(19)
(11)EP 3 366 615 B1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT SPECIFICATION

(45)Mention of the grant of the patent:
13.01.2021 Bulletin 2021/02

(21)Application number: 18156691.0

(22)Date of filing:  13.08.2015
(27)Previously filed application:
 13.08.2015 EP 15180969
(51)Int. Cl.: 
B65G 33/04  (2006.01)

(54)

DEVICE FOR TRANSPORTATION, SEPARATION AND ORIENTATION OF CUVETTES

VORRICHTUNG FÜR TRANSPORT, TRENNUNG UND AUSRICHTUNG VON KÜVETTEN

DISPOSITIF POUR LE TRANSPORT, LA SÉPARATION ET L'ORIENTATION DE CUVETTES


(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: 22.09.2014 GB 201416687

(43)Date of publication of application:
29.08.2018 Bulletin 2018/35

(62)Application number of the earlier application in accordance with Art. 76 EPC:
15180969.6 / 2998246

(73)Proprietor: Stratec SE
75217 Birkenfeld (DE)

(72)Inventor:
  • Sachs, Alexander
    75217 Birkenfeld (DE)

(74)Representative: Tegethoff, Sebastian et al
Fortmann Tegethoff Patent- und Rechtsanwälte Oranienburger Straße 39
10117 Berlin
10117 Berlin (DE)


(56)References cited: : 
EP-A2- 1 857 820
GB-A- 2 290 221
GB-A- 2 217 283
US-A- 4 763 772
  
      
    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

    Field of the invention



    [0001] The invention relates to a system and a method for transportation, separation and orientation in a head up position of cuvettes. The invention also relates to using the system or the method for transportation, separation and orientation in head up position of the cuvettes.

    Background of the invention



    [0002] When cuvettes are transported from a bulk to a fully automated analyzer system, the fully automated analyzer system requires that the cuvettes are separated as well as orientated in a head up position. Therefore, a device that is to be set up between a bulk of cuvettes and the fully automated analyzer system has to fulfil three major functions: transportation of cuvettes, separation of cuvettes and orientation of cuvettes.

    [0003] In cuvette loading modules of the state of the art, several modules are necessary which transport, separate or orientate the cuvettes in order to provide the fully automated analyzer system with the cuvettes. Typically, modules like chains, apron conveyers or belts are used to transport the cuvettes. Further, sub modules are necessary, for example an oscillating bowl or sliding profiles to separate and orientate the cuvettes.

    [0004] Cuvette loading modules of the state of the art are very complex because they contain many components. Such loading modules are expensive and maintenance intensive. Often, the loading modules require several drives, motors and moveable parts, which need to harmonize to each other. This in turn often causes transport jams during the operation of the loading module.

    [0005] EP 2 642 300 A1 discloses an embodiment of a transport system configured to transport a receptacle which accommodates an upright sample holder containing a sample, characterized by comprising, a screw comprising a rotatable shaft disposed along a predetermined transport path and a helical ridge protruding outward from an outer peripheral surface of the shaft, and a drive unit configured to rotate the screw. The device disclosed in this document is suitable for transporting a receptacle, but not for orientating receptacles that are present in various orientations.

    [0006] In JP 201217816 A is a container delivery device disclosed including a screw 2 having a spiral groove that is formed at an equal pitch and which holds and conveys a syringe in the groove. Upper and lower elevating and lowering guides 30 and 32 guide the side surface of the syringe that is held in the groove of the screw. The device disclosed in this document is suitable for transporting a receptacle, but not for orientating receptacles that are present in various orientations.

    [0007] Document US 2012/055756 A1 discloses an apparatus for sorting vials and small containers. The apparatus of this document comprises at least one auger with a plurality of top recesses and a plurality of side recesses. Vials are placed into the apparatus and fall into the top recesses. As vials fall into the top recesses, the vials are transported through the apparatus by the rotation of the auger. If a vial does not fall into a top recess, it is diverted to a top recess, or to an agitation conveyor that transports the vial to a diverter to be diverted back to an auger. Vials within the top recesses are ejected into vertical alignment so that the vials are sorted and oriented properly for packaging

    [0008] The devices disclosed in the prior art comprise complex mechanical components are not suitable for orientating cuvettes for instance in a desired orientation. Thus, there is a need for such a device.

