[ Dec. 10, 1974 United States Patent 91 Scordato et al.
[ PIPETTE TIP PACKAGE 1,129,884 5/1962 Germany........................... 1,475,924 2/1967 France 1,152,305 9/1957 France..............................
Primary Examiner-Leonard Summer  Assignee: Medical Laboratory Automation,
Inc., Mt. Vernon, NY.
Aug. 9, 1972 Attorney, Agent or Firm-William P. Keegan  Filed:
ABSTRACT Appl. No.1 279,259
52 us. 206/223, 206/486, 206/503 A Package disfmable PiPete tiPS which tapered pipette tips are supported on trays by projecting 29/282 B65d 85/30, B65d 21/00 through apertures provided in the tray and in which 51 E Field of searchumu 206/65 K 65 A 72 47 R the trays have sidewalls that extend downwardly from 206/223 2 6 2 the tip supporting surface of the tray a distance greater than the distance the pipette tips project through the supporting surface. The sidewalls of the  References Cited UNITED STATES PATEN is stacked, When the trays are thus stacked, the pipette tips on one tray project into the pipette tips on the tray below.
8 7 mm m 6 "0 m 206/65 K X 206/72 X 206/72 UX 2,478,412 8/1949 McMahan.. 2,779,526 1/1957 Vogt 3,039,881 6/1962 Shapiro...... 3,356,462 12/1967 Cooke et al 3,494,201 2/1970 Roach........ FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS 9 Claims, 11 Drawing Figures 269,367 10/1950 Switzerland.......................206/65A FIG 5 0 31853.21? 'smeo'i 4 FIG 3 PIPETTE TIP PACKAGE This invention relates to disposable tips for pipettes and to packaging means for such tips.
With the introduction of disposable items in the medical equipment supply field there has come a need for convenience packages for such items. By convenience, it is meant that an appropriate number (depending on the item and its rate of use) of items must be package in a compact volume, the items must be readily accessible to the technician or other person using the item, the item preferably is to be put in use without the necessity of a technician handling the item, particularly if the item is to contact biological fluids or the like, and if possible the original package is to serve as a receptacle for the disposable item after its use.
Accordingly, the object of the present invention is to provide a package for disposable pipette tips which has the foregoing convenience features.
In carrying out the invention, there is provided a disposable pipette tip having a plurality of circumferentially spaced supporting ribs that support the tips as they are stacked one inside another so that they do not wedge together, preferably without the walls of one tip contacting the interior of the tip into which it is stacked. The tips are placed in apertured trays such that the tips project through the tray but are supported thereon by their supporting ribs. The trays are provided with depending walls that support the tray above a surface a distance that slightly exceeds the length of the portion of the pipette tip projecting downwardly through the tray. The tray walls are sloped and provided with a peripheral shoulder so that the trays may be stacked. When the trays are stacked one above another, each tray is supported by the shoulder of the wall of the tray below and the downwardly projecting portion of a pipette tip in one tray nests freely within the pipette tip stored in the tray next below. One or more stacks of pipette tip loaded trays may be placed in a carton for shipment and distribution. A tip removing member is provided for removing a tip from a pipette after it has been used and for depositing it in the original carton from which the stacked tip trays have been removed.
Features and advantages of the invention may be gained from the foregoing and from the description of a preferred embodiment of the invention which follows.
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a disposable pipette tip;
FIG. 2 is an isometric view of the pipette tip tray;
FIG. 3 is a top plan view of the pipette tip trays;
FIG. 4 is a sectional view taken along line 44 of FIG. 3;
FIG. 5 is an enlarged segmental detail view partly in section showing especially how the disposable tips nest one inside another;
FIG. 6 is an isometric exploded view showing a stack of pipette tip trays and the carton in which the trays are packed;
FIG. 7 is an isometric view of a cover for a stack of tip trays;
FIG. 8 is an isometric exploded view showing a sleeve that may be used with an individual pipette tip tray;
FIG. 9 is an isometric view of the tip remover member; and a segment of the tray carton;
FIG. 10 is a fragmentary sectional view showing the tip remover member in place in the tray carton; and
FIG. 11 is a fragmentary side view of the carton showing the tip remover member in place.
Reference is now made to the drawings wherein FIG. 1 shows a pipette tip 10 of the disposable type which is wedge-fitted onto a manually operated pipette and into which a biological fluid is drawn. The tips are conically shaped and are provided with external ribs 11 that serve to support the tips in their packaging trays. The general configuration of the tips is well known in the art to which they pertain.
