(19)
(11)EP 3 265 829 B1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT SPECIFICATION

(45)Mention of the grant of the patent:
13.05.2020 Bulletin 2020/20

(21)Application number: 16710046.0

(22)Date of filing:  02.03.2016
(51)Int. Cl.: 
G01N 35/00  (2006.01)
G01N 35/10  (2006.01)
(86)International application number:
PCT/US2016/020326
(87)International publication number:
WO 2016/141000 (09.09.2016 Gazette  2016/36)

(54)

PIPETTOR SYSTEM

PIPETTIERERSYSTEM

SYSTÈME DE PIPETTES


(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: 03.03.2015 US 201514636962

(43)Date of publication of application:
10.01.2018 Bulletin 2018/02

(73)Proprietor: HighRes Biosolutions, Inc.
Woburn MA 01801 (US)

(72)Inventors:
  • NICHOLS, Michael, J.
    Beverly, MA 01915 (US)
  • GUARRACINA, Louis, J.
    Beverly, MA 01915 (US)

(74)Representative: Ipside 
7-9 Allées Haussmann
33300 Bordeaux Cedex
33300 Bordeaux Cedex (FR)


(56)References cited: : 
US-A1- 2012 291 872
US-A1- 2014 045 186
US-A1- 2013 280 145
  
      
    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

    PIPETTOR SYSTEM FIELD



    [0001] The subject matter disclosed herein relates to life sciences equipment. More particularly, the subject matter disclosed herein relates to pipetting equipment for use in the life sciences industry.

    BACKGROUND



    [0002] Pipettors, also referred to as chemical droppers, are laboratory tools commonly used in the life sciences industry to dispense a volume of liquid. As life sciences equipment has advanced, many pipettors have been integrated into automated systems. For example, the United States Patent Application No. US 2013/028145 A1 discloses an automatic liquid handling system that has at least two banks of pipettors where each bank of pipettors is arranged on one gantry, and wherein the separate gantries are synchronized to linearly access a single row of a well plate with two banks of pipettors. While these automated systems have improved the accuracy and control of pipetting procedures, these conventional automated systems can be less than dynamic in their ability to Handle distinct pipetting procedures.

    BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION



    [0003] Various embodiments include a system having: a pipetting chamber; a set of pipettor cartridges docked in the pipetting chamber; a gantry system mounted on a ceiling within the pipetting chamber, the gantry system including: at least one stationary track aligned in a first direction; and a movable track aligned in a second direction distinct from the first direction, the movable track coupled to the at least one stationary track; and a carrier configured to transport each of the set of pipettor cartridges to a pipetting location within the pipetting chamber, the carrier configured to move each pipettor cartridge in a third direction perpendicular to both the first and second directions.

    [0004] A first aspect includes a system having: a pipetting chamber; a set of pipettor cartridges docked in the pipetting chamber; a gantry system mounted on a ceiling within the pipetting chamber, the gantry system including: at least one stationary track aligned in a first direction; and a movable track aligned in a second direction distinct from the first direction, the movable track coupled to the at least one stationary track; and a carrier configured to transport each of the set of pipettor cartridges to a pipetting location within the pipetting chamber, the carrier configured to move each pipettor cartridge in a third direction perpendicular to both the first and second directions.

    [0005] A second aspect includes a system having: a pipetting chamber having a ceiling within the pipetting chamber; a set of pipettor cartridges docked on the ceiling within the pipetting chamber; a gantry system mounted on the ceiling within the pipetting chamber, the gantry system including: at least one stationary track aligned in a first direction; and a movable track aligned in a second direction distinct from the first direction, the movable track coupled to the at least one stationary track; and a carrier configured to transport each of the set of pipettor cartridges to a pipetting location within the pipetting chamber, the carrier configured to move each pipettor cartridge in a third direction perpendicular to both the first and second directions; and a control system coupled with the pipetting chamber, the control system for controlling movement of the carrier along the first direction, the second direction and the third direction.

    [0006] An implementation example of the invention includes a pipetting chamber having a ceiling within the pipetting chamber; a set of pipettor cartridges docked on the ceiling within the pipetting chamber; a gantry system mounted on the ceiling within the pipetting chamber, the gantry system including: at least one stationary track aligned in a first direction; and a movable track aligned in a second direction distinct from the first direction, the movable track coupled to the at least one stationary track; and a carrier configured to transport each of the set of pipettor cartridges to a pipetting location within the pipetting chamber, the carrier configured to move each pipettor cartridge in a third direction perpendicular to both the first and second directions, wherein the carrier is further configured to move completely circumferentially about the set of pipettor cartridges docked on the ceiling; and a control system coupled with the pipetting chamber, the control system for controlling movement of the carrier along the first direction, the second direction and the third direction.

    BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS



    [0007] These and other features of this invention will be more readily understood from the following detailed description of the various aspects of the invention taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings that depict various embodiments of the invention, in which:

    FIGS. 1-5 shows respective side perspective views of a system according to various embodiments.

    FIG. 6 shows a cut-away plan view of one configuration of an interior of pipetting chamber from FIGS. 1-5 according to various embodiments.

    FIG. 7 shows an underneath perspective view of a portion of the system of FIGS. 1-5, including in particular the pipetting chamber, according to various embodiments.

    FIG. 8 shows a cut-away perspective view of a system according to various embodiments.

    FIGS. 9-11 show respective cut-away perspective views of a storage chamber according to various embodiments.

    FIGS. 12-14 show perspective views of systems according to various embodiments.

    FIG. 15 shows a side perspective view of a pipetting chamber, including overhead mounted pipetting cartridges, according to various embodiments.

    FIG. 16 shows a close-up perspective view of a pipettor cartridge according to various embodiments.

    FIG. 17 shows a back perspective view of a system according to various embodiments.

    FIG. 18 shows a perspective view of a system according to various embodiments, integrated with an incubator system.

    FIG. 19 shows a perspective view of a configuration including a system according to various embodiments.



    [0008] It is noted that the drawings of the invention are not necessarily to scale. The drawings are intended to depict only typical aspects of the invention, and therefore should not be considered as limiting the scope of the invention. In the drawings, like numbering represents like elements between the drawings.

    DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION



    [0009] As indicated above, the subject matter disclosed herein relates to life sciences equipment. More particularly, the subject matter disclosed herein relates to pipetting equipment for use in the life sciences industry.

    [0010] In contrast to conventional pipettor systems, various embodiments include a pipettor system having a gantry configured to move in the X direction, Y direction and Z direction. In some cases, the gantry can include a first sliding rail coupled to a carrier, and at least one (e.g., two) fixed rail, which with the sliding rail is configured to traverse. The carrier may also be configured to move along the sliding rail. A set of docked, movable pipettor cartridges can be located within range of the carrier, which can selectively remove a cartridge from its dock, and transport the cartridge to a pipetting location. The pipetting location can be below (in Z direction) the docking location in some embodiments. In various embodiments, the pipetting location can be located on a pipetting platform, which may also be movable in the X-Y-Z direction. In various embodiments, the docking location of the pipettor cartridges is an overhead docking location. In some particular embodiments, the carrier can rotate around its own central axis to pick up, dock, or facilitate pipetting. The systems disclosed according to various embodiments are configured to effectively execute a variety of pipetting operations within the pipetting chamber without manual intervention.

    [0011] In the following description, reference is made to the accompanying drawings that form a part thereof, and in which is shown by way of illustration specific example embodiments in which the present teachings may be practiced. These embodiments are described in sufficient detail to enable those skilled in the art to practice the present teachings and it is to be understood that other embodiments may be utilized and that changes may be made without departing from the scope of the present teachings. The following description is, therefore, merely exemplary.

    [0012] FIGS. 1-5 shows respective side perspective views of a system 2 according to various embodiments. As shown, the system 2 can include a pipetting chamber 4, and in some embodiments, the system 2 can further include a storage chamber 6 coupled with the pipetting chamber 4. According to various embodiments, the system 2 can further include a control system 8, e.g., a computerized control system, as described further herein. As further described with respect to the additional FIGURES, in some embodiments, the pipetting chamber 4 is separated from the storage chamber 6, such that the pipetting chamber 4 can act as an independent pipetting chamber. However, in other embodiments, the pipetting chamber 4 and storage chamber 6 are coupled and may be connected with (integrally or separately) a cart system 10 (e.g., a set of wheels, rollers, track, etc.). FIG. 4 illustrates a set of doors 12, which can provide access to the pipetting chamber 4, which is otherwise sealed from the ambient environment when the doors 12 are closed. It is understood that the storage chamber 6 may be similarly sealed from the ambient environment. Various components are labeled in FIGS. 1-5 which are shown and described in greater detail according to additional FIGURES. It is understood that multiple figures are referenced for clarity of illustration and explanation.

    [0013] FIG. 6 shows a cut-away plan view of one configuration of an interior of pipetting chamber 4 according to various embodiments. As shown, the pipetting chamber 4 can contain a set of pipettor cartridges 14 docked in the pipetting chamber 4 (e.g., at dock location 16). The pipetting chamber 4 can further include at least one tray dock 16 holding a set (at least one) of pipetting trays 18. In various embodiments, as shown in FIG. 6, the tray dock 16 includes distinct tray docks 16a, 16b, 16c, which include at least one static nest position 18 (tray dock 16a at the time of this depiction), and at least one dynamic nest position 20 (tray docks 16b, 16c, at the time of this depiction). In some cases, the dynamic nest positions are at distinct heights (Z-direction) within the pipetting chamber 4, and are adjustable horizontally (X-direction) within the pipetting chamber 4. In various embodiments, one tray dock 16 can be loaded/unloaded onto/off-of the static nest position 18 from one of the dynamic nest positions 20 by an arm 22, which is movable in the X-direction, Y-direction and Z-direction.

