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Publication numberUS3674040 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJul 4, 1972
Filing dateMar 9, 1971
Priority dateMar 17, 1970
Also published asDE2110330A1
Publication numberUS 3674040 A, US 3674040A, US-A-3674040, US3674040 A, US3674040A
InventorsAshe Anthony Grenfell, Howells Francis Thomas
Original AssigneeShandon Elliott Ltd
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Sequential processing apparatus
US 3674040 A
Abstract
A sequential processing apparatus, particularly for use in pathology especially histology, comprises support means for supporting at least one row of baths above another row and mechanism for stepping said rows of baths in opposite directions. A transfer device at one end of the rows of baths transfers baths, one at a time, from the upper row to the lower row and a transfer device at the other end of the rows transfers baths, one at a time, from the lower row to the upper row. A specimen or slide carrier is positioned so as to be above the path of movement of at least one of the rows of baths, mechanism being provided for lowering and raising said carrier so as to immerse a specimen or slide in or withdraw it from a bath. In one preferred embodiment of the invention there are two side-by-side groups of baths, each group comprising upper and lower rows of baths and the specimen or slide carrier is moved periodically across the apparatus from a position over a row of baths of one group to a position over a row of baths of the other group.
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United States Patent Howells et al.

July 4, 1972 [541 SEQUENTIAL PROCESSING APPARATUS [72] inventors: Francis Thomas Howells, Tarporley; Anthony Grenfell Ashe, Runcorn, both of England [73] Assignee: Shandon-Elliott Limited, Runcorn Cheshire, England [22] Filed: March 9, 1971 [211 Appl. No.: 122,335

[30] Foreign Application Priority Date March 17, 1970 Great Britain ..l2,666/70 [52] U.S.Cl. ..134/58 11,118/421, 118/425, 134/76, 134/117 [51] Int. Cl .3051: 3/04, BOSc 3/09, B081) 3/04 [58] FieldofSearch ..134/58 R,61,76,85,1l7; 118/421, 425

[56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,165,108 1/1965 Elliott et al. ..1 18/425 X 3,302,607 2/1967 Kobernick ..134/61 X 3,566,891 3/1971 Koch ..134/61 3,604,436 9/1971 Lipshaww ..l34/85 X FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS 1,237,675 6/1960 France ..118/421 138,504 2/1960 U.S.S.R. ..ll8/42l Primary ExaminerRobert l. Bleutge Attorney-Bennan, Davidson & Berman [57] ABSTRACT A sequential processing apparatus, particularly for use in pathology especially histology, comprises support means for supporting at least one row of baths above another row and mechanism for stepping said rows of baths in opposite directions. A transfer device at one end of the rows of baths transfers baths, one at a time, from the upper row to the lower row and a transfer device at the other end of the rows transfers baths, one at a time, from the lower row to the upper row. A specimen or slide carrier is positioned so as to be above the path of movement of at least one of the rows of baths, mechanism being provided for lowering and raising said carrier so as to immerse a specimen or slide in or withdraw it from a bath. In one preferred embodiment of the invention there are two side-by-side groups of baths, each group comprising upper and lower rows of baths and the specimen or slide carrier is moved periodically across the apparatus from a position over a row of baths of one group to a position over a row of baths of the other group.

11 Claims, 6 Drawing Figures PATENTEnJuL 4 I972 3, 574,040

sum 1 nr 3 Fen/vols THO/4H3 HOWELLS, ANTHONY G/PE/VFE'LL ASHE,

5 K m M4 9 7 Teen/Ema SEQUENTIAL PROCESSING APPARATUS This invention is for improvements in or relating to sequential processing apparatus.

One particular use of the invention, which is mentioned by way of example, is in pathology especially histology, where it is required to immerse a specimen of animal tissue sequentially, for predetermined periods, in a series of baths containing various reagents or stains.

One object of the invention is to provide an apparatus which, whilst it is relatively compact, includes a relatively large number of baths as compared with apparatus as available heretofore of comparable size.

A further object of the invention is to provide an apparatus which, without materially increasing its bulk, provides for the rinsing of specimens between their transfer from one bath to another. This is important where it is necessary to avoid the carry-over of reagent of stains from one bath to another.

