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Publication numberUS20140000223 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 13/883,903
PCT numberPCT/EP2011/069297
Publication date2 Jan 2014
Filing date3 Nov 2011
Priority date10 Nov 2010
Also published asEP2637933A1, EP2637933B1, WO2012062646A1
Publication number13883903, 883903, PCT/2011/69297, PCT/EP/11/069297, PCT/EP/11/69297, PCT/EP/2011/069297, PCT/EP/2011/69297, PCT/EP11/069297, PCT/EP11/69297, PCT/EP11069297, PCT/EP1169297, PCT/EP2011/069297, PCT/EP2011/69297, PCT/EP2011069297, PCT/EP201169297, US 2014/0000223 A1, US 2014/000223 A1, US 20140000223 A1, US 20140000223A1, US 2014000223 A1, US 2014000223A1, US-A1-20140000223, US-A1-2014000223, US2014/0000223A1, US2014/000223A1, US20140000223 A1, US20140000223A1, US2014000223 A1, US2014000223A1
InventorsDirk Osterloh, Dirk Kurowski, Tobia Rodenfels, Gert Blankenstein, Tobias Eichmann, Thanh Tu Hellmich-Duong
Original AssigneeBoehringer Ingelheim Microparts Gmbh
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Method for filling a blister packaging with liquid, and blister packaging with a cavity for filling with liquid
US 20140000223 A1
Abstract
A method for filling a cavity, of a packaging, particularly a blister packaging, with a liquid and a packaging suitable for this purpose are proposed. The cavity is completely filled with the liquid by an acceleration force or by continuous throughflow.
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Claims(15)
1. A method for filling a cavity (2) in a packaging (1), with a liquid (3), wherein the cavity (2) is formed between a support (4) and a cover (5),
characterised in that
between the support (4) and cover (5) a supply region connected to the cavity (2) is formed and in that after being covered by the cover (5) the cavity (2) is filled with the liquid (3) through the supply region at least substantially completely and with no gas bubbles by an acceleration force (B) or by continuous throughflow (D).
2. The method according to claim 1, characterised in that the supply region and, if present, a discharge region adjoining the cavity (2), formed between the support (4) and cover (5), for gas (8) escaping or displaced from the cavity (2) and/or for the liquid (3) that has flowed through the cavity (2) are closed off after the filling of the cavity (2).
3. The method according to claim 1, characterised in that between the support (4) and cover (5) is formed an additional cavity (2A) and in that the liquid (3) is supplied from the additional cavity (2A) to the cavity (2) that is to be filled and gas (8) is displaced or is able to escape from the cavity (2) that is to be filled into the additional cavity (2A), particularly through a discharge region formed between the support (4) and cover (5).
4. The method according to claim 3, characterised in that the packaging (1) is sealed in fluidtight manner after partial filling of the additional cavity (2A) and in particular of the cavity (2) that is to be filled with liquid (3) and then the cavity (2) that is to be filled is filled with the liquid (3) at least substantially completely and with no gas bubbles.
5. The method according to claim 1, characterised in that gravitational force is used as the acceleration force (B).
6. The method according to claim 1, characterised in that a centrifugal force acting on the liquid (3) is used as the acceleration force (B).
7. The method according to claim 1, characterised in that the liquid (3) is circulated in order to flow through (D) the cavity (2) that is to be filled.
8. The method according to claim 1, characterised in that the liquid (3) is passed in series through a plurality of cavities (2) to be filled.
9. The method according to claim 1, characterised in that a plurality of cavities (2) to be filled are connected in parallel to the supply region and the liquid (3) is passed through them in parallel.
10. Packaging (1), having at least one cavity (2) to be filled with a liquid (3),
the packaging (1) comprising a support (4) and a cover (5), between which the cavity (2) is formed,
characterised in that
the packaging (1) comprises a supply region and discharge region attached to the cavity (2), the two regions being formed between the support (4) and cover (5), so that after being covered by the cover (5) the cavity (2) can be filled with the liquid at least substantially completely and with no gas bubbles by an acceleration force (B) or by continuous throughflow (D), wherein
the packaging (1) comprises an additional cavity (2A) and liquid (3) can be supplied from the additional cavity (2A) to the cavity (2) that is to be filled, while gas (8) can be displaced or can escape from the cavity (2) that is to be filled through the discharge region into the additional cavity (2A), or
a plurality of cavities (2) that are to be filled are formed between the support (4) and cover (5) and these are jointly connected to the supply region in parallel and/or in series.
