US 3441383 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
April 29, 1969 F. c. MOORE ET AL MULTIPLE CUP TRAY Filed Oct. 26, 1966 INVENTORS:
5 E .Y R% m 0. OW MK .R CE P R NN AO RE FL United States Patent Filed Oct. 26, 1966, Ser. No. 589,586
Int. Cl. B011 3/00 US. Cl. 23-292 8 Claims This invention relates to small cup-shaped receptacles; and more particularly, to small, cup-chaped receptacles for -use with automatic analyzing equipment conducting clinical chemical analysis of body fluids.
The receptacles with which the present invention is concerned are those which are removably placed in a turntable which forms a part of automatic clinical analyzing apparatus such as that described in the Skeggs Patent No. 2,879,141, issued Mar. 24, 1959. The analyzing apparatus of the Skeggs patent is designed to rotate samples of various body fluids to predetermined angular positions about a turntable. At these angular positions, the samples contained in the receptacles are drawn off as by aspiration for chemical analysis.
The turntable comprises a generally flat horizontal plat-form defining a set of apertures equally spaced at constant radial distance from the center, and which are adapted to receive and support the cups containing the fluids to be analyzed. The outermost periphery of the turntable defines an integral depending skirt portion in the form of a quarter'round flange. The complete turntable is of unitary construction.
Prior receptacles for use with the above-described type of analysis equipment includes the use of individual cups or receptacles, the container portion of which comprises a set of concentric cylindrical surfaces of increasingly smaller radius from the top to the bottom of the cup. An outer peripheral skirt was formed integral with the top of the cup and terminating in a flat bottom portion for support when placed on a flat surface such as a table. These cups also included a tab portion extending from the side of the cup for movement and lifting of the cup. They further included an upper lip portion peripheral to the top of the cup for supporting the same in the apertures of the turntable.
Since it is absolutely necessary that cups for this particular use be disposable so that contamination from prior samples does not occur, facility and economy of manufacture are of prime importance. Secondly, facility of use is of major importance, and it has been found inconvenient to use individual cups in both the handling and marking or logging aspects. A slight nudge of the table on which the individual cups rested could cause them to spill, and careful attention was required to lift them. Finally, the prior cups were inconvenient to ship in quantity since they were merely placed in bulk fashion in a container since they could not be nested to minimize storage space. This inability to nest was inherent in the prior cups because the portion which formed the flat bottom of the cup was generally wider than the narrowing cross section in the container portion of the cup so that one could not fit into another.
The principal object of the present invention is to provide an integral construction for a plurality of receptacles capable of nesting one in the other thereby facilitating handling and storage of the same.
A further object of the present invention is to provide for a plurality of small receptacles for use with automatic analyzing equipment in the clinical analysis of body fluids which obviates the need to individually mark and log each sample of fluid being analyzed.
A still further object of the present invention is to provide an economical, easily manufactured receptacle 3,441,383 Patented Apr. 29, 1969 for use with automatic clinical analyzing equipment which includes a spill-over channel to avoid a contamination of adjacent samples.
An even further object of the present invention is to provide a plurality of integral receptacles for chemical analysis of body fluids which may easily he severed, as by cutting with a scissors, for individual use.
Briefly, the above objects are accomplished by providing a plurality of integral, adjacent receptacles, which may conveniently be formed by manufacturing techniques such as vacuum forming of polystyrene plastic, such that adjacent receptacles on the polystyrene form fit into adjacent apertures on the turntable. The entire assembly of receptacles may then be lifted as a unit. For shipping and storage, one such unit may be nested into another. It will also be noted that this device allows for easy set up and logging of a sequence of samples since there is provision for permanent sequential identification of the samples.
Other objects and advantages of the present invention will be obvious to persons skilled in the art from the following detailed description accompanied by the attached drawing in which:
FIG. 1 is an upper perspective view of an integral, multiple receptacles article according to the present invention;
FIG. 2 is a top elevational view of a portion of the article of FIG. 1; and
FIG. 3 is a sectional view taken through the line 3-3 of FIG. 2.
In FIG. 1 is shown a perspective view of the manufactured article. A plurality of cups, generally designated as 10 and shown in section in FIG. 3, are spaced in vertical orientation with their centers equidistant from a point which coincides with the center of the turntable of the automatic analyzing equipment with which the article is used. Integral with the top of each of the receptacles 10 is a horizontal flange portion designated as 12. The flange 12 permanently provides the proper spacing for the receptacles 10 to fit into the corresponding apertures on the turntable (not shown); it also provides structural rigidity in lifting the complete assembly of cups, as explained in more detail below.
