US 3463342 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
1959 c. E. BENDER ET AL 3,463,342
ADAPTER FOR CONTROLLED CLOSURE OF EVACUATED CONTAINERS Filed Jan. 26, 1967 I 'II/IIIII II n x lA/ VE/U' T035 CV/flPLE E. BEA/DEE 290061.175 6" F2465? 7?? 7L 0/? MTHOMPSOM United States Patent 3,463,342 ADAPTER FOR CONTROLLED CLOSURE OF EVACUATED CONTAINERS Charles E. Bender, Douglas S. Fraser, and Taylor Thompson, New Paltz, N.Y., assignors to The Virus Company, Inc., Gardiner, N.Y., a corporation of New York Filed Jan. 26, 1967, Ser. No. 611,941
Int. Cl. B65d 47/20 US. Cl. 215-73 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE An adapter for automatic closure of freeze drying containers which permits stoppering while the container is evacuated. The adapter includes a body which receives a threaded sleeve. The body includes a shoulder engageable with the cap to limit axial movement. A sealing means is provided at the lower end of the adapter to seal the container while permitting axial movement relative to the adapter. A split stopper is disposed within the apertured container sleeve and, upon rotation of the container relative to the sleeve, seats the rubber stopper in the container without breaking the vacuum.
The instant invention may be briefly described as comprising an adapter for automatic closure of freeze drying containers. The adapter comprises a body which is provided with a central passageway therewithin open at both ends thereof. Within the central passageway is a threaded sleeve or apertured container cap having threaded portion adapted to about the complementary threaded portion of a container. The threaded portion of the container is adapted to mesh with the threaded portion within the cavity upon turning of the container.
In the preferred modification of this invention there is a valve attaching portion carried by the :body member of reduced cross section which is adapted to be placed in operative relationship with a vacuum control valve.
Also, in the preferred modification of this invention, a special construction of the container utilized in connection with the adapter of this invention is optionally employed. The container is provided with a body portion and a neck portion of reduced cross section to that of the body portion. On the neck is a laterally projecting threaded portion which is slightly less in diameter than the diameter of the base of the threaded portion of the adapter but is meshable therewith upon turning movement of the container. Within the container is a stopper having passage means therewithin which are inoperative when the stopper is tightly fitted within the container. The length of the stopper is greater than the distance between the base of the threaded portion and the top of the threaded portion.
The above constitutes a brief description of the instant invention. The objects and advantages of the instant invention will now be set forth.
In freeze drying, particularly where vaccines or other materials are to be lyophilized, it is preferable to conduct such lyophilization in separate containers with the material to be lyophilized placed within the same container during the entire process. The container in which the lyophilized material is carried should then be automatically sealed and be utilized as a container for the lyophilized material until it is to be used.
Heretofore it has been impossible to produce such simple control mechanism. For example, it has been conventionally proposed to place a number of separate containers within a freeze drying chamber and then emice ploy a type of automatic stoppering mechanism to close the containers involved. Such a procedure has been, of course, quite impractical where different materials have been placed in each one of the containers which require different lyophilizing times. Furthermore such stoppering mechanisms are expensive, require frequent servicing, and are impractical where small batches of material are to be made.
The instant invention, on the other hand, provides a simple and efiective control mechanism for automatic processing of material to be freeze dried. The material is simply placed within the container, the container placed in juxtaposition with the control member, the control member placed in operative relationship with a source of vacuum and lyophilized, and subsequent to the completion of the lyophilizing step is quickly and automatically sealed by a mere turn of the container. If a sterile atmosphere is desired the entire procedure can be employed, quite simply, under sterile conditions.
The above constitutes a brief description of the instant invention and some of the objects and advantages thereof. Other objects and advantages of this invention will become apparent to a reader of this specification as this description proceeds.
The invention will now be further described by reference to the accompanying drawings which are made a part of this specification. In this connection, however, the reader is cautioned to note that the specific form of the instant invention as shown in the drawings herein is for illustrative purposes and for purposes of example only. Various changes and modifications can obviously be made within the spirit and scope of this invention.
FIG. 1 is a plan view, partly in section, of the control member of this invention.
FIG. 2 is a sectional view of the invention shown in FIG. 1 taken along lines 2-2 of FIG. 1.
