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1. (WO2019005929) CARTON ET DÉCOUPE ASSOCIÉE
Note: Texte fondé sur des processus automatiques de reconnaissance optique de caractères. Seule la version PDF a une valeur juridique

CARTON AND BLANK THEREFOR

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present invention relates to cartons and to blanks for forming the same. More specifically, but not exclusively, the invention relates to a carrier of the wrap-around type having an end closure structure for retention of an article therein.

BACKGROUND

In the field of packaging it is known to provide cartons for carrying multiple articles. Cartons are well known in the art and are useful for enabling consumers to transport, store and access a group of articles for consumption. For cost and environmental considerations, such cartons or carriers need to be formed from as little material as possible and cause as little wastage in the materials from which they are formed as possible. Further considerations are the strength of the carton and its suitability for holding and transporting large weights of articles. It is desirable that the contents of the carton are secure within the carton.

It is well known to provide article carriers or cartons in which an end closure structure is provided to retain an article within the carton.

The present invention seeks to provide an improvement in the field of cartons, typically formed from paperboard or the like.

SUMMARY

A first aspect of the invention provides a carton for packaging articles. The carton comprises a plurality of primary panels for forming a tubular structure and an end closure structure for at least partially closing an end of the tubular structure. The end closure structure comprises a top end closure flap having a handle opening, a first side end closure flap and a web panel. The web panel couples the top end closure flap to the first side end closure flap. The web panel is hingedly connected to the first side end closure flap along a first fold line. The web panel comprises a handle-reinforcing edge which extends along at least part of an engaging edge of the handle opening when the web panel is folded into position between the top and first side end closure flaps. The handle-reinforcing edge extends from the lower end of the first fold line.

Optionally, a distal end of the first fold line is located on the engaging edge of the handle opening.

Optionally, a lower end of the first fold line is located at the engaging edge of the handle opening.

Optionally, the first fold line is disposed at an acute angle with respect to a second fold line between the top end closure flap and the top panel when the carton is erected.

Optionally, the engaging edge provides a load-bearing contact when the carrying handle is in use.

Optionally, the engaging edge of the handle opening is defined by at least one handle flap fold line defining a hinged connection between a cushioning flap and the top end closure flap.

Optionally, the end closure structure comprises a second side end closure flap and a second web panel coupling the top end closure flap to the second side end closure flap, wherein the second web panel is hingedly connected to the second side end closure flap along a third fold line, and wherein the second web panel comprises a second handle-reinforcing edge which extends along at least part of the engaging edge of the handle opening when the second web panel is folded into position between the top and second side end closure flaps and wherein the second handle-reinforcing edge extends from the lower end of the third fold line.

Optionally, the engaging edge of the handle opening is defined in part by a first handle flap fold line coupling a first handle flap to the top end closure flap and in part by a second handle flap fold line coupling a second handle flap to the top end closure flap.

Optionally, the handle-reinforcing edge is defined in part by a first handle reinforcing flap fold line defining a hinged connection between a first handle reinforcing flap and the first side end closure flap.

Optionally, the handle-reinforcing edge is defined in part by a second handle reinforcing flap fold line defining a hinged connection between a second handle reinforcing flap and the second side end closure flap.

Optionally, the first side end closure flap comprises a handle reinforcing flap hinged thereto by a handle reinforcing flap fold line.

Optionally, the second side end closure flap comprises a second handle reinforcing flap hinged thereto by a second handle reinforcing flap fold line.

A second aspect of the invention provides a blank comprising a plurality of primary panels for forming walls of a tubular structure and a plurality of end closure panels for forming an end closure structure for at least partially closing an end of the tubular structure. The plurality of end closure panels comprises a top end closure panel having a handle opening , a first side end closure panel and a web panel for coupling the top end closure panel to the first side end closure panel. The web panel is arranged to be hingedly connected, along a first fold line, to the first side end closure panel in a set-up carton . The web panel comprises a handle-reinforcing edge. In a set-up carton the handle-reinforcing edge is arranged to extend along at least part of an engaging edge of the handle opening when the web panel is folded into position between the top and first side end closure panels. The handle-reinforcing edge extends from the lower end of the first fold line.

Within the scope of this application it is envisaged that the various aspects, embodiments, examples, features and alternatives set out in the preceding paragraphs, in the claims and/or in the following description and drawings may be taken independently or in any combination thereof. For example, features described in connection with one embodiment are applicable to all embodiments unless there is incompatibility of features.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Embodiments of the invention will now be described with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which :

Figure 1 is a plan view from above of a blank for forming a carton according to a first embodiment;

Figure 1 A is an enlarged plan view from above of a portion of the blank of Figure 1 ; Figure 2 is a perspective view from above of an end of a carton formed from the blank of Figure 1 ;

Figure 3 is a perspective view of the carton of Figure 2 illustrating a stage of assembly of an end closure structure;

Figure 4 is a perspective view of the carton of Figure 2 illustrating a carrying handle in deployed condition;

Figure 5 is a perspective view of an end portion of the carton of Figure 2 in which a portion of a top end closure flap has been omitted for illustrative purposes;

Figure 6 is a plan view from above of a blank for forming a carton according to a second embodiment;

Figure 7 is an internal view of an end closure structure of a carton formed from the blank of Figure 7 in which a handle is shown in a deployed condition; and

Figure 7A is an enlarged view of the handle structure shown in Figure 7 in a stowed or initial , pre-deployment, condition .

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF EMBODI MENTS

Detailed descriptions of specific embodiments of the package, blanks and cartons are disclosed herein. It will be understood that the disclosed embodiments are merely examples of the way in which certain aspects of the invention can be implemented and do not represent an exhaustive list of all of the ways the invention may be embodied. As used herein, the word "exemplary" is used expansively to refer to embodiments that serve as illustrations, specimens, models, or patterns. Indeed, it will be understood that the packages, blanks and cartons described herein may be embodied in various and alternative forms. The Figures are not necessarily to scale and some features may be exaggerated or minimised to show details of particular components. Well-known components, materials or methods are not necessarily described in great detail in order to avoid obscuring the present disclosure. Any specific structural and functional details disclosed herein are not to be interpreted as limiting, but merely as a basis for the claims and as a representative basis for teaching one skilled in the art to variously employ the invention.

Referring to Figure 1 and to Figure 1 A, there is shown a plan view of a blank 10 capable of forming a carton or carrier 90, as shown in Figure 2, for containing and carrying a group of primary products such as, but not limited to, bottles or cans, hereinafter referred to as articles B. The blank 1 0 forms a secondary package for packaging at least one primary product container B or package B.

In the embodiments detailed herein, the terms "carton" and "carrier" refer, for the non-limiting purpose of illustrating the various features of the invention, to a container 90 for engaging and carrying articles B, such as primary product containers B. It is contemplated that the teachings of the invention can be applied to various product containers B, which may or may not be tapered and/or cylindrical. Exemplary containers include bottles B (for example metallic, glass or plastics bottles), cans (for example aluminium cans), tins, pouches, packets and the like.

The blank 10 is formed from a sheet of suitable substrate. It is to be understood that, as used herein, the term "suitable substrate" includes all manner of foldable sheet material such as paperboard , corrugated board , cardboard , plastic, combinations thereof, and the like. It should be recognised that one or other numbers of blanks may be employed, where suitable, for example, to provide the carrier structure described in more detail below.

The packaging structures or cartons 90 described herein may be formed from a sheet material such as paperboard , which may be made of or coated with materials to increase its strength. An example of such a sheet material is tear-resistant NATRALOCK® paperboard made by WestRock Company. It should be noted that the tear resistant materials may be provided by more than one layer, to help improve the tear-resistance of the package. Typically, one surface of the sheet material may have different characteristics to the other surface. For example, the surface of the sheet material that faces outwardly from a finished package may be particularly smooth and may have a coating such as a clay coating or other surface treatment to provide good printability. The surface of the sheet material that faces inwardly may, on the other hand , be provided with a coating, a layer, a treatment or be otherwise prepared to provide properties such as one or more of tear-resistance, good glue-ability, heat sealability, or other desired functional properties.

In the illustrated embodiment, the blank 10 is configured to form a carton or carrier 90 for packaging an exemplary arrangement of exemplary articles B. In the embodiment illustrated the arrangement is a 4 x 2 matrix or array; in the illustrated embodiment two rows of four articles B are provided, and the articles B are 16oz (approx. 473ml) aluminium bottles. Alternatively, the blank 1 0 can be configured to form a carrier for packaging other types, number and size of articles B and/or for packaging articles B in a different arrangement or configuration.

