with two, three, six, or eight annular structures, respectively.


    DETAILED DESCRIPTION



    [0023] Selected embodiments of the present disclosure will now be described with reference to the accompanying drawings. It will be apparent to those skilled in the art from this disclosure that the following descriptions of the embodiments of the disclosure are provided for illustration only and not for the purpose of limiting the disclosure as defined by the appended claims and their equivalents.

    [0024] Turning to the figures, FIG. 1 illustrates one embodiment of a container carrier 10 configured to secure together and carry multiple containers at one time. The body 11 of the container carrier 10 may be integrally molded and may include at least a plurality of annular structures 12. Each annular structure 12 may be connected to at least one adjacent annular structure 12 by a bridge 14.

    [0025] The annular structures 12 may each comprise a side wall 16 formed by side wall portions 18 that are separated by side wall voids 20 formed in the side wall 16. A top surface 22 may connect the side wall portions 18. Each annular structure 12 is formed in a generally circular shape (i.e., circular except where intersecting bridges 14) centered on a vertical central axis A running through a center C of the top surface 22. The side wall portions 18 are formed to be arcuate shapes of revolution around the central axis A. Each side wall portion 18 may be configured to include an upper side wall segment 24 and a lower side wall segment 26. Turning briefly to FIG. 5, the upper side wall segment 24 may have a reduced diameter D1 relative to a diameter D2 of the lower side wall segment 26 of the side wall portion 18, the diameters being measured relative to the central axis C. The upper and lower side wall segments 24, 26 may be joined at a horizontally or diagonally extending ledge 28. The ledge 28 may span the difference between the respective diameters D1, D2 of the upper and lower side wall segments 24, 26. Ledge 28 is formed in the side wall portions 18 around the perimeter of the annular structures 12, and a similarly constructed ledge 36c is formed in the inner and outer side wall portions 36, 38 of bridges 14, as described in detail below.

    [0026] Referring back to FIG. 1, the bridges 14 connecting the annular structures 12 may each be defined by a top surface 34 that is connectively formed between adjacent annular structures 12, an inner side wall portion 36, and an outer side wall portion 38. In the illustrated embodiment, the top surface of the bridge 34 is formed in the same plane with the top surfaces 22 of the adjacent annular structures 12. Alternatively, the top surface of the bridge 34 may be formed in a parallel plane above or below the top surfaces 22 of the adjacent annular structures 12.

    [0027] Similar to the side wall portions 18 of the annular structures 12, the inner and outer side wall portions 36, 38 of the bridges 14 may each have an upper side wall segment 36a, 38a and a lower side wall segment 36b, 38b. As illustrated in the top view of the container carrier in FIG. 3, a width BW1 of the bridge at the upper side wall segments 36a, 38a may be reduced in relation to a width BW2 of the bridge at respective lower side wall segments 36b, 38b. Returning to FIG. 1, on both the inner and outer side wall portions 36, 38 of the bridges 14, the upper side wall segments 36a, 38a and lower side wall segments 36b, 38b may be joined at a horizontally or diagonally extending ledge 36c, 38c that spans a difference between respective widths BW1, BW2 of the bridge at the upper side wall segments 36a, 38a and the lower side wall segments 36b, 38b.

    [0028] Continuing with to FIG. 1, the side wall voids 20 may be formed in at least one of three ways: between two side wall portions 18, between a side wall portion 18 and a bridge 14, or between two bridges 14, as shown. Each side wall void 20 is bordered on the bottom side by an arcuate segment 21 connecting the adjacent lower side wall segments 26 or lower side wall segments of the bridges 36b, 38b. In the present embodiment, each annular structure 12 includes four side wall voids 20, one formed between two side wall portions 18, one formed between two bridges 14, and two formed between a side wall portion 18 and a bridge 14. Alternatively, each annular structure 12 may have more or less than four side wall voids 20 formed in various manners.

    [0029] As shown in FIG. 2, the top surface 22 of the container carrier 10 that connects the side wall portions 18 of each annular structure 12 may include notched voids 40 that communicate with an internal void 13 of the annular structure 12. These notched voids 40 may be continuous with the respective side wall voids 20, forming a single continuous void. In the nomenclature of this application, notched voids 40 refer to the notches in the top surface 22 as best viewed from the top such as in FIG. 3, while side wall voids 20 refer to the notches in the side wall portions as best viewed from the side such as in FIGS. 5 and 6, and these voids 20, 40 communicate with each other and with the internal void 13. As best viewed in FIG. 3, an inner perimeter of the notched voids 40 may be formed in an arcuate shape centered on center C, and sides of the notched voids 40 may be formed substantially along radially extending lines extending from the center C. Like the side wall voids 20, the notched voids 40 may be formed in at least one of three ways: between two side wall portions 18, between a side wall portion 18 and a bridge 14, or between two bridges 14. Because the notched voids 40 are formed continuously with respective side wall voids 20, the number of notched voids 40 in each annular structure 12 will be the same as the number of side wall voids 20. In the illustrated embodiment, one notched void 40 is formed between two side wall portions 18, one notched void 40 is formed between two bridges 14, and two notched voids 40 are formed between a side wall portion 18 and a bridge 14.

