US 3716133 A
A package for containing and storing a plurality of frangible articles carried on elongated racks or wands. A film of transparent heat-shrinkable material is heat-shrunk about the elongated wands. Openings in the wrapping material are provided near each end of the package, and printed information readable through the wrapping material is enclosed on a label.
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent Koebler et al. 1 Feb. 13, 1973 1 PACKAGE FOR FRANGIBLE  References Cited ARTICLES UNITED STATES PATENTS  Inventors Wuhan "1 Frank 3,404,773 10/1968 Kirby, Jr ..206 65 s Charles 3,026,656 3/1962 Rumsey,.lr. ..229/1310 12 2 643 764 6/1953 Rlall 206/63.2 A ux I t 5 v  Assign alsbury Laboramms Charles y 1,037,102 8/1912 Arch1bald ..206/166 owa 3,207,212 9/1965 Carlson Bi. al... .....206/65 A x 22 Fi F 71 3,505,775 4/1970 Andersen et a1 ..206/63.2 A ux [211 Appl. No.: 114,263 Primary Examiner.l0seph R. Leclair Assistant Examiner-Steven E. Lipman Attorney-Henderson & Strom  US. Cl. ..206/65 A, 206/65 S, 206/DlG. 29,
220/DIG. 6, 229/DIG. 12 ABSTRACT  Int. Cl. ..B65d 71/00 A package for comaining and Storing a plurality of  Field of Search ..62/1, 60, 371, 530; 165/46;
frangible articles carried on elongated racks or wands. A film of transparent heat-shrinkable material is heatshrunk about the elongated wands. Openings in the wrapping material are provided near each end of the package, and printed information readable through the wrapping material is enclosed on a label.
5 Claims, 4 Drawing Figures PACKAGE FOR FRANGIBLE ARTICLES BACKGROUND OF Tl-IE INVENTION It is often desirable to store material such as vaccines or other types of biological specimens in small glass ampoules or vials. These ampoules are generally placed in elongated racks or wands such as those described in U.S. Pat. No. 3,207,212. The wands carrying the glass ampoules are generally immersed in a container of liquid refrigerant such as liquid nitrogen, and are removed from the refrigerant container as needed. The ampoules or vials which are used in this field are generally made of frangible material such as glass, and they are sealed with a flame after the vaccine or other material has been placed therein.
While the use of elongated wands to carry glass ampoules stored in a liquid refrigerant has been generally acceptable, several problems nevertheless result from this use.
One problem that has been experienced previously is that informational means such as labeling of the contents or instructions for use of the contents can not readily be applied to the wand, and problems arise if the instructions or labeling are not actually placed on the wand carrying the particular material. The use of color-coded tabs and other identifying indicia is sometimes useful, but often is inadequate. Also, in some cases, such as when the ampoules contain vaccines, the Government requires that the package have specific instructions carried thereon. Prior to this invention, there was no convenient way to place a substantial amount of informational material on an ampoule-containing wand.
Another problem that occurs infrequently, but with possible serious consequences, results from the fact that occasionally a heat-sealed ampoule does not seal off completely before it is placed in a liquid refrigerant, or a crack may develop in the ampoule during the time before the ampoule is to be taken out of the refrigerant and used. As a result, it is possible for liquid nitrogen, or other refrigerant, to get into the glass ampoule while the ampoule is stored in a liquid refrigerant. When an ampoule containing liquid nitrogen, for example, is removed from the refrigerant and exposed to ambient temperature conditions, the liquid nitrogen can cause the cracked vial or ampoule to explode, creating serious hazards to the workers who are handling the item. By their very nature, these items are usually handled near the face and eyes of the laboratory worker, with resulting obvious serious consequences.
Additionally, the present methodof using ampoulecarrying wands in refrigerant containers necessarily subjects the contents to occasional contact, with resulting breakage. Also, there is a tendency for the wands to become entangled with one another or otherwise be subjected to various stresses.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION This invention relates to packaging means for containing and storing frangible articles carried on elongated article carriers, and more particularly to packaging means for containing glass vials or ampoules of the type commonly used in the medical field for biological specimens to be stored in a liquid refrigerant.
According to the present invention, a package is provided for biological specimens of the type that are contained in glass ampoules and carried on elongated ampoule wands. The package may contain one or more of the wands, and in accordance with a preferred embodiment is wrapped with a clear plastic film of the ,type adapted to shrink and conform generally to the shape of the contents when heated moderately. The film also conveniently seals or adheres to itself when heated. Since the package is intended to be stored in a container of liquid refrigerant, openings are provided in the film near each end of the package so that refrigerant can get into, and drain from, the interior of the package. A label having printed information as to the contents of the package and/or its manner of use can be included in the package in such a manner that it is readable without the package being opened.
Accordingly, it is an object of the present invention to provide a package for containing and storing a plurality of small frangible articles in a safe and convenient manner.
It is a further object of this invention to provide a package for containing and storing frangible articles carried on elongated wands in such a manner that informational material may be included with the package and be readable by a person handling the package.