    [0014] FIG. 7 shows an underneath perspective view of a portion of the system 2, including in particular the pipetting chamber 4. As shown in this embodiment, the pipetting chamber 4 can further include a carrier 24 which in various embodiments, is movably coupled to the ceiling 28 within the pipetting chamber 4, and in various embodiments, is coupled to the ceiling 28 via a gantry system 30. The gantry system 30 can be mounted on the ceiling 28, and include at least two distinct tracks, e.g., at least one stationary track 32 (two shown) aligned in a first direction (X-direction), and a movable track 34 aligned in a second direction (Y-direction) distinct from the first direction. The movable track 34 can be coupled to the stationary track(s) 32, e.g., by complementary track integration, meaning that the movable track 34 can move within the stationary track(s) 32, such that the movable track 34 remains parallel with the stationary track(s) 32. In various embodiments, the at least one stationary track 32 includes two distinct stationary tracks 32 aligned in parallel, where the two distinct stationary tracks 32 are aligned perpendicular to the movable track 34.

    [0015] As shown in FIG. 7 (as well as FIGS. 13-15 and 18), the carrier 24 is configured to transport each of the set of pipettor cartridges 14 to a pipetting location, e.g., a location of at least one of the pipetting trays 18 within a tray dock 16 in the pipetting chamber 4. In various embodiments, as described herein, the carrier 24 can be configured to move each pipettor cartridge 14 in a third direction (Z-direction) perpendicular to both the first (X) and second (Y) directions. According to various embodiments, the carrier 24 can be configured to rotate about its primary axis (Acp) such that the carrier 24 can circumferentially navigate about one or more of the pipettor cartridges 14. Further, the carrier 24, when engaged with a pipettor cartridge 14, can rotate that pipettor cartridge 14 about the primary axis of the carrier 24 (Acp), which can facilitate in pipetting operations, as well as in loading and/or unloading of pipettor cartridges.

    [0016] In some embodiments, for example, as shown in FIGS. 7 and 8, the set of pipetting cartridges 14 are docked in a docking station 38 coupled to a sidewall 40 of the interior of the pipetting chamber 4. The docking station 38 can be located in such a manner that the carrier 24 can engage the pipetting cartridges 14 from a top surface 42 of the pipetting cartridges 14. However, in other embodiments (e.g., as shown in the perspective views of FIGS. 14-17), the set of pipetting cartridges 14 are docked in a docking station 38 coupled to the ceiling 28 of the pipetting chamber 4, such that the pipetting cartridges 14 hang from overhead mounts 44 (FIG. 15) in the pipetting chamber 4. In these embodiments, the carrier 24 can be configured to engage a side of the pipetting cartridges 14 (FIG. 14, FIG. 15) and transport the cartridges 14 to/from the pipetting trays 18 and docking station 38.

    [0017] According to various embodiments, as illustrated in the cut-away perspective view of the system 2 in FIG. 8, the storage chamber 6 and the pipetting chamber 4 may be fluidly connected (such that a fluid, e.g., air, water, etc. may pass between) such that the pipetting trays 18 can be passed between the pipetting chamber 4 and the storage chamber 6 (and vice versa) via a lift system traversing the floor 50 of the pipetting chamber 4. The storage chamber 6 can store pipetting trays 18 when not in use in the pipetting chamber 4. The cut-away perspective views in FIGS. 9, 10 and 11 show additional features of the storage chamber 6, including a storage carousel 49 and robotic arm 22 configured to move pipetting trays 18 along the Z direction between the pipetting chamber 4 and the storage chamber 6, and further configured to move pipetting trays 18 in the X and Y directions within each of the pipetting chamber and the storage chamber 6.

    [0018] The perspective views in FIGS. 11, 13, 14 and 17, for example, illustrate additional features of the system 2. For example, the system 2 can further include a set of fluid reservoirs 52 coupled with an exterior of at least one of the storage chamber 6 or the pipetting chamber 4. In some embodiments, as shown in FIG. 17, the fluid reservoirs 52 may be coupled to both the exterior of the pipetting chamber 4 and the storage chamber 6. In other embodiments, as shown in FIG. 14, where the pipetting chamber 4 is a stand-alone system, the fluid reservoirs can be coupled to the exterior of only the pipetting chamber 4. In any case, the system 2 can further include a set of fluid conduits 54, each connected with one of the set of fluid reservoirs 52 and the set of pipettor cartridge(s) 14 within the pipetting chamber 4. The fluid conduits 54 can be further connected with a pump 56 within the pipetting chamber 4, where the pump 56 pumps the fluid from the reservoir 52, through the conduits 54 to the set of pipettor cartridges 14.

