(19)
(11)EP 2 677 322 B1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT SPECIFICATION

(45)Mention of the grant of the patent:
21.10.2020 Bulletin 2020/43

(21)Application number: 12747497.1

(22)Date of filing:  17.02.2012
(51)Int. Cl.: 
G01N 21/15  (2006.01)
G01N 21/90  (2006.01)
G01N 35/00  (2006.01)
G01N 21/25  (2006.01)
G01N 21/31  (2006.01)
G01N 35/02  (2006.01)
(86)International application number:
PCT/JP2012/001056
(87)International publication number:
WO 2012/111343 (23.08.2012 Gazette  2012/34)

(54)

AUTOMATED ANALYZER

AUTOMATISIERTES ANALYSEGERÄT

ANALYSEUR AUTOMATISÉ


(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: 17.02.2011 JP 2011032332

(43)Date of publication of application:
25.12.2013 Bulletin 2013/52

(73)Proprietor: Beckman Coulter, Inc.
Brea, California 92821 (US)

(72)Inventors:
  • HASHIMOTO, Yoshiaki
    Sunto-gun, Shizuoka 411-0931 (JP)
  • OKADA, Noriyoshi
    Sunto-gun, Shizuoka 411-0931 (JP)

(74)Representative: Müller-Boré & Partner Patentanwälte PartG mbB 
Friedenheimer Brücke 21
80639 München
80639 München (DE)


(56)References cited: : 
WO-A1-2010/079629
JP-A- 2008 209 353
JP-A- 2010 160 116
JP-B2- H0 736 021
US-A1- 2003 138 961
US-A1- 2009 198 463
US-B1- 6 723 287
JP-A- 2001 091 518
JP-A- 2010 151 519
JP-A- 2010 243 307
JP-B2- H0 736 021
US-A1- 2005 185 176
US-A1- 2009 198 463
  
      
    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

    TECHNICAL FIELD



    [0001] The present invention relates to: an analyzer, and a method and an apparatus for detecting liquid overflowing from at least one of a plurality of containers that the analyzer comprises.

    BACKGROUND ART



    [0002] Analyzers for dispensing a sample and a reagent into a reaction container and measuring absorbance of a reaction liquid produced in the reaction container to analyze the sample have been conventionally known. Such an analyzer comprises a photometry section having a light source and a light receiving section. The light source irradiates light onto the reaction container containing the reaction liquid, and the light receiving section calculates the absorbance based on the amount of light transmitted through the reaction liquid in the reaction container and received by the light receiving section, to analyze the sample.

    [0003] One of the methods for calculating absorbance is as follows: every time a reaction container passes through a photometry section, the photometry section successively irradiates light onto a plurality of measurement points on the reaction container, and the photometry section receives the light transmitted through the reaction liquid and averages the received light, thereby calculating the absorbance of the reaction liquid. Through this method, it is possible to prevent variations in the amount of light for each measurement point used to calculate absorbance. However, if there is a measurement point at which a sample and a reagent are not mixed with each other sufficiently, or if there is a measurement point at which a foreign matter or the like is mixed in the reaction liquid, then the light to be transmitted through the reaction liquid is blocked due to such a measurement point. As a result, there have been cases where the amount of light at this measurement point is reduced and absorbance is thus calculated to be a value higher than the actual value.

    [0004] Thus, another analyzer is known, for excluding absorbance measurement data considered as an erroneous measurement from subjects to be analyzed and conducting an analysis by using only absorbance measurement data having high reliability.

    [0005] An analyzer for excluding a conspicuous amount of light at a measurement point, different from ordinary amounts of light of chemical reactions at a plurality of measurement points, is described in Patent Document 1, for example.

    [0006] An analyzer for measuring absorbance data at a plurality of measurement points, calculating an absorbance data change rate with regard to the plurality of measurement points, and excluding absorbance data whose absorbance data change rate is outside the acceptable range, is described in Patent Document 2, for example.

    [0007] An analyzer for measuring absorbance data at a plurality of measurement points, calculating a standard deviation of an absorbance data change rate regarding the plurality of measurement points, distinguishing a reaction container having a scratch or stain by using the calculated standard deviation, and excluding the absorbance data of the reaction container, is described in Patent Document 3, for example.

    [0008] These analyzers are for excluding absorbance measurement data considered as erroneous measurements from subjects to be analyzed; however, they are not capable of detecting an overflow of a liquid. Furthermore, with conventional methods for detecting a liquid overflow, it has been necessary to set up an additional detection apparatus.

    PRIOR ART DOCUMENTS


    PATENT DOCUMENTS



    [0009] 

    Patent Document 1: Japanese Laid-Open Publication No. 2007-198739

    Patent Document 2: Japanese Laid-Open Publication No. 2010-151519

    Patent Document 3: Japanese Laid-Open Publication No. 2010-160116



    [0010] JP H07 36021 B2 describes an automatic chemical analyzer wherein operations are performed to monitor contamination of reaction vessels and to infer the identity of reaction vessels that cannot be used for accurate measurement because of contamination. This document states the storing of optical properties of initially clean reaction vessels individually in the automatic chemical analyzer and subsequently sequentially or occasionally monitoring for changes in the optical properties of each of the reaction vessels, and at the point where changes in these optical properties exceed a fixed limit, performing control such as stopping operation of the sample dispensing device or reagent dispensing device. Specifically, this document discloses an automatic chemical analyzer in which analysis of a plurality of liquid samples is performed by consecutive direct photometry of washable reusable reaction vessels.

    DISCLOSURE OF THE INVENTION


    MEANS FOR SOLVING THE PROBLEM



    [0011] The method according to the present invention is a method as defined in claim 1.

    [0012] The method may further comprise the step of stopping the analyzer if the liquid is judged as overflowing from at least one of the plurality of containers.

    [0013] The method may further comprise the step of displaying an alarm indicating that the liquid is overflowing if the liquid is judged as overflowing from at least one of the plurality of containers.

    [0014] The analyzer according to the present invention is an analyzer as defined in claim 6.

    EFFECTS OF THE INVENTION



    [0015] According to the present invention, it becomes possible to detect liquid overflowing from a container that the analyzer comprises. Furthermore, according to the present invention, it becomes possible to stop the analyzer immediately after the detection of an overflow, and thus preventing damage due to such a liquid overflow. Furthermore, according to the present invention, it becomes possible to notify a user of the liquid overflowing from a container that the analyzer comprises, thus preventing an erroneous report. Furthermore, even if the function according to the present invention is equipped with an analyzer, the initial cost does not have to be increased.

    BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS



    [0016] 

    Figure 1 illustrates an example of a configuration of an analyzer 1 according to an embodiment of the present invention.

    Figure 2 is a schematic view illustrating a diagrammatic configuration of a photometry section 18 according to an embodiment of the present invention.

    Figure 3 is a perspective view of a reaction container 20.

    Figure 4 is a schematic view of reaction containers 20 at a normal time (left figure: when there is no liquid overflow) and an abnormal time (right figure: when there is a liquid overflow) in a case when absorbance of liquid contained in a reaction container 20 is measured at eleven points of the reaction container 20 while the reaction container 20 passes through the photometry section 18 once.

    Figure 5 illustrates an example processing order for detecting an overflow of liquid from at least one of a plurality of reaction containers that an analyzer 1 comprises.

    Figure 6 illustrates another example processing order for detecting an overflow of liquid from at least one of a plurality of reaction containers that the analyzer 1 comprises.


    MODES FOR CARRYING OUT THE INVENTION



    [0017] Hereinafter, embodiments of the present invention will be described with reference to accompanying figures.

    [0018] Figure 1 illustrates an example of a configuration of an analyzer 1 according to an embodiment of the present invention. As illustrated in Figure 1, the analyzer 1 comprises a measurement mechanism 2 for measuring absorbance of a liquid contained in a reaction container 20; and a control mechanism 3 for controlling the overall analyzer 1 including the measurement mechanism 2 and for analyzing a measurement result in the measurement mechanism 2. By the two mechanisms in cooperation with each other, the analyzer 1 automatically performs a detection of a liquid overflowing from a reaction container that the analyzer comprises, and an analysis of the sample.

    [0019] First, the measurement mechanism 2 will be described. As illustrated in Figure 1, the measurement mechanism 2 comprises: a sample transferring section 11 for successively transferring a sample rack 11b in the arrowed direction in the figure, where the sample rack 11b retains a plurality of sample containers 11a, each containing a sample such as blood or urine; a sample dispensing mechanism 12 for dispensing, into a reaction container 20, a sample contained in a sample container 11a being at rest at a predetermined position of the sample transferring section 11; a reaction table 13 for retaining a plurality of reaction containers 20 along the circumference, and for rotating in the arrowed direction in the figure to transfer the reaction containers 20 to a predetermined position; a reagent repository 14 for housing a plurality of reagent containers 15 in which a reagent to be dispensed into a reaction container 20 is contained; a reagent dispensing mechanism 16 for dispensing, into a reaction container 20, a reagent contained in a reagent container 15 being at rest at a predetermined position within the regent repository 14; a stirring section 17 for stirring a sample and a reagent dispensed in a reaction container 20; a photometry section 18 for measuring absorbance of a liquid contained in a reaction container 20; and a washing section 19 for washing a reaction container 20.

    [0020]  Next, the control mechanism 3 will be described. The control mechanism 3 comprises : a control section 31; an input section 32; an analysis section 33; a liquid overflow detecting section 34; a recording section 35; an output section 36; and a transmission and reception section 37. The input section 32, analysis section 33, liquid overflow detecting section 34, recording section 35, output section 36 and transmission and reception section 37 are electrically connected with the control section 31.

    [0021] The control section 31 is realized with a CPU and the like, and the control section 31 controls the processing and operation of respective sections of the analyzer 1. The control section 31 performs given processing on information input from respective constituent sections of the analyzer 1, and also outputs the information, which has been through given processing, to the respective constituent sections.

    [0022] The input section 32 is realized with a keyboard, a mouse, a touch panel with input and output functions, and the like, and acquires various kinds of information necessary for a sample analysis, instruction information for an analysis operation, and the like from the outside.

    [0023] The analysis section 33 performs a component analysis of a sample, and the like, based on a measurement result of absorbance measured by the photometry section 18.

    [0024] The liquid overflow detecting section 34 detects a liquid overflowing from at least one of the reaction containers 20 based on the absorbance of the liquid contained in the reaction containers 20 measured by the photometry section 18, during a washing step of the reaction containers 20. The liquid overflow detecting section 34 comprises: a standard deviation calculating section 34a; a standard deviation judging section 34b; and a liquid overflow judging section 34c. The liquid overflow detecting section 34 may also comprise an annunciation processing section 34d. Every time a reaction container 20 passes through the photometry section 18, the standard deviation calculating section 34a calculates a standard deviation of a plurality of absorbances of the liquid in the reaction container 20 at a plurality of points that are measured by the photometry section 18 while the reaction container 20 passes through the photometry section 18 once. With regard to each specific reaction container among the reaction containers 20, the standard deviation judging section 34b judges as to whether or not the difference (absolute value) between a standard deviation, calculated by the standard deviation calculating section 34a, of a plurality of absorbances of a liquid measured by the photometry section 18 while the reaction container passes through the photometry section 18 once at a certain time, and a standard deviation, calculated by the standard deviation calculating section 34a, of the plurality of absorbances of the liquid measured by the photometry section 18 while the reaction container passes through the photometry section 18 once at a different time, is greater than a predetermined threshold value. In one embodiment, the liquid overflow judging section 34c judges that a liquid is overflowing from at least one of the reaction containers 20 when the standard deviation judging section 34b judges that the difference between the standard deviations is greater than a predetermined threshold value. The annunciation processing section 34d outputs an alarm indicating that a liquid is overflowing, to the output section 36 through the control section 31 when the liquid overflow judging section 34c judges that the liquid is overflowing from at least one of the reaction containers 20.

    [0025] The recording section 35 is realized with a hard disk for magnetically storing information; and a memory for loading, and electrically storing, various programs from the hard disk when the analyzer 1 performs processing, the programs being associated with the processing. The recording section 35 stores various pieces of information including an analysis result of a sample and the like. The recording section 35 may comprise a supplemental storing apparatus capable of reading information stored on a storage medium, such as CD-ROM, DVD-ROM, PC card and the like.

    [0026] The output section 36 is realized with a display, a printer, a speaker and the like, for outputting various kinds of information.

    [0027] The transmission and reception section 37 has a function as an interface for transmitting and receiving information in accordance with a predetermined format via a communication network (not shown).

