Title:
Vial package
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A vial package includes a tray having one or more spaced apart openings disposed therein with dimensions corresponding to a lower portion of a vial, and a lid having one or more spaced apart openings disposed therein with dimensions corresponding to an upper portion of the vial. The one or more bottom tray openings and the one or more lid openings are arranged such that the vial when disposed within the package is securely held in place.



Inventors:
Nguyen X, Viet (Wilmington, DE, US)
Powell, Paul (Wilmington, DE, US)
Mattson, Kimberly (Wilmington, DE, US)
Application Number:
11/805083
Publication Date:
11/29/2007
Filing Date:
05/22/2007
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
206/446, 206/486
International Classes:
B65D1/34
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
PERREAULT, ANDREW D
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Agilent Technologies, Inc. (Santa Clara, CA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A vial package comprising: a tray having one or more spaced apart openings disposed therein with dimensions corresponding to a lower portion of a vial; and a lid having one or more spaced apart openings disposed therein with dimensions corresponding to an upper portion of the vial, wherein the bottom tray openings and the lid openings are arranged such that the vial when disposed within the package is securely held in place.

2. The vial package of claim 1, wherein the dimensions of the one or more spaced apart openings disposed in the tray define a press fit or a close fit for a lower portion of the vial.

3. The vial package of claim 1, wherein the one or more spaced apart openings disposed in the tray include an open central area and a vertically extending lip surrounding the open central area.

4. The vial package of claim 3, wherein a height of the lip extends upward for a distance proportional to a height of the vial.

5. The vial package of claim 3, wherein a height of the lip extends upward for a distance proportional to an outer dimension of the vial.

6. The vial package of claim 1, wherein the one or more spaced apart openings disposed in the tray define a recess that extends below an upper surface of the tray.

7. The vial package of claim 1, wherein the one or more spaced apart openings disposed in the tray define a recess that extends downward for a depth proportional to a height of the vial.

8. The vial package of claim 1, wherein the one or more spaced apart openings disposed in the tray define a recess that extends downward for a depth proportional to an outer dimension of the vial.

9. The vial package of claim 1, wherein the one or more spaced apart openings disposed in the lid have an opening dimension corresponding to an outer dimension of an upper portion of the vial.

10. The vial package of claim 9, wherein the opening dimension defines a press fit or close fit for an upper portion of the vial.

11. The vial package of claim 1, wherein the one or more spaced apart openings disposed in the lid have an open central area and a downwardly extending lip surrounding the open central area.

12. The vial package of claim 11, wherein a height of the lip extends downward for a distance proportional to a height of the vial.

13. The vial package of claim 11, wherein a height of the lip extends downward for a distance proportional to an outer dimension of an upper portion of the vial.

14. The vial package of claim 1, wherein the one or more spaced apart openings disposed in the lid define a recess that extends above a lower surface of the lid.

15. The vial package of claim 1, wherein the one or more spaced apart openings disposed in the lid define a recess having a depth proportional to a height of the vial.

16. The vial package of claim 1, wherein the one or more spaced apart openings disposed in the lid define a recess having a depth proportional to a an outer dimension of an upper portion of the vial.

17. The vial package of claim 1, wherein the plurality of bottom tray openings are circular openings.

18. The vial package of claim 1, wherein the one or more spaced apart openings disposed in the tray are circular openings.

19. The vial package of claim 1, wherein the one or more spaced apart openings disposed in the lid are circular openings.

20. The vial package of claim 1, wherein the lid has a concave shape so as to more securely hold the vials disposed within the package.

Description:

This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/802,333 filed 22 May 2006, which is incorporated by reference herein in its entirety.

BACKGROUND

The disclosed embodiments relate to vial packaging, in particular to packaging for vials that maintains the vials securely and separate from each other.

DESCRIPTION OF RELATED DEVELOPMENTS

The use of vials to contain reagents or samples for use in HPLC and GC is well known. These vials are often made of glass and transported in boxes containing, for example, up to one hundred vials at a time. It is not unknown for vials to crack or break during transportation thus creating an inconvenience or in some instances, a safety hazard for the transporter during shipment and for customers when opening the package. This cracking or breaking can be due to the vials hitting each other during transportation. FIG. 1 shows an exemplary known package 100. In FIG. 1, approximately one hundred vials 105 are located within a bottom tray 110 of the package 100.