    [0019] The perspective views in FIGS. 12-14 show additional features of the system 2 according to various embodiments, including, for example, a first set of doors (doors 12) on a side 60 of the pipetting chamber 4 for accessing the pipetting chamber 4. Also shown, in some embodiments, the system can include a second set of doors 62 on a side 64 of the storage chamber 6 (side 64 may be shared with side 60), where the second set of doors can be used to access the stored pipetting trays 18 within the storage chamber 6.

    [0020] FIG. 16 shows a close-up perspective view of a pipettor cartridge 14 according to various embodiments. As shown, the pipettor cartridge 14 can include a casing 66, a mount 68 on a top side 70 of the casing 66 (for top-mounting embodiments), and a set of pipettes 72 extending from a bottom side 74 of the casing 66. The pipettor cartridge 14 can also include an access door 74 on a side of the casing 66 between the top side 70 and the bottom side 74. In various embodiments, the pipettor cartridge(s) 14 can include at least one handle 76 on the casing 66 for gripping the casing 66, and a display (e.g., a light-emitting diode (LED) or other light-based display) 78 indicating at least one of a power to the pipettor cartridge or a status of a pipetting procedure.

    [0021] FIG. 17 shows a back perspective view of the system 2, illustrating various aspects described herein. FIG. 18 shows the system 2 integrated with a supply system 80, e.g., operably connected with an incubator system 80 for incubating specimens and/or transporting specimens to/from the system 2. FIG. 19 shows a perspective view of the system 2 in a configuration 82 including a movable cart 84 with a robotic arm 86 mounted thereon. The configuration 82 can further include at least one additional system 88, which can include an incubator system 80 and/or an additional storage system 92. The configuration 82 can be designed to allow the robotic arm 86 to transport specimens, e.g., pipetting trays 18 or other liquid trays between the system 2, incubator system 80 (mounted on cart 94) and/or the additional storage system 92.

    [0022] As described herein, the control system (CS) 8 can include any conventional control system components used in controlling laboratory equipment (including, e.g., pipetting chamber 4 and/or storage chamber 6). For example, the control system 24 can include electrical and/or electro-mechanical components for actuating one or more components in the pipetting chamber 4 and/or storage chamber 6. The control system 8 can include conventional computerized sub-components such as a processor, memory, input/output, bus, etc. The control system 8 can be configured (e.g., programmed) to perform functions based upon operating conditions from an external source (e.g., at least one computing device), and/or may include pre-programmed (encoded) instructions based upon parameters of the pipetting chamber 4 and/or storage chamber 6.

    [0023] In various embodiments, the control system 24 is embodied, e.g., stored and/or operated in at least one computing device, which is connected with the pipetting chamber 4 and/or storage chamber 6. One or more of the processes described herein can be performed, e.g., by at least one computing device, such as control system 8, as described herein. In other cases, one or more of these processes can be performed according to a computer-implemented method. In still other embodiments, one or more of these processes can be performed by executing computer program code (e.g., control system 8) on at least one computing device, causing the at least one computing device to perform a process, e.g., controlling operation of pipetting chamber 4 and/or storage chamber 6.

    [0024] In any event, control system 8 (e.g., at least one computing device) can comprise one or more general purpose computing articles of manufacture (e.g., computing devices) capable of executing program code installed thereon. As used herein, it is understood that "program code" means any collection of instructions, in any language, code or notation, that cause a computing device having an information processing capability to perform a particular function either directly or after any combination of the following: (a) conversion to another language, code or notation; (b) reproduction in a different material form; and/or (c) decompression. To this extent, control system 8 can be embodied as any combination of system software and/or application software. In any event, the technical effect of control system 8 is to control operation of pipetting chamber 4 and/or storage chamber 6.

    [0025] Further, control system 8 can be implemented using a set of modules In this case, a module can enable control system 8 to perform a set of tasks used by control system 8, and can be separately developed and/or implemented apart from other portions of control system 8. Control system 8 may include modules which comprise a specific use machine/hardware and/or software. Regardless, it is understood that two or more modules, and/or systems may share some/all of their respective hardware and/or software. Further, it is understood that some of the functionality discussed herein may not be implemented or additional functionality may be included as part of control system 8.

