WO2015198707A1 - Specimen inspection automation system and specimen check module - Google Patents

Specimen inspection automation system and specimen check module

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Publication number
WO2015198707A1
WO2015198707A1 PCT/JP2015/062475 JP2015062475W WO2015198707A1 WO 2015198707 A1 WO2015198707 A1 WO 2015198707A1 JP 2015062475 W JP2015062475 W JP 2015062475W WO 2015198707 A1 WO2015198707 A1 WO 2015198707A1
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WO
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Patent type
Prior art keywords
tube
test
gripping
arm
module
Prior art date
Application number
PCT/JP2015/062475
Other languages
French (fr)
Japanese (ja)
Inventor
元 末成
巌 鈴木
孝浩 佐々木
樹生 中川
佳奈子 江崎
Original Assignee
株式会社日立ハイテクノロジーズ
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    • GPHYSICS
    • G01MEASURING; TESTING
    • G01NINVESTIGATING OR ANALYSING MATERIALS BY DETERMINING THEIR CHEMICAL OR PHYSICAL PROPERTIES
    • G01N35/00Automatic analysis not limited to methods or materials provided for in any single one of groups G01N1/00 - G01N33/00; Handling materials therefor
    • G01N35/02Automatic analysis not limited to methods or materials provided for in any single one of groups G01N1/00 - G01N33/00; Handling materials therefor using a plurality of sample containers moved by a conveyor system past one or more treatment or analysis stations
    • G01N35/04Details of the conveyor system

Abstract

The present invention comprises a pair of left and right gripping arms (36) that grips a test tube (33) by opening/closing in the left and right directions relative to an electrostatic capacitance sensor (34). The pair of left and right gripping arms contacts the test tube (33) at a position (36a) where the gripping arms are further to a front face side with respect to the electrostatic capacitance sensor (34) than a line (66) that passes through the center of the test tube (33) to be gripped and where the gripping arms do not protrude further toward the electrostatic capacitance sensor (34) side than an end face (64) of the test tube (33). The pair of left and right gripping arms is capable of securing the test tube by making the end face (64) of the test tube (33) protrude toward the electrostatic capacitance sensor (34) from an end face (65) of the gripping arms (36). The test tube (33) is raised up from a holder (22) by the gripping arms (36) when scanning a liquid level (56) and a blood clot interface (57) by the electrostatic capacitance sensor.

Description

Specimen test automation system and the sample check module

The present invention relates to a specimen test automation system and the sample check module used in the pretreatment before introduction into the automated analyzer for analyzing the component concentrations.

Patent Document 1, close to the side surface of the blood collection tube, a capacitance probe which faces provided, in the vicinity of the capacitance probe as only blood collection tube and its contents is present, a capacitance probe by moving along a vertical support column, it is moved up and down while maintaining a constant distance between the side surface of the blood collection tube. Since the influence of the blood collection tube in the vertical movement of the electrostatic capacitance probe is kept constant, since the difference in dielectric constant of the material layer is a content is detected as a change in capacitance of the capacitance probe, this based on the capacitance change position, it discloses a technique for detecting a boundary surface of the material layer.

JP 2001-108506 JP

In the field of clinical tests, specimens such as blood, urine collected from the patient in the hospital is enclosed in a test tube and analyzed by transported to the laboratory or testing center hospital analyzer.

Before analysis, test tube sample was sealed (hereinafter, referred to as parent test tube) with respect to, centrifugation, unplugging, a plurality of test tubes to be used for sample dispensing from the parent tube (hereinafter, it is necessary to perform the pre-processing, such as dispensing to the child test tube referred to as). Recently, these pre-processing is automated, is used in a specimen test automation system hospital laboratory, or checking center like.

While analyte is delivered to the dispensed by the analyzer to a plurality of types of child test tube, because the amount of liquid during the dispensing is insufficient not be measuring the test items shall bled again.

In contrast, it is possible to issue a child sample from a high test item priority if knowing the amount of liquid previously analyte. In addition to this, since it is possible to produce a liquid shortage in alarm at an early stage even when performing the blood collection again, it is possible to reduce the burden on patients, such as waiting time.

However, the check of the liquid amount and the state of the specimen larger place due to the visual confirmation by the user (manual work), likely to be the left and right to the user's experience and feeling. Further, there is a limit in a human way to determine in a timely tuned to improved throughput.

As a technique for detecting the liquid amount of the specimen, for example, a technique as described above.

By the way, on the surface of a test tube is attached a bar code label important information is described, such as parameters required for patient ID, personal information and device management, test tube type and the label of the test tube depending on the size and case that the whole of the tube wall is coated, are affixed label superimposed over and over again, often referred contents are no longer visible.

In the method using the electrostatic capacitance of the Patent Document 1, it is possible to detect the interface in a non-contact, it is possible to grasp in advance the liquid volume before issuing child sample. Also it is possible for hardly affected by low dielectric constant sheet, bar code labels for the detection of the interfacial be wall across Ya superimposed several times over the blood collection tube.

The principle of the capacitive proximity sensor is the same as the capacitor, resulting polarization of the object by the electric field formed by the voltage applied to the capacitive sensor, the capacitance which changes according to the charge generated by the polarization to detect, it is greatly influenced by the distance between the dielectric constant and the substance of the target substance.

Usually, tubes to be transported through the system is placed in the holder or rack, when scanning the surface with an electrostatic capacitance sensor is out of its holder or rack lift the tubes by the arm, and the gripping and fixing without it, it is impossible to detect the interface below the holder or rack height. In the interface detection technology contactless using a capacitive sensor, the distance of the target substance (or especially tubes tilt, tube type, such as a diameter 13cm and diameter 16cm) and the substance Surrounding material (gripping arms and test stopper of the tube to be greatly affected by the placing the tubes stand), the gripping and fastening method has a significant meaning.