A top or lid 120 approximately the same length and width as the bottom tray 110 is placed over the bottom tray 110 to contain the vials 105 located within. However, as can be clearly seen in FIG. 1, vials 125 and 130 have fallen over within the bottom tray 110 after several vials were consumed. Thus, this and other package arrangements may cause a safety hazard as well as make it difficult for a customer to remove the vials from the package once they have fallen over and are lying on their side. In addition, the vials may rub up against each other during handling or transportation, causing paint markings or labeling located on the side of the vial to be worn off, confusing the identification of the vials and generating contaminants from the labeling.

Yet a further disadvantage of known packaging arrangements for vials is that when a package is fully loaded with vials it can be very difficult for a customer to remove a vial as they are located extremely close to one another leaving no free space around the top of the vial in which to grab the vial.

FIG. 2 shows another known vial package 200 in which a center insert 210 is located within the bottom tray 205 of the vial package 200. In this arrangement the vials 215 are located within openings 220 of the center insert 210. The openings 220 are spaced apart in such a manner that the vials do not make contact with each other once inserted through the opening in the center insert. This prevents the vials from falling over during transport and enables easier removal of the vials from the package. Vial movement up and down may cause paint markings or labeling located on the side of the vial to be worn off, confusing the identification of the vials and generating contaminants from the labeling, but not causing breaking. The main drawback of this 3-piece design is it is expensive.

SUMMARY

The presently disclosed embodiments are directed to a vial package including a tray having one or more spaced apart openings disposed therein with dimensions corresponding to a lower portion of a vial, and a lid having one or more spaced apart openings disposed therein with dimensions corresponding to an upper portion of the vial. The one or more bottom tray openings and the one or more lid openings are arranged such that the vial when disposed within the package is securely held in place.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The foregoing aspects and other features of the presently disclosed embodiments are explained in the following description, taken in connection with the accompanying drawings, wherein:

FIGS. 1 and 2 show diagrams of known vial packages;

FIG. 3 shows an exemplary diagram of a vial packaging system suitable for practicing the embodiments disclosed herein;

FIG. 4A shows a cross section of a portion of a tray;

FIG. 4B shows an embodiment with an opening dimension corresponding to a variable outside diameter of a vial;

FIG. 4C shows an embodiment with a recess that extends below an upper surface of the tray;

FIG. 4D shows an embodiment where a recess extends only to an upper surface of the tray;

FIG. 5A shows a cross section of a portion of a lid;

FIG. 5B shows an embodiment with an opening dimension corresponding to a variable outside diameter of an upper portion of a vial;

FIG. 5C shows an embodiment with a recess that extends above a lower surface of the lid;

FIG. 5D shows an embodiment where a recess extends only to a lower surface of the lid;

FIG. 5E shows an embodiment where a recess 550 has a depth that extends beyond an upper surface of the lid;

FIG. 6 shows another exemplary lid 600 suitable for use with the disclosed embodiments; and

FIG. 7 shows an assembled vial package according to the presently disclosed embodiments.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

FIG. 3 shows an exemplary diagram of a vial packaging system 300 suitable for practicing the embodiments disclosed herein. Although the presently disclosed embodiments will be described with reference to the drawings, it should be understood that they may be embodied in many alternate forms. It should also be understood that In addition, any suitable size, shape or type of elements or materials could be used.

Vial packaging system 300 includes a tray 305 holding one or more vials 307 and a lid 310. FIG. 4A shows a cross section of a portion of tray 305. Tray 305 may have an upper surface 415 and a lower surface 420. Lower surface 420 may be substantially planar. Upper surface 415 may include one or more openings 425 having an opening dimension 430 corresponding to an outer dimension of a bottom portion of vial 307. The dimension 430 may be slightly larger than the outer vial dimension to allow for insertion and extraction of the vial. In one embodiment, the opening dimension 430 may define a press fit or close fit for a bottom portion of the vial.

The opening 425 may include an open central area 435 and a vertically extending lip 440 surrounding the open central area 435. A height 445 of the lip 440 may extend upward for a distance selected so as to stabilize a bottom portion of the vial in the opening. In one embodiment, the height 445 of the lip 440 may be proportional to a height of the vial 307. In another embodiment, the height of the lip 440 may be proportional to the outer dimension of the vial, or to a transverse dimension of a vial, for example, a diameter.