    [0028] In the analyzer 1 as configured above, the photometry section 18 measures absorbance of a liquid contained in each reaction container 20 during a washing step of a plurality of reaction containers 20 successively transferred on the reaction table 13, by the washing section 19; and based on this measurement result, the liquid overflow detecting section 34 conducts an analysis. Thus, detection is conducted as to whether a liquid is overflowing from at least one of the reaction containers 20. Furthermore, when a component analysis of a sample or the like is conducted in the analyzer 1 as configured above, the reagent dispensing mechanism 16 dispenses a reagent, from a reagent container 15 of the reagent repository 14, into a plurality of reaction containers 20 successively transferred on the reaction table 13. Subsequently, the sample dispensing mechanism 12 dispenses a sample from a sample container 11a at a sample suction position. Subsequently, the photometry section 18 measures absorbance of a reaction liquid obtained through reaction of the reagent and the sample, and the analysis section 33 conducts an analysis based on the measurement result, thereby conducting a component analysis of a sample or the like automatically. Subsequently, the washing section 19 washes the reaction container 20, which is conveyed after the measurement by the photometry section 18 is completed, while the reaction container 20 is being conveyed.

    [0029] Next, the photometry section 18 and the reaction container 20 will be described. Figure 2 is a schematic view illustrating a diagrammatic configuration of the photometry section 18. Figure 3 is a perspective view of the reaction container 20. As illustrated in Figure 2, the photometry section 18 comprises: a light source 18a; a light receiving section 18b; and an A/D converter 18c. The light source 18a and light receiving section 18b are positioned at positions facing each other, with a reaction container 20 retained by the reaction table 13 interposed therebetween. The light source 18a is positioned on the side closer to the internal circumference of the reaction table 13. The light receiving section 18b is positioned on the side closer to the external circumference of the reaction table 13. The light source 18a is realized with a halogen lamp or the like, and irradiates light for analysis onto a reaction container 20. The light receiving section 18b comprises : a diffraction grating, such as a concave surface diffraction grating; and a light receiving sensor, such as a light receiving element array, a CCD sensor and a CMOS sensor, for measuring light separated by the diffraction grating for each spectrum determined by a measurement category, and outputting a signal corresponding to the amount of light thereof. The A/D converter 18c converts a signal output from the light receiving section 18b into a digital value, and outputs the digital value to the control section 31.

    [0030] As illustrated in Figure 3, the reaction container 20 is a very small container with a volume of, for example, several nL to several mL. A liquid retaining part 20d for retaining a liquid is formed with a side wall 20a, a side wall 20b and a bottom wall 20c, and an opening 20e lies above the liquid retaining part 20d. For the reaction container 20, a transparent material, such as glass including heat-resistant glass, or synthetic resin including cyclic olefin and polystyrene, is used to transmit 80% or more of light contained in an analysis light BL (e.g., analysis light of a wavelength in the range of 340 nm to 800 nm) irradiated from the light source 18a of the photometry section 18. The reaction container 20 is positioned such that the side wall 20b faces the radius direction of the reaction table 13. In addition, in one embodiment, when the reaction container 20 passes, with the rotation of the reaction table 13, through the analysis light BL irradiated by the light source of the photometry section 18, the bottom portion of the side wall 20b is used as a photometric region Am, through which the analysis light BL passes . The shape of the reaction container 20 can be in such a manner not to cause variation in the measurement of absorbance at a plurality of points of the reaction container 20. The shape need not be in a cuboid shape as illustrated in Figure 3, and it is sufficient enough when two faces, on which the analysis light is irradiated, are parallel to each other among the side walls of the reaction container.

    [0031] Figure 4 is a schematic view illustrating reaction containers 20 at a normal time (left figure: when there is no liquid overflow) and an abnormal time (right figure: when there is a liquid overflow) in a case when the absorbance of the liquid contained in a reaction container 20 is measured at eleven points in the reaction container 20 while the reaction container 20 passes through the photometry section 18 once. Each of the elongated regions for the photometric sampling in Figure 4 corresponds to a portion at which the absorbance of the liquid is measured. During the normal time, since washing water or detergent is not attached to the face for photometry, variation in photometric sampling data is small, and the standard deviation of absorbance is small. Since the variation in photometric sampling data during the normal time is due to the influence of a stain or scratch on the face for photometry, this standard deviation of the absorbance will be a value unique to each reaction container and to each wavelength. Accordingly, the reproducibility of the standard deviation of absorbance is high when the absorbance of the liquid in the same reaction container is measured with the same wavelength during the normal time. As such, during the normal time, since the reproducibility of the standard deviation of absorbance is high when the absorbance of the liquid in the same reaction container is measured with the same wavelength, the difference in the standard deviation of absorbance of the liquid in the same reaction container measured with the same wavelength at two different times will be small. On the other hand, since overflown washing water or detergent is attached to the face for photometry during the abnormal time, the variation of the photometric sampling data is great and the standard deviation of absorbance is great. The reason why the variation of the photometric sampling data becomes great during the abnormal time will be described using the example illustrated on the right side of Figure 4. Although the absorbances measured by the photometric sampling at the first and second points from the left are the same as the absorbances during the normal time, the absorbances measured by the photometric sampling at the third to eleventh points will be those during the normal time with the absorbance of wash water or detergent attached to the face for photometry added thereto. Thus, the variation of the photometric sampling data becomes great during the abnormal time. Furthermore, since the variation of the photometric sampling data will vary depending on the way the overflown wash water or detergent attaches on the face for photometry, the reproducibility of the standard deviation of absorbance is low when the absorbance of the liquid in the same reaction container is measured with the same wavelength during the abnormal time as opposed to the normal time. As such, during the abnormal time, since the reproducibility of the standard deviation of absorbance is low when the absorbance of the liquid in the same reaction container is measured with the same wavelength, the difference in the standard deviation of absorbance of the liquid in the same reaction container measured with the same wavelength at two different times will be great.

    [0032] In the present invention, an overflow of liquid is detected by utilizing this characteristic that the difference in the standard deviation of absorbance of the liquid in the same reaction container measured with the same wavelength at two different times is small during the normal time, and the difference in the standard deviation of absorbance of the liquid in the same reaction container measured with the same wavelength at two different times is great during the abnormal time.

