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Publication numberUS3107536 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateOct 22, 1963
Filing dateMar 8, 1961
Priority dateMar 8, 1961
Also published asUS3107537
Publication numberUS 3107536 A, US 3107536A, US-A-3107536, US3107536 A, US3107536A
InventorsAndres Ferrari
Original AssigneeTechnicon Instr
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Sample-supply apparatus with sample mixer
US 3107536 A
Abstract  available in
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Oct. 22, 1963 A. FERRARI 3, 7

SAMPLE-SUPPLY APPARATUS WITH SAMPLE MIXER Filed March 8, 1961 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 I INVENTOR. firmres firm/'1' ATTORNEY Oct. 22, 1963 A. FERRARI 3,107,536.

SAMPLE-SUPPLY APPARATUS WITH SAMPLE MIXER Filed March 8, 1961 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 FIG. 5

l A 7,4 5 72 45 1 m ATTORNEY United States Patent 3,107,536 SAR lPLE-SUPPLY APPARATUS WITH SAMPLE MIXER Andres Ferrari, Scarsdaie, N.Y., assigns: to Teehnicon Instruments Corporation, Chauncey, N.Y., a corporation of New York Filed Mar. 8, 1961, Ser. No. 94,342 14 Claims; (Cl. 73-423) This invention relates to automatic liquid-analysis apparatus and more particularly to the sample-supply means for such apparatus, said sample-supply means comprising a stepwise movable turn-table carrying a series of cups or other containers for the liquid samples which are presented individually to an aspiration or other suitable takeoif device for transmission of the samples in succession to the analysis apparatus.

In the case of certain liquids which contain matter which may settle out, it is necessary or desirable to stir the liquid before or even while the liquid sample is removed rfroin the cups by the take-oi? device. For example but without limitation, in the clinical chemical analysis of blood, hemoglobin determinations are made on whole blood specimens which must be well mixed and homogeneous when aspirated or otherwise withdrawn from the cups by the take-off device.

It is therefore an important object of the present invention to provide means for thoroughly mixing the liquid samples in the sample cups carried by the sample-supply means so that the liquid samples are each in well mixed condition at the time of their removal from the cups by the take-01f means.

Another object is to provide for the automatic movement of the stirring device into and out of certain of the cups during the rest periods of the turn-table of the sample-supply means.

Another object is to eliminate or to reduce to a tolerable degree contamination of the sample liquids which might otherwise occur by reason of the use of the same stirrer for a series of different samples.

The above and other objects, features and advantages of the invention will be apparent from the following description of the presently preferred embodiment of the invention, considered in connection with the accompanying illustrative drawings.

In the drawings:

FIG. 1 is a top plan view of sample-supply means embodying the invention;

FIG. 2 is a side view, partly in section on the line 22 of FIG. 1, showing the take-off means and the stirring means in operative positions and in retracted positions;

FIG. 3 is a. view on a large scale, partly in elevation and partly in section, on the line 3-3 of FIG. 2;

FIG. 4 is a top plan view of part of the sample-supply means, with parts broken away or omitted for clarification of the illustration; and 7 FIG. is a sectional view on the line 55 of FIG. 4.

Referring now to the drawings in detail, the samplesupply means, briefly described, comprises a carrier, here shown as a turn-table 10 which is intermittently turned by suitable mechanism disposed within a housing 12, said mechanism being illustrated by FIGS. 4 and 5 and hereinafter more particularly described. The turn-table cornprises a plate 16 which carries a series of removable cups 18 for the liquid samples, said cups being isposed laterally of each other in a circular row. For this purpose plate 16 is provided with a series of holes 20 and the cups have a peripheral shoulder 22 which. rests on the marginal edge of the plate around the opening through which the cup projects as shown by FIGS. 2 and 3.

