Title:
Device for the storage and metering of a plurality of components
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The storage and metering device has two halves of similar construction, each of which has a pocket formed in a foil for receiving a flowable component. A cover is secured to each foil by a seam to close the respective pocket or one cover is used that is secured to one of the foils. The foils are secured to each other outside the seam.



Inventors:
Staub, Andreas (Winterthur, CH)
Gasser, Markus (Pfaffikon, CH)
Application Number:
12/009504
Publication Date:
07/24/2008
Filing Date:
01/18/2008
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
206/528
International Classes:
B65D83/04; B65D83/00
View Patent Images:
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20080110773Wearable devices for dispensing flowable agentsMay, 2008Greep
20090093785Environmental DetectorApril, 2009Brown et al.
20070142809Baby productJune, 2007Pimm
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Primary Examiner:
PERREAULT, ANDREW D
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Francis C. Hand, Esq. (c/o Carella, Byrne, Bain, Gilfillan, Cecchi, Stewart & Olstein 5 Becker Farm Road, Roseland, NJ, 07068, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A device for the storage of a plurality of components which are intended for joint use including a first storage region defining a pocket for the reception of a first component; a second storage region defining a pocket for the reception of a second component, said first storage region and said second storage region being arranged one above the other, at least one cover disposed over said pocket of at least one of said first storage region and said second storage region; a seam securing said cover to said at least one of said first storage region and said second storage region in sealed relation; and a connecting means securing said first storage region to said second storage region outside said seam relative to said cover.

2. A device as set forth in claim 1 further comprising a pair of said covers, each respective cover being disposed over said pocket of a respective one of said first storage region and said second storage region; and a pair of seams, each said seam securing a respective cover to a respective second storage region in sealed relation.

3. A device as set forth in claim 1 further comprising at least one outlet passage communicating with each said pocket of each of said first storage region and said second storage region for dispensing the respective components therefrom.

4. A device as set forth in claim 3 further comprising a discharge tube downstream of said outlet passage for receiving and dispensing the respective components therefrom.

5. A device as set forth in claim 4 further comprising a mixing element within said discharge tube.

6. A device as set forth in claim 5 wherein said mixing element includes a plunger for passing through said at least one cover to allow passage of the respective component of each said pocket of said first storage region and said second storage region for dispensing product into said mixing element.

7. A device as set forth in claim 1 further comprising an opening means for opening each of said first storage region to said second storage region for dispensing product therefrom.

8. A device as set forth in claim 7 further comprising a rupturable passage communicating with each of said first storage region and said second storage region for dispensing product therefrom, said passage being rupturable in response to a kinking movement.

9. A method for the storage and for the metering of a plurality of components including the steps of: filling a first storage region with a first component, closing the storage region for the storage of the first component, filling a second storage region with a second component, closing the second storage region for the storage of the second component, arranging the first and second storage regions one above the other, and fastening the first and second storage regions to one another.

10. A method as set forth in claim 9 further comprising the step of simultaneously pressing the first and second storage regions together to expel the respective components therefrom for direct mixing together.

11. A method as set forth in claim 10 wherein the respective components are mixed in a mixing element.

12. A method as set forth in claim 10 further comprising the step of simultaneously opening the first and second storage regions directly before use to expel the respective components therefrom.

13. A method as set forth in claim 10 further comprising the step of subjecting a rupturable discharge tube extending from the first and second storage regions to a kinking movement to rupture the discharge tube and to provide a passage for the respective components to flow from the first and second storage region through the discharge tube.

Description:

This invention relates to a device for the storage and metering of a plurality of components. More particularly, this invention relates to a device for the storage and metering of multiple components for mixing purposes.

As is known, various types of packaging have been used, for example, for the storage of the individual components of a multi-component adhesive, for use in the food industry or for the packaging of medicinal preparations. Common to all this packaging is that the individual components are stored in separate containers, which are lockable, until they are used. Packaging of this kind is, in particular, known as blister packaging. Blister packages for liquid ingredients and ingredients in powder form consist of a deep drawn foil (deep drawn film) and a sealing foil which closes off the ingredients.