The present disclosure relates generally to a carton 90 for packaging articles B which carton 90 comprises an article engaging arrangement for engaging an article B, however said article engaging arrangement is optional. The carton 90 may comprise at least one display window for presentation of an article B. The embodiments described herein may comprise a viewing window arrangement or display window W struck from a side wall 14a/14b of the carton 90. The display window W presents for view a substantial portion of an article B contained within the carton 90 which is disposed adjacent to the side wall 14a/14b. The embodiments described herein also disclose an optional viewing window arrangement or display window DW2 in at least one end wall.

Turning to Figure 1 , there is illustrated a blank 10 for forming a carton 90 according to a first embodiment. The blank 1 0 comprises a plurality of main panels 12, 14a, 14b, 16, 18b, 18a, 20 for forming a tubular structure. The plurality of main panels 12, 14a, 14b, 16, 18b, 1 8a, 20 comprises a first base panel 12, a first lower side panel 14a, a first upper side panel 14b, a top panel 16, a second upper side panel 18b, a second lower side panel 18a and a second base panel 20. The plurality of panels 12, 14a, 14b, 16, 18b, 1 8a, 20 may be arranged in a linear series hinged one to the next by corresponding fold lines 13, 15, 17, 19, 21 , 23. The first upper side panel 14b and the first lower side panel 14a form a first side wall 14a/14b of a carton 90. The second upper side panel 18b and the second lower side panel 18a form a second side wall 1 8a/18b of a carton 90.

The blank 10 is foldable to form a package 90 as illustrated in Figure 2. The first and second base panels 12, 20 are engageable with one another in an overlapping relationship to form a composite base wall 12/20 of the carton 90. The blank 10 may comprise a complementary locking mechanism for securing the second base panel 20 to the first base panel 12. The first base panel 12 may comprise at least one first part F of the complementary locking mechanism. The second base panel 20 may comprise at least one second part M of the complementary locking mechanism. I n the illustrated embodiment, the first base panel 12 comprises a plurality of female tabs F defining openings in the first base panel 12. The second base panel 20 comprises a plurality of male tabs M, the openings in the first base panel 12 being configured to receive a respective one of the male tabs M. The female tabs F are arranged to be displaced out of the first base panel 12 to form the openings and to bear against the male tabs M when received therein.

The first and second base panels 12, 20 may comprise at least one first aperture A1 . In the illustrated embodiment, each of the first and second base panels 12, 20 comprises four first apertures A1 . The first apertures A1 may be employed to facilitate construction of the carton 90. A packaging machine component may engage with the first apertures A1 to enable the plurality of panels 12, 14a, 14b, 16, 18b, 18a, 20 to be tightened about a group of articles B. The first apertures A1 may also be employed to facilitate alignment of the first and second base panels 12, 20 with respect to each other or to align the first part of the complementary locking mechanism with the second part of the complementary locking mechanism. The complementary locking mechanism illustrated and described is entirely optional .

Optionally, the blank 10 comprises a first display window W formed in each of the first upper and first lower side walls 14b, 14a.

The first display window W comprises an opening in each of the first upper and first lower side walls or panels 14b, 14a. The opening is defined in part by: a first displaceable tab or flap 50a; in part by a second displaceable tab or flap 50b; in part by a second aperture A2 struck in part from the first upper side wall 14b and the first lower side wall 14a; and in part by a third aperture A3 struck from the first upper side wall 14b. The first and second displaceable flaps 50a, 50b are separated from each other in part by the second aperture A2 and in part by a severable line in the form of a cutline. The third aperture A3 defines upper edges of each of the first and second displaceable flaps 50a, 50b. The cutline extends between the second aperture A2 and the third aperture A3. The first and second displaceable flaps 50a, 50b are hinged to the first lower side panel 14a by fold lines 51 a, 51 b respectively. The first and second displaceable flaps 50a, 50b are hinged to the first upper side panel 14b by fold lines 51 c, 51 d respectively. The fold line 51 a is contiguously arranged with the fold line 51 c and the fold line 51 b is convergently arranged with respect to the fold line 51 d. The fold line 51 a and the fold line 51 c define a non-straight angle optionally, an obtuse angle of no less than 90 degrees, therebetween; in other embodiments they may define an oblique angle, therebetween. The fold line 51 b is contiguously arranged with the fold line 51 d and the fold line 51 b is convergently arranged with respect to the fold line 51 d. The fold line 51 b and the fold line 51d define an obtuse or oblique angle therebetween.

The first and second displaceable flaps 50a, 50b are hingedly connected to the first upper and first lower side walls 14b, 14a and are positioned opposite to one another.

In this way the fold lines 51 a/51 c and the fold lines 51 b/51 d, form non-linear hinged connections between a respective one of the displaceable tabs 50a, 50b and the first side wall 14a/14b as illustrated in the embodiment of Figure 1. In other embodiments the fold lines may be curvilinear or arcuate or may be comprised of two or more linear portions arranged contiguously and divergently with respect to each other.

When the tabs 50a, 50b are displaced to display an article B, each of the non-linear hinged connections 51 a/51 c, 51 b/51 d increases the tendency of the respective displaceable tab 50a, 50b to return to its original, unfolded, planar position. In this way the tabs 50a, 50b, when displaced, are encouraged or biased towards the article B displayed within the window W. The tabs 50a, 50b form a frame about the displayed article B and may at least partially separate the displayed article B from adjacent articles B in the row of articles B proximate the first side panel 14a/14b. The tabs 50a, 50b may at least partially conceal aforesaid adjacent articles B.

The blank 10 comprises at least one end closure structure for at least partially closing an end of a tubular structure defined by the plurality of panels 12, 14a, 14b, 16, 18b, 18a, 20.

In the illustrated embodiment an end closure structure is provided for at least partially closing each end of the tubular structure.

Each of the end closure structures may comprise or define a second display window DW2 (see Figure 2) for the display of one or more articles B disposed adjacent thereto. In other embodiments, one of the second display windows DW2 may be omitted such that a display window is provided at only one end of the tubular structure; in still other embodiments both the second display windows DW2 may be omitted.

The blank 10 comprises a first end closure structure comprising a plurality of end closure panels 24a, 26a, 28a, 30a, 30c, 32a, 34a, 36a, 38a, 40a, 42a, 44a, 50a.

The first end closure structure comprises a first upper top end closure flap 30a, hingedly connected to the top panel 16 by a fold line 31 a. A first lower top end closure flap 30c is hingedly connected to the first upper top end closure flap 30a by a hinged connection in the form of a fold line 57a. The first upper top end closure flap 30a and the first lower top end closure flap 30c together form or define a first top end closure flap 30a/30c. The first upper top end closure flap 30a forms a proximal portion of the first top end closure flap 30a/30c disposed adjacent to the top panel 16. The first lower top end closure flap 30c forms a distal glue flap portion of the first top end closure flap 30a/30c.

The first end closure structure comprises a first upper side end closure flap 26a coupled to the first upper side panel 14b.

Optionally, a first web panel 28a is hingedly connected to the first upper top end closure flap 30a along a first side edge thereof by a hinged connection in the form of a fold line 55a. The first web panel 28a may be hingedly connected to the first upper side end closure flap 26a by a hinged connection in the form of a fold line 49a.

The first upper side end closure flap 26a may be coupled to the first upper side panel 14b by a first upper corner panel 40a.

Optionally, the first upper side end closure flap 26a is hingedly connected to the first upper corner panel 40a by a hinged connection in the form of a fold line 41 a. When the carton is in the blank form as shown in Figures 1 and 1 A, the fold line 49a between the first web panel 28a and the first upper side end closure flap 26a defines an obtuse angle with respect to the fold line 31 a between the top panel 16 and the first upper top end closure flap 30a. When the carton 90 is erected , the fold line 49a defines an acute angle with respect to the fold line 31 a.

Optionally, the first upper corner panel 40a is hingedly connected to the first upper side panel 14b by a fold line 29a. The first upper corner panel 40a may be hingedly connected to the first lower side panel 14a by a fold line 27a. The fold line 27a and the fold line 29a define a non-straight angle, optionally an obtuse angle of no less than 90 degrees, therebetween; in other embodiments they may define an oblique angle, therebetween. The fold line 27a and the fold line 29a may converge to form a vertex which meets at a first end of fold line 1 5 between the first upper side panel 14b and the first lower side panel 14a.

