US 3346024 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Oct. 10, 1967 s; BERMAN ETAL FLUID PICKUP AND DELIVERY HEAD 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 Filed July 9, 1965 5 N T R n H m M 6 Y N R m m E g Y W. 0/ T R o T 0 R 0 a W an L Y B 5 6 Filed July 9, 1965 I S. BERMAN ETAL FLUID PICKUP AND DELIVERY HEAD 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 JNVENTORS. 54NF0R0 BERN/7N BY fawn/w L WRIGHT HTTORNEY United States Patent Ofitice 3,346,024 Patented Oct. 10, 1967 3,346,024 FLUID PICKUP ND DELIVERY HEAD Sanford Bel-man, Scotch Plains, and Edward L. Wright,
Plainfield, N.J., assignors to Customline Control Products, Inc., Linden, N.J., a corporation of New Jersey Filed July 9, 1965, Ser. No. 470,867 20 Claims. (Cl. 141-25) ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A fluid pickup and delivery head employing a valve and pipetting tube unit employing valve bodies with attached tubes detachably mounted in the unit, the valve bodies having means for exposing the valves in said bodies to vacuum and pressure sources of supply, and a dual air valve cylinder for simultaneously rotating all of the valves of the unit, as well as means for moving the unit vertically and horizontally into different positions.
This invention relates to what can be termed a head employing a pipetting tube unit employing a predetermined grouping of tubes utilized in drawing a measured quantity of liquid from a source of supply and, further, in delivery of the liquid at predetermined stations in a system in which one or more of the heads are utilized. More particularly, the invention deals with a head, wherein the tube unit of the head comprises a plurality of valve elements mounted in a pair of supporting plates and, wherein, the head includes means for simultaneously actuating the valves of said elements in drawing liquid into the tube of each element and discharge of the liquid therefrom. Still more particularly, the invention deals in a head of the character defined, wherein means is employed for raising and lowering and laterally moving the tube unit for registration with varied receptacles or the like in the operation of a predetermined system.
Further, the invention deals with a pipetting tube unit, wherein the respective tubes of the unit are coiled in controlling and regulating the amount of fluid drawn into the tubes in providing a definite control of the volume of fluid in various uses of the head.
The novel features of the invention will be best understood from the following description, when taken together with the accompanying drawings, in which certain embodiments of the invention are disclosed and, in which, the separate parts are designated by suitable reference characters in each of the views and, in which:
FIG. 1 is a diagrammatic plan view of a head made according to the invention, parts of the construction being broken away and parts in section and omitting background showing.
FIG. 2 is a diagrammatic front view of the upper portion of the head, with parts of the construction broken away and illustrating, for the most part, tubes of the tube unit by dot-dash lines.
FIG. 3 is a sectional view substantially on the broken line 33 of FIG. 1.
FIG. 4 is a diagrammatic rear view of the head, with parts of the construction broken away and parts in section and omitting background showing.
FIG. 5 is an enlarged sectional view if the pipetting tube unit showing only the valve body clearly illustrating the assemblage of the valve body in the supporting plates for such body.
FIG. 6 is an end view of a valve body detached looking in the direction of the right side of the body, as seen in FIG. 5.
FIG. 7 is a detail side view of the base support of the head.
FIG. 8 is an enlarged sectional view showing the valve coupling with the drive means therefor; and
FIG. 9 is a diagrammatic bracketed view showing the four valve positions and direction of rotation thereof in a cycle of operation.
While heads of the type and kind under consideration can have many uses, these heads have a definite use in automated turbidimentric analysis systems in conducting microbiological tube analysis, for example, in picking up prepared accurate aliquots of an unknown sample and a standard or known sample in minute and measured quantities, then depositing the same in an appropriate number of vials consistent with the number of tubes utilized in the pickup of the unknown sample and the number of tubes utilized in picking up the standard or known sample. The above act takes place preparatory to proceeding with the treatment in systems of the type and kind mentioned. Further, a similar head with slight modifications therein can also be utilized at the conclusion of the treatment in picking up the processed liquids of the respective tubes and delivering the same one at a time to a spectrophotometer for recordings on a suitable I.B.M. machine.
In the present illustration, the head is shown as it would be used in the first mentioned station for the pickup of the samples and delivery to the vials, preparatory to movement of the vials through the apparatus of the system, as will be apparent.
In the present illustration, three groups of four tubes each are illustrated in the tube unit. This would be the full capacity of the unit of the head as shown. It will be understood, however, that, by virtue of the simple assemblage of the valve bodies in the supporting plates, any desired grouping can be provided. For'example, two sets of four tubes could be used, the third set of four tubes .being eliminated. In some instances and use of the head, the groups can be divided into three tubes in each group or two groups to each group, depending entirely upon what particular type and kind of test is conducted in a predetermined system.
