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Publication numberUS3230776 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJan 25, 1966
Filing dateMay 31, 1963
Priority dateMay 31, 1963
Publication numberUS 3230776 A, US 3230776A, US-A-3230776, US3230776 A, US3230776A
InventorsJack Isreeli, Theodore Bilichniansky
Original AssigneeTechnicon Instr
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Liquid sample supply apparatus
US 3230776 A
Abstract  available in
Images(5)
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Jan. 25, 1966 J. lSREELl ETAL LIQUID SAMPLE SUPPLY APPARATUS 5 Sheets-Sheet 1 Filed May 31, 1963 I NVEN TORS dqc/r 64 6641 Y 7isooogaf5/uawwelyw Ame/var Jan. 25, 1966 J. lSREELl ETAL LIQUID SAMPLE SUPPLY APPARATUS 5 Sheets-Sheet 2 Filed May 31, 1963 ark Jan. 25, 1966 J. ISREELI ETAL 3,230,776

LIQUID SAMPLE SUPPLY APPARATUS Filed May 31, 1963 5 Sheets-Sheet 3 I lib I 3-4-0 0 22 M f V \u A M1161? TIME/Q I INVENTORS V dncx /6/?EELJ BY fi c'ooope'fi/ucmwawky dim. CKL

Jan. 25, 1966 J. ISREELI ETAL LIQUID SAMPLE SUPPLY APPARATUS 5 Sheets-Sheet 5 Filed May 31, 1963 United States Patent 3,230,776 LHQUID SAMPLE SUPPLY APPARATUS Jack Israeli, Tuckahoe, and Theodore Bilichniansky,

Pleasant Valley, N.Y., assignors to Technician instruments Corporation, Chauncey, N.Y., a corporation of New York Filed May 31, 1963, Ser. No. 284,718 6 Claims. (Cl. 73-423) This invention relates to an automatic method and apparatus for supplying samples of materials and, more particularly but not necessarily exclusively, to a method and apparatus of this nature which are peculiarly adaptable to the automatic successive supply of a plurality of distinct liquid samples to a liquid analysis apparatus.

One object of our invention is the provision of sample supply method and apparatus as above, incorporating improved means for feeding, positioning and taking the samples while effecting an almost continuous concurrent mixing thereof.

A further object of our invention is the provision of a method and apparatus as above incorporating improved means for supplying a wash liquid to the sample take-off means between the taking of successive samples, and separating adjacent samples by segments of air, whereby contamination of one sample by the residue of a preceding sample in the take-off means is prevented.

Another object of our invention is the provision of a sample supply apparatus as above of generally improved construction which is especially useful for the rapid and automatic supply of different blood or blood serum samples of predetermined quantity to an automatic liquid analysis apparatus for the quantitative analysis of each of the samples with respect to one or more constituents thereof.

In a herein disclosed preferred embodiment, the apparatus will be seen to comprise readily interchangeable, indexible carrier means for supporting a plurality of in dividual liquid containers. Liquid mixing and take-oil means are positioned above the carrier means and are operative, through the medium of interconnected electromechanical control means as each container is in turn indexed into position therebelow, to mix and withdraw substantially all of the liquid from the container for supply to an associated analysis apparatus. Separate wash-liquid container means are mounted adjacent the liquid take-off means whereby a quantity of wash liquid may be supplied to the take-d means following the withdrawal of each liquid sample from the containers to cleanse the take-off apparatus and thus prevent contamination of any sample by the residue of one previously withdrawn. Readily interchangeable timing means are incorporated in the aforementioned electro-mechanical control means to enable the convenient variation of the operational time characteristics of the sample supply process as may be required by the difierent properties of the liquids to be supplied to the analysis apparatus.

The above and other objects, features and advantages of our invention will be made clear by the following description of the herein disclosed preferred embodiment taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings wherein:

PEG. 1 is a top plan view partially in section with parts cut away of the apparatus of the invention;

FIG. 2 is a vertical sectional view taken on line 22 of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a vertical sectional view taken on line 33 of FIG. 1;

FlG. 4 is a vertical sectional view taken on line 4-4 of FIG. 2;

FIG. 5 is a vertical sectional view taken on line 5-5 of FIG. 2;

FIG. 6 is a vertical sectional view taken on line 6-6 of FIG. 1;

FIG. 7 is a top plan view of the mixing and take-off assemblies of the apparatus;

FIGS. 8 and 9 are isometric projections of the mixing and take-off assemblies of the invention; and

FIG. 10 is a schematic diagram of the control circuit of the invention.