An optional relief aperture A4 is provided proximate a first corner of the top panel 16. The first relief aperture A4 defines a portion of the first side edge of the first upper top end closure flap 30a, and forms a free side edge thereof. That is to say, said portion of the first side edge of the first upper top end closure flap 30a is not hinged to another panel. The relief aperture A4 spaces the first web panel 28a from the first corner of the top panel 16. The relief aperture A4 spaces apart the first upper top end closure flap 30a and the first upper side end closure flap 26a.

The first end closure structure may comprise a second upper side end closure flap 34a coupled to the second upper side panel 1 8b.

Optionally, a second web panel 32a is hingedly connected to the first upper top end closure flap 30a along a second side edge thereof by a hinged connection in the form of a fold line 59a. The second side edge of the first upper top end closure flap 30a opposes the first side edge of the first upper top end closure flap 30a.

The second web panel 32a may be hingedly connected to the second upper side end closure flap 34a by a hinged connection in the form of a fold line 71 a.

The second upper side end closure flap 34a may be coupled to the second upper side panel 18b by a second upper corner panel 50a.

Optionally, the second upper side end closure flap 34a is hingedly connected to the second upper corner panel 50a by a hinged connection in the form of a fold line 45a.

When the carton 90 is in the blank form as shown in Figures 1 and 1 A, the fold line 71 a between the second web panel 32a and the second upper side end closure flap 34a defines an obtuse angle with respect to the fold line 31 a between the top panel 16 and the first upper top end closure flap 30a. When the carton 90 is erected, the fold line 71 a defines an acute angle with respect to the fold line 31 a.

Optionally, the second upper corner panel 50a is hingedly connected to the second upper side panel 18b by a fold line 33a. The second upper corner panel 50a may be hingedly connected to the second lower side panel 18a by a fold line 35a. The fold line 33a and the fold line 35a define a non-straight angle, optionally an obtuse angle of no less than 90 degrees, therebetween; in other embodiments they may define an oblique angle, therebetween . The fold line 33a and the fold line 35a may converge to form a vertex which meets at a first end of fold line 21 between the second upper side panel 1 8b and the second lower side panel 18a.

An optional relief aperture A4 is provided proximate a second corner of the top panel 16. The relief aperture A4 defines a portion of the second side edge of the first upper top end closure flap 30a, and forms a free side edge thereof. That is to say, said portion of the second side edge of the first upper top end closure flap 30a is not hinged to another panel. The relief aperture A4 spaces the second web panel 32a from the second corner of the top panel 16. The relief aperture A4 spaces apart the first upper top end closure flap 30a and the second upper side end closure flap 34a.

Optionally, in addition to the upper end closure structure described above, the first end closure structure also comprises a lower end closure structure. The lower end closure structure of the first end closure structure is now described and comprises a first lower side end closure flap 24a hingedly connected to a first gusset panel 42a by a hinged connection in the form of a fold line 25a. The first gusset panel 42a is hingedly connected to the first lower side panel 14a by a hinged connection in the form of a fold line 43a. Optionally, a second lower side end closure flap 36a is hinged to a second gusset panel 44a by a hinged connection in the form of a fold line 37a. The second gusset panel 44a is hingedly connected to the second lower side panel 18a by a hinged connection in the form of a fold line 47a. Optionally, a first bottom end closure flap 38a is hinged to the second base panel 20 by a hinged connection in the form of a fold line 39a. The first lower side end closure flap 24a, first gusset panel 42a, second lower side end closure flap 36a, second gusset panel 44a and first bottom end closure flap 38a are arranged to partially close a lower region of an open end of the tubular structure.

The blank 10 comprises a second end closure structure comprising a plurality of end closure panels 24b, 26b, 28b, 30b, 30d, 32b, 34b, 36b, 38b, 40b, 42b, 44b, 50b.

The second end closure structure also comprises an upper end closure structure and a lower end closure structure. The second upper end closure structure will now be described and it comprises a second upper top end closure flap 30b, hingedly connected to the top panel 16 by a fold line 31 b. A second lower top end closure flap 30d is hingedly connected to the second upper top end closure flap 30b by a hinged connection in the form of a fold line 57b. The second upper top end closure flap 30b and the second lower top end closure flap 30d together form or define a second top end closure flap 30b/30d . The second upper top end closure flap 30b forms a proximal portion of the second top end closure flap 30d/30d disposed adjacent to the top panel 16. The second lower top end closure flap 30d forms a distal glue flap portion of the second top end closure flap 30b/30b.

The second upper end closure structure comprises a third upper side end closure flap 26b coupled to the first upper side panel 14b.

Optionally, a third web panel 28b is hingedly connected to the second upper top end closure flap 30b along a first side edge thereof by a hinged connection in the form of a fold line 55b. The third web panel 28b may be hingedly connected to the third upper side end closure flap 26b by a hinged connection in the form of a fold line 49b.

The third upper side end closure flap 26b may be coupled to the first upper side panel 14b by a third upper corner panel 40b.

Optionally, the third upper side end closure flap 26b is hingedly connected to the third upper corner panel 40b by a hinged connection in the form of a fold line 41 b.

When the carton 90 is in the blank form 10 as shown in Figures 1 and 1 A, the fold line 49b between the third web panel 28b and the third upper side end closure flap 26b defines an obtuse angle with respect to the fold line 31 b between the top panel 16 and the upper top end closure flap 30b. When the carton 90 is erected as shown in Figure 2, the fold line 49b defines an acute angle with respect to the fold line 31 b.

Optionally, the third upper corner panel 40b is hingedly connected to the first upper side panel 14b by a fold line 29b. The third upper corner panel 40b may be hingedly connected to the first lower side panel 14a by a fold line 27b. The fold line 27b and the fold line 29b define a non-straight angle, optionally an obtuse angle of no less than 90 degrees, therebetween; in other embodiments they may define an oblique angle, therebetween. The fold line 27b and the fold line 29b may converge to form a vertex which meets at a second end of fold line 1 5 between the first upper side panel 14b and the first lower side panel 14a.

An optional relief aperture A4 is provided proximate a third corner of the top panel 16. The relief aperture A4 defines a portion of the first side edge of the second upper top end closure flap 30b, and forms a free side edge thereof. That is to say, said portion of the first side edge of the second upper top end closure flap 30b is not hinged to another panel . The relief aperture A4 spaces the third web panel 28b from the third corner of the top panel 16. The relief aperture A4 spaces apart the third upper top end closure flap 30b and the third upper side end closure flap 26b.

The second end closure structure may comprise a fourth upper side end closure flap 34b coupled to the second upper side panel 1 8b.

Optionally, a fourth web panel 32b is hingedly connected to the second upper top end closure flap 30b along a second side edge thereof by a hinged connection in the form of a fold line 59b. The second side edge of the second upper top end closure flap 30b opposes the first side edge of the second upper top end closure flap 30b.

The fourth web panel 32b may be hingedly connected to the fourth upper side end closure flap 34b by a hinged connection in the form of a fold line 71 b.

The fourth upper side end closure flap 34b may be coupled to the second upper side panel 18b by a fourth upper corner panel 50b.

Optionally, the fourth upper side end closure flap 34b is hingedly connected to the fourth upper corner panel 50b by a hinged connection in the form of a fold line 45b.

When the carton 90 is in the blank form 10 as shown in Figures 1 and 1 A, the fold line 71 b between the fourth web panel 32b and the fourth upper side end closure flap 34b defines an obtuse angle with respect to the fold line 31 b between the top panel 16 and the upper top end closure flap 30b. When the carton 90 is erected as shown in Figure 2, the fold line 71 b defines an acute angle with respect to the fold line 31 b.

Optionally, the fourth upper corner panel 50b is hingedly connected to the second upper side panel 18b by a fold line 33b. The fourth upper corner panel 50b may be hingedly connected to the second lower side panel 18a by a fold line 35b. The fold line 33a and the fold line 35b define a non-straight angle, optionally an obtuse angle of no less than 90 degrees, therebetween; in other embodiments they may define an oblique angle, therebetween. The fold line 33b and the fold line 35b may converge to form a vertex which meets at a second end of fold line 21 between the second upper side panel 18b and the second lower side panel 18a.