    [0026] When control system 8 comprises multiple computing devices, each computing device may have only a portion of control system 8 embodied thereon (e.g., one or more modules). However, it is understood that control system 8 (and its computing device(s)) are only representative of various possible equivalent computer systems that may perform a process described herein. To this extent, in other embodiments, the functionality provided by computing device and control system 8 can be at least partially implemented by one or more computing devices that include any combination of general and/or specific purpose hardware with or without program code. In each embodiment, the hardware and program code, if included, can be created using standard engineering and programming techniques, respectively.

    [0027] Regardless, when control system 8 includes multiple computing devices, the computing devices can communicate over any type of communications link. Further, while performing a process described herein, control system 8 can communicate with one or more other computer systems using any type of communications link. In either case, the communications link can comprise any combination of various types of wired and/or wireless links; comprise any combination of one or more types of networks; and/or utilize any combination of various types of transmission techniques and protocols.

    [0028] As discussed herein, control system 8 enables control of pipetting chamber 4 and/or storage chamber 6. Control system 8 may include logic for performing one or more actions described herein. In one embodiment, control system 8 may include logic to perform the above-stated functions. Structurally, the logic may take any of a variety of forms such as a field programmable gate array (FPGA), a microprocessor, a digital signal processor, an application specific integrated circuit (ASIC) or any other specific use machine structure capable of carrying out the functions described herein. Logic may take any of a variety of forms, such as software and/or hardware. However, for illustrative purposes, control system 8 and logic included therein will be described herein as a specific use machine. As will be understood from the description, while logic is illustrated as including each of the above-stated functions, not all of the functions are necessary according to the teachings of the invention as recited in the appended claims.

    [0029] In various embodiments, components described as being "coupled" to one another can be joined along one or more interfaces. In some embodiments, these interfaces can include junctions between distinct components, and in other cases, these interfaces can include a solidly and/or integrally formed interconnection. That is, in some cases, components that are "coupled" to one another can be simultaneously formed to define a single continuous member. However, in other embodiments, these coupled components can be formed as separate members and be subsequently joined through known processes (e.g., fastening, ultrasonic welding, bonding).

    [0030] When an element or layer is referred to as being "on", "engaged to", "connected to" or "coupled to" another element or layer, it may be directly on, engaged, connected or coupled to the other element or layer, or intervening elements or layers may be present. In contrast, when an element is referred to as being "directly on," "directly engaged to", "directly connected to" or "directly coupled to" another element or layer, there may be no intervening elements or layers present. Other words used to describe the relationship between elements should be interpreted in a like fashion (e.g., "between" versus "directly between," "adjacent" versus "directly adjacent," etc.). As used herein, the term "and/or" includes any and all combinations of one or more of the associated listed items.

    [0031] The terminology used herein is for the purpose of describing particular embodiments only and is not intended to be limiting of the disclosure. As used herein, the singular forms "a", "an" and "the" are intended to include the plural forms as well, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise. It will be further understood that the terms "comprises" and/or "comprising," when used in this specification, specify the presence of stated features, integers, steps, operations, elements, and/or components, but do not preclude the presence or addition of one or more other features, integers, steps, operations, elements, components, and/or groups thereof.

    [0032] This written description uses examples to disclose the invention, including the best mode, and also to enable any person skilled in the art to practice the invention, including making and using any devices or systems and performing any incorporated methods. The patentable scope of the invention is defined by the claims, and may include other examples that occur to those skilled in the art.


    Claims

    1. A system (2) comprising:

    a pipetting chamber (4);

    a set of pipettor cartridges (14) docked at a docking station in the pipetting chamber (4), wherein each pipettor cartridge (14) in the set of pipettor cartridges (14) includes a set of pipettes (72) extending from a bottom side of the pipettor cartridge (14);

    a gantry system (30) mounted on a ceiling (28) within the pipetting chamber (4), the gantry system (30) including:

    at least one stationary track (32) aligned in a first direction; and

    a movable track (34) aligned in a second direction distinct from the first direction,

    the movable track (34) coupled to the at least one stationary track (32); and

    a carrier (24) configured to transport each pipettor cartridge (14) of the set of pipettor cartridges (14) from the docking station (38) to a pipetting location within the pipetting chamber (4), where the carrier (24) is common to each pipettor cartridge (14) docked at the docking station (38) and is configured to move each pipettor cartridge (14) held by the carrier (24) in a third direction perpendicular to both the first and second directions.


     
    2. The system of claim 1, further comprising a tray dock (16) within the pipetting chamber (4), the tray dock (16) for holding a pipetting tray (18) at the pipetting location.
     
    3. The system of claim 2, further comprising an arm (22) coupled to the tray dock (16) for moving the tray dock (16) in each of the first direction, the second direction, and the third direction.
     
    4. The system of claim 1, further comprising a storage system (92) coupled to the pipetting chamber (4), the storage system (92) for storing pipetting trays (18).
     
