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Title:
CONTAINER FOR HANDLING AND TRANSPORTING CYLINDERS
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2011/138296
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The invention relates to a container (10) for handling and transporting cylinders (100), for example glass cylinders, comprising a bottom wall (40) for supporting the cylinders in z- direction having a support bottom (42) for supporting the cylinders and an opposite outer bottom and side walls (20) for supporting the cylinders in x- direction as well as side walls (30) for supporting the cylinders in y-direction, the side walls (20,30) having a support side for supporting the cylinders and an opposite outer side. The container further comprises geometrical means (50) for distributing a perfect order of the said cylinders (100) when arranged in the container.

Inventors:
KIBAT, Paul-Gerhard (Frankfurt am Main, 65926, DE)
SCHARF, Matthias (Frankfurt am Main, 65926, DE)
JUHNKE, Hanno (Frankfurt am Main, 65926, DE)
GROESCHKE, Jasmin (Frankfurt am Main, 65926, DE)
BERNHARDT, Rainer (Frankfurt am Main, 65926, DE)
SPENGLER, Jan-Peter (Frankfurt am Main, 65926, DE)
SCHRACK, Michael (Schwalbenstr. 16, Pliezhausen, 72124, DE)
ZECKAI, Olaf (Ortsstr. 14, Weinheim, 69469, DE)
Application Number:
EP2011/056995
Publication Date:
November 10, 2011
Filing Date:
May 03, 2011
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
SANOFI-AVENTIS DEUTSCHLAND GMBH (Brüningstraße 50, Frankfurt, 65929, DE)
KIBAT, Paul-Gerhard (Frankfurt am Main, 65926, DE)
SCHARF, Matthias (Frankfurt am Main, 65926, DE)
JUHNKE, Hanno (Frankfurt am Main, 65926, DE)
GROESCHKE, Jasmin (Frankfurt am Main, 65926, DE)
BERNHARDT, Rainer (Frankfurt am Main, 65926, DE)
SPENGLER, Jan-Peter (Frankfurt am Main, 65926, DE)
SCHRACK, Michael (Schwalbenstr. 16, Pliezhausen, 72124, DE)
ZECKAI, Olaf (Ortsstr. 14, Weinheim, 69469, DE)
International Classes:
B65D25/06; B65D81/02; B65D81/107; B65D81/127; B65D85/20; B65D85/30
Foreign References:
DE10339830A12004-05-13
FR1151226A1958-01-27
DE202009005376U12009-06-10
US5002186A1991-03-26
DE3327236A11985-02-07
US2744624A1956-05-08
Other References:
None
Download PDF:
Claims:
Claims

Container (10) for handling and transporting items (100) comprising:

a bottom structure (40) for supporting the items (100) in z-direction

at least a first side wall section (20) for supporting the items (100) in x- direction; and

at least a second side wall section (30) for supporting the items (100) in y- direction; and

geometrical means (50) adapted to disturb a perfect order of the items (100) when arranged in the container (10).

Container (10) according to claim 1 , characterised in that the geometrical means (50) is located on an inside facing support side (22, 32) of the first and/or second side wall section (20, 30) and/or is located on the bottom structure (42).

Container (10) according to any one of the preceding claims, characterised in that the geometrical means (50) is extending from the support bottom (42) of the bottom wall (40) in z-direction.

Container according to any one of the preceding claims, characterized in that the geometrical means (50) comprise at least one projection (70; 80) rising from the bottom structure (40).

Container according to claim 4, wherein the projections (70, 80) comprise a rectangular or oval shaped elevated socket portion comprising a planar support surface (72; 82).

6. Container according to any one of the preceding claims 4 or 5, wherein the

projections (70; 80) are regularly arranged across the inside facing surface of the bottom structure (42).

7. Container according to any one of the preceding claims 4 to 6, wherein the projections (80) comprises at least one bevelled side surface (71 ; 84) extending at an angle between 30° and 90°, preferably between 45° and 60° with respect to the plane of the bottom structure (42).

8. Container according to any one of the preceding claims 4 to 7, wherein a

distance between neighbouring projections (70; 80) along the first and/or second side wall sections (x, y) is larger than the lateral extension of the projections (70, 80) in these directions.