    Object of the invention



    [0009] It is therefore an object of the present invention to provide a system for transportation, separation and orientation in head up position of cuvettes, wherein the system contains fewer parts than the loading modules of the prior art. It is also an object of the present invention to provide a method for transportation, separation and orientation in a head up position of cuvettes.

    Summary of the invention



    [0010] A device for transportation, separation and orientation in a head up position of cuvettes is provided, wherein the device comprises a pipe, an auger, a motor, a guiding plate and a slide rail.

    [0011] A guiding plate is arranged parallel to the rotating auger.

    [0012] The rotating auger comprises a core diameter and a thread flank diameter and the thread flank diameter may be larger than the core diameter, and a centre of gravity of a cuvette in a head up or head down position which is to be hold and thereby transported lies within the rotating auger.

    [0013] A system according to claim 1 is further provided for transportation, separation and orientation in a head up position of cuvettes, which comprises the above device and further at least one cuvette.

    [0014] The at least one cuvette comprises a head part and a bottom part and the head part of the cuvette may comprise an opening and a rim at least partially surrounding the opening, wherein the rim extends over the opening at least on two opposite sides of opening so that the head part of the cuvette has a greater outer width than the bottom part of the cuvette. The rotating auger of the system comprises at least one pitch and at least one coil and the length of the at least one pitch is at least the length of the cuvette.

    [0015] The at least one pitch may be angled with respect to the at least one coil.

    [0016] In one aspect, the opening has a rectangular shape.

    [0017] The system may further comprise at least one of a filling funnel and a sub module.

    [0018] The slide rail comprises two parallel rails and the distance between the two parallel rails is smaller than the outer width of the head part of the cuvette.

    [0019] A method for transportation, separation and orientation in a head up position of cuvettes is provided according to claim 5.

    [0020] In another aspect, the at least one cuvette is transported through a pipe from the rotating auger to the slide rail and further from the slide rail to a sub module.

    [0021] The cuvettes, which are not transported in a head up or head down position, may fall back into the multitudes of cuvettes.

    [0022] The cuvettes, which are not transported in a head up or head down position may fall back by the use of wipers or compressed air.

    [0023] In one aspect, the multitude of cuvettes is present in a filling funnel.

    [0024] Use of the system or the method is provided for transportation, separation and orientation in head up position of cuvettes.

    Brief description of the figures



    [0025] 

    Fig. 1 shows a cuvette loading module of the state of the art.

    Fig. 2 shows a device being part of a system according to the present invention for transportation, separation and orientation in a head up position of cuvettes.

    Fig. 3 illustrates the cuvette in a head down and head up position.

    Fig. 4 shows cuvettes being transported by a rotating auger in a head up or head down position.

    Fig. 5 shows the upper area of the device being part of the system according to the present invention.

    Fig. 6 shows a slide rail and cuvettes.


    Detailed description of the invention



    [0026] The invention will now be described in detail. Drawings and examples are provided for better illustration of the invention. It will be understood that the embodiments and aspects of the invention described herein are only examples and do not limit the protector's scope of the claims in any way. The invention is defined by the claims and their equivalents. It will be understood that features of one aspect or embodiment of the invention can be combined with the feature of a different aspect or aspects and/or embodiments of the invention.

    [0027] A device for transportation, separation and orientation in a head up position of cuvettes is provided, wherein the device comprises a pipe, a rotating auger, a motor, guiding plate and a slide rail. This device has the advantage that it does not comprise many components. Therefore, the device is not complex, the device is inexpensive and the device requires low maintenance. Transport jams during the operation of the device can be avoided. The motor may be a single motor. The device can fulfil three major functions within one and the same device: transportation, separation and orientation in a head up position of cuvettes.

    [0028] In contrast, cuvette loading modules of the state of the art usually contain many components. Such a cuvette loading module of the state of the art is illustrated in Fig. 1. Figure 1 shows a filling funnel 11, which comprises the cuvettes that are to be transported. A transport chain 12 is shown which transports the cuvettes from the filling funnel to an oscillating bowl 13. The oscillating bowl is necessary to separate and orientate the cuvettes. In such a cuvette loading module, two components are thus required to transport, separate and orientate the cuvettes: a transport chain and an oscillating bowl.