11. The packaging according to claim 10, characterised in that the supply region and the discharge region are formed by a common channel (7).
12. The packaging according to claim 10, characterised in that the supply region and the discharge region are formed by separate channels (7, 10).
13. The packaging according to claim 10, characterised in that the supply region and the discharge region is formed by the additional cavity (2A), which immediately adjoins the cavity (2) that is to be filled or surrounds the latter.
14. The packaging according to claim 10, characterised in that the supply region and the discharge region are outwardly open when the cavity (2) is covered, for filling the cavity (2).
15. The packaging according to claim 10, characterised in that the packaging (1) is at least substantially flat in configuration, while in particular the cavity (cavities) (2, 2A), the supply region and the discharge region are arranged at least substantially on a flat side of the packaging (1) or in a plane (E).
Description
  • [0001]
    The present invention relates to a method for filling a cavity of a packaging, particularly a blister packaging, with a liquid according to the preamble of claim 1, and a packaging, particularly a blister packaging, having at least one cavity for filling with a liquid, according to the preamble of claim 10.
  • [0002]
    The present invention relates to the admission of a liquid into a packaging, particularly a blister packaging. The liquid is admitted into a cavity in the packaging. The cavity is formed in particular by a blister. The following description is therefore directed to a blister pack or to a blister for holding a liquid, even if the present invention is not restricted to this but may also preferably be used in other liquid packaging.
  • [0003]
    The filling of one or more cavities with substances, solid objects or liquids is known, for example, from the field of so-called visual packaging or blister packs. Blister packs are used in various sectors and industrial fields and are provided with at least one cavity into which the contents to be packed therein are introduced. As a rule the contents of the cavity are visible from outside. However, the blister packs may also cover or encase the contents or the liquid contained therein in airtight or concealed manner.
  • [0004]
    A typical blister pack usually comprises two films which in turn may be made up of several layers of different or identical materials. The films are generally made of plastics and/or metal, e.g., aluminium, while other materials such as paper or the like may theoretically also be used, or used in addition. The two films are, in particular, a base layer or base film (support) and a cover layer or cover film (cover).
  • [0005]
    In the base film or support there may be one or more wells or depressions for holding the liquid, into which the liquid, particularly a pharmaceutical formulation, is introduced. The cover film or the cover is then placed on the base film or support and fixed or attached thereto, and this is done, for example, at the edges or in a connecting region, particularly in flatly abutting surface regions, preferably by adhesion, heat-sealing, welding or the like.
  • [0006]
    DE 103 43 668 A1 discloses a particularly leaktight blister pack for medicaments; the filling of the blister pack is not described in detail.
  • [0007]
    DE 20 2007 003 050 U1 discloses a blister pack for a liquid active substance; the filling of the blister pack is not described in detail.
  • [0008]
    Usually, up till now, blister cavities have been only partly filled, particularly only 50 to 70% filled, with a liquid, in order to prevent liquid from escaping from the cavity that is to be filled before the final sealing, for example as a result of capillary forces in the gap between the support and the cover, which could cause irregular closing of the cavity and/or contamination of machines or the like.
  • [0009]
    The present invention relates in particular to total filling of a cavity in a packaging, particularly blister packaging, with a liquid. Particularly preferably the intention is to enable or assist filling without any gas or air bubbles. Total filling of this kind is necessary, for example, when a blister pack is fitted to a medical cartridge or arrangement (for example, a so-called biosensor) and the liquid introduced into the cavity of the blister pack, particularly provided with a reagent or a number of reagents, is supposed to initiate or permit a certain analytical reaction in the cartridge. The cartridge will then usually comprise a microfluidic system. To ensure that an analytical reaction to be performed by the liquid is not falsified or influenced, it may also be necessary for the liquid to be transferred to the cartridge with no gas or air bubbles after the cavity has been opened. This presupposes, among other things, that the cavity of the blister pack is itself completely filled with the liquid, i.e., with no gas or air bubbles. However, total filling of the cavity or of a blister with the liquid may also be desirable or necessary for other reasons, for example, with a view to ease of storage, resistance to changes in air pressure or the like.
