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1. (WO2019030068) STORAGE BOX
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Storage Box

The invention refers to a storage box according to the preamble of claim 1 and claim 8.

As such boxes can be closed airtight and liquid-tight they are used e.g. in the kitchen to keep food fresh. For this purpose, a lid is pressed onto the upper edge of a container, whereby an elastomeric sealing ring is arranged between them. This type of storage container has proven its worth in principle, but it is still necessary to connect the lid and the container firmly to each other by clip locks being attached to the side edges of the lid which must engage with a protruding web on the container so that a secure sealing is achieved.

With large storage containers having a correspondingly large circumference, the length of the clip locks cannot be extended in large scale, but more clip locks must be provided to enable a tight closure with acceptable locking forces to be exerted by the user. Consequently the user must engage or release a correspondingly large number of clip locks to close or open the arrangement of container and lid.

A further disadvantage is that the elastomeric sealing ring must have a high layer thickness to enable a sufficient spring deflection and thus to achieve the described sealing effect also in areas of the lid and the container which are not interlinked directly via the clip locks. In determining the layer thickness of the sealing ring, it must also be considered that the reset forces of the seal decrease in the course of the aging of, so that at a new storage container the spring deflection must be large enough to ensure a tight seal towards the end of the intended useful life of the storage container. On the other hand the large deflection results in higher locking forces to be applied by the user.

The object of the present invention is therefore to provide a well sealable storage container, in which the lid a can be locked comfortably and safely to the container with low locking forces and by which an airtight and liquid-tight seal over the useful life is guaranteed.

This object is achieved by a storage box with the features of both claim 1 and claim 8.

It is essential to the invention for both embodiments that the locking projections are no longer placed, as common in prior art, on a pivotable clip lock, but that many locking projections are positioned in a chain-shaped, linear arrangement over the circumference and that they are connected to each other via at least one common locking band.

According to the invention, all locking projections are operated simultaneously by the common locking band, which is displaceable along the circumference. They are all simultaneously locked to or released from a respective locking web on the counterpart.

Since the locking band of the invented storage container extends over the entire circumference of the container or lid, and that there is a uniform distribution of the locking protrusions over the whole circumference, a nearly uniform contact pressure is achieved over the whole length of the sealing. Thus, the thickness of the sealing ring or sealing layer on the lid can be minimized significantly. Compared to prior art, a reduction of the layer thickness to less than a half is possible, which results in corresponding savings in high-quality materials for the sealing ring such as silicone or thermoplastic elastomers.

According to a preferred aspect of the invention the fixed, immobile locking webs have a slope slightly ascending in the course of the linear displacement path which is necessary for closing, so that each locking projection on the locking band slides onto a slope during the closing process. Consequently, there is always a firm contact pressure of the sealing ring between the container and the lid.

The linear movement in connection with the slope on each locking web results in an option for automatic adjustment. If the elasticity of the sealing decreases or deviations occur in the shape of the container and/or the lid with the sealing a tight seal can still be achieved just by a slightly longer linear displacement of the locking band.

In the storage box according to the invention the length of the circumference of the container or the lid is basically irrelevant for the closing and sealing function, since even with very large containers with a correspondingly large circumferential length the number of interlinked locking projections on the locking band and of the associated fixed locking webs simply needs to be increased in order to generate a uniform contact pressure limited to the minimum necessary at any position of the circumference.

According to the invention no major zones remain that are free of locking elements. All peripheral regions are rather locked simultaneously and uniformly when the locking band is displaced linearly along the circumference.

Yet another advantage of the present invention is that containers and lids made from different materials can be combined. For example, the containers may be made from ceramic or glass, and although the shape tolerances are significantly greater with these materials than in parts made by injection molding, a secure lock of the lid is nevertheless possible by means of the locking band.

According to the invention the lid and the container need not be made of particularly ductile materials, since the forces required for mutual engagement of the parts are applied by the tensile-loaded locking band only. The locking band

can thus be made very thin and can be molded from a durable plastic such as polyethylene or polypropylene, but may e.g. also be made from a metal band.

According to a preferred embodiment the locking band is arranged at the lid, either on the outer circumference of the projecting rim of the lid or alternatively on the inner circumference. In the latter case the actuating element, i.e. a thickening on the locking band designed as a sliding latch, extends through a recess in the projecting rim of the lid to the outside, so that it is accessible from the outside. By the sliding latch the locking band arranged at the inside can easily be moved by the user.

In both embodiments the locking webs are arranged on the container wherein they are preferably designed as sections of a continuous web being molded on the side wall of the container. The web is interrupted by recesses with the same pitch, with which the locking projections are arranged on the locking band thereby enabling to lift the lid vertically upward from the container or put it back on it.

The locking web can be molded directly to the upper edge of the container, but preferably it is molded with a vertical offset to the upper edge of the container in a lower level. Thereby a continuous smooth upper edge with uniform width is formed which is unaffected by the locking webs. As the upper edge having no lateral protrusions has only a narrow width there is only a narrow sealing ring or sealing layer required which is arranged on the inside of the lid.

Alternatively, the reverse arrangement is possible to form a storage container according to the invention. In this alternative embodiment, the locking band is disposed on the outer periphery of the container and has outwardly projecting locking projections on the locking band. The counterparts on the lid are formed by locking webs which are molded perpendicular to the inside of the circumferential rim of the lid which is facing downwards. The locking webs can directly be molded to the lower edge of the rim of the lid or they can be molded with vertical offset thereto above the lower edge of the lid.