FIG. 3 is a front view of the container utilized in corn junction with the control member of this invention. In this figure the open position of the stopper is shown in phantom lines.
FIG. 4 is a side view, partly in section, of the control member of this invention with a container in position therewith and the control member placed in operative relationship with a vacuum control valve prior to the commencement of the vacuum step.
FIG. 5 is a view similar to that of FIG. 4 but showing the position of the parts as the vacuum step commences.
FIG. 6 is a view similar to that of FIG. 5 but showing the position of the parts immediately upon completion of the vacuum step and turning of the container to produce automatic sealing thereof.
FIG. 7 is a view similar to that of FIG. 6 but showing the position of the parts when the vacuum valve is closed and the control member removed from operative relationship with the vacuum valve.
, FIG. 8 is an exploded view of the closed container and the control mechanism.
FIG. 9 is a front view of the container utilized in connection with this invention showing an auxiliary cap placed over the stopper thereof for further protection until the material within the container is to be used.
This instant invention will now be further described by specific reference to the form thereof as shown in the accompanying drawings.
The adapter of the present invention is indicated generally at 11 and includes a generally cylindrical body 12 having a passageway 13 extending throughout its axial length. An O-ring 14 is carried at the lower end of the passageway 13, which end is of increased diameter relative to the opposite end to form a stoppering section or area. Located within the enlarged section of the passage or stoppering section of the passageway 13 is an apertured container cap 15 which is provided with internal threads of known type. The cap 15 includes a central aperture which forms a radially extending flange 16 adapted for engagement with a shoulder formed at the intersection of the enlarged and smaller portions of the passageway 13.
The cylindrical body 12 includes a valve attaching portion 17 which may be of cylindrical shape and sized so as to be joined to a vacuum system. If desired, the end of the passageway 13 extending through the valve attaching portion 17 may be enlarged as at 18.
As shown in FIG. 2, the radially extending shoulder formed by the intersection of the stoppering passageway, and the passageway 13 in the valve attaching portion 17 forms a generally radially extending shoulder which is relieved at 18a for purposes to become apparent.
As shown in FIG. 3, a container 19 is provided with a container finish 20 having a cap attaching means such as threads 21 of known type. The threads 21 are adapted for threaded engagement with the threads carried in the stoppering cap 15, as will be described.
Referring now to FIGS. 4-7, the adapter 12 is illustrated in the position assumed when joined to a vacuum valve 23 or the like. The vacuum valve shown is adequately described in the copending application to Bender et al., Ser. No. 650,134, filed June 29, 1967 and entitled Vacuum Valve, which application is assigned to the assignee of the present invention. The details are incorporated herein by reference, however, for greater ease of understanding the present invention, a brief description of the valve operation will be given.
As shown in FIG. 4, the valve 23 is provided with a cylindrical bore 24 adapted for attachment to the port of a freeze dryer or similar conduit leading to a vacuum source. A passageway 27 is formed in the branch 22 which receives the adapter 12. A stop cock or valve actuator 25 is located in the opening 24 and has a stem portion which projects beyond the intersection of the passageway 27 with the cylindrical bore 24. The stem of the stop cock is of generally hollow construction and includes a radially extending passageway 26 which, when rotated into alignment with the passageway 27, allows free communication between the passageway 24 and passageway 27. The operation and use of this valve is adequately described in the copending application alluded to above.
The sequence of operation of the valve is shown in FIGS. 4-6. The container 19 is joined to the vacuum system through the vacuum valve 23 and a sealing means 14, located at the lower end of the adapter 12, engages the outer circumference of the container 19 to form a fluidtight joint. Accordingly, when the valve moves to the open condition as shown in FIG. 5, the system remains fluid-tight and vacuum is applied to dry the specimen which is indicated at 33.
The container 19 shown in FIG. 3 is closed to the atmosphere by means of a stopper 28 having a flange 29 adapted to overlie the container finish. A plug portion 30 of the stopper is slotted as at 31 to permit free communication with the interior of the container 19 when the stopper 28 is incompletely inserted.