However, the opening of the test tube in the open arms of holes to fit in such test tubes as described in Patent Document 1 is fixed, in the method of fixing a certain platform recessed tubes bottom, the diameter of the holes themselves of the arm but because it does not change, can not accommodate different diameters 13cm and diameter 16cm of test tube diameters, there is a possibility that the test tube is tilted.

Further, since the bottom portion shape of the test tube may vary depending tube type, it is difficult to fix the recess in the test tube bottom of the same shape uniformly, when inserted in inclined tubes can not correct at the bottom Therefore, it would be fixed while inclined. Since the capacitance sensor to be greatly affected by the distance to the target substance, a test tube the accuracy of interface detection deteriorates tilts, in the above-described method it is difficult to correspond to a plurality of types of test tubes.

Furthermore, if the came liquid level in the vicinity of the arm, since the closer towards the distance from the sensor to the arm than the distance from the capacitive sensor to a test tube, there is a possibility of erroneous detection of the liquid surface. The shape of the sensor is also when scanning the surface height using the one having a curvature to fit into a test tube, if different diameters 13cm and diameter 16cm of tube diameters are mixed, the curvature itself changes it is difficult to correspond to the uniform order.

The present invention the interfacial information of a sample having at least one layer stored in a single tube when obtaining the capacitive sensor, without affecting the detection of the interface, does not depend on the type of test tube gripping in the method, pull the tube from the holder or rack, providing a specimen test automation system and the specimen checking module comprising a gripping arm which can be fixed.

In order to solve the above problems, for example, employing the configuration described in the appended claims.
The invention has included a plurality of means for solving the above problems, if its one example, a specimen test automation system to check the subject having at least one layer contained in a test tube, the a measuring unit for detecting the capacitive non-contact information about the interface of the sample in the test tube, a moving unit for vertically moving the measuring section with respect to the test tube, the transport holder or for transporting the test tube and a gripping mechanism to lift from the rack, the grasping mechanism, when the measuring unit detects the interface in a non-contact to the test tube, the test tube in the opening and closing of the left and right direction with respect to the measuring unit a gripping arm for gripping the the front side of the measuring unit, the contacts said at position not projecting the measuring unit side per piece arm in terms of more than one point from the test tube than in the center of the test tube Gripping to, and having a gripper arm for fixing by projecting the test tube to the measuring unit from the gripping arm end face.

Of the present invention, the following explains briefly the effect acquired by the typical one.
That is, according to the present invention, when information about the interface of the sample having at least one layer stored in one tube be obtained by capacitive sensor, without affecting detection of the interface, test tube type in holding method that does not depend on, pull the tube from the holder or rack can be fixed, it is possible to greatly contribute to the improvement of the interface detection accuracy.

The positional relationship between the overall structure and the automatic analyzer of the first according to the embodiment specimen test automation system of the present invention is a configuration diagram showing. It is a diagram illustrating an example of a schematic of the sample container and the sample is checked with specimen test automation system according to a first embodiment of the present invention. It is a diagram illustrating an example of a schematic of the sample container and the sample is checked with specimen test automation system according to a first embodiment of the present invention. It is a diagram illustrating an example of a schematic of the sample container and the sample is checked with specimen test automation system according to a first embodiment of the present invention. Is a diagram illustrating an outline of a module having a function of measuring the volume of a biological sample in specimen test automation system according to a first embodiment of the present invention. It is a schematic diagram showing the configuration for measuring the volume of a biological sample in specimen test automation system according to a first embodiment of the present invention. An example of the shape of the gripping arm and the conventional gripping arm in the first embodiment of the present invention is a top view showing. The shape of the gripping arms and conventional gripping arm in the first embodiment of the present invention is a side view showing. The shape of the gripping arms and conventional gripping arm in the first embodiment of the present invention is a side view showing. The shape of the gripping arms and conventional gripping arm in the first embodiment of the present invention is a side view showing. It is a schematic diagram for explaining the flow of the gripping operation of the gripping arm during the measurement of the liquid volume of the specimen in the first embodiment of the present invention. It is a schematic diagram for explaining the flow of the gripping operation of the gripping arm during the measurement of the liquid volume of the specimen in the first embodiment of the present invention. It is a schematic diagram for explaining the flow of the gripping operation of the gripping arm during the measurement of the liquid volume of the specimen in the first embodiment of the present invention. It is a schematic diagram for explaining the flow of the gripping operation of the gripping arm during the measurement of the liquid volume of the specimen in the first embodiment of the present invention. It is a schematic diagram for explaining the flow of the gripping operation of the gripping arm during the measurement of the liquid volume of the specimen in the first embodiment of the present invention. It is a schematic diagram for explaining the flow of the gripping operation of the gripping arm during the measurement of the liquid volume of the specimen in the first embodiment of the present invention. It is a schematic diagram for explaining the flow of the gripping operation of the gripping arm during the measurement of the liquid volume of the specimen in the first embodiment of the present invention. Is a diagram illustrating an outline of a flow of the gripping operation and the scanning operation when a measurement of liquid volume of the specimen in the first embodiment of the present invention. Is a diagram illustrating an outline of a flow of the gripping operation and the scanning operation when a measurement of liquid volume of the specimen in the first embodiment of the present invention. Is a diagram illustrating an outline of a flow of the gripping operation and the scanning operation when a measurement of liquid volume of the specimen in the first embodiment of the present invention. Is a diagram illustrating an outline of a flow of the gripping operation and the scanning operation when a measurement of liquid volume of the specimen in the first embodiment of the present invention. It is a flowchart of a measurement of a first volume of a biological sample in the specimen inspection automation system sample container according to an embodiment of the present invention. An example of a schematic of a gripping arm according to the second embodiment of the present invention is a top view showing. Another example of a schematic of a gripping arm according to the second embodiment of the present invention is a top view showing.