Turning now to the drawings, and particularly to FIGS. 1 and 2, the apparatus of the hereindisclosed preferred embodiment of our invention will be seen to comprise essentially a housing 11; with turntable assembly 12, indexing drive means 13, mixer and sample take-off assemblies 14 and 16, respectively, mixer and take-off assembly actuating mechanisms 17, timing mechanism 18, and wash liquid reservoir 29, positioned thereon or therewithin in the depicted manners.

In the operation of the apparatus, a plurality of liquid sample containing cups are mounted upon the turntable assembly and positioned in turn thereby through the operation of the indexing drive mechanism to a position in alignment with the mixing and sample take-ofi assemblies. The latter are actuated by the operation of the associated actuating and timing mechanisms as each cup is in turn indexed therebelow, to mix and withdraw at least a portion of the liquid contained therein for supply to an associated analysis apparatus. Following the withdrawal of each sample by the take-off apparatus, the latter is positioned by the associated actuating mechanism within the liquid wash reservoir for the supply of a slug of wash liquid thereto to cleanse the said apparatus prior to the withdrawal of the next succeeding sample thereby.

Turning now in greater detail to the turntable assembly, it is seen to comprise a generally circular plate 21, shaped as shown, and incorporating a circular array of cup mounting holes 22 formed adjacent the periphery thereof. Cups 23 are removably mounted within these holes by insertion therewithin in the depicted slightly canted manner, whereby any appreciable quantity of liquid in the cups will tend to accumulate for convenient removal therefrom by the take-off assembly at the outer portions of the interiors thereof. Thus, at least a portion of the liquid sample within the cup may be removed therefrom by the take-off assembly to make possible the utilization of samples of minimum quantity as might prove most desirable, for example, in the taking of blood samples from infants for analysis in an associated blood testing apparatus. A switch actuating tab 114 is adjustably positioned adjacent the periphery of the turntable plate in any well known manner for purposes described in detail hereinbelow.

Turntable plate support shaft 24 is journaled for ro tation in housing mounted bearing assembly 27 and includes a driving collar 23 removably secured thereto by set screw 29. Drive plate 28 rests on and is secured to the driving collar by peening the latter over the former at the juncture thereof. Turnatable plate subassembly, including turntable plate 21, knob 26 and stiffener plate 26' are held together as a unitary member by eyelets 2 extending as shown between the stiffener and turntable plates and by the peening of the knob over the stiffener plate at the juncture thereof. The turntable plate subassembly is mounted as shown on the driving collar to rest on the drive plate by sliding the knob 26 over the support shaft 24. Drive pins 3 are attached to and extend upwardly from the drive plate 28' into holes 3' pro vided therefor in the turntable plate whereby the turntable plate subassembly may be correctly positioned relative to the drive plate and rotatably driven thereby.

tion of the driving collar and is secured thereto by the peening over of the collar at the juncture thereof. Pin 31 extends as shown between the gear plate and collar to properly position and lock the former to the latter.

The Geneva gear plate is in turn driven by the engagement therewith of Geneva cam 34- in the manner made clear by FIGS. 1, 2 and 3. The configuration of the cam is seen to be such that every complete revolution thereof will function in a well known manner to advance the Geneva gear plate one notch and thence maintain it stationary as positioned until the leading edge 36 of the cam driving portion 3% enters the next succeeding notch 35 to repeat the driving process. The Geneva cam assembly is fixedly mounted as shown upon drive shaft 37 of induction motor 38 and is rotatably driven thereby to drive the Geneva gear 32 and the associated turntable assembly 12.

In the preferred embodiment herein disclosed, the construction of the turntable plate and Geneva gear plate are so related that the plate will be indexed one cup position for every one notch advancement of the Geneva gear by the cam 34. Thus, the plate will advance one cup position for every complete revolution of cam 34 and, as follows, shaft 37 and the driving gear 39 fixedly attached thereto. The significance of this fixed relationship between the turntable plate advancement rate and the revolution rate of driving gear 39 is made clear by detailed reference thereto hereinbelow. Suffice however at this juncture to point out that the revolution rate of driving gear 39 controls the rate at which the mixer and takeoff assemblies are actuated, whereby it may be appreciated that this fixed relationship insures the essential synchronization of the turntable advancement rate and the operational rates of the mixer and take-off assemblies.

, The rotation of driving gear 39 by induction motor 33 functions to rotatably drive the identically sized, meshed gear 41 in the opposite direction. Gear 41 is in turn connected, through the medium of pivotally mounted connecting link 42, to actuating gear 43 which is seen in FIG. 4 to be rotatably mounted on shaft 4-7 journaled in housing brace member 48. It is to be noted that the link is pivotally mounted on both pin 44 of gear 41 and pin 46 of actuating gear 43, whereby one complete counterclockwise revolution of gear 41. from the position thereof depicted in FIG. 2, will result first in counter-clockwise rotation of actuating gear 43 from the position thereof depicted in FIG. 2 to the position of FIG. 3, followed by clockwise rotation thereof back to the position of FIG. 2. Thus, the actuating gear 43 is seen to be oscillated through a cycle of approximately 60, namely 30 to each side of bottom dead center.