  • [0010]
    The present invention is based on the problem of providing a method for filling a cavity in a packaging, particularly a blister packaging, with a liquid, and a packaging of this kind, in which total filling of the cavity, particularly a blister, with the liquid and/or leaktight sealing of the cavity is assisted or enabled.
  • [0011]
    The above problem is solved by a method according to claim 1 or a packaging according to claim 10. Advantageous further features are the subject of the sub-claims.
  • [0012]
    It is proposed that the cavity is at least substantially completely filled, with no gas bubbles, by an acceleration force or continuously passing the liquid through. In particular, for this purpose, the cavity is initially covered—particularly by a cover—or substantially sealed apart from a supply and/or discharge region. The cavity may already be partly filled with liquid. Then (additional) liquid is supplied through the supply region by an acceleration force or by continuous flow through the cavity, as a result of which the latter is at least substantially completely filled with the liquid, with no gas bubbles. In this way, the total filling of the cavity can be made easier or enabled. In addition, leaktight sealing of the cavity can be made easier or enabled in this way.
  • [0013]
    The acceleration force used is preferably gravitational force or a centrifugal force for filling the cavity with the liquid. This results in a very simple construction.
  • [0014]
    According to one embodiment, the packaging is provided with an additional cavity that is associated with the cavity to be filled and is fluidically connected therewith. The additional cavity and optionally also the cavity that is to be filled is or are partially filled with the liquid. Then the two cavities are covered, in particular the packaging is sealed in fluidtight manner, but retaining a fluidic connection between the two cavities. Then the liquid is transferred from the additional cavity into the liquid that is to be filled, particularly by an acceleration force or by some other means, while gas (particularly air) escaping or displaced from the cavity that is to be filled can preferably be discharged into the additional cavity or expelled in some other manner. When the cavity to be filled has been filled with the liquid at least substantially completely and/or with no gas bubbles, the fluidic connection between the two cavities is preferably sealed or the filled cavity is finally fluidically sealed. In this way, total filling of the cavity can be facilitated or made possible. Moreover, to leaktight sealing of the cavity can be facilitated or enabled in this way.
  • [0015]
    The additional cavity may if necessary be attached to the cavity that is to be filled via a supply region and a discharge region, which may be formed in particular by a common channel or separate channels. However, the additional cavity may also be connected directly to the cavity that is to be filled. In this case the supply region and optionally the discharge region may be formed directly by the additional cavity.
  • [0016]
    According to one embodiment, the packaging has the liquid passing through it continuously, in order to fill the cavity that is to be filled, particularly a plurality of cavities in the packaging that are to be filled simultaneously, with the liquid at least substantially completely and/or with no gas bubbles. In particular the liquid may be passed through the plurality of cavities in parallel and/or in series. The liquid is preferably passed continuously and/or circulated through the packaging or cavities. Only when the cavities are completely filled does final sealing of the cavities or corresponding supply and discharge regions for the liquid take place. However, the cavities had preferably been at least substantially sealed (apart from the necessary supply and discharge regions) even before the liquid was passed through them. In this way, total filling of the cavity can be facilitated or enabled. Moreover, leaktight sealing of the cavity can be facilitated or enabled in this way.
  • [0017]
    A proposed packaging, particularly a blister packaging, is preferably characterised in that the packaging comprises a supply region and discharge region attached to the cavity that is to be filled, the two regions preferably being formed between the support and the cover, so that after the covering—particularly by means of a cover attached directly to the support that forms the cavity—the cavity can be filled with the liquid at least substantially completely and/or with no gas bubbles, by an acceleration force or by continuously passing the liquid through. The packaging here comprises either an additional cavity which is in fluid exchange and gas exchange with the cavity that is to be filled, or a plurality of cavities to be filled, which are connected in parallel and/or in series to the supply region for joint filling. In this way, total filling of the cavity (cavities) can be facilitated or enabled. Moreover, leaktight sealing of the cavity (cavities) can be facilitated or enabled in this way.
