(19)
(11)EP 3 585 608 B1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT SPECIFICATION

(45)Mention of the grant of the patent:
24.02.2021 Bulletin 2021/08

(21)Application number: 18715899.3

(22)Date of filing:  20.02.2018
(51)International Patent Classification (IPC): 
B32B 7/04(2019.01)
B32B 3/06(2006.01)
B32B 3/12(2006.01)
B32B 29/00(2006.01)
B32B 3/08(2006.01)
(86)International application number:
PCT/GB2018/050444
(87)International publication number:
WO 2018/154291 (30.08.2018 Gazette  2018/35)

(54)

PROTECTIVE PACKAGING PRODUCT

SCHUTZVERPACKUNGSPRODUKT

PRODUIT D'EMBALLAGE PROTECTEUR


(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: 21.02.2017 GB 201702806

(43)Date of publication of application:
01.01.2020 Bulletin 2020/01

(73)Proprietor: Flexi-Hex Limited
Cornwall TR13 9JX (GB)

(72)Inventor:
  • BOEX, Sam
    Porthleven, Cornwall TR13 9JX (GB)

(74)Representative: Craske, Stephen Allan 
Craske & Co. Shallowford Holsworthy Road Hatherleigh
Okehampton Devon EX20 3LE
Okehampton Devon EX20 3LE (GB)


(56)References cited: : 
WO-A1-2011/075830
GB-A- 1 001 804
CN-A- 107 401 090
  
      
    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

    TECHNICAL FIELD OF THE INVENTION



    [0001] This invention relates to a packaging product which is suitable for protecting items such as surfboards.

    BACKGROUND



    [0002] Surfboards are costly items and they are very susceptible to damage in transit and storage. Surfboards are generally manufactured in various shapes and sizes which manufacturers hold in stock ready to be sent out to shops on receipt of an order. Increasingly, surfboards are being offered for sale on the internet so that they need to be exported to customers throughout the world. Existing packaging products are available which provide protection for the edges of the surfboard in storage and transit but this still leaves large areas which are susceptible to damage. More often than not, even with high value surfboards packaging is contrived from cardboard and bubble wrap which often gives inadequate protection, looks unprofessional, takes up considerable storage space prior to use, and is time-consuming to apply and remove.

    [0003] GB1001804 discloses a packaging product comprising expandable honeycomb layers; the cells of the honeycomb are used as compartments for locating and separating individual articles.

    [0004] The present invention seeks to provide a new and inventive form of packaging product which addresses at least some of the drawbacks of existing packaging.

    SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION



    [0005] The present invention is defined in the appended claims and proposes a packaging product which includes expandable superimposed upper and lower honeycomb layers extending between a pair of flexible side members, characterised in that the flexible side members are two separate elongate flat strips wherein, when said honeycomb layers are expanded, the flexible side members can each move independently of the other to adopt a curved profile.

    [0006] In a preferred embodiment each honeycomb layer comprises a plurality of flexible strips arranged face-to-face and attached to each other at a series of attachment locations spaced lengthwise of the flexible strips.

    [0007] In a preferred embodiment the attachment locations which are spaced lengthwise of each flexible strip alternate between opposite faces thereof.

    [0008] In a preferred embodiment the attachment locations and the spaces therebetween are of substantially equal length.

    [0009] In a preferred embodiment outermost flexible strips at opposite edges of each honeycomb layer are attached to respective flexible side members.

    [0010] In a preferred embodiment there is a gap between the two honeycomb layers.

    [0011] In a preferred embodiment the flexible strips are formed of paper.

    [0012] In a preferred embodiment the flexible paper strips are from 100 to 200 gsm (grams per square metre).

    [0013] In a preferred embodiment each honeycomb layer is expandable perpendicular to said lengthwise direction to form an open cellular structure.

    [0014] In a preferred embodiment each honeycomb layer comprises an array of cells which are open at opposite upper and lower faces of the respective honeycomb layer.

    [0015] In a preferred embodiment each honeycomb layer comprises an array of hexagonal cells

    [0016] In a preferred embodiment the cells have a maximum dimension of 10 to 20 mm.

    [0017] In a preferred embodiment each of the honeycomb layers is 10 to 50 mm thick.

    [0018] In a preferred embodiment the flexible side members each comprise a flat strip.

    [0019] In a preferred embodiment outer faces of the side members carry printed matter.

    [0020] In a preferred embodiment a generally planar item is inserted between the honeycomb layers.

    [0021] In a preferred embodiment the generally planar item is a surfboard.

    BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS



    [0022] The following description and the accompanying drawings referred to therein are included by way of non-limiting example in order to illustrate how the invention may be put into practice. In the drawings:

    Figure 1 is a general view of a protective packaging product in a partly-expanded condition;

    Figure 2 is an enlarged detail showing the same packaging product from the opposite end;

    Figure 3 is a side view showing part of one of the flexible strips used in the packaging product;

    Figure 4 is an exploded view showing three of the flexible strips in the configurations which they adopt when the product is expanded;

    Figure 5 is a detail of part of the packaging product showing the honeycomb cellular structure in the expanded configuration; and

    Figure 6 is a plan view of the complete packaging product in a fully-expanded condition.


    DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS



    [0023] Referring to Fig.s 1 and 2, the protective packaging product includes upper and lower honeycomb layers 1 and 2 which extend between a pair of flexible side members 3 and 4. The honeycomb layers 1 and 2 are substantially identical and are each formed from flexible strips 5, one of which is shown in Fig. 3. The strips may be formed of paper, preferably recycled paper, typically 120 or 140 gsm, although thicknesses from about 100 gsm to 200 gsm may be used. The flexible strips may typically be about 20mm wide, the preferred range being from 10 to 50mm, and are glued or otherwise bonded to each other, face-to-face. The strips are bonded at a series of substantially rectangular attachment locations 6a and 6b which are spaced lengthwise of the strips with intervening gaps 7. The attachment locations alternate between opposite faces of each strip such that, as indicated in the drawing, the attachment locations 6a on one side of the strip alternate with attachment locations 6b on the opposite side of the strip. The attachment locations 6a and 6b and the intervening gaps 7 are preferably of substantially the same length. When the strips are bonded to each other they can deform as shown in the expanded view of Fig. 4. The unbonded areas of the adjacent strips can move apart so that the respective layer is therefore able to expand in direction A, perpendicular to the lengthwise direction of the unexpanded strips, forming an open cellular structure similar to a honeycomb as shown in Fig. 5. The layers 1, 2 thus provide an array of hexagonal cells 8 which are open at opposite upper and lower faces of the respective layer. When fully expanded the dimension of the cells perpendicular to the lengthwise direction of the strips is typically about 15mm, although a range of 10 to 20 mm would be suitable.

    [0024] Referring back to Fig.s 1 and 2, the outermost strips 5 at opposite edges of each honeycomb layer 1 and 2 are glued or otherwise attached to the respective flexible side members 3 and 4. The side members may comprise strips of triple-ply card or cardboard, preferably formed of recycled materials, typically 1.15 metres by 45 mm. The side members are stiffer than the strips 7 whilst still being sufficiently flexible to adopt a curved profile as shown. The upper and lower honeycomb layers 1 and 2 are thus superimposed upon each other with a small intervening gap 9, typically about 5 mm, between their opposing faces, but the gap 9 remains accessible at both ends of the packaging product, as shown.

    [0025] In an unexpanded state, as at the right hand end in Fig. 2, the overall dimensions of the packaging product are typically about 1.15 metres long by 45 mm high by 45 to 50 mm wide. The size of the unexpanded product is therefore very convenient for shipping and storage, as well as being of low weight. When expanded to its maximum dimension as shown in Fig. 5, the width of the product between the flexible side members 3 and 4 increases to about 800mm.

    [0026] When it is desired to protect a generally planar item such as a surfboard the item is inserted into the gap 9 between the honeycomb layers at one end of the packaging product, which causes the gap to expand so that the upper and lower layers 1, 2 and the flexible side members 3, 4 move apart. The small gap 9 between the two layers makes it easier to insert items between the two honeycomb layers. Due to their inherent tension the layers 1, 2 and the side members 3, 4 closely conform to the external shape of the surfboard, which thus minimises the volume of the packaged item. The honeycomb layers and side members act to spread any impacts and thereby protect the packaged item from impact damage. In addition, the honeycomb may crumple under localised impacts which again helps to absorb impact loads.

    [0027] For packaged items which are more than about one metre in length, two or more of the packaging products can be used end-to-end to fully enclose the item. The adjacent ends of the packaging products can conveniently be taped together and the ends sealed using standard packaging tape.

    [0028] No additional packaging or wrapping is usually necessary. The outer faces of the side members 3 and 4 are suitable to carry printed matter identifying the product manufacturer and contents. An address label may be securely affixed to the side members if desired.

    [0029] Although the packaging product is particularly useful for packaging surfboards it can also be used for packaging other planar items such as bodyboards, SUP boards, windsurfer parts, paintings, sheet of glass, marble or the like.

    [0030] Whilst the above description places emphasis on the areas which are believed to be new and addresses specific problems which have been identified, it is intended that the features disclosed herein may be used in any combination which is capable of providing a new and useful advance in the art.


