Title:
Packing box for laboratory articles
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A packing box for laboratory articles with a body (1) which has been produced from plastic material with a peripheral, preferably slightly conically shaped jacket (2) and a carrier plate (5) which is provided with insertion openings (3) for the laboratory articles, especially pipette tips, with a bottom (6) made of plastic material and with a cover (7) which is also made of plastic material. The carrier plate (5) is produced in one piece with the jacket (2) and the body (1) together with the carrier plate (5) have the shape of an inverted trough.



Inventors:
Prokopp, Peter (Wertheim, DE)
Application Number:
10/755438
Publication Date:
06/23/2005
Filing Date:
01/13/2004
Assignee:
BRAND GMBH AND CO KG (Wertheim, DE)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B01L9/00; B65D25/10; B65D43/16; (IPC1-7): B65D1/24
View Patent Images:
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20020096525Selectively divisible liquid container with removable dividerJuly, 2002Bertoldo et al.
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Primary Examiner:
BRADEN, SHAWN M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
NIXON PEABODY, LLP (401 9TH STREET, NW, SUITE 900, WASHINGTON, DC, 20004-2128, US)
Claims:
1. Packing box for laboratory articles, comprising: a body made of a plastic material with a peripheral jacket and a carrier plate which is provided with insertion openings configured to receive the laboratory articles, a bottom made of plastic material, a cover made of plastic material, and wherein the carrier plate is formed in one piece with the jacket and is in the shape of an inverted trough.

2. Packing box as claimed in claim 1, wherein the bottom is formed in one piece with the body and is connected to an edge of the jacket via a film hinge.

3. Packing box as claimed in claim 2, wherein the film hinge comprises several individual hinges which are located distributed over the length of one edge of the jacket.

4. Packing box as claimed in claim 2, wherein, on other lengthwise and transverse edges of the jacket, roughly at the height of the film hinge, catch recesses are provided for catch projections which are located laterally on the bottom.

5. Packing box as claimed in claim 2, wherein a peripheral base is formed on the jacket and forms the lengthwise and transverse edges.

6. Packing box as claimed in claim 2, wherein the edge of the jacket which has the film hinge is shortened as compared to the other edges.

7. Packing box as claimed in claim 5, wherein the base is shortened or absent on the edge which has the film hinge.

8. Packing box as claimed in claim 1, wherein, in a finished state of the packing box, the bottom is located countersunk in the jacket.

9. Packing box as claimed in claim 6, wherein, in the finished state of the packing box, the bottom is located countersunk in the jacket.

10. Packing box as claimed in claim 7, wherein, in the finished state of the packing box, the bottom is located countersunk in the jacket.

11. Packing box as claimed in claim 1, wherein the jacket of the body is provided with ribs which run from the carrier plate to opposite edges of the jacket.

12. Packing box as claimed in claim 1, wherein the ribs have a corrugated shape.

13. Packing box as claimed in claim 1, wherein the plastic material is polypropylene.

14. Packing box as claimed in claim 11, wherein the plastic material is polypropylene.

15. Packing box as claimed in claim 1, wherein the wall thickness of at least the jacket is about 1.0 mm or less.

16. Packing box as claimed in claim 13, wherein the wall thickness of at least the jacket is about 1.0 mm or less.

17. Packing box as claimed in claim 14, wherein the wall thickness of at least the jacket is about 1.0 mm or less.

18. Packing box as claimed in claim 1, wherein a part of the hinge for the cover is molded to an edge of the jacket and the cover is pivotally coupled thereto by means of corresponding opposing part of the hinge.

19. Packing box as claimed in claim 18, wherein the cover is made in one piece with the jacket from the plastic material and wherein the hinge is a film hinge that is made in one piece with the cover and jacket.

20. Packing box as claimed in claim 18, wherein the hinge comprises several individual hinges which are arranged distributed over the length of said edge of the jacket.

21. Packing box as claimed in claim 18, wherein the hinge has a pivot limit.

22. Packing box as claimed in claim 21, wherein the pivot limit restricts pivoting motion to an opening angle of about 100°.

23. Packing box as claimed in claim 18, wherein the hinge of the cover is made self-opening.

24. Packing box as claimed in claim 18, wherein a catch connection is provided between the cover and the jacket on an edge which is opposite the hinge.

