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Publication numberUS3749271 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJul 31, 1973
Filing dateJun 22, 1971
Priority dateJun 22, 1971
Publication numberUS 3749271 A, US 3749271A, US-A-3749271, US3749271 A, US3749271A
InventorsD Ellis, B Markiewicz
Original AssigneeBecton Dickinson Co
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Resealable ampoule closure
US 3749271 A
Abstract
A glass ampoule is heat sealed at one end and has a necked down annular break line formed adjacent to but spaced from the sealed end. A plastic cap having two spaced annular sealing rings formed on an inner wall is pressed on the sealed end so that the break line is between the spaced sealing rings.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

States atent [191 Early 31, 1973 [54] RESEALABLE AMPOULE CLOSURE [75] Inventors: Donovan Russell Ellis, Jr., Princeton,

N..1.; Bernard Frank Markiewicz, Lutherville, Md.

[73] Assignee: Becton, Dickinson and Company,

East Rutherford, NJ.

[22] Filed: June 22, 1971 [211 App]. No.: 155,518

[52] 11.5. C1. 215/32, 150/52 R [51] Int. Cl B6511 l/02, 865d 17/24 [58] Field of Search 215/32; 206/632 R,

[56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,544,020 12/1970 Goldberg et al. 215/32 2,317,420 4/1943 Taylor 220/27 2,295,865 9/1942 Rentschler 220/27 1,956,568 5/1934 Jord 215/32 3,306,291 2/1967 Burke 215/32 FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS 1,241,061 8/1960 France 222/541 Primary Examiner-Samuel B. Rothberg Assistant ExaminerStephen Marcus Attorney-Kane, Dalsimer. Kane, Sullivan and Kurucz [57] ABSTRACT A glass ampoule is heat sealed at one end and has a necked down annular break line formed adjacent to but spaced from the sealed end. A plastic cap having two spaced annular sealing rings formed on an inner wall is pressed on the sealed end so that the break line is between the spaced sealing rings.

6 Claims, 6 Drawing Figures RESEALABLE AMPOULE CLOSURE BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1. Field of the Invention The present invention relates to heat sealed ampoules and more particularly to an ampoule having a resealable closure.

2. Description of the Prior Art Heat sealed glass ampoules have been used for many years for the storage of liquid and semi-solid materials. This type of container was very useful because it assured the user that the material contained therein was not contaminated and, if applicable, that the material remained in a sterile condition. Heat sealing provided for long shelf life of the stored material; however, once the ampoule was opened, the shelf life was greatly reduced by the lack of a means for resealing the glass ampoules. Usually the ampoule would lie open exposing the contents to contaminants in the air, and thus rendering the contents unusable. On occasions, a cover would be placed over the open ampoule to eliminate contaminants; however, the unsterile cover tended to contaminate the material. Thus, the absence of a convenient resealing means outweighed the advantages of a heat sealed glass ampoule and limited its acceptance.

Another disadvantage of the heat sealed glass ampoule was the inconvenience involved in breaking the glass. This operation involved a risk of being cut by the broken glass and exposing the wound to the material contained in the ampoule. Another disadvantage associated with a heat sealed glass ampoule was that the exterior of the ampoule became contaminated and the exterior area adjacent the eventual opening of the ampoule would contaminate the contents of the ampoule after opening.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The present invention contemplates a resealable glass ampoule for storing sterile material for long shelf life. A sterile glass ampoule having a necked down annular break line formed adjacent to but spaced from an open end is filled with the sterile material and the opened end is then heat sealed. A cap molded from resilient material and having two spaced annular sealing rings formed on an inner wall is pressed over the sealed end of the ampoule and is positioned so that the break line is between the spaced sealing rings. The cap is placed over the ampoule while the ampoule is still in a sterile condition. The sterility of the exterior adjacent the break line is maintained by the tight fitting seals that engage the ampoule so that the contents of the ampoule are not contaminated when the ampoule is opened.