An optional relief aperture A4 is provided proximate a fourth corner of the top panel 16. The relief aperture A4 defines a portion of the second side edge of the second upper top end closure flap 30b, and forms a free side edge thereof. That is to say, said portion of the second side edge of the second upper top end closure flap 30b is not hinged to another panel. The relief aperture A4 spaces the fourth web panel 32b from the fourth corner of the top panel 16. The relief aperture A4 spaces apart the second upper top end closure flap 30b and the fourth upper side end closure flap 34b.

Optionally, the second end closure structure comprises a third lower side end closure flap 24b hingedly connected to a third gusset panel 42b by a hinged connection in the form of a fold line 25b. The third gusset panel 42b is hingedly connected to the first lower side panel 14a by a hinged connection in the form of a fold line 43b. Optionally, a fourth lower side end closure flap 36b is hinged to a fourth gusset panel 44b by a hinged connection in the form of a fold line 37b. The fourth gusset panel 44b is hingedly connected to the second lower side panel 18a by a hinged connection in the form of a fold line 47b. Optionally, a second bottom end closure flap 38b is hinged to the second base panel 20, along a second end edge thereof, by a hinged connection in the form of a fold line 39b. The third lower side end closure flap 24b, third gusset panel 42b, fourth lower side end closure flap 36b, fourth gusset panel 44b and second bottom end closure flap 38b are arranged to partially close a lower region of an open end of the tubular structure.

Referring now to Figure 1 A, the first upper side end closure flap 26a comprises a main body portion and a lower limb portion 80a extending therefrom. The lower limb portion 80a defines in part a recess or cutaway 82a.

The first web panel 28a comprises or defines a recesses or contoured free edge 87a. The contoured free edge 87a extends between a distal end of the fold line 49a and a distal end of the fold line 55a. The contoured free edge 87a is shaped complementary to a portion of the handle opening O in the first top end closure flap 30a/30c.

The lower limb portion 80a comprises a projection or lobe 83a extending toward or into the recess or cutaway 82a. The projection or lobe 83a defines at least in part an upper free edge of the lower limb portion 80a.

The second upper side end closure flap 34a, when provided, comprises a main body portion and a lower limb portion 96a extending therefrom. The lower limb portion 96a defines in part a recess or cutaway 94a.

The second web panel 32a comprises or defines a recesses or contoured free edge 99a. The contoured free edge 99a extends between a distal end of the fold line 71 a and a distal end of the fold line 59a. The contoured free edge 99a is shaped complementary to a portion of the handle opening O in the first top end closure flap 30a/30c.

The lower limb portion 96a comprises a projection or lobe 95a extending toward or into the recess or cutaway 94a. The projection or lobe 95a defines at least in part an upper free edge of the lower limb portion 96a.

The third upper side end closure flap 26b, when provided, comprises a main body portion and a lower limb portion 80b extending therefrom. The lower limb portion 80b defines in part a recess or cutaway 82b.

The third web panel 28b comprises or defines a recesses or contoured free edge 87b. The contoured free edge 87b extends between a distal end of the fold line 49b and a distal end of the fold line 55b. The contoured free edge 87b is shaped complementary to a portion of the handle opening O in the second top end closure flap 30b/30d.

The lower limb portion 80b comprises a projection or lobe 83b extending toward or into the recess or cutaway 82b. The projection or lobe 83b defines at least in part an upper free edge of the lower limb portion 80b.

The fourth upper side end closure flap 34b, when provided, comprises a main body portion and a lower limb portion 96b extending therefrom. The lower limb portion 96b defines in part a recess or cutaway 94b therebetween.

The fourth web panel 32b comprises or defines a recesses or contoured free edge 99b. The contoured free edge 99b extends between a distal end of the fold line 71 b and a distal end of the fold line 59b. The contoured free edge 99b is shaped complementary to a portion of the handle opening O in the second top end closure flap 30b/30d.

The lower limb portion 96b comprises a projection or lobe 95b extending toward or into the recess or cutaway 94b. The projection or lobe 95b defines at least in part an upper free edge of the lower limb portion 96b.

The blank 10 comprises a carrying handle structure H1 , H2 in each of the first and second top end closure flaps 30a/30c, 30b/30d respectively. The carrying handle structures H1 , H2 may be employed by a user to carry the carton 90. The first top end closure flap 30a comprises a carrying handle structure H1 having a handle opening defined at least in part by a handle flap 60 struck, at least in part, from the first top end closure flap 30a. The handle flap 60 is hinged to the first top end closure flap 30a by a hinged connection in the form of a fold line 61 . The handle flap 60 comprises a pair of fold lines 63, 65 extending from the fold line 61 to an opposing side edge of the handle flap 60 so as to define a pair of foldable end portions 62, 64. The pair of fold lines 63, 65 are arranged so as to diverge towards the fold line 61 . The handle flap 60, including the end portions 62, 64 is struck in part from the first upper top end closure flap 30a and in part from the first lower top end closure flap 30c. In this way the handle flap 60 and therefore the handle opening interrupt the fold line 57a hinging the first lower top end closure flap 30c to the first upper top end closure flap 30a.

Optionally, the handle flap 60 comprises a tongue 67 extending from, and defining, a portion of the opposing side edge. The tongue 67 defines a recessed or cutaway portion of the handle opening.

The first lower top end closure flap 30c (also referred to as distal glue flap 30c) may be hingedly connected to the first upper top end closure flap 30a (also referred to as proximal portion 30a of the first top end closure flap 30a/30c) along a glue flap fold line 57a. The handle flap 60 may be hingedly connected to the first upper top end closure flap 30a along a handle flap fold line 61 in Figure 1 A. The handle flap fold line 61 may be disposed at a higher elevation than the glue flap fold line 57a. In other words the handle flap fold line 61 may be disposed closer to fold line 31 a (connecting the first upper top end closure flap 30a to the top panel 16) than the glue flap fold line 57a.

The web panel 28a may interconnect the first side end closure flap 26a and first upper top end closure flap 30a or proximal portion of the first top end closure flap 30a/30c. The web

panel 32a may interconnect the second side end closure flap 34a and first upper top end closure flap 30a or proximal portion of the first top end closure flap 30a/30c.

The web panel 28a may be hingedly connected to the first upper top end closure flap 30a or proximal portion of the first top end closure flap 30a/30c along a first web fold line 55a; such that a lower end of the first web fold line 55a is disposed proximate the glue flap fold line 57a.

The web panel 32a may be hingedly connected to the first upper top end closure flap 30a or proximal portion of the first top end closure flap 30a/30c along a second web fold line 59a; such that a lower end of the second web fold line 59a is disposed proximate the glue flap fold line 57a.

The handle flap 60 may be coupled to the first upper top end closure flap 30a or proximal portion 30a and be separate or separable from the distal glue flap 30c.

The handle flap 60 may be severably connected or coupled to the first upper top end closure flap 30a or the proximal portion 30a by at least one nick 2 such that the at least one nick 2 is intact when the first lower top end closure flap 30c or distal glue flap 30c is folded out of an end-closing position about the glue flap fold line 57a.

The handle structure H1 may comprise two or more nicks 2 which are disposed along opposite side edges of the handle flap 60.

The second top end closure flap 30b also, optionally, comprises a carrying handle structure H2 which is substantially the same in construction as the first carrying handle structure H1 and will not be described in further detail.

Optionally, the blank 10 comprises a dispensing or access feature A (see Figure 1) for facilitating access to the contents of the carton 90. The access feature A comprises an access panel struck in part from the top panel 16, in part from the second upper side panel 18b, and in part from the second lower side panel 18a. The access panel A is defined by a weakened line of severance 53 formed as a continuous loop such that the access panel A is at least partially severable from the carton 90. The access feature A may comprise a tear initiation feature I comprising a pair of tabs T1 , T2 hingedly connected to the second lower side panel 18a by respective fold lines and defined by a outline interrupted by connecting portions or nicks so as to be readily severable. The tear initiation feature i defines a finger opening to enable engagement with the access panel A for removal thereof.

The first corner panel 40a comprises a first lower free end edge. The second corner panel 50a comprises a second lower free end edge. The third corner panel 40b comprises a third lower free end edge. The fourth corner panel 50b comprises a fourth lower free end edge.

The first corner panel 40a terminates at the first lower free end edge. The first lower free end edge is distal from the first lower side end closure flap 24a, such that the first lower side panel 14a comprises a first free edge portion. That is to say, a portion of a first side edge of the first lower side panel 14a is free from any hinged connection to the panels of the first side end closure structure.