    [0030] Turning back to FIG. 1, a flange 30 may be positioned proximate the bottom end of each side wall void 20. The base of each flange 30 connects to the body 11 of the container carrier 10 at an arcuate segment 21 bordering the bottom of a side wall void 20. Each annular structure 12 may include a plurality of flanges 30, which are collectively configured to releasably engage a corresponding container of the multiple containers. In the present embodiment, four flanges 30 are provided in each annular structure 12, but it will be appreciated that the number of flanges 30 in the annular structures 12 may be more or less than illustrated, so long as their shape and position is sufficient to releasably secure a container. For example, annular structures 12 that have six side wall voids 20 may have six corresponding flanges 30. In other examples, three flanges positioned equidistantly around the inner perimeter of the annular structure may be used, or two wide flanges may be used positioned 180 degrees opposite each other. Flanges 30 may alternately be formed on the interior of lower side wall segments 26 of side wall portions 18 or on the interior of lower side wall segments of the bridges 36b, 38b. Additionally, more than one flange 30 may be present at any one of an arcuate segment 21, the interior of a lower side wall segment 26, or the interior of an inner or an outer lower side wall segment of a bridge 36b, 38b.

    [0031] The flanges 30 may be formed to project inwardly and orient upwardly at an angle, as illustrated in FIGS. 9 and 10. The angle of inclination of the flanges from horizontal may be greater than zero and less than 45 degrees, and preferably greater than 10 and less than 30 degrees. The internal perimeters of the flanges are formed to have an arcuate shape centered on the central axis A, which conforms to a curvature of a neck N of a container CON, as shown in FIG. 5. With this configuration, the flanges 30 may flex when accepting or releasing the container CON, in contrast to current solutions in which the securing structure is a thick, rigid ledge. As the container CON is inserted, it will be appreciated that the flange flexes to allow the cap C and lip L, both of which have a diameter larger than the internal diameter of the inner perimeter 30A (see FIGS. 3 and 4) of the flanges, but smaller than the smallest inner diameter of the side wall portion 18, to permit ingress of the cap C and lip L into the internal void 13 in the arcuate structure 12. As the container CON is being inserted, once the cap C and lip L are past the flanges 30, the flanges snap to their original, unflexed shape, and the lip L (or alternatively cap C) rests on the flange 30, in the orientation shown in FIG. 5. With the containers CON so secured, a user may lift and carry the containers CON in the carrier 10 by grasping and lifting the handle 42. When it comes time to remove the container CON, the flange is sufficiently flexible that a user may easily remove the container CON from the container carrier by pulling the container cap C and lip L past the flanges 30, causing the flanges 30 to flex downwardly during egress, with relative ease and minimal disturbance to the contents of the container, which can be important both for users with weaker grip and for beverages that should be delicately handled, such as carbonated beverages. In the illustrated embodiment, the corners of the flanges 30 are angular; alternatively, the flanges may be configured to have rounded corners that would facilitate their use with containers having tamper-resistant films or wraps around the lids.

    [0032] Turning briefly to FIGS. 3 and 4, the flanges 30 may have a perimeter profile as viewed from above that is smaller and nests within a perimeter profile as viewed from above of the notched voids 40 in the top surface 22. In this configuration, the flanges 30 may be accommodated by the notched voids 40 in the top surface 22 of a second, same-shaped container carrier 10 when stacked, as illustrated in FIGS. 7-10.

    [0033] As shown in FIGS. 2 and 4, each container carrier 10 may comprise an integrally formed graspable loop 42. In the illustrated configuration, the graspable loop 42 extends from the bottom of a lower side wall segment 36b of an inner side wall portion 36 of a bridge 14 to the bottom of a lower side wall segment 36b of an inner side wall portion 36 of an opposite bridge 14. Alternatively, the graspable loop 42 may be formed with the top surface 22 of an annular structure 12. The peak height of the graspable loop 42 may extend beyond the top surfaces 22 of the annular structures 12 and bridges 14 of the container carrier 10, as shown in FIGS. 5 and 6. The extended graspable loop 42 allows a user to easily grasp the container carrier 10. Alternatively, the peak height of the graspable loop may 42 be in a plane with or parallel to the top surfaces 22 of the annular structures 12 and bridges 14. In the present embodiment, the graspable loop 42 is formed in the shape of an arc, and the arc-shaped loops 42 next together when stacked as shown in FIG. 7. Alternatively, it will be appreciated that the graspable loop 42 may be formed in an alternate stackable shape, such as an S or a flat band, and may further be configured to be flexibly attached to the container carrier to lay flat for shipping and lift up for carrying.