In FIG. 4, the stopper 28 is located with the flange 29 well above the container finish 20. Accordingly, when the valve stem is rotated to the position shown in FIG. 5, the vacuum will be applied to the interior of the container 19. Vacuum is continuously applied until freeze drying is completed. If the stopper 28 is completely inserted before vacuum is applied, the differential pressure between the container contents 33 and the exterior of the stopper is generally sufficient to force the stopper part way out of the container mouth to the condition shown schematically in FIG. 5.
When the contents of the container have been dried as shown in FIG. 6, the container 19 is rotated relative to the adapter 12 to advance the container axially toward the shoulder. The flange 29 on the stopper 28 engages the shoulder and, upon continuation of rotation of the container 19, the stopper 28 is forced downward to seat the underside of the flange 29 on the container as shown in FIGS. 3 and 6. In this condition, the container is tightly sealed to preserve the vacuum. It is to be appreciated that throughout the entire operation, the sealing means 14 has maintained the vacuum intact. After sealing, the vacuum valve is moved to the closed position shown in FIG. 7 and the container adapter 12 may be removed as a unit or, if desired, the container 19 may be separated from the adapter by unthreading through reversing the direction of rotational motion used in installation.
The separated container 19 and adapter 12 are shown in FIG. 8. If the dried product 33 is to be stored for prolonged periods, the resilient stopper 28 may be covered by a separate cap 40 or sealed against air permeation by known techniques.
It is to be appreciated that with the present invention, the individual vials or containers of serum, blood or other specimens may be readily joined to a vacuum system for freeze drying. By way of explanation, it is desirable to shell freeze the specimen and, thereafter, dry by exposure to a vacuum for a predetermined period. With the adapter of the present invention, the stopper 28 may be inserted during freezing and the container contents be isolated until the vacuum is actually applied. The stopper may be re-inserted while the specimen remains under vacuum to guard against oxygen deterioration of the specimen or the entry of undesirable bacteria into the container. The adapter is of a relatively simple design and, thereafter, is readily manufactured.
1. In combination, a container having a neck of reduced cross section, a laterally and outwardly projecting threaded portion on said neck, a stopper within said neck provided with passage means therewithin, said passage means being inoperative when said stopper is tightly closed but operative when said stopper is loosely fitted in said neck, an adapter having a body portion provided with a cavity open at both ends thereof, a threaded portion within said cavity having a shoulder at the bottom thereof, said threaded portion in said cavity being slightly larger in diameter than the diameter of the threaded portion on said neck but adapted to be meshed therewith upon turning of said container, the diameter of said stopper being less than the diameter of said threaded portion within said cavity, said shoulder being of smaller diameter than the diameter of said stopper to prevent axial movement thereof and the distance between said shoulder and the end of the cavity threads remote from the cavity bottom being less than the length of travel of said stopper during seating thereof in said neck.
2. A combination as described in claim 1 including an undercut portion adjacent said shoulder, permitting air flow through said adapter when said stopper is adjacent said shoulder.
3. An adapter for use in attaching containers to a vacuum source through a vacuum valve in a fluid-tight manner, said adapter including a body having a valve attaching portion for fluid-tight joining to said vacuum valve, a passageway extending through said adapter and including a stoppering passageway sized for reception of at least a portion of a container and a container stopper, a container stopper in said passageway, said stoppering passageway having sealing means at one end for circumferential engagement with a circumferential portion of said container to seal said container to said adapter in a vacuum-tight manner throughout stoppering movement thereof, and shoulder means having means formed therein to permit flow around said container stopper when said container stopper is in engagement therewith but not sealed in said container, said shoulder means adapted to cooperate with said container to effect full seating of said container stopper in said container on movement of said container relative to said adapter thereby permitting removal of said container from said adpater while preserving the vacuum in said container.
4. The adapter defined in claim 3 wherein said stoppering passageway includes thread means for cooperation with complementary thread means formed on said container, said thread means acting to advance said container relative to said adapter on relative rotation of said container relative to said adapter, and effect seating of said stopper.
5. The adapter defined in claim 3 wherein said means formed in said shoulder means to permit flow around said stopper includes a cutaway portion in said shoulder.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS Low 215-73 Albiez 215-73 Carmean 34-92 XR Hoffman et al. 215-73 XR Kapeker 141-363 Gottfried et a1 34-92 Randazzo 215-73 XR US. Cl. X.R.