According to the present invention there is provided a sequential processing apparatus comprising a support means for supporting superimposed rows of baths or the like, a mechanism for moving said superimposed rows of baths in opposite directions, a transfer device at one end of the support means for transferring a bath from the upper row to the lower row, a transfer device at the other end of the support means for transferring a bath from the lower row to the upper row and a carrier for a specimen or the like positioned so as to lie above the path of movement of at least one of the rows of baths and mechanism for lowering and raising said specimen carrier so as to immerse or withdraw a specimen from a bath.

According to a further feature of the invention there is provided a sequential processing apparatus comprising means for supporting two side-byside groups of baths or the like, each group comprising two superimposed rows of baths, mechanism for moving the superimposed rows of baths in opposite directions, a transfer device at one end of the support means for transferring baths from the upper rows to the lower rows, a transfer device at the other end of the support means for transferring baths from the lower rows to the upper rows, a carrier for a specimen or the like positioned so as to lie above the path of movement of the upper and/or lower rows of baths, mechanism for lowering and raising said specimen carrier so as to immerse a specimen in or withdraw it from a bath and mechanism for moving the specimen carrier laterally to transfer a specimen from a bath of one group to a bath of the other.

In preferred embodiments of the invention at least one additional bath is positioned between me above mentioned groups of baths and is arranged in relation to the laterally moving transfer mechanism, so that between being transferred from a bath of one group to a bath of the other, a specimen may be drained into or immersed in this additional bath and, for example, rinsed with running water.

One particular embodiment of the invention will now be described by way of example with reference to the accompanying diagrammatic drawings which illustrate an application of the invention to a processing machine for use in histology. On the drawings FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the machine,

FIG. 2 is a diagram showing the manner of movement of the bath carrying pallets of the machine, and the movement of the specimen carrier,

FIG. 3 is a perspective view showing a chain of pallets for one group of baths of the machine and part of the mechanism for moving said pallets, the other group of baths used in the machine having an identical arrangement of pallets,

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of the pallet moving and raising and lowering mechanism,

FIG. 5 shows an arrangement for stirring the contents of a bath, and

FIG. 6 shows an arrangement for raising and lowering the specimen carrier.

Briefly the machine comprises support means, in the from of boxes 10 and 11 for two groups of baths, each group comprising upper and lower rows 12 and I3 and 14 and 15 ofbaths respectively, a transfer platform 16 at one end of the support means 10, II for lowering baths from the upper rows 12 and 13 to the lower rows, 14 and 15, a similar transfer platform 17 at the other end of the support means 10, II for raising baths from the lower rows to the upper rows and aspecimen carrier casing 18 which is adapted to be raised and lowered and embodies means for moving slides or other specimens from a bathintheupperrowfltoabathintheupperrow Band vice versa. The support 10 also carries a single intennediate bath 19 which is supplied with running water.

The baths of each group are moved through the machine on pallets 20, the pallets for one group 12, 14 or 13, 15 being shown in FIG. 6. These pallets are linked together to form parallel pairs of upper and lower chains by means of couplings 21 which permit pallets, as they reach an end of the machine, to be readily detached from the chains so that they can be raised or lowered and reconnected in the chains of pallets.

Movement of the pallets 20 for the baths l2 and 13, through the machine is effected by pawls 22 and 23 respectively (see FIG. 4) which are reciprocated by screws 24. The pawls 22 and 23 when making a driving stroke engage in holes 25 in the pallets and disengage automatically from these holes when they make their return or idle stroke. This mechanism is housed in the box 10.

The pallets 20 for the baths l4 and 15 are cycled around the machine, the same way as the pallets for the baths l2 and 13, by means of pawls 26 and 27 which are oppositely acting with respect to the pawls 22 and 23 and are reciprocated by screw devices 28. This mechanism is housed in the box I 1.

Lowering and raising of the transfer platforms l6 and I7 to lower and raise the pairs of pallets at opposite ends of the machine, and thereby the baths thereon, is effected by screw and nut mechanism 29 and 30, (see FIG. 4) which move the support devices 16 and 17 respectively up and down between the superimposed rows of pallets.

