(19)
(11)EP 2 578 316 B1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT SPECIFICATION

(45)Mention of the grant of the patent:
06.06.2018 Bulletin 2018/23

(21)Application number: 11786346.4

(22)Date of filing:  26.05.2011
(51)International Patent Classification (IPC): 
B01L 3/02(2006.01)
G01N 1/00(2006.01)
(86)International application number:
PCT/JP2011/002948
(87)International publication number:
WO 2011/148643 (01.12.2011 Gazette  2011/48)

(54)

PIPETTE

PIPETTE

PIPETTE


(84)Designated Contracting States:
AL AT BE BG CH CY CZ DE DK EE ES FI FR GB GR HR HU IE IS IT LI LT LU LV MC MK MT NL NO PL PT RO RS SE SI SK SM TR

(30)Priority: 28.05.2010 WO PCT/JP2010/003607

(43)Date of publication of application:
10.04.2013 Bulletin 2013/15

(73)Proprietor: Eiken Kagaku Kabushiki Kaisha
Taito-ku Tokyo 110-8408 (JP)

(72)Inventors:
  • SAITO, Shingo
    Tokyo 110-8408 (JP)
  • YUKI, Yasutaka
    Otawara-shi Tochigi 324-0036 (JP)
  • ICHIKAWA, Yoshiharu
    Shimotsuga-gun Tochigi 329-0114 (JP)

(74)Representative: Raynor, Simon Mark et al
Urquhart-Dykes & Lord LLP Altius House 1 North Fourth Street
Milton Keynes MK9 1NE
Milton Keynes MK9 1NE (GB)


(56)References cited: : 
JP-A- 2 164 457
JP-A- 2007 521 956
US-A- 4 593 837
JP-A- 2002 062 304
US-A- 1 557 837
US-A1- 2008 095 671
  
      
    Note: Within nine months from the publication of the mention of the grant of the European patent, any person may give notice to the European Patent Office of opposition to the European patent granted. Notice of opposition shall be filed in a written reasoned statement. It shall not be deemed to have been filed until the opposition fee has been paid. (Art. 99(1) European Patent Convention).


    Description


    [0001] The present invention relates to a pipette in which a piston is advanced and retreated in a cylinder having a distal end portion to which a pipette tip is removably fitted so that liquid is sucked into the pipette tip and the liquid thus sucked is ejected.

    [0002] For example, as a pipette used for dispensing liquid such as blood and liquid medicine, there has been known what is called a disposable pipette in which a pipette tip removably fitted thereto is disposed of after use in order to prevent cross contamination among liquids.

    [0003] There has been a demand that quantitative operations using such a pipette at the time of suction and ejection of liquids be safely performed in order to prevent an inside of a cylinder from being contaminated by liquids, scattering of the liquids, and infection to pipette operators and contamination of inspection environments when, for example, the liquids are infectious samples. Further, it is desired that the pipette tip containing sucked liquid be disposed of by being separated from the pipette without being touched by hand after ejection of the liquid.

    [0004] Conventionally, as a pipette of this type, there has been proposed a pipette including, as means for determining a suction/ejection amount of liquid based on an advancement/retreat amount of the piston and separating the pipette tip from the pipette so that the pipette tip is disposed of, a pipette tip separation mechanism including a sleeve movably fitted to an outer periphery of a cylinder, and an operating portion including an operation lever, an arm, gears, and a spring, in which the sleeve is pushed down by an operation of the operating portion so that the sleeve abuts against the pipette tip, thereby separating the pipette tip from a distal end of the cylinder (refer, for example, to Patent Literature 1) .

    [0005] Pipettes are known from JP 3470150 B and US 1 557 837 A.
    US 1 557 837 A discloses the presence of a vent groove longitudinally disposed on a piston surface.

    [0006] As described above, similarly to the pipette described in Patent Literature JP 3470150 B, the pipette of this type generally determines the suction/ejection amount of liquid based on the advancement/retreat amount of the piston. Thus, in a case where a pipette operator mistakenly performs such an operation that the piston is advanced or retreated by an amount corresponding to a dimension larger than a predetermined dimension, at the time of suction of liquid, an amount of liquid to be sucked may exceed a capacity of the pipette tip, with the result that the liquid may intrude into the cylinder and contaminate an inside of the cylinder. Meanwhile, at the time of ejection of the liquid, the liquid may be scattered. For those reasons, the pipette operator needs to be highly skilled and to pay utmost attention during the operation of the piston.

    [0007] Further, quantitative operations need to be performed at the time of suction and ejection of liquids. In addition, as means for separating the pipette tip from the pipette and disposing of the pipette tip without being touched by hand after the liquid sucked in the pipette tip is ejected therefrom, the pipette described in Patent Literature 1 is provided with the independent pipette tip separation mechanism. Therefore, there arise problems of a structural complexity and an increase in cost.

    [0008] It is therefore an object of the present invention to provide a pipette which enables any person to easily, reliably, and safely perform the quantitative operations at the time of suction and ejection of liquid by a simple operation without requirement of high skill.

    [0009] In order to achieve the above-mentioned objects, the invention resides in a pipette according to claim 1.

    [0010] An amount of liquid sucked in accordance with movement of the piston can be set to be smaller than a capacity for the liquid in the pipette tip, the movement including retreat of the piston to the retreated position after advancement of the piston from the retreated position by an amount corresponding to the predetermined dimension.

    [0011] The pipette can further include position confirmation means for notifying that the piston has been advanced by the amount corresponding to the predetermined dimension.

    [0012] The pipette can further include liquid suction amount adjusting means for adjusting the retreated position of the piston.

    [0013] The pipette can further include: a release tube fitted to an outer periphery of the cylinder so as to be freely movable in an axial direction, the release tube being capable of abutting against the pipette tip fitted to the distal end portion of the cylinder by being moved in a distal end direction; and a release portion which is provided to an operating portion for operating the piston and moved integrally with the piston. After the piston is advanced by the amount corresponding to the dimension larger than the predetermined dimension, the release portion abuts against the release tube so that the release tube is moved in the distal end direction, to thereby push off the pipette tip, which is fitted to the distal end portion of the cylinder, from the cylinder through intermediation of the release tube.