    5. The system of claim 4, further comprising:

    a set of fluid reservoirs (52) coupled with an exterior of at least one of the storage system (92) or the pipetting chamber (4); and

    a set of fluid conduits (54) fluidly connected with the set of fluid reservoirs (52) and the set of pipettor cartridges (14) through the pipetting chamber (4).


     
    6. The system of claim 5, further comprising a pump (56) within the pipetting chamber (4), the pump (56) fluidly connected with the set of fluid conduits (54), the pump (56) for pumping fluid from the set of fluid reservoirs (52) to the set of pipettor cartridges (14).
     
    7. The system of claim 4, wherein the storage system (92) is located below the pipetting chamber (4).
     
    8. The system of claim 7, further comprising:

    a first set of doors (12) on a side of the pipetting chamber (4) for accessing the pipetting chamber (4); and

    a second set of doors (62) on a side of the storage system (92) shared with the side of the pipetting chamber (4), the second set of doors (62) for accessing the stored pipetting trays (18).


     
    9. The system of claim 1, wherein each of the set of pipettor cartridges (14) includes:

    a casing (66);

    a mount (68) on a top side of the casing (66);

    a set of pipettes (72) extending from a bottom side of the casing (66); and

    an access door (74) on a side of the casing (66) between the top side and the bottom side.


     
    10. The system of claim 9, wherein each of the set of pipettor cartridges (14) further includes:

    at least one handle (76) on the casing for gripping the casing (66); and

    a display (78) indicating at least one of power to the pipettor cartridge (14) or a status of a pipetting procedure.


     
    11. The system of claim 1, wherein the carrier (66) is further configured to rotate about its own axis to at least one of engage a pipettor cartridge (14), disengage a pipettor cartridge or facilitate pipetting via a pipettor cartridge (14), wherein the axis of the carrier is parallel to the third direction.
     
    12. The system of claim 1, wherein the at least one stationary track (32) includes two distinct stationary tracks (32) aligned in parallel, the two distinct stationary tracks (32) aligned perpendicular to the movable track (34).
     
    13. The system of claim 1, wherein the set of pipetting cartridges (14) are docked to the ceiling (28) of the pipetting chamber (4).
     
    14. The system of claim 1, wherein the set of pipetting cartridges (14) are docked in a docking station (38) within the pipetting chamber (4).
     
    15. The system of claim 1, further comprising a control system (24) coupled with the pipetting chamber (4), the control system (24) for controlling movement of the carrier (24) along the first direction, the second direction and the third direction.
     


    Ansprüche

    1. System (2), Folgendes umfassend:

    eine Pipettierkammer (4);

    eine Reihe von Pipettiererkartuschen (14), die an einer Dockingstation in der Pipettierkammer (4) angedockt sind, wobei jede Pipettiererkartusche (14) in der Reihe von Pipettiererkartuschen (14) eine Reihe von Pipetten (72) beinhaltet, die sich aus einer Unterseite der Pipettiererkartusche (14) erstrecken;

    ein Portalsystem (30), das an einer Decke (28) innerhalb der Pipettierkammer (4) montiert ist, wobei das Portalsystem (30) Folgendes beinhaltet:

    mindestens eine stationäre Bahn (32), die in einer ersten Richtung ausgerichtet ist; und

    eine bewegliche Bahn (34), die in einer zweiten Richtung, die sich von der ersten Richtung unterscheidet, ausgerichtet ist,

    wobei die bewegliche Bahn (34) an die mindestens eine stationäre Bahn (32) angekoppelt ist; und

    einen Träger (24), der konfiguriert ist, um jede Pipettiererkartusche (14) der ersten Reihe von Pipettiererkartuschen (14) aus der Dockingstation (38) zu einer Pipettierstelle innerhalb der Pipettierkammer (4) zu transportieren, wobei der Träger (24) jeder Pipettiererkartusche (14), die an der Dockingstation (38) angedockt ist, gemeinsam ist, und konfiguriert ist, um jede Pipettiererkartusche (14), die von dem Träger (24) gehalten wird, in einer dritten Richtung, senkrecht zu beiden, der ersten und zweiten Richtung, zu bewegen.


     
    2. System nach Anspruch 1, weiter ein Schalen-Dock (16) innerhalb der Pipettierkammer (4) umfassend, wobei das Schalen-Dock (16) zum Halten einer Pipettierschale (18) an der Pipettierstelle ist.
     
    3. System nach Anspruch 2, weiter einen Arm (22) umfassend, der zum Bewegen des Schalen-Docks (16) in jeder von der ersten Richtung, der zweiten Richtung und der dritten Richtung an das Schalen-Dock (16) angekoppelt ist.
     