The screws 24 and 28 for reciprocating the pawl devices 22, 23, 26 mid 27, which drive the pallets, are driven by an electric motor 31 through the gearing as shown in FIG. 4.

The screw mechanism 29, 30 for raising and lowering the pallets are driven from an electric motor 32 also through gearing as shown in FIG. 4.

Mounted in the specimen carrier casing 18 (see FIG. 5), so as to be raised and lowered therewith, is a specimen or slide carrier 33 adapted to be traversed across the baths of the upper rows 12 and 13 which happen to occupy a position in line with the bath 19 as indicated at 12c and 13a in FIG. I. This slide or specimen carrier is moved from left to right nd right to left along a slide bar or guide by an electric motor 34 which drives a chain 35 having attached to it a pin or roller 36 which works in a slot in a pivoted arm 37 attached to the slidably supported rack or slide carrier 33.

The raising and lowering of the casing I8 is efi'ected by a pinion 38 driven by a motor 39 both of which are mounted on the casing 18. The pinion 38 meshes with a fixed rack 40. The weight of the casing 18 is taken by a constant tension spring device 41.

AsshowninFIGS. l and6itmaybeassumedthatabath of slides or specimens, in the carrier 33, is immersed in the bath 12a. After immersion in said bath for a predetermined time, the batch is raised out of the bath 12a and, by means of the lateral traversing mechanism 35, is moved to a position over the rinsing bath 19 and allowed to drain or is lowered thereinto. After an appropriate period for rinsing the slides are again raised and, after a dwell period for draining if required, moved to a position over the bath 13a and immersed therein. After the required period of immersion in the bath the slides are again raised and the pallets are moved, as indicated in FIG. 2, so that the baths 12b and 13b now occupy a position under the slide carrier casing 18, the rinsing bath 19 remaining stationary. The slides are then lowered into the bath 13b and, alter a predetermined period of immersion therein are transferred to the rinsing bath l9 and then to the bath 13!). This cycle of operations continues throughout the period of operation of the machine, a pair of baths being periodically lowered, on the platform 16, at one end of the machine, a pair of baths raised, on the platform 17, at the other end, the upper rows of baths moved forwardly and the lower rows rearwardly and the slide carrier being moved step-by-step in alternate directions, across the three baths under it, for periods of immersion and draining or rinsing of the specimens or slides.

It will be understood that the platform 16 and 17 go up and down together, the platform 16 coming up empty and the platform 17 going down empty.

The movements of the baths and the movements of the slide or specimen carrier for predetermined periods of immersion and draining and/or rinsing of the slides in the baths is controlled by known programmer devices 42 and timing devices 43 incorporated in the apparatus as shown in FIG. 4, the electric timing devicm being accommodated between the groups of baths l2, l4 and l3, 15. The programmer is of the kind in which a program is selected by appropriate insertion of plugs of pins in holes in a programmer disc.

Preferably devices 44 are provided for stirring the stains or reagents in the baths during the time that the slides or specimens are immersed therein. These rotary stirrers (see FIGS. 5 and 6) may be driven by a motor 45 (see FIG. 4) the stirring being coupled magnetically to magnetic coupling devices 46 driven by said motor.

The mode of operation of the machine above described may be modified so that the slides or specimens are immersed progressively in a series of the baths 12 and are then moved across the machine and immersed progressively in a series of the baths 1:! and vice versa.

Modification may, of course, be made in the particular embodiment of the invention described above, by way of example, with reference to the drawings.

For instance, instead of engaging in holes in the pallets the pawls 22,23 and 26,27 may project between neighboring pailets, so as to engage the ends thereof.

Furthennore, instead of raising and lowering the platforms l6 and 17 by screw and nut mechanism said platforms may be raised and lowered by a rack-and pinion-mechanism similar to that above described with reference to FIG. 6 of the drawings.

Reciprocation of the pawls 22, 23 and 26, 27 may ve effected through a crank and lever mechanism instead of by means of screw devices as shown in FIG. 4.

Linear ball or roller slice devices may be provided where one part of the apparatus is required to move relatively to and on another part.

Separate stirring devices 44, with separate motors, may be provided for stirring the contents of the baths 120 and 130 respectively, thus avoiding the transfer of the stirring device from one bath to another.