    [0014] The pipette can further include a flange portion formed at a proximal end of the release tube so that the release portion abuts against the flange portion. The flange portion includes a cylindrical guard portion for surrounding the release portion.

    [0015] The piston, the operating portion, and the release portion can be integrated with one another.

    [0016] The piston can include, on the outer periphery thereof, the communication groove for communicating the inside of the cylinder chamber and the outside of the cylinder chamber to each other when the piston is advanced by the amount corresponding to the dimension larger than the predetermined dimension, the communication groove being located on the outside of the cylinder chamber when the piston is located at the retreated position. Thus, when the communication groove of the piston advanced into the cylinder chamber reaches the cylinder chamber, the communication groove releases the seal between the cylinder chamber and the piston, with the result that the inside of the cylinder chamber and the outside of the cylinder chamber are communicated to each other. With this, pressure in the cylinder chamber becomes equal to the atmospheric pressure, and a suction/ejection effect is eliminated. In this way, a maximum amount of the liquid sucked and ejected by retreat and advancement of the piston is restricted by a dimension between a distal end of the piston and the communication groove. Thus, even when the piston is advanced by the amount corresponding to the dimension larger than the predetermined dimension, the liquid can be reliably prevented from being sucked or ejected by a predetermined amount or larger. Thus, the quantitative operations at the time of suction and ejection of the liquid can be easily, reliably, and safely performed by any person by a simple operation without requirement of high skill.

    [0017] Further, the quantitative operations at the time of suction and ejection of the liquid can be reliably performed, and hence the liquid can be prevented from intruding into the cylinder chamber and from scattering at the time of ejection of the liquid.

    [0018] The amount of liquid sucked in accordance with the movement of the piston can be set to be smaller than the capacity for the liquid in the pipette tip, the movement including the retreat of the piston to the retreated position after the advancement of the piston from the retreated position by the amount corresponding to the predetermined dimension. Thus, at the time of suction of the liquid, the liquid can be prevented from intruding into the cylinder chamber, and hence the inside of the cylinder chamber can be prevented from being contaminated by the liquid.

    [0019] The pipette can further include position confirmation means for notifying that the piston has been advanced by the amount corresponding to the predetermined dimension. Thus, a piston operator can be notified that the piston has been advanced by the amount corresponding to the predetermined dimension, which facilitates quantitative suction of the liquid.

    [0020] The pipette can further include the liquid suction amount adjusting means for adjusting the retreated position of the piston. Thus, a liquid suction amount can be easily and reliably adjusted.

    [0021] At the time of separation of a pipette tip after use, when the piston is advanced by the amount corresponding to the dimension larger than the predetermined dimension, the release portion provided to the piston abuts against the release tube so that the release tube is pushed and moved in the distal end direction. As a result, the release tube pushed and moved by the release portion pushes off, from the cylinder, the pipette tip fitted to the distal end portion of the cylinder. In this way, the pipette tip can be separated from the distal end portion of the cylinder.

    [0022] This operation for separating the pipette tip can be performed only by a series of strokes of the piston similar to those in the operations of sucking and ejecting liquid, and hence can be easily performed. In addition, the same components can be utilized for the structure for sucking and ejecting liquid and the structure for separating the pipette tip because this operation can be performed by a series of operations similar to those in the suction and ejection of liquid. Therefore, the number of components can be saved, and hence the pipette can be easily manufactured and obtained at low cost.

    [0023] Further, the piston includes, on the outer periphery thereof, the communication groove for communicating the inside of the cylinder chamber and the outside of the cylinder chamber to each other when the piston is advanced by the amount corresponding to the dimension larger than the predetermined dimension, the communication groove being located on the outside of the cylinder chamber when the piston is located at the retreated position. Thus, when the piston is advanced by the amount corresponding to the dimension larger than the predetermined dimension so that the pipette tip fitted to the distal end portion of the cylinder is pushed off from the cylinder by pressing and moving the release tube in the distal end direction, the communication groove releases the seal between the cylinder chamber and the piston, with the result that the pressure in the cylinder chamber becomes equal to the atmospheric pressure. Thus, even when liquid is left in the pipette tip, a situation in which the liquid scatters at the time of separating the pipette tip can be prevented.

    [0024] The pipette can include the flange portion formed at the proximal end of the release tube so that the release portion abuts against the flange portion, and the flange portion includes the cylindrical guard portion for surrounding the release portion. Thus, at the time of separating the pipette tip from the cylinder, fingers of a pipette operator or gloves worn by the pipette operator can be prevented from being nipped or caught in between the release portion and the flange portion formed at the proximal end of the release tube.

    [0025] The piston, the operating portion, and the release portion can be integrated with one another. Thus, the number of components can be saved, and a structure can be simplified. As a result, the pipette can be easily manufactured and obtained at low cost.

    Brief Description of Drawings



    [0026] 

    [FIG. 1] A partially cutaway front view illustrating an example of a pipette according to an embodiment of the present invention.

    [FIG. 2] A partially cutaway side view of FIG. 1.

    [FIG. 3] A sectional view taken along the line A-A of FIG. 1.

    [FIG. 4] A sectional view taken along the line B-B of FIG. 2.

    [FIG. 5] A main-part sectional view illustrating another example of liquid suction amount adjusting means.

    [FIG. 6] An explanatory sectional view of a state in which a piston is advanced by an amount corresponding to a predetermined dimension.

    [FIG. 7] An explanatory sectional view of a state in which an inside and an outside of a cylinder are communicated to each other along with advancement of the piston by an amount corresponding to a dimension larger than the predetermined dimension.