The take-ofii' device 24 and the mixer 26 are mounted on the housing 12 in the position shown by FIG. 1 and comprise parts which are movable to and from the positions illustrated in full lines and in broken lines by FIG. 2 in timed relation to the step movement of the turntable so that during each rest period of the latter the take-off tube 28 of the take-oil device and one or more stirrer members 3t) are moved into and out of the cups when the latter are positioned at the station of said take-off device and at the station or stations of the mixer 26. As here shown (FIGS. 2 and 3), the mixer 26 comprises two stirrers 30, one for the cup which is positioned immediately before the take-oif position; and one for the cup which is positioned at the take-off position, as illustrated by PEG. 3, it being noted that the turn-table 1-0 is movable clockwise, viewing FIG. 1. The stirrer provided for the cup at the take-off position is operable to stir the liquid while it is being withdrawn from the cup and thus maintain the liquid previously stirred by the other stirrer in well mixed condition and prevents settling of matter from. the liquid at the take-off position. This is dminable and sometimes necessary in the case of liquids which contain matter which would otherwise settle out in a very short time, but ordinarily the mixer need have only the stirrer for the cup next to the take-oft position.

The stirrer comprises a metal spindle 32 which fits within a polyethylene tube 34. The lower end 36 of said tube extends a short distance below the lower end of the cornp'anion spindle and is flattened to provide a paddle-like element to improve the stirring action. The opposite side walls of the tube at the flattened portion may be held together in flat condition by heat fusing them or in any other suitable Way. The polyethylene tubes 34 are substantially non-wettable and hence do not carry sample liquid from one cup to another. The non-wettable property of polyethylene is thus valuable to the present invention. Stirrers 30 are rotated by (a miniature electric motor 38 the shaft of which is connected to one of the spindles 32. When two stirrers are employed, the second spindle is actuated by the gearing which comprises the driving gear 40, rotated by the motor, and the comp-anion driven gear 42"to which the second spindle is suitably secured for rotation thereby. The gears are mounted for rotation between the cover plates 44 and 46 carried by the housing of motor 38. p

The mixer 26 is preferably mounted for movement to and from operative and retracted positions as a unit with the movable part 48 of the take-off device 24. Said part 48 is a tubular metal crook through which the takeoff tube 28 formed of polyethylene tubing extends for connection to the pump of the analysis apparatus whereby the sample liquid isaspirated from the cup at the take-oif position. Said crook 48 is pivotally movable and is mounted for pivotal movement to and from the positions illustrated by FIG. 2, as described in US. Patent No.

3,038,340, issued June 12,1962. As there described, the V crook is fixed to a rock shaft 50 mounted in a bearing bracket 52 on the top of housing 1-2 laterally of the turntable. The mixer 26 is fixed to said rock shatt 50 by clamping the mixer frame or bracket 54 to said shaft by a companion clamp 56. A rod 58 tor actuatingthe shaft is fixed thereto andprojects into the housing 12 through an elongated opening 60 (-FIG. 2) for actuation by the positioned in the path of rod 58 so that when the rock shaft 56 is turned to the ,position in which the take-01f tube 28 and the stirrer rod 32 are in the cup, motor 38 is operated, and when shaft 50 is turned in the opposite direction to withdraw tube 28 and the stirrer from the cup, rod 58 disengages contact member 64 which thereupon moves by its own spring action to open the switch and thereby interrupt the operation of the motor. Any other equivalent switching device may be used, for example a mercury switch mounted on the bracket 54 to tilt with the latter so that the switch is closed when the mixer is in the sample cup and opened when the mixer is Withdrawn from the sample cup.

The mechanism for turning the turn-table 10 and for eifecting the pivotal movements of rock shaft 50 is described in detail in the above mentioned US. patent which is owned by the assignee of my present application. As more fully described in said US. patent, a Geneva gear 66 is mounted on a shaft 63 which is secured to a plate 70 of housing 12. A pinion gear 72 is mounted for rotation on shaft 68 and Geneva gear 66 is secured to said pinion gear. Gear 72 is in mesh with an intermediate gear 74 which is in mesh with a driven gear 76 and said gear 74 is secured to a drive shaft 78 to which the turntable 10 is secured for intermittent rotation.