Turning to FIG. 4B, in other embodiments opening dimension 430 may correspond to a variable outside diameter of a bottom portion of the vial that parallels the height of the lip. For example, where the bottom portion of the vial that fits within the lip is conical in shape or otherwise has tapered sides, the opening dimension 430 may correspond to the conical or tapered shape.

Turning now to FIG. 4C, in one or more embodiments opening 425 may define a recess 450 that extends below upper surface 415. A depth 455 of the recess 450 may extend downward for a distance selected so as to stabilize the vial in opening 425. In one embodiment, the depth 455 of the recess 450 may be proportional to a height of the vial. In another embodiment, the depth of the recess may be proportional to the outer dimension of the vial, or to a transverse dimension of a vial, for example, a diameter. An inside dimension 460 of the recess 450 may correspond to a variable outside dimension of a bottom portion of the vial parallel to the depth of the recess. For example, where the bottom portion of the vial is conical in shape or otherwise has tapered sides, the inside dimension 460 may correspond to the outer shape of the vial.

FIG. 4D shows an embodiment where recess 450 only extends to upper surface 415. Recess 450 may also have other dimensions for the purposes of stabilizing the vial in position. Referring again to FIG. 4A, in some embodiments upper and lower surfaces 415, 420 may define a chamber 460 in which the bottom portions of one or more vials may be secured. The distance 465 between the upper and lower surfaces 415, 420 may be selected in order to securely hold the vial, and similar to the embodiments above, the distance between the upper and lower surface may be proportional to a height or to a transverse dimension of a vial.

FIG. 5A shows a cross section of a portion of lid 310. Lid 310 may be similar in construction to tray 305 and may have an upper surface 515 and a lower surface 520. Upper surface 515 may be substantially planar. Lower surface 520 may include one or more openings 525 having an opening dimension 530 corresponding to an outer dimension of an upper portion of vial 307. The dimension 530 may be slightly larger than the outer vial dimension to allow for insertion and extraction of the vial. In one embodiment, the opening dimension 530 may define a press fit or close fit for the upper portion of the vial.

The opening 525 may include an open central area 535 and a downwardly extending lip 540 surrounding the open central area 535. A height 545 of the lip 540 may extend downward for a distance selected so as to stabilize a bottom portion of the vial in the opening. In one embodiment, the height 545 of the lip 540 may be proportional to a height of the vial 307 or to an upper portion of the vial. In another embodiment, the height of the lip 540 may be proportional to the outer dimension of the upper portion of the vial, or to a transverse dimension of the upper portion of the vial, for example, a diameter.

Turning to FIG. 5B, in other embodiments opening dimension 530 may correspond to a variable outside diameter of an upper portion of the vial that parallels the height of the lip. For example, where the upper portion of the vial that fits within the lip is conical in shape or otherwise has tapered sides, the opening dimension 530 may correspond to the conical or tapered shape.

Turning now to FIG. 5C, in one or more embodiments opening 525 may define a recess 550 that extends above lower surface 520. A depth 555 of the recess 550 may extend upward for a distance selected so as to stabilize the upper portion of the vial in opening 525. In one embodiment, the depth 555 of the recess 550 may be proportional to a height of the vial. In another embodiment, the depth of the recess may be proportional to the outer dimension of the upper portion of vial, or to a transverse dimension of a vial, for example, a diameter. An inside dimension 560 of the recess 550 may correspond to a variable outside dimension of an upper portion of the vial parallel to the depth of the recess. For example, where the upper portion of the vial is conical in shape or otherwise has tapered sides, the inside dimension 560 may correspond to the outer shape of the vial.

FIG. 5D shows an embodiment where recess 550 only extends to lower surface 520. Recess 550 may also have other dimensions for the purposes of stabilizing the vial in position.

FIG. 5E shows an embodiment where recess 550 has a depth that extends upward beyond upper surface 515. In this embodiment, a lower edge 565 of the lid extends downward as an outer shroud that may extend over tray 305 when lid 310 is assembled over tray 305.

Referring again to FIG. 5A, in some embodiments upper and lower surfaces 515, 520 may define a chamber 560 in which the bottom portions of one or more vials may be secured. The distance 565 between the upper and lower surfaces 515, 520 may be selected in order to securely hold the vial, and similar to the embodiments above, the distance between the upper and lower surface may be proportional to a height or to a transverse dimension of a vial.