    [0029] The present invention, however, avoids the requirement of too many components and provides a device being part of a system which can transport, separate and orientate cuvettes within one device. Figure 2 represents such a device being part of a system for transportation, separation and orientation in a head up position of cuvettes according to the present invention.

    [0030] In Figure 2, the cuvettes are present in a filling funnel 21 as bulk material. An auger 22 transports the cuvettes along a guiding plate 28 of a pipe 23. The cuvettes are hold by the rotating auger 22 and thereby transported upwards, i. e. away from the filling funnel 21. At the same time, the cuvettes are orientated in head up or head down position. Head up or head down position of the cuvettes means that the cuvettes are orientated perpendicular to the diameter of the auger, i. e. the axis connecting the head part of a cuvette and the bottom part of a cuvette is perpendicular to the core diameter of the auger. Cuvettes have an opening which is determined as the head part of the cuvette. Head up position of the cuvette therefore means that the head part of the cuvette is closer to the upper area of the device and the bottom part of the cuvette is closer to the lower part of the device. Head down position of the cuvette in turn means that the bottom part of the cuvette is closer to the upper area of the device and the head part of the cuvette is closer to the bottom area of the device. Incorrectly orientated cuvettes 25 fall back down into the filling funnel 21. Incorrectly orientated means that the cuvettes are not orientated in a head up or head down position. The arrow 26 shows the transport direction of the cuvettes. The arrow 27 shows the rotation direction of the auger. A guiding plate 28, which may be arranged parallel to the rotating auger, guides the cuvettes from the filling funnel along the transport direction 26 upwards. The guiding plate thereby ensures that the cuvettes are transported upwards in a vertical direction. Without a guiding plate, the cuvettes would only rotate with the rotating auger but not transported upwards. In the upper area of the pipe the cuvettes will be transported to a slide rail. The slide rail ensures orientation of the cuvettes in a head up position. The device of Fig. 2 only requires one rotating auger 22. The cuvettes may further be transported to a sub module.

    [0031] It is to be noted that a filling funnel is not an essential component of the device. Figure 2 merely demonstrates one example where the cuvettes are present in a filling funnel 21. The rotating auger 22 can pick up cuvettes from a multitude or bulk of cuvettes and it is irrelevant where the multitude or bulk of cuvettes is placed.

    [0032] A system for transportation, separation and orientation in a head up position of cuvettes is also provided. The system comprises the device as disclosed above and further at least one cuvette. One example of a cuvette that can be transported, separated and orientated by the device as disclosed above and which can be comprised in the system comprises a head part and a bottom part and the head part of the cuvette comprises an opening and a rim at least partially surrounding the opening, wherein the rim extends over the opening at least on two opposite sides of the opening so that the head part of the cuvette has a greater outer width than the bottom part of the cuvette. Such a cuvette is for example shown in the right half of Fig. 3. In one aspect, the opening may have a rectangular shape which is also shown in the right half of Fig. 3. However, the person ordinarily skilled in the art will be aware that other shapes of the opening are also possible.

    [0033] Figure 3 also illustrates the head up 31 and head down 32 orientation of a cuvette. The right half of Figure 3 shows the head of the cuvette 33. The interaction between the rotating auger and the pipe only allows transportation in two orientations of the cuvettes, that is head up or head down. Cuvettes in all of the other orientations will not be transported because they fall back down into the filling funnel (or any other place where the multitude or bulk of cuvettes is placed). The thread flank shape of the auger determines whether the cuvettes will be hold in one of the two orientations (head up 31 or head down 32 position) or whether the cuvettes will fall back into the filling funnel (or any other place where the multitude or bulk of cuvettes is placed).

