Title:
Device for reception of objects and climatic cabinet
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The invention concerns an apparatus for holding objects, with an object holder, a connecting device for fixing of the apparatus with respect to its surroundings, and with an adjusting device connecting the object holder and the connecting device, and a climatic cabinet on which the apparatus can be situated. In order to create accurate adjustment possibilities for the apparatus, it is characterized in that the adjusting device is designed such that it can be adjusted, with respect to the connecting device, along a first axis and a second axis and around a rotational axis by means of adjusting elements; in that separate adjusting elements are provided for adjustments along the first and second axes; and in that common adjusting elements are provided for adjustments along the first or second axes and around the rotational axis.



Inventors:
Ferger, Stefan (Ranstadt, DE)
Application Number:
10/125578
Publication Date:
11/07/2002
Filing Date:
04/19/2002
Assignee:
FERGER STEFAN
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B01L1/00; B01L9/00; C12M1/00; (IPC1-7): A47B81/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
WILKENS, JANET MARIE
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BakerHostetler (Washington, DC, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. An apparatus to hold objects, with an object holder, a connecting device for fixing the apparatus with respect to its surroundings and with an adjusting device that connects the object holder and the connecting device, characterized in that the adjusting device (7) is designed so that it can be adjusted with respect to the connecting device (6) along a first axis and a second axis and around a rotational axis by means of adjusting elements; in that separate adjusting elements are provided for adjustment along the first and second axes; and in that common adjusting elements are provided for adjustment of the first or second axes and around the rotational axis.

2. The apparatus according to claim 1, characterized in that the first and the second axes are arranged perpendicular to one another.

3. The apparatus according to claim 1, characterized in that the connecting device (6) has adjusting elements for an adjustment with respect to the surroundings along a third axis.

4. The apparatus according to claim 1, characterized in that an adapter is located in a defined position on the connecting device (6) and in that the adapter has adjusting elements for an adjustment with respect to the surroundings along a third axis.

5. The apparatus according to claim 3, characterized in that the third axis is arranged perpendicular to the first and the second axes.

6. The apparatus according to one of claim 1, characterized in that the adjusting device (7) has guide grooves (9), and guide bolts that mesh into the guide grooves (9).

7. The apparatus according to one of claim 6, characterized in that the adjusting device (7) has adjusting screws for fine adjustments.

8. The apparatus according to one of claim 1, characterized in that the rotational axis is located parallel to the first or second axes.

9. The apparatus according to one of claim 1, characterized in that the adjusting device (7) has a basic body (18) located on the connecting device (6) that is preferably designed as a rectangular parallelepiped, and an adjusting body (19), preferably U-shaped, at least partially adjacent to the basic body (18) that embraces the basic body (18).

10. The apparatus according to claim 9, characterized in that the adjusting body (19) can be adjusted with respect to the basic body (18) along an axis and around the rotational axis.

11. The apparatus according to claim 10, characterized in that the object holder (4) is fixed in place on the adjusting body (19).

12. The apparatus according to one of claim 1, characterized in that the object holder (4) is essentially designed in the form of a plate.

13. The apparatus according to one of claim 1, characterized in that the connecting device (6) is designed as a connecting plate.

14. The apparatus according to claim 4, characterized in that the adapter is designed as a plate.

15. A climatic cabinet with a service opening for the introduction of objects, wherein an apparatus for holding objects, with an object holder and an adjusting device, is situated below or in the vicinity of the service opening by means of a connecting device, characterized in that the adjusting device (7) is designed to be adjustable with respect to the connecting device (6) along a first axis and along a second axis, and around a rotational axis, by means of adjusting elements; in that separate adjusting elements are provided for the adjustment along the first and the second axis; and in that common adjusting elements are provided for the adjustment along the first or the second axis and around the rotational axis.

16. The climatic cabinet according to claim 15, characterized in that the connecting device (6) is fixed in a predefined position on an adapter, which is held on the outside wall of the climatic cabinet (1) in such a way that its position can be adjusted.

17. The climatic cabinet according to claim 15, characterized in that the object holder (4) has a placement surface (21) for objects, and in that the placement surface (21) can be displaced in its position with respect to the horizontal, and can be aligned vertically, by adjusting the object holder (4) around the rotational axis.

Description:

PRIORITY

[0001] This application claims priority to German Patent Application No. 10119650.4 entitled, DEVICE FOR RECEPTION OF OBJECTS AND CLIMATIC CABINET, filed Apr. 20, 2001, the disclosure of which is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0002] The present invention relates generally to an apparatus for holding objects and an associated environmental enclosure. More particularly, the present invention relates to an object holder having an adjusting and a connecting device mounted within a climatic cabinet with an easy access opening.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0003] Known object holder apparatuses of the generic type are, for example, provided with spherical joints and are in that way adjustable. However, a separate adjustment of individual axes by means of spherical joints is not possible. In addition, spherical joints do not permit fine adjustment. Moreover, adjusting devices for displacement along an axis are known.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0004] The goal of the invention is to develop further the generic state of the art, so as to create possibilities for exact three-dimensional adjustment.