FIG. 6 shows another exemplary lid 600 suitable for use with the disclosed embodiments. Lid 600 may have a planer lower edge 605 and a concave upper surface 610. The height of the recesses, for example, 615, 620 vary such that the height of the recesses 625 in the center of lid 600 is lower than the height of the recesses 630 toward edges of the lid 600. This concave upper surface 610 serves to act as a spring on top of the vials after the lid 600 has been put in place over tray 305. This feature advantageously reduces vial movement during transportation. The upper surface 610 may be made of a rigid material or alternatively can be made of a material which is slightly flexible and which will give a little when it comes into contact with an upper surface of the vials.

Returning to the example embodiment shown in FIG. 3, tray 305 is shown having a plurality of openings 315 formed within. Tray 305 may be substantially planer and rectangular in shape and in this example may have one hundred openings 315 arranged in ten rows 320 with ten openings per row. Each opening 315 may be substantially circular through which vial 307 may be inserted. As will be appreciated the number of opening as well as the diameter of the opening may be modified according to a customers needs, the dimensions of the vials to be placed in the package, or for any other suitable reason. In this example tray 305 may be approximately 6 inches long and 6 inches wide and 1 inch deep. Each opening 315 may have a radius of approximately 0.32 inches and a center to center spacing of approximately 0.6 inches. The openings 315 in the tray 305 may be integrally formed of a molded plastic which may be suitably rigid and durable. In this embodiment the package material may be PolyEthleneTerephtalate Glycol (PETG) FDA approved or any PETG derivative provided the material does not cause contamination of the vials contained within the package and is suitably easy to manufacture.

Also shown in FIG. 3 is lid 310. Lid 310 may also be substantially planer and rectangular in shape and may have dimensions similar to tray 305. Lid 310 may also have openings 330 formed within. The openings 330 may be located such that when the lid is placed over tray 305, vials 307 disposed in the tray 305 openings 315 will fit within the corresponding openings 330 in lid 310. The lid openings 330 may have the same radius and center to center spacing as the bottom tray openings 305. Alternately the lid openings 330 may have a smaller radius to accommodate vials which have narrower tops, or may have a larger radius to accommodate vials which have wider tops. In other embodiments, the lid openings may have any suitable radius for capturing and securing the upper portion of the vials 307. In the alternative, the openings in either the bottom tray or the lid can be made of a smaller radius to ensure a tighter fit of the vials within the package thus further providing for safer transport of the vials. The depth of the openings 315 in the tray 310 in this embodiment may be approximately 0.25 inch whereas the depth of the lid openings 330 in this embodiment may be approximately 0.16 inch.

The choice of depth for both the tray openings 315 and the lid openings 330 as well as the opening radius for the opening in both the tray and lid may depend upon a balance between the need to hold the vials securely in place and for ease of removal of the vials. For example, in the case of a loose fitting vial the opening depth in the tray may be made sufficiently deep so that the vial will not fall over during loading of the vials in the tray. The radius and depth of the lid opening may be calculated to minimize the sideways movement of the vials and to protect the vials from dislocating during transportation. Finally, the vials may be spaced apart in order to prevent rubbing, to address customers needs, and for ease of vial removal from tray 305.

FIG. 7 shows an assembled vial package 700 according to the presently disclosed embodiments. The lid 310, 600 is assembled with the tray 305. As will be appreciated, the tray 305 and lid 310, 600 may be formed so as to snap together or to otherwise be fastened together using any suitable mechanism.

The disclosed embodiments may be suitable for use with, for example, high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) vials and Gas Chromatography (GC) vials. The disclosed embodiments advantageously place each vial within the package so that the vials do not contact each other during transportation nor do they move up and down within the package to a degree that may cause damage. Furthermore markings on the side of the vials will not be removed or wear off due to the vials coming in to contact with each other during transportation. The disclosed package arrangement also enables customers to easily remove vials from the vial tray regardless of the number of vials present in the package. The package may be designed to be lightweight and easy to manufacture and to provide a low cost, reliable and safe means for transporting vials.

It should be understood that the foregoing description is only illustrative of the present embodiments. Various alternatives and modifications can be devised by those skilled in the art without departing from the embodiments disclosed herein. Accordingly, the embodiments are intended to embrace all such alternatives, modifications and variances which fall within the scope of the appended claims.