    [0034] As shown in FIGS. 1 and 3, the top surface 22 connecting the side wall portions 18 of each annular structure 12 may have a central region 44 defined by an inner perimeter 46. This feature provides stability to the container carrier 10 and also protects the lids of the containers. In this embodiment, the central region 44 of the top surface 22 is partially open, which allows air circulation such that condensation does not form on the lids of the containers, and also reduces the weight of the container carrier 10 while at the same time providing a surface for providing indicia such as branding, legal notices, etc. Alternatively, the central region 44 of the top surface 22 may be formed to fully cover the lids of the containers secured within the container carrier 10.

    [0035] FIGS. 5 and 6 are front and side views of one embodiment of a container carrier 10. As shown in FIG. 5, the height H2 of the lower side wall segments 26 of the side wall portions 18 may be greater than the height H1 of the upper side wall segments 28. Additionally, the side wall portions 18 may be tapered such that the upper side wall segment 28 has a smaller width W1 relative to the width W2 of the lower side wall segment 26, as illustrated by angle α in FIG. 6. These features allow a plurality of container carriers 10 to nest together when arranged in a stack.

    [0036] Perspective, front, and sectional views of a stack of two container carriers are illustrated in FIGS. 7-10. As shown in FIG. 10, each lower side wall segment 26 may include a bottom portion 32 that is shaped to have an inner diameter ID that is larger than an outer diameter OD of the upper side wall segment 24 and smaller than an outer diameter LOD of the ledge 28 as defined along a vertical central axis A of the annular structure 12. In this configuration, the bottom portion 32 of the lower side wall segment 26 will rest upon the ledge 28 of a second, same-shaped container carrier 10 when stacked.

    [0037] The embodiment of container carrier 10 depicted in FIGS. 1-10 includes four annular structures 12. However, the plurality of annular structures 12 may alternatively be one of two, three, six, or eight annular structures 12, as depicted in FIGS. 11A-11D, or other suitable number of annular structures 12. In the illustrated examples with four, six, or eight annular structures 12, each annular structure 12 is positioned orthogonal to adjacent annular structures 12. The graspable loops 42 are illustrated between each opposite pair of annular structures 12, but it will be appreciated that one or more graspable loops 42 may be alternately positioned on the body 11 of the container carrier 10. For example, a graspable loop 42 may be formed to connect the endmost bridges 14 of the container carriers 10 having six or eight annular structures 12. It may be desirable to the manufacturer or distributor of the containers secured within the container carrier 10 to offer their products in a specific number or a variety of numbers, depending on the context. For example, certain products may be offered as a twin-pack at a typical grocery store and as a four-pack or an eight-pack at a warehouse store.

    [0038] In any of the embodiments described herein, the body 11 of the container carrier 10 may be preferentially formed of a flexible plastic. Being both strong and lightweight, plastic is an advantageous material for use in container carriers. It is preferable that the plastic be flexible in nature to accommodate the releasable engagement of the containers with the flanges. Specifically, the plastic may be high density polyethylene (HDPE), and it may further be recycled HDPE. It will be appreciated that container carriers formed of flexible plastic have the additional benefit of being recyclable.

    [0039] The container carriers described above may be used to provide a convenient carrying mechanism for containers of all sorts, but are particularly advantageous due to the manner in which the annular structures and bridges are formed so as to be stackable upon each other, which provides for compact and efficient packaging and shipment, thereby lowering costs.

    [0040] It should be understood that the embodiments herein are illustrative and not restrictive, since the scope of the invention is defined by the appended claims rather than by the description preceding them, and all changes that fall within metes and bounds of the claims.


    Claims

    1. A container carrier (10) for securing together and carrying multiple containers (CON) comprising
    an integrally molded body (11) with a plurality of annular structures (12), each annular structure (12) being connected by a bridge (14) to at least one adjacent annular structure (12) of the plurality of annular structures (12), and
    each annular structure (12) including a side wall (16) formed of side wall portions (18) separated by side wall voids (20) formed in the side wall (16), a top surface (22) connecting the side wall portions (18), and a respective flange (30) positioned proximate a bottom end of each side wall void (20), the flanges (30) of each annular structure (12) being collectively configured to releasably engage a corresponding container (CON) of the multiple containers (CON), characterised in that:

    each side wall portion (18) is formed to have a respective upper side wall segment (24) with a reduced diameter (D1) relative to a respective lower side wall segment (26) of the side wall portion (18), the upper and lower side wall segments (24, 26) being joined at a ledge (28) that spans a difference between respective diameters (D1, D2) in the upper and lower side wall segments (24, 26); and

    a bottom portion (32) of the lower side wall segment (26) is shaped to have an inner diameter (ID) that is larger than an outer diameter (OD) of the upper side wall segment (24) and smaller than an outer diameter (LOD) of the ledge (28), so that the bottom portion (32) of the lower side wall segment (26) will rest upon the ledge (28) of a second, same-shaped container carrier (10) when stacked.