The second lower corner panel 50a terminates at the second lower free end edge. The second lower free end edge is distal from the second lower side end closure flap 36a, such that the second lower side panel 18a comprises a first free edge portion . That is to say, a portion of a first side edge of the second lower side panel 18a is free from any hinged connection to the panels of the second end closure structure.

The third corner panel 40b terminates at the third lower free end edge. The third lower free end edge is distal from the third lower side end closure flap 24b, such that the first lower side panel 14a comprises a second free edge portion, that is to say a portion of a second side edge of the first lower side panel 14a is free from any hinged connection to the panels of the first side end closure structure.

The fourth lower corner panel 50b terminates at the fourth lower free end edge. The fourth lower free end edge is distal from the fourth lower side end closure flap 36b, such that the second lower side panel 1 8a comprises a second free edge portion. That is to say, a portion of a second side edge of the second lower side panel 18a is free from any hinged connection to the panels of the second end closure structure.

The top panel 16 comprises a first length dimension extending between fold lines 31 a, 31 b. The first and second base panels 12, 20 comprise a second length dimension extending between free end edges of the first base panel 12 or between fold lines 39a, 39b. The second length dimension may be greater than the first length dimension.

The top panel 16 comprises a first width dimension extending between fold lines 1 7, 19. The second base panel 20 comprises a second width dimension . The second width dimension may be greater than the first width dimension. In some embodiments, the second width

dimension may be defined by both the first and second base panels 12, 20, and may be equivalent to the sum of the widths of the first and second base panels 12, 20 minus the width of a region of overlap between the first and second base panels 12, 20.

Returning to Figure 1 , the blank 10 may comprise an orientation adjustment device for enabling adjustment of the orientation of an article B.

The orientation adjustment device is arranged such that the article B displayed in the first display window W in the first side wall 14a/14b can be controlled or adjusted. It will be appreciated that the orientation adjustment device may be located such that one or both articles B presented in one or both of the second display windows DW2 in the end walls of the carton 90 can also be controlled or adjusted .

The orientation adjustment device comprises first cutaway or opening in the form of a lower aperture A5 provided in at least one of the first and second base panels 12, 20. In the illustrated embodiment the lower aperture A5 is provided in the first base panel 12.

In other embodiments the lower aperture A5 may be provided in the second base panel 20 or in part in each of the first and second base panels 12, 20.

The lower aperture A5 is arranged to be in vertical registry with the article B which is disposed in the first display window W.

In the illustrated embodiment, the lower aperture A5 is arranged to be vertically aligned substantially with the first display window W.

The lower aperture A5 may be shaped so as to comprise a "V" or "U" shaped cutaway portion which provides an alignment or assembly guide. This cutaway portion may be engaged by a tool (not shown), for example of a packaging machine. The cutaway portion may facilitate alignment of the first base panel 12 with the second base panel 20 when the carton 90 is assembled about a group of articles B. Additionally, or alternatively, the cutaway portion may facilitate tightening or wrapping of the carton 90 about the group of articles B. It may facilitate pulling the first base panel 12 towards the second side panel 18a/18b so as to increase the degree of overlap between the first and second base panels 12, 20 such that the complementary locking mechanism may be employed .

The orientation adjustment device comprises a second cutaway or opening in the form of an upper aperture A6 provided at least in part in the top panel 16. In the embodiment of Figure 1 the upper aperture A6 is provided in part in the top panel 16 and in part in the first upper side panel 14b. Extending the aperture A6 into the the first upper side panel 14b may facilitate folding the top panel 16 with respect to the first upper side panel 14b along the fold line 17.

In other embodiments, the upper aperture A6 may be provided solely in the top panel 16, so as to be struck from only material that would otherwise have formed the top panel 16. Such an arrangement may be advantageous when the article B is returned or lowered to a rest position within the interior chamber of the carton 90.

In such alternative embodiments, a front or outer edge of the upper aperture A6 is provided by the top panel 16 and therefore is oriented horizontally or perpendicularly with respect to a direction of travel of the article B as it moves, or descends, into the carton 90. This may reduce the likelihood of a portion of the article B, such as a flange or cap or other closure, from being caught or snagged upon material defining an edge of the upper aperture A6.

The upper aperture A6 is arranged to be in vertical registry with the upper end of the article B which is disposed in the display window W. The upper aperture A6 is dimensioned such that an upper portion of said article B can pass through the top panel 16.

The upper aperture A6 is arranged to be vertically aligned with the first display window W.

The upper aperture A6 may be dimensioned so as to be smaller than a shoulder portion of the article B. In this way an upper end portion of the article B may pass through the upper aperture A6 but is prevented from being fully withdrawn through the upper aperture A6. When the article B is a bottle, the "finish", and at least some of the "neck", may be positioned externally of the carton 90. The "shoulder", "body" and "heel" of the article B, being retainable within the carton 90.

In embodiments having a dispensing or access feature A the upper aperture A6 may interrupt the weakened line of severance 53. The upper aperture A6 may also, optionally, serve to facilitate removal of the access panel A.

The first display window W defines a notional centre axis perpendicular to the fold lines 13, 15, 17, 19, 21 , 23, which hingedly connect the plurality of panels 12, 14a, 14b, 16, 18b, 18a, 20 in series. The blank 10 is arranged such that the upper aperture A6 is aligned with the first display window W along the notional centre axis.

Turning to the construction of the carton 90 as illustrated in Figure 2, the carton 90 can be formed by a series of sequential folding operations in a straight line machine so that the carton 90 is not required to be rotated or inverted to complete its construction. The folding process is not limited to that described below and may be altered according to particular manufacturing requirements.

A group of articles B is assembled; in the preferred embodiment eight articles B are arranged in a 4 x 2 array. The top panel 16 of the blank 10 is disposed above the group of articles B to provide a top wall 16 of the carton 90.

The window panels 50a, 50b (when present) are folded inwardly of the carton 90 either prior to or simultaneously with the first and second side walls 14a/14b, 1 8a/18b being folded about the fold lines 17, 19 so as to be disposed on opposing sides of the group of articles B. The window panels 50a, 50b are disposed such that they are interposed between a pair of adjacent articles B. Folding the window panels 50a, 50b in this manner warps the corresponding one of the first or second side walls 14a/14b, 18a/1 8b to which they are attached due to the non-linear nature of the fold lines 51 a, 51 b, 51 c, 51 d connecting the window panels 50a, 50a to the first side wall 14a/14b. The warping of the first side wall 14a/14b urges the window panels 50a, 50b against the article B.

Once the first and second sidewalls 14a/14b, 18a/1 8b are folded about the opposing sides of the group of articles B; the first base panel 12 is folded about the fold line 13 so as to be disposed adjacent the base of the group of articles B. The second base panel 20 is then folded about the fold line 23 so as to be in at least partial overlapping relationship with the first base panel 12. The first and second base panels 12, 20 are secured together. Each of the male tabs M is displaced inwardly out of the plane of the second base panel 20. In so doing , each of the female tabs F is displaced inwardly creating a corresponding opening in the first base panel. The male tabs M are received in respective ones of the openings so as to lock the first and second base panels 12, 20 together. In this way a tubular structure is formed about the group of articles B.

In some embodiments, the blank 10 may be formed into a tubular structure and subsequently loaded with articles B through at least one open end thereof.

The first and second end closure structures are folded about the open ends of the tubular structure. The folding sequence for each of the first and second end closure structures is substantially the same and will be described in more detail by reference to the second end closure structure only as illustrated in Figures 2 and 3.

The third and fourth upper side end closure flaps 26b, 34b and the third and fourth corner panels 40b, 50b (when present) are folded about the fold lines 27b, 29b, 41 b, 33b, 35b, 45b so as to partially close the second open end of the tubular structure.

As a consequence of folding third and fourth upper side end closure flaps 26b, 34b and the third and fourth corner panels 40b, 50b inwardly about the fold lines 27b, 29b, 41 b, 33b, 35b, 45b the second top end closure flap 30b, 30d is folded downwardly.

The third and fourth upper side end closure flaps 26b, 34b are folded inwardly so as to be brought into close proximity or contact with the endmost articles B in the carton 90. The third web panel 28b and the fourth web panel 32b are folded into face to face relationship with the respective one of third and fourth upper side end closure flaps 26b, 34b, such that a first surface of each of the third and fourth web panels 28b, 32b faces a first surface of the respective one of the third and fourth upper side end closure flaps 26b, 34b, best illustrated in Figure 5.