9. Container according to any one of the preceding claims 4 to 8, wherein the

projections (70; 80) are integrally formed with a mat structure (78; 88) adapted to cover the entire inside facing surface of the bottom structure (42). 10. Container (10) according to any one of the preceding claims, characterised in that the geometrical means (50) is at least partly of rigid material.

1 1 . Container (10) according to any one of the preceding claims, characterised in that the geometrical means (50) is at least partly of elastic material.

12. Container (10) according to any one of the preceding claims, characterised in that the geometrical means (50) are constructed and located within the container (10) to disturb the perfect order of the cylinder array at least in corner areas defined by the connection of first and second side walls sections (20, 30).

13. Container (10) according to any one of the preceding claims, characterised in that the geometrical means (50) comprise connecting elements (52) for interconnecting geometrical means (50) to parts of the container. 14. Container (10) according to any one of the preceding claims, characterised in that the geometrical means (50) comprise disturbing wings (54).

15. Container (10) according to any one of the preceding claims, characterised in that the geometrical means (50) comprise protective lanes (56).

16. Container (10) according to any one of the preceding claims, characterised in that the geometrical means (50) comprise a wave braking frame (58).

17. Container (10) according to any one of the preceding claims characterised in that the geometrical means (50) comprise long form disturbing wings (60). 18. Container (10) according to any one of the preceding claims characterised in that the geometrical means (50) comprise curved protective lanes (62).

19. Container (10) according to anyone of the preceding claims further comprising shock absorbing means (64) arranged at the first and/or second side wall sections (20, 30) and /or at least partially across the bottom, structure (40).

20. Container (10) according to any one of the preceding claims, being further adapted to receive and/or to carry multiple cartridges ampoules or vials of tubular shape filled or to be filled with a liquid medicament.

21 . Geometrical means (50) for the use in a container with the features of at least one of claims preceding claims.

Description:
CONTAINER FOR HANDLING AND TRANSPORTING CYLINDERS

The invention is related to containers for handling and transporting items, in particular containers or vessels for medicaments comprising a vitreous body of substantially tubular shape. With known containers for handling and transporting multiple vessels or cartridges, so-called mass trays, the cartridges are packed head-up. The packing of the cylinder-like cartridges in the form of arrays is not optimal. Tight packing to maximise the number of items to be handled and transported with the container is problematic since the body of the items may become subject to fracture or breakage. However the more items can be packed within one container, the more cost efficient the items can be handled, in particular transported.

Transportation costs are, beside the weight of goods, calculated on the volume of the goods. Therefore, the tightest array of items results in a reduction of transport costs per transport item. However, one problem of known containers is the fact that vibration or mechanical impact on the container during transportation can influence the quality of the item, in particular could lead to breakage or damage like hairline cracks. This is especially known for glass cylinders. The tightest array, in particular in perfect, e.g. hexagonal order, is usually in form of combs as to the relation between the different cylinders.

It is therefore on object of the present invention to provide an improved container having that serves to protect the items transported therein. Moreover, the invention aims to reduce the number of fractures and/or broken items during handling and transportation thereof while maintaining a high package density.

The invention therefore provides a container according to independent claim 1 as well as geometrical means to be placed therein according to claim 21 . The container according to the present invention is designed for handling and transporting items, that are typically provided in form of tubular shaped cartridges filled or to be filled with a liquid medicament. The container comprises a bottom structure, like a bottom wall for supporting the cylinders in z-direction. The bottom structure has an inner support bottom for supporting the cylinders and an opposite outer bottom. Furthermore, the container comprises at least a first and a second side wall section supporting the items in x- direction as in y-direction. Therefore, the side wall sections comprise an inner support side facing towards the items and further comprising an opposite and outer side. The container further comprises geometrical means for disturbing a perfect order of items when arranged, i.e. densely packed in the container.