FIGS. 2 to 4 show in various views a tray 12 in which the disposable pipette tips are stored. The tray is of generally rectangular outline when viewed in plan and is seen to have side walls 13 and end walls 14 each of which comprises a lower vertical segment 15 and an upper tapered segment 16. Each sidewall is provided with a notch 18, the purpose ofwhich will be made clear hereinafter. Below the top edge of the tray walls is a tip supporting surfacel7 which is provided with a plurality of apertures through which tips 10 project. The centers of the apertures are shown by crosses in FIG. 3 and several apertures 20 are illustrated. The apertures are sized so that the tapered pipette tips will project through the apertures and be supported on surface 17 by the ribs 11 provided on the tips; the sidewalls of the tips will not contact the aperture sides so there is no possibility of the pipette tips becoming wedged in the apertures. Thus, the pipette tips will always be freely removable from the tray by the laboratory technician using the same. Also, it will be observed that the apertures are arranged in a substantially honey comb pattern for maximum packing density. It will be observed (FIG. 4) that tray 12 will be self stand ing and the ends of the tips therein will be held out of contact with a supporting surface.
A plurality of strengthening ribs 21 extend from sidewall to sidewall of tray 12 to give rigidity to the tray which preferably is molded of a suitable plastic material.
The wall configuration of tray 12 is explained with reference to FIG. 5 which illustrates how the trays can be stacked one above another even when loaded with pipette tips. The lower segments 15 and the upper segments 16 of the tray walls, and the pipette tips 10 with their supporting ribs 11 are dimensioned such that when the trays with tips are stacked as shown, the tips in one tray will nest into the tips placed in the tray below, preferably with the outside surface of the upper tips not contacting the inside surface of the lower tips. The trays are supported one on another by vertical segment 15 of one tray nesting on the shoulder 22 formed where the tapered upper segment 16 of the lower tray is connected to the vertical lower segment 15 of the same tray. It will be noted that there is a small clearance between the tops of the pipette tips in one tray and the underside of the supporting surface 17 of the tray next above it. This is preferable to the upper trays nesting directly on the pipette tips in the trays below although the latter can be done by lowering the height of the vertical segments 15 of the walls of the trays.
Attention is now directed to FIGS. 6, 7, and 8 for a description of the compact manner in which the disposable tips are packaged and the manner in which they can be put in use directly from their package. FIG. 6 shows a plurality of trays 12 containing pipette tips stacked one above another (the tips in the top tray are not shown since to do so would unnecessarily complicate the drawing) with a cover 23 (FIG. 7) placed over the top tray. The cover rests on shoulder 22 of the top tray. An adhesive band or tape 24 is placed on the stack of trays and cover 23 so that it runs down one side of the stack, across the bottom and up the other side of the stack. In this fashion the stack of trays and cover 23 are held together as a single unit. A cardboard insert 28 is provided to close the bottom of the stack of trays and thus aid in keeping the pipette tips clean. Instead of a single tape running completely across the bottom of the stack, two separate pieces of tape can each run down one side of the stack and just sufficiently onto insert 28 to hold the latter in place. The notches 18 provided in the sidewalls of trays l2 facilitate slitting tape 24 with a fingernail or knife to permit the separation of a tray from the stack. Alternatively, the band 24 may be perforated or otherwise weakened (as at 25) where the lower edges of the sidewalls of the trays rest on the shoulders 22 of the tray below so that the adhesive band can be easily severed at that point and again enable one tray at a time to be removed from the bottom of the stack while leaving the remaining trays joined together as a unit. 7
The stack of joined trays are placed in a carton 26 which is fabricated in the conventional way. An opening 27 is die cut in one upper edge of the carton; this opening is shown in more detail in FIG. 9. A pair of slits 30 is also cut in one end flap of the carton in proximity to opening 27. The purpose of the slits and opening 27 will be disclosed hereinafter.
When a stack of trays and pipette tips are placed in carton 26, a detipping element 31 and a plurality of sleeve member 32, one for each tray of pipette tips, are also packed in the carton.
De-tipping element 31 is a molded plastic piece which is of a complex design that probably can best be understood by reference to the drawing. This element and sleeves 32 will further be referred to in the description of the use of the pipette tip package.