An embodiment of the analyte test automation system and analyte check module of the present invention will be described below with reference to the drawings.

<First embodiment>
The first embodiment of the analyte test automation system and analyte check module of the present invention will be described with reference to FIGS.

Figure 1 is an overall configuration diagram of a specimen test automation system 1 of the present embodiment.
In Figure 1, specimen test automation system 1, the system manager 2, input module 3 which controls the entire sample testing automated systems, centrifugal separation module 4, the sample check module 5, unplugging the module 6, the bar code labeler 7, sample dispensing module 8, plugging the module 9, sample classification module 10, and the various modules, such as the storage module 11, the transport line 12 for transporting them combine each sample processing module, and a sample from the sample processing unit to other specimen test automation system are the basic elements.
This is ahead of the specimen test automation system 1, the automatic analyzer 13 for performing qualitative and quantitative analysis of the components in the specimen are connected.

Input module 3, a module for introducing tubes 33 containing the specimen in the specimen test automation system 1, includes a camera 3a for performing imaging of the input test tube 33 to the input module 3 there. Centrifugal separation module 4 is a module for performing centrifugal separation with respect to the input test tube 33. Unplugging module 6 is a module for unplugging the stopper of the test tube 33. Barcode labeler 7 is a module to paste a bar code or the like in dispensing test tube 33. The specimen dispensing module 8, the centrifuged sample, a module that performs aliquoted for analysis by an automatic analyzer 13. Plugging the module 9 is a module for plugging the plug into subdivided containers or dispensing source tube 33. Sample classification module 10 is a module for classifying the dispensed container. Storage module 11 is a module for accommodating the stoppered containers or test tubes 33.

System manager 2 controls the operation of each mechanism within each module or each module of the specimen test automation system 1. The system manager 2, the type of test tube 33 having been put into input module 3, and a test tube information specifying unit 2a to identify the type of plug 54 of the tube 33.
Vitro information identifying unit 2a is captured by the camera 3a, it recognizes the type of the test tube 33 by the shot image of test tube 33 put into the module 3 to the image processing. The method of recognition, for example, includes a database obtained by photographing a test tube in advance using, there is a method of performing image matching captured. Furthermore, test tubes information specifying unit 2a, from the class of the specified test tube 33, and acquires the information of the diameter of the bottom position and the test tube 33 of the stopper 54 attached to tube 33. And it outputs the resulting information to the analysis processor 42. Information in the diameter of the tube 33 is used when calculating the capacity of 52 such sera in analysis processor 42. Information of the position of the bottom of the plug 54 is used to determine the position of the gripping arm 36 of the tube gripping mechanism 27 grips the test tube 33 (the amount of downward movement of the gripping arm 36).

Here, the measurement object will be described with reference to FIGS. 2A-2C.
For the sample the contents of the test tube 33, here exemplified as an example of blood.

The tube 33 is used one having a separating agent 51. The centrifugation after blood collection, from above, the serum 52 is separated into three layers of separating agent 51 and blood clot 53. Type is not limited, but in a test tube 33 with a stopper 54 and the bar code 55. Note that the sticking state of the bar code, and a state a state in which the size of the bar code 55 as shown in FIG. 2A is adhered only to the small and one side than the diameter of the tube 33, i.e. the contents from the gap is visible, Fig. barcode 55 as shown in 2B is attached on the entire side surface so as to cover the tubes 33, or by the bar code 55 is affixed to double triple, a state where content is in the situation where invisible is there.
Further, the measurement object, the amount of analyte as shown in FIG. 2C is also excessive state. As shown in Figure 2C, the sample amount is large, such as serum 52 is in contact with the lower surface of the plug 54, a case where there are many specimens than the prescribed amount is sealed into the blood collection tube. In this case, when opening the closure 54, the sample is likely to scatter to adhere to the plug 54, also there is a possibility that the sample spilling even when transporting in a state opening the stopper 54. Therefore, it performs sample fluid quantity checked before unplugging to prevent infection, for errors analyte is required to be discharged as an error sample without performing the cap opening.
The present invention is able to respond uniformly to any state.

For sample check module 5 is described below with reference to FIG. Figure 3 is a schematic diagram showing an example of a sample check module of the present embodiment.

3, analyte check module. 5, as the main component, the gantry 21 for connection to the specimen test automated system 1, the holder 22 for installing the analyte, carrying-in line 23 for conveying the specimen, out line 24, passing line 25 , the scanning mechanism 26, and a tube gripping mechanism 27.

Figure 4 is a configuration showing an example of the configuration of a scanning mechanism 26 and test tubes gripping mechanism 27 having a liquid amount detection function of measuring the sample liquid volume provided in the sample check module 5 according to an embodiment of the present invention a diagram (top view 31 and a front view 32) shows the state immediately before the start of measuring the sample fluid volume.

Specimen check module 5, as shown in FIG. 1, can be placed between each module of the specimen test automation system 1, it is connected to the system manager 2 of specimen test automation system 1 in a communication cable, the liquid volume of the specimen and it is configured to be able to exchange information and the like.

4, the sample check module 5 includes, as main constituent elements, a scanning mechanism 26 for scanning the liquid volume of the specimen, and two mechanisms tubes gripping mechanism 27-gripping lift the encapsulated tube 33 of the sample the signal multiplier 39 for multiplying the signal of the electrostatic capacitance sensor 34 in the scanning mechanism 26, the acquired analog / digital converter 40 for converting an analog signal into a digital signal, the data storage unit 41 for storing the acquired data , and a analysis processor 42.