According to the present invention, a coordinate system is used to define the different orientations of the side wall sections. Hence, the first side wall section substantially extends in y-direction and the second side wall section substantially extends in x- direction. Typically, first and second side wall section are arranged substantially orthogonal with respect to each other, wherein the first and the second side wall extends substantially perpendicular out of the bottom wall of the container. Also the bottom structure or bottom wall extends perpendicular to the elongation of both, first and second side wall sections. Such coordinate system is shown in the figures and has a x-direction and a y-direction defined by the bottom wall of the container.

However, the side wall sections and the bottom structure may also extend at a different angel with respect to each other. Hence, the container may then feature a rhombus- shaped structure.

In the present invention is distinguished between singular items, like glass cylinders on the one hand and an array of such items on the other hand. An array of items is in general an accumulation of multiple items in any kind of order. For instance an array of tubular shaped items can be positioned with a planar axial end face on the bottom structure while the side walls of adjacently and regularly arranged tubular items mutually abut and are arranged in a comb- or hexagonal or hexagonal closest, hence in a perfect packing.

For supporting the items, the container has side walls and a bottom wall. Such walls can all be perpendicular to each other, but do not need to be. Also variations of side walls resulting for example in a triangular shape of the container are possible within the scope of the present invention. During a filling or packing process, the items are placed in the container. Such placing can take place by handling single items or small packages of items like 10 pieces at one time. For better placing of the items, the container, in particular its bottom wall can be slightly pivoted respect to the horizontal direction. By way of such a pivoted orientation, the cylinders positioned in the container driven by the gravitation automatically arrange along the tilted bottom and/or side walls to the deepest possible point within the container. That way, the packing automatically results in the tightest packing of tubular items in a staggered array. Such tightest packing is referred herein also as "perfect order" of items. Such perfect order allows having the maximum number of items packed within the container.

Even though such tightest packing seems beneficial in terms of transport and storage space and transport costs, such an arrangement is fairly prone to unavoidable mechanical impact. Since the breakable or vitreous items are arranged in a mutually abutting configuration, any mechanical shock or impact will propagate through the array of items, and may eventually cause fracture or breakage of such items.

Therefore, an inventive container comprises geometrical means, which prevent the glass cylinders to order themselves into perfect order. The geometrical means are adapted to impede a regular and perfect arrangement of items in the container. Hence, the geometrical means serve to induce geometrical disorder to the array of items.

Generally speaking, by way of the geometrical means, the symmetry of the transport volume with respect to the size and geometry of the items to be stored therein can be broken. Also, a manipulated order of the cylinders by an operator into perfect order is avoided. Moreover, even during the handling and transportation process, the

geometrical means prevent the items to return by shaking and vibrating of the container to a perfect order. Therefore, by using an inventive container with geometrical means for disturbing the perfect order of the items, the inter-item transmittance and mechanical propagation of vibrations, of mechanical impact or impulses from outside the container can be reduced. It has to be noted that the geometrical means do not need to disturb the perfect order all over the cylinder array, but at least in the area of the container which are most likely the place for the incoming or accumulation of vibration or impulses. According to an embodiment, the container may comprise the geometrical means on the inside facing support side of at least one side wall section. Furthermore, the geometrical means may be located on or in the support structure, hence on or in the bottom wall. Such different possible locations can be used to adapt the container to different kinds, in particular geometric forms or sizes of the cylinders to be handled and transported. For example, it could be useful to have special shapes of geometrical means at the bottom structure for disturbing the perfect order within the array of items. It has to be noted that, depending on the respective specific needs, the geometrical means can have different elements, which can comprise different locations at the support sides as well as on the support structure.

In some specific situations it could be of benefit, if the geometrical means is located only at the support bottom. It is of advantage that in such cases, when the geometrical means is not located at the support sides, that the geometrical means do not reduce the number of cylinders that can be stored in the container. Such embodiment makes benefit of the present invention, but does not affect the usability of the container as to transportation costs.