     
    2. The container carrier of claim 1, wherein each bridge between adjacent annular structures is defined by:

    a top surface that is connectively formed between adjacent annular structures; and

    an inner side wall portion and an outer side wall portion, wherein each of the inner and outer side wall portions has a respective upper side wall segment that has a reduced width relative to a lower side wall segment of the side wall portion, the upper and lower side wall segments being joined at a ledge that spans a difference between respective widths in the upper and lower side wall segments.


     
    3. The container carrier of claim 1, wherein the top surface connecting the side wall portions of each annular structure includes notched voids continuous with respective side wall voids such that the flanges positioned proximate the bottom ends of each side wall void are accommodated by the notched voids in the top surface of a second, same-shaped container carrier when stacked.
     
    4. The container carrier of claim 1, wherein the flanges project inwardly and are oriented upwardly at an angle; and
    wherein the flanges have a perimeter profile as viewed from above that is smaller and nests within a perimeter profile as viewed from above of the notched voids in the top surface.
     
    5. The container carrier of claim 1, further comprising an integrally formed graspable loop that extends from a bottom of a lower side wall segment of an inner side wall portion of a bridge to a bottom of a lower side wall segment of an inner side wall portion of an opposite bridge, wherein a peak height of the graspable loop extends beyond the top surfaces of the annular structures and bridges.
     
    6. The container carrier of claim 1, wherein the top surface connecting the side wall portions of each annular structure has central region defined by an intermediate perimeter.
     
    7. The container carrier of claim 1, wherein a height of the lower side wall segments is greater than a height of the upper side wall segments.
     
    8. The container carrier of claim 1, wherein the side wall portions are tapered such that the upper side wall segment has a smaller width relative to the width of the lower side wall segment.
     
    9. The container carrier of claim 1, wherein the plurality of annular structures is one of two, three, four, six, or eight annular structures.
     
    10. The container carrier of claim 1, wherein the container carrier is formed of a flexible plastic.
     
    11. A manufacturing method for a container carrier (10) for securing together and carrying multiple containers (CON) by the necks (N) according to any one of claims 1 -10, the method comprising:

    molding an integrally formed body (11) including a plurality of annular structures (12), wherein each annular structure (12) is connected by a bridge (14) to at least one adjacent annular structure (12) of the plurality of annular structures (12);

    forming in each annular structure (12) a side wall (16) formed of side wall portions (18) separated by side wall voids (20) formed in the side wall (16), and a top surface (22) connecting the side wall portions (18), wherein each side wall portion (18) has a respective upper side wall segment (24) that has a reduced diameter (D1) relative to a respective lower side wall segment (26) of the side wall portion (18), the upper and lower side wall segments (24, 26) being joined at a ledge (28) that spans a difference between respective diameters (D1, D2) in the upper and lower side wall segments (24, 26);

    forming a respective flange (30) proximate a bottom end of each side wall void (20);

    forming the flanges (30) of each annular structure (12) to collectively and releasably engage a corresponding container (CON) of the multiple containers (CON); and

    forming a bottom portion of the lower side wall segment (26) to have an inner diameter (ID) that is larger than an outer diameter (OD) of the upper side wall (24) and smaller than an outer diameter (LOD) of the ledge (28), so that the bottom portion of the lower side wall segment (26) will rest upon the ledge (28) of a second, same-shaped container carrier (10) when stacked.


     
    12. The method of claim 11, wherein each bridge between adjacent annular structures is defined by:

    a top surface that is connectively formed between adjacent annular structures; and

    an inner side wall portion and an outer side wall portion, wherein each of the inner and outer side wall portions has a respective upper side wall segment that has a reduced width relative to a lower side wall segment of the side wall portion, the upper and lower side wall segments being joined at a ledge that spans a difference between respective widths in the upper and lower side wall segments.


     
    13. The method of claim 11, wherein the top surface connecting the side wall portions of each annular structure includes notched voids continuous with respective side wall voids such that the flanges positioned proximate the bottom ends of each side wall void are accommodated by the notched voids in the top surface of a second, same-shaped container carrier when stacked.
     
    14. The method of claim 11, wherein the flanges project inwardly and are oriented upwardly at an angle; and
    wherein the flanges have a perimeter profile as viewed from above that is smaller and nests within a perimeter profile as viewed from above of the notched voids in the top surface.
     
    15. The method of claim 11, the method further comprising:
    forming a graspable loop that extends from a bottom of a lower side wall segment of an inner side wall portion of a bridge to a bottom of a lower side wall segment of an inner side wall portion of a parallel bridge, wherein the peak height of the graspable loop extends beyond the top surfaces of the annular structures and bridges.
     