    Claims

    1. A packaging product which includes expandable superimposed upper and lower honeycomb layers (1, 2) extending between a pair of flexible side members (3, 4),
    characterised in that the flexible side members (3, 4) are two separate elongate flat strips wherein, when said honeycomb layers are expanded, the flexible side members can each move independently of the other to adopt a curved profile.
     
    2. A packaging product according to Claim 1 in which each honeycomb layer comprises a plurality of flexible strips (5) arranged face-to-face and attached to each other at a series of attachment locations (6a, 6b) spaced lengthwise of the flexible strips.
     
    3. A packaging product according to Claim 2 in which the attachment locations (6a, 6b) which are spaced lengthwise of each flexible strip (5) alternate between opposite faces thereof.
     
    4. A packaging product according to Claim 2 in which the attachment locations (6a, 6b) and the spaces (7) there-between are of substantially equal length.
     
    5. A packaging product according to Claim 2 in which outermost strips (5) at opposite edges of each honeycomb layer (1, 2) are attached to respective flexible side members (3, 4).
     
    6. A packaging product according to Claim 2 in which the flexible strips (5) are formed of paper.
     
    7. A packaging product according to Claim 6 in which the flexible paper strips (5) are from 100 to 200 gsm (grams per square metre).
     
    8. A packaging product according to Claim 2 in which each honeycomb layer (1, 2) is expandable perpendicular to said lengthwise direction to form an open cellular structure.
     
    9. A packaging product according to Claim 1 in which there is a gap (9) between the two honeycomb layers (1, 2).
     
    10. A packaging product according to Claim 1 in each honeycomb layer (1, 2) comprises an array of cells (8).
     
    11. A packaging product according to Claim 10 in which the cells (8) are open at opposite upper and lower faces of the respective honeycomb layer.
     
    12. A packaging product according to Claim 10 in which the cells (8) have a maximum transverse dimension of 10 to 20 mm.
     
    13. A packaging product according to Claim 1 in each honeycomb layer (1, 2) comprises an array of hexagonal cells (8).
     
    14. A packaging product according to Claim 1 in which each of the honeycomb layers (1, 2) is 10 to 50 mm thick.
     
    15. A packaging product according to Claim 1 in which outer faces of the flexible side members (3, 4) carry printed matter.
     
    16. A packaging product according to Claim 1 having a generally planar item inserted between the honeycomb layers (1, 2).
     
    17. A packaging product according to Claim 16 in which the generally planar item is a surfboard.
     


    Ansprüche

    1. Verpackungsprodukt, das dehnbare, übereinander liegende obere und untere Wabenstrukturlagen (1, 2) aufweist, die zwischen einem Paar von flexiblen Seitenteilen (3, 4) verlaufen,
    dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass die flexiblen Seitenteile (3, 4) zwei separate, längliche, flache Streifen sind, wobei die flexiblen Seitenteile, wenn die Wabenstrukturlagen gedehnt werden, sich unabhängig voneinander bewegen können, um ein gekrümmtes Profil anzunehmen.
     
    2. Verpackungsprodukt nach Anspruch 1, bei dem jede Wabenstrukturlage eine Vielzahl von flexiblen Streifen (5) aufweist, die mit zugewandten Seiten einander gegenüberliegend angeordnet sind und an einer Reihe von Verbindungszonen (6a, 6b), die in Längsrichtung der flexiblen Streifen beabstandet voneinander sind, miteinander verbunden sind.
     
    3. Verpackungsprodukt nach Anspruch 2, bei dem die Verbindungszonen (6a, 6b), die in Längsrichtung jedes flexiblen Streifens (5) auf Abstand zueinander liegen, abwechselnd auf gegenüberliegenden Seiten liegen.
     
    4. Verpackungsprodukt nach Anspruch 2, bei dem die Verbindungszonen (6a, 6b) und die Zwischenräume (7) dazwischen im Wesentlichen die gleiche Länge haben.
     
    5. Verpackungsprodukt nach Anspruch 2, bei dem die äußersten Streifen (5) an gegenüberliegenden Rändern jeder Wabenstrukturlage (1, 2) jeweils mit einem der flexiblen Seitenteile (3, 4) verbunden sind.
     
    6. Verpackungsprodukt nach Anspruch 2, bei dem die flexiblen Streifen (5) aus Papier gebildet sind.
     
    7. Verpackungsprodukt nach Anspruch 6, bei dem die flexiblen Papierstreifen (5) 100 bis 200 g/m2 (Gramm pro Quadratmeter) haben.
     
    8. Verpackungsprodukt nach Anspruch 2, bei dem jede Wabenstrukturlage (1, 2) senkrecht zu der Längsrichtung dehnbar ist, um eine offene Zellenstruktur zu bilden.
     
    9. Verpackungsprodukt nach Anspruch 1, bei dem eine Lücke (9) zwischen den beiden Wabenstrukturlagen (1, 2) vorhanden ist.
     
