BAG CUTTER AND PIERCER
1. A cutting apparatus, comprising:
- a first arm having a first inner surface and an opposable second arm having a second inner surface opposite the first inner surface;
a first blade partially embedded in and extending from the first arm;
a cutting surface extending from the second arm toward the first blade; and
a first and second piercer extending outward from an edge of the first arm.
A bag cutter for opening a sealed package using at least one of a blade and a piercer. Preferably, at least one blade is disposed partially within a cutout of an arm in a manner that exposes an edge of the blade. A piercer can comprise an extension of a cutout edge or be located on any other suitable portion of an arm. Another blade can be provided that is substantially perpendicular to the blade within a cutout, and juxtaposable against a cutting surface.
- 1. A cutting apparatus, comprising:
a first arm having a first inner surface and an opposable second arm having a second inner surface opposite the first inner surface; a first blade partially embedded in and extending from the first arm; a cutting surface extending from the second arm toward the first blade; and a first and second piercer extending outward from an edge of the first arm.
- View Dependent Claims (2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19)
- 20. A cutting apparatus, comprising:
a first blade partially embedded in and extending from the first arm; a cutting surface extending from the second arm toward the first blade; and a first wiper.
- View Dependent Claims (21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30)
- 31. A cutting apparatus, comprising:
a first arm coupled and opposed to a second arm; a protrusion extending from the first arm toward a receiving portion of the second arm, the receiving portion including a trough bounded by a first lip; a piercer embedded in the first lip; and a blade spanning a portion of the trough; wherein the protrusion is positioned substantially opposite the piercer.
- View Dependent Claims (32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39)
This application is a continuation in part of U.S. application Ser. No. 16/538,562 filed Aug. 12, 2019, which is a continuation of U.S. application Ser. No. 14/919,598 filed Oct. 21, 2015, now issued as U.S. Pat. No. 10,377,619, which is a continuation of U.S. application Ser. No. 14/494,936 filed Sep. 24, 2014, now issued as U.S. Pat. No. 9,221,664, which is a continuation of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 13/653,920, filed Oct. 17, 2012, now issued as U.S. Pat. No. 8,869,408, which is a continuation-in-part of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 13/546,212, filed on Jul. 11, 2012, now issued as U.S. Pat. No. 8,869,407, which is a continuation-in-part of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 13/528,473, filed on Jun. 20, 2012, now issued as U.S. Pat. No. 8,869,406. These and all other extrinsic materials discussed herein are incorporated by reference in their entirety. Where a definition or use of a term in an incorporated reference is inconsistent or contrary to the definition of that term provided herein, the definition of that term provided herein applies and the definition of that term in the reference does not apply.
The field of the invention is bag cutters.
The following background discussion includes information that may be useful in understanding the present invention. It is not an admission that any of the information provided herein is prior art or relevant to the presently claimed invention, or that any publication specifically or implicitly referenced is prior art.
Employment of sealed bags for housing various products is a well-accepted packaging approach. While such bags are highly desirable for their efficiency in maintaining product integrity, access into the contents of such bags is often inconvenient, and contents often spill due to messy cuts and tears.
Various bag cutters are available that attempt to overcome some of the problems described above. Such cutters include the devices described in International Patent Application Publication No. 2008/086101, United States Patent Publication No. 2005/0102844, and U.S. Pat. Nos. 7,073,264, 6,658,742, 4,887,355, and 5,007,171.
Existing bag cutters are not as versatile, durable, or safe as could be desired. Thus, there is still a need for improved cutting devices.
The inventive subject matter provides apparatus, systems and methods for opening various objects, especially plastic bags, using a cutting device having a blade, a cutout, and a piercer. Devices of the inventive subject matter provide safe, durable, or versatile cutters for a wide range of uses.
Some preferred bag cutters have two arms, which can advantageously be injection molded as a single, continuous piece of plastic. Alternatively, the arms can be two discontinuous pieces of material coupled to a pivot. Some contemplated bag cutters comprise a single arm that comprises all components of the device (e.g., embodiments without an anvil).
In some embodiments having two arms, it is contemplated that one arm partially encloses a blade, and another arm comprises a cutting surface juxtaposable against an edge of the blade.
Contemplated arms have a cutout that partially encloses a blade. Preferably, a piercer, extending from the cutout or any other portion of the cutter, is configured to pierce a bag or other object. Piercers can be used in conjunction with a blade to create a cut, or be used independent of a blade simply to pierce a bag. Piercing a bag can be useful where sealed bags are taken to high elevation locations (to keep them from exploding and creating a mess), where a user wishes to de-puff bags without opening them (e.g., for shipping purposes), and so forth. A piercer can be made of the same piece of material as an arm, or comprise a separate piece of material coupled with the arm.