Cam drive gear 51 is fixedly secured to earn shaft 52, which shaft is in turn journaled for rotation in bearing 53 mounted on housing brace member 48. The cam drive gear is seen to be meshed with the actuating gear 43, whereupon the just described oscillatory movement of the latter will result in oppositely directed oscillatory movement of the former through a cycle of approximately 270 to drive the cam shaft 52 through an identical cycle.

A nylon lift cam 54 is mounted on the opposite extremity of shaft 52 and driven thereby through the medium of pin 56 which keys the cam to the shaft. Mixer support arm 57 is seen in FIGS. 1-4 to be pivotally mounted on the housing brace member '48 bypin 59, with the undersurface of the free end of the arm resting atop and solely supported by the lift cam, whereupon the arm will be moved up and down to describe an arcabout pin 59 extending from the arm position depicted in FIG. 2 to that depicted in FIG. 3 as the cam is oscillated through its cycle by the action of shaft 52.

A vibratory mixed 14 is aflixed as shown to the free end of the support arm 57 by support post 61 extending therebetween and is thus oscillated thereby through a corresponding arc of an extent made clear by further comparison of FIGS. 2 and 3. The mixer is of the solenoid actuated type disclosed in our copending United States Patent No. 3,107,537, issued October 22, 1963; and com prises two polyethylene coated mixer paddles 52 which are seen to extend therefrom into the interiors of adjacent liquid containers 23 in the manner made clear by FIGS. 2, 7 and 8 whenever the mixer assumes the position depicted in these figures. The mixer paddles are further seen in FIGS. 3 and 9 to be completely withdrawn from the cups and thus offer no impediment to the indexing thereof when the mixer is positioned as depicted in these figures.

The liquid take-off assembly actuating mechanism, generally indicated at 16, is also operated by the action of lift cam 54 in a manner made clear hereinbelow whereby the operations of the mixer and take-olf assemblies are mutually synchronized and, through the medium of gear 41 and connecting link 42, with the operation of the turntable plate 21. To this effect, the take-off assembly is positioned adjacent the cam and seen to comprise a crook holder block 64 and triangular link 66 interconnected as a unitary member by screws 67 extending therebetween. A mounting hole 68 extends through the holder block and link whereby the same are pivotally mounted on a cam mounted actuating pin 63 by the extension of the pin through the mounting hole. The pin is maintained therein a well known manner by holding member 69. The triangular link 66 extends rearwardly from the block as shown, and is pivotally attached to a walking beam link 71 by pin 72. The walking beam link is in turn pivotally mounted on housing bracket 73 by pin 74 extending therebetween. A bent over tab portion 76 is formed on triangular link 66 for purposes described in detail hereinbelow.

Liquid take-off crook 77, comprising metal tube 75 with tubing 80, preferably of polyethylene, mounted therewithin, and crook mounting block 78, are supported by a crook support post 79 extending into the crook holder block 64. Tubing Stl extends as shown through metal tube 75 and is in turn connected to any convenient source of reduced pressure whereby air or liquid is drawn thereinto through the crook depending upon the location of the inlet end of the latter. The tubing 8% is the supply conduit whereby liquid samples withdrawn from the cups through the crook may be supplied to an associated liquid analysis apparatus.

The wash liquid reservoir 20 is secured by bolt 5 on the housingll adjacent the turntable plate 21 and in alignment with the path of travel of the crook. The reservoir comprises an integral liquid receptacle 32. including inlet and outlet conduits 83 and 8d, respectively, whereby a constant flow of wash-liquid from any convenient source may be maintained therein for supply to the crook when the inlet end of the latter is positioned therewithin as shown in FIG. 3.

The path described by the inlet end of the crook as it oscillates from the position of FIGS. 2 and 8, through the position of FIG. 9, to the position of FIG. 3, and thence back to the position of FIGS. 2 and 8, is determined by both the distance between the pivot point of the lift cam (the center of cam shaft 52) and the pivot point of the crook holder block on the cam (the center of actuating pin 63) as well as the respective lengths of the pivotally connected links 66 and 71.