    [FIG. 8] An explanatory sectional view of a state in which the piston cannot be advanced any more after a pipette tip is pushed off by a release tube that has been pressed and moved in a distal end direction along with the advancement of the piston by the amount corresponding to the dimension larger than the predetermined dimension.

    [FIG. 9] An explanatory view of a state in which the pipette tip is separated from a distal end portion of the cylinder.



    [0027] In the following, detailed description is made of a pipette according to one embodiment of the present invention with reference to the drawings.

    [0028] FIG. 1 is a partially cutaway front view of the pipette according to the one embodiment of the present invention. FIG. 2 is a partially cutaway side view of FIG. 1. FIG. 3 is a sectional view taken along the line A-A of FIG. 1. FIG. 4 is a sectional view taken along the line B-B of FIG. 2. FIG. 5 is a main-part sectional view illustrating another example of liquid suction amount adjusting means. FIG. 6 is an explanatory sectional view of a state in which a piston is advanced by an amount corresponding to a predetermined dimension. FIG. 7 is an explanatory sectional view of a state in which an inside and an outside of a cylinder are communicated to each other along with advancement of the piston by an amount corresponding to a dimension larger than the predetermined dimension. FIG. 8 is an explanatory sectional view of a state in which the piston cannot be advanced any more after a pipette tip is pushed off by a release tube that has been pressed and moved in a distal end direction along with the advancement of the piston by the amount corresponding to the dimension larger than the predetermined dimension. FIG. 9 is an explanatory view of a state in which the pipette tip is separated from a distal end portion of the cylinder.

    [0029] A cylinder 1 of the pipette according to this embodiment has a proximal end provided integrally with a cylindrical cylinder holder 2 coaxial with the cylinder 1. Further, a proximal portion 3a of a pipette tip 3 is removably fitted to a distal end portion 1a of the cylinder 1 by friction fit. An inside of a distal end portion 3b of the pipette tip 3 fitted to the distal end portion 1a of the cylinder 1 serves as a liquid containing portion 4. The liquid containing portion 4 is partitioned from the proximal portion 3a by a built-in filter 5.

    [0030] Further, the cylinder holder 2 provided integrally with the proximal end of the cylinder 1 includes, on a distal end side thereof, a small diameter cylindrical portion 2a having substantially the same diameter as that of the proximal end of the cylinder 1, and includes, on a proximal end side thereof, a large diameter cylindrical portion 2b.

    [0031] Further, a piston 7 is fitted to be freely advanced and retreated in a cylinder chamber 6 formed in the cylinder 1. With this, when the piston 7 is retreated in the cylinder chamber 6, liquid is sucked into the pipette tip 3 fitted to the distal end portion 1a of the cylinder 1, and when the piston 7 is advanced in the cylinder chamber 6, the liquid thus sucked is ejected from the pipette tip 3. A bar-like operating portion 8 which is operated to advance and retreat the piston 7 is provided coaxially and integrally with a proximal end of the piston 7. The operating portion 8 is freely movable in an axial direction through the cylinder holder 2, and includes a proximal portion 8a projected from a proximal end of the cylinder holder 2 to an outside.

    [0032] On an inner periphery of the proximal end of the cylinder holder 2, there is provided retreated position setting means 9 for determining a retreated position of the piston 7. In this embodiment, as the retreated position setting means 9, a cylindrical plug body 11 which allows the operating portion 8 to be freely movable therethrough and has an outer periphery provided with a flange portion 10 is fixed by fitting to the inner periphery of the proximal end of the cylinder holder 2. Further, engagement portions 13 engageable with an end portion 12a of a cylindrical portion 12 fitted to an inside of the cylinder holder 2 are provided on an outer peripheral surface of the operating portion 8. With this, a position at which the engagement portions 13 of the operating portion 8 to be retreated are engaged with the end portion 12a of the cylindrical portion 12 fitted to the inside of the cylinder holder 2 is set as a retreated position of the operating portion 8.

    [0033] In this embodiment, the engagement portions 13 are formed of respective end portions on a proximal end side of a plurality of plate-like portions 8b radially provided on an outer periphery and in a lengthwise direction of the operating portion 8.

    [0034] Further, an inside of the small diameter cylindrical portion 2a of the cylinder holder 2 communicating to the cylinder chamber 6 formed in the cylinder 1 serves as a spring chamber 14. The spring chamber 14 has an inner diameter larger than a diameter of the cylinder chamber 6. The operating portion 8 provided at the proximal end of the piston 7 has a diameter substantially equal to the inner diameter of the spring chamber 14 so that the operating portion 8 can be inserted into the spring chamber 14.

    [0035] The spring chamber 14 incorporates a spring 15 for urging the operating portion 8 toward the proximal end side of the cylinder holder 2, in other words, in a retreated direction of the piston 7, the spring 15 having one end engaged with a boundary step portion between the cylinder chamber 6 and the spring chamber 14 and another end engaged with a step portion formed between the piston 7 and the operating portion 8.

    [0036] Further, a seal ring 16 for sealing a region between the cylinder chamber 6 and the piston 7 is slidably fitted on an outside of the cylinder chamber 6 with respect to the piston 7 fitted to be freely advanced and retreated in the cylinder chamber 6. In other words, the seal ring 16 is fitted to an outer periphery of the piston 7 located on the spring chamber 14 side. The seal ring 16 is constantly pressed by the above-mentioned one end of the spring 15 onto the boundary step portion between the cylinder chamber 6 and the spring chamber 14 so as to seal the region surrounded by the piston 7, the cylinder chamber 6, and the spring chamber 14.