One further option of the location of the geometrical means is that the geometrical means extend from the support bottom of the bottom wall in z-direction. That way, the geometrical means can be located freely spaced apart from the side walls, namely in a middle or other arbitrary areas of the container. In particular for complex kinds of items or also for the handling and transportation of different kinds of items, such like glass cylinders of different size or shape within one and the same container. The location of the geometrical means may offer highest flexibility. That way, the perfect order of the items array can also be disturbed in areas of the container, which are spaced apart from the side walls. In a further preferred embodiment, the geometrical means comprise projections or projected structures rising from the bottom structure. The projections themselves may comprise a flat-shaped socket but could be also designed as a pin or stud. Preferably, the projections are arranged in a chessboard-like pattern. Then, the projections are regularly and alternately arranged along the first and the second side wall sections, hence in x- and y-direction.

Preferably, the surface of the projections parallel to the bottom structure is larger than the diameter of the items to be arranged thereon. This way, items like glass cylinders can be arranged onto such projections or interstitially therebetween. Since the lateral size in x- and y-direction of the projections is larger than the diameter or circumference of the items to be placed thereon, a geometric disorder can be induced into the array of items. Preferably, the projections comprise a rectangular, oval or even circular shaped elevated socket portion having a planar support surface on its top end. Moreover, the elevation or height of the projections can be kept rather small. It may range between 1 mm and 5 mm, preferably between 2 mm and 4 mm. The elevation of the flattened and planar supports may be 10- to 50-times smaller than their lateral extent in either x- or y-direction.

The projections may further be regularly or irregularly arranged across the entire inside facing surface of the bottom structure of the container. Even with regularly,

chessboard-like arranged projections, the symmetry of a densely packed array of items to be arranged thereon can be broken.

It is further of particular benefit, when the projections comprise at least one bevelled side surface, which may extend at an angle between 30° and 90°, preferably between 45° and 60° with respect to the plane of the bottom structure, defined by the x- and y- direction. Moreover, the planar support may extend parallel to the bottom structure but may also be slanted by e.g. 1 ° to 5° with respect to the plane of the bottom structure. By having bevelled side surfaces, a tilting moment or torque can be induced to items that are positioned thereon. Additionally, when the items are to be automatically arranged into the container, the bevelled surface may suffice to separate adjacently arranged items along x- and/or y-direction. Introduction of geometrical irregularities into the array of items may not be due to the angle, the bevelled side surfaces extend with respect to the bottom structure but may also depend from the lateral extent of such side surfaces.

According to another embodiment, the distance between neighbouring projections along the first and/or second side wall section is larger than the respective extent of said sections along these directions. This way, corners of rectangular shape projecting sockets are separated by a predetermined distance from each other. The distance between neighbouring projections may be defined as the distance in x- or y-direction, adjacently located edge portions of neighbouring projections are separated from each other.

It is of further benefit, when the projections are integrally formed with a surrounding mat structure which is further adapted to cover the entire inside facing surface of the bottom structure of the container. This way, even existing containers can be retrofitted with geometrical disorder means by simply placing a mat structure onto the bottom structure of the container. The mat structure may comprise a flexible material of e.g. natural or synthetic rubber. Furthermore, the mat structure may comprise thermoplastic material, such like polyethylene, polypropylene or the like. According to the present invention it is also possible to have a container wherein the geometrical means is at least partly of rigid material. The expression "rigid material" is to be understood as a material with little elastic characteristics. Such a material could be chosen from metal or plastic material, for example thermoplastic material. The use of rigid material ensures stability of the items itself as well as the array of items with the order disturbed by the geometrical means. Moreover, the use of thermoplastics as rigid material enables easy and cost efficient production of the geometrical means. If a container is also made of thermoplastics, the container could be produced together with the geometrical means integrally by using an injection molding process.

It is also possible according to the present invention if the container has the

geometrical means made at least partly of elastic material. Such elastic material could for example be foam, neoprene or rubber. The use of elastic material results in the further benefit that impulses or vibrations the container is exposed to can be dampened. Due to such dampening effect for example it would be sufficient to arrange a reduced number of geometrical means in or on the container while still attaining the same or even a better effect with regard to the statistical number of breakage or damage of the cylinders. Such elastic material could also be combined with rigid material parts. That way, for example the connecting parts of the geometrical means with the bottom wall or the side walls of the container can be made of the rigid material, while the part of the geometrical means contacting the cylinders can be made of the elastic material .