    4. System nach Anspruch 1, weiter ein Ablagesystem (92) umfassend, das an die Pipettierkammer (4) angekoppelt ist, wobei das Ablagesystem (92) zum Ablegen von Pipettierschalen (18) ist.
     
    5. System nach Anspruch 4, weiter Folgendes umfassend:

    eine Reihe von Flüssigkeitsreservoirs (52), die an eine Außenseite von mindestens einem von dem Ablagesystem (92) oder der Pipettierkammer (4) angekoppelt sind;
    und

    eine Reihe von Flüssigkeitsleitungen (54), die fließend mit der Reihe von Flüssigkeitsreservoirs (52) und der Reihe von Pipettiererkartuschen (14) durch die Pipettierkammer (4) hindurch verbunden sind.


     
    6. System nach Anspruch 5, weiter eine Pumpe (56) innerhalb der Pipettierkammer (4) umfassend, wobei die Pumpe (56) fließend mit der Reihe von Flüssigkeitsleitungen (54) verbunden ist, wobei die Pumpe (56) zum Pumpen von Flüssigkeit aus der Reihe von Flüssigkeitsreservoirs (52) zu der Reihe von Pipettiererkartuschen (14) ist.
     
    7. System nach Anspruch 4, wobei sich das Ablagesystem (92) unterhalb der Pipettierkammer (4) befindet.
     
    8. System nach Anspruch 7, weiter Folgendes umfassend:

    eine erste Reihe von Türen (12) an einer Seite der Pipettierkammer (4) für den Zugang zu der Pipettierkammer (4); und

    eine zweite Reihe von Türen (62) an einer Seite des Ablagesystems (92), die mit der Seite der Pipettierkammer (4) geteilt wird, wobei die zweite Reihe von Türen (62) für den Zugang zu den abgelegten Pipettierschalen (18) ist.


     
    9. System nach Anspruch 1, wobei jede der Reihe von Pipettiererkartuschen (14) Folgendes beinhaltet:

    ein Gehäuse (66);

    eine Befestigung (68) an einer Oberseite des Gehäuses (66);

    eine Reihe von Pipetten (72), die sich aus einer Unterseite des Gehäuses (66) erstrecken; und

    eine Zugangstür (74) an einer Seite des Gehäuses (66) zwischen der Oberseite und der Unterseite.


     
    10. System nach Anspruch 9, wobei jede der Reihe von Pipettiererkartuschen (14) weiter Folgendes beinhaltet:

    mindestens einen Griff (76) an dem Gehäuse zum Ergreifen des Gehäuses (66); und

    eine Anzeige (78), die mindestens eines von Strom zur Pipettiererkartusche (14) oder von einem Status eines Pipettierablaufs anzeigt.


     
    11. System nach Anspruch 1, wobei der Träger (66) weiter konfiguriert ist, um sich für mindestens eines von Eingreifen in eine Pipettiererkartusche (14), Lösen aus einer Pipettiererkartusche oder Erleichtern des Pipettierens über eine Pipettiererkartusche (14) um seine eigene Achse zu drehen, wobei die Achse des Trägers parallel zur dritten Richtung verläuft.
     
    12. System nach Anspruch 1, wobei die mindestens eine stationäre Bahn (32) zwei unterschiedliche stationäre Bahnen (32) beinhaltet, die parallel angeordnet sind, wobei die beiden unterschiedlichen stationären Bahnen (32) senkrecht zu der beweglichen Bahn (34) angeordnet sind.
     
    13. System nach Anspruch 1, wobei die Reihe von Pipettiererkartuschen (14) an die Decke (28) der Pipettierkammer (4) angedockt sind.
     
    14. System nach Anspruch 1, wobei die Reihe von Pipettiererkartuschen (14) in einer Dockingstation (38) innerhalb der Pipettierkammer (4) angedockt sind.
     
    15. System nach Anspruch 1, weiter ein Steuersystem (24) umfassend, das an die Pipettierkammer (4) angekoppelt ist, wobei das Steuersystem (24) zum Steuern der Bewegung des Trägers (24) entlang der ersten Richtung, der zweiten Richtung und der dritten Richtung ist.
     


    Revendications

    1. Système (2) comprenant :

    une chambre de pipetage (4) ;

    un ensemble de cartouches de pipettes (14) arrimées à une station d'arrimage dans la chambre de pipetage (4), dans lequel chaque cartouche de pipettes (14) dans l'ensemble de cartouches de pipettes (14) inclut un ensemble de pipettes (72) s'étendant depuis un côté de fond de la cartouche de pipettes (14) ;

    un système de portique (30) monté sur un plafond (28) à l'intérieur de la chambre de pipetage (4), le système de portique (30) incluant :

    au moins une glissière immobile (32) alignée dans un premier sens ; et

    une glissière mobile (34) alignée dans un deuxième sens distinct du premier sens,

    la glissière mobile (34) étant couplée à l'au moins une glissière immobile (32) ; et

    un porteur (24) configuré pour transporter chaque cartouche de pipettes (14) de l'ensemble de cartouches de pipettes (14) depuis la station d'arrimage (38) jusqu'à un emplacement de pipetage à l'intérieur de la chambre de pipetage (4), où le porteur (24) est commun à chaque cartouche de pipettes (14) arrimée à la station d'arrimage (38) et est configuré pour déplacer chaque cartouche de pipettes (14) contenue par le porteur (24) dans un troisième sens perpendiculaire à la fois aux premier et deuxième sens.