    [0037] On the outer periphery of the piston 7 to be advanced and retreated by an operation of the operating portion 8, there are provided communication grooves 17 for communicating the inside and the outside of the cylinder chamber 6 to each other, in other words, the cylinder chamber 6 and the spring chamber 14 to each other when the piston 7 is advanced by an amount corresponding to a dimension larger than a predetermined dimension, the communication grooves 17 located on the outside of the cylinder chamber 6 when the piston 7 is located at the retreated position. The communication grooves 17 are each formed of a longitudinal groove extending in the axial direction. Thus, when the piston 7 is advanced by the amount corresponding to the dimension larger than the predetermined dimension, the communication grooves 17 are located over the cylinder chamber 6 and the spring chamber 14 when the seal ring 16 is located around the communication grooves 17. In this way, the communication grooves 17 release the seal between the cylinder chamber 6 and the piston 7, with the result that the inside and the outside of the cylinder chamber 6 are communicated to each other.

    [0038] The predetermined dimension herein refers to a movement amount which restricts an upper limit of an amount of suction into the cylinder chamber 6, the suction being performed by moving the piston 7, specifically, advancing the piston 7 at the retreated position to a predetermined position and then restoring the piston 7 from the advanced position to the retreated position. In other words, a maximum liquid suction amount is set by the predetermined dimension, and it is necessary to set the suction amount in this case to be smaller than a capacity of the liquid containing portion 4 in the pipette tip 3.

    [0039] Further, in this embodiment, there is provided position confirmation means 18 for notifying that the piston 7 has been advanced by the amount corresponding to the predetermined dimension. The position confirmation means 18 in this embodiment includes a projecting step portion 19 formed at a position apart by the predetermined dimension in an advancing direction from the retreated position of the piston 7 on an inner peripheral surface of the large diameter cylindrical portion 2b of the cylinder holder 2, and abutment portions 20 which are provided to the operating portion 8 and abut against the projecting step portion 19 when the piston 7 is advanced from the retreated position by the amount corresponding to the predetermined dimension. With this, when the piston 7 is advanced, a piston operator feels resistance generated by abutment of the abutment portions 20 of the operating portion 8 against the projecting step portion 19. In this way, it can be confirmed that the piston 7 has been advanced by the amount corresponding to the predetermined dimension. The abutment portions 20 provided to the operating portion 8 each have elasticity, and hence are elastically deformed to climb over the projecting step portion 19 so that the piston 7 can be further advanced.

    [0040] In this embodiment, the abutment portions 20 provided to the operating portion 8 each include a swelling portion formed at a distal end of a flexible longitudinal piece 8c obtained by utilizing a part of each of the plurality of plate-like portions 8b provided to the operating portion 8, specifically, forming a longitudinal groove from the distal end side to the proximal end side along an outer edge of each of the plate-like portions 8b.

    [0041] Still further, in this embodiment, there is provided liquid suction amount adjusting means 21 for adjusting the retreated position of the piston 7. In this embodiment, the plug body 11 serving as the retreated position setting means 9 is utilized as the liquid suction amount adjusting means 21. In addition, the plug body 11 includes a plurality of plug bodies 11 different in length of the cylindrical portion 12 so that the plurality of plug bodies 11 thus prepared are utilized as the liquid suction amount adjusting means 21.

    [0042] The retreated position of the piston 7 is determined by the length of the cylindrical portion 12 of the plug body 11. Thus, when the plug bodies 11 are replaced to change the length of the cylindrical portion 12, a stroke amount of the piston 7 can be changed in accordance therewith. Therefore, a liquid suction amount can be adjusted. When the plurality of plug bodies 11 different in length of the cylindrical portion 12 are prepared, the retreated position of the piston varies. The above-mentioned "predetermined dimension" is set based on a farthest retreated position of the piston. Therefore, the farthest retreated position of the piston is set by a plug body 11 including a shortest cylindrical portion 12, and hence the predetermined dimension is set based on a retreated position at the time of using the plug body 11 having the shortest cylindrical portion 12.

    [0043] As illustrated in FIG. 5, as another example of the liquid suction amount adjusting means 21, an auxiliary cylinder 32 for adjusting a clearance between the end portion 12a and the engagement portions 13 may be interposed between the end portion 12a of the cylindrical portion 12 of the plug body 11 and the engagement portions 13 of the operating portion 8. The auxiliary cylinder 32 is formed to have an outer diameter smaller than an inner diameter of the cylinder holder 2 and an inner diameter larger than an outer diameter of the operating portion 8, and fitted to be freely movable on the proximal portion 8a side of the operating portion 8 in the cylinder holder 2. The auxiliary cylinder 32 has one end engageable with the engagement portions 13 of the operating portion 8 and another end engageable with the end portion 12a of the cylindrical portion 12 of the plug body 11. When the auxiliary cylinder 32 thus formed includes a plurality of auxiliary cylinders 32 different in length of the cylinder so that the length of the cylinder is changed by replacing the plurality of auxiliary cylinders 32 thus prepared, the stroke amount of the piston 7 can be changed. Therefore, the liquid suction amount can be adjusted.

    [0044] Further, although not shown, the retreated position setting means 9 for determining the retreated position of the piston 7 is provided on the inner periphery of the proximal end of the cylinder holder 2. In this embodiment, as the retreated position setting means 9, a female thread is formed along the inner periphery of the proximal end of the cylinder holder 2 while a male thread is formed along an outer periphery of the cylindrical portion 12 of the plug body 11 so that the cylindrical portion 12 of the plug body 11 is threadedly engaged with the inner periphery of the proximal end of the cylinder holder 2. With this structure, a screw-in amount of the cylindrical portion 12 of the plug body 11 with respect to the cylinder holder 2 can be adjusted, and hence the length of the cylindrical portion 12 of the plug body 11 in the cylinder holder 2 can be changed.

    [0045] Still further, although not shown, the operating portion 8 including the engagement portions 13 engageable with the end portion 12a of the cylindrical portion 12 fitted to the inside of the cylinder holder 2 may be utilized as the liquid suction amount adjusting means 21. Specifically, the operating portion 8 may include a plurality of operating portions 8 different in position of the engagement portions 13 in the lengthwise direction. Also with this, the stroke amount of the piston 7 can be changed.

