US 3890096 A
A tray for holding dental instruments while they are sterilized in an autoclave, consisting of a rectangular sheet metal base having one pair of opposite edges adapted to engage slidably in the shelf grooves of an autoclave chamber, and its other pair of edges turned down to form flaps, a pair of parallel, spaced apart channels fixed to the top of the base, with their proximate flanges notched to receive dental instruments and their distal flanges solid to restrain the instruments against longitudinal movement, and a removable cover restrained on the base by said channels, the base and cover being perforated for circulation of steam, trays of like nature being stackable by engagement of the flaps of the base of each with the cover of the next lower tray of the stack.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent [1 1 Nichol et al.
1 1 June 17, 1975 1 1 I TRAY FOR STERILIZING DENTAL INSTRUMENTS 22 Filed: on. 1, 1973 211 Appl.N0.:402,044
 US. Cl. 21/105; 21/83; 21/84; 21/85; 21/94; 32/22; 206/632 R; 206/72;
 Int. Cl A611 3/02  Field of Search 21/83-85, 89, 21/94, 105; 206/632 R, 72; 95/95; 32/22;
156] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 857,240 6/1907 Henning 21/105 1,538,571 5/1925 Meinecke et a1. 21/105 2,984,344 5/1961 Weissman 21/84 3,032,186 5/1062 Jenkins 206/72 1/1970 Meierhoefer 206/612 R 10/1973 Fishpaw M 21/85 Primary ExaminerBarry S. Richman Assistant Examiner-Dale Lovercheck Attorney, Agent, or Firm-John A. Hamilton  ABSTRACT A tray for holding dental instruments while they are sterilized in an autoclave, consisting of a rectangular sheet metal base having one pair of opposite edges adapted to engage slidably in the shelf grooves of an autoclave chamber, and its other pair of edges turned down to form flaps, a pair of parallel, spaced apart channels fixed to the top of the base, with their proximate flanges notched to receive dental instruments and their distal flanges solid to restrain the instruments against longitudinal movement, and a removable cover restrained on the base by said channels, the base and cover being perforated for circulation of steam, trays of like nature being stackable by engagement of the flaps of the base of each with the cover of the next lower tray of the stack.
1 Claim, 5 Drawing Figures 1 TRAY FOR STERILIZING DENTAL INSTRUMENTS This invention relates to new and useful improvements in dental equipment, and has particular reference to trays for holding dental instruments.
The principal object of the present invention is the provision of a tray suitable both as a set up tray, that is, which will hold a plurality of instruments conveniently for selective use by a dentist as he treats a patient, and also as a sterilizing tray in which the instruments can be inserted into an autoclave of the most common type.
Another object is the provision of a tray of the character described which provides for thorough circulation of the sterilizing steam throughout the entire volume of the instrument storage space of the tray.
A further object is the provision of a tray of the character described which is specially formed for reception thereof in an autoclave, and which can be nestably stacked with any number of other identical trays.
Other objects are simplicity and economy of construction, the entire assembly consisting of only four parts very simply formed of sheet metal, and efficiency and dependability of operation.
With these objects in view, as well as other objects which will appear in the course ofthe specification, reference will be had to the accompanying drawing, wherein:
FIG. 1 is a top plan view of a tray embodying the present invention, with the cover in place,
FIG. 2 is a side elevational view of the tray as shown in FIG. 1,
FIG. 3 is an enlarged top plan view of the tray with the cover removed,
FIG. 4 is a sectional view taken on line IVIV of FIG. 3, with the cover applied, and
FIG. 5 is a sectional view taken on line VV of FIG. 3, with the cover applied.
Like reference numerals apply to similar parts throughout the several views, and the numeral 2 applies generally to the tray base, which is formed of sheet metal such as aluminum, stainless steel or other suitable material. It will be understood also that the base, as well as all other elements of the tray to be described, may be coated and protected by color plating or baked enamel, or with teflon, high-heat plastic, or other optional materials. The base is generally rectangular, being planar except that its shorter edge portions are turned downwardly to form flaps 4 which serve as supporting legs for the tray on any planar surface, and also as an aligning means when similar trays are stacked, as will presently appear.