In the case of some foodstuffs, cosmetics, pharmaceutical products or adhesives, a plurality of components have to be or should be packaged separately for eventual use together at the same time. Thus, a package for this purpose consists of at least two blister packages that can be connected to one another in a suitable manner. A so-called double blister package is known in which two components are stored next to one another. This double blister packages comprises a deep drawn foil with two deep drawn pockets lying next to each other. A component is inserted into each of the pockets. The components are closed with a sealing foil so that the components can be stored in their pockets, without there being a danger of a leak. During use, the components are pressed out, one after the other. Alternatively, the pockets lying next to each other are folded over one another over a pre-determined bending edge and are jointly pressed out. In this case, the two pockets are brought to lie one above the other and the pressing out process can take place exactly at the same time for all components.

The aforementioned packages are simple to manufacture, however they have the disadvantage that the correct use has to be explained to the user and there is also the possibility of faulty manipulation. Moreover, a solution with a common outlet passage or with an integrated mixer cannot be realised in this form because either a common outlet passage cannot be provided design-wise or because a separate closing mechanism has to be provided which prevents a discharge of the components from their respective pockets during storage. A closing mechanism would be only be releasable during use in order to facilitate a discharge of the components into a common discharge passage.

A multi-component foil container is known from DE 20 2005 001 203U1 and from WO2006079413. The multi-component foil container has a lower half shell and an upper half shell which is manufactured from an inherently stable plastic foil by deep drawing or thermoforming. The two half shells are fixedly connected to one another by welding or gluing. Each of the half shells contains a storage region for the reception of a respective component in a chamber provided for this. Adjacent chambers for different components are separated from each other by a partitioning foil. In accordance with DE 20 2005 001 203 U1, the chambers are arranged one above the other in the half shells. The chambers open out on the one side into a mixing region, which is separated from the chambers, so that each component is kept sealed so long as it is stored.

In the first embodiment shown in WO2006/079413, horizontal partitioning webs are inserted between the chambers of the half shells that are filled with a component and a trough-shaped depression into which a mixing element can be inserted. With regard to the partitioning webs, it is only mentioned that they are designed in such a way that they are forced apart by the emerging components at a predetermined point, in order to open a passage from the chambers to the trough-shaped depression which the forms the discharge passage. In accordance with all other embodiments, opening spikes, plungers or webs coupled to the mixer element or webs of the mixer element are provided, in order to establish a connection between the chambers and the mixer element, which makes the discharge of the components possible. Discharge means can be provided in order to guarantee a uniform discharge, which cannot be achieved with manual handling.

The non-releasable connection of such blister packages lying one above the other has caused considerable problems up until now. Thus, in blister packages in accordance with the prior art, the two rear sides of the sealing foils have to be connected together. This can be done, at most, by an additionally applied sealant layer and later sealing, and when using one of these named methods, the material choice for the sealing foils is very restricted.

Further, the packages can be subject to faulty manipulation, for example, by bringing together two storage regions wherein both only contain a hardener component of a two-component adhesive. If a device of this kind were used, the two-component adhesive would not harden, since the binder component is missing. The necessary chemical reaction between the hardener component and the binder component would be missing, so that no adhesive connection could take place. For this reason, all components should already be stored in separate storage regions even during the manufacture of the device, wherein the storage regions remain together by means of a non-releasable connection, at least for the duration of the storage.

Thus, where two components have to be used together, a common discharge passage for the components can be integrally moulded into the package. Moreover, the two components can be pressed out simultaneously and in a defined amount by simple pressing by hand or using a simple auxiliary device. If the two components are adhesive components which have to be mixed in a predetermined ratio, then this precise metering has a special significance.

If a mixing element is inserted into a discharge passage integrally moulded to the package, as shown in WO 2006/079413, then a non-releasable, sealed and pressure-resistant connection of the two storage regions is essential. However, the mixing element has a high pressure loss due to the use of a plurality of deflecting elements within the mixing element, so that a relatively high pressing out pressure is required. Also, the storage regions and also the connecting passages to the mixing elements and the passage in which the mixing element is received have to be resistant to this pressing out pressure.

Accordingly, it is an object of the invention to provide a simple and economical device with sealed storage regions lying one above the other for flowable components, wherein the connection of the two devices is non-releasable so long as the device is not in use.

It is an object of the invention to reduce the cost of manufacturing a device for the storage of multiple components that are to be mixed at a later time.