    [0046] A release tube 22 is fitted to an outer periphery of the above-mentioned cylinder 1 so as to be freely movable in the axial direction in a manner that the release tube 22 surrounds the cylinder 1 and the small diameter cylindrical portion 2a of the cylinder holder 2. When the release tube 22 is moved to the distal end side, a distal end of the release tube 22 abuts against a proximal end of the pipette tip 3 fitted to the distal end portion 1a of the cylinder 1 so that the pipette tip 3 is pushed off from the distal end portion 1a of the cylinder 1. A flange portion 23 is formed on an outer periphery of a proximal end of the release tube 22.

    [0047] Further, release portions 24 to be moved integrally with the piston 7 are provided to the operating portion 8 for operating the piston 7. Guide grooves 25 are provided in the cylinder holder 2 to extend in the axial direction toward the small diameter cylindrical portion 2a side from a boundary between the small diameter cylindrical portion 2a and the large diameter cylindrical portion 2b. The release portions 24 provided to the operating portion 8 are projected through the guide grooves 25 toward the outside of the cylinder holder 2 and move along the guide grooves 25 along with movement of the piston 7. After the piston 7 is advanced by the amount corresponding to the dimension larger than the predetermined dimension, the release portions 24 provided to the operating portion 8 abut against the flange portion 23 at the proximal end of the release tube 22 so that the release tube 22 is pushed off to the distal end side.

    [0048] In this case, in order to prevent the release tube 22 pushed by the release portions 24 from dropping off from the cylinder 1, on an outer peripheral surface of the cylinder 1 and an inner peripheral surface of the release tube 22, there are respectively formed annular projecting portions 26 and 27 to be engaged with each other.

    [0049] The release portions 24 provided to the operating portion 8 are provided integrally with the operating portion 8. In this embodiment, of the plurality of plate-like portions 8b provided to the operating portion 8, end portions on a distal end side of the plate-like portions 8b other than the plate-like portions 8b utilized as the abutment portions 20 are utilized as the release portions 24.

    [0050] Further, in this embodiment, there is provided advancement restricting means 28 for restricting further advancement of the release portions 24 provided to the operating portion 8 after the release portions 24 abut against the flange portion 23 at the proximal end of the release tube 22 so that the release tube 22 is pushed off to the distal end side.

    [0051] In this embodiment, the advancement restricting means 28 includes engagement portions 29 provided to the outer periphery of the operating portion 8 so that, at a position at which the release portions 24 push off the release tube 22 to the distal end side, the engagement portions 29 are engaged with a boundary step portion 30 between the small diameter cylindrical portion 2a and the large diameter cylindrical portion 2b of the cylinder holder 2. With this structure, further advancement of the piston 7 is prevented.

    [0052] In this embodiment, with regard to the engagement portions 29 provided to the operating portion 8, of the plurality of plate-like portions 8b provided to the operating portion 8, end portions on a distal end side of the plate-like portions 8b utilized as the abutment portions 20 are utilized as the engagement portions 29.

    [0053] Further, in this embodiment, the flange portion 23 formed at the proximal end of the release tube 22 is provided with a cylindrical guard portion 31 for surrounding the release portions 24 which are projected through the guide grooves 25 toward the outside of the cylinder holder 2 and move along the guide grooves 25 along with the movement of the piston 7.

    [0054] In an unused state of the pipette structured as described above, the piston 7 is located at the retreated position under urging by the spring 15. At the time of use, the distal end portion of the pipette tip 3 fitted to the distal end portion 1a of the cylinder 1 is inserted into liquid to be collected. Then, the proximal portion 8a of the operating portion 8 projected from the proximal end of the cylinder holder 2 to the outside is pushed against a resilient force of the spring 15 into the distal end side.

    [0055] When the push-in operation for the operating portion 8 is stopped after the piston 7 is advanced, the resilient force of the spring 15 causes the piston 7 to be restored to the retreated position. In accordance therewith, a suction effect by the piston 7 causes the liquid to be sucked into the pipette tip 3 fitted to the distal end portion 1a of the cylinder 1 and to be contained into the liquid containing portion 4. In this case, an amount of liquid sucked in accordance with the movement of the piston 7, specifically, retreat of the piston 7 to the retreated position after advancement of the piston 7 from the retreated position by the amount corresponding to the predetermined dimension, is set to be smaller than the capacity of the liquid containing portion 4. Thus, when the liquid is sucked, the liquid can be prevented from intruding into the cylinder chamber 6.

    [0056] It is desired that the advancement amount of the piston 7 do not exceed the preset predetermined dimension. In this embodiment, the position confirmation means 18 for notifying that the piston 7 has been advanced by the amount corresponding to the predetermined dimension is provided. With this, a piston operator can be notified that the piston 7 has been advanced by the amount corresponding to the predetermined dimension, which facilitates quantitative suction and ejection of the liquid.

    [0057] In this embodiment, the position confirmation means 18 transmits, to the piston operator, the resistance generated by abutment of the abutment portions 20 provided to the operating portion 8 against the projecting step portion 19 formed on the inner peripheral surface of the large diameter cylindrical portion 2b of the cylinder holder 2 so that the piston operator can confirm that the piston 7 has been advanced by the amount corresponding to the predetermined dimension. Thus, the piston operator can be reliably notified that the piston 7 has been advanced by the amount corresponding to the predetermined dimension.

    [0058] Even when the piston 7 is advanced by the amount corresponding to the dimension larger than the predetermined dimension, a suction/ejection effect is eliminated. This is because pressure in the cylinder chamber 6 becomes equal to the atmospheric pressure by the communication grooves 17 provided on the outer periphery of the piston 7 so that the inside and the outside of the cylinder chamber 6 are communicated to each other when the piston 7 is advanced by the amount corresponding to the dimension larger than the predetermined dimension. With this, a maximum amount of the liquid sucked and ejected by retreat and advancement of the piston 7 is restricted by a dimension between a distal end of the piston 7 and the communication grooves 17. Thus, even when the piston 7 is advanced by the amount corresponding to the dimension larger than the predetermined dimension, the liquid can be reliably prevented from being sucked or ejected by a predetermined amount or larger.