25. Packing box as claimed in claim 24, wherein the catch connection is configured for enabling one-handed opening actuation.

26. Packing box as claimed in claim 23, a catch connection is provided between the cover and the jacket on an edge which is opposite the hinge.

27. Packing box as claimed in claim 26, wherein the catch connection is configured for enabling one-handed opening actuation.

28. Packing box as claimed in claim 1, wherein an upper edge of the body has a peripheral sealing step for the edge of the cover.

29. Packing box as claimed in claim 1, wherein the bottom and the cover are provided with form-fitted structures on surfaces thereof which are made and arranged corresponding to one another for facilitating stacking of like packing boxes with the bottom of one packing box nesting on a cover of another packing box.

30. Packing box as claimed in claim 5, wherein the peripheral base is projects laterally.

31. Packing box as claimed in claim 19, wherein the film hinge comprises several individual hinges which are located distributed over the length of an edge of the jacket.

32. Packing box as claimed in claim 19, wherein the hinge has a pivot limit.

33. Packing box as claimed in claim 1, wherein the laboratory articles that insertion openings configured to receive are pipette tips.

34. Packing box as claimed in claim 3, wherein there are three individual hinges.

35. Packing box as claimed in claim 20, wherein the hinge comprises three individual hinges.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The invention relates to a packing box for laboratory articles with a body which has been produced from plastic material with a peripheral jacket and a carrier plate which is provided with insertion openings for the laboratory articles. Laboratory articles of the pertinent type are especially laboratory articles which are arranged in a grid shape, such as pipette tips and reaction vessels.

Packing boxes for laboratory articles of the type under consideration, especially therefore for pipette tips, have been known for decades and used millions of times.

2. Description of Related Art

The packing box for pipette tips underlying the invention (U.S. DES. 271,239) can be produced especially economically and easily when manufactured of a plastic material. The body in the shape of an inverted trough has a slightly conically shaped jacket of plastic material and a carrier plate which is provided with insertion openings for pipette tips, which is likewise injected from plastic, and which on the top is interchangeably inserted into the jacket of plastic material, at the same time stiffening it. A cover of transparent plastic material, likewise with a slightly conically shaped jacket, allows the pipette tips held on the carrier plate of the body by the insertion openings to be recognized from the outside.

The inside of this packing box has a bottom which is inserted from underneath, which is pressed into the conical jacket, and is positioned and fixed on a peripheral step from the inside/underneath. This arrangement of the bottom within the body yields high stiffness of the jacket, and with the carrier plate inserted, of the body as a whole due to the box profile which is implemented in this way. Because the bottom is countersunk in the interior of the body, the packing box stands securely and stably on the peripheral edge of the body.

The above explained known packing box for pipette tips is generally made of a plastic material which can be autoclaved and is designed and suited for repeated used. For this purpose, the carrier plate, as soon as all the pipette tips which are held in it have been used up, is replaced by a carrier plate of a refill unit. These refill units are also known in the most varied embodiments (published European Patent Application EP 0 339 557 A2 and U.S. Pat. No. 3,937,322).

Moreover, it is inherently known in the area of packing boxes of the type under consideration that the cover of this packing box is made not to slip on, but to have a pivoting capacity and to be provided with a pressure closure (published International Patent Application WO 00/29113 A1).

It has been found that the initially explained packing box which is known from the prior art and which underlies the invention engenders a comparatively high cost in terms of production engineering. Altogether four plastic injection molded parts which are separate from one another must be produced, specifically the jacket, the carrier plate, the bottom and the cover. When the required tolerances are observed, especially with consideration of the capacity of the packing box which is intended for repeated use to be autoclaved, the production costs are considerable, as before. Last, but not least, the wall thickness of the conically shaped jacket of the body must be so great that it has sufficient bending stiffness with consideration of the stiffening function of the inserted bottom and is not warped especially when being autoclaved. This requires a corresponding wall thickness of the plastic material.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The primary object of the present invention is to further simplify and especially configure the above explained, known packing box for laboratory articles in terms of production engineering such that it can also be economically used especially as a disposable packing box.