The contoured edge 87b of the third web panel 28b is disposed in registry or alignment with an upper edge of the recess 82b in the third upper side end closure flap 26b. The contoured edge 87b of the third web panel 28b is disposed in registry or in close proximity to an upper edge portion of the handle opening O in the second top end closure flap 30b/30d.

In this way the third web panel 28b provides a handle reinforcing member. The handle reinforcing member extends at least partially across an upper or engaging edge of the carrying handle H2.

The contoured edge 99b of the fourth web panel 32b is disposed in registry or alignment with an upper edge of the recess 94b in the fourth upper side end closure flap 34b. The contoured edge 99b of the fourth web panel 32b is disposed in registry or in close proximity to an upper edge portion of the handle opening O in the second top end closure flap 30b/30d.

In this way the fourth web panel 32b provides a handle reinforcing member. The handle reinforcing member extends at least partially across an upper or engaging edge of the carrying handle H2.

The third and fourth web panels 28b, 32b may be arranged such that in combination they provide a handle reinforcing member which extends fully across the engaging edge of the carrying handle H2.

In other embodiments the third and fourth web panels 28b, 32b may be arranged such that in combination they provide a handle reinforcing member which at least partially extends across the engaging edge of the carrying handle H2.

It will be appreciated that the sheet material from which the blank 10 is formed comprises a first surface and a second surface. The first surface may be a coated , printed or otherwise finished surface. The second surface may be an uncoated surface typically referred to in the art as a "brown side". The folding arrangement is such that the disposition of the respective one of the first and second surfaces of the sheet material provided by the third and fourth web panels 28b, 32b is reversed in orientation with respect to the first and second surfaces of the sheet material provided by the top end closure panel 30b, 30d, third and fourth upper side end closure flaps 26b, 34b and third and fourth corner panels 40b, 50b. In other words the coated, printed or otherwise finished surface of the top end closure panel 30b, 30d , third and fourth upper side end closure flaps 26b, 34b and third and fourth corner panels 40b, 50b faces outwardly of the interior of the carton 90 whereas the brown side of third and fourth web panels 28b, 32b faces outwardly of the interior of the carton 90.

The second upper top end closure flap 30b is folded downwardly such that a second surface thereof is brought into close proximity or contact and faces a second surface of the respective one of third and fourth upper side end closure flaps 26b, 34b.

The third and fourth web panels 28b, 32b are disposed between the second upper top end closure flap 30b and the respective one of third and fourth upper side end closure flaps 26b, 34b to which they are hingedly connected.

The second top end closure flap 30b/30d is secured to the third and fourth upper side end closure flaps 26b, 34b.

The second lower top end closure flap 30d is folded upwardly, out of, or away from, an end closing position, with respect to the second upper top end closure flap 30b about the fold line 57b as illustrated in Figure 7. In this way the lower limb portions 80b, 96b of the third and fourth upper side end closure flaps 26b, 34b and adjacent portions of the main body of each of the third and fourth upper side end closure flaps 26b, 34b are exposed.

The handle flap 60 serves as a retention member, holding each of the third and fourth upper side end closure flaps 26b, 34b in their folded positions as shown in Figure 7. The tongue 67 of the handle flap 60 is disposed in overlying or overlapping relationship with the third and fourth upper side end closure flaps 26b, 34b.

The handle flap 60 engages with the projections or lobes 83b, 95b of the third and fourth upper side end closure flaps 26b, 34b.

Glue G or other adhesive treatment may be applied to the outer surface of the lower limb portions 80b, 96b of the third and fourth upper side end closure flaps 26b, 34b and/or to the outer surface of said adjacent portions of the main body of each of the third and fourth upper side end closure flaps 26b, 34b as shown in Figure 3. Alternatively glue or other adhesive treatment may be applied to the inner surface of the second lower top end closure flap 30d.

The outer surfaces of each of the third and fourth upper side end closure flaps 26b, 34b provide a glue area or region. The glue areas of the third and fourth upper side end closure flaps 26b, 34b are secured to the inside surface of the second lower top end closure flap 30d.

The glue areas of the third and fourth upper side end closure flaps 26b, 34b are disposed below the handle opening O, as shown on Figure 4.

The inside surface of the third upper side end closure flap 26b opposing the glue area is disposed substantially in face-contacting arrangement along its inside surface with at least one of the bottles B disposed within the carton 90.

The inside surface of the fourth upper side end closure flap 34b opposing the glue area is disposed substantially in face-contacting arrangement along its inside surface with at least one of the bottles B disposed within the carton 90.

In this way the endmost bottles in the carton 90 may be securely held by the carton 90. Further the endmost bottles in the carton 90 may facilitate construction of the carton 90 by serving as a brace or backstop against which the third and fourth upper side end closure flaps 26b, 34b may engage or press, as a force or pressure is applied to the second lower top end closure flap 30d during a gluing or other assembly process.

The third and fourth upper side end closure flaps 26b, 34b engage with the main body portion M of a respective article B.

The second lower top end closure flap 30d (distal glue flap) is folded downwardly, into, or towards, an end closing position, with respect to the second upper top end closure flap 30b about the fold line 57b. The distal glue flap 30d is brought into face contacting relationship with the lower limb portions 80b, 96b and said adjacent portions of the main body of each of the third and fourth upper side end closure flaps 26b, 34b so as to secure them together.

The third and fourth lower side end closure flaps 24b, 36b along with the third and fourth gusset panels 42b, 44b, when present, are folded about the fold lines 25b, 37b, 43b, 47b. The third lower side end closure flap 24b may be secured to the fourth lower side end closure flap 36b. In some embodiments the third and fourth lower side end closure flaps 24b, 36b may be dimensioned so as to be arranged in an at least partial overlapping arrangement. Glue or other adhesive treatment may be applied to one of the third and fourth lower side end closure flaps 24b, 36b so as to secure them together.

Glue or other adhesive treatment may be applied to the third and fourth lower side end closure flaps 24b, 36b or to the second bottom end closure flap 38b.

The second bottom end closure flap 38b is folded about fold line 39b so as to be brought up into face contacting relationship with the third and fourth lower side end closure flaps 24b, 36b.

The second bottom end closure flap 38b is secured to the third and fourth lower side end closure flaps 24b, 36b.

The assembled carton 90 is shown in Figure 2 and in Figure 4.

Figure 4 illustrates the handle structure of the carton 90 in a deployed condition . The handle flap has been folded inwardly of the carton 90.

Figure 4 shows that the lower limbs 80b, 96b are arranged such that an end edge of the lower limb 80b abuts an end edge of the lower limb 96b.

Referring now to Figure 6, there is shown an additional embodiment of the present disclosure. In the second illustrated embodiment like numerals have, where possible, been used to denote like parts, albeit with the addition of the prefix "1 00" to indicate that these features belong to the second embodiment.

Turning to Figure 6, there is illustrated a blank 1 10 for forming a carton , of the fully enclosed type, according to a second embodiment. The blank 1 10 comprises a plurality of main panels 1 12, 1 14, 1 16, 1 1 8, 120 for forming a tubular structure. The plurality of main panels 1 12, 1 14, 1 16, 1 1 8, 120 comprises a securing panel 1 12, a top panel 1 14, a first side panel 1 16, a base panel 1 18 and a second side panel 120. The plurality of panels 1 12, 1 14, 1 16, 1 18, 120 may be arranged in a linear series hinged one to the next by corresponding fold lines 1 13, 1 1 5, 1 17, 1 19.

The blank 1 10 comprises at least one end closure structure for at least partially closing an end of a tubular structure defined by the plurality of panels 1 12, 1 14, 1 16, 1 18, 1 18, 120.

In the illustrated embodiment an end closure structure is provided for at least partially closing each end of the tubular structure.

The blank 1 10 comprises at least one end closure structure for at least partially closing an end of a tubular structure defined by the plurality of panels 1 12, 1 14, 1 16, 1 18, 1 18, 120.

In the illustrated embodiment an end closure structure is provided for at least partially closing each end of the tubular structure.

Each of the end closure structures is substantially the same in construction and will be described in further detail by reference to a first end closure structure.