    [0034] Figure 4 also illustrates why the cuvettes can only be transported in a head up or head down position. The arrow 41 represents the centre of gravity of each cuvette. The centre of gravity has to lie within the rotating auger so that the cuvettes are transported and do not fall back down. It is obvious from Figure 4 that the centre of gravity of the cuvettes lies within the rotating auger as long as the cuvettes are in a head up or head down position. This is the case with the upper two cuvettes. The upper two cuvettes are in a head up and head down position, respectively, and their respective centre of gravity lies within the rotating auger. The slide rail ensures that all cuvettes are finally orientated in a head up position. Therefore, the device allows transportation, separation and orientation in a head up position of cuvettes.

    [0035] A different cuvette would require different diameters of the pipe, of the core diameter of the auger and of the thread flank diameter of the auger. The design of the cuvette and the design of the device therefore have to be coordinated. The rotating auger comprises at least one pitch 42 and at least one coil 43 as illustrated in Figure 4. A pitch 42 is the distance between two coils 43. The length of the at least one pitch 42 is at least the length of the cuvette. The at least one pitch 42 may be angled with respect to the at least one coil 43. The rotating auger itself may also be angled. The coil 43 of the rotating auger further exhibits an upper edge 44, wherein the width of the upper edge 44 can be defined as one half of the difference between the thread flank diameter and the core diameter of the rotating auger. There is an interrelationship between the width of the upper edge 44 and the angle of the pitch 42 or the angle of the rotating auger. The more angled the pitch 42 or the rotating auger, the less width of the upper edge 44 is required for the cuvettes to be hold in place.

    [0036] The system may further comprise at least one of a filling funnel and a sub module.

    [0037] The filling funnel may be of any shape which allows a multitude or bulk of cuvettes to be stored and to be picked up from the auger for transportation, separation and orientation. As discussed above, the multitude or bulk of cuvettes does not need to be placed in a filling funnel.

    [0038] Figure 5 shows the upper part of the system, where the cuvettes pass through specific edges so as to then be transported into a slot of a slide rail. The cuvettes are then transported to a sub module. The system may comprise the sub module. Figure 5A shows the auger transporting cuvettes in a head up or head down position which have been separated. In the upper right part of Figure 5A cuvettes hanging in a slide rail are shown. In Figure 5B the upper part of the device or of the system is shown from a different perspective. The cuvettes pass through specific edges from the auger to the slide rail and are hanging in the slide rail from where they can be transported to a sub module.

    [0039] The slide rail may comprise two parallel rails and the distance between the two parallel rails is smaller than the outer width of the head part of the cuvette. Figure 6 shows a schematic illustration of such a slide rail. The cuvettes will arrive at the slide rail from the upper area of the device or of the system and either be in a head up or head down position. The left part of Figure 6 shows that the cuvettes arrive in a head up position and the right part of Figure 6 shows that the cuvettes arrive in a head down position. The sub module or any fully automated analyzer system that the cuvettes can be transported to eventually require the cuvettes in a head up position so that they can be filled with liquid. The schematic illustration in Fig. 6 shows how and why both orientations head up and head down can be used to transport the cuvettes to the slide rail. The cuvette comprises an opening and a rim 61 at least partially surrounding the opening. The rim of the cuvette 61 extends over the opening at least on two opposite sides of the opening so that the head part of the cuvette has a greater outer width than the bottom part of the cuvette. Such a cuvette assures that the cuvette will fall down into the slot of the slide rail in a head up position and eventually all cuvettes will be in a head up position.

    [0040] A method for transportation, separation and orientation in a head up position of cuvettes is also provided. The method comprises the following steps:
    1. a. picking up at least one cuvette by a rotating auger from a multitude of cuvettes,
    2. b. separating the at least one cuvette that was picked up from the multitude of cuvettes;
    3. c. transporting the at least one cuvette in a head up or head down position along a longitudinal axis of the rotating auger through a pipe to a slide rail,
      wherein while rotating with the rotating auger the cuvettes are pushed towards a guiding plate,
    4. d. orientating the at least one cuvette in a head up position in the slide rail.


    [0041] The method is best illustrated by the above disclosed Figure 2. The auger rotates in one direction and thereby allows picking up at least one cuvette from a multitude of cuvettes. A multitude of cuvettes means at least two cuvettes and is synonymous with a bulk of cuvettes. The longitudinal axis of the rotating auger refers to the axis perpendicular to the diameter of the auger. The diameter of the auger comprises an inner (core) and an outer (thread flank) diameter as disclosed above.