The head, as shown in the accompanying drawings, comprises a baseplate 10, note FIG. 7, having a pair of upwardly extending spaced rods 11 joined and spaced at their upper end in a cross-strap 12, shown in FIGS. 1 and 2. Mounted upon a suitable support 13, FIG. 7, is a lift air cylinder 14, the piston shaft 15 of which is coupled centrally with what might be termed an elongated O crossframe 16, note FIGS. 1, 3 and 4. The O crossframe has in its upper and lower members suitable bearings 17 shown, in part, in FIG. 4 for free sliding movement of the frame 16 on the rods 11 in upward and downward movement of the frame 16 by the air cylinder 14, as indicated by the double directional arrow 18 in FIG. 3. ,Supported centrally within the O crossframe 16 on a bracket 19 is another air cylinder 20, the piston shaft 21 of which is coupled with an oblong rectangular plate 22 at the upper central portion thereof, as best seen in FIG. 3, the plate 22 being slidable on rods 22 fixed to ends of the crossframe 16, as seen in FIG. 1.
The plate 22 supports a valve and pipetting tube unit, generally identified by the reference character 23. Welded or otherwise secured to the inner surface of the plate 22 are spaced brackets 24, 24' for support of two piston shafts 25, 26, upon which a dual air cylinder unit 27 is mounted. The piston shaft 25 is fixed to the bracket 24; whereas, the piston shaft 26 is slidable in the bracket 24.
Considering FIGS. 1, 2 and 4, it will appear that a link 28 has one end fixed to the piston shaft 26 and coupled with the other end of the link 28 is an elongated rack rod 29 having suitable bearing supports 30 fixed to the rear surface of the plate 22, as best seen in FIG. 1 of the drawing.
Returning now to the unit 23, it will appear that this unit is supported on suitable lugs or the like 31 fixed to the front surface of the plate 22 and mounted on these lugs is an inner valve supporting plate 32. A second or outer valve supporting plate 33 is fixed to the plate 32 by pairs of coupling rods 34, shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, and one pair being shown on an enlarged scale in FIG. 5.
In the construction shown, by way of illustrating one adaptation of my invention, a dozen valve bodies or elements 35 are mounted in and between and serve to space the plates 32, 33.
Considering FIGS. and 6 of the drawing, where one of the valve bodies 35 is shown in enlarged detail, it will appear that the valve body, for the most part, is generally of hexagon cross-sectional form, this hexagon form being modified solely in the provision of flats 36 on opposed side surfaces thereof. The ends of each body terminate in circular rims 37 which fit snugly in apertures 38 in the plate 32 and apertures 39 in the plate 33, with these plates abutting end surfaces 40 of the valve bodies 35, as clearly noted in FIG. 5 of the drawing. The spacing of the apertures 38 and 39 is such that, when the unit 23 is assembled with the valve bodies therein, it will appear from a consideration of FIG. 2 of the drawing that the flat surfaces 36 of one valve body abut corresponding surfaces of adjacent valve bodies, as seen at 36 in FIG. 2, thus keying and maintaining alinement of all of the valve bodies in the unit 23.
Considering FIG. 5 of the drawing, it will appear that nuts 34 are mounted on the rods 34. These serve to draw the plates 32, 33 together in support of the valve elements. Considering FIG. 1 of the drawing, it will appear that nuts 31 are mounted on the lugs 31 in securing the plate 32 in position. Upon removal of the nuts 31, the entire tube unit assembly can be detached. This will be apparent from a later description of the valve couplings with the drive therefor.
The upper surface of each valve body has an outer threaded aperture 41 and an inner threaded aperture 42, with which are coupled suitable pipe or flexible tube couplings 4-3 and 44, respectively. To simplify the illustration, the tubes are not shown in FIG. 1 of the drawing but, in FIG. 2, two of such tubes are shown in part, at 45. However, the dot-dash showing in FIG. 2 will illustrate how these tubes are brought together at the upper portion of the head and are suitably coupled with a source of vacuum supply and a source of air pressure supply, generally known in the art and, for this reason, these sources of supply are not shown.
Each valve body or element 35 has a conical bore 46, which is flared inwardly, as clearly noted in FIG. 5 of the drawing. Opening into the bore 46 are ports 41' and 42' for communication with two ports 47 and 4-8 in each of the conical valves 49, as seen in FIG. 3 of the drawing. These valves are preferably formed of Teflon and suitable means 50 is provided at the contracted end of the valve 49 to seat the valve in the bore 46.