If operation of the apparatus is commenced with the crook and mixer paddles positioned within adjacent aligned cup 23 as depicted in FIGS. 2 and 8, and induction motor 34 actuated to drive gear 41 counter-clockwise from the position of FIG. 2 to the position of FIG. 3, the mixer and take-off assemblies Will be seen to be actuated in the following manners. The counter-clock wise rotation of gear 41 will, through connecting link 42, commence the counter'clockwise rotation of actuating gear 43 which will in turn commence the clockwise rotation of cam drive gear 51 and the cam shaft 52 to which the latter is affixied. The corresponding rotation of the lift cam 54 will drive the cam mounted actuating pin 63 in a circular arc about the center of shaft 52 to raise the crook upwardly and away from the cup 23 through the combined action of pivotally mounted crook holder block 64 and the connecting links 66 and 71. Mixer paddles 62, which move in an arc about the center of shaft 59, will be simultaneously moved in a generally similar manner upwardly and away from the interiors of the cups by the action of the high side of the cam relative thereto as it passes beneath the mixer support arm 57 and the latter is lifted thereby. The rotation of the cam continues with the crook continuing to move upwardly and away from the cups to clear the edge of the wash-liquid receptacle. The mixer assembly will at this point remain supported above the cups by the action of the high side of the cam against the undersurface of the mixer support arm. The clockwise rotation of the cam continues until actuating pin 63 has described a circular arc of approximately 270 about the center of shaft 52 at which point the crook will have been moved thereby from the position depicted in FIGS. 2 and 8, through the position depicted in FIG. 9, to the position within the wash-liquid receptacle depicted in FIG. 3, and by the dashed lines, in FIG. 9. The mixer paddles, on the other hand, will at this point have been moved back downwardly as the low side of the cam passes again beneath the support arm 5] whereupon the paddles will re-enter the cups. It is to be noted however that the cups have in turn been simultaneously indexed, in a manner described in detail hereinbelow, through one cup position while the mixer and take-off assemblies were withdrawn therefrom in the just described manner. Thus, the mixer paddles 62 are now positioned in the newly indexed cups while the crook is positioned within the Wash liquid receptacle. At this point, continued rotation of gear 41 will, through the action of pivoted link 42, reverse the rotation of actuating gear 43 and move it in a clockwise direction to return the link and gear to the position shown in FIG. 2. The return travel of actuating gear 43 will of course function to also repeat in reverse the just described movements of the take-off and mixer assemblies, Thus, the former will be raised from the wash liquid receptacle and returned by the same path to position the crook in the cup 23 newly indexed into alignment therewith. Simultaneously, the mixer paddles 62 will be raised from and relowered into this same newly indexed cup and the cup immediately adjacent thereto.

The timing mechanism, generally indicated at 18, is seen in FIGS. 1 and 6 to comprise a housing mounted constant speed motor 91 with motor shaft 92 extending therefrom. Shaft 9% including enlarged threaded end 104 is coupled to the motor shaft by coupling 95 extending therebetween, and is journaled for rotation as shown in housing mounted bearing 93. Timing cam base member 85' and timing cam 94 are positioned over the enlarged end of the shaft and removably secured thereto by cam nut 81 threadably secured thereover. The relative alignment of the cam base member, timing cam plates, and the enlarged shaft end are fixed in a well known manner by roll pins 195 and 110 extending therebetween. The

timing cam will be seen in FIGS. 1 and 6 to include notches of predetermined peripheral extent formed in the periphery thereof. At this juncture it is well to note that the operational characteristics of the timing cam,

namely the extent and placement of the notches, control directly the operational time cycles of the turntable,

mixer, and take-off assemblies in a manner set forth in detail hereinbelow, whereby it may at this point be readily appreciated that the removal of the cam plate and the substitution of another therefor embodying different operational characteristics will, in itself, suffice to vary the operational time cycles of the aforementioned as semblies to thus provide a sample supply apparatus of significant versatility. For example, should it prove desirable to increase the length of time the take-off assembly is operatively positioned in the sample cups and wash liquid receptacleas might be required for the supply of liquid samples of substantial viscosity to the associated liquid analysis apparatus-this may be readily accomplished by the convenient substitution of a timing cam embodying the requisite operational characteristics. Too, the nature of the particular sample constituent to be tested for in the associated liquid analysis apparatus might make desirable modification of the overall or relative lengths of the wash-liquid and/or sample supply time periods. Alternatively, the timing cam might be constructed to comprise a plurality of notched plates mounted one above the other on the enlarged shaft end 1%, whereby the simple loosening of cam nut 81 and the relative angular adjustment of the plates would suffice to vary the extent and placement of the peripheral cam notches as should be obvious.