The ampoule is conveniently opened by applying pressure to the cap causing the ampoule to fracture along the break line and the broken end of the ampoule is safely retained within the plastic cap by one of the annular sealing rings. Thus, the risk involved in opening the ampoule is greatly reduced because the broken glass removed from the ampoule is safely retained in the cap and does not lie about the laboratory.

After a portion of the material within the ampoule is used, the remainder can be safely stored for a period of time by merely snapping the plastic cap in place over the opened end of the ampoule. The sealing ring tightly engages the ampoule to retain the cap in position. The portion of the cap to which the opening is exposed upon resealing is sterile and therefore does not contaminate the stored material as was the case with devices heretofore provided.

One objective of the present invention is to provide a resealable glass ampoule.

Another objective of the present invention is to provide a convenient and safe means for opening a heat sealed glass ampoule.

Another objective of the present invention is to provide a heat sealed glass ampoule having an outer sur face adjacent a break line that remains sterile during storage.

Another objective of the present invention is to provide a sterile closure for a heat sealed glass ampoule that has been opened.

The foregoing objectives and advantages of the invention will appear more fully hereinafter from a consideration of the detailed description which follows, taken with the accompanying drawings wherein one embodiment of the invention is illustrated by way of example. It is to be expressly understood, however, that the drawings are for illustrative purposes only and are not to be considered as defining the limits of the invention.

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is an elevational view of a portion of an unsealed glass ampoule.

FIG. 2 is a sectional view of the ampoule of FIG. 1 taken along line 2--'-2.

FIG. 3 is an elevational view of the ampoule of FIG. 1 after it has been heat sealed and is shown with a cap in vertical section in position for placing on the ampoule.

FIG. 4 shows the ampoule and cap of FIG. 3 with the cap in position on the ampoule.

FIG. 5 shows the ampoule being opened.

FIG. 6 shows the ampoule resealed with the cap in place.

DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION Referring to FIGS. 1 and 2, there is shown an upper portion of an unsealed glass ampoule 10. A lower portion of the ampoule which is not shown may have a flat or round bottom or any other configuration consistent with its contemplated use. The upper portion of the ampoule has an opening 12 formed in the end thereof and spaced from the end is a necked down portion 14. The opening 12 and the necked down portion 14 form a funnel to facilitate filling of the ampoule. Spaced from the necked down portion 14 is a break line 16 formed by an indentation in the wall of the ampoule. The indentation causes the wall of the ampoule to be thin around the break line and provides a frangible ring.

In use, the ampoule is thoroughly sterilized prior to filling with a material that is to be stored therein. Such material is usually sterilized or is a reagent type chemical. After sterilization, the material is poured into am poule 10 through opening 12 and neck 14. After pouring the material into the ampoule, neck portion 14 is heated to melt the glass in the area of the neck. When the glass is melted the open ended portion above the neck is removed and upon removal of the heat, the molten glass solidifies and forms a seal 17 as shown in FIG. 3.

ln FIG. 3 there is also shown a cap 18 molded from a resilient material such as plastic and having side walls 20. The cap is shown in position to be pressed over the sealed end of ampoule 10. Two spaced annular sealing rings 22 and 24 are formed on an inner surface of wall 20 and are molded to have an inside diameter slightly less than the outside diameter of ampoule l0.

After neck portion 14 is heat sealed, and the ampoule exterior is still in a sterile condition, cap 18 is sterilized and pressed into position over the sealed end of ampoule as shown in FIG. 4. Cap 10 is positioned so that the break line 16 is disposed between sealing rings 22 and 24. Because of the resilient characteristic of the plastic from which cap 18 is molded, sealing rings 22 and 24 firmly engage the outer diameter of ampoule 10 to effect a seal therebetween. This seal maintains the sterility of the interior portion of cap 18 and, more importantly, the sterility of the exterior area adjacent break line 16.

If desired an alternate procedure may be followed whereby the cap is placed on the ampoule in an unsterilized condition and the ampoule and cap are then terminally sterilized.