Bag cutters can have one, two, or even more blades, cutouts, piercers, and cutting surfaces (e.g., anvils, raised portions, or any other surface that could be used in conjunction with an edge of a blade to create a cut). Unless the context dictates the contrary, all ranges set forth herein should be interpreted as being inclusive of their endpoints, and open-ended ranges should be interpreted to include commercially practical values. Similarly, all lists of values should be considered as inclusive of intermediate values unless the context indicates the contrary.
Contemplated devices could typically be used in at least two of the following ways: (1) placing a bag between a cutting surface and a blade and squeezing the arms while sliding across the bag; (2) piercing a bag by sliding the piercer through a portion of the bag; (3) sliding a bag through a cutout exposing a blade, or (4) a combination thereof.
Various objects, features, aspects and advantages of the inventive subject matter will become more apparent from the following detailed description of preferred embodiments, along with the accompanying drawing figures in which like numerals represent like components.
Methods, systems, and devices are contemplated for safely, simply, and efficiently cutting through materials with manual, handheld devices. For example, a cutting apparatus is contemplated with a first arm with an inner surface and an opposed second arm with an inner surface opposite the inner surface of the other arm. A first blade is partially embedded in and extending from the first arm. A cutting surface extends from the second arm toward the first blade, and two piercers extend outward from an edge (e.g., side edge) of the first arm.
In some embodiments, one of the piercers extends at least partially toward the inner surface of the second arm, for example at an angle at least 5°, 15°, 30°, 45°, 60°, 75°, or as much as 90° to the inner surface of the second arm. Either separately or in combination, one of the piercers can extend away from a space between the first and second arms, for example at an angle at least 5°, 15°, 30°, 45°, 60°, 75°, or as much as 90° to a horizontal plane in the space between the two arms. Generally, the two piercers have a substantially mirrored or comparable shape with respect to each other, though it is contemplated the two piercers have different shapes.
A blade is positioned between one of the piercers and the proximal edge of the arm, in some embodiments. Moreover, an additional blade can be positioned between the other piercer and the proximal edge of the arm. Viewed from another perspective, a blade bridges a gap between a piercer and the edge of the first arm, and in some embodiments another blade bridges a gap between another piercer and the edge of the first arm. In perspective, one of the arms has a breadth, and one of the piercers extends beyond or outside the breadth of the arm. Conversely, it is contemplated that a piercer extends approximately within the bounds or breadth of the second arm.
In some embodiments, cutting devices further include a wiper. The wiper extends from the inner surface of an arm toward the inner surface of the opposing arm. The first wiper is typically substantially longitudinal to the inner surface of the arm, though it is contemplated that the wiper is at least 5 degrees askew to longitude of the arm in some embodiments. In some embodiments, the wiper also extends toward one of the blades. Some embodiments also include a second wiper, typically extending from the inner surface of the opposite arm and substantially toward the opposing wiper. Generally, pressing the two arms together juxtaposes at least part of the two wipers. Further, a portion of one of the blades meets a portion of the cutting surface when the two wipers are juxtaposed.
One or both of the wipers is typically greater than approximately 1 inch long, as much as 4 inches long, more than 7 inches long, or as great as 10 inches long. The wipers can be made of rigid, semi-rigid, or flexible materials. Contemplated materials include hard plastics, soft plastics, rubbers, foams, resins, or fibrous materials, or combinations thereof, whether natural or synthetic. Further, wipers typically have a triangular cross section, with a wide base at the surface of an arm extending toward a narrowed tip, though curved (e.g., convex, concave, combination of both, etc.) or blunted cross sections are within the contemplated subject matter. Likewise, wipers can be of the same or different materials, or have the same or different cross sections.
Further cutting apparatus are contemplated, for example having an arm with an inner surface and an opposed second arm with a second inner surface opposite the first. A blade is partially embedded in and extending from the first arm, while a cutting surface extends from the inner surface of the second arm toward the first blade. The apparatus also includes wiper, preferably extending from the inner surface of one arm toward the inner surface of the opposite arm. In some embodiments, the apparatus includes a third arm with an inner surface and an opposed fourth arm an inner surface opposite the third arm inner surface.