The aforementioned object is achieved in a packing box with the features of the invention by which the carrier plate is produced in one piece with the jacket of the body, especially injected so that, overall, the body is made in the shape of an inverted trough. By means of this measure the body comprised of the jacket and the carrier plate acquires high inherent stiffness from the housing outward since such a box profile which is open on one side is implemented in one piece. Add to this, then, the additional stiffening action of the bottom which completely closes this box profile on the still open side. The result includes smaller wall thicknesses for the jacket in any case, preferably also the bottom and/or the carrier plate.

Overall, the packing box of the invention is especially suited as a disposable box. The somewhat higher material use compared to the known re-usable boxes is compensated by savings in outfitting in the production process and in handling by the laboratory worker. The overall business costs of a packing box which is configured in accordance with the invention, in use as a disposable box, can be less than in a reusable system as a result.

If the packing box of the invention is intended to be used only as a disposable box, the wall thickness of the plastic materials at all points can be further reduced because autoclaving is not necessary. The warping of the plastic material which occurs at high temperatures in the autoclave need not be feared in this case.

As already explained above, laboratory equipment of the type for which the packing box of the invention is intended and suited, includes, first of all, not only laboratory devices which are arranged in a grid and quite especially pipette tips, but also reaction vessels of glass, plastic, or other materials.

There are now various possibilities for advantageously embodying and developing the teaching of the invention and developments of the invention are described in detail below with reference to the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 shows in a perspective view of an especially preferred embodiment of a packing box in accordance with the invention which, in this case, is for use with pipette tips,

FIG. 2 shows the packing box from FIG. 1 provided with a row of pipette tips and with the cover open,

FIG. 3 is a top plan view the packing box from FIG. 2 with the cover closed,

FIG. 4 is a sectional view taken along line IV-IV in FIG. 3,

FIG. 5 shows the packing box from FIG. 2 in a perspective view obliquely from underneath, and

FIG. 6 is a sectional view of the area of a film hinge with which the cover is coupled to the body of the packing box as shown in FIG. 5.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

FIG. 1 in conjunction with FIGS. 2 and 4 show the basic configuration of the packing box in accordance with the invention. First of all, there is a body 1 which has been produced from plastic material with a peripheral jacket 2, which is preferably slightly conically shaped, and a carrier plate 5 which is provided with insertion openings 3 for the pipette tips 4 which are shown in FIG. 2. FIGS. 1, 4 and 5, in combination, also show a bottom 6 which is made of plastic material, while the figures all show a cover 7 which made of plastic material.

In the prior art which forms the starting point, the cover 7 is made as a separate plastic part which can be slipped on. In principle, this can also be the case for the packing box of the invention.

In this embodiment, the carrier plate 5 is produced in one piece with the jacket 2, especially injection molded in one piece. In this way, as shown in FIG. 1, a body 1 with the shape of an inverted trough is formed which has high inherent stiffness from the start. This is not achieved via high wall thickness of the plastic material, but integrated via the geometrical structure of the body 1, the jacket 2 and the carrier plate 5.

Furthermore, in the embodiment which is shown in FIG. 1, and preferred in this respect, the bottom 6 is produced in one piece with the body 1 and is connected to the jacket 2 of the body 1 on a lengthwise edge 8 or a transverse edge 9 of the jacket 2 via a film hinge 10. In this embodiment, the connection of the bottom 6 to the jacket 2 of the body 1 is on a lengthwise edge 8.

The production cost of the packing box of the invention can be reduced even more in the above explained manner.

In the illustrated preferred embodiment, it furthermore applies that the film hinge 10 can be comprised of several, especially three, individual hinges 10a, b, c which are located distributed over the length of the lengthwise edge 8 of the jacket 2.

The bottom 6 can be fixed in the jacket 2 simply by pressing in and clamping. However, it is even more feasible, as shown, that on the other lengthwise and transverse edges 8, 9, roughly at the height of the film hinge 10, catch recesses 11 are formed for catch projections 12 which are provided laterally on the bottom 6. In this embodiment, especially in FIG. 1, on the transverse edges 9 and on the lengthwise edge 8 which is opposite the lengthwise edge 8 which is provided with the film hinge 10, a respective catch recess 11 is provided for each of corresponding catch projections 12 on the bottom 6 the catch projections.