    Ansprüche

    1. Behälter-Träger (10) zum Zusammenhalten und Tragen mehrerer Behälter (CON), umfassend:

    einen einstückig ausgebildeten Körper (11) mit einer Mehrzahl von ringförmigen Strukturen (12), wobei jede ringförmige Struktur (12) durch eine Brücke (14) mit zumindest einer benachbarten ringförmigen Struktur (12) der Mehrzahl von ringförmigen Strukturen (12) verbunden ist, und

    wobei jede ringförmige Struktur (12) eine Seitenwand (16), die aus Seitenwandabschnitten (18) ausgebildet ist, die durch in der Seitenwand (16) ausgebildete Seitenwandhohlräume (20) getrennt sind, eine obere Fläche (22), welche die Seitenwandabschnitte (18) verbindet, und einen jeweiligen Flansch (30) aufweist, der in der Nähe eines bodenseitigen Endes jedes Seitenwandhohlraums (20) angeordnet ist, wobei die Flansche (30) jeder ringförmigen Struktur (12) gemeinsam dazu eingerichtet sind, lösbar mit einem entsprechenden Behälter (CON) der mehreren Behälter (CON) in Eingriff zu kommen, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass

    jeder Seitenwandabschnitt (18) derart ausgebildet ist, dass er ein jeweiliges oberes Seitenwandsegment (24) mit einem reduzierten Durchmesser (D1) relativ zu einem jeweiligen unteren Seitenwandsegment (26) des Seitenwandabschnitts (18) aufweist, wobei die oberen und unteren Seitenwandsegmente (24, 26) an einer Leiste (28) verbunden sind, die sich über eine Differenz zwischen jeweiligen Durchmessern (D1, D2) in den oberen und unteren Seitenwandsegmenten (24, 26) erstreckt; und

    ein Bodenabschnitt (32) des unteren Seitenwandsegments (26) derart ausgebildet ist, dass er einen Innendurchmesser (ID) aufweist, der größer als ein Außendurchmesser (OD) des oberen Seitenwandsegments (24) und kleiner als ein Außendurchmesser (LOD) der Leiste (28) ist, so dass der Bodenabschnitt (32) des unteren Seitenwandsegments (26) auf der Leiste (28) eines zweiten, gleichförmigen Behälter-Trägers (10) liegt, wenn diese gestapelt werden.


     
    2. Behälter-Träger nach Anspruch 1, wobei jede Brücke zwischen benachbarten ringförmigen Strukturen definiert ist, durch:

    eine obere Fläche, die zwischen benachbarten ringförmigen Strukturen verbindend ausgebildet ist; und

    einen inneren Seitenwandabschnitt und einen äußeren Seitenwandabschnitt, wobei jeder der inneren und äußeren Seitenwandabschnitte jeweils ein oberes Seitenwandsegment aufweist, das eine reduzierte Breite relativ zu einem unteren Seitenwandsegment des Seitenwandabschnitts aufweist, wobei die oberen und unteren Seitenwandsegmente an einer Leiste verbunden sind, die sich über eine Differenz zwischen jeweiligen Breiten in den oberen und unteren Seitenwandsegmenten erstreckt.


     
    3. Behälter-Träger nach Anspruch 1, wobei die obere Fläche, welche die Seitenwandabschnitte jeder ringförmigen Struktur verbindet, eingekerbte Hohlräume aufweist, die durchgehend mit jeweiligen Seitenwandhohlräumen sind, so dass die in der Nähe der bodenseitigen Enden jedes Seitenwandhohlraums angeordneten Flansche durch die eingekerbten Hohlräume in der oberen Fläche eines zweiten, gleichförmigen Behälter-Trägers aufgenommen werden, wenn diese gestapelt werden.
     
    4. Behälter-Träger nach Anspruch 1, wobei die Flansche nach innen hervorstehen und in einem Winkel nach oben ausgerichtet sind; und
    wobei die Flansche von oben gesehen ein kleineres Umfangsprofil aufweisen und sich von oben gesehen innerhalb eines Umfangsprofils der eingekerbten Hohlräume in der oberen Fläche einnisten.
     
    5. Behälter-Träger nach Anspruch 1, ferner umfassend einen einstückig geformte greifbare Schlaufe, die sich von einem Boden eines unteren Seitenwandsegments eines inneren Seitenwandabschnitts einer Brücke zu einem Boden eines unteren Seitenwandsegments eines inneren Seitenwandabschnitts einer gegenüberliegenden Brücke erstreckt, wobei eine Spitzenhöhe der greifbaren Schlaufe sich über die oberen Flächen der ringförmigen Strukturen und Brücken hinaus erstreckt.
     