The control system of the apparatus, illustrated schematically in FIG. 10, is of a generally electro-mechanical nature and includes the aforementioned timing mechanism. Further included in the control system are single throw switch 101 which is mounted on the housing adjacent the timing cam with the switch actuator arm 102 riding on and actuated by the notched cam periphery as seen in FIG. 1; mercury switch 1% which is mounted as shown in FIGS. 2 and 3 on mixer assembly support arm 57 and is open only when the mixer is tilted up and away from the cups as depicted in FIG. 3; normally closed microswitch 104 which is mounted on the housing adjacent the take-oif assembly actuating mechanism with the switch actuating arm 1% being depressed by the lower extremity of the crook holder block 64 to open the switch when the block is in the position of FIG. 2; normally closed microswitch 107 which is mounted as shown on the housing adjacent the triangular link 66 with the switch actuating arm 108 being depressed to open the switch by link tab 76 when the triangularlink is in the position of FIG. 3; maintained contact switch 111 mounted as best shown in FIG. 6 on the housing adjacent the turntable plate 21 with the switch actuator arm 112; projecting through housing aperture 113 for actuation by the abutment of adjustably positionable turntable plate tab 114 therewith; manually operated buzzer control switch 115 and power switch 116 mounted atop the housing as shown in FIG. 1; power-0n indicating light 11". mounted atop the housing adjacent the manually operated switches; and a warning buzzer B connected as shown in series with switches 115 and 111 and operative to provide an audible signal at the completion of the sampling operation in response to the tripping of switch 111 by turntable plate tab 114. Maintained contact switch 111 is further seen to include a re-set actuator 119 (FIG. 6) extending therefrom into abutment with one surface of spring 120. Housing mounted re-set button assembly 121, including re-set actuator shaft 122, is positioned adjacent the switch with the re-set actuator shaft extending into contact with and biased by the other surface of the spring, whereby the switch may be re-set by depression of the re-set button for further operation of the sampling apparatus after having been tripped by the abutment of turntable plate tab 114 with switch actuator arm 112 at the completion of a sampling operation. For convenience of description, the operative positions of maintained contact switch 111 and single throw switch 1M have been labeled as A and B in schematic depiction of FIG. 10.

The operation of the sampling apparatus as a whole 2' will now be described in detail whereupon the manner in which the various hereinabove described assemblies and systems cooperate to produce the desired result,,namely the supply of non-contaminated segmented liquid samples to an associated liquid analysis apparatus, should become readily apparent to those skilled in this art.

At the commencement of a sample supply operation, as for example the taking and supply of blood samples, the supply conduit St is operatively connected to an associated blood analysis apparatus, as for example automatic blood testing apparatus of the nature disclosed in United States Patent No. 2,797,149 issued June 25, 1957, and the cups 23 are inserted as shown in the holes provided therefor in the turntable plate 21. A small sample quantity of a different blood is then placed in some or all of the cups to a level sufficient to enable the withdrawal therefrom of the sample by the crook and the supply of the sample through conduit 3t} to the associated testing apparatus. Alternatively, the sample may be placed in the cups before the insertion of the cups in the plate to allow for refrigerated storage of the sample-containing cups.

Positioning of the timing cam 94 follows to locate arm 102 of switch 1191 within a cam notch 95 just adjacent an edge portion thereof to insure that the switch is initially in position B as seen in FIG. 10. The positioning of turntable plate tab 114 is then adjusted, if necessary just to the right of actuator 112 as seen in FIG. 1 so that the tab will not abut the actuator to move switch 111 from position A to position B until each of the sample-containing cups has been indexed into alignment with the takeoff assembly to enable the withdrawal of the sample therefrom. Depression of re-set button 121 follows to insure that switch 111 is initially in position A.

With the turntable plate so located, it should be noted that the crook 7'7 and mixer paddles 62 will be positioned in the manner of FIG. 3 with the crook in the wash-liquid receptacle 82, and aspirating wash-liquid, and the mixer paddles within the interiors of the sample cups 23 located in alignment therewith. At this starting point only the flat, or non-driving portion of the Geneva cam will be within the Geneva gear plate notch 35 located in alignment therewith, with the driving portion of the cam located at least 30 therebehind.

Power is next applied to the control circuit through the manual closure of switch 116. Upon the expiration of a.

predetermined period of time with the turntable plate and Y mixer and takeoff assemblies positioned in the manner of FIG. 3, an edge of timing cam notch 96 in which switch actuator 1632 has been riding will be rotated into abutment with switch actuator 102, to transfer switch 101 from position B to position A to restart operation of the driving motor through the said switch and the now closed switch 104. At this point, the take-off and mixer assemblies are still of course in the position of FIG. 3, whereupon operation of the driving motor will function, through the action of gear 41, link 42 and actuating gear 43, to transfer the said assemblies to the position of FIG. 2 in the hereinabovc described manner. Operation of the driving motor at this time will not function to effect any rotation of the turntable plate, but rather, will maintain the plate stationary by the rotation of the flat or non-driving portion of Geneva cam 34 within the notch 35. Thus, the crook will be raised from the wash liquid receptacle and transferred therefrom into the cup 23 initially positioned in alignment therewith, while the mixer paddles 62 will be simultaneously raised from and relowered into the same cups now located in alignment therewith. During this transfer, and just as the inlet end of the crook is raised above the level of the wash-liquid, a slug of air will of course commence to be drawn thereinto to further insure the removal of any blood sample residue from a previous group of samples from the crook and conduit before the introduction of the first sample of this group thereto. This intake of the slug of air through the crook will'cease as soon as the inlet end thereof makes contact with the surfaceof the blood within the cup newly in alignment therewith. It is here noted that segmentation by air of both the slug of wash liquid and the sample prior to the supply thereof to the associated liquid analysis apparatus may be readily accomplished in the manner disclosed in United States Patent No. 3,081,158 issued March 12, 1963, for purposes made clear in the said patent.