    [0059] A position indicated by a dashed line in FIGS. 6 to 8 corresponds to a seal break line BL on which the communication grooves 17 continue to release the seal between the cylinder chamber 6 and the piston 7. When the communication grooves 17 reach the seal break line BL, the inside and the outside of the cylinder chamber 6 are communicated to each other.

    [0060] Further, in this embodiment, the liquid suction amount adjusting means 21 for adjusting the retreated position of the piston 7 is provided, and hence a liquid suction amount can be easily and reliably adjusted. In this embodiment, the plug body 11 serving as the retreated position setting means 9 is utilized as the liquid suction amount adjusting means 21. In addition, the plug body 11 includes the plurality of plug bodies 11 different in length of the cylindrical portion 12 so that the plurality of plug bodies 11 thus prepared are utilized as the liquid suction amount adjusting means 21. Thus, the liquid suction amount can be adjusted by a simple operation such as replacement of the plug bodies 11.

    [0061] The liquid contained in this way in the liquid containing portion 4 in the pipette tip 3 is ejected from the pipette tip 3 by pushing, into the distal end side, the proximal portion 8a of the operating portion 8 projected from the proximal end of the cylinder holder 2 toward the outside, and then dispensed, for example, into predetermined vessels.

    [0062] In order to separate the pipette tip 3 from the distal end portion 1a of the cylinder 1 after dispensation of the liquid is completed, similarly to suction and ejection of the liquid, the proximal portion 8a of the operating portion 8 for operating the piston 7 is pushed into the cylinder holder 2 so that the piston 7 is advanced by the amount corresponding to the dimension larger than the predetermined dimension. When the piston 7 is advanced by the amount corresponding to the dimension larger than the predetermined dimension, the release portions 24 moved integrally with the operating portion 8 abut against the flange portion 23 at the proximal end of the release tube 22 so that the release tube 22 is pushed off to the distal end side. By the movement of the release tube 22 thus pushed off, the pipette tip 3 fitted to the distal end portion 1a of the cylinder 1 is pushed off. In this way, the pipette tip 3 can be easily separated from the distal end portion 1a of the cylinder 1 without being touched by hand.

    [0063] This operation for separating the pipette tip 3 can be performed only by a series of strokes of the piston 7 similar to those in the operations of sucking and ejecting liquid.

    [0064] Further, in this embodiment, the flange portion 23 formed at the proximal end of the release tube 22 is provided with the cylindrical guard portion 31 for surrounding the release portions 24 which are projected through the guide grooves 25 toward the outside of the cylinder holder 2 and move along the guide grooves 25 along with the movement of the piston 7. Thus, at the time of separating the pipette tip 3 from the cylinder 1, fingers of a pipette operator or gloves worn by the pipette operator can be prevented from being nipped or caught in between the release portions 24 and the flange portion 23 formed at the proximal end of the release tube 22.

    [0065] Still further, the communication grooves 17 for communicating the inside and the outside of the cylinder 1 to each other when the piston 7 is advanced by the amount corresponding to the dimension larger than the predetermined dimension are provided on the outer periphery of the piston 7. Thus, when the piston 7 is advanced by the amount corresponding to the dimension larger than the predetermined dimension so that the pipette tip 3 is pushed off from the distal end portion 1a of the cylinder, the communication grooves 17 release the seal between the cylinder chamber 6 and the piston 7, with the result that the pressure in the cylinder chamber 6 becomes equal to the atmospheric pressure. Thus, even when liquid is left in the pipette tip 3, a situation in which the liquid scatters at the time of separating the pipette tip 3 can be prevented.

    [0066] Yet further, in this embodiment, the piston 7, the bar-like operating portion 8 which is operated to advance and retreat the piston 7, and the release portions 24 which abut against the release tube 22 so that the release tube 22 is moved in the distal end direction are integrated with one another. Thus, the number of components can be saved, and a structure can be simplified. As a result, the pipette can be easily manufactured and obtained at low cost.

    Reference Signs List



    [0067] 
    1
    cylinder
    1a
    distal end portion
    2
    cylinder holder
    2a
    small diameter cylindrical portion
    2b
    large diameter cylindrical portion
    3
    pipette tip
    3a
    proximal portion
    3b
    distal end portion
    4
    liquid containing portion
    5
    filter
    6
    cylinder chamber
    7
    piston
    8
    operating portion
    8a
    proximal portion
    8b
    plate-like portion
    8c
    longitudinal piece
    9
    retreated position setting means
    10
    flange portion
    11
    plug body
    12
    cylindrical portion
    12a
    end portion
    13
    engagement portion
    14
    spring chamber
    15
    spring
    16
    seal ring
    17
    communication groove
    18
    position confirmation means
    19
    projecting step portion
    20
    abutment portion
    21
    liquid suction amount adjusting means
    22
    release tube
    23
    flange portion
    24
    release portion
    25
    guide groove
    26, 27
    annular projecting portion
    28
    advancement restricting means
    29
    engagement portion
    30
    boundary step portion
    31
    guard portion
    32
    auxiliary cylinder
    BL
    seal break line



    Claims

    1. A pipette, comprising:

    a cylinder (1) having a distal end portion (la) to which a pipette tip (3) is removably fitted; and

    a piston (7) fitted to be freely advanced and retreated in a cylinder chamber (6), the piston (7) configured to be retreatable to suck liquid and advanced to eject the liquid thus sucked,

    a spring chamber (14) incorporating a spring (15) for allowing the piston (7) to be retreated, the spring chamber (14) configured on an upper outside of the cylinder chamber (6);

    a seal ring (16) configured to seal a region surrounded by the piston (7), the cylinder chamber (6) and the spring chamber (14), the seal ring (16) being fitted to an outer periphery of the piston (7) located on the spring chamber (14) side and constantly pressed by the spring (15) onto a boundary step portion formed between the cylinder chamber (6) and the spring chamber (14); and

    a communication groove (17) formed on an outer peripheral surface of the piston (7), wherein, when the piston (7) is located at a retreated position, the communication groove (17) is present inside the spring chamber (14) formed on an outside of the cylinder chamber (6) to secure seal between the cylinder chamber (6) and the piston (7),

    wherein, when the piston (7) is advanced by an amount corresponding to a dimension larger than a predetermined dimension setting a limit of a suction amount, the communication groove (17) is located over the cylinder chamber (6) and the spring chamber (14), the seal ring (16) is positioned on the communication groove (17), and the seal between the cylinder chamber (6) and the piston (7) is released, with the result that the cylinder chamber (6) and the spring chamber (14) are communicated to each other.