A wiper typically extends from the inner surface of the third arm (or fourth arm, or both) toward the inner surface of the opposite arm. In some embodiments, the wiper is positioned substantially longitudinal to the inner surface of the arm, though the wiper can be positioned approximately 5 degrees or more askew to the longitude of the third arm. Devices can also include a second wiper, with the second wiper extends from the inner surface of the other arm (e.g., arm that has a wiper) substantially opposite of the first wiper. In some embodiments, a piercer extends from an edge (e.g., side edge, front edge, etc.) of the third (or fourth) arm. A blade preferably spans the gap between the piercer and the edge of the third (or fourth) arm. A second piercer can also extend from the edge of the third arm, preferably an edge different than the first piercer.
Other cutting apparatus are contemplated, including an arm coupled to and opposite a second arm, with a protrusion extending from the one arm toward a receiving portion of the other arm. The receiving portion has a trough bounded by a lip, with a piercer embedded in the lip and a blade spanning the trough. The protrusion is preferably positioned substantially opposite the piercer, and the piercer typically extends from the lip substantially toward the opposite arm. It should be appreciated that pressing the two opposite arms together abuts part of the protrusion with the lip. Typically, a surface of the protrusion has a ridge or array of surface elements arranged as a gripping surface, for example angular surface elements, rounded surface elements, are a combination thereof.
A second lip bounds the trough in some embodiments, preferably substantially opposite first lip, with a blade spanning between the two lips. Pressing the two arms together draws a material (e.g., plastic, paper, mylar, food stuff container, etc.) into contact with the piercer via the protrusion, in some embodiments such that the piercer pierces through the material. In some embodiments, the material is also drawn into, or at least toward, the trough. The protrusion is typically positioned at a front edge of one of the arms, with the lip positioned at a front edge of the opposite arm, preferably substantially opposite the protrusion. However, the protrusion can also be positioned at a side edge of an arm, while first lip is positioned at a side edge of the other arm and substantially opposite the protrusion.
The following discussion provides many example embodiments of the inventive subject matter. Although each embodiment represents a single combination of inventive elements, the inventive subject matter is considered to include all possible combinations of the disclosed elements. Thus if one embodiment comprises elements A, B, and C, and a second embodiment comprises elements B and D, then the inventive subject matter is also considered to include other remaining combinations of A, B, C, or D, even if not explicitly disclosed.
Groupings of alternative elements or embodiments of the invention disclosed herein are not to be construed as limitations. Each group member can be referred to and claimed individually or in any combination with other members of the group or other elements found herein. One or more members of a group can be included in, or deleted from, a group for reasons of convenience and/or patentability. When any such inclusion or deletion occurs, the specification is herein deemed to contain the group as modified thus fulfilling the written description of all Markush groups used in the appended claims.
As used in the description herein and throughout the claims that follow, the meaning of “a,” “an,” and “the” includes plural reference unless the context clearly dictates otherwise. Also, as used in the description herein, the meaning of “in” includes “in” and “on” unless the context clearly dictates otherwise.
Apparatus 100 further comprises a first piercer 150, and second piercer 155 having piercer tip 160 that composes a periphery of first arm 110. Piercers 150 and 155 are made of a single piece of plastic, and attached to second side 180 of first arm 110 such that there is an overlap between first cutout 120 and first piercer 150, and between second cutout 130 and second piercer 155. This configuration is designed to allow a user to pierce and cut a work-piece (e.g., a bag, a sheet, etc.) with one swipe of the hand.
First and second piercers can comprise a single piece of material (as shown in
Piercer 260 comprises an obtuse (i.e., blunt) tip for safety and utility purposes. However, it is contemplated that piercer could comprise a tip of any suitable size and shape, including for example, a needlepoint (could come with a hard cover), a semi-blunt point, a rounded blunt point, a flat blunt point, or any other suitable shape.
Second blade 250 is partially embedded in first arm 210 in a manner that exposes an edge of blade 250. Unlike first blade 240, which is disposed between a first and second side of first arm 210, second blade 250 extends beyond at least one of the first and second sides. In other words, while an edge of first blade 240 is within a thickness 211 of first arm 210, an edge of second blade 250 sticks out from first arm 210.
It is contemplated that an arm could have multiple and varying thicknesses. A “side” of an arm is a surface that comprises one side of all thicknesses thereof. Thus, a “side” is not always a flat surface. For example, first arm 210 comprises a first thickness 211, and a second thickness 212 (among others). The first side (not shown) is substantially flat, while the second side 213 is substantially flat up to an edge portion, which comprises many curvatures.
