Patent for Integrated Safety and Motion Control Testing Device

Patent for Integrated Safety and Motion Control Testing Device

The Zaxis CamTrac

With over 30 years of experience in high precision leak testing, the engineers at Zaxis have spent a lot of time working with medical manufacturing companies. In the medical manufacturing field keeping parts clean and sterile is vital. This need inspired our engineers to create the CamTrac. The CamTrac system was developed to remove the caps from a new catheter set, perform a Pressure Decay and Occlusion test, then replace the caps all in one device. This removed any potential human error or contamination during the removal and replacement of the catheter caps.

Summary of the Invention

The present invention relates to testing devices. In particular, some implementations of the present invention relate to a testing device that is configured to remove a cap from a sample product (such as an IV line), test the sample product for leaks or for another characteristic, and to then replace the cap on the device. While the testing device can include any suitable component that allows it to function as described, in some implementations, it includes a safety shield which acts as an anti-pinch guard, and which also includes one or more motion control cam tracks that are configured to control movement of one or more testing modules encased within the shield. Accordingly, in some such implementations, the safety shield is able to perform multiple functions, acting both as a safety apparatus and as a linear motion control apparatus.

Some implementations of the present invention provide a testing device having a base to which is mounted a sample adapter. The sample adapter is configured to receive a sample product or device for testing. The testing device further includes a mounting member which is coupled to a first and second actuator (e.g., hydraulic cylinder), wherein the second actuator (e.g., hydraulic cylinder) is further coupled to the base. The mounting member further includes a plurality of testing modules which are configured to contact the sample product and perform one or more testing functions as part of a testing procedure. Further still, the mounting member includes one or more cam followers.

The testing device further includes a safety shield having one or more motion control cam tracks comprising a groove or channel formed on an inner surface. The motion control cam tracks are configured to compatibly receive the one or more cam followers of the mounting member. The motion control cam tracks limit or control the movement of the mounting member through the interior space of the safety shield. In some instances, the first or second actuator (e.g., hydraulic cylinder) further include one or more cam followers which are configured to ride within an additional motion control cam track provided on an inner surface of the safety shield. Thus, the present invention provides a safety shield having an integrated, bi-directional system of motion control cam tracks to provide precise, repeatable, and safe movement of a mounting member as part of a sample product testing device.

These and other features and advantages of the present invention will be set forth or will become more fully apparent in the description that follows and in the appended claims. The features and advantages may be realized and obtained by means of the instruments and combinations particularly pointed out in the appended claims. Furthermore, the features and advantages of the invention may be learned by the practice of the invention or will be obvious from the description, as set forth hereinafter.

Background of the Invention

The present invention relates to testing devices. In particular, some implementations of the present invention relate to a testing device that is configured to remove a cap from a sample product or device (such as an IV line), test the sample product for leaks or for another characteristic, and to then replace the cap on the device. While the testing device can include any suitable component that allows it to function as described, in some implementations, it includes a safety shield which acts as an anti-pinch guard, and which also includes one or more motion control cam tracks that are configured to control movement of one or more testing modules encased within the shield. Accordingly, in some such implementations, the safety shield is able to perform multiple functions, acting both as a safety apparatus and as a linear motion control apparatus.

United State Patent
Granted April 26, 2016 to
Zaxis, Inc.

-Assignee-
Patent No. US 9,322,736 b2

Integrated Safety and Motion Control Testing Device

Patent for Dynamically Adjustable Reciprocating Fluid Dispenser

Patent for Dynamically Adjustable Reciprocating Fluid Dispenser

Electronic Variable Metering Pump (eVmP)

The patented eVmP system is a precision metering and fluid dispenser combined with a detachable Touch Screen Interface (TSi) for simple programing and immediate teach and control. This pump technology combines precision ceramic pump components and an electronically controlled linear stepper actuator to make ultra-fine adjustments to angle position, thereby changing the volume of metered liquid. This allows the eVmP system to provide dynamic fluid displacement to overcome variations in viscosity and surface tension. The eVmP is the latest in fluid metering and dispense technology.

Summary of the Invention

The present invention relates to accurately and repeatably dispensing fluid. In particular, the present invention relates to systems and methods for providing a dynamically adjustable, synchronously and/or asynchronously reciprocating fluid dispenser. 