It is another object of the invention to reduce the risk of a faulty manipulation of a device in which multiple components are stored for joint dispensing from the device.

It is another object of the invention to be able to safely store multiple components in separate storage regions until use.

It is another object of the invention to reduce the risk of combining storage regions of a multi-component storage device with the same components by mistake.

Briefly, the invention provides a device for the storage of a plurality of components that are intended for joint use. The device is particularly suitable for multi-component adhesives.

The device includes a first storage region that defines a pocket for the reception of a first component and a second storage region that defines a pocket for the reception of a second component with the two first storage regions being arranged one above the other.

In addition, at least one cover is disposed over the pocket of at least one of the two storage regions with a seam securing the cover to at least one of the two storage regions in sealed relation while a connecting means secures the two storage regions outside the seam relative to the cover.

In this arrangement, each storage region is formed by a foil of the same material which is, in particular, designed as a deep drawing foil. The two foils can be non-releasably and sealingly connected, by the connecting means preferably formed by thermal welding, ultrasonic welding or laser welding. Thermal welding has proven to be a particularly simple and safe method. In this connection, readily weldable deep drawing foils which contain, in particular, polypropylene or polyethylene, are welded together by the pressing together of two heated stamps of a welding tool lying opposite one another. In order to improve the chemical or physical characteristics, such as the resistance to chemicals for example, multi-layer foils such as, for example, composite aluminium foils can be used, in which the surface to be welded is made of a readily weldable plastic.

In one embodiment, a single cover is used to cover the pocket of both storage regions. In another embodiment, two covers are used, with each covering a pocket of a respective storage region. In this latter embodiment, a pair of seams are formed, one for each cover in order to secure a respective cover to a respective storage region in sealed relation. The selection of one of these embodiments is, on the one hand, conditional on the chemical and physical characteristics of the components. It can, for example, be necessary for particularly reactive components to provide a special cover and/or lining of the storage region. The manufacture of pockets with different volumes lying one above the other can likewise make it necessary that each component has its own cover. Furthermore, the manufacturing method can make it necessary for the filling of the pockets to take place sequentially. This means that the pockets are first filled with a first component and closed immediately. The filling of the pockets with the second component only takes place once the desired batch size is reached.

The device also has at least one outlet or discharge passage for communicating with each pocket of each storage region for dispensing the respective components as a consequence of the action of an applied pressure on the pockets forming the storage regions. In addition, a discharge tube is provided downstream of the outlet passage with or without a mixing element within the discharge tube for receiving and dispensing the respective components.

In accordance with a further advantageous variant, an opening means is provided in order to open the storage regions immediately prior to use. An opening means of this kind can, on the one hand, be formed as a partitioning means. A partitioning means includes cutting edges which bring about cutting through of the cover, wherein the opening means is formed as a plunger or as a web of a mixing element.

As an alternative to this, the opening means can open a discharge passage in that a dilation of a slot takes place without the material of the cover or of the foils having to be cut through. An opening means of this kind is formed as a wedge for example.

A further category of opening means includes means for the releasing of the connection of the foils by kinking movements in the region of the still closed discharge passage. A movement of the discharge tube towards the pockets results in kinking in the region of the discharge passage, which prevents the discharge of the components into the discharge tube. Thus, a passage is released by the kinking movement acting on the outlet passage through which the associated component can flow, after the opening means has been activated.

The invention also provides a method for the storage and for the metering of a plurality of components. This method includes the steps of:

    • filling a first storage region with a first component,
    • closing the storage region for the storage of the first component,
    • filling a second storage region with a second component,
    • closing the second storage region for the storage of the second component,
    • arranging the first and second storage regions one above the other, and
    • fastening the first and second storage regions to one another.

To meter the components, a simultaneous pressing out of the storage regions takes place for the direct combination of the two components in the desired ratio to one another.

Subsequent to being combined, the components are mixed in a mixing element.

The opening means can be provided for each of the previously described embodiments, in order to open the storage regions directly prior to use. The opening means is arranged between a discharge tube and the storage regions, and can be operated, in particular, by a kinking movement of the storage regions and of the discharge tube so that a passage is released through the kinking movement through which the components flow into the discharge tube. This results in a step of simultaneously opening the first and second storage regions directly before use to expel the respective components therefrom.