Analyzing arithmetic unit 42, the test tube from the class of the electrostatic capacitance sensor of the analyte in the test tube 33 detected by 34 the liquid surface 56 and the clot interface 57 Information and tube information tube 33 identified by the identifying unit 2a computing the volume of serum 52 in the test tube 33 from the information such as about 33 diameter. Information of the volume of the resulting serum 52 used in the dispensing of serum 52 in the test tube 33 in the specimen dispensing module 8.
Also, the analysis processor 42, the detection result of the electrostatic capacitance sensor 34, the height of the sample in the test tube 33 as shown in FIG. 2C analyte excessive liquid level height which is set in advance from (specified height) when it is determined to be high, Yoyo for discharging step, while abnormal specimens attached plug 54 the tube 33 to the outside of the specimen test automation system 1, and outputs a control signal to the system manager 2. Further, when it is determined that the sample volume is less than the specified amount to issue from the child sample of high priority request item, and outputs a control signal to the system manager 2.

The main components of the scanning mechanism 26, the interface between the electrostatic capacitance sensor 34 for detecting the height, comprising the electrostatic capacitance sensor 34 from the drive motor 35 for moving up and down relative to the test tube 33.

The main components of the tube gripping mechanism 27, the gripping arms 36 to-grip lift the encapsulated tube 33 of the sample, grip driving motor 37 for opening and closing the gripping arm 36, the gripping arm 36 vertically It has a drive motor 38 for moving the.

Next, the details of the electrostatic capacitance sensor 34 is a measuring system according to the present embodiment will be described below.

Capacitive sensor 34, the capacitance type of non-contact is a sensor for detecting the boundary layer from the difference of the capacitance of each layer of the sample is excellent in the detection of liquid.
The principle of the electrostatic capacitance sensor 34 is the same as the capacitor, resulting polarization of the object by the electric field formed by the voltage applied to the capacitive sensor 34, the capacitance which changes according to the charge generated by the polarization to detect. Therefore, it is greatly influenced by the distance between the dielectric constant and the substance of the target substance. Here is the interface between the detection and the dielectric relatively low separating agent layer of index 51 and a high dielectric constant clot 53 the liquid surface 56 is a surface of high serum 52 lower air layer and dielectric constant of the dielectric constant blood used for detection of rice cake interface 57. Note that, as described above, it is possible to detect the liquid level 56 and clot interface 57 even in a state where the interface is not visible, easily and stably by the bar code 55 as shown in Figure 2B.

Detection of the liquid level 56 and clot interface 57 by the electrostatic capacitance sensor 34 performs scanning mechanism 26 from the top is moved down.
Usually, by fixing the scanning mechanism 26 equipped with a sensor, a method of lowering the tubes 33 are generally considered. However, if the vertically moving the tube 33, cause swinging in serum 51, becomes a factor that produces a measurement error by the shaking. Therefore, in this embodiment, the detection of the liquid surface 56 and clot interface 57 by vertically scanning mechanism 26 without moving the test tube 33.

Then, gripping the tube 33 when scanning the surface without contact with the electrostatic capacitance sensor 34 according to this embodiment will be described with respect to the shape of the gripping arm 36.

Normally, the arm for gripping the tubes 33, tube like tube transfer arm that is used to transfer, such as shown in FIG. 5 (a), the test tube 33 from the tray to the holder 33 arm 61 and shaped to grip the four directions, the arm 62 having a shape surrounding the tube, such as a general test tube shears as shown in FIG. 5 (b) are known.

Here, the electrostatic capacitance sensor has a disadvantage that the distance even at a low dielectric constant material will be detected as a substance having a high close to the dielectric constant.

Therefore, when scanning the liquid surface 56 and clot interface 57 in the electrostatic capacitance sensor 34, the shape of the gripping arms 61, 62 such as chuck or tube shears placing transfer, the tube 33 near the interface position when gripped, even if using a low dielectric constant material in the gripping arms 61 and 62, the end surface 63 of the gripping arms 61 and 62 close to the capacitive sensor 34 than the end face 64 of the tube 33 and for that, there are cases where reacts to the gripping arm 61 and 62 before the interface in vitro 33. Therefore, the sensitivity adjustment for preventing erroneous detection has a problem that it is difficult. To avoid this problem, even if to grasp the 54 and opening stopper of the test tube 33, in this case the test tube 33 tends inclination, the capacitance sensor 34 and the tube 33 by the slope of the tube 33 the distance is not uniform, there is a problem with the accuracy of interface detection is deteriorated.

In contrast, the gripping arm 36 of the present embodiment, as shown in FIG. 5 (c), when viewed from the top side, the capacitance in comparison with a line 66 passing through the center of the target tube 33 to grip near to the sensor 34, as compared with the end face 64 of the tube 33 contacts the tube 33 at a position 36a does not protrude to the capacitance sensor 34 side, static end face 64 of the tube 33 from the end face 65 of the gripping arms 36 It can be fixed by protruding relative capacitance sensor 34, a pair of left and right arms for gripping in opening and closing of the test tube 33 from the lateral direction with respect to the electrostatic capacitance sensor 34. Gripping arm 36 is in contact with the tube 33 at the location 36b on the rear side of the capacitive sensor 34 as compared with the line 66 passing through the center of the target tube 33 to be gripped.
The gripping arm 36, the position 36a in contact with the test tube 33, 36b during has a curved portion 36c which is recessed with greater curvature than the diameter of the tube 33. The curved portion 36c, of the analyte test automation system 1 variety is turned to a diameter of the tube 33 of the present embodiment has a larger curvature than the curvature of the most small diameter tube 33.

The material of the gripping arm 36, the position 36a in contact with the test tube 33, around the 36b and curved portion 36c is constituted by a lower rubber dielectric constant than water, other portions are made of plastic.