[0005] It is therefore a feature and advantage of the present invention to provide an apparatus that is simple to operate and can be adjusted accurately in several directions is created in that the apparatus for holding objects is equipped with an object holder, a connecting device for fixing the apparatus with respect to its surroundings, and an adjusting device to connect the object holder and the connecting device, and is characterized in that the adjusting device is designed to be adjustable with respect to the connecting device, along a first and second axis and around a rotational axis, by means of the adjusting elements; in that separate adjusting devices are provided for adjustment along the first and second axes; and in that a common adjusting device is provided for adjustment along the first or the second axes and around the rotational axis. The object holder can be provided in particular for holding flat objects, for example, microtiter plates. The apparatus is fixed with respect to its surroundings by means of the connecting device, for example, to a wall or to the floor. The connecting device is connected with the object holder via an adjusting device, which makes possible adjustment of the object holder relative to the connecting device and thus to the surroundings.

[0006] It is appropriate for the first and the second axes to be arranged perpendicular to one another. Moreover, it is advantageous for the connecting device to have adjusting elements for an adjustment, with respect to the surroundings, along a third axis. It is also advantageous for an adapter to be located in a defined position on the connecting device, and for the adapter to have adjusting elements for an adjustment with respect to the surroundings along a third axis. Appropriately, the third axis is situated perpendicular with respect to the first and the other [sic; second] axes.

[0007] The adjusting device advantageously has guide grooves, and guide bolts meshing with the guide grooves, so as to facilitate displacement of the parts with respect to one another, and to increase its accuracy.

[0008] The adjusting device usefully has adjusting screws for fine adjustments, so as to increase the accuracy of the adjustments.

[0009] Moreover, it is appropriate for the rotational axis to be placed parallel to the first or second axes. Furthermore, it is sensible for the adjusting device to have a basic body located on the connecting device that is preferably designed as a rectangular parallelepiped, and an adjusting element, preferably U-shaped, at least partially adjacent to the basic body that embraces the basic body. In particular, the adjusting element can be displaced along an axis and around the rotational axis, with respect to the basic body. The object holder can be fixed in place on the adjusting element.

[0010] The object holder can essentially be designed in the shape of a plate, so as to be able to hold flat objects such as microtiter plates. The plate can have fixing elements, to [facilitate] exact positioning of the objects and to prevent their slipping. The connecting device can be appropriately designed as a connecting plate; similarly, the adapter can be designed as a plate.

[0011] It is therefore another feature and advantage of the present invention to provide a climatic cabinet having a service opening for the introduction of objects, wherein an apparatus for holding objects, with an object holder and an adjusting device is situated below or in the vicinity of the service opening, by means of a connecting device. It is characterized in that the adjusting device is designed to be adjustable with respect to the connecting device along a first axis and a second axis, and around a rotational axis, by means of adjusting elements; in that separate adjusting elements are provided for adjustment along the first and second axes; and in that common adjusting elements are provided for an adjustment along the first or second axes and around the rotational axis.

[0012] In this way, it is possible to transfer objects from the interior of the climatic cabinet, via intermediate storage on the object holder, to a robot, for example; or conversely, a robot can place objects on the object holder, so that the objects can then be brought into the interior of the climatic cabinet and deposited there. Such climatic cabinets are known, for example, from WO 98/05753 or EP 725 133 A2.

[0013] It is appropriate for the connecting device to be attached at a predefined position on an adapter, which in turn is held on the outside wall of the climatic cabinet such that its position can be adjusted. In particular, it is advantageous for the object holder to have a-placement surface for objects and that it be possible to align its position vertically and horizontally by adjusting the object holder around the rotational axis.

[0014] There has thus been outlined, rather broadly, the more important features of the invention in order that the detailed description thereof that follows may be better understood, and in order that the present contribution to the art may be better appreciated. There are, of course, additional features of the invention that will be described below and which will form the subject matter of the claims appended hereto.

[0015] In this respect, before explaining at least one embodiment of the invention in detail, it is to be understood that the invention is not limited in its application to the details of construction and to the arrangements of the components set forth in the following description or illustrated in the drawings. The invention is capable of other embodiments and of being practiced and carried out in various ways. Also, it is to be understood that the phraseology and terminology employed herein, as well as the abstract, are for the purpose of description and should not be regarded as limiting.