  • [0018]
    Further advantages, features, properties and aspects of the present invention will be apparent from the claims and the following description of preferred embodiments by reference to the drawings, wherein:
  • [0019]
    FIG. 1 shows a schematic plan view of a proposed packaging according to a first embodiment with two partially filled cavities;
  • [0020]
    FIG. 2 shows a schematic section through the packaging in FIG. 1;
  • [0021]
    FIG. 3 shows a schematic plan view of the packaging according to the first embodiment with a totally filled cavity;
  • [0022]
    FIG. 4 shows a schematic section through the packaging according to FIG. 3;
  • [0023]
    FIG. 5 shows a schematic section through a proposed packaging according to a second embodiment during the closing of a fluidic connection between two cavities;
  • [0024]
    FIG. 6 shows a schematic plan view of a proposed packaging according to a third embodiment;
  • [0025]
    FIG. 7 shows a schematic plan view of a proposed packaging according to a fourth embodiment;
  • [0026]
    FIG. 8 shows a schematic section through a proposed packaging according to a fifth embodiment;
  • [0027]
    FIG. 9 shows a schematic section through the packaging according to FIG. 8 during the closing of a cavity that is to be filled;
  • [0028]
    FIG. 10 shows a schematic plan view of a proposed packaging according to a sixth embodiment;
  • [0029]
    FIG. 11 shows a schematic section through the packaging according to FIG. 10;
  • [0030]
    FIG. 12 shows a schematic plan view of a proposed packaging according to a seventh embodiment with an associated filling apparatus;
  • [0031]
    FIG. 13 shows a schematic section through a first channel cross-section;
  • [0032]
    FIG. 14 shows a schematic section through a second channel cross-section; and
  • [0033]
    FIG. 15 shows a schematic section through a third channel cross-section.
  • [0034]
    In the figures the same reference numerals have been used for identical or similar parts where corresponding or comparable properties and advantages are achieved, even if the description is not repeated.
  • [0035]
    FIG. 1 in schematic plan view and FIG. 2 in schematic section show a proposed packaging 1 according to a first embodiment. The packaging 1 comprises at least one cavity 2 which can be filled with a liquid 3. In FIGS. 1 and 2 the cavity 2 has already been partially filled with the liquid 3.
  • [0036]
    to In the embodiment shown the packaging 1 comprises an additional cavity 2A which is associated with, more particularly fluidically connected to, the cavity 2 that is to be filled.
  • [0037]
    The packaging 1 is embodied in particular as a blister pack. The cavity 2 or 2A is formed in particular by blisters of the packaging 1 or blister pack.
  • [0038]
    The liquid 3 is, in particular, an investigation liquid, a washing liquid, a reaction liquid, a solvent or the like, particularly preferably for use in a microfluidic system for determining an analyte or value and/or for investigating, in particular, a preferably biological sample or the like.
  • [0039]
    The packaging 1 comprises a support 4 and an associated cover 5.
  • [0040]
    The support 4 is, in particular, an at least substantially flat or planar element and/or flat material and/or a base layer or base film or the like.
  • [0041]
    The support 4 may be relatively rigid or else flexible and/or deformable at least in some areas. Preferably, the support 4 has relatively great rigidity or strength in its main direction or plane of extent, or a flat side or main plane of extent E of the preferably flat packaging 1.
  • [0042]
    In the embodiment shown, the support 4 is preferably more rigid or stiff in construction than the cover 5 and/or sufficiently rigid to at least substantially or primarily determine the deformation of the packaging 1.
  • [0043]
    The cover 5 is preferably an at least substantially flat or planar and/or smooth element or flat material and/or a cover layer or cover film, particularly preferably for flatly covering the associated support 4.
  • [0044]
    Preferably, the support 4 and/or the cover 5 is or are embodied as a film and/or made of film, plastics, metal and/or a composite material containing plastics and/or metal, in particular.
  • [0045]
    The support 4 and the cover 5 may theoretically be made from the same material. In the embodiment shown, the support 4 and the cover 5 are, however, preferably made from different materials.
  • [0046]
    At least one cavity 2 for holding the liquid 3 is formed between the support 4 and the cover 5. Particularly preferably, a number of cavities 2 are formed (cf. FIG. 12).
