Canadian Patents Database / Patent 2809251 Summary

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(12) Patent: (11) CA 2809251
(54) English Title: SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR AUTOMATED DILUTION AND DELIVERY OF LIQUID SAMPLES TO AN OPTICAL PARTICLE COUNTER
(54) French Title: SYSTEME ET METHODE DE DILUTION ET DISTRIBUTION AUTOMATISES D'ECHANTILLONS DE LIQUIDE DANS UN COMPTEUR DE PARTICULES OPTIQUE
(51) International Patent Classification (IPC):
  • G01N 35/10 (2006.01)
  • G01N 1/38 (2006.01)
  • G01N 35/00 (2006.01)
(72) Inventors (Country):
  • GEACH, ALISTAIR (Canada)
(73) Owners (Country):
  • CINRG SYSTEMS INC. (Canada)
(71) Applicants (Country):
  • CINRG SYSTEMS INC. (Canada)
(74) Agent: HOFBAUER PROFESSIONAL CORPORATION
(45) Issued: 2014-09-02
(22) Filed Date: 2013-03-14
(41) Open to Public Inspection: 2013-05-20
Examination requested: 2013-03-14
(30) Availability of licence: N/A
(30) Language of filing: English

(30) Application Priority Data:
Application No. Country Date
2791003 Canada 2012-09-27
13708705 United States of America 2012-12-07

English Abstract




A system for the automated dilution and delivery of mixtures of
diluent and liquid samples to a particle counter comprises a
container positioning member for receiving and retaining
congruent sample containers with a volume of liquid sample
therein. An
automated diluent pumping mechanism draws a
respective volume of a diluent from a diluent source and
introduces the diluent into the each sample container for mixing
with the unknown volume of liquid sample within each sample
container to together form a mixture that is substantially equal
to a pre-determined threshold volume. A
mixer agitates the
mixture in the sample containers. An automated mixture pumping
mechanism sequentially draws a respective volume of mixture from
the sample containers and delivers the drawn volume of the
mixture to the optical particle counter for testing.


French Abstract

Un système assurant la dilution et la distribution automatisées de mélanges déchantillons de diluant et de liquide pour un compteur de particules optique comprend un élément de positionnement de récipient pour recevoir et retenir des récipients à échantillons congruents avec un volume déchantillon de liquide dans celui-ci. Un mécanisme de pompage de diluant automatisé retire un volume respectif de diluant à partir dune source de diluant et introduit ce dernier dans chaque récipient à échantillons afin dy être mélangé avec le volume inconnu déchantillon de liquide dans chaque récipient à échantillons pour former un mélange qui est essentiellement égal à un volume seuil prédéterminé. Un mélangeur agite le mélange dans les récipients à échantillons. Un mécanisme de pompage de mélange automatisé retire graduellement un volume respectif de mélange des récipients à échantillons et achemine le volume de mélange extrait au compteur de particules optique à des fins dessai.


Note: Claims are shown in the official language in which they were submitted.