Will now be described with reference to FIGS. 6A to 6C for a side shape of the gripping arm 36.
In FIGS. 6A to 6C, a side view of the gripping arms of a general transfer chuck, a position close to the center of the test tube 33 as shown in FIG. 6A, may overlap the liquid surface 56 and clot interface 57 in such a short length decreases, was shaped so as to grip in a state close to the utmost point.
In contrast, the gripping arm 36 of the present embodiment, as shown in FIG. 6B, grips directly below the plug 54, as grasped by that tube 33 is not inclined, a point in the longitudinal direction of the tubes 33 and it is configured to grip in contact with the tube 33 in no line 36d.
Length of the line 36d 74 in order to grip so not inclined test tubes of 100mm height, it is desirable that more than 10 mm. Further, as shown in FIG. 6C, if the test tube 65mm height is accommodated in the holder, since the distance 75 between a gripping capable stopper 54 holder is about 18 mm, about 10 ~ 18 mm in length it is desirable. Although the length of the line 36d was approximately 10 ~ 18 mm, it is sufficient that the length of the extent to which the test tube 33 from tilting.

Then, along the specimen processing procedure will be described the measurement sequence.

User first, introducing a test tube 33 containing the blood input module 3. Wherein the imaging of the test tube 33 is performed by the camera 3a, a particular type of test tube 33 by the tube information identifying unit 2a is performed, it is stored in association with specific results and sample ID.

Thereafter, the test tube 33 containing the blood moves through the transport line 12 above are laid in a special holder 22 is conveyed to the centrifuge module 4 if necessary. For example if the corresponding item, such as a blood cell counter skip centrifugal separation module 4 is passed through without being centrifuged. To measure the capacity to transport a test tube 33 having been subjected to centrifugal separation processing to the sample check module 5. Measured capacitance are transmitted to the system manager 2. At this time, the holder 22 information about the sample ID is stored.

At this point, the system manager 2 starts the process of determining the planning aliquot (subdivision number, aliquoted amount, etc.). Dispensing schedule is determined by the measurement item is basically being asked, but further consideration of the capacity in this embodiment. For example, all of the analyzed measured volume of items that request is possible or, alternatively analyzable number of items in the case of the impossible somewhat, to a proper dispensing, etc. as parameters.

It carries tubes 33 which have the capacity measured ended unplugging the module 6 in the sample check module 5 performs the cap opening process. Prepare the dispensing container based on the aforementioned schedule barcode labeler 7 performs the actual dispensing continues at the sample dispensing module 8. Then, depending on the application, the transport to and from the automatic analyzer 13, through a plugging process by plugging module 9, to classify or housing to receiving module 11 in the sample classification module 10.

Next, the operation of the sample check module 5 according to this embodiment will be described below with reference to FIGS. 7A-9.
7A to 7G withdraws from the holder 22 by grasping the tube 33 which is carried into the sample check module 5 by the gripping arms 36, housed in the holder 22 after scanning, illustrating a series of flows until unloading FIG, 8A through 8D is pulling grabbing tube 33 by the gripping arms 36, illustrating a series of flow to completion from the scanning start, FIG. 9 is a diagram illustrating a processing algorithm in the sample check module 5.

Tube 33 which is transported to the sample check module 5 is carried into the liquid volume scanning wait position 28 (step S81). In this case, the gripping arm 36 is on standby in a state shown in FIG. 7A.

When holder 22 arrives, the sensor detects the holder 22, after the holder 22 in the liquid volume scanning wait position 28 is stopped by the stopper or the like, reads the sample ID information by the ID reader 30 is written in the holder 22 (step S82). Sends this read sample ID information to the system manager 2, the system manager 2, for test tubes 33 which are laid in the holder 22 that has arrived, the test tube type identified in the preceding test tube information identifying unit 2a, the operating parameters performs the query processing information on request item or the like (step S83). Thus the diameter of the test tube 33 (diameter 13cm, diameter 16cm, etc.) and the height of the test tube 33 (65 mm, 75 mm, 100 mm, etc.), a plug of the type (rubber stopper, a screw plug, the overcap), etc. Various types of test get information on tube 33, thereby enabling the corresponding possible.

Thereafter, the test tube 33 toward the liquid volume scanning position 29 is conveyed. When the liquid volume scanning position 29 the holder 22 arrives, the system manager 2 is operated to stop, to stop the holder 22 to the liquid volume scanning position 29.

After the holder 22 is stopped by the liquid volume scanning position 29, the system manager 2 outputs a signal to the drive motor 38, the stopper of the test tube 33 as shown the gripping arms 36 of the tube gripping mechanism 27 in FIG. 7B to a position to grip directly under the 54 lowers. Lowering amount of the gripping arm 36 at this time is a descent amount which is determined in each test tube type using the tube information specified in the previous test tube information identifying unit 2a. After lowering, the system manager 2 outputs a signal to the grip driving motor 37 performs gripping tube 33 by operating the grip arm 36 in the closing direction (step S84).

After holding the test tube 33, the system manager 2, raises the gripping arm 36 outputs a signal to the drive motor 38, lifting the test tube 33 as shown in FIG. 7C and 8A from the holder 22 (step S85). In this case, the scanning mechanism 26 is in a state of waiting at the position as shown in Figure 8A.

After gripping arm 36 is raised to a predetermined height as shown in FIG. 8B, the system manager 2 outputs a signal to the drive motor 35, the capacitance sensor 34 is lowered toward the test tube 33, the liquid level 56 and to detect the scanning of clot interface 57 (step S86).
In step S86, the scanning mechanism 26 starts to descend, first detecting the liquid level 56 in the electrostatic capacitance sensor 34. Subsequently similarly detect clot interface 57 in the electrostatic capacitance sensor 34. During scanning, the gripping arm 36 because it is stopped in a state of lifting the tube 33 may be able to interface scan without rocking the liquid surface. Further, since the fixed expose the capacitive sensor 34 side tubes 33 of the object to be gripped from the gripping arm end surfaces 65, the liquid surface 56 and without the capacitance sensor 34 is influenced by the gripping arms 36 it is possible to detect the clot interface 57.