  • [0047]
    In particular the packaging 1 or the support 4 and/or cover 5 may particularly preferably comprise a strip of continuous material or the like. The continuous material can then be divided or separated into individual packages 1, each having at least one cavity 2 and optionally 2A for holding the liquid 3, before or preferably after the introduction of the liquid 3, as required. The following description will detail primarily only the filling of a cavity 2, although this applies correspondingly to a plurality of cavities 2.
  • [0048]
    In order to form the cavity 2 or 2A, a depression or convexity, respectively, is preferably formed in the support 4 and/or cover 5, preferably only in the support 4, in the embodiment shown, as illustrated in FIG. 1. The depression or convexity is particularly in the form of a well. The depression is produced in particular by thermoforming and/or deep-drawing, in this case of the support 4.
  • [0049]
    After the partial introduction of the liquid 3 into the depression or convexity or cavity 2 and/or 2A—in the support 4 according to the embodiment shown—the packaging 1 or cavity 2 and 2A is closed or sealed. In order to do this, the cover 5 is placed on top and at least partly attached to the support 4 in a connecting region 6. The connecting region 6 is formed in particular in the region of flatly abutting surface regions of the support 4 and cover 5. The connecting region 6 adjoins the cavities 2 and 2A, particularly laterally and/or circumferentially. For example, the connecting region may surround the cavities 2 and 2A in an annular configuration.
  • [0050]
    The connecting of the support 4 and cover 5 is preferably carried out by heat-sealing, welding, adhesion and/or any other suitable method.
  • [0051]
    The support 4 and the cover 5 are connected or connectable with one another in the connecting region 6 at least substantially in fluidtight manner, in particular in at least substantially gastight, continuous, annular and/or circumferential manner.
  • [0052]
    FIGS. 1 and 2 show the proposed packaging 1 in the partially filled state. The cavities 2 and 2A (blisters) are each partly filled (for example to 50% to 70% of the respective volume) with the liquid 3 and sealed but are still fluidically connected to one another.
  • [0053]
    In the embodiment shown, the packaging 1 preferably comprises a supply region for supplying liquid 3 for in particular totally filling the cavity 2 with the liquid 3. The supply region in the first embodiment comprises or is formed by a channel 7, in particular. Particularly preferably, the fluidic connection is provided between the two cavities 2 and 2A via this supply region or channel 7.
  • [0054]
    The supply region or channel 7 is preferably initially not sealed during the covering of the cavity 2 and cavity 2A or of the support 4 by the cover 5 and/or during the preferably fluidtight sealing of the packaging 1, particularly by joining the support 4 and cover 5 in the connecting region 6. Even if the packaging 1 is preferably completely closed, the cavity 2 that is to be filled is initially not completely fluidically closed but remains in fluidic connection with the additional cavity 2A and/or other cavities 2 and/or the environment or a filling apparatus or the like, via the supply region and in particular a discharge region (which will be discussed in more detail hereinafter).
  • [0055]
    FIGS. 1 and 2 show the packaging 1 with partially filled cavities 2 and 2A and with a fluidic connection still open between the two cavities 2 and 2A, i.e. with the channel 7 still open.
  • [0056]
    The objective is to fill the cavity 2 that is to be filled at least substantially completely with the liquid 2 and/or with no gas bubbles, i.e. in particular without trapping any air. In the present invention this is also basically referred to, for short, as “total filling” of the cavity 2.
  • [0057]
    For (total) filling of the cavity 2, liquid 3 is passed through the supply region or channel 7 to the already covered cavity 2, from the additional cavity 2A in the embodiment shown. This supplying and (total) filling is carried out in particular by an acceleration force indicated by arrow B in FIG. 1.
  • [0058]
    Preferably, the additional cavity 2A is larger in size than the cavity 2 that is to be filled, particularly by at least 10% by volume, particularly preferably by at least 50% by volume. In this way it is possible to ensure, even when the cavities 2 and 2A are only partially pre-filled before the sealing of the device 1 or covering, that sufficient liquid 3 is available in the additional cavity 2A to enable total filling of the cavity 2 that is to be filled.