    [0033] Specifically, in one embodiment, the presence or absence of a liquid overflow is detected by comparing the difference in the standard deviation of absorbance of the liquid in the same reaction container measured with the same wavelength at two different times, with a predetermined threshold value. When the difference in the standard deviation is less than the predetermined threshold value, it corresponds to the normal time. Thus, no liquid overflow is judged as being present. When the difference in the standard deviation is greater than or equal to the predetermined threshold value, it corresponds to the abnormal time. Thus, liquid overflow is judged as being present.

    [0034]  Figure 5 illustrates an example processing order for detecting an overflow of liquid from at least one of a plurality of reaction containers that the analyzer 1 comprises. The processing order is performed during the washing step of the reaction containers 20. In the processing order, the absorbance is measured with the same wavelength.

    [0035] Step S501: At a time T1, at which a specific reaction container among a plurality of reaction containers 20 transferred on the reaction table 13, passes through the photometry section 18, the absorbance of the liquid contained in said one specific reaction container is measured at a predetermined number of points thereof by the photometry section 18.

    [0036] Step S502: In the standard deviation calculating section 34a, a standard deviation of absorbance of the liquid, measured at the predetermined number of points, in said one specific reaction container at the time T1 is calculated from the absorbance measured at Step S501. The calculated standard deviation is stored on the recording section 35.

    [0037] Step S503: At a time T2, at which said one specific reaction container transferred on the reaction table 13 passes through the photometry section 18 again, the absorbance of the liquid contained in said one specific reaction container is measured at the predetermined number of points thereof by the photometry section 18.

    [0038]  Step S504: In the standard deviation calculating section 34a, a standard deviation of absorbance of the liquid, measured at the predetermined number of points, in said one specific reaction container at the time T2 is calculated from the absorbance measured at Step S503. The calculated standard deviation is stored on the recording section 35.

    [0039] Step S505: A judgment is made as to whether or not the difference between the standard deviation calculated at Step S502 and stored on the recording section 35 and the standard deviation calculated at Step S504 and stored on the recording section 35 is greater than a predetermined threshold value. Note that the predetermined threshold value is pre-stored on the recording section 35.

    [0040] Step S506: If the difference in the standard deviation is judged to be greater than the predetermined threshold value at Step S505, then the judgment is made that the liquid is overflowing from at least one of the reaction containers 20.

    [0041] If the liquid is judged as overflowing, the analyzer 1 may be stopped, or an alarm indicating that the liquid is overflowing may be displayed by the annunciation processing section 34d through the output section 36.

    [0042] In the processing order in Figure 5, if the difference in the standard deviation is judged to be at or less than the predetermined threshold value at Step S505, then Steps S503 to S505 may be repeated as follows: at a time T3 at which said one specific reaction container transferred on the reaction table 13 passes through the photometry section 18 again, the absorbance of the liquid contained in said one specific reaction container is measured at the predetermined number of points. Then, in the standard deviation calculating section 34a, a standard deviation of absorbance of the liquid, measured at the predetermined number of points, in said one specific reaction container at the time T3 is calculated from the measured absorbance. Then, the calculated standard deviation is stored on the recording section 35, and a judgment is made as to whether or not the difference between the standard deviation calculated with regard to the time T2 and stored on the recording section 35 and the standard deviation calculated with regard to the time T3 and stored on the recording section 35 is greater than the predetermined threshold value. If the difference is judged to be greater than the predetermined threshold value, then the process may go to Step S506. If the difference is judged to be at or less than the predetermined threshold value, then Steps S503 to S505 may be repeated.

    [0043] Said one specific reaction container may be any of the plurality of reaction containers 20.

    [0044] The times T1 and T2 may be any time during which the absorbance of the liquid contained in said one specific reaction container can be measured, that is, a time during which said one specific reaction container passes through the photometry section 18. The difference between the time T1 and the time T2 can also be determined optionally.

    [0045] The time T2 maybe a time during which said one specific reaction container first passes through the photometry section 18 after said one specific reaction container passed through the photometry section 18 at the time T1.

    [0046] For example, in a case where washing step is performed in the order of a detergent washing step 1, a detergent washing step 2, a washing-water washing step 1, a washing-water washing step 2, a washing-water washing step 3, a washing-water washing step 4, a suctioning step 1, a drying step 1 and a drying step 2, the photometry step at either of Step S501 or Step S503 may be performed every time after the washing-water washing step 4. Alternatively, the photometry step at either of Step S501 or Step S503 may be performed every time after each washing step (detergent washing steps 1 to 2, and washing-water washing steps 1 to 4). The technique of performing the photometry step after the washing-water washing step 4 is advantageous in that the possibility is low for erroneous detection due to a stain or tested liquid since the state after the washing-water washing step 4 is a state where the reaction container is fully washed. The technique of performing the photometry step after each washing step is advantageous in that the detection sensitivity is increased because the part to be judged is increased.

    [0047] While the absorbance is measured with the same wavelength in the processing order in Figure 5, the absorbance may be measured with a plurality of wavelengths. However, three values used at Step S505, that is the two standard deviations and the predetermined threshold value, need to be for the same wavelength.

    [0048] Figure 6 illustrates another example of processing order for detecting an overflow of liquid from at least one of a plurality of reaction containers that the analyzer 1 comprises. This processing order is performed during the washing step for the reaction containers 20. Note that the absorbance is measured with the same wavelength in this processing order.

    [0049] Step S601: At a time T1, at which a specific reaction container among a plurality of reaction containers 20 transferred on the reaction table 13, passes through the photometry section 18, the absorbance of the liquid contained in said one specific reaction container is measured at a predetermined number of points thereof by the photometry section 18.

    [0050] Step S602: In the standard deviation calculating section 34a, a standard deviation of absorbance of the liquid, measured at the predetermined number of points, in said one specific reaction container at the time T1 is calculated from the absorbance measured at Step S601. The calculated standard deviation is stored on the recording section 35.

    [0051] Step S603: At a time T2, at which said one specific reaction container transferred on the reaction table 13 passes through the photometry section 18 again, the absorbance of the liquid contained in said one specific reaction container is measured at the predetermined number of points thereof by the photometry section 18.

    [0052] Step S604: In the standard deviation calculating section 34a, a standard deviation of absorbance of the liquid, measured at the predetermined number of points, in said one specific reaction container at the time T2 is calculated from the absorbance measured at Step S603. The calculated standard deviation is stored on the recording section 35.