The driver for Geneva gear 66 is constituted by a pin 80 which projects upwardly from a set of stacked gears 82 which is part of a speed change mechanism operated by \the lever 84 shown in FIG. 4. An electric motor, not shown, turns a gear 86 which meshes with one of the stacked gears 82, depending upon the vertical position of gear 86, as set by the operation of lever 84, to drive pin 80 which drives the Geneva gear 66 for intermittently rotating the turn-table.

The pivotal movements of the take-off tube are also effected by the operation of pin 80. More specifically, a cam member 88 is pivotally mounted at 90, at one end thereof, and the free end of the cam member is interconneoted by the tension spring 92 with the lower end of a pin 94 which is secured to plate 70. A wire link 96 interconnects the free end of cam member 88 and the lower end of rod 58.

When cam member 88 is in the retracted (broken line) position illustrated in FIG. 4, the take-cit tube 28 and the stirrer 32 are withdrawn from the cups. Cam member 88 has an arcuate part 98, and with the stacked gears rotating counterclockwise, as viewed in FIG. 4, it will be seen that before pin 80 engages a slot in the Geneva gear 66 to rotate table 10, the pin will first strike the cam member, which is in the path of movement thereof, and pivot said cam member from the full to the broken line position thereof, with the pin riding along the arcuate portion 98 during the period that it remains engaged in a slot in said Geneva gear 66. When pin 80 disengages the slot of the Geneva gear, said pin also disengages cam member 88 and the latter is thereupon moved to its full-line position by spring 92 and the take-01f tube and stirrer are inserted into the sample cups. These movements of cam member 88 result in moving the takeoff tube and the stirrer into and out of the cups while the turn-table is stationary.

While I have shown and described the preferred embodiment of my invention, it will be understood that the invention may be embodied otherwise than as herein specifically illustrated or described, and that certain changes in the form and arrangement of parts and in the specific manner of practicing the invention may be made without departing from the underlying idea or principles of this invention within the scope of the appended claims.

What is claimed is:

1. In a liquid-sample supply apparatus comprising an intermittently movable carrier for a series of liquid-sample containers and a take-off device movable in relation to said carrier during the rest periods of the carrier to position the take-off device for withdrawing the liquid samples from said containers and'to pisition the take-oil? device out of the path of movement of said carrier after each take-off operation, means for mixing the liquid in said containers on the carrier, said mixing means comprising a stirrer automatically movable into and out of said containers during the rest periods of said carrier.

2. In a liquid-sample supply apparatus comprising an intermittently movable carrier for a series of liquid-sample contmers and a take-off device movable in relation to said carrier during the rest periods of the carrier to position the take-off device for withdrawing the liquid samples from said containers and to position the take-off device out of the path of movement of said carrier after each take-off operation, means for mixing the liquid in said containers on the carrier, said mixing means comprising a stirrer automatically movable into and out of said containers concomitantly with the movements of said take-01f device during the rest periods of said carrier.

3. In a liquid-sample supply apparatus comprising an intermittently movable carrier for a series of liquid-sample containers and a take-off device movable in relation to said carrier during the rest periods of the carrier to position the take-off device for withdrawing the liquid samples from said containers and to position the take-off device out of the path of movement of said carrier after each take-off operation, means for mixing the liquid in said containers on the carrier, said mixing means com.- prising a stirrer automatically movable into and out of said containers during the rest periods of said carrier, said stirrer being positioned in relation to said take-olf device and said carrier so that said stirrer is operable in the container positioned next to and back of the container at the take-off position in the direction of movement of said carrier so that the liquid is stirred before the container therefore is moved to the take-off position.