    [0042] Cuvettes, as disclosed above, which are not transported in a head up or head down position fall back into the multitude of cuvettes. They may fall back by the use of wipers or compressed air. However, other methods to aid the incorrectly orientated cuvettes to fall back into the multitude of cuvettes may also be possible.

    [0043] The multitude of cuvettes may be present in a filling funnel from where the auger picks up the at least one cuvette from the multitude of cuvettes. The person ordinarily skilled in the art will understand that other means for storing the cuvettes are also possible.

    [0044] It has become obvious from above disclosures and figures that the device and the system can be used for transportation, separation and orientation in a head up position of cuvettes. The device and the system are not complex and are of low maintenance. They may require only a single motor which reduces the number of components. No further sub modules for separation or orientation of the cuvettes are required because the device is able to fulfil all three functions of transporting the cuvettes, separating the cuvettes and orientating the cuvettes within one device.

    [0045] In contrast to the devices disclosed in the prior art, the device of the instant invention is based on an combination of an angled auger and a slide rail ensuring that cuvettes will be in a head up position after entering the slide rail. The number of mechanical components is thus reduced.

    [0046] The device disclosed in document US 2012/055756 A1 is an example of a device known from prior art that comprises complex mechanical parts. The device comprises two augers instead of only one auger in addition to several other mechanical parts for transporting closed vessels. However, the device of US 2012/055756 is not only structurally different, but also not suitable for orientating open receptacles like cuvettes or reaction vessels in automated analyser systems.

    Reference numerals



    [0047] 
    11
    Filling funnel
    12
    Transport chain
    13
    Oscillating bowl
    21
    Filling funnel
    22
    Auger
    23
    Pipe
    24
    Separation of the cuvettes along a guiding plate
    25
    Incorrectly orientated cuvettes
    26
    Transport direction of the cuvettes
    27
    Rotation direction of the auger
    28
    Guiding plate
    31
    Head up position of the cuvette
    32
    Head down position of the cuvette
    33
    Head of the cuvette
    41
    Centre of gravity of each cuvette
    42
    Pitch
    43
    Coil
    44
    Upper edge of the coil
    61
    Rim of the cuvette



    Claims

    1. A system for transportation, separation and orientation of cuvettes in a head up position, the system comprising

    a. device for transportation, separation and orientation of cuvettes in a head up position, the device comprising a pipe, a motor and a vertically oriented auger (22), angled with respect to the vertical, and a guiding plate (28) that is arranged parallel to the auger (22), wherein the motor is connected with the auger (22) for rotating it, the auger comprising a core diameter and a thread flank diameter and the thread flank diameter is larger than the core diameter, and wherein a center of gravity of a cuvette in a head up or head down position which is to be hold and thereby transported by the auger (22) lies within the thread flank diameter so that they do not fall back and a slide rail with two parallel rails with a distance to one another being smaller than the outer width of a head part of the cuvette is arranged in the upper area of the pipe for taking up the cuvettes in a head up position ; and

    b. at least one cuvette, wherein the cuvette comprises a head part and a bottom part and the head part of the cuvette comprises an opening and a rim at least partially surrounding the opening, wherein the rim extends over the opening at least on two opposite sides of the opening so that the head part of the cuvette has a greater outer width than the bottom part of the cuvette, and wherein the rotating auger (22) comprises at least one pitch and at least one coil and the length of the at least one pitch is at least the length of the cuvette.


     
    2. The system according to claim 1, wherein the at least one pitch is angled with respect to the at least one coil.
     
    3. The system according to claim 1 or 2, wherein the opening of the cuvette has a rectangular shape.
     
    4. The system according to any one of claims 1 to 3, wherein the system further comprises at least one of a filling funnel and a sub module.
     