[0016] As such, those skilled in the art will appreciate that the conception upon which this disclosure is based may readily be utilized as a basis for the designing of other structures, methods and systems for carrying out the several purposes of the present invention. It is important, therefore, that the claims be regarded as including such equivalent constructions insofar as they do not depart from the spirit and scope of the present invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0017] An embodiment of the invention is described below with the aid of drawings. The drawing figures show the following:

[0018] FIG. 1, an apparatus according to the invention, placed in a climatic cabinet;

[0019] FIG. 2, a front view of an apparatus according to the invention;

[0020] FIG. 3, a side view of an apparatus according to the invention; and

[0021] FIG. 4, a side view of an apparatus according to the invention, in various adjusted positions.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE EMBODIMENTS OF THE INVENTION

[0022] FIG. 1 shows a climatic cabinet with an apparatus according to the invention. The climatic cabinet 1 has a cabinet door 2, which is used for manual intervention inside of the climatic cabinet 1. Within the climatic cabinet 1, storage devices, for example, for microtiter plates, can be provided, along with a transporting apparatus to transport the microtiter plates from the storage devices through the service opening 3 to the object holder 4. The service opening 3 can be closed by means of a cover 5.

[0023] The object holder 4 is fixed on the climatic cabinet 1 and can be adjusted. To this end, a connecting device 6 is fixed on the climatic cabinet 1. This can also be adjusted. The adjusting device 7 is located between the connecting device 6 and the object holder 4.

[0024] FIGS. 2 to 4 show, in various views, the apparatus for the holding of objects, which comprises the connecting device 6, the adjusting device 7, and the object holder 3. The connecting device 6 is located on the wall of the climatic cabinet 1 and can be adjusted in a vertical direction. It is fixed there by means of fixing screws 8. The fixing screws 8 engage with the wall of the climatic cabinet 1 by means of grooves 9. The connecting device 6 can be displaced along the grooves 9. To this end, an adjusting screw 10 is used, with which the connecting device 6 can be displaced with regard to the climatic cabinet 1 in a known manner. The connecting device 6 has a groove 11 that runs in a horizontal direction, in which the adjusting device 7 is conducted in a horizontal direction and is adjusted. To this end, an adjusting screw 12 is used that is located approximately in the middle of the groove. The adjusting device 7 is conducted and fixed in the groove 14 by means of the fixing bolts 13 also. The adjusting screws 15 are used to adjust the adjusting device 7 perpendicularly to the wall of the climatic cabinet 1. The adjusting device 7 is secured in the adjusted position on the connecting device 6 by means of a fixing screw 16, wherein fixing bolts 17 are also provided for connecting the adjusting device 7 with the connecting device 6. Other fixing bolts 18 are located in the connecting device 6. These engage with longitudinal holes in the back wall of the climatic cabinet 1, not visible in the figure, and support adjustment or fixing of the apparatus on the climatic cabinet 1.

[0025] The adjusting device 7 essentially consists of a basic body 18, located on the connecting device 6, an adjusting body 19 located on the basic body 18, and a holder 20, wherein the holder 20 is fixed on the adjusting body 19 and is essentially extended along (not necessarily parallel to) the climatic cabinet 1. On its upper end, the holder 20 has a part 20′, which is bent at a right angle, on which the object holder 4 is fixed. The object holder 4 is essentially designed in the shape of a plate, with a placement surface 21 for objects, for example, for microtiter plates. Locking elements 22 for the locking the objects (not depicted in the figures) arranged on the placement surface 21 are located on the comers of the placement surface 21 and on two edges that lie on the opposite side.

[0026] The basic body 18 is fixed, as described above, on the connecting device 6 after adjustment. The adjusting body 19 is designed in the shape of a U, wherein it embraces the vertical side surfaces of basic body 18. The legs 23 of the adjusting body 19, which are adjacent to these side surfaces of the basic body 18, have two grooves 24 extending in the direction of the wall of the climatic cabinet 1. A fixing screw 25 engages with one of the grooves and a guide pin 26 engages with the other. The guide pin 26 is fixed in the basic body 18; the fixing screw 25 is also screwed into it there. The fixing screws 25 and the guide pins 26 are usefully placed alternately—in other words, on one of the two sides of the adjusting body 19, above, and on the other one, below. With the aid of the fixing screws 25 and the guide pins 26, both of which can be moved within grooves 24, a linear movement of the adjusting element 19, perpendicular to the back wall of the climatic cabinet 1, and a swiveling motion around an imaginary axis parallel to the back wall of the climatic cabinet 1 and running vertically, are possible. In this way, the object holder 4 and in particular, its placement surface 21 are swiveled out of the horizontal position. Before the position is locked by means of the fixing screws 24 located on the side, the extent of this movement is finely adjusted by the displacement screws 15.

[0027] Adjustment of the connecting device 6 on the climatic cabinet 1 is effected, as stated above, by means of the adjusting screw 10. This engages with a thread of a bolt 27, which in turn is locked in the back wall of the climatic cabinet 1. This swiveling motion is shown in FIG. 4.

[0028] The many features and advantages of the invention are apparent from the detailed specification, and thus, it is intended by the appended claims to cover all such features and advantages of the invention which fall within the true spirits and scope of the invention. Further, since numerous modifications and variations will readily occur to those skilled in the art, it is not desired to limit the invention to the exact construction and operation illustrated and described, and accordingly, all suitable modifications and equivalents may be resorted to, falling within the scope of the invention.