4. In a liquid-sample supply apparatus comprising an intermittently movable carrier for a series of liquid-sample containers and a take-off device movable in relation to said carrier during the rest periods of the carrier to position the take-off device for withdrawing the liquid samples from said containers and to position the take-olt device out of the path of movement of said carrier after each take-off operation, means for mixing the liquid in said containers on the carrier, said mixing means comprising a plurality of stirrers automatically movable into ditierent containers, respectively, during the rest periods of the carrier.

5. In a liquid-sample supply apparatus comprising an intermittently movable carrier for a series of liquid-sample containers and a take-off device movable in relation to said carrier during the rest periods of the carrier to position the take-oil device for withdrawing the liquid samples from said containers and to position the take-oil. device out of the path of movement of said carrier after each take-off operation, means for mixing the liquid in said containers on the carrier, said mixing means com prising a plurality of stirrers automatically movable into diiferent containers, respectively, during the rest periods of the carrier, one of said last-mentioned containers being in the take-off position and another of said last-mentioned containers being next to and back of said take-off position in the direction of movement of said carrier whereby the same liquid is stirred before the container reaches the take-0H position and is also stirred during the withdrawal of the liquid by the take-off device.

6. In a liquid-sample supply apparatus comprising an intermittently movable carrier for a series of liquid-sample containers and a take-01f device movable in relation to said carrier during the rest periods of the carrier to position the take-off device for withdrawing the liquid samples from said containers and to position the take-oft device out of the path of movement of said carrier after each take-01f operation, means for mixing the liquid in said containers on the carrier, said mixing means comprising a stirrer automatically movable into and out of said containers during the rest periods of said carrier, said stirrer having a substantially non-wettable surface whereby to eliminate or reduce the carry-over of the liquid from one container to another.

7. In a liquid-sample supply apparatus comprising an intermittently movable carrier for a series of liquid-sample containers and a take-01f device movable in relation to said carrier during the rest periods of the carrier to position the take-off device for withdrawing the liquid samples from said containers and to position the take-01f device out of the path of movement of said carrier after each take-off operation, means for mixing the liquid in said containers on the carrier, said mixing means comprising a plurality of stirrers automatically movable into different containers, respectively, during the rest periods of the carrier, one of said last-mentioned containers being in the take-off position and another of said last-mentioned containers being back of said take-oil position in the direction of movement of said carrier whereby the same liquid is stirred before the container reaches the take-oft position and is also stirred during the withdrawal of the liquid by the take-oil device.

8. In a liquid-sample supply apparatus comprising an intermittently movable carrier for a series of liquid-sample containers and a take-off device movable in relation to said carrier during the rest periods of the carrier to position the take-off device for withdrawing the liquid samples from said containers and to position the takeoff device out of the path of movement of said carrier after each take-01f operation, means for mixing the liquid in said containers on the carrier, said mixing means comprising a stirrer automatically movable into and out of said containers during the rest periods of said carrier, and means automatically operable to interrupt the operation of said stirrer upon the withdrawal thereof from the container.

9. In a liquid-sample supply apparatus comprising an intermittently movable carrier for a series of liquid-sample containers and a take-oh device movable in relation to said carrier during the rest periods of the carrier to position the take-off device for withdrawing the liquid samples from said containers and to position the take-off device out of the path of movement of said carrier after each take-off operation, means for mixing the liquid in said containers on the carrier, said mixing means comprising a rotary stirrer automatically movable into and out of said containers during the rest periods of said carrier, an electric motor for operating said stirrer, and means including a switch controlling the circuit of said motor operable to interrupt the operation of said stirrer upon the withdrawal thereof from the container.

10. In a liquid-sample supply apparatus comprising an intermittently movable carrier for a series of liquid-sample containers and a take-off device movable in relation to said carrier during the rest periods of the carrier to position the take-01f device for withdrawing the liquid samples from said containers and to position the take-01f device out of the path of movemeit of said carrier after each take-01f operation, means for mixing the liquid in said containers on the carrier, said mixing means comprising a rotary stirrer automatically movable into and out of said containers during the rest periods of said carrier, and means including an electric motor for operating said stirrer movable as a unit with the stirrer when the latter is moved into and out of the containers.