As crook holder block 64 and triangular link 66 are transferred from the position of FIG. 3 to the position of FIG. 2, the former will abut switch actuator 1% whereby switch 104 will be shifted from the closed to the open position, and the tab '76 on the latter withdrawn from contact with switch actuator 1138 to shift switch 11 from the open to the closed position. This opening of switch 1494 with switch 191 still in position A will function to discontinue operation of the driving motor 38, as made clear by FIG. 10.

With the take-01f and mixer assemblies now in the position of FIG. 2, the former will function to withdraw the sample of blood from that contained in the cup aligned therewith, and the latter to concurrently mix the blood in this same cup and the one adjacent thereto to prepare the latter for withdrawal by the crook upon the next operational cycle of the apparatus. The sample mixing and take-off functions continue with operation of driving motor 38 discontinued until the timing cam 94 rotates sufficiently to again present the edge of a notch 96 to switch actuator 162 whereupon the actuator will enter and ride within the notch to return switch 101 to position B and restart operation of the driving motor through closed switch 167 which is at this point unaffected by triangular link tab 76.

At this point, the leading edge 36 of the Geneva cam will enter notch 35 but will not, at first, function to advance the Geneva gear plate because of a slight dwell incorporated in the design of the driving portion of the cam. In addition, this dwell functions to maintain the Geneva gear plate stationary after the trailing edge of the flat portion of the cam has passed therefrom.

Rotation of the driving motor 38 will however function to commence the raising of the mixer and take-off assemblies from the cups 23 through the action of link 42, actuating gear. 43, cam drive gear 51 and lift cam 56, in the hereinabove described manner. As soon as the mixer paddles 62 and inlet end of crook 77 have cleared the cups, the driving or slanted portion of the Geneva cam will enter the notch 35 to advance the Geneva gear one notch, whereupon the turntable plate 21 will be indexed one cup position in the clockwise direction. imultaneously therewith, the continued rotation of the driving motor will function to position the mixer and take-off assemblies in the manner depicted in FIG. 3 with the paddles now being positioned within the cups newly indexed into alignment therewith, and the inlet end of the crook in the wash liquid reservoir. It is here noted that the reduced pressure conditions within conduit 89 are constantly maintained throughout the entire operation of the sample supply apparatus, whereby it is seen that a slug of air will be drawn thereinto in the interim between the time the inletend of the crook is raised from the surface of the blood within the cup to the time it contacts the surface of the wash-liquid within the receptacle. Thus, the blood sample just supplied to the associated blood analysis apparatuswill be followed immediately by a slug of air whereby any residue of the blood from this sample clinging to the interior walls of the crook or the conduit will tend to be removed therefrom by the action of the slug of airas it passes thereover to inhibit contamination by this residue of the next succeeding sample. The positioning at this point of the inlet end of the crook within the wash liquid receptacle further serves to inhibit, in the same manner, contamination of the next succeeding sample by providing a slug of wash-liquid to the interiors of the crook and conduit fol-lowing'the passage therethrough of the slug of air.

As the take-off assembly is transferred in the just described manner from the position of FIG. 2 to the position of FIG. 3, actuator 106 of switch 104 will be released by the upward movement of crook holder block 65 whereupon the switch will assume its normally closed position. Further, triangular link tab 76 will, as it moves into the position of FIG. 3, abut and depress actuator 108 of switch 107 whereby this switch will in turn be opened to discontinue operation of the driving motor 38.

The sample supply apparatus continues to function in this manner supplying samples of blood separated by a slug of air, a slug of wash liquid and another slug of air, in that order, from each preceding and succeeding sample until each of the sample containing cups has been indexed in turn into alignment with the take-ofi assembly and the samples withdrawn therefrom. As the take-off and mixer assemblies are raised from the last sample containing cup to the position of FIG. 3, and switch 107 opened by the abutment of triangular link tab 76 therewith, the turntable tab 114 willabut actuator 112 to transfer switch 111 from position A to position B thus discontinuing operation of the timer motor 91 and actuating buzzer B to provide audible indication of the completion of the sampling operation. At this point all that remains is the opening of switch 116 to discontinue the supply of power to the apparatus.