    5. A method for transportation, separation and orientation of cuvettes in a head up position, the method comprising the following steps:

    picking up at least one cuvette from a multitude of cuvettes by a vertically oriented auger located inside a pipe (22), angled with respect to the vertical, with a guiding plate (28) of a pipe (23) that is arranged parallel to the rotating auger (22) that is connected to a motor for rotating it, wherein said rotating auger (22) comprises a core diameter and a thread flank diameter and the thread flank diameter is larger than the core diameter, and wherein a centre of gravity of the at least one cuvette in a head up or head down position which is to be hold and thereby transported by the auger (22) lies within the within the thread flank diameter so that the at least one cuvette does not fall back, thereby separating the at least one cuvette that was picked up from the multitude of cuvettes; and

    transporting the at least one cuvette in a head up or head down position along a longitudinal axis of the rotating auger (22) to a slide rail,

    wherein while rotating with the rotating auger (22) the cuvettes are pushed towards a guiding plate, and

    passing the cuvettes from the rotating auger (22) to the slide rail; and

    orientating the at least one cuvette in a head up position in the slide rail with two parallel rails with a distance to one another being smaller than the outer width of a head part of the cuvette is arranged in the upper area of the pipe for taking up the cuvettes in a head up position.


     
    6. The method according to claim 5, wherein the at least one cuvette is transported through a pipe from the rotating auger (2) to the slide rail.
     
    7. The method according to any one of claim 5 or 6, wherein the at least one cuvette is further transported from the slide rail to a sub module.
     
    8. The method according to any one of claims 5 to 7, wherein cuvettes, which are not transported in a head up or head down position fall back into the multitude of cuvettes.
     
    9. The method according to claim 8, wherein cuvettes, which are not transported in a head up or head down position fall back by the use of wipers or compressed air.
     
    10. The method according to any one of claims 5 to 9, wherein the multitude of cuvettes is present in a filling funnel.
     
    11. Use of the system according claim 1 to 4 or the method of claims 5 to 10 for transportation, separation and orientation of cuvettes in a head up position.
     


    Ansprüche

    1. Ein System zum Transportieren, Trennen und Ausrichten von Küvetten in einer Kopf-oben-Position, wobei das System umfasst

    a. eine Vorrichtung zum Transportieren, Trennen und Ausrichten von Küvetten in einer mit dem Kopf-oben-Position, wobei die Vorrichtung ein Rohr, einen Motor und eine vertikal ausgerichtete Schnecke (22) aufweist, die in Bezug auf die Vertikale abgewinkelt ist, und eine Führungsplatte (28), die parallel zur Schnecke (22) angeordnet ist, wobei der Motor mit der Schnecke (22) verbunden ist, um sie zu drehen, wobei die Schnecke einen Kerndurchmesser und einen Gewindeflankendurchmesser aufweist und der Gewindeflankendurchmesser größer als der Kerndurchmesser ist, und wobei ein Schwerpunkt einer Küvette in einer Kopfhoch- oder Kopfniedrigstellung, die von der Schnecke (22) gehalten und dabei transportiert werden soll, innerhalb des Gewindeflankendurchmessers liegt, so dass sie nicht zurückfallen, und im oberen Bereich des Rohres eine Gleitschiene mit zwei parallelen Schienen mit einem Abstand zueinander, der kleiner ist als die äußere Breite eines Kopfteils der Küvette, zur Aufnahme der Küvetten in einer Kopfhochstellung angeordnet ist; und

    b. eine Küvette, wobei die Küvette einen Kopfteil und einen Bodenteil umfasst und der Kopfteil der Küvette eine Öffnung und einen Rand umfasst, der die Öffnung zumindest teilweise umgibt, wobei sich der Rand über die Öffnung zumindest auf zwei gegenüberliegenden Seiten der Öffnung erstreckt, so dass der Kopfteil der Küvette eine größere äußere Breite als der Bodenteil der Küvette aufweist, und wobei die rotierende Schnecke (22) zumindest eine Ganghöhe und zumindest eine Windung umfasst und die Länge der zumindest einen Ganghöhe zumindest die Länge der Küvette ist.


     
    2. Das System nach Anspruch 1, wobei die mindestens eine Ganghöhe in Bezug auf die mindestens eine Windung abgewinkelt ist.
     
    3. Das System nach Anspruch 1 oder 2, bei dem die Öffnung der Küvette eine rechteckige Form hat.
     
    4. Das System nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 3, wobei das System ferner mindestens einen Einfülltrichter und/oder ein Untermodul umfasst.
     