The other flared end of the valve 49 has a rounded head 51, note FIG. 8, in which is pressure fitted a pin 52 having a head end 53. The pin 52 has an end 54 which projects beyond the head 51. At 55 is shown a clutch member which is pinned to a drive shaft 56' mounted in suitable bearings in the plate 22, the shaft 56 having a pinion 57 upon the inner surface of the plate 22 which operatively engages the rack bar 29. The forward end of the clutch member 55 is tubular in form and the tube has an upper key slot 58, as well as a lower key slot 59 engaged respectively by the head 53 and the end 54 of the pin 52. This structure provides a direct coupling of the drive shaft 56 with the valve 49 while, at the same time, permitting free detachment of the valve from the clutch member as and when the entire unit is removed, as previously stated. In the brief description of one of the valves, clutch members and the like, the same will .4 apply to all of the valves arranged in the several valve bodies or elements 35. This will clearly appear from the illustrations in FIGS. 1 and 4 of the drawing. In the latter figure, to simplify the illustration, the pinions 57 are indicated in dot-dash lines. However, two of the pinion engagements with the rack bar 29 are diagrammatically illustrated.
Each valve body 35 has another threaded aperture 60 with a reduced port 60" opening into the bore 46, as clearly shown in FIG. 5. Coupled with the port 60 is a pipetting tube coupling 61, with which a pipetting tube 62 is coupled and extends.
Considering FIG. 2 of the drawing, in the present illustration, the tubes 62 are divided into three groups of four tubes each by the three brackets 63, 64 and 65. In each group, the various tubes 62 have different coilings of the tubes 62, as seen at 66. These coilings are provided in order to control the volume of fluid that can be drawn into the fine bores of these tubes while, at the same time, minimizing the overall length of the tubes. This is important in providing a definite control of the measured quantity of liquid which is drawn into the tubes at the vacuum stage of operation of the unit. By way of illustration, in utilizing the head for systems previously noted, the braketed portion 63 may identify an unknown sample, the brackets 64 might identify a standard sample and the bracket 65 might identify a known sample, all of which can be analyzed.
At this time, it is pointed out that the illustrations in FIGS. 1, 3 and 4 of the drawing disclose the head in the vacuum cycle of operation, in other words, where liquid is drawn into the respective tubes 62 from three sample troughs, one only of which is diagrammatically outlined in dot-dash lines at 67 in FIG. 3 of the drawing. These troughs are part of what can be generally referred to as a boat assemblage 68, upon which is also supported means 69 for supporting three groups of four vials 70 for registration with the four tubes 62 in each of the groups 63, 64 and 65 when the boat is positioned at the pickup station, where the head, including the unit 23, is positioned in the analysis apparatus.
To control operation of the unit 23 for movement into its several positions and actuation of the valves of the unit in these positions, the dual air cylinder structure or unit 27 is employed. Considering FIG. 1 of the drawing, it will appear that two similar cylinders 71, 71' are employed, in which pistons 72, 72 coupled with the shafts 25, 26, respectively, operate. Also in the cylinders are stroke control tubular shims 73, 73'. These shims definitely control the movement of the piston, as well as the rack rod 29 in rotation of the several pinions 57 in providing quarter revolutions of each of the valves 49 in each cycle of operation of the head. Adjacent ends of the cylinders 71, 71' include heads having projecting flanges 74, note FIG. 3 of the drawing, and these flanges are bolted together, the bolts being seen at 75 in said figure. These flanged portions of the cylinders constitute heads closing the open ends of the cylinders, being screwed or otherwise secured to the cylinder ends, as will be apparent, Adjacent ends of the cylinders have air admission and exhaust ports 76, 76' opening into the cylinders for controlling actuation of the pistons 72, 72' and similar control ports 77, 77 are at the opposed ends of the respective cylinders. These ports have suitable flexible tubes leading to a source of air pressure and exhaust control.
Fixed to the ends of the cylinders 71, 71' are key rods 78 which are slidably mounted in the brackets 24, 24'. These rods prevent rotation of the cylinders on the shafts 25, 26.