These and other objects and advantages of the invention will become more apparent from the following detailed description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings wherein:

FIG. 1a illustrates a perspective view of device in accordance with the prior art;

FIG. 1b illustrates a front side view of the device of FIG. 1a;

FIG. 1c illustrates a side view of the device of FIG. 1a;

FIG. 2a illustrates a perspective view of further device in accordance with the prior art;

FIG. 2b illustrates a section view taken on line A-A of FIG. 2a;

FIG. 3a illustrates a perspective view of further device in accordance with the prior art;

FIG. 3b illustrates a view of the device of FIG. 3a during folding thereof;

FIG. 4a illustrates a perspective view of the top half of a device in accordance with the invention;

FIG. 4b illustrates a front side view of the device of FIG. 4a;

FIG. 4c illustrates a perspective bottom view of the device of FIG. 4a;

FIG. 5a illustrates a perspective view of the full device in accordance with the invention;

FIG. 5b illustrates a front side view of the device of FIG. 5a;

FIG. 5c illustrates a perspective bottom view of the device of FIG. 5a;

FIG. 6a illustrates a step in the assembly of a first embodiment of the device in accordance with the invention;

FIG. 6b illustrates a subsequent step in the assembly of the first embodiment of the device in accordance with the invention;

FIG. 7a illustrates a step in the assembly of a second embodiment of the device in accordance with the invention;

FIG. 7b illustrates a subsequent step in the assembly of the second embodiment of the device in accordance with the invention;

FIG. 8a illustrates a perspective view of a modified device with an integrated mixing element in accordance with the invention;

FIG. 8b illustrates a perspective view of the cover, outlet passage and mixing element used in the device of FIG. 8a;

FIG. 8c illustrates a perspective view of the cover, outlet passage, foil and mixing element used in the device of FIG. 8a; and

FIG. 9 illustrates a cross-section through a welding tool used in the fabrication of the device of FIG. 5.

Referring to FIGS. 1a to 1c, double blister packages 1 are known to have separate storage regions 2,3 within which in which two components are stored next to each other. These regions 2,3 are in the form of pockets 4,8 that are formed in a foil 6 and that are sealed over by a cover 5 (see FIGS. 1b and 1c). The package 1 includes discharge passages 7, 9 extending from the storage regions 2, 3.

As indicated in FIGS. 2a and 2b, the cover 5 extends over both storage regions 2,3 to close the pockets 5,8 after the interior of the storage regions (2, 3) have been filled with the first and the second components. This cover 5 is in particular formed as a sealing foil so that the components can be stored in the pockets (4, 8) sealed against environmental influences.

In use, the components are pressed out of the package 1 one after the other.

Referring to FIGS. 3a and 3b, wherein like reference characters indicate like parts as above, the device 1 may be provided with a fold line 18 along an axis of symmetry so that the two pockets (4, 8) can be folded one over the other over a pre-determined bending edge. In this case, the components stored in the pockets (4, 8) can be pressed out together. For this, a pressure is applied to the pockets (4, 8) after a communication between the pockets and the environment has been created. Suitable for means for the manufacture of a connection of this kind are disclosed in WO2006/079413.

This package is certainly simple to manufacture; however, the package has the disadvantage that the correct use has to be explained and there is also the possibility of faulty manipulation. Moreover, a solution with a common discharge passage or with an integrated mixing element can not be realised.

As shown in FIGS. 3a and 3b, bringing storage regions 2, 3 which are filled with different components into an oppositely disposed position also positions the two discharge passages 7, 9 one above the other, as do the pockets (4, 8), so that an applied pressure can be exerted on both pockets together. This arrangement has the advantage that both components are pressed out simultaneously. However, it should be guaranteed that the volumes of the two pockets 2, 3 are at least approximately the same, so that the applied pressure can be exerted as evenly as possible. The arrangement in accordance with FIG. 3 thus only has a limited clearance to press out different volumes and/or components with greatly differing flow characteristics.

Referring to FIGS. 4a, 4b and 4c, wherein like reference characters indicate like parts as above, the disadvantages of the prior art can be avoided using a storage and metering device in accordance with the invention for the storage of a plurality of components which are intended for joint use.