Therefore, the bottom 6 is folded in after the body 1 with the bottom 6 falls out of the injection tool and is then locked in place by means of catch projections 12 in the catch recesses 11.

The preferred embodiment which is shown in the drawings, furthermore, is shown having a peripheral, preferably laterally projecting, base 13 made on the jacket 2 and which forms the lengthwise and transverse edges 8, 9. The base 13 has an additional stiffening function and is also used as an edge for stably setting down the packing box.

In this embodiment, it is also provided that the lengthwise edge 8 of the jacket 2, on which the film hinge 10 is formed, is shortened by a certain amount as compared to the other lengthwise and transverse edges 8, 9. In this embodiment, this shortening is accomplished by the base 13 being shortened to this extent, or optionally also, its being completely absent. In this embodiment, the base 13 is reduced here to a narrow edge strip on which the individual hinges 10a, 10b, 10c of the film hinge 10 are made.

Basically, it would be possible to form the bottom 6 with an area that is equal with that bounded by the lengthwise and transverse edges 8, 9 of the jacket 2. The illustrated embodiment described above is, however, more advantageous with the bottom 6 which is implemented there and which is countersunk in the jacket 2 because, in this way, there is an additional stiffening function for the body 1 by means of the bottom 6. This has already been explained above.

The shortened lengthwise edge 8 and the base 13 offers the feasible possibility of arranging the bottom 6 countersunk in the remaining jacket 2 in the finished state of the packing box. This can be easily recognized, for example, from FIG. 4 in the sectional representation shown there.

It was pointed out at the beginning of this description that it is of great interest to the teaching of this invention that material use be reduced as much as possible in the packing box of the invention in order to be able to use the packing box as a disposable box. The stiffness of the body 1 is of special importance in this respect. In the illustrated preferred embodiment, the stiffness is further increased in that the jacket 2 of the body 1 is provided with preferably corrugated ribs 14 which run from the carrier plate 5 to the edge 8, 9. FIG. 3 shows the corrugated shape of the ribs 14 which continue in the cover 7 as well. In this embodiment, it applies that the base 13 does not continue the ribs 14, but is made and arranged to project on the edge side and to run smoothly around the periphery. This yields a smooth and straight termination on the lower edge 8, 9 of the jacket 2.

The stiffening of the jacket 2 which is achieved by the ribs 14 increases its buckling resistance; this is especially important, for example, when the packing box is being used with the pipette tips 4 inserted by means of a multi-channel pipette, for example, an eight-channel pipette. The forces which occur in this case are rather considerable, but in spite of the low wall thickness of the jacket 2 they are easily accommodated by this jacket 2 due to the ribs 14 and the overall torsional stiffness of the arrangement. Wall thicknesses in the millimeter range, down to the lower boundary which is dictated by the filling behavior of the injection molding tool, can be accomplished, not only for the jacket 2, but to the corresponding degree also for the carrier plate 5.

It has been repeatedly pointed out above that the packing box for pipette tips which is addressed here is made of plastic material, especially is produced in an injection molding process. It has been shown that the use of polypropylene (PP) as the plastic material is especially economical and advantageous. This is associated with low production costs, the chemical resistance being broad. Polypropylene is chemically inert and can be effectively sterilized by irradiation with gamma rays.

With consideration of the flow behavior of the respective thermoplastic, wall thicknesses of roughly 1.0 mm can be achieved, optionally down to roughly 0.7 mm, which are on the order of the lower boundary which is dictated by flow technology.

For a long time, with respect to a packing box for pipette tips in accordance with the invention, essentially something has been done for a special configuration of the body 1 and the bottom 6. The illustrated embodiment which is preferred in this respect however shows, furthermore, that here the cover 7 is not made as a separate component which can be slipped on, but a part of the hinge 17 for the cover 7 is molded to the carrier plate-side lengthwise edge 15 or transverse edge 16, preferably on the lengthwise edge 15, of the jacket 2, and the cover 7 is pivotally coupled by means of the corresponding opposing part of the hinge 17. Basically, the hinge 17, which is three spaced hinges in this embodiment, can in fact be made in two parts. Then the cover 7 would be injected in a separate injection tool and subsequently combined with the body 1.