    6. Behälter-Träger nach Anspruch 1, wobei die obere Fläche, welche die Seitenwandabschnitte jeder ringförmigen Struktur verbindet, einen zentralen Bereich aufweist, der durch einen Zwischenumfang definiert ist.
     
    7. Behälter-Träger nach Anspruch 1, wobei eine Höhe der unteren Seitenwandsegmente größer als eine Höhe der oberen Seitenwandsegmente ist.
     
    8. Behälter-Träger nach Anspruch 1, wobei die Seitenwandabschnitte derart verjüngt sind, dass das obere Seitenwandsegment eine geringere Breite relativ zur Breite des unteren Seitenwandsegments aufweist.
     
    9. Behälter-Träger nach Anspruch 1, wobei die Mehrzahl von ringförmigen Strukturen eine von zwei, drei, vier, sechs oder acht ringförmigen Strukturen ist.
     
    10. Behälter-Träger nach Anspruch 1, wobei der Behälter-Träger aus einem flexiblen Kunststoff ausgebildet ist.
     
    11. Herstellungsverfahren für einen Behälter-Träger (10) zum Zusammenhalten und Tragen mehrerer Behälter (CON) durch die Hälse (N) nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 10, wobei das Verfahren umfasst:

    Formen eines einstückig geformten Körpers (11) mit einer Mehrzahl von ringförmigen Strukturen (12), wobei jede ringförmige Struktur (12) durch eine Brücke (14) mit zumindest einer benachbarten ringförmigen Struktur (12) der Mehrzahl von ringförmigen Strukturen (12) verbunden ist;

    Ausbilden, in jeder ringförmigen Struktur (12), eine Seitenwand (16), die aus Seitenwandabschnitten (18) ausgebildet ist, die durch in der Seitenwand (16) ausgebildete Seitenwandhohlräume (20) getrennt sind, und eine obere Fläche (22), welche die Seitenwandabschnitte (18) verbindet, wobei jeder Seitenwandabschnitt (18) ein jeweiliges oberes Seitenwandsegment (24) aufweist, das einen reduzierten Durchmesser (D1) relativ zu einem jeweiligen unteren Seitenwandsegment (26) des Seitenwandabschnitts (18) aufweist, wobei die oberen und unteren Seitenwandsegmente (24, 26) an einer Leiste (28) verbunden sind, die sich über eine Differenz zwischen jeweiligen Durchmessern (D1, D2) in den oberen und unteren Seitenwandsegmenten (24, 26) erstreckt;

    Ausbilden eines entsprechenden Flansches (30) in der Nähe eines bodenseitigen Endes jedes Seitenwandhohlraums (20);

    Ausbilden der Flansche (30) jeder ringförmigen Struktur (12), um gemeinsam und lösbar mit einem entsprechenden Behälter (CON) der mehreren Behälter (CON) in Eingriff zu kommen; und

    Ausbilden eines Bodenabschnitts des unteren Seitenwandsegments (26), damit dieser einen Innendurchmesser (ID) aufweist, der größer als ein Außendurchmesser (OD) der oberen Seitenwand (24) und kleiner als ein Außendurchmesser (LOD) der Leiste (28) ist, so dass der Bodenabschnitt des unteren Seitenwandsegments (26) auf der Leiste (28) eines zweiten, gleichförmigen Behälter-Trägers (10) liegt, wenn diese gestapelt werden.


     
    12. Verfahren nach Anspruch 11, wobei jede Brücke zwischen benachbarten ringförmigen Strukturen definiert ist, durch:

    eine obere Fläche, die zwischen benachbarten ringförmigen Strukturen verbindend ausgebildet wird; und

    einen inneren Seitenwandabschnitt und einen äußeren Seitenwandabschnitt, wobei jeder der inneren und äußeren Seitenwandabschnitte jeweils ein oberes Seitenwandsegment aufweist, das eine reduzierte Breite relativ zu einem unteren Seitenwandsegment des Seitenwandabschnitts aufweist, wobei die oberen und unteren Seitenwandsegmente an einer Leiste verbunden sind, die sich über eine Differenz zwischen jeweiligen Breiten in den oberen und unteren Seitenwandsegmenten erstreckt.


     
    13. Verfahren nach Anspruch 11, wobei die obere Fläche, welche die Seitenwandabschnitte jeder ringförmigen Struktur verbindet, eingekerbte Hohlräume aufweist, die durchgehend mit jeweiligen Seitenwandhohlräumen sind, so dass die in der Nähe der bodenseitigen Enden jedes Seitenwandhohlraums angeordneten Flansche durch die eingekerbten Hohlräume in der oberen Fläche eines zweiten, gleichförmigen Behälter-Trägers aufgenommen werden, wenn diese gestapelt werden.
     