     
    2. A pipette according to claim 1, wherein
    an amount of liquid sucked in accordance with movement of the piston is configured to be smaller than a capacity for the liquid in the pipette tip.
     
    3. A pipette according to claim 1 or 2, further comprising position confirmation means for notifying that the piston has been advanced by the amount corresponding to the predetermined dimension.
     
    4. A pipette according to any one of claims 1 to 3, further comprising liquid suction amount adjusting means for adjusting the retreated position of the piston.
     
    5. A pipette according to any one of claims 1 to 4, further comprising:

    a release tube fitted to an outer periphery of the cylinder so as to be freely movable in an axial direction, the release tube being capable of abutting against the pipette tip fitted to the distal end portion of the cylinder by being moved in a distal end direction; and

    a release portion which is provided to an operating portion for operating the piston and moved integrally with the piston,

    wherein,
    the release portion (24) is movably configured,

    after the piston is advanced by the amount corresponding to the dimension larger than the predetermined dimension,

    to abut against the release tube (22) to move the release tube in the distal end direction,

    thus enabling the pipette tip to be pushed off, said pipette tip fitted to the distal end portion of the cylinder,

    said pipette tip configured to be pushed off the cylinder through intermediation of the release tube.


     
    6. A pipette according to claim 5, further comprising a flange portion formed at a proximal end of the release tube so that the release portion abuts against the flange portion,
    wherein the flange portion comprises a cylindrical guard portion for surrounding the release portion.
     
    7. A pipette according to claim 5 or 6, wherein the piston, the operating portion, and the release portion are integrated with one another.
     


    Ansprüche

    1. Pipette, die Folgendes umfasst:

    einen Zylinder (1) mit einem distalen Endabschnitt (1a), an dem eine Pipettenspitze (3) entfernbar angebracht ist; und

    einen Kolben (7), der angebracht ist, um in einer Zylinderkammer (6) frei vorgeschoben und zurückgezogen zu werden, wobei der Kolben (7) konfiguriert ist, um zurückziehbar zu sein, um eine Flüssigkeit anzusaugen, und vorgeschoben zu werden, um die so angesaugte Flüssigkeit auszustoßen,

    eine Federkammer (14), in die eine Feder (15) integriert ist, damit der Kolben (7) zurückgezogen werden kann, wobei die Federkammer (14) an einer oberen Außenseite der Zylinderkammer (6) konfiguriert ist;

    einen Dichtungsring (16), der konfiguriert ist, um einen von dem Kolben (7), der Zylinderkammer (6) und der Federkammer (14) umgebenen Bereich abzudichten, wobei der Dichtungsring (16) an einem äußeren Umfang des Kolbens (7) angebracht ist, der sich auf der Seite der Federkammer (14) befindet und ständig von der Feder (15) auf einen zwischen der Zylinderkammer (6) und der Federkammer (14) ausgebildeten Grenzstufenabschnitt gedrückt wird; und

    eine auf einer äußeren Umfangsfläche des Kolbens (7) ausgebildete Verbindungsrille (17), wobei, wenn sich der Kolben (7) an einer zurückgezogenen Position befindet, die Verbindungsrille (17) in der auf einer Außenseite der Zylinderkammer (6) ausgebildeten Federkammer (14) vorhanden ist, um zwischen der Zylinderkammer (6) und dem Kolben (7) sicher abzudichten,

    wobei, wenn der Kolben (7) um ein Maß vorgeschoben wird, das einer Dimension entspricht, die größer als eine vorbestimmte Dimension ist, die eine Ansaugmenge begrenzt, sich die Verbindungsrille (17) über der Zylinderkammer (6) und der Federkammer (14) befindet, wobei der Dichtungsring (16) auf der Verbindungsrille (17) positioniert ist, und die Dichtung zwischen der Zylinderkammer (6) und dem Kolben (7) gelöst wird, was zur Folge hat, dass die Zylinderkammer (6) und die Federkammer (14) miteinander verbunden werden.


     
    2. Pipette nach Anspruch 1, wobei
    eine in Übereinstimmung mit einer Bewegung des Kolbens angesaugte Flüssigkeitsmenge konfiguriert ist, um kleiner als ein Fassungsvermögen für die Flüssigkeit in der Pipettenspitze zu sein.
     
    3. Pipette nach Anspruch 1 oder 2, die ferner ein Mittel zur Positionsbestätigung umfasst, um zu melden, dass der Kolben um das der vorbestimmten Dimension entsprechende Maß vorgeschoben wurde.
     
    4. Pipette nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 3, die ferner ein Einstellmittel für die angesaugte Flüssigkeitsmenge umfasst, um die zurückgezogene Position des Kolbens einzustellen.
     