    [0053] Step S605: A judgment is made as to whether or not the difference between the standard deviation calculated at Step S602 and stored on the recording section 35 and the standard deviation calculated at Step S604 and stored on the recording section 35 is greater than a predetermined threshold value. Note that the predetermined threshold value is pre-stored on the recording section 35.

    [0054] Step S606: At a time T3, at which another specific reaction container among the plurality of reaction containers 20 transferred on the reaction table 13, passes through the photometry section 18, the absorbance of the liquid contained in said another specific reaction container is measured at a predetermined number of points thereof by the photometry section 18.

    [0055] Step S607: In the standard deviation calculating section 34a, a standard deviation of absorbance of the liquid, measured at the predetermined number of points, in said another specific reaction container at the time T3 is calculated from the absorbance measured at Step S606. The calculated standard deviation is stored on the recording section 35.

    [0056] Step S608 : At a time T4, at which said another specific reaction container transferred on the reaction table 13 passes through the photometry section 18 again, the absorbance of the liquid contained in said another specific reaction container is measured at the predetermined number of points thereof by the photometry section 18.

    [0057] Step S609: In the standard deviation calculating section 34a, a standard deviation of absorbance of the liquid, measured at the predetermined number of points, in said another specific reaction container at the time T4 is calculated from the absorbance measured at Step S608. The calculated standard deviation is stored on the recording section 35.

    [0058] Step S610: A judgment is made as to whether or not the difference between the standard deviation calculated at Step S607 and stored on the recording section 35 and the standard deviation calculated at Step S609 and stored on the recording section 35 is greater than a predetermined threshold value. Note that the predetermined threshold value is the same as the predetermined threshold value used at Step S605.

    [0059] Step S611: If the difference in the standard deviation is greater than the predetermined threshold value at Step S605 and the difference in the standard deviation is greater than the predetermined threshold value at Step S610, then liquid is judged to be overflowing from at least one of the reaction containers 20.

    [0060] If the liquid is judged as overflowing, the analyzer 1 may be stopped, or an alarm indicating that the liquid is overflowing may be displayed by the annunciation processing section 34d through the output section 36.

    [0061] If either one of the differences in the standard deviations is judged to be at or less than the predetermined threshold value at Step S605 or Step S610, then Steps S603 to S605 and S608 to S610 may be repeated as follows: at a time T5, at which said one specific reaction container transferred on the reaction table 13 passes through the photometry section 18 again, the absorbance of the liquid contained in said one specific reaction container is measured at the predetermined number of points thereof by the photometry section 18. In the standard deviation calculating section 34a, a standard deviation of absorbance of the liquid, measured at the predetermined number of points, in said one specific reaction container at the time T5 is calculated from the measured absorbance. The calculated standard deviation is stored on the recording section 35. A judgment is made as to whether or not the difference between the standard deviation calculated with regard to the time T2 and stored on the recording section 35 and the standard deviation calculated with regard to the time T5 and stored on the recording section 35 is greater than a predetermined threshold value. At a time T6, at which said another specific reaction container transferred on the reaction table 13 passes through the photometry section 18 again, the absorbance of the liquid contained in said another specific reaction container is measured at the predetermined number of points thereof by the photometry section 18. In the standard deviation calculating section 34a, a standard deviation of absorbance of the liquid, measured at the predetermined number of points , in said specific another reaction container at the time T6 is calculated from the measured absorbance. The calculated standard deviation is stored on the recording section 35. A judgment is made as to whether or not the difference between the standard deviation calculated with regard to the time T4 and stored on the recording section 35 and the standard deviation calculated with regard to the time T6 and stored on the recording section 35 is greater than a predetermined threshold value. If both of the difference in the standard deviation with regard to said one specific reaction container and the standard deviation with regard to said another specific reaction container are judged to be greater than the predetermined threshold value, then the process may go to step S611. If either of the differences is determined to be at or less than the predetermined threshold value, then Steps S603 to S605 and S608 to S610 may be repeated again.

    [0062] Said one specific reaction container and said another specific reaction container may be any of the plurality of reaction containers 20. The relationship between said one specific reaction container and said another specific reaction container is also determined optionally. The relationship between said one specific reaction container and said another specific reaction container may be such that they are away from each other by only one-fifth of a revolution, or by only half of a revolution.

    [0063] The times T1 and T2 may be any time at which the absorbance of the liquid contained in said one specific reaction container can be measured, that is, a time at which said one specific reaction container passes through the photometry section 18. The difference between the times T1 and T2 is also determined optionally.

    [0064] The time T2 may be a time at which said one specific reaction container first passes through the photometry section 18 after said one specific reaction container passed through the photometry section 18 at the time T1.

    [0065] Similarly, the times T3 and T4 may be any time at which the absorbance of the liquid contained in said another specific reaction container can be measured, that is, a time during which said another specific reaction container passes through the photometry section 18. The difference between the times T3 and T4 is also determined optionally.

    [0066] The time T4 maybe a time during which said one specific reaction container first passes through the photometry section 18 after said another specific reaction container passed through the photometry section 18 at the time T3.

    [0067] For example, in a case where washing step is performed in the order of a detergent washing step 1, a detergent washing step 2, a washing-water washing step 1, a washing-water washing step 2, a washing-water washing step 3, a washing-water washing step 4, a suctioning step 1, a drying step 1 and a drying step 2, the photometry step at any of Step S601, Step S603, Step S606, or Step S608 may be performed every time after the washing-water washing step 4. Alternatively, the photometry step at any of Step S601, Step S603, Step S606, or Step S608 may be performed every time after each of the washing steps (detergent washing steps 1 to 2, and washing-water washing steps 1 to 4). The technique of performing the photometry step after the washing-water washing step 4 is advantageous in that the possibility is low for erroneous detection due to a stain or tested liquid since the state after the washing-water washing step 4 is a state where the reaction container is fully washed. The technique of performing the photometry step after each washing step is advantageous in that the detection sensitivity is increased because the part to be judged is increased.

    [0068] In addition, while the absorbance is measured with the same wavelength in the processing order in Figure 6, the absorbance may be measured with a plurality of wavelengths . However, three values used at Step S605 and Step S610, that is the two standard deviations and the predetermined threshold value, need to be for the same wavelength.