Welded or otherwise affixed to the top of base 2, and extending transversely to the longer dimension of the base, are a pair of parallel, spaced apart channels 6 also formed of sheet metal. The connecting portion 8 of each channel is welded to base 2. The distal flanges 10 of the two channels extend upwardly from the base, and are solid and imperforate. The proximate flanges 12 of the two channels each have a series of notches 14 formed therein and opening upwardly, whereby a corresponding pair of notches 14 of flanges 12 may receive and support the shank portion of a dental instrument. Dental instruments, for the most part, are slender and elongated, and may be supported conveniently, and in a position instantly available to the dentist, in the manner described. At the same time, the distal flanges 10 of the channels prevent any undue longitudinal sliding of the instruments in the notches, and thus keep the instruments within the horizontal confines of the tray. For this purpose, the spacing between flanges I0 is selected to be somewhat greater than the length of the instruments to be carried. Holes 16, in any desired pattern, are formed through base 2 and the connecting portions 8 of channels 6, to permit circulation of steam through the base to provide thorough circulation of said steam around the instruments. The longer edges of base 2 are extended outwardly beyond the ends of flaps 4, and beyond the ends of channel members 6, whereby to form ears 18 which are unobstructed along their entire lengths. Many autoclave chambers have vertical side walls in which horizontal shelf grooves are formed in vertically spaced apart relation, and cars 18 provide members by means of which the present tray can be slidably inserted into and supported by such shelf grooves.
Also provided is a rectilinear cover 20, also formed of sheet metal. Said cover opens downwardly, the lower edges of its side walls resting on base 2, and its horizontal dimensions being such that it engages closely about the rectangular upward projection of the base formed by channels 6, so that the cover is restrained against horizontal displacement. The cover is of sufficient depth to provide space therein for enlargements of any dental tools or instruments resting in notches 14. The lower edges of the longer side walls of the cover are notched out as indicated at 22. These notches, together with base holes 16, provide for free circulation of steam throughout the volume of the cover, in which the dental instruments are disposed. Also, it will be seen in FIG. 5 that the horizontal distance between base flaps 4 is slightly greater than the major horizontal dimension of cover 20. This provides for nestable stacking of similar trays with the covers applied, the flaps 4 of each higher tray engaging downwardly over the ends of the cover 20 of the next lower tray, to maintain the stacked trays in horizontal alignment.
The operation of the tray is believed to have been fully described in connection with the foregoing description of its construction, and furthermore to be selfevident. It is considered to possess several advantages of operation and use. With the cover removed, it can serve as a set up tray at the dentist's chair, all instruments carried thereby being instantly and conveniently accessible to the dentist. With or without the cover applied, it can be carried to and inserted directly into an autoclave for sterilization of the instruments, being adapted by the material of which it is formed, and/or the surface treatment of said material to withstand the steam or dry heat of the autoclave, and being adapted by ears l8 for convenient support in the commonest form of autoclave. It is perhaps more safely and conveniently carried with the cover applied, and can also be nestably stacked with other like trays when the cover is applied. The notches 22 of the cover, and base holes 16, provide for free circulation of steam at all times. It is very simply and economically formed, consisting of only four parts including the cover, all formed of sheet metal by simple bending operations.
While we have shown and described a specific em bodiment of our invention, it will be readily apparent that many minor changes of structure and operation could be made without departing from the spirit of the invention.
What we claim as new and desire to protect by Letters Patent is:
1. A dental instrument tray comprising:
a. a generally planar base provided with downturned flaps operable to support the remainder thereof above a supporting surface engaged by said flaps, and having holes formed therethrough for the circulation of steam when said tray is inserted into an autoclave,
b. a pair of upwardly opening channels affixed to the top of said base in parallel spaced apart relation. the upright distal flanges of said channels being solid and imperforate, and the proximate flanges of said channels having corresponding series of upwardly opening notches formed therein, each corresponding pair of notches being adapted to receive and support a dental instrument therein, and
. a downwardly opening cover restable on said base,