Signal of the step S86 capacitance sensor 34 obtained at the interface detection scanning in is multiplied by the signal multiplier section 39, via an analog / digital converter 40 for converting the acquired analog signal into a digital signal, the data storage It is stored in the part 41. The height information obtained liquid surface 56, and a height information and the test tube type information clot interface 57, and calculates the liquid amount of serum 52 in the analysis operator 42 (step S87).

Thereafter, the analysis operator 42 determines whether the height of the sample in the test tube 33 is equal to or less than the specified height (step S88).

When the sample height is determined to be higher than the specified height in step S88, since a high sample abnormal, or possibly any of the sample liquid volume abnormality such as liquid volume overload, as shown in Figure 2C, analysis arithmetic unit 42, as an error sample, and outputs the processed signal to the system manager 2 so as to discharge into the storage module 11 without conveying the test tube 33 to cap removal module 6 (step S89). The carry-out operation itself is later to run. Also, notifies the like to the operator such as the screen of the system manager 2.

In contrast, when the sample height is determined to be below the specified height in step S88, the analysis operator 42 determines whether a sample volume in the test tube 33 is specified amount or more ( step S90). Because when the sample amount is specified amount or more is normal sample volume, and outputs a signal for performing secondary sample issued with reference to the examination order entry to the system manager 2 (step S91). The contrast when sample volume is less than the specified amount, a case serum solution amount is small relative to the examination request item, a signal for issuing the child sample of high priority request entry to the system manager 2 output (step S92). Serum liquid volume outputs less effect of alarms for requesting items simultaneously, notifies the like to the operator to that effect in the system manager 2 screen like.

When the scanning mechanism 26 finishes lowered to a position as shown in FIG. 8C, the interface scanning by the capacitance sensor 34 is completed, the system manager 2 performs an increase in lowering the scanning mechanism 26 of the gripping arm 36 at the same time. Specifically, by outputting a signal to increase the electrostatic capacitance sensor 34 with respect to the drive motor 35 as well as the state shown in FIG. 8D, lowering the gripper arm 36 outputs a signal to the drive motor 38 make.

System manager 2, the gripper arm 36 is lowered from the position of Figure 7D to the position of FIG. 7E accommodate the tubes 33 in the holder 22.

Then, the system manager 2 outputs a signal to the grip driving motor 37, and is operated in a direction to open the gripping arms 36, to release the tube 33 as shown in FIG. 7F Figures 7E from the gripping arm 36.

After release of the tube 33, the system manager 2 raises the gripper arm 36 outputs a signal to the drive motor 38, carries the test tube 33 When the state as shown in FIG. 7G from FIG 7F, unplugging is transported to the module 6 or receiving module 11. Thereafter, the test tube 33 is carried out of the cap removal module 6 or receiving module 11, cap removal, processing such as pipetting is performed.

As described above, first in the embodiment, the front side of the capacitive sensor 34 as compared with the line 66 passing through the center of the target tube 33 to grip the specimen test automation system and analyte check module of the present invention , and the in comparison to the end face 64 of the tube 33 contacts the tube 33 at a position 36a does not protrude to the capacitance sensor 34 side, the electrostatic capacitance sensor 34 the end surface 64 from the end face 65 of the gripping arm 36 tubes 33 can be fixed by projecting against, it has a gripping arm 36 of the right and left pair of gripping in opening and closing of the left and right directions of the tube 33 relative to the electrostatic capacitance sensor 34, the capacitance sensor lifting the test tube 33 from the holder 22 by the liquid surface 56 and the gripping arm 36 during the scanning of the clot interface 57 by.

Therefore, the end face 63 of the currently gripping arms, such as that commonly used test tube scissors and transfer chuck, the gripping arm end surfaces 65 of the present embodiment the distance tube end face of the electrostatic capacitance sensor 34 now located at a distance apart than 64, uniformly regardless of the type of test tube, it is possible to fix the tubes 33 of the object to be gripped from the gripping arm end face 65 is exposed to the electrostatic capacitance sensor 34 side it can, can be a capacitive sensor 34 detects the liquid surface 56 and the clot interface 57 without being influenced by the gripping arm 36. Further, for securing lift the tube 33 by the gripping arms 36, compared with the case of scanning by moving the electrostatic capacitance sensor 34 instead of the test tube 33, it is possible to perform scanning without rocking the liquid level at the interface scanning . As a result, stable obtained accurately by the information about the liquid amount of analyte in a non-contact manner. Thus, the sample liquid amount becomes possible prioritization of measurement items, even if small relative to the examination items, the optimization of the processing order can be achieved. In addition, it is possible to reduce the burden on patients, such as it is possible to produce a liquid shortage in alarm at an early stage even when performing the blood collection again, and for receiving the results were re-bled latency.

Moreover, the gripping arm 36, for gripping the tube 33 by lines 36d not a point in the longitudinal direction of the tube 33, when scanning the liquid surface 56 and clot interface 57 in a non-contact, grip directly under the plug 54 and can be so gripped by that tube 33 is not inclined, it is possible to prevent erroneous detection of the interface height due to the tilt. Therefore, it is possible to information regarding the amount of liquid specimen obtained stably with good precision.

Furthermore, the gripping arm 36, the position 36a in contact with the test tube 33, 36b during the out of the test tube 36 of various diameters, curved portion is recessed than the curvature of the most small diameter tube 36 with a large curvature because it has a 36c, it can be grasped by the contact of a plane rather than a line contact against the tube 33. Therefore, more stable can grip the test tube 33, the information about the liquid amount of the specimen can be stably obtained with high accuracy.

The material of the gripping arm 36, portions 36a in contact with the test tube 33, around the 36b and curved portion 36c is composed of a rubber having a dielectric constant lower than that of water, other portions are made of plastic, in the case where the locations in the height direction of the tubes 33 are grabbed by the gripping arm 36 is the liquid level 56 and clot interface 57 also detects the liquid surface 56 and the clot interface 57 without being influenced by the gripping arm 36 can do.