The blank 1 1 0 comprises a first end closure structure comprising a plurality of end closure panels 122a, 144a, 124a, 148a, 126a, 128a, 150a.

The first end closure structure comprises a first top end closure flap 122a hingedly connected to the top panel 1 14 by a fold line 123a.

The first end closure structure comprises a first bottom end closure flap 126a hingedly connected to the base panel 1 18 by a fold line 129a.

The first end closure structure comprises a first upper side end closure flap 144a coupled to the first side panel 1 16. The first upper side end closure flap 144a may be coupled to the first side panel 1 16 by a first corner panel 148a. The first upper side end closure flap 144a is hingedly connected to the first corner panel 148a by a hinged connection in the form of a fold line 151 a.

The first end closure structure comprises a first lower side end closure flap 124a coupled to the first side panel 1 16. The first lower side end closure flap 124a may be coupled to the first side panel 1 16 by the first corner panel 148a. The first lower side end closure flap 124a is hingedly connected to the first corner panel 148a by a hinged connection in the form of a fold line 153a.

The first corner panel 148a is hingedly connected to the first side panel 1 16 by a hinged connection in the form of a pair of divergently arranged fold lines 125a, 127a.

Optionally, a first web panel 138a is hingedly connected to the first top end closure flap 122a along a first side edge thereof by a hinged connection in the form of a fold line 145a. The first web panel 138a is hingedly connected to a second web panel 140a by a hinged connection in the form of a fold line 147a. Fold line 147a is arranged to be collinear with fold line 1 15 hinging the top panel 1 14 to the first side panel 1 16.

The second web panel 140a is hingedly connected to the first upper side end closure flap 144a by a hinged connection in the form of a fold line 149a.

The first lower side end closure flap 124a is hingedly connected to the first upper side end closure flap 144a by a hinged connection in the form of a fold line 159a.

The first upper side end closure flap 144a comprises a main body portion and a lower limb portion 180a. A recess or cutaway portion is struck from or defined by the first upper side end closure flap 144a. The recess defines an upper edge of the lower limb portion 180a.

An optional relief aperture A1 is provided proximate a first corner of the top panel 1 14. The first relief aperture A1 defines a portion of the first side edge of the first top end closure flap 122a, and forms a free side edge thereof. That is to say, said portion of the first side edge of the first top end closure flap 122a is not hinged to another panel. The relief aperture A1 spaces the first and second web panels 138a, 140a from the first corner of the top panel 1 14. The relief aperture A1 spaces apart the first top end closure flap 122a and the first upper side end closure flap 144a.

The first end closure structure may comprise a second upper side end closure flap 150a coupled to the second upper side panel 120.

The second upper side end closure flap 150a may be coupled to the second side panel 120 by a second corner panel 158a. The second upper side end closure flap 150a is hingedly connected to the second corner panel 158a by a hinged connection in the form of a fold line 165a.

The first end closure structure comprises a second lower side end closure flap 128a coupled to the second side panel 120. The second lower side end closure flap 128a may be coupled to the second side panel 120 by the second corner panel 158a. The second lower side end closure flap 128a is hingedly connected to the second corner panel 158a by a hinged connection in the form of a fold line 161 a.

The second corner panel 158a is hingedly connected to the second side panel 120 by a hinged connection in the form of a pair of divergently arranged fold lines 131 a, 133a.

Optionally, a third web panel 136a is hingedly connected to the first top end closure flap 122a along a second side edge thereof by a hinged connection in the form of a fold line 143a. The first web panel 136a is hingedly connected to a glue flap panel 134a by a hinged connection in the form of a fold line 141 a. Fold line 141 a is arranged to be collinear with fold line 1 13 hinging the top panel 1 14 to the securing panel 1 12.

A fourth web panel 154a is hingedly connected to the second upper side end closure flap 150a by a hinged connection in the form of a fold line 167a. The fourth web panel 154a is configured to be secured to the glue flap panel 134a such that the third web panel 136a is hingedly coupled to the fourth web panel 154a.

The second lower side end closure flap 128a is hingedly connected to the second upper side end closure flap 150a by a hinged connection in the form of a fold line 163a.

The second upper side end closure flap 150a comprises a main body portion and a lower limb portion 182a. A recess or cutaway portion is struck from or defined by the second upper side end closure flap 150a. The recess defines an upper edge of the lower limb portion 182a.

An optional relief cutaway is provided proximate an upper corner of the second side panel 120.

The glue flap panel 134a is coupled to the securing panel 1 12 by a pair of gusset panels 130a, 132a. A first gusset panel 130a is hingedly connected to the securing panel 1 12 by a hinged connection in the form of a fold line 135a. The first gusset panel 130a is hingedly connected to a second gusset panel 132a by a hinged connection in the form of a fold line 137a. The second gusset panel 132a is hingedly connected to the glue flap panel 134a by a hinged connection in the form of a fold line 139a.

The blank 1 10 comprises at least one handle structure H 1 , H2. The first top end closure panel 122a comprises a first handle structure H 1 . The first handle structure H 1 is struck from or defined within the first top end closure panel 122a. The first handle structure H1 comprises a handle opening defined at least in part by a pair of handle flaps 184a, 186a. Each of the pair of handle flaps 184a, 186a is hingedly connected to the first top end closure panel 122a by a respective hinged connection in the form of fold lines 1 81 a, 183a. The fold line 181 a is divergently arranged with respect to the fold line 183a.

A first handle flap 184a is separated from a second handle flap by a cutline 185. The first handle flap 184a may comprise a fold line 187a extending from the cutline 185 to a free edge opposing the hinged connection defined by the fold line 181 a. The second handle flap 186a may comprise a fold line 1 89a extending from the cutline 185 to a free edge opposing th e hinged connection defined by the fold line 183a. The fold line 187a is divergently arranged with respect to the fold line 189a.

The blank 1 10 comprises handle reinforcing flaps 142a, 146a, 142b, 146b, 152a, 156a , 1 52b, 156b.

The second web panel 140a comprises a first handle reinforcing flap 142a hingedly connected thereto by a hinged connection in the form of a fold line 155a.

The first upper side end closure flap 144a comprises a second handle reinforcing flap 146a hingedly connected thereto by a hinged connection in the form of a fold line 157a.

The fourth web panel 154a comprises a third handle reinforcing flap 156a hingedly connected thereto by a hinged connection in the form of a fold line 159a.

The second upper side end closure flap 1 50a comprises a fourth handle reinforcing flap 1 52a hingedly connected thereto by a hinged connection in the form of a fold line 171 a.

Turning to the construction of the carton 190 as illustrated in Figure 7, the carton 190 can be formed by a series of sequential folding operations in a straight line machine so that the carton 190 is not required to be rotated or inverted to complete its construction. The folding process is not limited to that described below and may be altered according to particular manufacturing requirements.

The blank 1 10 is folded about the fold line 1 15 so as to bring top panel 1 14 into face contacting relationship with the first side panel 1 16. The blank 1 10 is also folded about the fold lines 147a, 147b which are collinear with the fold line 1 15.

Glue or other adhesive treatment may be applied to the securing panel 1 12 and to the glue flaps 134a, 134b or corresponding regions of the second side panel 120 and the web panels 154a, 154b.

The blank 1 10 is folded about the fold line 1 19 so as to bring the second side panel 120 into overlying relationship with the base panel 1 18. A portion of the second side panel 120 is brought into face contacting relationship with the securing panel 1 12. Portions of the web panels 154a, 154b are brought into face contacting relationship with respective glue flaps 134a, 134b.

The second side panel 120 is secured to the securing panel 1 12. The web panel 154a is secured to the glue flap 134a. The web panel 1 54b is secured to the glue flap 134b.

In this way a flat collapsed carton is formed , the carton in this flat collapsed form is readily shipped or transported.

The flat collapsed carton may be erected into a tubular form by unfolding, about fold line 1 19, the second side panel 120 with respect to the base panel 1 18 so as to be disposed substantially perpendicular thereto.

The erected carton 190 may be loaded with articles through one or both open ends. In some embodiments one of the open ends may be closed prior to loading with articles.

Each of the open ends of the carton 190 is closed by folding the end closures structures, and will be described with reference to the first end closure structure, assembly of the second end closure structure being is the same as that of the first end closure structure.

The first upper side end closure flap 144a and the first lower side end closure flap 124a are folded about the fold lines 151 a, 153a respectively. The first upper side end closure flap 144a and the first lower side end closure flap 124a form a first side end closure panel 144a/124a. The first corner panel 148a is folded about the fold lines 125a, 127a.