Thus, it may be seen wherein our invention provides a method and apparatus particularly adapted to the automatic supply of liquid samples to an associated automatic liquid analysis apparatus.

This invention is related to, and this application discloses subject matter common to, the inventions disclosed in our co-pending United States applications, Serial Nos. 184,005 (now abandoned) and 246,967'filed April 2, 1962 and December 26, 1962, respectively, and assigned to the assignee of this application. Also, certain features shown or described but not claimed in our present application are claimed in the United States Patent No. 3,134,- 263, issued May 26, 1964.

While We have shown and described the preferred embodiment of our 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. Liquid sample supply apparatus for supplying a stream of alternately interspaced sample liquid segments and another liquid segments, comprising: carrier means for supporting a plurality of first receptacles for sample liquid and for presenting each of said first receptacles seriatim to a take-off position; a second receptacle for another liquid mounted adjacent said take-ofi position; liquid take-off means for alternately Withdrawing liquid from one said first receptacle disposed at said take-off position and from said second receptacle; and means coupled to said take-elf means for providing said take-off means with motion solely in a given plane in which said take-ofi means is both transported and tilted into and out of said first receptacles disposed at said take-off position and to, into and out of said second receptacle.

2. Liquid sample supply apparatus for supplying a stream of alternately interspaced sample liquid segments and another liquid segments, comprising: carrier means for supporting a plurality of first receptacles for sample liquid and for presenting each of said first receptacles seriatim to a take-off position; a second receptacle for another liquid mounted adjacent said take-ofi position; liquid take-01f means for alternately Withdrawing liquid from one said first receptacle disposed at said take-ofi position and from said second receptacle; means coupled to said take-off means for providing said take-off means with motion solely in a given plane in which said take-off means is both transported and rotated, whereby said takeofi means is moved alternately to, into and out of said first receptacle disposed at said take-0d position and to, into and out of said second receptacle; said liquid take-01f means including an elongated member; and said motion providing means including a first link which at one of its ends is fixed to said elongated member and is pivotally coupled to a rotatable member at a point radially displaced from the axis of said rotatable member for rotation about said axis of said rotatable member, which first link at the other of its ends is pivotally coupled to one end of a second link, the other end of which second link is pivotally coupled to a fixed point, and means coupled to said rotatable member for oscillating said rotatable member about its axis.

3. Liquid sample supply apparatus for supplying a stream of alternately interspaced sample liquid segments and another liquid segments, comprising: carrier means for supporting a plurality of first receptacles for sample liquid and for presenting each of said first receptacles seriatim to a take-oif position; a second receptacle for another liquid mounted adjacent said take-oil position; liquid take-off means for alternately withdrawing liquid from one said first receptacle disposed at said take-off position and from said second receptacle; means cou pled to said take-oil means for providing said take-oil means with motion solely in a given plane in which said take-off means is both transported and rotated, whereby said take-off means is moved alternately to, into and out of said first receptacle disposed at said take-off position and to, into and out of said second receptacle; said liquid take-oft means including an elongated member; a stirring means pivotally mounted for insertion and removal from a first receptacle supported by said carrier means; said motion providing means including a first link which at one of its ends is fixed to said elongated member and is pivotaoly coupled to a cam at a point radially displaced from the axis or" said cam for rotation about said axis of said cam, and which first link at the other of its ends is pivotally coupled to one end of a second link, the other end of which second link is pivotally coupled to a fixed point, and means coupled to said cam for oscillating said cam about its axis, said cam controlling the insertion and removal of said stirring means.

4. Liquid sample supply apparatus for supplying a stream of alternately interspaced sample liquid segments, comprising: a chassis; carrier means coupled to said chassis for supporting a plurality of first receptacles for sample liquid and for presenting each of said first receptacles seriatim to a take-ofi" position which is fixedly located with respect to said chassis; a second receptacle for another liquid fixedly located With respect to said chassis and adjacent said take-oil position; liquid take-oil means for alternately withdrawing liquid from one said first receptacle disposed at said take-cit position and from said second receptacle; means coupled to said chassis and to said take-oil means for providing said take-oil means with motion solely in a given plane in which said takeoff means is both transported and tilted into and out of said first receptacle disposed at said take-off position and to, into and out of said second receptacle.