    5. Ein Verfahren zum Transportieren, Trennen und Ausrichten von Küvetten in einer Kopf-oben-Position, wobei das Verfahren die folgenden Schritte umfasst:

    Aufnehmen mindestens einer Küvette aus einer Vielzahl von Küvetten durch eine vertikal ausgerichtete Schnecke, die sich innerhalb eines Rohres (22) befindet und in einem Winkel zur Vertikalen angeordnet ist, mit einer Führungsplatte (28) eines Rohres (23), das parallel zu der rotierenden Schnecke (22) angeordnet ist, die mit einem Motor zu deren Drehung verbunden ist, wobei die rotierende Schnecke (22) einen Kerndurchmesser und einen Gewindeflankendurchmesser aufweist und der Gewindeflankendurchmesser größer als der Kerndurchmesser ist, und wobei ein Schwerpunkt der mindestens einen Küvette in einer Kopf-oben-Position oder Kopf-unten-Position, die von der Schnecke (22) gehalten und dadurch durch die Schnecke (22) transportiert werden soll, innerhalb des Innengewindeflankendurchmessers liegt, so dass die mindestens eine Küvette nicht zurückfällt, wodurch die mindestens eine Küvette, die aufgenommen wurde, von der Vielzahl von Küvetten getrennt wird; und

    Transportieren der mindestens einen Küvette in einer Kopf-oben-Position oder Kopf-unten-Position entlang einer Längsachse der rotierenden Schnecke (22) zu einer Gleitschiene,

    wobei während der Drehung mit der rotierenden Schnecke (22) die Küvetten gegen eine Führungsplatte geschoben werden, und

    Weiterleiten der Küvetten von der rotierenden Schnecke (22) zur Gleitschiene; und

    die Ausrichtung der mindestens einen Küvette in der Gleitschiene mit zwei parallelen Schienen, deren Abstand zueinander kleiner ist als die äußere Breite eines Kopfteils der Küvette, im oberen Bereich des Rohres zur Aufnahme der Küvetten in einer Kopf-oben-Position angeordnet ist.


     
    6. Das Verfahren nach Anspruch 5, wobei die mindestens eine Küvette durch ein Rohr von der rotierenden Schnecke (2) zur Gleitschiene transportiert wird.
     
    7. Das Verfahren nach einem der Ansprüche 5 oder 6, wobei die mindestens eine Küvette von der Gleitschiene zu einem Untermodul weitertransportiert wird.
     
    8. Das Verfahren nach einem der Ansprüche 5 bis 7, wobei Küvetten, die nicht mit dem Kopf nach oben oder mit dem Kopf nach unten transportiert werden, in die Vielzahl der Küvetten zurückfallen.
     
    9. Das Verfahren nach Anspruch 8, bei dem Küvetten, die nicht mit dem Kopf nach oben oder unten transportiert werden, durch die Verwendung von Wischern oder Druckluft zurückfallen.
     
    10. Das Verfahren nach einem der Ansprüche 5 bis 9, bei dem die Vielzahl der Küvetten in einem Fülltrichter vorhanden ist.
     
    11. Eine Verwendung des Systems nach den Ansprüchen 1 bis 4 oder der Methode nach den Ansprüchen 5 bis 10 für den Transport, die Trennung und Ausrichtung von Küvetten in einer Kopf-oben-Position.
     


    Revendications

    1. Un système pour le transport, la séparation et l'orientation de cuvettes en position tête en haut, le système comprenant

    a. un dispositif pour le transport, la séparation et l'orientation de cuvettes dans une position tête en haut, le dispositif comprenant un tuyau, un moteur et une vis sans fin (22) orientée verticalement, inclinée par rapport à la verticale et une plaque de guidage (28) qui est disposée parallèlement à la vis sans fin (22), dans lequel le moteur est relié à la vis sans fin (22) pour la faire tourner, la vis sans fin comprenant un diamètre de noyau et un diamètre de flanc de filet et le diamètre de flanc de filet est plus grand que le diamètre de noyau, et dans lequel le centre de gravité d'une cuvette en position tête haute ou tête basse, qui doit être maintenue et donc transportée par la vis sans fin (22), se trouve à l'intérieur du diamètre du flanc du filetage de sorte qu'elle ne retombe pas et un rail de glissement avec deux rails parallèles dont la distance l'un par rapport à l'autre est inférieure à la largeur extérieure d'une partie de la tête de la cuvette est disposé dans la zone supérieure du tuyau pour la réception des cuvettes en position tête haute ; et