  • [0059]
    FIG. 3 in a schematic plan view and FIG. 4 in a schematic section show the packaging 1 after (total) filling of the cavity 2 or flow of liquid 3 from the additional cavity 2A into the cavity 2. The acceleration force B preferably used for filling the cavity 2 is indicated again by a corresponding arrow in FIG. 3. The force used as the acceleration force B is, in particular, gravitational force, for example by in particular at least substantially vertical alignment of the already pre-filled packaging 1, and/or a centrifugal force acting on the liquid 3, for example by corresponding rotation of the device 1, particularly about a rotation axis located on the left adjacent to the additional cavity 2A in the representation according to FIG. 1.
  • [0060]
    When the cavity 2 is totally filled with the liquid 3, gas 8, particularly air, is able to or has to escape from the cavity 2 or is displaced therefrom. This gas 8 is preferably discharged through a discharge region adjoining the cavity 2 that is to be filled. This may for example be a vent (not shown).
  • [0061]
    However, the discharge region is preferably formed between the support 4 and cover 5, particularly by the channel 7, another channel or the like.
  • [0062]
    In the first embodiment, the displaced gas 8 is preferably supplied to the additional cavity 2A. The discharge region is accordingly connected to the additional cavity 2A.
  • [0063]
    In the first embodiment shown, the discharge region is preferably formed by the same fluidic element as the supply region, thus in this case the (common) channel 7. to The channel 7 preferably has for this purpose a relatively large cross-section and/or a suitable cross-sectional shape, for example a relatively flat cross-section. Possible alternative design and constructional details will be discussed hereinafter.
  • [0064]
    After (total) filling of the cavity 2 with the liquid 3 the supply region or channel 7 and/or the fluidic connection between the two cavities 2 and 2A can be closed. This is done for example by corresponding deformation of the channel 7 which is preferably formed by a depression in the support 4 and/or a corresponding deformation of the cover 5 or the like. In particular, the support 4 and cover 5 are connected in the region of the fluidic connection or in the supply region, to interrupt the fluidic connection and/or seal off the cavity 2 in totally fluidtight manner.
  • [0065]
    After the closing of the fluidic connection or of the channel 7, as indicated for example by the dashed line in FIGS. 3 and 4, the filled and now hermetically sealed cavity 2 may if required also be separated from the rest of the packaging 1, for example by separating along the dashed line or the like from the supply region, the channel 7 and/or the additional cavity 2A.
  • [0066]
    Further embodiments of the proposed packaging 1 and the proposed method for filling the cavity 2 of such a packaging 1, particularly a blister packaging, will be described hereinafter by reference to the other figures. In the description that follows, only essential differences will be emphasised. The remarks and explanations provided earlier therefore apply in a supplementary or corresponding manner, in particular. Moreover, individual features and aspects of the various embodiments may also be combined with one another as desired and/or implemented independently of one another in a packaging 1 according to the present invention.
  • [0067]
    FIG. 5 shows in schematic section a proposed packaging 1 according to a second embodiment. The second embodiment largely corresponds to the first embodiment, except that the fluidic connection or channel 7 is of different construction, namely it is formed not by a depression or convexity in the support 4 as in the first embodiment, but by a depression or convexity in the cover 5.
  • [0068]
    FIG. 5 shows the packaging in a state corresponding to FIGS. 3 and 4. FIG. 5 shows how the fluidic connection or the channel 7 is sealed by means of a tool such as a punch 9 or the like, and/or by heat-sealing or the like, after (total) filling of the cavity 2.
  • [0069]
    FIG. 6 shows in schematic plan view a proposed packaging 1 according to a third embodiment, without any liquid 3. In contrast to the first embodiment, the fluidic connection between the two cavities 2 and 2A or the channel 7 is of substantially wider configuration. This contributes to the, in particular, simultaneous supplying of liquid 3 to the cavity 2 and to the simultaneous discharge of gas 8 from the cavity 2 (this is not shown in FIG. 6). In particular, the preferably wide construction of the channel 7 assists with the formation both of the supply region and of the discharge region by the (common) channel 7, as already explained hereinbefore.
  • [0070]
    FIG. 7 shows, in schematic plan view, a proposed packaging 1 according to a fourth embodiment. Here, the discharge region is preferably embodied to be separate from the supply region and is formed in particular by a separate channel 10, in this case between the two cavities 2 and 2A, in particular. The dashed lines show another possible path of the (additional) channel 10, preferably with a connection to the additional cavity 2A on the side remote from the channel 7. In particular, the channel 10 or a further channel, particularly for venting the cavity 2 or discharge region, is in this case a venting device or a venting channel for the cavity 2 that is to be filled.