     
    2. Système selon la revendication 1, comprenant en outre un socle de plateau (16) à l'intérieur de la chambre de pipetage (4), le socle de plateau (16) étant destiné à contenir un plateau de pipetage (18) à l'emplacement de pipetage.
     
    3. Système selon la revendication 2, comprenant en outre un bras (22) couplé au socle de plateau (16) pour déplacer le socle de plateau (16) dans chacun du premier sens, du deuxième sens et du troisième sens.
     
    4. Système selon la revendication 1, comprenant en outre un système de stockage (92) couplé à la chambre de pipetage (4), le système de stockage (92) étant destiné à stocker des plateaux de pipetage (18).
     
    5. Système selon la revendication 4, comprenant en outre :

    un ensemble de réservoirs de fluide (52) couplés à un extérieur d'au moins l'un du système de stockage (92) ou de la chambre de pipetage (4) ; et

    un ensemble de conduits de fluide (54) raccordés fluidiquement à l'ensemble de réservoirs de fluide (52) et à l'ensemble de cartouches de pipettes (14) à travers la chambre de pipetage (4).


     
    6. Système selon la revendication 5, comprenant en outre une pompe (56) à l'intérieur de la chambre de pipetage (4), la pompe (56) étant raccordée fluidiquement à l'ensemble de conduits de fluide (54), la pompe (56) étant destinée à pomper un fluide depuis l'ensemble de réservoirs de fluide (52) jusqu'à l'ensemble de cartouches de pipettes (14) .
     
    7. Système selon la revendication 4, dans lequel le système de stockage (92) est situé au-dessous de la chambre de pipetage (4).
     
    8. Système selon la revendication 7, comprenant en outre :

    un premier ensemble de portes (12) sur un côté de la chambre de pipetage (4) pour accéder à la chambre de pipetage (4) ; et

    un second ensemble de portes (62) sur un côté du système de stockage (92) partagé avec le côté de la chambre de pipetage (4), le second ensemble de portes (62) étant destiné à accéder aux plateaux de pipetage (18) stockés.


     
    9. Système selon la revendication 1, dans lequel chacune de l'ensemble de cartouches de pipettes (14) inclut :

    un boîtier (66) ;

    une monture (68) sur un côté de sommet du boîtier (66) ;

    un ensemble de pipettes (72) s'étendant depuis un côté de fond du boîtier (66) ; et

    une porte d'accès (74) sur un côté du boîtier (66) entre le côté de sommet et le côté de fond.


     
    10. Système selon la revendication 9, dans lequel chacune de l'ensemble de cartouches de pipettes (14) inclut en outre :

    au moins une poignée (76) sur le boîtier pour prendre le boîtier (66) ; et

    un affichage (78) indiquant au moins l'un d'une puissance à la cartouche de pipettes (14) ou d'un statut d'une procédure de pipetage.


     
    11. Système selon la revendication 1, dans lequel le porteur (66) est en outre configuré pour tourner autour de son propre axe jusqu'à au moins l'un de l'engagement d'une cartouche de pipettes (14), du désengagement d'une cartouche de pipettes ou de la facilitation d'un pipetage via une cartouche de pipettes (14), dans lequel l'axe du porteur est parallèle au troisième sens.
     
    12. Système selon la revendication 1, dans lequel l'au moins une glissière immobile (32) inclut deux glissières immobiles distinctes (32) alignées en parallèle, les deux glissières immobiles distinctes (32) étant alignées perpendiculairement à la glissière mobile (34).
     
    13. Système selon la revendication 1, dans lequel l'ensemble de cartouches de pipettes (14) sont arrimées au plafond (28) de la chambre de pipetage (4).
     
    14. Système selon la revendication 1, dans lequel l'ensemble de cartouches de pipettes (14) sont arrimées dans une station d'arrimage (38) à l'intérieur de la chambre de pipetage (4).
     
    15. Système selon la revendication 1, comprenant en outre un système de commande (24) couplé à la chambre de pipettes (4), le système de commande (24) étant destiné à commander un déplacement du porteur (24) dans le premier sens, le deuxième sens et le troisième sens.
     




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    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