    [0069] In the embodiment illustrated in Figure 6, it becomes possible to reduce the possibility of causing erroneous judgment that can occur in the embodiment illustrated in Figure 5 because of the difference in the standard deviation being at or more than the predetermined threshold value due to reasons other than liquid overflowing (such as a reason that air bubbles in a reaction container moved in between the time T1 and the time T2). Since it is extremely hard for the difference in the standard deviation to be at or more than the predetermined threshold value due to reasons other than liquid overflowing, the possibility is extremely low for such an extremely rare case to occur twice consecutively. Thereby, it becomes possible to reduce the possibility of causing erroneous judgment.

    [0070] In the embodiment illustrated in Figure 5, the liquid is judged as overflowing from at least one of the reaction containers 20 based on the judgment as to whether the difference in the standard deviation with regard to one reaction container is greater than a predetermined threshold value. In the embodiment illustrated in Figure 6, the liquid is judged as overflowing from at least one of the reaction containers 20 based on the judgment as to whether the differences in the standard deviations with regard to two reaction containers are both greater than a predetermined threshold value. However, the number of reaction containers used for the judgment that liquid is overflowing from the reaction container is not limited to one or two in the embodiments illustrated in Figures 5 and 6. The number of such reaction containers may be three or more.

    [0071] While the analyzer 1 is described that has a configuration in which the reaction containers 20 are arranged in a circle and they are transferred along the circumference on the reaction table 13, this configuration is for explanatory purpose only and the present invention is not limited to the subject configuration. In the present invention, the reaction container to be measured or the photometry section 18 may be configured to be movable such that the reaction container to be measured can be measured by the photometry section 18. It is apparent that the technique of detecting an overflowing liquid by the present invention is feasible even in such a configuration.

    [0072] Furthermore, while the analyzer 1 is described that has a configuration in which the photometry section 18 and the liquid overflow detecting section 34 are away from each other, this configuration is for explanatory purpose only and the present invention is not limited to the subject configuration. In the present invention, the photometry section 18 and the liquid overflow detecting section 34 may be configured as one apparatus referred to as a detection apparatus. It is apparent that the technique of detecting an overflowing liquid by the present invention is feasible even in such a configuration.

    [0073] The predetermined threshold values used in the embodiments illustrated in Figures 5 and 6 are predetermined threshold values, and they are stored on the recording section 35. Hereinafter, with regard to the embodiment illustrated in Figure 6, an example of a method for determining such a threshold value will be described.

    [0074] The predetermined threshold value is calculated by collecting a sufficient amount of standard deviation data (data of the difference in the standard deviation calculated at Step S604 and Step S609 in the embodiment illustrated in Figure 6) and based on the data and the probability of the occurrence of erroneous detection.

    [0075] If the frequency for the apparatus to make erroneous detection is set to be once during the seven-year life of the apparatus, the probability is as follows: if 1,000 tests are conducted per unit per hour for five hours a day and twenty-five days a month, the following is provided:

    total tests: 5 (hour/day) x 1,000 (test/time/unit) x 25 (day/month) x 12 (month/year) x 7 (years) = 10,500,000 tests/unit, and thus

    probability of erroneous detection: 1/10,500,000 ≈ 9.52 x 10-8.



    [0076] Specifically, it means that the probability for the difference in the standard deviation to exceed the threshold value twice consecutively in the embodiment illustrated in Figure 6 is 9.52 x 10-8.

    [0077] In this case, the probability for the difference in the standard deviation to exceed the threshold value once is calculated utilizing the binomial distribution.

    [0078] Where the probability of a certain event is defined as p, the probability P(x) of the event occurring x times when the trial is conducted n times, is, in general, P(x) = nCxpx(1-p)n-x (formula I), according to the binomial distribution.

    [0079] Under the circumstance considered herein, the denotation p corresponds to the probability of the difference in the standard deviation exceeding a threshold value once during a normal time, and the denotation P(x) corresponds to the probability of the difference in the standard deviation exceeding a threshold value twice consecutively. Accordingly, a P(x) of about 9.52 x 10-8 is obtained. The denotation n corresponds to the number of judgment, and in this case is 2. The denotation x corresponds to the number of events exceeding the threshold value, and in this case is 2.

    [0080] When these values are substituted into the above-mentioned (formula I), a probability of p = 309 x 10-6 is obtained. Accordingly, the threshold value is at the position of the probability p obtained above, in the data of the difference in the standard deviation. That is, when there are a million data, the predetermined threshold value is determined as the value of the 309th difference from the maximum value of the difference.

    [0081] While the case of the embodiment illustrated in Figure 6 has been described herein, the predetermined threshold value can be obtained in a similar manner in the case of other embodiments.

    [0082] As described above, the present invention is exemplified by the use of its preferred embodiments . However, the present invention should not be interpreted solely based on the embodiments described above. It is understood that the scope of the present invention should be interpreted solely based on the claims.

    DESCRIPTION OF THE REFERENCE NUMERALS



    [0083] 
    1
    analyzer
    2
    measurement mechanism
    3
    control mechanism
    11
    sample transferring section
    11a
    sample container
    11b
    sample rack
    12
    sample dispensing mechanism
    13
    reaction table
    14
    reagent repository
    15
    reagent container
    17
    stirring section
    18
    photometry section
    19
    washing section
    20
    reaction container
    31
    control section
    32
    input section
    33
    analysis section
    34
    liquid overflow detecting section
    34a
    standard deviation calculating section
    34b
    standard deviation judging section
    34c
    liquid overflow judging section
    34d
    annunciation processing section
    35
    recording section
    36
    output section
    37
    transmission and reception section



    Claims

    1. A method for detecting liquid overflowing from at least one of a plurality of containers (20) comprised in an analyzer (1), each container containing liquid, the method comprising the steps of:

    for each one of one or more containers among the plurality of containers (20),

    during a washing step, measuring an absorbance of the liquid contained in the one container at a plurality of spatially separated regions of the one container at a first time corresponding to the one container;

    calculating a standard deviation of the absorbance of the liquid measured at the plurality of spatially separated regions of the one container at the first time corresponding to the one container, as a first standard deviation;

    during a washing step, measuring an absorbance of the liquid contained in the one container at a plurality of spatially separated regions of the one container at a second time corresponding to the one container;

    calculating a standard deviation of the absorbance of the liquid measured at the plurality of spatially separated regions of the one container at the second time corresponding to the one container, as a second standard deviation; and

    comparing a difference between the first standard deviation and the second standard deviation, with a predetermined threshold value; and

    judging that the liquid is overflowing from at least one of the plurality of containers (20) if the difference between the first standard deviation and the second standard deviation is greater than the predetermined threshold value in the step of comparing for all of the one or more containers among the plurality of containers (20).