We claim:

1. A sequential processing apparatus comprising a support means for supporting at least one row of baths or the like above another row, a mechanism for moving baths or the like of one row and baths or the like of the other row in opposite directions, a transfer device at one end of the support means for transferring a bath from the upper row ro the lower row, a transfer device at the other end of the support means for transferring a bath from the lower row to the upper row and a carrier for a specimen, slide or the like positioned so as to lie above the path of movement of at least one of the rows of baths and mechanism for lowering and raising said carrier so as to immerse a specimen, slide or the like, or withdraw it from, a bath.

2. A sequential proceming apparatus comprising means for supporting two sideby-side groups of baths or the like, each group comprising two superimposed rows of baths, mechanism for moving the superimposed rows of baths in opposite direction, a transfer device at one end of the support means for transferring baths from the upper rows to the lower rows, a transfer device at the other end of the support means for transferring baths from the lower rows to the upper rows, a

carrier for a s cimen, slide or the like positioned so as to lie above the pa of movement of the upper and/or lower rows of baths, mechanism for lowering and raising said carrier so as to immerse a specimen, slide or the like in or withdraw it from a bath and mechanism for moving the carrier laterally to transfer a specimen from a position over a bath of one group to a position over a bath of the other group.

3. Apparatus as claimed in claim 1 wherein the movement of the rows of baths is linear.

4. Apparatus as claimed in claim 1 and having an additional bath alongside one of said rows of baths, and wherein means is provided whereby the specimen or the like carrier can be moved laterally for immersion or draining of a specimen or the like into said additional bath.

5. Apparatus as claimed in claim 1 wherein the means for moving the rows of baths comprises pallets, one for each bath, linked together, to form upper and lower chains, by means of coupling devices which permit pallets, as they reach an end of the machine, to be readily detached from the chain so that they can be raised or lowered and re-connected in a chain of pallets.

6. Apparatus as claimed in claim 5 wherein movement of the pallets is efiected by reciprocating pawl devices which engage the pallets.

7. Apparatus as claimed in claim 1 wherein the means for transferring a bath from an upper row to a lower row, or viceversa, comprises a transfer platform which is raised and lowered by screw-and-nut or rock-and-pinion mechanism.

8. Apparatus as claimed in claim 7 wherein the weight of the transfer platform and its load is supported by spring means.

9. Apparatus as claimed in claim 2 wherein the specimen or slide carrier is supported on a transfer mechanism casing or frame for movement between the batlm of one group and the baths of the other group, and means is provided for raising and lowering said casing or frame so as to immerse the specimen in or withdraw it from a bath, raising and lowering of said casing or frame being effected by a rack-and-pinion or screw-and-nut mechanism, and the weight of said casing or frame being taken by spring means.

10. Apparatus as claimed in claim 2 wherein timing and programming devices for the apparatus are housed between the groups of baths.

1]. Apparatus as claimed in claim 1 wherein means is provided for stirring or agitating the contents of a bath, said stirring or agitating means being driven through a magnetic coupling having one of its magnetic elements positioned so as to be external to a bath, the other magnetic element being positioned so as to be within a bath.