The second upper side end closure flap 150a and the second lower side end closure flap 128a are folded about the fold lines 165a, 161 a respectively. The second upper side end closure flap 150a and the second lower side end closure flap 128a form a second side end closure panel 150a/128a. The second corner panel 158a is folded about the fold lines 1 31 a, 133a.

As a consequence of folding the first and second side end closure panels 144a/124a, 150a/128a the top end closure flap 122a is folded downwardly. The top end closure flap 122a is folded automatically due to being coupled to each of the first and second side end closure panels 144a/124a, 150a/128a by the web panels 138a, 140a and the web panels 136a, 154a respectively.

The top end closure flap 122a is folded downwardly, the web panels 138a, 140a are brought into face to face relationship with the first upper side end closure panel 144a, by folding about the fold lines 145a, 149a.

The web panels 136a, 154a are brought into face to face relationship with the second upper side end closure panel 150a by folding about the fold lines 143a, 167a.

Glue or other adhesive treatment may be applied to an outer surface of the first top end closure flap 122a or an inner surface of the bottom end closure flap 126a.

The bottom end closure flap 126a is folded upwardly about the fold line 129a and brought in face contacting relationship with the first top end closure flap 122a. The bottom end closure flap 126a is disposed in partial overlapping relationship with the first top end closure flap 122a. The bottom end closure flap 126a is secured to the first top end closure flap 122a.

In some embodiments, the bottom end closure flap 126a may be adhesively secured to one or both of the first and second lower end closure flaps 124a, 128a.

Figure 7 illustrates an internal view of the first end closure structure in an assembled condition. The contents of the carton 90 have been omitted for illustrative purposes. The carrying handle H 1 is shown in a deployed or use condition .

The handle flaps 1 84a, 1 86a have been folded internally of the carton 90. The first handle reinforcing flap 142a and the second handle reinforcing flap 146a have been folded internally as a consequence of folding the second handle flap 186a. The third handle reinforcing flap 156a and the fourth handle reinforcing flap 152a have been folded internally as a consequence of folding the first handle flap 1 84a.

The first handle reinforcing flap 142a, the second handle reinforcing flap 146a and the second handle flap 186a together with the third handle reinforcing flap 156a, the fourth handle reinforcing flap 1 52a and the first handle flap 184a form an inverted "V" shaped handle structure.

The first handle reinforcing flap 142a and the second handle reinforcing flap 146a reinforce a first portion of the carrying handle H 1 . The third handle reinforcing flap 156a and the fourth handle reinforcing flap 1 52a reinforce a second portion of the carrying handle H 1 .

Together the first handle reinforcing flap 142a, the second handle reinforcing flap 146a, the third handle reinforcing flap 156a and the fourth handle reinforcing flap 152a provide a reinforcing member across the entirety of an engaging edge of the carrying handle H1 defined by the fold lines 181 a, 183a.

Figure 7a illustrates the carrying handle H 1 in an initial , undeployed or stowed condition . The first handle reinforcing flap 142a and the second handle reinforcing flap 146a are arranged such that their upper edges, defined by the fold lines 155a, 157a, are disposed substantially in registry with the fold line 183a defining an upper edge of the second handle flap 184a. The third handle reinforcing flap 156a and the fourth handle reinforcing flap 152a are arranged such that their upper edges, defined by the fold lines 169a, 171 a, are disposed substantially in registry with the fold line 181 a defining an upper edge of the first handle flap 184a.

The ends of the first handle reinforcing flap 142a and the second handle reinforcing flap 146a may be arranged to overlap with the ends of the third handle reinforcing flap 156a and the fourth handle reinforcing flap 1 52a.

In the assembled condition the first and second web panels 140a, 138a are substantially coplanar; that is to say they are unfolded with respect to each other. The first and second web panels 140a, 138a may be considered to be a unitary panel coupling the first top end closure flap 122a to the first upper side end closure flap 144a.

In the assembled condition the third and fourth web panels 136a, 154a are substantially coplanar, that is to say they are unfolded with respect to each other. The third and fourth web panels 1 36a, 154a may be considered to be a unitary panel coupling the first top end closure flap 122a to the second upper side end closure flap 150a.

The present disclosure provides a carton for packaging articles. The carton comprises a plurality of primary panels for forming a tubular structure and an end closure structure for at least partially closing an end of the tubular structure. The end closure structure comprises a top end closure flap having a handle opening and a side end closure flap and a web panel coupling the top end closure flap to the side end closure flap. The web panel is hingedly connected to the side end closure flap along a first fold line. The web panel comprises a handle-reinforcing edge which extends along at least part of a load-bearing or engaging edge of the handle opening when the web panel is folded to take a "tucked" or "sandwiched" position between the top and side end closure flaps and wherein the handle-reinforcing edge extends, directly, from the lower end of the first fold line.

The lower or distal end of the first fold line is located substantially on , or at, the load-bearing edge of the handle opening.

The first fold line is disposed at an acute angle with respect to a second fold line between the top end closure flap and the top panel when the carton is erected.

The present disclosure may be particularly advantageous in cartons configured to be loaded with one or two rows of articles (Figure 5 illustrates a carton 90 comprising two rows of articles B. A compact reinforcement member is provided . The structure allows the top end closure flap comprising the handle opening to extend across a substantial (greater than 50%, optionally

greater than 60%) of portion of the end of the carton 90. In this way the top end closure flap provides adequate material for the provision of the handle opening.

It can be appreciated that various changes may be made within the scope of the present invention. For example, the size and shape of the panels and apertures may be adjusted to accommodate articles of differing size or shape.

In some embodiments, the fold lines 15 and 21 may extend into the corner panels 40a, 40b, 50a, 50b.

It will be recognised that as used herein , directional references such as "top", "bottom", "base", "front", "back", "end", "side", "inner", "outer", "upper" and "lower" do not necessarily limit the respective panels to such orientation, but may merely serve to distinguish these panels from one another.

As used herein, the terms "hinged connection" and "fold line" refer to all manner of lines that define hinge features of the blank, facilitate folding portions of the blank with respect to one another, or otherwise indicate optimal panel folding locations for the blank. Any reference to "hinged connection" should not be construed as necessarily referring to a single fold line only; indeed a hinged connection can be formed from two or more fold lines wherein each of the two or more fold lines may be either straight/linear or curved/curvilinear in shape. When linear fold lines form a hinged connection, they may be disposed parallel with each other or be slightly angled with respect to each other. When curvilinear fold lines form a hinged connection, they may intersect each other to define a shaped panel within the area surrounded by the curvilinear fold lines. A typical example of such a hinged connection may comprise a pair of arched or arcuate fold lines intersecting at two points such that they define an elliptical panel therebetween . A hinged connection may be formed from one or more linear fold lines and one or more curvilinear fold lines. A typical example of such a hinged connection may comprise a combination of a linear fold line and an arched or arcuate fold line which intersect at two points such that they define a half moon-shaped panel therebetween.

As used herein, the term "fold line" may refer to one of the following: a scored line, an embossed line, a debossed line, a line of perforations, a line of short slits, a line of half-cuts, a single half-cut, an interrupted outline, a line of aligned slits, a line of scores and any combination of the aforesaid options.

It should be understood that hinged connections and fold lines can each include elements that are formed in the substrate of the blank including perforations, a line of perforations, a line of short slits, a line of half-cuts, a single half-cut, a cutline, an interrupted cutline, slits, scores, any combination thereof, and the like. The elements can be dimensioned and arranged to provide the desired functionality. For example, a line of perforations can be dimensioned or designed with degrees of weakness to define a fold line and/or a severance line. The line of perforations can be designed to facilitate folding and resist breaking, to facilitate folding and facilitate breaking with more effort, or to facilitate breaking with little effort.

The phrase "in registry with" as used herein refers to the alignment of two or more elements in an erected carton, such as an aperture formed in a first of two overlapping panels and a second aperture formed in a second of two overlapping panels. Those elements in registry with each other may be aligned with each other in the direction of the thickness of the overlapping panels. For example, when an aperture in a first panel is "in registry with" a second aperture in a second panel that is placed in an overlapping arrangement with the first panel, an edge of the aperture may extend along at least a portion of an edge of the second aperture and may be aligned, in the direction of the thickness of the first and second panels, with the second aperture.