     
    2. The method according to claim 1, further comprising the step of stopping the analyzer (1) if the liquid is judged as overflowing from at least one of the plurality of containers (20).
     
    3. The method according to claim 1, further comprising the step of displaying an alarm indicating that the liquid is overflowing if the liquid is judged as overflowing from at least one of the plurality of containers (20).
     
    4. The method according to claim 1, wherein the liquid contained in the plurality of containers (20) is detergent or wash water.
     
    5. The method according to claim 1, wherein the steps of measuring the absorbance use a plurality of wavelengths.
     
    6. An analyzer (1) comprising:

    a plurality of reaction containers (20), each containing liquid;

    a washing section (19) for washing a reaction container (20);

    a photometry section (18) for measuring an absorbance of the liquid contained in the container (20) during a washing step;

    a section (33) for analyzing the liquid contained in at least one of the plurality of containers (20);

    a reaction table (13) for retaining the plurality of reaction containers (20) and configured to transfer a container among the plurality of containers such that it passes through the photometry section (18), wherein the photometry section (18) is further configured to measure the absorbance at a plurality of spatially separated regions of a reaction container (20) while the container passes through the photometry section;

    and wherein the analyzer (1) further comprises

    a liquid overflow detecting section (34) for detecting that liquid is overflowing from at least one of the plurality of containers based on the absorbance of the liquid contained in the reaction containers (20) measured by the photometry section (18) during a washing step of the reaction containers (20),

    and wherein the liquid overflow detection section comprises

    a standard deviation calculating section (34a) configured to calculate, for a reaction container (20), a first and a second standard deviation of the plurality of absorbances of the liquid at the plurality of spatially separated points that are measured by the photometry section (18) at a first time and at a second time the reaction container (20) passes through the photometry section (18);

    a standard deviation judging section (34b) configured to judge as to whether or not the difference between said first and the second standard deviations is greater than a predetermined threshold value; and

    a liquid overflow judging section (34c) configured to judge that a liquid is overflowing from at least one of the reaction containers (20) when the standard deviation judging section (34b) judges for each of one or more containers (20) that said difference between said standard deviations is greater than said predetermined threshold value.


     


    Ansprüche

    1. Verfahren zur Erkennung eines Überlaufens von Flüssigkeit aus mindestens einem von einer Vielzahl von Behältern (20), die in einem Analysator (1) umfasst sind, wobei jeder Behälter Flüssigkeit enthält, wobei das Verfahren die folgenden Schritte umfasst:

    für jeden von einem oder mehreren Behältern aus der Vielzahl von Behältern (20),

    während eines Waschschritts, Messen eines Absorptionsgrads der Flüssigkeit, die in dem einen Behälter enthalten ist, in einer Vielzahl von räumlich getrennten Bereichen des einen Behälters zu einem ersten Zeitpunkt entsprechend dem einen Behälter;

    Berechnen einer Standardabweichung des Absorptionsgrads der Flüssigkeit, der in der Vielzahl von räumlich getrennten Bereichen des einen Behälters zu dem ersten Zeitpunkt entsprechend dem einen Behälter gemessen wird, als eine erste Standardabweichung;

    während eines Waschschritts, Messen eines Absorptionsgrads der Flüssigkeit, die in dem einen Behälter enthalten ist, in einer Vielzahl von räumlich getrennten Bereichen des einen Behälters zu einem zweiten Zeitpunkt entsprechend dem einen Behälter;

    Berechnen einer Standardabweichung des Absorptionsgrads der Flüssigkeit, der in der Vielzahl von räumlich getrennten Bereichen des einen Behälters zu dem zweiten Zeitpunkt entsprechend dem einen Behälter gemessen wird, als eine zweite Standardabweichung; und

    Vergleichen einer Differenz zwischen der ersten Standardabweichung und der zweiten Standardabweichung mit einem vorbestimmten Schwellenwert; und

    Beurteilen, dass die Flüssigkeit aus mindestens einem der Vielzahl von Behältern (20) überläuft, wenn die Differenz zwischen der ersten Standardabweichung und der zweiten Standardabweichung in dem Schritt des Vergleichens für alle von dem einen oder den mehreren Behältern aus der Vielzahl von Behältern (20) größer als der vorbestimmte Schwellenwert ist.


     
    2. Verfahren nach Anspruch 1, das ferner den Schritt des Stoppens des Analysators (1) umfasst, wenn die Flüssigkeit als aus mindestens einem der Vielzahl von Behältern (20) überlaufend beurteilt wird.
     
    3. Verfahren nach Anspruch 1, das ferner den Schritt des Anzeigens eines Alarms, der angibt, dass die Flüssigkeit überläuft, umfasst, wenn die Flüssigkeit als aus mindestens einem der Vielzahl von Behältern (20) überlaufend beurteilt wird.
     
    4. Verfahren nach Anspruch 1, wobei die Flüssigkeit, die in der Vielzahl von Behältern (20) enthalten ist, Waschmittel oder Waschwasser ist.
     
    5. Verfahren nach Anspruch 1, wobei die Schritte des Messens des Absorptionsgrads eine Vielzahl von Wellenlängen verwenden.
     
    6. Analysator (1), umfassend:

    eine Vielzahl von Reaktionsbehältern (20), die jeweils Flüssigkeit enthalten;

    einen Waschabschnitt (19) zum Waschen eines Reaktionsbehälters (20);

    einen Photometrieabschnitt (18) zum Messen eines Absorptionsgrads der Flüssigkeit, die in dem Behälter (20) enthalten ist, während eines Waschschritts;

    einen Abschnitt (33) zum Analysieren der Flüssigkeit, die in mindestens einem der Vielzahl von Behältern (20) enthalten ist;

    einen Reaktionstisch (13) zum Halten der Vielzahl von Reaktionsbehältern (20), und so ausgestaltet, dass er einen Behälter aus der Vielzahl von Behältern derart transferiert, dass er den Photometrieabschnitt (18) durchläuft, wobei der Photometrieabschnitt (18) ferner so ausgestaltet ist, dass er einen Absorptionsgrad in einer Vielzahl von räumlich getrennten Bereichen eines Reaktionsbehälters (20) misst, während der Behälter den Photometrieabschnitt durchläuft;