The heat sealed ampoule prevents contaminants from entering the ampoule and contaminating the material contained therein and the seal is so effective and permanent that the material contained in the ampoule may be stored for extremely long periods of time. The sealed ampoule assures a future user that the material contained therein is sterile and uncontaminated and that no one has previously gained access to the interior of the ampoule. Cap 18 maintains sterility of the exterior area of the ampoule adjacent break line 16 and also protects the portions of the ampoule that are most subject to breakage, namely neck portion 14 and break line 16. Thus, cap 18 protects the ampoule from breakage and reduces costs by eliminating excessive loss of material resulting from broken ampoules.

The ampoule is conveniently and safely opened as shown in FIG. 5. The fingers of a hand grasp the ampoule 10 while the thumb exerts a pressure on cap 18 causing the ampoule to fracture along break line 16. Cap 18 including wall protects the thumb from exposure to the sharp edge of the broken glass. The broken off end of the ampoule is retained-within cap 18 by sealing ring 22, thereby eliminating the hazard of broken pieces of glass lying about a laboratory. Cap 18 greatly reduces the hazards involved in opening such a glass ampoule.

In most instances, all of the material contained within the ampoule isnt used at one time and it is desirable to store the material for a short period until a subsequent usage. Such storage is possible by the unique configuration of cap 18. The cap including the broken off end of ampoule 10 is snapped over the opened end of the ampoule as shown in FIG. 6. Sealing ring 24 maintains a tight engagement with the outer wall of ampoule 10 and thereby prevents contaminants from entering the ampoule and maintains the sterility and purity of the material contained within the ampoule during a short period of laboratory storage. The material in the ampoule is not contaminated by an unsterile closure because the cap was sterilized initially and the sterility was maintained by the sealing rings 22 and 24. The cap may be removed and replaced as often as necessary until all the material contained within the ampoule is consumed. It is advisable, however, that the ampoule once opened be stored in an upright position to prevent spillage when the cap is subsequently removed. If the ampoule is stored on its side after being opened in all probability sealing ring 24 will prevent leakage of the material contained in the ampoule; however, the material will flow into the space between the outer surface of the ampoule and the inner surface of wall 20 and will spill when the cap is subsequently removed.

The ampoule need not be made exclusively of glass, many other materials are available. A rigid inert plastic could be used and in such a casea heat seal could also be used to seal neck portion 14. Ampoule could also be made of a metallic substance or even a ceramic material; however, in these instances a heat seal would not be used but rather other sealing means well known in the art, such as a glass bead to seal the tip of the necked portion 14.

If it is desirable for some reason to permit the ampoule to breathe once it is opened, the cap 18 may be gently placed over the'open end of ampoule 10 so that seal ring 24 rests upon the broken edge of break line 16. The jagged break line will not effect a tight seal between it and seal ring 24, thereby allowing air to pass into the ampoule, thus allowing the ampoule to breathe.

Thus, the present invention provides all the advantages of heat sealed glass ampoules and eliminates the disadvantages associated therewith. Cap 18 protects the vulnerable portions of the ampoule from breakage and also maintains sterility of the ampoule exterior surfaces adjacent the break line 16. Cap 18 also provides a safe and convenient means for fracturing the ampoule and thereby eliminates the hazards associated with opening a sealed glass ampoule. The cap also provides a means for rescaling the ampoule without contaminating the material contained therein.

What is claimed is:

l. A container, comprising:

an ampoule having a cylindrical portion terminating in a sealed end;

an annular frangible breakline formed around the cylindrical portion adjacent to and spaced from the sealed end; a resilient cup shaped cap fitted over the sealed end and having a cylindrical wall extending over the breakline; and I a pair of spaced annular sealing rings formed on an inner surface of the cylindrical wall, said sealing rings formed and arranged for engaging the cylindrical portion on each side of the frangible breakline to form a seal on each side of the breakline.

2. A container as described in claim 1, wherein the ampoule is made of glass and the end is heat sealed.

3.'A container as described in claim 1, wherein the frangible breakline hasa wall thickness substantially less than that of the cylindrical portion. I

4. A container as described in claim 1, wherein th resilient cap is a one piece molded plastic cap.

5. A container as described in claim 1, wherein the sealing rings have inside diameters less than the outside diameter of the cylindrical portion.