In use, disposable pipette tips are packaged as shown in FIG. 6. For example, five trays, each containing two hundred pipette tips, would be stacked, a cover 23 placed over the top tray and the trays and the cover secured together by an adhesive band 25. This unit, plus a number of sleeves 32 and a tip removing element 31 would be placed in a carton 26 for distribution to laboratories. At a laboratory the joined together stack of I trays are removed from carton 26, and the tip removing element 31 is inserted in the carton as shown in FIGS. 10 and 11. The pipette tips will remain clean outside of carton 26 since the walls of the trays, plus cover 24 make the stacked trays practically dust tight. When tips are to be given to a technician, the bottom tray is removed first simply by severing the adhesive band at the shoulder 22 of the tray and lifting the remaining trays off the tray to be used. The tray of pipette tips plus a sleeve 32 which can he slipped over the tray are then given to the technician. The tips are then used by pressing a pipette into a tip which is thus wedged onto the pipette. The pressure applied to the pipette tip in securing it to the pipette will not wedge the tip into the aperture of its tray because as previously noted the tips are supported in the trays by their external ribs 11. To remove the disposable tip from the pipette 33, the end of the pipette is placed in the slot formed in tip-removing element 31 with the disposable tip it) inside carton 26. By moving the pipette downwardly, the tapered shape of element 31 wedges the tip from the pipette and permits the tip to fall into carton 26 which now serves as a receptacle for the used tips; no prying or wrenching motion is necessary to remove a tip, thus eliminating the need to secure the carton with the technicians sec- 0nd hand when removing a tip. It will be noted that the disposable tips 10 are placed on pipette 33 and re moved from the pipette without the need for the technician to touch the tip. Thus the technician will not contaminate the tip before its use, nor be in danger of infection or illness due to touching the tip after its use.
Having thus described my invention, it is to be understood that many apparently different embodiments thereof can be conceived without departing from its spirit and scope, and, therefore, it is intended that the foregoing description and the commpanying drawings be interpreted as illustrative rather than in a limiting sense.
What is claimed is: l. A package of pipette tips comprising a first tray having a planar tip supporting surface provided with a through which pipette tips can project, each of said trays being provided with walls depending from the tip supporting surface of the tray a distance at least equal to the length of that portion of a pipette tip projecting through the tip supporting surface of the tray, each of said depending walls being provided with a shoulder below which the wall lies in a substantially vertical plane and above which the wall is inclined inwardly towards the tip supporting surface of the tray, said second tray being supported by the shoulders provided on the walls of said first tray, and a second group of tapered pipette tips projecting through the apertures of the tip supporting surface of said second tray, each of said tips having abutment means on the outside periphery of the tip for supporting the tip on the tip supporting surface of said second tray so that the lower part of said tip projects loosely through an aperture thereof, the position of the abutment means on said second group of pipette tips and the taper and the thickness of the wall of the pipette tips included in said first and said second groups of pipette tips being such that when said second tray of pipette tips is supported on said first tray of pipette tips the pipette tips supported by said second tray nest loosely in the pipette tips supported by said first tray.
2. A package of pipette tips according to claim 1 including a cover for covering the pipette tips supported on the uppermost tray in a stack of trays of pipette tips, said cover resting on the shoulders provided on the walls of the uppermost tray.
3. A package of pipette tips according to claim 1 wherein the bottom edges of two opposite side walls are provided with notches, and including an adhesive strip securing a stack of trays of pipette tips together as a unit, said adhesive strip being adhered to the vertical portions of the walls of the trays and aligned with the notches provided in said walls.
4. A package of pipette'tips according to claim 3 including a cover for covering the pipette tips supported on the uppermost tray in a stack of trays of pipette tips, said cover resting on the shoulders provided on the uppermost tray and being secured to the stack of trays of pipette tips by the adhesive strip.
5. A package of pipette tips according to claim 2 including carton means in which said trays and pipette tips are stacked.
6. A package of pipette tips according to claim 5 including an adhesive strip securing a stack of trays of pipette tips and a cover together as a unit.
7. A package of pipette tips according to claim 5 including a plurality of sleeves into which trays of pipette tips separated from the stack of trays can be placed.
8. A package of pipette tips according to claim 5 wherein said carton means is provided with an opening and including a tie-tipping member mounted in said opening.
9. A package of pipette tips according to claim 8 wherein the carton means is provided with a pair of slits adjacent the openingin the carton means and wherein said de-tipping member is mounted on said cartor.
means by being slipped into said slits.