Incidentally, an example is described in which a camera 3a in input module 3, the camera 3a may be provided in the carrying-in line 23 of the sample check module 5. In this case, it is possible to grasp the information in the test tube 33 in the check module alone, a suitable module to add to the internal existing specimen preprocessing system and an automatic analyzer.

The camera 3a is the manner provided in the carrying-in line 23 of the sample check module 5, can be applied to the remaining amount measuring reagent in the reagent container stored in the reagent refrigerator of the automatic analyzer 13.
Reagents are stored in reagent refrigerator is usually because it is operated in containers colored for light-shielding purposes, it can not be visually confirmed for the remaining amount.
However, that it comprises a checking module as described above in the form reagent refrigerator or near the automatic analyzer 13, even in situations that can not visually check the volume of the reagent, check the remaining amount of the reagent in the reagent container it is possible.

Furthermore, although described embodiment for performing the detection of the clot interface 57 in the electrostatic capacitance sensor 34, the clot interface 57 can also be carried out by the optical detection system.

<Second Embodiment>
The second embodiment of the analyte test automation system and analyte check module of the present invention will be described with reference to FIGS. 10 and 11. 10 and 11 shows a top view of the shape of the gripping arms in vitro gripping mechanism of the sample check module of the present embodiment.

Specimen test automation system of this embodiment, the sample check module the shape of the gripping arms in vitro grasping mechanism 27 at 5 except that different from the specimen test automation system of the first embodiment the analyte test automation system of the first embodiment It has the same configuration as, and a description thereof will be omitted.

As shown in FIG. 10, the gripping arms 91 in the test tube gripping mechanism of the present embodiment, when viewed from the top side, per piece arm, static as compared to the line 66 passing through the center of the target tube 33 to grip electrostatic a front side of the capacitive sensor 34, the position 91a does not protrude to the capacitance sensor 34 side than the end surface 64 of the tube 33, as compared with the line 66 passing through the center of the target tube 33 to grip gripping in opening and closing of the left and right direction, capable of holding the test tube 33 by contacting at two points and the position 91b is the rear side of the capacitive sensor 34 with respect to the electrostatic capacitance sensor 34 a right-and-left gripper arms to be. The gripping arm 91, the position 91a in contact with the test tube 33, 91b for is a straight line rather than a curved portion, and has a recessed angular shape.

With such a shape of the gripping arm 91, it is possible to fix by projecting against the electrostatic capacitance sensor 34 the end face 64 of the end face 65 from the test tube 33 of the gripping arms 36, specimen test automation system described above and substantially the same effect as the first embodiment of the sample check module is obtained.

Note gripping arms in vitro gripping mechanism of the present embodiment is not limited to the form as shown in FIG. 10. Hereinafter, other shapes of the gripping arm will be described with reference to FIG. 11.

As shown in FIG. 11, the gripping arms 92, per single arm, a front side of the capacitive sensor 34 as compared with the line 66 passing through the center of the target tube 33 to grasp the end face of the tube 33 an arm portion 92c to contact the tube 33 at a position 92a does not protrude to the capacitance sensor 34 side as compared with 64, the capacitance sensor 34 as compared with the line 66 passing through the center of the target tube 33 to grip and a arm portion 92d for contacting the test tube 33 at the location 92b is the rear side with respect to. Gripping arm 92 is also at the right and left pair gripping arms which hold the tubes 33 in the opening and closing of the left and right directions with respect to the electrostatic capacitance sensor 34 by contacting with the test tube 33 at two points between the position 92a and position 92b is there.

Such even shape gripper arm 92, it is the end surface 64 from the end face 65 tubes 33 of the gripping arm 36 can be fixed by projecting against the electrostatic capacitance sensor 34, specimen test automation system and the aforementioned it is needless to say that substantially the same effect as the first embodiment of the sample check module is obtained.

<Others>
The present invention is not limited to the above embodiments, and various modifications, those applications that are possible. Embodiments described above are those described in detail in order to better illustrate the invention and are not intended to be limited to necessarily include all of the configurations described.

For example, the sample check module of the present invention, instead of being provided on specimen test automation system, can be directly mounted on the automatic analyzer.

Further, the analysis operator 42 has been described an example of separately from the system manager 2, which may be provided within the system manager 2.

1 ... specimen test automation system,
2 ... System Manager,
2a ... test tube information identifying unit,
3 ... input module,
3a ... camera,
4 ... centrifuge module,
5 ... specimen check module,
6 ... unplugging module,
7 ... bar code labeler,
8 ... The sample dispensing module,
9 ... plugging module,
10 ... specimen classification module,
11 ... storage module,
12 ... transport line,
13 ... automatic analyzer,
21 ... stand,
22 ... holder,
23 ... carrying line,
24 ... carry-out line,
25 ... overtaking line,
26 ... scanning mechanism,
27 ... test tube gripping mechanism,
28 ... liquid volume scanning standby position,
29 ... liquid volume scanning position,
30 ... ID leader,
33 ... test tube,
34 ... capacitance sensor,
35 ... the drive motor,
36 ... gripping arm,
36a, 36b ... position,
36c ... curved portion,
36d ... line,
37 ... grip driving motor,
38 ... the drive motor,
39 ... signal multiplier section,
40 ... analog / digital conversion unit,
41 ... data storage unit,
42 ... analysis computing unit,
51 ... separating agent,
52 ... serum,
53 ... clot,
54 ... plug,
55 ... bar code,
56 ... liquid surface,
57 ... clot interface,
61 ... test tube transfer arm,
62 ... arm,
63 ... the end face,
64 ... the end face,
65 ... the end face,
66 ... line,
75 ... distance,
91 ... gripping arm,
91a, 91b ... position,
92 ... gripping arm,
92a, 92b ... position,
92c, 92d ... the arms.