It is a further object of this invention to provide a package for carrying and storing frangible articles such that a person handling the package is not subjected to the hazard of explosion of the frangible articles.
Additional objects and advantages of the present invention will become apparent upon consideration of the following description.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS along line 44 in FIG. 1 and looking in the direction of the arrows.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT Referring now to the drawings, wherein like numerals refer to similar elements throughout the several views, a preferred embodiment of the invention containing two wands in a package is illustrated.
In FIGS. 1 and 2, a package embodying the principles of the invention is indicated generally at 11. Elongated wands 12 each carrying a plurality of ampoules 13 in superposed relation are shown. A heat-shrunk wrapper 14 of transparent material is shown enclosing the contents including the wands l2 and the ampoules 13 carried thereby. An opening 15 is shown in the wrapper 14 near the upper end of the package 11. A similar opening 16 is shown in the wrapper 14 near the lower end of the package 11. The purpose of these openings is to facilitate entrance of a refrigerant into the interior of the package 11 when the package is immersed in a suitable liquid refrigerant such as liquid nitrogen. Better heat transfer results when the ampoules are in direct contact with the liquid refrigerant.
The openings and 16 in the wrapper 14 also permit easy draining of refrigerant from the package 11 when the package is removed from the refrigerant. The wrapper 14, which provides some protection to the contents of the package up until the point that the package is removed from the refrigerant, provides protection to the person handling the package when it is removed from the refrigerant in the event that one of the ampoules 13 might have been previously cracked and contain liquid refrigerant therein which would tend to cause the ampoule to explode at the time the package is removed from the refrigerant and exposed to ambient temperature.
Cut outs 17 in the back of wand 12 are shown in FIGS. 1 and 2. These cuts outs, as is known in the art, facilitate removal of the ampoule from the wand.
As shown more clearly in the enlarged views of FIGS. 3 and 4, label or backing strip 19, which may be of cardboard or other suitable material, is shown enclosed within the wrapper 14. This label 19, which is separate from the wands 12 and the wrapper 14, is contained within the wrapper l4 and serves two purposes. It provides some protection to the package, and also serves to carry printed information which is readable through the transparent wrapper 14. This is particularly useful in cases where instructions for using the contents of the glass ampoules are required, such as by Government regulations, to accompany the material when it is sold.
In preparing and using the package of this invention, a desired vaccine or other type of biological specimen is placed in the ampoules 13, which are then heat sealed in a conventional manner. The ampoules 13 are placed on the wands 12, and a desired number of wands which are to be included within the package are placed side by side. The label 14 is then placed next to the wands l2 and the entire contents of the package are placed on a sheet of clear heat-shrinkable plastic film. The clear film, which may have openings 15 and 16 previously formed therein, is wrapped about the package and exposed to suitable heat such that the material shrinks into a tight fit about the contents and seals itself with respect thereto. The package, or a plurality thereof, is then stored in a suitable refrigerant, such as a container of liquid nitrogen. The refrigerant is able to enter the package 11 into direct contact with the vials or ampoules 13 by means of the opening 16 near the bottom of the package. When it is desired to use the contents of the package, the package is removed from the refrigerant allowing refrigerant to drain out the lower opening 16. This is the time at which the handler of the package would be exposed to an exploding ampoule in the case where one of the ampoules had developed a leak and contained liquid nitrogen. However, since the wrapper 14 still surrounds the ampoules 13 may be removed in accordance with conventional practice. The instructions for use are readily available to the handler by means of the label 19 contained within the package.
A preferred embodiment of this invention has been described hereinabove, and it is to be understood that be made various modifications and variations can thereto without departing from the scope of the invention as defined in the appended claims.
1. An ampoule wand package comprising:
elongated wand means adapted to releaseably hold a plurality of frangible ampoules in superposed endto-end relationship; a plurality of frangible ampoules held by said wand means in superposed end-to-end relationship; and
wrapping means about the elongated wand means and the ampoules held thereby, the wrapping means having an opening adjacent each end of the wand means to allow ingress and egress of fluid when the package is placed in and removed from such fluid.
2. An ampoule wand package as defined in claim 1 wherein a plurality of elongated wand means are contained within the wrapping means.
3. An ampoule wand package as defined in claim 1 wherein said wrapping means is a transparent heatshrinkable material which has been heat shrunk about the elongated wand means and the ampoules carried thereby.
4. An ampoule wand package as defined in claim 3 including means between the elongated wand means and the wrapping means, such means including printed information readable through the wrapping means.
5. A package for containing a plurality of frangible ampoules containing material to be stored in a refrigerant comprising:
at least one elongated wand carrying a plurality of frangible ampoules;
transparent heat shrunk wrapping material forming the exterior of the package and being adapted to contain an exploding ampoule, said wrapping material having'an opening near each end of the package to enable fluid to enter into and drain from the package; and
means between the elongated wand and the wrapping material, such means including printed information readable through the wrapping means.