It is advantageous for both alternative embodiments of the invention either with the arrangement of the locking band on the lid or on the container to provide an additional safety bracket, which is pivotally mounted on the lid or on the container. The sliding latch of the locking band being in the closed position can be embraced by the bracket and will positively be locked by the safety bracket when it is popped up. An accidental opening of the storage box is avoided thereby.

It is also advantageous to form the locking band of a band with two ends, which are combined via positive locking means to form an endless locking band. Hence, production and assembly are simplified.

The invention will be explained in more detail with reference to the embodiments illustrated in the drawings. The figures show each in perspective view:

FIG. 1 a closed storage box;

FIG. 2 a storage box in an exploded view;

FIG. 3 an opened storage container with lid removed;

FIG. 4 the storage box in the closed position in a partial sectional view;

FIG. 5 a partially cut storage box with lid in the open position in a perspective view;

FIG. 6 a storage box in the open position with the lid removed, and

FIG. 7 a lid with opened locking band.

In Fig. 1 a storage box 100 is shown in a perspective view which substantially consists of a container 20 and a lid 10 resting thereon.

The lid 10 has a rim 1 1 projecting downwards. On its outer circumference a locking band 30 is mounted as such that it is guided by the edges on protrusions 15 of the lid 10 and cannot slip away. The locking band 30 has a sliding latch 31 .

The container 20 has a box shape with smoothly rounded corners. The rounded corners are provided not only to design aspects but also to functional aspects because the locking band 30 needs to be bended in the corners and a large radius causes less stress for the material.

In the closed position of the storage box 100 shown in Fig. 1 the sliding latch 31 is secured by an additional safety bracket 14 which is attached to the lid 10 by a living hinge and which is folded up. To keep the safety bracket 14 in its securing position as shown in Fig. 1 , it also engages with a locking projection 13 on the lid 10.

In Figure 2 the storage box 100 with all its essential components is shown in an exploded view. The locking band 30 with the sliding latch 31 is an integral part of the lid but it is shown separated from the lid 10 in fig. 2. The locking band 30 has a plurality of locking projections 32, which are designed each as a semicircular disk.

A recess on the outer circumference of the projecting rim 1 1 of the lid 10 serves to accommodate and to guide the locking band 30. The projecting rim 1 1 also has several slot-shaped recesses 12 through which the locking projections 32 of the locking band 30 can protrude to the inside of the lid 10.

An upper edge region 23 can be seen in detail at the open container 20: At the bottom of the edge region 23 a web is molded which extends vertically outwards from a side wall 25 and is arranged below an upper edge 24. The web has semicircular recesses 22 at regular intervals designated to receive the locking projections 32 of the locking band. As the web is interrupted by the recesses 22 a plurality of individual locking webs 21 is provided.

In Figure 3 the opened storage container 20 with fully assembled lid 10 is shown in the position for use. The locking band 30 is arranged on the lid 10.

The locking projections 32 engage through the guide recesses 12 in the projecting rim 1 1 and protrude inwards. A sealing ring 16 is molded on the outer peripheral region of the inside of the lid 10.

Figure 4 shows the storage box 100 again in the closed position like already shown in Figure 1 . In this position the locking band 30 is positioned as such that the sliding latch 31 is located in the designated center position of the front of the storage container 20 in which it can be secured via the additional safety bracket 14.

A partial section in Figure 4 illustrates the function of the locking mechanism of the invention: the lid 10 with its sealing ring 16 is positioned on the upper edge 24 of the container 20. Each locking projection 32 is located underneath one of the locking webs 21 extending between two adjacent recesses 22. By engagement of the locking projections 32 with the locking webs 21 the lid 10 is positively fixed to the container 20 and an air- and liquid-tight seal is achieved and secured.

In Figure 5 the open position of the storage box 100 is shown in a similar view as in Figure 4. The safety bracket 14 is folded down so that the sliding latch 31 of the locking band 30 can be moved freely. Compared to its position in Figure 4 the sliding latch 31 in Figure 5 is shifted clockwise by about the width of the latch. Hence, the locking projections 32 of the locking band 30 are positioned directly below the recesses 22 between the locking webs 21 . The positive engagement between the container 20 and the lid 10 is thus repealed.

As shown in Figure 6, the lid 10 can now be withdrawn vertically upwards. Conversely, it can also be placed back on the container 20 in this position of the locking band 30, wherein the locking projections 32 dive down through the recesses 22 and then, by pushing back the locking band 30 into the closed position, engage again with the locking webs 21 .

Figure 7 shows the lid 10 in a perspective view, wherein the locking band 30 is already inserted into the corresponding receptacle on the outer circumference of the projecting rim 1 1 . The locking band 30 is molded as a plastic band having two ends which have mutually interlocking means. At one end, a locking projection 31 .2 is molded. At the other end, the sliding latch 31 is arranged which has an inner recess 31 .1 . By snapping the locking projection 31 .2 into the recess 31 .1 an endless locking band 30 is made which is slidably mounted in the slight depression on the outer circumference of the projecting rim 1 1 of the lid 10 and which cannot slip out of it.