Extending radially inward from the horizontal flange 12 is a marking segment 14. As shown in FIG. 1, radially inward from each of the cups 10 is an indicia on the upper surface of segment 14 which serves to identify each of the cups 10. As mentioned above, this is particularly important in separating and recording individual samples of fluid which are to be analyzed. An operator simply pours the fluid into a particular cup and then re cords or logs in the corresponding indicia on the member 14 next to the record of the sample. This obviates the need to separately record on the receptacle itself some symbol representative of its relative position in a sequential sampling operation. The relation of the receptacles 1t} and their respective indicia is shown more clearly in FIG. 2.
As seen in FIG. 3, each individual cup (or micro beaker, as it is sometimes called) takes the form of a thimble having a generally U-shaped vertical cross section and a round horizontal cross section of decreasing diameter when proceeding away from the flange 12. This shape facilitates manufacture of the article, particularly in the preferred case wherein it is desirable to use vacuum forming; and it also allows for nesting of the articles in a storage or shipment condition. It will be noted that the bottom of each cup 10 takes the form of a hemisphere. This feature has the twofold purpose of guiding the cups into their respective apertures on the turntable and allowing a maximum amount of fluid to be aspirated therefrom.
Still referring to FIG. 3, a quarter-round skirt portion 15 is shown as depending outwardly from the flange 12 to form a bearing surface with the similarly-formed peripheral portion of the turntable on which the article seats. Cube shaped ribs 16 are formed radially on the skirt portion 15 at periodic intervals around the circumference of the article. The ribs 16 prevent jamming or sticking of adjacent articles when they are nested. The manufacturing process is such that after each article is manufactured it is rotated by the angular displacement of one cup so that the ribs 16 form a circulatory pattern as the articles are nested for shipment.
Extending outwardly from the lower periphery of the skirt 15 is a circumferential, horizontal lip 17 which may be easily engaged from beneath by the fingers of both hands to lift the entire structure from the turntable. The flange 12 then acts to provide structural integrity against folding. The ribs 16 extend into the lip 17, as shown best in FIG. 2.
As can be seen in FIG. 2, each receptacle is provided with a small channel as at 18 which is integral with the top of the cup and opens radially over the skirt 15. These channels 18 function as spill-over channels so that if an excessive amount of a sample is poured into one cup, it will spill over onto the skirt of the article and prevent contamination of adjacent samples.
As can be seen, the present invention provides an easily manufactured, economical article for a plurality of integral cups for containing body fluids which seats on a horizontal turntable of automatic analyzing equipment. The articles may be nested for shipment, and it is not necessary that special provision be made for stabilizing each individual receptacle in a stand up position since the article as a Whole is stable when set down. Further, it will be noted that each article may be subdivided into any number of cups by cutting with a scissors since it is made of polystyrene.
It will be obvious to those persons skilled in the art that certain aspects of my invention may be modified without departing from the principle thereof, and it is intended that all such modifications and equivalent structures be covered as they are embraced within the spirit and scope of the appended claims.
What is claimed is:
1. An article for use with automatic analysis equipment having a horizontal turntable defining a plurality of aper tures positioned equidistant from the center of said turn table comprising:
a plurality of cups adapted for placement in the apertures of said turntable;
a horizontal flange integral with each of said cups and positioning said cups at relative spacial relationship for insertion into adjacent apertures of said turntable; and
lip means integral with said flange and extending radially ouwardly therefrom beyond the turntable for lifting of the entire article and the contents of the cups away from the turntable.
2. The article of claim 1 further comprising an extension of said flange inward of said cups defining a circular horizontal member for receiving indicia representative of individual ones of said cups.
3. The article of claim 1 characterized by the fact that said flange is endless.
4. The article of claim 1 wherein each of said cups has a circular horizontal cross section of decreasing diameter away from said flange and defines a hemispherical bottom.
5. The article of claim 4 further including a quarter round skirt portion depending outwardly and downwardly from said flange, said lip being integral with said skirt and horizontal whereby an upward force applied to the bottom of said lip will lift the entire article and the contents thereof.
6. The article of claim 5 wherein said flange further defines a plurality of channels, each of said channels eX- tending radially of said article and communicating with the top of one of said cups and the outer circumference of said flange to form a spill-over channel.
7. The apparatus of claim 6 further characterized by said skirt defining a plurality of ribs extending into said outer lip for preventing sticking when the articles are nested.
8. The apparatus of claim 7 further characterized by said horizontal flange being integral with the top of each of said cups.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,561,339 7/195l-Chediak 23253 2,879,141 3/1959 Skeggs 23-230 XR 3,356,462 12/1967 Cooke et a1. 23292 MORRIS O. WOLK, Primary Examiner.
R. E. SERWIN, Assistant Examiner.
U.S. Cl. X.R.