As shown, the top half of the storage and metering device includes a first storage region 2 in the form of a pocket 4 that is formed in a foil 6 which fully surrounds the pocket 4. The pocket 4 has the shape of a half shell for the reception of a first component which is to be regarded as a particularly advantageous embodiment due to the simple manufacturability. Regardless of this, the pocket 4 can have any other shape that has a hollow space in their interior, which can serve for the reception of a component, in particular of a flowable component.

The storage and metering device also includes a discharge passage 7 that communicates with the storage region 2 and protrudes beyond the storage region 2.

As shown in FIG. 4b, the storage region 2 and the discharge passage 7 are enclosed by an annular cover 5. The cover 5 is a sealing foil, in particular a sealing foil which is sealingly connected to the foil 6 by means of a seam 14, as shown in FIG. 4c, in such a way that the component can be stored in the interior of the pocket 4. As indicated, the seam is of annular shape and is located concentrically outside of the pocket 4.

Referring to FIGS. 5a, 5b and 5c, wherein like reference characters indicate like parts as above, the entire storage and metering device includes a first storage region 2 for the reception of a first component in a first foil 6 and a second storage region 3 for the reception of a second component in a second foil 10 wherein the storage regions 2, 3 are arranged substantially one above the other. Each storage region 2, 3 includes a pocket 4, 8, which is sealingly closed by a cover 5 that can be sealed to the respective pocket 4,8 while forming a seam 14 (not shown). In addition, a discharge passage 7,9 is connected to each respective storage region 2,3.

The foils 6,10 are connected directly to each other concentrically outside the seam 14 (not shown) via an annular connecting means 16 at the peripheral edges. In this arrangement, the foils 6,10 are made up of the same material and are, in particular, designed as deep drawing foils that can be inseparably and sealingly connected preferably by thermal welding, ultrasonic welding or laser welding. Thermal welding has proved to be a particularly preferable method because it is simple and safe. In this connection, readily weldable deep drawn foils, which contain polypropylene or polyethylene, for example, are welded together by the pressing together of two heated stamps of a welding tool lying opposite one another. In order to improve the chemical or physical characteristics, such as resistance to chemicals, multiple layer foils, such as aluminium composite foils, can be used in which the surface to be welded is made of a readily weldable plastic.

Referring to FIGS. 6a and 6b, wherein like reference characters indicate like parts as above, each half of the storage and metering device can be separately formed with each half having a cover 5,11 over the respective pocket 2,3 and with the two halves being brought into overlying relation to complete the formation of the device. This embodiment is particularly useful for particularly reactive components since a special covering and/or lining of the storage region can be provided. Further, the use of separate covers 5,11 allows the pockets 2,3 to have different volumes relative to each other.

Furthermore, the manufacturing process can provide for the step of filling of the pockets to take place sequentially. This means that the pockets have first to be filled with a first component and closed. The filling of the pockets with the second component only takes place once the desired batch size has been reached.

In accordance with FIG. 6a, a first pocket 4 in the shape of a half shell along with an outlet passage 7 are formed in a foil 6. The pocket 4 and the outlet passage 7 are then covered by the annular cover 5 after a first component has been filled into the pocket 4. The cover 5 is sealingly connected to the foil 6 with the connection including a sealing operation. In this case, the cover 5 is formed as a sealing foil.

Subsequent to this, a second pocket 8 in the shape of a half shell along with an outlet passage 9 are formed in a second foil 10. The pocket 8 and the outlet passage 9 are then covered by the annular cover 11 after a second component has been filled into the pocket 8.

The two storage regions 2,3 are then positioned one above the other, as shown in FIG. 6b. Then the foils 6, 10 are joined radially outside of the covers 5,11 by means of a joining means 16, with the joining means including in particular a welding tool for the manufacture of a welded connection.

Referring to FIGS. 7a and 7b, wherein like reference characters indicate like parts as above, in an alternative embodiment, a single cover 5 may be provided for separating the two storage regions 2,3 from each other.

In this embodiment, the filling and sealing of the pocket 4 of the first storage region 2 takes place in the same way as illustrated and described in FIG. 6a. Thereafter, the pocket 8 of the second storage region 3 is filled. In this case, instead of the cover 11, the cover 5 of the storage region 2 is used as a cover because the whole storage region 2 is laid on the storage region 3. A connection is made by means of a connecting means 16 around the cover 5 so that the two storage regions 2 and 3 are fixedly connected to one another. The connection means 16 in particular includes a welded connection of the foil 6 to the foil 10 outside of the sealing of the storage region 3 with the cover 5, i.e. concentrically outside of the annular cover 5.