Claims (7)

  1. A specimen test automation system to check the subject having at least one layer contained in a test tube,
    A measuring unit for detecting the capacitive information about the interface of the sample of the non-contact of the test tube,
    A moving unit for vertically moving the measuring unit to the test tube,
    And a gripping mechanism for lifting the tube from the conveying holder or transport rack,
    The gripping mechanism, when the measuring unit detects the interface in a non-contact to the test tube, a gripping arm for gripping the tubes in the opening and closing of the left and right directions with respect to the measuring unit, the in front side with respect to the measuring unit compared to the center of the tube, by holding in contact with the above points 1 point per piece arm at a position that does not protrude from the tube to the measuring portion, said tube specimen test automation system, characterized in that the gripping arm end surface having a gripping arm for fixing are protruded with respect to the measuring unit.
  2. In specimen test automation system according to claim 1,
    It said gripping arms, specimen test automation system, characterized in that gripping to the test tube from tilting by contacting line in the longitudinal direction at least two points or more locations of the test tube per piece arm.
  3. In specimen test automation system according to claim 2,
    The gripping arm,
    Contact portion between the test tube is of an elastic material,
    Specimen test automation system, characterized in that recessed in curvature larger than during the portion that contacts at least two points or more lines diameter of the test tube.
  4. In specimen test automation system according to claim 1,
    The gripping arm, the point of contact with the test tube is composed of a low rubber dielectric constant than water, other portions are specimen test automation system, characterized in that it is made of plastic.
  5. In specimen test automation system according to claim 1,
    The gripping mechanism and the moving part, specimen test automation system, characterized in that it is both movable in the vertical direction.
  6. In specimen test automation system according to claim 1,
    When said height of the sample in the test tube by the measurement unit is detected to exceed the specimen excessive liquid level height which is set in advance, as kept abnormal specimens attached stoppered the tube outside the specimen test automation system further specimen test automation system, characterized in that it comprises a control unit for controlling so as to discharge.
  7. A checking module for checking the samples or reagents having at least one layer contained in a test tube,
    A measuring unit for detecting the capacitive non-contact information about the interface of the sample or the reagent of the test tube,
    A moving unit for vertically moving the measuring unit to the test tube,
    And a gripping mechanism for lifting the tube from the conveying holder or transport rack,
    The gripping mechanism, when the measuring unit detects the interface in a non-contact to the test tube, a gripping arm for gripping the tubes in the opening and closing of the left and right directions with respect to the measuring unit, the in front side with respect to the measuring unit compared to the center of the tube, by holding in contact with the above points 1 point per piece arm at a position that does not protrude from the tube to the measuring portion, said tube sample check module, characterized in that the gripping arm end surface having a gripping arm for fixing are protruded with respect to the measuring unit.
PCT/JP2015/062475 2014-06-26 2015-04-24 Specimen inspection automation system and specimen check module WO2015198707A1 (en)

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Citations (11)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
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JPH01142861U (en) * 1988-03-25 1989-09-29
JPH04164257A (en) * 1990-10-29 1992-06-09 Ajinomoto Co Inc Automatic pretreatment device
JPH04232468A (en) * 1990-12-28 1992-08-20 Nikkiso Co Ltd Automatic suspension preparing apparatus
JP2001096483A (en) * 1999-09-28 2001-04-10 Aloka Co Ltd Test tube carrier
JP2001108506A (en) * 1999-10-13 2001-04-20 Aloka Co Ltd Layer boundary surface detecting device
US6586255B1 (en) * 1997-07-21 2003-07-01 Quest Diagnostics Incorporated Automated centrifuge loading device
JP2004093290A (en) * 2002-08-30 2004-03-25 Teruaki Ito Specimen container chuck mechanism
JP2004264096A (en) * 2003-02-28 2004-09-24 Rigaku Corp Sample conveyer, and thermal analysis apparatus
JP2005502479A (en) * 2001-02-26 2005-01-27 アイアールエム,エルエルシー Gripping mechanism, apparatus and method
JP2012088190A (en) * 2010-10-20 2012-05-10 Srl Inc Automatic specimen sorting system
WO2013148648A1 (en) * 2012-03-29 2013-10-03 Biomerieux, Inc. System and method for establishing and/or maintaining proper alignment of a robotic transfer mechanism

Patent Citations (11)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
JPH01142861U (en) * 1988-03-25 1989-09-29
JPH04164257A (en) * 1990-10-29 1992-06-09 Ajinomoto Co Inc Automatic pretreatment device
JPH04232468A (en) * 1990-12-28 1992-08-20 Nikkiso Co Ltd Automatic suspension preparing apparatus
US6586255B1 (en) * 1997-07-21 2003-07-01 Quest Diagnostics Incorporated Automated centrifuge loading device
JP2001096483A (en) * 1999-09-28 2001-04-10 Aloka Co Ltd Test tube carrier
JP2001108506A (en) * 1999-10-13 2001-04-20 Aloka Co Ltd Layer boundary surface detecting device
JP2005502479A (en) * 2001-02-26 2005-01-27 アイアールエム,エルエルシー Gripping mechanism, apparatus and method
JP2004093290A (en) * 2002-08-30 2004-03-25 Teruaki Ito Specimen container chuck mechanism
JP2004264096A (en) * 2003-02-28 2004-09-24 Rigaku Corp Sample conveyer, and thermal analysis apparatus
JP2012088190A (en) * 2010-10-20 2012-05-10 Srl Inc Automatic specimen sorting system
WO2013148648A1 (en) * 2012-03-29 2013-10-03 Biomerieux, Inc. System and method for establishing and/or maintaining proper alignment of a robotic transfer mechanism

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