    14. Verfahren nach Anspruch 11, wobei die Flansche nach innen hervorstehen und in einem Winkel nach oben ausgerichtet sind; und
    wobei die Flansche von oben gesehen ein kleineres Umfangsprofil aufweisen und sich von oben gesehen innerhalb eines Umfangsprofils der eingekerbten Hohlräume in der oberen Fläche einnisten.
     
    15. Verfahren nach Anspruch 11, wobei das Verfahren ferner umfasst:
    Ausbilden einer greifbaren Schlaufe, die sich von einem Boden eines unteren Seitenwandsegments eines inneren Seitenwandabschnittes einer Brücke zu einem Boden eines unteren Seitenwandsegments eines inneren Seitenwandabschnittes einer parallelen Brücke erstreckt, wobei die Spitzenhöhe der greifbaren Schlaufe sich über die oberen Flächen der ringförmigen Strukturen und Brücken hinaus erstreckt.
     


    Revendications

    1. Porte-récipient (10) pour fixer ensemble et porter plusieurs récipients (CON), comprenant :

    un corps moulé d'un seul tenant (11) avec une pluralité de structures annulaires (12), chaque structure annulaire (12) étant reliée par un pont (14) à au moins une structure annulaire adjacente (12) de la pluralité de structures annulaires (12), et

    chaque structure annulaire (12) comprenant une paroi latérale (16) formée de parties de paroi latérale (18) séparées par des vides de paroi latérale (20) formés dans la paroi latérale (16), une surface supérieure (22) reliant les parties de paroi latérale (18), et une bride respective (30) positionnée à proximité d'une extrémité inférieure de chaque vide de paroi latérale (20), les brides (30) de chaque structure annulaire (12) étant collectivement configurées pour engager de manière libérable un récipient (CON) correspondant parmi les plusieurs récipients (CON), caractérisé en ce que :

    chaque partie de paroi latérale (18) est formée pour avoir un segment de paroi latérale supérieur (24) respectif avec un diamètre (D1) réduit par rapport à un segment de paroi latérale inférieur (26) respectif de la partie de paroi latérale (18), les segments de paroi latérale supérieur et inférieur (24, 26) étant joints au niveau d'un rebord (28) qui couvre une différence entre les diamètres respectifs (D1, D2) entre les segments de paroi latérale supérieur et inférieur (24, 26) ; et

    une partie inférieure (32) du segment de paroi latérale inférieur (26) est formée de manière à avoir un diamètre intérieur (ID) qui est plus grand qu'un diamètre extérieur (OD) du segment de paroi latérale supérieur (24) et plus petit qu'un diamètre extérieur (LOD) du rebord (28), de sorte que la partie inférieure (32) du segment de paroi latérale inférieur (26) repose sur le rebord (28) d'un deuxième porte-récipient (10) de même forme lorsqu'ils sont empilés.


     
    2. Porte-récipient selon la revendication 1, dans lequel chaque pont entre des structures annulaires adjacentes est défini par :

    une surface supérieure qui est formée de manière connective entre des structures annulaires adjacentes ; et

    une partie de paroi latérale intérieure et une partie de paroi latérale extérieure, dans laquelle chacune des parties de paroi latérale intérieure et extérieure a un segment de paroi latérale supérieur respectif qui a une largeur réduite par rapport à un segment de paroi latérale inférieur de la partie de paroi latérale, les segments de paroi latérale supérieur et inférieur étant joints au niveau d'un rebord qui couvre une différence entre les largeurs respectives des segments de paroi latérale supérieur et inférieur.


     
    3. Porte-récipient selon la revendication 1, dans lequel la surface supérieure reliant les parties de paroi latérale de chaque structure annulaire comprend des vides crantés continus avec les vides de paroi latérale respectifs de telle sorte que les brides positionnées à proximité des extrémités inférieures de chaque vide de paroi latérale sont logées par les vides crantés dans la surface supérieure d'un deuxième porte- récipient de même forme lorsqu'ils sont empilés.
     
    4. Porte-récipient selon la revendication 1, dans lequel les brides font saillie vers l'intérieur et sont orientées vers le haut selon un angle ; et
    dans lequel les brides ont un profil de périmètre vu de dessus qui est plus petit et s'emboîte dans un profil de périmètre vu de dessus des vides crantés dans la surface supérieure.
     
    5. Porte-récipient selon la revendication 1, comprenant en outre une boucle saisissable formée d'un seul tenant qui s'étend depuis un bas d'un segment de paroi latérale inférieure d'une partie de paroi latérale intérieure d'un pont jusqu'à un bas d'un segment de paroi latérale inférieure d'une partie de paroi latérale intérieure d'un pont opposé, dans lequel une hauteur maximale de la boucle saisissable s'étend au-delà des surfaces supérieures des structures annulaires et des ponts.
     