    und wobei der Analysator (1) ferner Folgendes umfasst

    einen Flüssigkeitsüberlauf-Erkennungsabschnitt (34) zum Erkennen eines Überlaufens der Flüssigkeit aus mindestens einem der Vielzahl von Behältern basierend auf dem Absorptionsgrad der Flüssigkeit, die in den Reaktionsbehältern (20) enthalten ist, der während eines Waschschritts des Reaktionsbehälters (20) mittels des Photometrieabschnitts (18) gemessen wird,

    und wobei der Flüssigkeitsüberlauf-Erkennungsabschnitt Folgendes umfasst

    einen Standardabweichung-Berechnungsabschnitt (34a), der so ausgestaltet ist, dass er, für einen Reaktionsbehälter (20), eine erste und eine zweite Standardabweichung der Vielzahl von Absorptionsgraden der Flüssigkeit an der Vielzahl von räumlich getrennten Punkten berechnet, die mittels des Photometrieabschnitts (18) zu einem ersten Zeitpunkt und zu einem zweiten Zeitpunkt gemessen werden, zu denen der Reaktionsbehälter (20) den Photometrieabschnitt (18) durchläuft;

    einen Standardabweichung-Beurteilungsabschnitt (34b), der so ausgestaltet ist, dass er beurteilt, ob die Differenz zwischen der ersten und der zweiten Standardabweichung größer als ein vorbestimmter Schwellenwert ist oder nicht; und

    einen Flüssigkeitsüberlauf-Beurteilungsabschnitt (34c), der so ausgestaltet ist, dass er beurteilt, dass eine Flüssigkeit aus mindestens einem der Reaktionsbehälter (20) überläuft, wenn der Standardabweichung-Beurteilungsabschnitt (34b) für jeden von einem oder mehreren Behältern (20) beurteilt, dass die Differenz zwischen den Standardabweichungen größer als der vorbestimmte Schwellenwert ist.


     


    Revendications

    1. Procédé de détection d'un débordement de liquide à partir d'au moins un récipient d'une pluralité de récipients (20) compris dans un analyseur (1), chaque récipient contenant du liquide, le procédé comportant les étapes de :
    pour chaque récipient du ou des récipients parmi la pluralité de récipients (20),

    pendant une étape de lavage, mesure d'une capacité d'absorption du liquide contenu dans le récipient au niveau d'une pluralité de régions séparées spatialement du récipient à un premier instant correspondant au récipient ;

    calcul d'un écart standard de la capacité d'absorption du liquide mesurée au niveau de la pluralité de régions séparées spatialement sur le récipient au premier instant correspondant au récipient, en tant que premier écart standard ;

    lors d'une étape de lavage, mesure d'une capacité d'absorption du liquide contenu dans le récipient au niveau d'une pluralité de régions séparées spatialement du récipient à un second instant correspondant au récipient ;

    calcul d'un écart standard de la capacité d'absorption du liquide mesurée au niveau de la pluralité de régions séparées spatialement du récipient au second instant correspondant au récipient, en tant que second écart standard ; et

    comparaison d'une différence entre le premier écart standard et le second écart standard avec une valeur seuil prédéterminée ; et

    évaluation que le liquide déborde d'au moins un récipient de la pluralité de récipients (20) si la différence entre le premier écart standard et le second écart standard est supérieur à la valeur seuil prédéterminée dans l'étape de comparaison pour tous les récipients du ou des récipients parmi la pluralité de récipients (20).


     
    2. Procédé selon la revendication 1, comportant en outre l'étape d'arrêt de l'analyseur (1) s'il est évalué que le liquide déborde d'au moins un récipient de la pluralité de récipients (20).
     
    3. Procédé selon la revendication 1, comportant en outre l'étape d'affichage d'une alarme indiquant que le liquide déborde s'il est évalué que le liquide déborde d'au moins un récipient de la pluralité de récipients (20).
     
    4. Procédé selon la revendication 1, dans lequel le liquide contenu dans la pluralité de récipients (20) est du détergent ou de l'eau de lavage.
     
    5. Procédé selon la revendication 1, dans lequel les étapes de mesure de la capacité d'absorption utilisent une pluralité de longueurs d'onde.
     
    6. Analyseur (1) comportant :

    une pluralité de récipients de réaction (20), chacun contenant du liquide ;

    une section de lavage (19) pour laver un récipient de réaction (20) ;

    une section de photométrie (18) pour mesurer une capacité d'absorption du liquide contenu dans le récipient (20) pendant une étape de lavage ;

    une section (33) pour analyser le liquide contenu dans au moins un récipient de la pluralité de récipients (20) ;

    une table de réaction (13) pour retenir la pluralité de récipients de réaction (20) et conçue pour transférer un récipient parmi la pluralité de récipients, de sorte qu'il passe à travers la section de photométrie (18), dans lequel la section de photométrie (18) est en outre configurée pour mesurer la capacité d'absorption au niveau d'une pluralité de régions séparées spatialement d'un récipient de réaction (20), tandis que le récipient passe à travers la section de photométrie ;

    et dans lequel l'analyseur (1) comporte en outre

    une section de détection de débordement de liquide (34) pour détecter que du liquide déborde d'au moins un récipient de la pluralité de récipients, sur la base de la capacité d'absorption du liquide contenu dans les récipients de réaction (20) mesurée par la section de photométrie (18) pendant une étape de lavage des récipients de réaction (20)

    et dans lequel la section de détection de débordement de liquide comporte

    une section de calcul d'écart standard (34a) configurée pour calculer, pour un récipient de réaction (20), un premier et un second écart standard de la pluralité de capacités d'absorption du liquide au niveau de la pluralité de points séparés spatialement qui sont mesurées par la section de photométrie (18) à un premier instant et à un second instant auxquels le récipient de réaction (20) passe à travers la section de photométrie (18) ;

    une section d'évaluation d'écart standard (34b) configurée pour évaluer si la différence entre lesdits premier et second écarts standards est ou non supérieure à une valeur seuil prédéterminée ; et

    une section d'évaluation de débordement de liquide (34c) configurée pour évaluer qu'un liquide déborde d'au moins un des récipients de réaction (20) lorsque la section d'évaluation d'écart standard (34b) évalue, pour chacun du ou des récipients (20) que ladite différence entre lesdits écarts standards est supérieure à ladite valeur seuil prédéterminée.


     




    Drawing





















    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