The illustrated preferred embodiment, however, shows that the cover 7 is made in one piece with the body 1 from plastic material and that the hinge 17 is made in one piece as a film hinge. As already explained, here the hinge 17, especially made as a film hinge, is comprised of several, especially three, individual hinges 17a, 17b, 17c, which are arranged distributed over the length of the upper lengthwise edge 15.

The prior art extensively discloses hinge structures; see, for example, the published International Patent Application WO 00/29113 A1 mentioned in the Background portion. The corresponding hinge structures for a multipart packing box can also be taken therefrom.

The execution of the hinges of the type under discussion for plastic parts as film hinges follows, for example, from U.S. Pat. No. 5,145,646, the disclosure of which in this regard is hereby incorporated by reference. Here, there is a hinge 17 of plastic parts which is made as a film hinge and which in, an especially preferred manner, has a pivot limit, especially to an opening angle of roughly 1000, that is obtained via a special dual-leg construction.

Furthermore, in the teaching of this invention, it is also advantageous that the hinge 17, especially the film hinge, of the cover 7 is made self-opening. (see, German Patent DE 196 45 892 C2). That is, as a result of the internal material forces, a film hinge of thermoplastic inherently has a restoration function which can lead to self-opening of the cover 7. This is entirely independent of the pivot limit.

The above explained configuration of the hinge 17, especially in its configuration as a film hinge with a one-piece execution of the cover 7 with the body 1, results in that the edge of the cover 7 is pressed with one hand and then the cover snaps back independently, and is held in the desired open position by the restoration function of the hinge 17 which is made as a film hinge; the open position makes the pipette tips 4 in the carrier plate 5 easily accessible. The pivot limit which was addressed above obviates the necessity of a manipulation which requires two-hand operation when the cover 7 is closed again. The described angular position of the cover 7 also allows one hand operation here.

In the above explained construction, it is especially advantageous if there is a catch connection 18 between the cover 7 and the body 1 on the lengthwise edge 8 or on the transverse edge 9 which is opposite the hinge 17.

It is advantageous for the catch connection 18 to be made as a lock and centering with the corresponding possibility of opening with one hand, as is disclosed, for example, in published International Patent Application WO 00/29113 A1 or as is known otherwise from practice. In the drawings, FIG. 2 shows centering projections 18′ on the two transverse edges of the cover 7 which correspond to the centering openings 18″ on the transverse edges 16 of the body 1. This construction leads to further optimization of the interaction of the cover 7 and the body 1 in the sense of optimum torsional stiffness of the overall arrangement.

Still further, the illustrated preferred embodiment shows, as is especially apparent in FIGS. 2 and 4, that the body 1 has a peripheral sealing step 19 for the edge of the cover 7 on the carrier plate-side lengthwise and transverse edges 15, 16. Thus, an especially effective, tight closure results which again increases the torsional stiffness of the packing box overall with the cover 7 closed. The correspondingly configured catch connection 18 with the centering projections leads to the sealing step 19 of the edge of the cover 7 always being reached reliably and free from sticking.

Especially when the bottom 6 in the jacket 2 of the body 1, as shown, is made countersunk and when the jacket 2 has sufficient conicity, the cover 7 in the edge-side dimensions is already, by itself, so much smaller that the packing box can be stacked on another packing box with the base 13 extending over the cover 7 on the edge side. In this way, lateral fixing of a packing box on another packing box is ensured. It is possible to stack several packing boxes on top of one another for storage and transport, and for example, to fix them with a vertically encompassing sleeve or a corresponding adhesive strip or tensioning belt.

The illustrated, preferred embodiment, in the above explained connection, shows another inherently interesting measure in that the bottom 6 and the cover 7 are provided with form-fitted structures 20 on their surface which are made and arranged corresponding to one another. These additional form-fitting structures 20, in this embodiment, are made as beads which run crosswise, and yield additional fixing for purposes of the stacking capacity of the packing boxes.

Overall the proposed packing box, especially for pipette tips, as a disposable box, should more than compensate for the material use which is slightly higher than in re-usable boxes by savings in outfitting in the production process and in handling in the laboratory.