Also, the geometrical means may comprise a specific coverage of rigid base material with an elastic cover. However, it has to be noted that the inventive effect of reducing the statistical number of cylinder defects like fracture or breakage is predominately attainable by the position and shape of the geometrical disturbing means, that serve to annihilate an otherwise establishing perfect order of the items in the container.

Possible damping effects of elastic material or parts made of elastic material are only additional with less effect than the disturbance effect of the geometrical means. At an inventive container, the geometrical means can be constructed and located within the container to disturb the perfect order of the items array at least in the corner areas defined by the connection of the side walls. Surprisingly it has been found that after transportion of the item in the container, most defects of items, like vitreous cylinders or cartridges, occur in or near the corners and/or the wall areas of the container. Therefore, for effective reduction of the statistical number of defects of the cylinders, the geometrical means are located in particular in such vulnerable areas. The container according to another embodiment may also comprise geometrical means that comprise connecting elements for connecting such geometrical means to parts of the container. Preferably, the geometrical means can be positively locked with corresponding parts of the container, e.g. its side wall or bottom section. In particular, geometrical order-disturbing means can be clicked to the side walls and/or the bottom wall. Respective connecting elements can for example be constructed as pins or clips which can be used to click the geometrical means into corresponding cavities of the respective side wall or bottom wall. By using such connecting elements, the

geometrical means can be removable from the container. Hence, the interconnection is of releasable type.

That way, the entirety of geometrical means can be in principle removed from the container, for example when empty containers are to be arranged in a nested and staggered way.

Moreover, by using such removable geometrical means, different configurations of such geometrical means can be realized within the same container and with the same geometrical means. Therefore, also different sizes of items as to their diameter can be transported by benefiting from the inventive idea and by using one and the same inventive container with different configurations.

One possibility for the construction according to the present invention is a container wherein the geometrical means comprise disturbing wings. According to such an embodiment, multiple wings are located all over the support bottom of the container, extending in z-direction. The wings are constructed with an elliptical profile to fit smooth within the array of items. Due to such disturbing wings, the items have enough space to transform shock impacts into kinetic energy.

A further possibility for the construction according to the present invention is a container wherein the geometrical means comprise protective lanes or respective grooves. Such protective lanes are located at least partly on the support bottom, facing in z-direction. The protective lanes may be of different width and/or of different depth, for example the width can be as wide as the extent or diemater of the item to be placed thereon. Moreover, the lanes adjacent to the container side wall can be wider than the outer dimensions of diameter of the item. It may be due to such protecting lanes, that the items have enough space to transform shock impacts into kinetic energy.

Furthermore that way, the items themselves, e.g. in form of glas cylinders, are positioned at different heights and different spacing and for example do not touch each other at a protruding melting ring at either edge of the cylinder.

It can also happen that some cylinders are angled against the z-direction due to the fact that they stand only partly on one of the upper portions of the protective lanes. By such different manipulations of the perfect order in the cylinder array, the statistical number of defects of the cylinder can be reduced.

It is also possible at an inventive container that the geometrical means comprise a wave braking frame. Such a wave braking frame is located at the support sides of at least one, preferably at three or four of the support sides. For example, the breaking frame has a profile with different widths, which varies frequently. By using such a geometrical means, the areas at the corners and the side walls of the container are in particular areas of a cylinder array with disturbed perfect order. That way it is possible, for example, to disturb up to seven rows of the cylinder array, seen in x- and y- direction from the support sides.

A further alternative for the geometrical means in an inventive container can be that the geometrical means comprise long form disturbing wings. The use of such wings is similar to the use of the disturbing wings described above. However, the effect on the cylinder array of long disturbing wings can be increased as to the effective area of the geometrical means with less additional parts. Such a long disturbing wing held to divide the cylinder array in different sections of different and above all separated orders. Due to such long form disturbing wings, mechanical impact and shock or linear momentum can only be transferred within one such section. One further embodiment with geometrical means located on the support bottom of the container with minimal extension in z-direction is the use of curved protective lanes. Such curved protective lanes have a similar functionality compared to the ordinary protective lanes. However, due to the curved structure, less protective lanes are necessary to disturb the perfect order of the cylinder array. Such curved protective lanes also do not reduce the number of cylinders per container. Also a reduction down to two lanes can be carried out due to the fact that the lanes comprise their curves in particular at the ends near the corner between the side walls. That way, for example two curved protective lanes mainly in x-direction are generally sufficient for disturbing the perfect order of the cyl inder array.