Referring to FIG. 8a, wherein like reference characters indicate like parts as above, the storage and metering device is provided with a discharge tube 13 downstream of the outlet passage 7 for receiving and dispensing the respective components therefrom. As indicated, the storage region 2 and pocket 4 may have an elongated shape and the foil 6 may have a T-shaped extension.

Referring to FIG. 8b, the storage and metering device is also provided with a mixing element 12 that is disposed within and along the discharge tube 13 (see FIG. 8a) for mixing of the two components that are discharged through the discharge tube 13. In this view, the foil 6 is omitted so that the interior of the device is visible. The cover 5 and the outlet passages 7, 9 for the two components are shown in particular. The discharge tube 13 is omitted to allow illustration of the mixing element 12.

Referring to FIG. 8c, the cover 5 is again left out, however the foil 10 surrounding the storage region 3 is shown. As shown, an opening means 17 is provided in the storage and metering device to open the storage regions 2,3 directly prior to use.

The opening means 17 is formed as a partitioning means and includes cutting edges which effect a cutting through of the cover 5 and which are arranged in the region of the outlet passage or is formed as a plunger (not shown) or a web of the mixing element 12 (not shown).

Alternatively, the opening means 17 can open the outlet passage 7,9 in that a widening of a slit takes place without material of the cover 5 or of the foils 6 needing to be cut through. An opening means of this kind 17 is formed as a wedge, for example.

A further category of opening means 17 includes means for the opening a gap between the foils 6,10 by kinking movements in the region of the still closed outlet passage 7, 9. Through movement of the discharge tube 13 towards the pockets 4, 8, kinking in the closing region of the outlet passage results, which prevents the discharge of the components into the discharge tube 13, as long as the device is not in use. Thus, the cover is torn open by means of the kinking movement acting on the outlet passage 7, 9, so that a passage is freed through which the associated components can flow after the opening means 17 have been actuated. The outlet passages 7, 9 are arranged offset relative to one another. The upper cover 5 is torn open by means of the outlet passage 9, the lower cover 11, if present, by means of the outlet passage 7.

The whole device is connected outside the seam securing the covers 5,11 to the foils 6,10 and, if necessary, around the discharge tube 13 for the mixing element 12 by a connecting means 16. A welded connection can in particular be manufactured by means of the connecting means.

Referring to FIG. 9, the foil 6 which forms the pocket 4 for the storage region 3 and the outlet passage 7 and the foil 10 which forms the pocket 8 for the storage region 3 and the outlet passage 9 can be welded together by means of a welding tool 15 with the welding taking place outside the cover 5, i.e. outside the seam.

The storage and metering device in accordance with any one of the above embodiment is, in particular, suitable for multiple component adhesives or multiple component sealants.

The method for the storage and for the metering of a plurality of components includes the following steps:

    • the filling of a storage region 2 with a first component,
    • the closing of the storage region 2 for the storage of the first component,
    • the filling of a storage region 3 with a second component
    • the closing of the storage region 3 for the storage of the second component,
    • the arranging of the storage regions 2, 3 substantially one above the other,
    • the fastening of the storage regions 2,3 to one another by means of a connecting means 16.

For the metering of the components, a simultaneous pressing out of the storage regions 2, 3 takes place for the direct combination of the two components for metering in the desired ratio to one another. Subsequent to being combined, the components can be mixed in the mixing element 12. An opening means 17 can be provided for each of the previously described embodiments in order to open the storage regions 2, 3 directly before use, so that the components can emerge from the storage regions 2,3. The opening means 17 is arranged between the discharge tube 13 and the storage regions 2, 3 and can, in particular, be operated by a kinking movement of the storage regions and of the discharge tube 13, so that a passage is released by the kinking movement through which the components flow into the discharge tube 13.

The invention thus provides a simple and economical device with sealed storage regions lying one above the other for flowable components that can be safely stored for mixing at a later time. The invention also reduces the risk of a faulty manipulation of the device as well as the risk of combining storage regions with the same components by mistake.