Implementation of the present invention takes place in association with a reciprocating fluid pump. A pump drive motor is coupled to the reciprocating fluid pump to actuate a pump shaft within a pump cylinder, wherein the pump shaft includes a cut out portion (duct) that allows fluid to selectively pass thereby within the pump cylinder. As the pump shaft rotates within the pump cylinder, fluid is allowed to enter into a pump bore defined by a portion of the pump cylinder through a pump ingress port. As the pump shaft rotates, it blocks the pump ingress port. Further rotation allows the duct to allow the fluid in the pump bore to be dispensed through a pump egress port. This process may be repeated for subsequently dispensing volumes of fluid using the reciprocating fluid pump. 

Implementation of the present invention further includes an adjustment motor (e.g., a linear actuator, etc.) that is coupled to an adjustment mechanism, which selectively adjusts the volume of the pump bore. In at least one implementation, the volume of the pump bore is adjusted as the angle of the pump shaft is modified. A modification of the angle changes the stroke of the pump shaft. In another implementation, the volume of the pump bore is adjusted through a system of gears to selectively change the stroke of the pump shaft. Further, at least some implementations allow for synchronous and/or asynchronous reciprocation. 

Further implementation includes a controller coupled to the adjustment motor to dynamically control the adjustment motor to cause the adjustment mechanism to be precisely and repeatably modified. As such, the volume of fluid dispensed is extremely accurate, repeatable, and dynamic. Moreover, a controller may be used to provide control over the particular waveform of a synchronously and/or asynchronously reciprocating fluid dispenser. 

As the methods and processes of the present invention have proven to be useful in the area of dynamically dispensing fluid, those skilled in the art can appreciate that the methods and processes can be used in a variety of different applications, in a variety of different areas of manufacture to yield, and embrace a variety of different kinds of fluids. Examples of such industries include the medical industry, the industrial industry, the electronics industry, the food industry, the dairy industry, the precision cleaning industry, the cosmetic industry, the hygene industry, etc. Examples of such fluids include adhesives, lubricants, chemicals, drugs, paints, pigments, resins, solvents, epoxies, inks, ceramic slurries, solutions, candy coatings, polishes, flavorings, food preservations, cleaning agents, pigments, fragrances, gases, liquids, ets. 

These and other features and advantages of the present invention will be set forth or will become more fully apparent in the description that follows and in the appended claims. The features and advantages may be realized and obtained by means of the instruments and combinations particularly pointed out in the appended claims. Furthermore, the features and advantages of the invention may be learned by the practice of the invention or will be obvious from the description, as set forth hereinafter. 

Background of the Invention

The present invention relates to accurately and repeatably dispensing fluid. In particular, the present invention relates to systems and methods for providing a dynamically adjustable, synchronously and/or asynchronously reciprocating fluid dispenser. 

A variety of industries require a safe, accurate handling of fluid. One such industry is the medical industry. By way of example, in the medical industry an assay testing procedure is typically employed to determine whether an infectious disease (e.g., hepatitis or another infectious disease) is present in a particular blood serum. As part of the testing procedure, a biological sample is disposed into a testing receptacle. A reagent is added to the biological sample. In performing the test, it is important that the amount of the biological sample and the amount of the reagent are accurate. In particular, the amount of the reagent added to the biological sample may be in the range of 50 .mu.L-100 .mu.L, with a required accuracy of .+-.0.5 .mu.L. 

The assay testing procedure may further include a variety of separate test receptacles to perform a variety of assay tests to confirm and/or compare results. Some assay testing procedures may include disposing a series of specific reagents. 

Valveless, positive displacement pumps have been used in applications that require a safe, accurate handling of fluid. An example of a valveless, positive displacement pump is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 4,008,003. While the pump disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 4,008,003 is an available technique, the pump does not provide an accurate calibration for metering and dispensing fluids. For example, the piston stroke of the pump is not easily adjusted and the angular displacement of the ports cannot be readily calibrated. 

Further problems with techniques used in industries that require a safe, accurate handling of fluid include the fact that complex pump designs increase the likelihood for error in manufacturing and assembling the pumps. And, pump designs with moving parts contribute to field failure and maintenance costs. 

Thus, while techniques currently exist that are used in industries requiring a safe, accurate handling of fluid, challenges still exist with such techniques, including a requirement for calibration of the fluid-handling device for each surrounding condition, an inability to provide accurate calibration, an increased likelihood for error, an increased likelihood for field failure, increased maintenance costs, and other such challenges. Accordingly, it would be an improvement in the art to augment or even replace current techniques with other techniques. 

United State Patent
Granted May 4, 2010 to
Zaxis, Inc.

-Assignee-
Patent No. US7,708,535 b2

Systems and methods for providing a dynamically adjustable reciprocating fluid dispenser