US 9,810,706 B2
Vertical conveying device, laboratory sample distribution system and laboratory automation system
Christian Riether, Muehltal (DE); and Hans Schneider, Schwaikheim (DE)
Assigned to Roche Diagnostics Operations, Inc., Indianapolis, IN (US)
Filed by Roche Diagnostics Operations, Inc., Indianapolis, IN (US)
Filed on Mar. 23, 2015, as Appl. No. 14/665,415.
Claims priority of application No. 14162940 (EP), filed on Mar. 31, 2014.
Prior Publication US 2015/0276778 A1, Oct. 1, 2015
Int. Cl. G01N 35/04 (2006.01); G01N 35/10 (2006.01); B66B 11/04 (2006.01); B65G 15/58 (2006.01)
CPC G01N 35/10 (2013.01) [B66B 11/04 (2013.01); G01N 35/04 (2013.01); B65G 15/58 (2013.01); G01N 2035/0477 (2013.01); G01N 2035/0484 (2013.01)] 8 Claims
OG exemplary drawing
 
1. A sample distribution system, the sample distribution system comprising:
a plurality of sample container carders for receiving one or more sample containers, wherein a sample container carrier comprises at least one magnetically active element to interact with a magnetic field generated by at least one electromagnetic actuator such that a driving force is applied to the sample container carrier;
a bottom transport surface and a top transport surface arranged vertically higher in relation to the bottom transport surface, the bottom transport surface and the top transport surface carry the sample container carriers;
a plurality of first electromagnetic actuators arranged in a stationary manner under the bottom transport surface, wherein the plurality of first electromagnetic actuators move a sample container carder arranged on the bottom transport surface by applying a magnetic force to the sample container carrier;
a plurality of second electromagnetic actuators arranged in a stationary manner under the top transport surface, wherein the plurality of second electromagnetic actuators move a sample container carder arranged on the top transport surface by applying a magnetic force to the sample container carrier;
a vertical conveying device configured to transport the sample containers contained in the sample container carriers between the bottom transport surface and the top transport surface, the vertical conveying device comprises:
a plurality of conveying elements having conveying surfaces for placing on and carrying at least one sample container carrier;
a circulating device to circulate the conveying elements between the bottom level and the top level in operation such that the conveying surfaces continuously remain aligned horizontally during the circulation; and
at least one electromagnetic actuator to apply a driving force to a sample container carrier to be driven on one of the conveying surfaces; and
a control device configured to actuate the electromagnetic actuators arranged under the bottom transport and top transport surface such that a respective sample container carrier is moved along a definable movement path on the bottom transport and top transport surface, to actuate the at least one electromagnetic actuator to apply a driving force to a sample container carrier to be driven on one of the conveying surfaces such that the sample container carrier is moved from the bottom transport surface or top transport surface in the direction of one of the conveying surfaces or from one of the conveying surfaces in the direction of the bottom transport surface or top transport surface, and to control the circulating device such that the sample container carrier is transported between the bottom transport surface and the top transport surface level.