Each arm can comprise one or more components. For example, a blade juxtaposable against a raised portion or anvil can be coupled with (e.g., partially embedded in) one material of an arm, such as a hard plastic, that is directly coupled with another material of an arm, such as a soft plastic.
As used herein, and unless the context dictates otherwise, the term “coupled to” is intended to include both direct coupling (in which two elements that are coupled to each other contact each other) and indirect coupling (in which at least one additional element is located between the two elements). Therefore, the terms “coupled to” and “coupled with” are used synonymously.
First arm 310 comprises a second blade 360 partially embedded therein and exposing a first edge 370. Second arm 320 comprises a first cutout 330 at least partially enclosing first blade 340, and having a first piercer 350. Second arm further comprises second piercer 355 that is distal from each of the first blade 340 and second blade 360.
It is contemplated that any arm can comprise any component of a cutting apparatus in any suitable combination. Thus, anvil(s), cutout(s), blade(s), piercer(s), and any other component can be located on any arm or arms.
In some other embodiments, first arm is continuous with second arm via a single piece of shared material.
A hanger accepter (e.g., tab 491) can be located on any portion of any arm or pivot and can be configured to accept a hook or other hanger. It is also contemplated for a bag cutter to have various safety features, including, for example, a locking strap, and a ridge in one or both of the arms to help prevent a user'"'"'s fingers from sliding off the arm.
Blades can be made of any suitable material, including steel, ceramic, and plastic, and can have flat, concave or convex edges. Blades made with one or more non-optimal materials can optionally have suitable coatings, including for example Teflon™ or other friction-reducing coating, and metal coatings or other corrosion-resistance coatings. Stops can be included to control cutting depth. Each blade is preferably embedded in such a way that at least a portion of an edge of a blade is exposed at all times.
Apparatus 600 further comprises a first piercer 670 and second piercer 675. A piercer can be used to pierce one side of a bag, so that a bag can be opened on a single side. In other words, a strip of the bag does not need to be removed in order to open a bag. Instead, a user can simply pierce one side of the bag and create a cut using a cutout and corresponding blade edge.
Apparatus 700 further comprises cutting surface 735, configured to juxtapose an edge of first blade 710 when apparatus 700 is squeezed together.
As seen in
In preferred applications, apparatus 1600A is used to open a plastic bag containing a liquid food stuff, for example via one of the piercers or blades. Once the plastic bag is open, the liquid food stuff is emptied from the bag, the bag is placed between opposed wiper surfaces 1612A and 1614A, the two arms are squeezed together in the direction of arrow A, in turn pressing together opposed wiper surfaces 1612A and 1614A. Apparatus 1600A is then drawn along the length of the bag to remove remaining food stuff from the bag.
It is contemplated that apparatus 1800A be used to open bags holding fluid food stuff. For example, either cutting region 1812A of portion 1810A or piercing region 1822A of portion 1820A could be used to open a bag to remove the food stuff. Once the bag has been emptied, the bag is placed between wiper surface 1824A and opposed surface 1826A of portion 1820, the two arms of portion 1820A are pressed together in the direction of arrow B, and apparatus 1800A is drawn along the bag to remove any remaining food stuff, as described above. Such embodiments provide separate use of the cutting application of region 1812A and the extraction application of wiper surface 1824A.
The recitation of ranges of values herein is merely intended to serve as a shorthand method of referring individually to each separate value falling within the range. Unless otherwise indicated herein, each individual value is incorporated into the specification as if it were individually recited herein. All methods described herein can be performed in any suitable order unless otherwise indicated herein or otherwise clearly contradicted by context. The use of any and all examples, or exemplary language (e.g. “such as”) provided with respect to certain embodiments herein is intended merely to better illuminate the invention and does not pose a limitation on the scope of the invention otherwise claimed. No language in the specification should be construed as indicating any non-claimed element essential to the practice of the invention.
It should be apparent to those skilled in the art that many more modifications besides those already described are possible without departing from the inventive concepts herein. The inventive subject matter, therefore, is not to be restricted except in the scope of the appended claims. Moreover, in interpreting both the specification and the claims, all terms should be interpreted in the broadest possible manner consistent with the context. In particular, the terms “comprises” and “comprising” should be interpreted as referring to elements, components, or steps in a non-exclusive manner, indicating that the referenced elements, components, or steps may be present, or utilized, or combined with other elements, components, or steps that are not expressly referenced. Where the specification claims refers to at least one of something selected from the group consisting of A, B, C . . . and N, the text should be interpreted as requiring only one element from the group, not A plus N, or B plus N, etc.