4 i i i i

Patent Citations
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US3302607 *Apr 30, 1965Feb 7, 1967David Kobernick SidneyTissue-staining and processing machine
US3566891 *Oct 7, 1968Mar 2, 1971Ashdee CorpTank arrangement
US3604436 *Apr 7, 1969Sep 14, 1971Lipshaw JuliusAutomatic tissue processor
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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3903908 *Oct 31, 1973Sep 9, 1975Columbia Ind Developments LimiSlide staining apparatus
US3976028 *Jan 17, 1975Aug 24, 1976Newman-Howells Associates LimitedAutomatic article immersion apparatus
US4084541 *Apr 20, 1976Apr 18, 1978Olympus Optical Co., Ltd.Dyeing and decolorization apparatus for use in a blood serum analyzer of an electrophoretic type
US4520834 *Nov 8, 1983Jun 4, 1985Dicicco Paolo SApparatus for processing articles in a series of process solution containers
US4738824 *Oct 15, 1986Apr 19, 1988Kabushiki Kaisha Tiyoda SeisakushoApparatus for dyeing specimens automatically preparatory to microscopic examination
US5601650 *May 26, 1992Feb 11, 1997Medite Gesellschaft Fur Medizintechnik MbhProcess and device for dyeing histological preparations arranged on microscope slides
US6207408 *Aug 19, 1998Mar 27, 2001University Of MiamiHigh quality, continuous throughput, tissue fixation-dehydration-fat removal-impregnation method
US6586713Dec 15, 2000Jul 1, 2003The University Of MiamiApparatus for high quality, continuous throughput, tissue fixation-dehydration-fat removal-impregnation
US6793890Dec 14, 2000Sep 21, 2004The University Of MiamiRapid tissue processor
US7470401Oct 25, 2004Dec 30, 2008The University Of MiamiSimplified tissue processing
US7547538Mar 27, 2003Jun 16, 2009The University Of MiamiHigh quality, continuous throughput, tissue processing
US7565785Sep 30, 2008Jul 28, 2009Parata Systems, LlcDevices for capping vials useful in system and method for dispensing prescriptions
US7581373Sep 30, 2008Sep 1, 2009Parata Systems, LlcDevices for capping vials useful in system and method for dispensing prescriptions
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US8221996Jul 17, 2012The University Of MiamiHigh quality, continuous throughput, tissue processing
US8261936Sep 11, 2012Parata Systems, LlcDevice for dispensing vials useful in system and method for dispensing prescriptions
US8288168Nov 20, 2008Oct 16, 2012The University Of MiamiSimplified tissue processing
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US9366605Feb 14, 2012Jun 14, 2016Steven Paul WheelerHistological specimen treatment apparatus and method
US20040004075 *Mar 27, 2003Jan 8, 2004The University Of Miami, Harold EssenfeldHigh quality, continuous throughput, tissue processing
US20050090017 *Oct 25, 2004Apr 28, 2005Morales Azorides R.Simplified tissue processing
US20080110555 *Nov 14, 2006May 15, 2008Steve BouchelleDevice and method for labeling vials useful in system for dispensing prescriptions
US20080110921 *Nov 14, 2006May 15, 2008Dumond JodyDevice for dispensing vials useful in system and method for dispensing prescriptions
US20080153127 *Mar 12, 2008Jun 26, 2008University Of MiamiHigh quality, continuous throughput, tissue processing
US20080168751 *Feb 28, 2007Jul 17, 2008John Richard SinkDevices for capping vials useful in system and method for dispensing prescriptions
US20080172987 *Jan 15, 2008Jul 24, 2008John Richard SinkDevices for Capping Vials Useful in System and Method for Dispensing Prescriptions
US20090025346 *Sep 30, 2008Jan 29, 2009Parata Systems, LlcDevices for capping vials useful in system and method for dispensing prescriptions
US20090028684 *Sep 30, 2008Jan 29, 2009Parata Systems, LlcDevices for capping vials useful in system and method for dispensing prescriptions
US20090028685 *Sep 30, 2008Jan 29, 2009Parata Systems, LlcDevices for capping vials useful in system and method for dispensing prescriptions
US20090136992 *Nov 20, 2008May 28, 2009The University Of MiamiSimplified tissue processing
US20090283199 *Nov 19, 2009Steve BouchelleDevice and method for labeling vials useful in system for dispensing prescriptions
US20090294464 *Dec 3, 2009Parata Systems, LlcMethods and apparatus for dispensing solid articles
US20090298172 *Dec 3, 2009Steven Paul WheelerHistological specimen treatment apparatus and method
US20100307108 *Aug 2, 2010Dec 9, 2010John Richard SinkDevices for Capping Vials Useful in System and Method for Dispensing Prescriptions
US20110233840 *Sep 29, 2011John Richard SinkDevices for Capping Vials Useful in System and Method for Dispensing Prescriptions
WO1992021953A1 *May 26, 1992Dec 10, 1992Medite Gesellschaft Für Medizintechnik MbhProcess and device for dyeing histological preparations arranged on microscope slides
Classifications
U.S. Classification134/58.00R, 134/117, 118/421, 134/76, 118/425
International ClassificationG01N1/31
Cooperative ClassificationG01N1/31, G01N2001/315
European ClassificationG01N1/31