The parts as shown in FIG. 1 illustrate the completion of the vacuum stage, wherein liquid is drawn into all of the pipetting tubes 62 with the port 47 registering with ports 41' and 60, it being understood that the suction tubes are mounted in connection with the couplings At this vacuum stage, the heads53 of the pins 52 will all be directed upwardly, as diagrammatically seen at the left of FIG. 9 of the drawing. Further, the pistons 72, 72' Will be at outer ends of the cylinders, as shown in FIG. 1 and further with the cylinder assemblage 27 at the limit of its movement to the right on the shaft 25 Immediately upon the completion of the vacuum lift of the liquid in the tube 62, air, under pressure, is admitted into the ports 77, 7-6' which moves the cylinder assemblage 27' to the left on the shaft 25 and also moves the piston 72' to the left, as a result of which, all of the pins 52 will be rotated one-quarter revolution in the direction of the arrow 79, as diagrammatically seen in FIG. 9. In this position, the ports 47, 48 in the valves 49 are all closed and it will be apparent that the piston 72 Will now be adjacent the righthand end of the cylinder 71, with the piston 72' in the same position as shown in FIG. 1.
At this time, the cylinders 14 and 20 are actuated, first to raise the head, as indicated by the arrow 18, and, then, move the head to the left, as shown in FIG. 3, and indicated by the double arrow movement 20 of said figure to locate the tubes 62 above the vials 70, as illustrated, in part, in dotted lines at 62' in FIG. 3. As stated above, there could be a downward movement of the head through action of the cylinder 14 at this time to locate the tube 62 in the upper portion of the vials 70.
In the next cycle of operation, air under pressure is admitted through the ports 77, 77, which results in moving the piston 72 to the left in the cylinder 71', keeping in mind that the cylinder assemblage 27 retains the shifted position to the left, previously identified. The result of this operation has moved the pins 52 with the heads 53 directed downwardly, as seen by the arrow 80, FIG. 9, at which time the ports 48 of the valves 49 are in registration with the ports 62, 60', note FIG. 5, and air under pressure is passed through all of the tubes 62 to discharge the liquid therefrom into the vials 70.
Upon completion of the discharge of liquid from the tubes 62, air, under pressure, is injected into the ports 77, 76, which results in moving the piston 72' to the right of the cylinder 71', thus rotating all of the valves 4'9 in the direction of the arrow 81, FIG. 9, to return the pins 52 to the horizontal position and, again, close the ports 47, 48 in the valves 49, after which, the cylinders 14 and 20 are again actuated to first raise the head to clear the tube 62 and, then, move the head to the right, as shown in FIG. 3, to what might be termed the normal rest position of the head.
Now, in the beginning of the cycle of operation, the head is lowered through action of the cylinder 14 to bring all of the tubes 62 into the several troughs 67 provided, as mentioned above; whereupon, air is now admitted into the ports 76, 76, which results in moving the cylinder unit 27 to the right .on the shaft 25 or to the position shown in FIG. 1, with the pistons assuming the position shown in FIG. 1.
In the above operation, the valves have been rotated in the direction of the arrow 82, FIG. 9, returning the pins 52 to the position shown at the left of said figure and the vacuum operation will not raise the liquid in all of the tubes 62. This completes one cycle of operation of the head which, of course, starts at the rest position and not at the position shown in the drawing, which position has been selected to more clearly illustrate operation of the head.
In the aforesaid brief description of operation, no mention has been made with regard to the exhausts of air from the respective cylinders in each stage of operation, but this will be apparent to those skilled in the art.
The secondary use of the head mentioned heretofore requires the use of difierent suction pickup and pressure discharges of the fluid in each of the tubes by employing suitable electrical or other independent controls for each 6 of the tubes 62, instead of directing all of the tubes 45 to one vacuum source and one pressure source but, aside from this, the structure and operation of the head would be the same. In this second use of the head, all of the tubes 62 can be straight tubes, as the control of the volume of fluid at the test or reading stage is not as important [as in the initial or pickup stage of the liquid. When .at this station, all of the liquid in the treated vials is first drawn into the tubes of the head. Then with suitable controls, the arrangement of final testing and reading of the fluids from the vials can be started with either one of the bracketed groups of tubes 63, 64 and 65 and starting from either end of each group, it being understood that the liquid is withdrawn from the treated vials one at a time and not collectively.
By employing the heads 53 on the coupling pins 52, proper positioning of the valves one with respect to the other is made possible in assemblage of the unit with all of the clutch members 55 when the wider slot 58 of said members is directed upwardly.
Having fully described our invention, what we claim as new and desire to secure by Letters Patent is:
1. A fluid pickup and delivery head comprising a valve and pipettin'g tube unit having a plurality of tubes and valves controlling pickup and discharge of liquid with respect to said tubes, the valves of said unit being arranged in independent valve bodies, means detachably supporting said valve bodies all in common predetermined position in the unit, common drive means for simultaneously rotating all of said valves, means supporting said last named means and said unit, means coupled with and in operative engagement with said third named means for movement of said unit vertically and horizontally in straight line paths into several positions, means for mounting the last named means in connection with a suitable support, a pipetting tube being coupled with each of said valve bodies, each of said valve bodies having means exposing the valve to vacuum and pressure sources of supply, and means comprising a dual air cylinder for controlling operation of the second named means in rotation of all of the valves of said unit for periodic exposure to the vacuum and pressure sources of supply.