THE EMBODIMENTS OF THE INVENTION IN WHICH AN EXCLUSIVE PROPERTY
OR PRIVILEGE IS CLAIMED ARE DEFINED AS FOLLOWS:
1. A
system for the automated dilution and delivery of a
plurality of mixtures of diluent and liquid samples respectively
disposed in an equal plurality of congruent sample containers to
a particle counter, said congruent sample containers having an
upwardly facing open mouth, the system comprising:
a) a container positioning member for receiving and retaining
said congruent sample containers in an array with a respective
unknown volume of liquid sample having been poured into each
said sample container, wherein said unknown volume of each
liquid sample is less than a pre-determined threshold volume
that is less than the total volume of the respective sample
container;
b) an automated diluent pumping mechanism having a diluent
ingress port in fluid communication with a diluent source and a
diluent egress port positionable in programmed sequence over the
open mouth of each of said congruent sample containers retained
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in said array, for drawing a respective volume of a suitable
diluent from said diluent source and for introducing said drawn
volume of said diluent though said open mouth of each said
sample container for mixing with the respective unknown volume
of said liquid sample within each said sample container to
together form a mixture of said liquid sample and said diluent,
wherein the volume of said mixture is substantially equal to
said pre-determined threshold volume;
(c) a mixer for agitating said mixture of liquid sample
and diluent in said sample containers; and,
(d) an automated mixture pumping mechanism having a
mixture ingress port positionable in said programmed sequence
over the mouth of each of said congruent sample containers
retained in said array so as to be in fluid communication with
said mixture of liquid sample and diluent in each said sample
container, and a mixture egress port in fluid communication with
said particle counting system, for sequentially drawing a
respective volume of mixture of liquid sample and diluent from
said sample containers and for delivering the respective drawn
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volume of mixture of said liquid sample and said diluent to said
particle counter.
2. The system of claim 1, further comprising an
ultrasonic measuring device having an ultrasonic transducer and
an ultrasonic sensor, for measuring the vertical position of the
top surface of the liquid sample in each selected sample
container with respect to said ultrasonic measuring device.
3. The system of claim 2, further comprising a
computer/CPU that is connected in data communicating relation to
said ultrasonic measuring device and that is programmed to
calculate an accurate height measurement of the top surface of
the liquid sample in the selected sample container with respect
to an upwardly directed planar reference surface, using the
measurement of the vertical position of the top surface of the
liquid sample.
4. The system of claim 3, wherein said accurate height
measurement of the top surface of the liquid sample in the
selected sample container with respect to an upwardly directed
planar reference surface is calculated by means of determining
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the vertical difference between the vertical position of the top
surface of the liquid sample and the vertical position of said
upwardly directed planar reference surface.
5. The system of claim 4, wherein said computer/CPU is
programmed to calculate the volume of the liquid sample in said
selected sample container based on said accurate height
measurement combined with the known geometry of said congruent
sample containers.
6. The system of any one of claims 3 - 5, wherein said
computer/CPU is further programmed to calculate the volume of
diluent to add into said selected sample container necessary to
obtain said pre-determined threshold volume of said mixture,
based on the difference between the volume of said liquid sample
in said selected sample container and said pre-determined
threshold volume.
7. The system of claim 6, wherein said computer/CPU is
further programmed to calculate the volume of diluent to add
into said selected sample container to obtain said pre-
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determined threshold volume of said mixture, based on the
viscosity of said liquid sample.
8. The system of any one of claims 4 - 7, wherein said
computer/CPU is programmed to calculate the volume of said
liquid sample in said selected sample container based on a
calibration graph of sample height versus sample volume.
9. The system of any one of claims 3 - 8, wherein said
computer/CPU is further programmed such that the pre-determined
threshold volume of said mixture is the same volume for each
sample container.
10. The system of any one of claims 1 - 9, wherein said
diluent pumping mechanism comprises a diluent syringe having a
mouth, and a valve having a valve inlet in fluid communication
with said diluent ingress port, a valve outlet in fluid
communication with said diluent egress port, and a syringe
opening connecting said valve inlet, said valve outlet, and the
mouth of said diluent syringe in fluid communication with each
other.
-72-


11. The system of any one of claims 1 - 10, wherein said
mixture pumping mechanism comprises a mixture syringe having a
mouth, and a valve having a valve inlet in fluid communication
with said mixture ingress port, a valve outlet in fluid
communication with said mixture egress port, and a syringe
opening connecting said valve inlet, said valve outlet, and the
mouth of said mixture syringe in fluid communication with each
other.
12. The system of any one of claims 1 - 11, further
comprising a horizontally oriented "X-Y" reference frame for
operatively mounting said diluent egress port, said mixture
ingress port and said mixer in horizontally movable relation for
controlled two-dimensional movement in a horizontal "X-Y"
coordinate grid over said container positioning member.
13. The system of claim 12, wherein said horizontally
oriented "X-Y" reference frame comprises a first horizontal
track and a second horizontal track oriented substantially
perpendicularly one to the other.
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14. The system of any one of claims 1 - 13, wherein said
diluent ingress port, said diluent egress port and said mixer
are mounted on a sampling head.
15. The system of claim 14, wherein said sampling head is
mounted in vertically movable relation on said horizontally
oriented "X-Y" reference frame by means of a mounting mechanism.
16. The system of claim 15, wherein said mounting
mechanism is mounted in horizontally movable relation on said
horizontally oriented "X-Y" reference frame.
17. The system of claim 16, wherein said mounting
mechanism is mounted in horizontally movable relation in a "Y"-
direction on said first horizontal track.
18. The system of claim 17, wherein said first horizontal
track is mounted on said second horizontal track in horizontally
movable relation in an "X"-direction that is perpendicular to
said "Y"-direction.
- 74 -

19. The system of claim 18, further comprising an "X"-
horizontal-movement motor for moving said first horizontal track
in horizontally movable relation in said "X"-direction along
said second horizontal track.
20. The system of claim 19, further comprising a "Y"-
horizontal-movement motor for moving said mounting mechanism in
horizontally movable relation in said "Y"-direction along said
first horizontal track.
21. The system of claim 20, further comprising a "Z"-
vertical-movement motor for moving said sampling head in
vertically movable relation in said "Z"-direction along said
mounting mechanism.
22. The system of any one of claims 14 - 21, further
comprising a delivery and uptake tube apparatus, and wherein
said diluent ingress port and said diluent egress port are part
of said delivery and uptake tube apparatus.
23. The system of claim 22, wherein said delivery and
uptake tube apparatus is mounted on said sampling head.
-75-