    6. Porte-récipient selon la revendication 1, dans lequel la surface supérieure reliant les parties de paroi latérale de chaque structure annulaire comprend une région centrale définie par un périmètre intermédiaire.
     
    7. Porte-récipient selon la revendication 1, dans lequel une hauteur des segments de paroi latérale inférieurs est supérieure à une hauteur des segments de paroi latérale supérieurs.
     
    8. Porte-récipient selon la revendication 1, dans lequel les parties de paroi latérale sont effilées de telle sorte que le segment de paroi latérale supérieur ait une largeur plus petite par rapport à la largeur du segment de paroi latérale inférieur.
     
    9. Porte-récipient selon la revendication 1, dans lequel la pluralité de structures annulaires est l'une de deux, trois, quatre, six ou huit structures annulaires.
     
    10. Porte-récipient selon la revendication 1, dans lequel le porte-récipient est formé d'une matière plastique flexible.
     
    11. Procédé de fabrication d'un porte-récipient (10) pour fixer ensemble et porter plusieurs récipients (CON) par les cols (N) selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 10, le procédé comprenant :

    le moulage d'un corps (11) formé d'un seul tenant comprenant une pluralité de structures annulaires (12), dans lequel chaque structure annulaire (12) est reliée par un pont (14) à au moins une structure annulaire (12) adjacente de la pluralité de structures annulaires (12) ;

    la formation dans chaque structure annulaire (12) d'une paroi latérale (16) formée de parties de paroi latérale (18) séparées par des vides de paroi latérale (20) formés dans la paroi latérale (16), et d'une surface supérieure (22) reliant les parties de paroi latérale (18), dans lequel chaque partie de paroi latérale (18) a un segment de paroi latérale supérieur respectif (24) qui a un diamètre (D1) réduit par rapport à un segment de paroi latérale inférieur (26) respectif de la partie de paroi latérale (18), les segments de paroi latérale supérieur et inférieur (24, 26) étant joints au niveau d'un rebord (28) qui couvre une différence entre les diamètres respectifs (D1, D2) entre les segments de paroi latérale supérieur et inférieur (24, 26) ;

    la formation d'un rebord (30) respectif à proximité d'une extrémité inférieure de chaque vide de paroi latérale (20) ;

    la formation des brides (30) de chaque structure annulaire (12) pour engager collectivement et de manière libérable un récipient (CON) correspondant des plusieurs récipients (CON) ; et

    la formation d'une partie inférieure du segment de paroi latérale inférieur (26) pour avoir un diamètre intérieur (ID) qui est plus grand qu'un diamètre extérieur (OD) de la paroi latérale supérieure (24) et plus petit qu'un diamètre extérieur (LOD) du rebord (28), de sorte que la partie inférieure du segment de paroi latérale inférieure (26) repose sur le rebord (28) d'un deuxième porte-récipient (10) de même forme lorsqu'ils sont empilés.


     
    12. Procédé selon la revendication 11, dans lequel chaque pont entre des structures annulaires adjacentes est défini par :

    une surface supérieure qui est formée de manière connective entre des structures annulaires adjacentes ; et

    une partie de paroi latérale intérieure et une partie de paroi latérale extérieure, dans laquelle chacune des parties de paroi latérale intérieure et extérieure a un segment de paroi latérale supérieur respectif qui a une largeur réduite par rapport à un segment de paroi latérale inférieur de la partie de paroi latérale, les segments de paroi latérale supérieur et inférieur étant joints au niveau d'un rebord qui couvre une différence entre les largeurs respectives des segments de paroi latérale supérieur et inférieur.


     
    13. Procédé selon la revendication 11, dans lequel la surface supérieure reliant les parties de paroi latérale de chaque structure annulaire comprend des vides crantés continus avec les vides de paroi latérale respectifs de telle sorte que les brides positionnées à proximité des extrémités inférieures de chaque vide de paroi latérale sont logées par les vides crantés dans la surface supérieure d'un deuxième porte- récipient de même forme lorsqu'ils sont empilés.
     
    14. Procédé selon la revendication 11, dans lequel les brides font saillie vers l'intérieur et sont orientées vers le haut selon un angle ; et
    dans lequel les brides ont un profil de périmètre vu de dessus qui est plus petit et s'emboîte dans un profil de périmètre vu de dessus des vides crantés dans la surface supérieure.
     
    15. Procédé selon la revendication 11, le procédé comprenant en outre :

    la formation d'une boucle saisissable formée d'un seul tenant qui s'étend depuis un bas d'un segment de paroi latérale inférieure d'une partie de paroi latérale intérieure d'un pont jusqu'à un bas d'un segment de paroi latérale inférieure d'une partie de paroi latérale intérieure d'un pont opposé, dans lequel une hauteur maximale de la boucle saisissable s'étend au-delà des surfaces supérieures des structures annulaires et des ponts.


     




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    Cited references

    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