This patented design shows a different side of reclosable packaging: The reclosure is located on the side of a bag rather than the top, a position that the inventor says provides better pour control to go along with product differentiation.
Alan D. Olin, president, Olin Design Group, is an inventor who specializes in packaging. He has five patents to his credit including his latest invention, U.S. Patent # 8,992,085 B2, issued on March 31, 2015, for a “self-supporting storage bag with resealable pour spout.”
The patent abstract reads as follows: “A reclosable bag or pouch configured to store, and to easily pour, material. The reclosable bag is configured with an integral pour spout having a reclosable fastener to facilitate the pouring of material from the bag, and subsequent resealing. By locating the pour spout along an upper side of the bag, material is focused downward from the bag, and not outward, when poured. Bags configured in this manner thus provide end users with enhanced control over the dispensing rate and direction of their contents. In some embodiments, the bag is also configured as a self-supporting bag capable of resting generally upright upon its bottom end.”
Olin responds to our questions in this Q&A.
What makes this design unique and patentable and what is the benefit?
Olin: The reclosable feature is located on the upper side of the bag, which allows for greater functionality because you have more control when pouring.
The Easy Pour Bags also have excellent product differentiation for exceptional branding opportunities and are intended to help consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies sell their products.
What markets or kind of products do you see as benefiting the most?
Olin: The Easy Pour Bag would work well with pet foods, cereals, snack foods and dry goods in general.
What sparked the concept?
Olin: The original motivation for the bag designs came from the desire to replace bag-in-the-box packaging with a more sustainable option that would prevent food waste and over-packaging.
What options are there?
Olin: The Easy Pour Bag design will work on just about any kind of bag.
Our website shows at least 16 different possibilities for the Easy Pour Bag. As an example, some have bag designs have sloped tops, some have the reclosable feature extending beyond the side edge and some only have gussets on one side.
With all of these options, it would be possible to provide excellent product differentiation and exceptional branding opportunities while utilizing the same reclosable feature.
The optimum bag size would probably be about 15 inches tall and about 12 inches wide; slightly smaller or larger bags would work fine, too.
The bag material would depend on the product that's being packaged, but ideally the material would be recyclable to make the packaging more sustainable.
What variations are there for the reclosure itself?
Olin: The patent covers press-to-seal zipper and slider reclosures.
The reclosable feature size would depend on the product that's being packaged. An approximate 6-inch opening will probably work well with most products.
What can you comment about machinability and costs vs. standard reclosable bags?
Olin: The existing packaging equipment would need slight modifications and the production costs will be very similar to current reclosable standup bags and pouches.
Jim Russell, president of Modern Manufacturing Services, relayed that their bag-making machines could generate the Easy Pour Bag with some equipment modifications.
A supplier of premade bags, Schur Star Systems, Inc., reported that its bag-making machinery could make most of the Easy Pour Bags with a press-to-seal zipper.
What kind of interest have you seen?
Olin: There has been interest from both CPG companies and bag-making companies.
I’ve had a number of dealings with inventors over the past several years and it seems they all have one thing in common: They are frustrated with some part of the patent process. Are you?
Olin: The most frustrating part of this process was exercising patience while the patent was issued. My first four patents took less than two years each; however, the Easy Pour Bag patent took much longer.
Olin: My objective is either to find a business partner to commercialize the bag designs or to license/assign the technology to another company.
You can see a video of the bag at the website: www.olindesigngroup.com/ZipandEasyPour.html
For a machinery evaluation of this invention by several experts posted on July 12, see Form-fill-seal machinery experts assess the Easy Pour Bag
Interested in packaging innovation? You’ll find plenty of market-expanding ideas during EastPack in New York City June 14 to 16 in New York City.