24. The system of any one of claims 1 - 23, wherein said
unknown volume of each liquid sample is approximated with
respect to indicia marked on each of said sample containers.
25. The system of any one of claims 1 - 24, wherein said
array is an ordered quadrilateral array.
26. A method of automatically diluting and delivering a
plurality of mixtures of diluent and liquid samples respectively
disposed in an equal plurality of congruent sample containers to
a particle counter, said congruent sample containers having an
upwardly facing open mouth, the method comprising the steps of:
(a) receiving and retaining a plurality of congruent
sample containers in an array in a container positioning member
on a upwardly directed planar reference surface;
(b) pouring an unknown volume of said liquid sample
into each said sample container, wherein said unknown volume of
each liquid sample is less than a pre-determined threshold
-76-

volume that is less than the total volume of the respective
sample container;
(c) drawing a respective volume of a suitable diluent
from a diluent source;
(d) introducing said drawn volume of said diluent
though said open mouth of each said sample container for mixing
with the respective unknown volume of said liquid sample within
each said sample container to together form a mixture of said
liquid sample and diluent, wherein the volume of said mixture is
substantially equal to said pre-determined threshold volume;
(e) agitating said mixture of liquid sample and
diluent in said sample containers;
(f) sequentially drawing a respective volume of
mixture of liquid sample and diluent from said sample
containers; and,
(g) delivering the respective drawn volume of mixture
of said liquid sample and said diluent to said particle counter.
- 77 -

27. The method of claim 26, further comprising the step
of, after step (b) and before step (c):
(b2) mechanically moving a measurement mechanism into
place over said unknown volume of liquid in said selected sample
container; and,
(b3) electronically measuring the vertical position of
the top surface of the liquid sample in each selected sample
container with respect to said measurement device.
28. The method of claim 27, further comprising the step
of, after step (b3) and before step (c):
(b4) electronically calculating an accurate height
measurement of the top surface of said liquid sample in said
selected sample container with respect to said upwardly directed
planar reference surface, using the measurement of the vertical
position of the top surface of the liquid sample.
-78-

29. The method of claim 28, wherein said accurate height
measurement of the top surface of the liquid sample in the
selected sample container with respect to an upwardly directed
planar reference surface is calculated by means of determining
the vertical difference between the vertical position of the top
surface of the liquid sample and the vertical position of said
upwardly directed planar reference surface
30. The method of any one of claims 28 - 29, further
comprising the step of, after step (b4) and before step (c):
(b5) electronically calculating the volume of said
unknown volume of liquid in said selected sample container,
using the accurate height measurement calculated in step (b4)
combined with the known geometry of said congruent sample
containers.
31. The method of claim 30, further comprising the step
of, after step (b0 and before step (c):
(b6) electronically calculating the volume of diluent
to add into said selected sample container necessary to obtain
- 79 -

said pre-determined threshold volume of said mixture, based on
the difference between the volume of said liquid sample in said
selected sample container and said pre-determined threshold
volume.
32. The method of claim 31, wherein step (b6)
electronically calculating the volume of diluent to add into
said selected sample container, is based on the viscosity of
said liquid sample.
33. The method of claim 30, wherein the volume of said
unknown volume of liquid in said selected sample container is
calculated based on a calibration graph of sample height versus
sample volume.
34. The method of any one of claims 31 - 32, further
comprising the step of, after step (b6) and before step (c):
(b7) determining a dilution ratio of said unknown
volume of liquid and said diluent in said sample container, and
performing step (c) if the dilution ratio of the unknown volume
of liquid to the diluent is between about 1:0 and 1:9.
- 80 -

35. The method of any one of claims 26 - 34, wherein said
pre-determined threshold volume is the same volume for each
sample container.
36. The method of any one of claims 26 - 35, wherein said
unknown volume of each liquid sample is approximated with
respect to indicia marked on each of said sample containers.
37. The method of any one of claims 26 - 36, wherein said
array is an ordered quadrilateral array.
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A single figure which represents the drawing illustrating the invention.

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Admin Status

Title Date
(22) Filed 2013-03-14
Examination Requested 2013-03-14
(41) Open to Public Inspection 2013-05-20
(45) Issued 2014-09-02

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Payment History

Fee Type Anniversary Year Due Date Amount Paid Paid Date
Special Order $500.00 2013-03-14
Request for Examination $400.00 2013-03-14
Registration of Documents $100.00 2013-03-14
Filing $200.00 2013-03-14
Final $150.00 2014-06-19
Maintenance Fee - Patent - New Act 2 2015-03-16 $50.00 2015-01-23
Maintenance Fee - Patent - New Act 3 2016-03-14 $50.00 2016-03-04
Maintenance Fee - Patent - New Act 4 2017-03-14 $50.00 2016-09-20
Maintenance Fee - Patent - New Act 5 2018-03-14 $100.00 2016-09-20
Maintenance Fee - Patent - New Act 6 2019-03-14 $100.00 2016-09-20

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