2. A fluid pickup and delivery head as defined in claim 1, wherein said third named means comprises a plate, and said plate having means supporting the dual air cylinder thereon.
3. A fluid pickup and delivery head as defined in claim 1, wherein said fourth named means comprises an elongated 0 frame, means for moving said frame vertically, and means on the 0 frame for actuating said thind named means horizontally with respect to said 0 frame.
4. A fluid pickup and delivery head as defined in claim 3, wherein the last named means and the means for actuating said 0 frame comprise air cylinders.
5. A fluid pickup and delivery head as defined in claim 1, wherein the second named means comprises a rack rod actuating pinions rotating clutch members having pin couplings with all of said valves, and said rack rod being actuated by said dual air cylinder.
6. A fluid pickup and delivery head as defined in claim 1, wherein the first named means comprises a pair of plates within and between which said valve bodies are supported, and said valve bodies having interengaging means for keying the valve bodies one with the other within said plates.
7. A flui'd pickup and delivery head as defined in claim 1, wherein said sixth named means comprises flexible tube couplings.
8. A fluid pick-up and delivery head as defined in claim 1, wherein said dual cylinder unit includes pistons in each cylinder, the shaft of one piston being fixed to a stationary support on the third named means, the shaft of the other piston having a link coupling with said rack rod, and said dual cylinder unit being slidable on the first named piston shaft.
9. A fluid pickup and delivery head as defined in claim 3, wherein said fifth named means comprises a pair of rods on which said frame is slidably mounted, and said 0 frame having a pair of rods on which the third named means is slidably mounted.
10. A fluid pickup and delivery head as defined in claim 6, wherein said plates include means for alining all of the valve bodies therein, and means detachably coupling said plates.
11. A fluid pickup and delivery head as defined in claim 1, wherein said dual cylinder unit is actuated to rotate all of said valves intermittently two partial revolutions in one direction and two partial revolutions in the opposed direction in each cycle of operation of the head.
12. In pickup and delivery heads of the character defined, a valve and pipctting tube unit comprising an assemblage of a pair of plates detachable with respect to each other, a plurality of valve bodies mounted within and between and spacing said plates, said bodies having cooperating means keying the bodies against rotation in said plates, valves mounted in each body, each valve having an end protruding beyond one end of its valve body, a coupling pin mounted in said end providing coupling engagement with a driven clutch member, the lower portion of each valve body having means coupling a pipetting tube therewith, the upper portion of each valve body having flexible tube couplings, each valve having a pair of ports for periodically placing each of said couplings in communication with the pipetting tube, and rotation of each valve being such as to first place a vacuum source in communication with the pipetting tube in the lift of fluid into such tube and to then place a pressure source in communciation with the pipetting tube in discharge of fluid in the tube therefrom.
13. A unit as defined in claim 12, wherein ends of each valve body include circular rims engaging alined apertures in said plates in definitely positioning the valve bodies in said plates.
14. A unit as defined in claim 12, wherein one of said plates includes means for detachably coupling the same with a support on a head in connection with which the unit is mounted.
' 15. A unit as defined in claim 12, wherein each of the valves are tapered, fitting snugly in tapered bores in the valve bodies, and said valves being composed of Teflon.
16. A unit as defined in claim 12, wherein means is employed providing a common drive to all of said clutch members.
17. A unit as defined in claim 16, wherein said last named means is actuated through the medium of a dual air cylinder actuated to provide rotation of all of the valves in two dififtrent directions in each cycle of operation of said unit.
18. A unit as defined in claim 17, wherein means is provided in each air cylinder to control feed stroke of the common drive means for controlling the several positions of all of the valves in each cycle of operation of said unity.
19. A fluid pickup and delivery head as defined in claim 1, wherein each pipetting tube includes a coiled portion therein, and the degree of coiling in the tubes of the unit varying to modify the volume of liquid collected in and discharged from the different tubes.
20. A unit as defined in claim 12, wherein each pipetting tube includes a coiled portion therein controlling the volume of fluid drawn into and discharged from the tube, and the various tubes in the unit having varied degrees of coiling to vary the fluid capacity of the tubes While maintaining the lower ends of the tubes in common horizontal alinement.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 8/1936 Svenson 137609 X 4/1960 Donofrio 141-181 X OTHER REFERENCES SAMUEL ROTHBERG, Primary Examiner.
H. S. BELL, Assistant Examiner.