6. A container as described in claim 1, wherein the ampoule and cap are sterilized.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US1956568 *May 20, 1932May 1, 1934Olaf FjordAmpulla
US2295865 *Nov 18, 1940Sep 15, 1942Erwin RentschlerContainer spout
US2317420 *Dec 20, 1940Apr 27, 1943American Can CoContainer
US3306291 *Apr 14, 1964Feb 28, 1967Burron Medical Prod IncDisposable sterile syringes, needle containers and the like having prestressed frangible portions therein
US3544020 *Oct 3, 1968Dec 1, 1970West Laboratories IncFinger protector for use in the opening of ampoules
FR1241061A * Title not available
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4134511 *Aug 4, 1977Jan 16, 1979Stella Kg Werner DeussenContainer with frangible seal
US4481297 *May 13, 1982Nov 6, 1984Owens-Illinois, Inc.Vapor detection tube and method of testing for a vapor
US4506793 *Aug 1, 1983Mar 26, 1985Cordis CorporationBreakable vial
US4621735 *Feb 27, 1985Nov 11, 1986American Sterilizer CompanyCover for surgical light handle and touch panel
US4826025 *Nov 17, 1987May 2, 1989Toppan Printing Co., Ltd. & Mect Corp.Ampoule package
US5045067 *Mar 18, 1988Sep 3, 1991Terumo Kabushiki KaishaBreakaway tube assembly
US5255804 *Jan 13, 1990Oct 26, 1993Schering AktiengesellschaftTube of tamperproof construction and process for making same
US5423440 *Oct 15, 1993Jun 13, 1995Chemetrics, Inc.Ampule for chemical oxygen demand test
US5948366 *Dec 30, 1997Sep 7, 1999Avl Medical Instruments AgGlass ampoule for holding a drug a calibration liquid or a quality control liquid
US6206191 *Nov 23, 1999Mar 27, 2001Brij P. SinghRupturable container of amphiphilic molecules
US6712252Jun 28, 2002Mar 30, 2004Starr Systems, LlcMethod of opening an ampoule
US7070589Dec 6, 2000Jul 4, 2006Fresenius AgSterility-maintaining connection system for medical systems and use thereof
US7490723 *Jun 23, 2004Feb 17, 2009Ricardo LevismanEasy-to-open glass ampoule and device
US8840001 *Feb 27, 2010Sep 23, 2014Cezary PluskaApparatus for breaking off the head of a glass ampoule
US20090277941 *Jun 27, 2007Nov 12, 2009Glen Stanley RiverstoneApparatus and method for opening ampoules
US20110303716 *Feb 27, 2010Dec 15, 2011Cezary PluskaApparatus for breaking off the head of a glass ampoule
US20120267335 *Oct 19, 2011Oct 25, 2012Chris CindrichAmpoule with protective sleeve for contamination prevention
DE19843561A1 *Sep 23, 1998Mar 30, 2000Weimar Pharma GmbhGlass ampoule surrounded by electrostatically charged plastic film casing with intentional break points near constriction, reduces probability of injury, prevents leakage of contents and immobilizes glass splinters at source
EP0131434A1 *Jul 5, 1984Jan 16, 1985MARION LABORATORIES, INC. (a Delaware corporation)Package for collecting cultures
EP0269003A2 *Nov 19, 1987Jun 1, 1988Toppan Printing Co., Ltd.Ampoule package
EP0350772A1 *Jul 5, 1989Jan 17, 1990Bernd Dipl.-Ing. HansenAmpoule made of a synthetic material
EP1108444A2 *Dec 1, 2000Jun 20, 2001Fresenius AGSterility maintaining connection systems for medical systems and its utilisation
EP1293474A1 *Aug 30, 2002Mar 19, 2003Starr Systems LLCMethod of opening an ampoule
Classifications
U.S. Classification215/47, 215/902
International ClassificationB67B7/92, B65D17/28
Cooperative ClassificationY10S215/902, B67B7/92
European ClassificationB67B7/92