11. In a liquid-sample supply apparatus comprising an intermittently movable carrier for a series of liquid-sample containers and a take-off device movable in relation to said carrier during the rest periods of the carrier to position the take-oft device for withdrawing the liquid samples from said containers and to position the tak oit device out of the path of movement of said carrier after each take-0E operation, means for mixing the liquid in said containers on the carrier, said mixing means comprising a stirrer automaticflly movable into and out of said containers during the rest periods of said carrier, said stirrer being movable as a unit with said take-oil device to and from said positions thereof.

12. In a liquid-sample supply apparatus comprising an intermittently movable carrier for a series of liquid-sample containers and a take-oft device movable in relation to said carrier during the rest periods of the carrier to position the takeoff device for Withdrawing the liquid samples from said containers and to position the take-oil? device out of the path of movement of said carrier after each take oif operation, means for mixing the liquid in said containers on the carrier, said mixing means come prising a rotary stirrer automatically movable into and out of said containers during the rest periods of said carrier, said stirrer being movable as a unit with said takeoff device to and from said positions thereof, and means including an electric motor tor operating said stirrer movable as a unit with the stirrer when the latter is moved into and out of the containers.

13. In a liquid-sample supply apparatus comprising an intermittently movable carrier for a series of liquid-sample containers and a take-0E device movable in relation to said carrier during the rest periods of the carrier to position the take-off device for withdrawing the liquid samples from said containers and to position the takeofl? device out of the path of movement of said carrier after each take-off operation, means for mixing the liquid in said containers on the carrier, said mixing means comprising a rotary stirrer automatically movable into and out of said containers during the rest periods of said carrier, said stirrer being movable as a unit with said take-oil device to and from said positions thereof, means including an electric motor for operating said stirrer movable as a unit with the stirrer when the latter is moved into and out of the containers, and means automatically operable to interrupt the operation of said stirrer upon the withdrawal thereof from the container.

14. In a liquid-sample supply apparatus comprising an intermittently movable carrier for a series of liquid-sample containers and a take-0ft device movable in relation to said carrier during the rest periods of the carrier to position the take-cit device for withdrawing the liquid samples from said containers and to position the take-oif device out of the path of movement of said carrier after each take-off operation, means for mixing the liquid in said containers on the carrier, said mixing means comprising a rotary stirrer automatically movable into and out of said containers during the rest periods of said carrier, said stirrer being movable as a unit with said takeofi device to and from said positions thereof, an electric motor for operating said stirrer, and means including a switch controlling the circuit of said motor operable to interrupt the operation of said stirrer upon the withdrawal thereof from the container.

References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US2081159 *May 19, 1933May 25, 1937Robert E CorradiniLiquid dispenser
US2879141 *Nov 16, 1955Mar 24, 1959Technicon InstrAutomatic analyzing apparatus
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3263487 *Apr 14, 1964Aug 2, 1966Fiske Associates IncPivotally mounted operating head
US3350946 *Dec 29, 1964Nov 7, 1967Technicon InstrSample containers for analysis apparatus
US7270788 *Aug 20, 2003Sep 18, 2007Randox Laboratories Ltd.Assay device processing instrument
US20040191890 *Aug 20, 2003Sep 30, 2004Randox Laboratories LtdAssay device processing instrument
Classifications
U.S. Classification73/864.24
International ClassificationB01F11/00, B01F13/00, G01N1/00, B01F11/02, B01J4/02, B01F7/16, B01F13/10
Cooperative ClassificationG01N35/1095, B01F11/00, B01F13/1058, B01J4/02, B01F11/0258, B01F7/16
European ClassificationB01J4/02, B01F7/16, B01F11/00, B01F13/10G3, B01F11/02G