    b. au moins une cuvette, dans laquelle la cuvette comprend une partie de tête et une partie de fond et la partie de tête de la cuvette comprend une ouverture et un rebord entourant au moins partiellement l'ouverture, dans laquelle le rebord s'étend sur l'ouverture au moins sur deux côtés opposés de l'ouverture de sorte que la partie de tête de la cuvette a une largeur extérieure plus grande que la partie de fond de la cuvette, et dans laquelle la vis sans fin rotative (22) comprend au moins un pas et au moins une bobine et la longueur du au moins un pas est au moins la longueur de la cuvette.


     
    2. Le système selon la revendication 1, dans lequel le au moins un pas est incliné par rapport à la au moins une bobine.
     
    3. Le système selon la revendication 1 ou 2, dans lequel l'ouverture de la cuvette a une forme rectangulaire.
     
    4. Le système selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 3, dans lequel le système comprend en outre au moins l'un d'un entonnoir de remplissage et d'un sous-module.
     
    5. Une méthode pour le transport, la séparation et l'orientation de cuvettes en position tête en haut, le procédé comprenant les étapes suivantes:

    ramasser au moins une cuvette parmi une multitude de cuvettes par une vis sans fin orientée verticalement, située à l'intérieur d'un tuyau (22), incliné par rapport à la verticale, avec une plaque de guidage (28) d'un tuyau (23) qui est disposée parallèlement à la vis sans fin rotative (22) qui est reliée à un moteur pour la faire tourner, dans lequel ladite vis sans fin rotative (22) comprend un diamètre de noyau et un diamètre de flanc de filet et le diamètre de flanc de filet est plus grand que le diamètre de noyau, et dans lequel le centre de gravité de la ou des cuvettes en position tête haute ou tête basse, qui doivent être maintenues et donc transportées par la vis sans fin (22), se trouve à l'intérieur du diamètre du flanc du fil, de sorte que la ou les cuvettes ne retombent pas, séparant ainsi la ou les cuvettes qui ont été ramassées de la multitude de cuvettes ; et

    le transport d'au moins une cuvette en position tête haute ou tête basse le long d'un axe longitudinal de la vis sans fin rotative (22) vers une glissière,

    où, en tournant avec la vis sans fin rotative (22), les cuvettes sont poussées vers une plaque de guidage, et

    faire passer les cuvettes de la vis sans fin rotative (22) à la glissière

    l'orientation d'au moins une cuvette en position tête haute dans la glissière avec deux rails parallèles dont la distance l'un par rapport à l'autre est inférieure à la largeur extérieure d'une partie de la tête de la cuvette est disposée dans la zone supérieure du tuyau pour la réception des cuvettes en position tête haute.


     
    6. La méthode selon la revendication 5, dans lequel au moins une cuvette est transportée par un tuyau depuis la vis sans fin rotative (2) jusqu'à la glissière.
     
    7. La méthode selon l'une des revendications 5 ou 6, dans laquelle la au moins une cuvette est ensuite transportée de la glissière à un sous-module.
     
    8. La méthode selon l'une des revendications 5 à 7, selon laquelle les cuvettes qui ne sont pas transportées en position tête en haut ou tête en bas retombent dans la multitude des cuvettes.
     
    9. La méthode selon la revendication 8, dans laquelle les cuvettes, qui ne sont pas transportées en position tête haute ou tête basse, retombent grâce à l'utilisation d'essuie-glaces ou d'air comprimé.
     
    10. La méthode selon l'une quelconque des revendications 5 à 9, dans laquelle la multitude de cuvettes est présente dans un entonnoir de remplissage.
     
    11. Utilisation du système selon les revendications 1 à 4 ou de la méthode des revendications 5 à 10 pour le transport, la séparation et l'orientation des cuvettes en position tête haute.
     




    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