  • [0071]
    FIG. 8 shows, in schematic section, a proposed packaging 1 according to a fifth embodiment. In contrast to the previous embodiments, the additional cavity 2A here preferably directly adjoins the cavity 2 that is to be filled. In the embodiment shown, the additional cavity 2A surrounds the cavity 2 that is to be filled at least substantially completely and/or annularly. Particularly preferably in the fifth embodiment, the cavity 2 that is to be filled is formed or embodied as a depression in an already depressed section or base of the additional cavity 2A.
  • [0072]
    In the fifth embodiment, the additional cavity 2A preferably forms the supply region and, if necessary, the discharge region in the sense described hereinbefore.
  • [0073]
    In the fifth embodiment, the arrangement of the cavities 2/2A is first partially filled with the liquid 3 and then the packaging 1 is sealed. The cavity 2 to be filled is then totally filled. This preferably occurs, in the packaging 1 according to the fifth embodiment, by the fact that the liquid 3 flows by gravity (as the acceleration force) into the cavity 2 which is preferably located lower down. In particular, for this purpose, the packaging 1 is aligned such that the cavity 2 forms the lowest point of the packaging 1 or at least a lower point than the additional cavity 2A. Depending on the alignment during the initial filling of the packaging 1, total filling of the cavity 2 that is to be filled may accordingly take place even at the initial stages or before the sealing of the packaging 1. However, because of the additional cavity 2A, it is possible to ensure that the liquid 3 introduced does not run out again in an undesirable manner, particularly before the packaging 1 is completely closed or before the cavities 2 and 2A are covered or the cover 5 is attached to the support 4.
  • [0074]
    After the introduction of the liquid 3 and the closure of the packaging 1, the cavity 2 that is to be filled can be closed. In the embodiment shown, this is achieved in particular by corresponding deformation of the cover 5, as shown in the schematic section according to FIG. 9, for example using a tool, punch 9 or the like. Excess liquid 3 and/or gas is displaced into the additional cavity 2A and the cover 5 can be connected to the support 4 particularly in an annular region or additional connecting region 2A surrounding the cavity and adjacent thereto, in order to seal off the filled cavity 2 in preferably fluidtight manner.
  • [0075]
    FIG. 10 shows, in schematic plan view, a sixth embodiment of the proposed packaging 1. The sixth embodiment is very similar to the fifth embodiment. It differs from the fifth embodiment essentially only in that the cavity 2 to be filled is arranged on one side of the additional cavity 2A or vice versa and the two cavities 2 and 2A are embodied to be arranged at least substantially as separate depressions or convexities and/or at the same height, starting from the main plane of extent E. FIG. 11 shows, in schematic section, the packaging 1 according to the fifth embodiment in the sealed state but without liquid 3.
  • [0076]
    FIG. 12 shows in schematic plan view the proposed packaging 1 according to a seventh embodiment. The seventh embodiment differs in particular from the previous embodiments in that the liquid 3 is passed preferably continuously through the cavity 2 that is to be filled, as schematically shown by arrow D, in order to fill the cavity 2 at least substantially completely and with no gas bubbles. A particularly preferred proposed construction and a corresponding particularly preferred method are described in more detail hereinafter.
  • [0077]
    In the embodiment shown, the packaging 1 is connected to an associated filling apparatus 11. The filling apparatus 11 is preferably configured so as to circulate the liquid 3 through the packaging 1, particularly by pumping. The filling apparatus 11 preferably comprises a pump 12, a liquid reservoir 13 and/or a filter 14 and optionally additionally a gas separator (not shown).
  • [0078]
    The filling apparatus 11 and/or packaging 1 is or are preferably configured such that an in particular fluidtight and preferably also at least substantially gastight mutual connection is made possible, for passing the liquid 3 through the packaging 1 in order to fill at least one cavity 2—particularly continuously or in a circuit.