5. Liquid sample supply apparatus for supplying a stream of alternately inter-spaced sample liquid segments and another liquid segments, comprising: a chassis; carrier means coupled to said chassis for supporting a plurality of first receptacles for sample liquid and for presenting each of said first receptacles seriatim to a take-off position which is fixedly located with respect to said chassis; a second receptacle for another liquid fixedly located with respect to said chassis and adjacent said take-off position; liquid take-off means for alternately withdrawing liquid from one said first receptacle disposed at said take-ofi position and from said second receptacle;

means coupled to said chassis and to said take-off means for providing said take-01f means with motion solely in a given plane in which said take-oil means is both transported and rotated, whereby said take-ofi means is moved alternately to, into and out of said first receptacle disposed at said take-off position and to, into and out of said second receptacle; said liquid take-off means including an elongated member; said motion providing means including a rotatable member which has a shaft journaled' for rotation in bearings which are fixed to said chassis, a first link which at one of its ends is fixed to said elongated member and is pivotally coupled to said rotatable member at a point radially displaced from said shaft for rotation about said shaft, and which first link at the other of its ends is pivotally coupled to one end of a second link, the other end of which second link is pivotally coupled to a fixed point on said chassis, and means coupled to said rotatable member for oscillating said rotatable member on its shaft.

6. Liquid sample supply apparatus for supplying a stream of alternately interspaced sample liquid segments and another liquid segments, comprising: a chassis; carrier means coupled to said chassis for supporting a plurality of first receptacles for sample liquid and for presenting each of said first receptacles seriatim to a take-off position which is fixedly located with respect to said chassis; a second receptacle for another liquid fixedly located with respect to said chassis and adjacent said take-oil position; liquid take-off means for alternately withdrawing liquid from one said first receptacle disposed at said takeoff position and from said second receptacle; means coupled to said chassis and to said take-off means for providing said take-off means with motion solely in a given plane in which said take-oh means is both transported and rotated, whereby said takeoff means is moved alternately to, into and out of said first receptacle disposed at said take-off position and to, into and out of said second recep- Iacle; said liquid take-off means including an elongated member; and said motion providing means including a first rotatable member which is fixed to a shaft journaled for rotation in bearings whichare fixed to said chassis, a first link which at one of its ends is fixed to said elongated member and is pivotally coupled to said rotatable meniber at a point radially displaced from said shaft for rotation about said shaft, and which first link at the other of its ends is pivotally coupled to one end of a second link, the other end of which second link is pivotally coupled to a fixed point on said chassis, a first spur gear which has a shaft journaled for rotationin bearings which are fixed to said chassis, a second rotatable member which has a shaft journaled for rotation in bearings which are fixed to said chassis, a third link which at one of its ends is pivotally coupled to said second rotatable member at a point radially displaced from its shaft for rotation around its shaft, and which third link at the other of its ends is pivotally coupled to said first spur gear at a point radially displaced from its shaft, whereby full rotation of said second rotatable member causes oscillation of said first spur gearfa second spur gear, meshed with said first spur gear, and fixed to said shaft of said first rotatable member, rotating drive means coupled to said second rotatable means whereby rotation of said second rotatable means causes oscillation of said first spur gear means and thereby oscil: lation of said first rotatable means. i

References Gited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATE Ts 2,673,901 3/1954 Kountz 7 4-568 x 2,879,141 3/1959 Skeggs. 3,038,340 6/1962 Isreeli 73-423 3,134,263 5/1964 De Jong 7 3 42 3 LOUIS R. PRINCE, Primary Examiner.

JOSEPH P. STRIZAK, RICHARD QUEISSER,

' Examiners.

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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3301065 *Mar 20, 1964Jan 31, 1967American Cyanamid CoLiquid sample supply apparatus
US3449959 *Jun 27, 1966Jun 17, 1969Bausch & LombSample container for automatic sampling apparatus
US3546946 *Jan 8, 1969Dec 15, 1970Upjohn CoFluid sample selector
US3583232 *Jun 20, 1969Jun 8, 1971Technicon CorpFlow regulation system utilizing shear valve and pilot fluid
US3804593 *May 25, 1964Apr 16, 1974Technicon InstrAutomatic analysis apparatus and method
US4363245 *Nov 18, 1980Dec 14, 1982Peerless Electronics Research Corp.Sampling apparatus
US4692308 *Feb 7, 1986Sep 8, 1987Vickers, PlcAutomatic chemical analysis
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US7497135 *May 19, 2004Mar 3, 2009BiomerieuxMethod for placing a receptacle containing a liquid in a device for sampling the liquid and sampling device for applying the method
US9289169Nov 22, 2013Mar 22, 2016Optiscan Biomedical Corp.Analyte monitoring systems and methods
US20060254370 *May 19, 2004Nov 16, 2006Andre WickyMethod and device for placement of a recipient in a device for sampling liquid
Classifications
U.S. Classification73/864.25, 422/64
International ClassificationG01N35/08
Cooperative ClassificationG01N35/08
European ClassificationG01N35/08