    10. Verpackungsprodukt nach Anspruch 1, wobei jede Wabenstrukturlage (1, 2) ein Feld von Zellen (8) aufweist.
     
    11. Verpackungsprodukt nach Anspruch 10, bei dem die Zellen (8) an gegenüberliegenden oberen und unteren Oberflächen der jeweiligen Wabenstrukturlage offen sind.
     
    12. Verpackungsprodukt nach Anspruch 10, bei dem die Zellen (8) eine maximale Querabmessung von 10 bis 20 mm haben.
     
    13. Verpackungsprodukt nach Anspruch 1, wobei jede Wabenstrukturlage (1, 2) ein Feld von sechseckigen Zellen (8) aufweist.
     
    14. Verpackungsprodukt nach Anspruch 1, wobei jede der Wabenstrukturlagen (1, 2) zwischen 10 und 50 mm dick ist.
     
    15. Verpackungsprodukt nach Anspruch 1, bei dem die äußeren Oberflächen der flexiblen Seitenteile (3, 4) Aufdrucke tragen.
     
    16. Verpackungsprodukt nach Anspruch 1, bei dem ein im Wesentlichen ebener Gegenstand zwischen die Wabenstrukturlagen (1, 2) eingeführt ist.
     
    17. Verpackungsprodukt nach Anspruch 16, bei dem der im Wesentlichen ebene Gegenstand ein Surfboard ist.
     


    Revendications

    1. Produit d'emballage qui comprend des couches en nid d'abeilles supérieure et inférieure superposées extensibles (1, 2) s'étendant entre une paire d'éléments latéraux souples (3, 4),
    caractérisé par le fait que les éléments latéraux souples (3, 4) sont deux bandes plates allongées distinctes, lorsque lesdites couches en nid d'abeilles sont étendues les éléments latéraux souples pouvant chacun se déplacer indépendamment de l'autre pour adopter un profil incurvé.
     
    2. Produit d'emballage selon la revendication 1, dans lequel chaque couche en nid d'abeilles comprend une pluralité de bandes souples (5) disposées face à face et fixées les unes aux autres à une série d'emplacements de fixation (6a, 6b) espacés le long des bandes souples.
     
    3. Produit d'emballage selon la revendication 2, dans lequel les emplacements de fixation (6a, 6b) qui sont espacés le long de chaque bande souple (5) sont alternés entre des faces opposées de celle-ci.
     
    4. Produit d'emballage selon la revendication 2, dans lequel les emplacements de fixation (6a, 6b) et les espaces (7) entre eux sont de longueur sensiblement égale.
     
    5. Produit d'emballage selon la revendication 2, dans lequel les bandes les plus à l'extérieur (5) à des bords opposés de chaque couche en nid d'abeilles (1, 2) sont fixées à des éléments latéraux souples respectifs (3, 4) .
     
    6. Produit d'emballage selon la revendication 2, dans lequel les bandes souples (5) sont faites de papier.
     
    7. Produit d'emballage selon la revendication 6, dans lequel les bandes de papier souples (5) sont de 100 à 200 gsm (grammes par mètre carré).
     
    8. Produit d'emballage selon la revendication 2, dans lequel chaque couche en nid d'abeilles (1, 2) est apte à s'étendre perpendiculairement à ladite direction longitudinale pour former une structure cellulaire ouverte.
     
    9. Produit d'emballage selon la revendication 1, dans lequel il y a un intervalle (9) entre les deux couches en nid d'abeilles (1, 2).
     
    10. Produit d'emballage selon la revendication 1, dans lequel chaque couche en nid d'abeilles (1, 2) comprend un réseau de cellules (8).
     
    11. Produit d'emballage selon la revendication 10, dans lequel les cellules (8) sont ouvertes à des faces supérieure et inférieure opposées de la couche en nid d'abeilles respective.
     
    12. Produit d'emballage selon la revendication 10, dans lequel les cellules (8) ont une dimension transversale maximale de 10 à 20 mm.
     
    13. Produit d'emballage selon la revendication 1, dans lequel chaque couche en nid d'abeilles (1, 2) comprend un réseau de cellules hexagonales (8).
     
    14. Produit d'emballage selon la revendication 1, dans lequel chacune des couches en nid d'abeilles (1, 2) de 10 à 50 mm d'épaisseur.
     
    15. Produit d'emballage selon la revendication 1, dans lequel des faces externes des éléments latéraux souples (3, 4) portent un imprimé.
     
    16. Produit d'emballage selon la revendication 1, ayant un élément généralement plat introduit entre les couches en nid d'abeilles (1, 2).
     
    17. Produit d'emballage selon la revendication 16, dans lequel l'élément généralement plat est une planche de surf.
     




    Drawing














    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