  • [0079]
    In the embodiment shown, the packaging 1 preferably comprises a plurality of cavities 2 that are to be filled, which are connected in parallel to a common supply region, in this case the channel 7 for supplying liquid 3, and/or through which the liquid 3 can flow in series one after the other. In particular, a common supply region or the common channel 7 is provided for a plurality of cavities 2 in the packaging 1 that are to be filled. Corresponding discharge regions or channels 10 then carry off the liquid 3 that has flowed through the respective cavity 2 and any gas or air bubbles present, at least to begin with, and form a connection to other adjoining cavities 2. Finally, the liquid 3 that has flowed through the cavities 2 is drained back into the filling apparatus 11 through an in particular common discharge region of the packaging 1 or recirculated.
  • [0080]
    The filling apparatus 11 filters the liquid 3 preferably with the filter 14 that is optionally provided, in order to prevent or at least minimise the depositing of unwanted particles or the like in the cavities 2.
  • [0081]
    The filling apparatus 11 is preferably provided with a reservoir 13 for the liquid 3 that is large enough to enable the packaging 1 or cavities 2 to be filled with the liquid 3 in the desired manner.
  • [0082]
    By means of the pump 12, the liquid 3 can be pumped and circulated in the desired manner through the packaging 1 or cavities 2, in particular until the cavities 2 have been totally filled, for example when no more bubbles of gas or air are being given off in the liquid 3 from the packaging 1. This can be detected by means of a suitable sensor (not shown), for example a suitable volume flow meter.
  • [0083]
    The particularly preferably continuous flow D of the liquid 3 through the cavities 2 or the circulation of the liquid 3 through the packaging 1 has the particular advantage that gas, such as air, which is not shown or designated in FIG. 12, can be displaced very well from the cavities 2 that are to be filled, and in particular even gas or air bubbles that would otherwise have been left suspended are expelled with a high degree of probability or certainty. Accordingly, it is very easy to achieve good filling of the cavities 2 according to the present invention in the proposed manner.
  • [0084]
    For the filling or during the filling, the packaging 1 is preferably aligned at least substantially vertically or at least inclined to the horizontal, while the liquid 3 preferably flows through the packaging 1 from bottom to top, in order to expel or displace any gas (air) contained in the packaging 1 or in the cavities 2.
  • [0085]
    It should be noted, however, that the proposed packaging 1 according to the seventh embodiment can also be filled with the liquid 3 in some other manner.
  • [0086]
    After the cavities 2 of the packaging 1 have been filled with the liquid 3, the fluidic connections to and from the cavities 2 or the supply and discharge regions or the channels 7/10 are sealed off (in fluidtight manner). This is done in particular by corresponding deformation and/or corresponding heat-sealing, welding, adhesion, or the like, for example in the region of the dashed lines in FIG. 12. The filled cavities 2 are thus finally fluidically sealed.
  • [0087]
    Then the (totally) filled cavities 2 can be separated off individually or in groups, for example the packaging 1 may for this purpose be divided up along the dashed lines shown, for example by cutting. In particular, this division may be carried out transversely and/or longitudinally of the direction of flow D and/or the longitudinal extent of the continuous material from which the packaging 1 is preferably produced.
  • [0088]
    FIGS. 13, 14 and 15 show possible different channel cross-sections of the channels 7 or 10 of the packaging 1. The channels 7/10 may, as already mentioned, be formed by corresponding depressions or convexities, particularly in the support 4, as shown here, and/or in the cover 5.
  • LIST OF REFERENCE NUMERALS
  • [0000]
    • 1 packaging
    • 2 cavity
    • 2A additional cavity
    • 3 liquid
    • 4 support
    • 5 cover
    • 6 connecting region
    • 6A additional connecting region
    • 7 channel
    • 8 gas
    • 9 punch
    • 10 channel
    • 11 filling apparatus
    • 12 pump
    • 13 reservoir
    • 14 filter
    • B acceleration force
    • D direction of flow
    • E plane
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Classifications
U.S. Classification53/452, 53/558
International ClassificationB65B55/24
Cooperative ClassificationB65B55/24, B65B3/24, B65B3/26, B65B11/50
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
3 Sep 2013ASAssignment
Owner name: BOEHRINGER INGELHEIM MICROPARTS GMBH, GERMANY
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:OSTERLOH, DIRK;KUROWSKI, DIRK;RODENFELS, TOBIAS;AND OTHERS;SIGNING DATES FROM 20130705 TO 20130814;REEL/FRAME:031125/0938