A desiccant bag for adsorbing moisture from a surrounding space
in a packaged product includes on its inner surface an electronic
article surveillance or EAS tag which enables detection of stolen
products by theft or shoplifter detectors. The EAS tag is not visible
from the outside of the bag or product package, and is thus unlikely
to be detected and removed by a thief. The bag may also be printed
with an invisible message or taggant containing information such
as source or intended destination.
What is claimed is:
1. A sealed desiccant bag made of a material which is pervious
to vapor, and containing a desiccant for absorbing the vapor, and
an EAS tag secured to an inner surface of the bag for detecting
stolen articles in which the bag is packaged.
2. The bag of claim 1 in which the bag is spun-bonded polyolefin
3. The bag of claim 1 in which the desiccant is a silica gel.
4. The bag of claim 1 in which the EAS tag is of an acoustic-magnetic
5. The bag of claim 1 and further comprising a taggant printed
on an outer surface of the bag.
6. The bag of claim 1 in which the bag is spun-bonded polyolefin
plastic, the EAS tag is of an acoustic-magnetic type, and further
comprising a taggant printed on an outer surface of the bag.
GENERAL DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
This invention relates to a desiccant bag for adsorbing water vapor
from a surrounding space, and with an enclosed electronic article
surveillance (EAS) tag for activating theft and shoplifting detectors.
The bag is made of FDA-approved material, and is especially suitable
for use in premium pharmaceutical products which are subject to
shoplifting in retail stores. In such applications, the EAS tag
is invisible and within a tamper-proof sealed pharmaceutical bottle
or other package, thus eliminating risk of removal by a shoplifter.
Desiccant bags of various types and sizes are known, and commercially
available from several commercial sources including Desiccare, Inc.,
in Santa Fe Springs, Calif., assignee of the present invention.
Large sizes are useful in high-volume applications such as product
containers transported on container ships. Small sizes are easily
fitted within a container such as a sealed pharmaceutical-product
bottle. Bags of these types are filled with a desiccant (typically
silica gel, molecular sieve, montmorillonite clay, carbon, or mixtures
of these materials) to adsorb moisture vapor and odors from within
EAS tags (sometimes called "source tags") are also well
known, and are available in various types such as acoustic-magnetic,
radio frequency, microwave, and electromagnetic, described in numerous
U.S. patents such as U.S. Pat. Nos. 4063229 4510489-490 4660025
5357240 etc. These tags are normally deactivated (typically magnetically)
at a checkout counter, but if not deactivated, a shoplifted product
is detected at the store exit to alert security personnel.
Use of EAS tags on high-value products is known, but the tag is
typically placed on the product, or on the inside or outside of
a product carton (or on the outside of a product container such
as a pharmaceutical bottle) where it can be detected and surreptitiously
removed by an experienced shoplifter. Placement of an exposed tag
directly within a pharmaceutical bottle, for example, in direct
contact with the product is unacceptable in view of FDA and other
regulations which sharply limit the materials permitted to contact
such products. This invention enables the EAS tag to be effectively
sheathed and hidden within an envelope of FDA-approved material
which also contains a desiccant.
In an alternative embodiment, normally invisible messages called
taggants can be printed on a desiccant bag, and made visible by,
for example, illuminating with ultraviolet light. The messages can
contain various commercial information such as source, intended
destination (thus enabling detection of diverted shipments), product
characteristics, and the like. Taggants of various types are well
known, and are disclosed in, for example, U.S. Pat. Nos. 4736425
5139812 5421869 5516362 6174400 6217175 and 6316082.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
The desiccant bag of this invention comprises a sealed bag of a
material pervious to vapor, but impervious to liquid and particulates,
a desiccant material in the bag, preferably silica gel, for adsorbing
vapor, and an EAS tag secured to an inner surface of the bag. In
one embodiment, the bag further includes an encoded or invisible
taggant printed on an outer surface of the bag.
DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
FIG. 1 is a front elevation of a desiccant bag according to the
FIG. 2 is a side view on line 2--2 of FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a rear elevation of the bag;
FIG. 4 is a front elevation of an EAS tag; and
FIG. 5 is a side view of the tag shown in FIG. 3.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS
FIGS. 1-3 show an assembly 10 of a desiccant bag 11 with an enclosed
EAS tag 12 the tag being shown in greater detail in FIGS. 4-5.
The bag is made of a porous material which will pass water vapor,
but is impervious to liquid water, dust, and other particulates.
A presently preferred sheet material for the bag is a spun-bonded
polyolefin marketed by E.I. duPont under the trademark TYVEK.RTM..
This material in a thickness of about 0.4 to 0.7 mils is satisfactory
for bags packaged with pharmaceutical products, and has good moisture-vapor
transmission, while bidirectionally blocking liquid and particulates.
The bag is filled with a desiccant which is preferably particulate
silica gel which is highly capillary, and thereby has a large adsorptive
surface area. EAS tag 12 has a rear side 13 which is self-adhesively
secured to an inner surface of a front face 14 of the bag. A suitable
and presently preferred acoustic-magnetic EAS tag is marketed by
Sensormatic Electronics Corporation, Boca Raton, Fla., under the
trademark ULTRA-STRIP III.
The bag is designed to be made by automatic manufacturing machines
of a known type called "form, fill and seal" machines.
The first step is to draw and cut a flat sheet of the polyolefin
material from a roll of the material. The EAS tag is then pressed
against and adhesively bonded to the side of the sheet which will
form the inner surface of the bag. The sheet is then machine folded
about its length to form a tube which is longitudinally heat sealed
as shown at 15 in FIG. 3. One end of the bag is then heat sealed
to form a first closed end 16 and the bag is then machine filled
with the particulate desiccant. Silica-gel desiccant loads of about
0.5 to 2.0 grams are typical. The filled bag is then closed by another
heat seal which forms second closed end 17.
In a typical size suitable for use in a pharmaceutical container,
the assembled bag is about 27/16" long, 7/8" wide, and
3/8" thick. Larger and smaller sizes are also practical, depending
on the size of the container in which the bag is inserted, and the
amount of desiccant needed to insure adequate adsorption of water
The EAS tag is magnetically deactivated when the protected product
is paid for at a checkout counter. A pilfered product, on the other
hand, will be sensed by commercially available detectors at the
store exits, and an alarm sounded to alert security personnel to
the invention is equally useful in a variety of other applications
where moisture control and anti-theft protection are important.
For example, in the packaging of cameras and electronic products,
or of hygroscopic materials. In these typical uses, FDA-approved
materials are usually not required, and other desiccants and bag
materials (such as paper and nonwoven sheets) are satisfactory,
and provide desired EAS-tag security coupled with prevention of
rust and corrosion.
Another feature of the invention is placement of an invisible or
encoded message or taggant on the outside of the desiccant bag as
discussed above. The taggants can be printed at spaced intervals
on the desiccant-bag material while it is in roll form. Reading
of the taggant is typically done with ultraviolet illumination,
but other types of illumination or decoding can be used. Placement
of a taggant is also useful with desiccant bags of larger sizes,
and which may not include an EAS tag.