    5. Pipette nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 4, die ferner Folgendes umfasst:

    ein Löseröhrchen, das an einem äußeren Umfang des Zylinders so angebracht ist, um frei bewegbar in eine axiale Richtung zu sein, wobei das Löseröhrchen in der Lage ist, gegen die am distalen Endabschnitt des Zylinders angebrachte Pipettenspitze zu stoßen, indem es in eine distale Endrichtung bewegt wird; und

    einen Löseabschnitt, der an einem Betätigungsabschnitt bereitgestellt ist, um den Kolben zu betätigen, und der integral mit dem Kolben bewegt wird,

    wobei

    der Löseabschnitt (24) bewegbar konfiguriert ist,

    nachdem der Kolben um das Maß vorgeschoben wurde, das der Dimension entspricht, die größer als die vorbestimmte Dimension ist,

    um gegen das Löseröhrchen (22) zu stoßen, um das Löseröhrchen in die distale Endrichtung zu bewegen,

    wodurch es der Pipettenspitze ermöglicht wird, abgeschoben zu werden, wobei die Pipettenspitze am distalen Endabschnitt des Zylinders angebracht ist,

    wobei die Pipettenspitze konfiguriert ist, um durch eine Vermittlung des Löseröhrchens vom Zylinder abgeschoben zu werden.


     
    6. Pipette nach Anspruch 5, die ferner einen Flanschabschnitt umfasst, der an einem proximalen Ende des Löseröhrchens so ausgebildet ist, dass der Löseabschnitt gegen den Flanschabschnitt stößt,
    wobei der Flanschabschnitt einen zylindrischen Schutzabschnitt umfasst, um den Löseabschnitt zu umgeben.
     
    7. Pipette nach Anspruch 5 oder 6, wobei der Kolben, der Betätigungsabschnitt, und der Löseabschnitt miteinander integriert sind.
     


    Revendications

    1. Pipette, comprenant :

    un cylindre (1) comportant une partie d'extrémité distale (la) sur laquelle est ajustée amovible un embout (3) de pipette ; et

    un piston (7) ajusté pour être avancé et reculé librement dans une chambre (6) de cylindre, le piston (7) étant conçu pour pouvoir être reculé de façon à aspirer du liquide et être avancé de façon à éjecter le liquide ainsi aspiré,

    une chambre (14) de ressort incorporant un ressort (15) permettant un recul du piston (7), la chambre (14) de ressort étant réalisée sur un côté extérieur supérieur de la chambre (6) de cylindre ;

    un joint d'étanchéité (16) conçu pour assurer l'étanchéité d'une région entourée par le piston (7), la chambre (6) de cylindre et la chambre (14) de ressort, le joint d'étanchéité (16) étant ajusté sur une périphérie extérieure du piston (7) située du côté chambre (14) de ressort et étant comprimé en permanence par le ressort (15) sur une partie étagée de délimitation formée entre la chambre (6) de cylindre et la chambre (14) de ressort ; et

    une rainure de communication (17) formée sur une surface périphérique extérieure du piston (7), dans laquelle, lorsque le piston (7) se trouve au niveau d'une position reculée, la rainure de communication (17) est présente à l'intérieur de la chambre (14) de ressort formée sur un côté extérieur de la chambre (6) de cylindre de façon à sécuriser l'étanchéité entre la chambre (6) de cylindre et le piston (7),

    dans laquelle, lorsque le piston (7) est avancé d'une quantité correspondant à une dimension supérieure à une dimension prédéterminée fixant une limite de quantité d'aspiration, la rainure de communication (17) se trouve au-dessus de la chambre (6) de cylindre et de la chambre (14) de ressort, le joint d'étanchéité (16) est positionné sur la rainure de communication (17), et l'étanchéité entre la chambre (6) de cylindre et le piston (7) est rompue, ce qui a pour conséquence une communication mutuelle de la chambre (6) de cylindre et de la chambre (14) de ressort.


     
    2. Pipette selon la revendication 1, dans laquelle une quantité de liquide aspiré conformément au déplacement du piston est prévue pour avoir un volume inférieur à une capacité du liquide de l'embout de pipette.
     
    3. Pipette selon la revendication 1 ou 2, comprenant en outre un moyen de confirmation de position permettant d'avertir que le piston a été avancé de la quantité qui correspond à la dimension prédéterminée.
     
    4. Pipette selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 3, comprenant en outre un moyen de réglage de quantité d'aspiration de liquide permettant de régler la position reculée du piston.
     
    5. Pipette selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 4, comprenant en outre :

    un tube de libération ajusté sur une périphérie extérieure du cylindre de façon à pouvoir être déplacé librement dans une direction axiale, le tube de libération pouvant venir en butée contre l'embout de pipette ajusté sur la partie d'extrémité distale du cylindre par déplacement dans un sens vers l'extrémité distale ; et

    une partie de libération prévue sur une partie de mise en oeuvre permettant de mettre en oeuvre le piston et étant déplacée d'un seul tenant avec le piston,

    dans laquelle, la partie de libération (24) est conçue mobile, après l'avance du piston de la quantité correspondant à la dimension supérieure à la dimension prédéterminée, pour venir en butée contre le tube de libération (22) de façon à déplacer le tube de libération dans le sens vers l'extrémité distale, permettant ainsi un retrait par poussée de l'embout de pipette, ledit embout de pipette étant ajusté sur la partie d'extrémité distale du cylindre, ledit embout de pipette étant conçu pour un retrait par poussée du cylindre par l'intermédiation du tube de libération.


     
    6. Pipette selon la revendication 5, comprenant en outre une partie collerette formée au niveau d'une extrémité proximale du tube de libération de sorte que la partie de libération vienne en butée contre la partie collerette,
    dans laquelle la partie collerette comprend une partie de protection cylindrique destinée à entourer la partie de libération.
     
    7. Pipette selon la revendication 5 ou 6, dans laquelle le piston, la partie de mise en oeuvre et la partie de libération sont formés d'une seule pièce.
     




    Drawing
































    Cited references

    REFERENCES CITED IN THE DESCRIPTION



    This list of references cited by the applicant is for the reader's convenience only. It does not form part of the European patent document. Even though great care has been taken in compiling the references, errors or omissions cannot be excluded and the EPO disclaims all liability in this regard.

    Patent documents cited in the description