Additional to the geometrical means, the container may further comprise shock absorbing means, e.g. in form of foam protection elements. Respective elements being plastically and/or elastically deformable are preferably arranged at the inside facing side wall sections, in order to absorb externally applied mechanical impact. Such protection elements may provide a damping effect into the array of cylinders.

In one embodiment, items or cylinders that are handled or transported in the container of the present invention comprise a material susceptible to fracture or breakage under mechanical stress. For example the cylinders comprise or even consist of glass. The cylinders preferably have a substantially cylindrical cross-section. For example, the items may be designed as a tube, a vial, an ampoule, a carpoule, or a cartridge.

Preferably, all cylinders in a container of the same cross-section and consist of the same material. In one embodiment, the cylinders are glass cylinders, such as glass cartridges or glass carpoules.

Also part of the present invention is a geometrical means for the use in an inventive container with one or any combination of the above described features.

The present invention will be described in more detail with respect to the figures.

Such figures show:

Fig. 1 a an upper view of a cylinder array in perfect order, Fig. 1 b an upper view of Fig. 1 a with disturbed perfect order,

Fig. 2a an upper view of a first embodiment of the invention,

Fig. 2b a side view of the embodiment shown in Fig. 2a,

Fig. 3a an upper view of a further embodiment of the invention,

Fig. 3b a side view of the embodiment shown in Fig. 3a,

Fig. 4a an upper view of a further embodiment of the invention,

Fig. 4b a side view of the embodiment shown in Fig. 4a,

Fig. 5a an upper view of a further embodiment of the invention,

Fig. 5b a side view of the embodiment shown in Fig. 5a,

Fig. 6a an upper view of a further embodiment of the invention,

Fig. 6b a side view of the embodiment shown in Fig. 6a,

Fig. 7a an upper view of a further embodiment of the invention,

Fig. 7b a side view of the embodiment shown in Fig. 7a,

Fig. 8 a side view of a further embodiment of the invention,

Fig. 9 a top view of another embodiment featuring a chessboard structure,

Fig. 10 an enlarged view of the embodiment according to Fig. 9,

Fig. 1 1 illustrating another embodiment with a planar support structure featuring bevelled or slanted side surfaces,

Fig. 12 the embodiment according to Fig. 9 along cross-section A-A,

Fig. 13 the embodiment according to Fig. 1 1 along cross-section B-B, and

Fig. 14 the embodiment according to Fig. 1 1 and 13 with cartridges placed

thereon.

Figure 1 shows a cylinder array with glass cylinders 100 in perfect order. In this example, the cylinders are glass cylinders. The single glass cylinders 100 are ordered in a kind of comb structure. In other words, the glass cylinders 100 are ordered in lines parallel to one sidewall 20. Each line of glass cylinders 100 is displaced to the adjacent line in y-direction by half of the diameter of one glass cylinder 100. In x-direction the lines of glass cylinders 100 are moved into each other such that each single glass cylinder contacts two glass cylinders of each of the adjacent lines. The order of glass cylinders 100 as shown in Figure 1 is called a perfect ordered glass cylinder array. In such a perfect order, a maximum amount of glass cylinders 100 can be packed within a container 10. The glass cylinders 100 are supported in x-direction by side wall 20 and in y- direction by side wall 30. Both side walls have supporting sides 22 and 32 as well as opposite outer sides 24 and 34. The outer lines of glass cylinders 100 are in contact with the respective support side 22 and 32, respectively.

Figure 1 b shows the glass cylinder array of Figure 1 a, but with disturbed perfect order. The perfect order of the array is still present in the area spaced apart from the side walls 20 and 30. But, close to the side walls 20 and 30, the glass cylinders 100 are displaced from their location in the perfect order. Thus, the perfect order is disturbed in such areas. The disturbance of such perfect order is carried out by geometrical means 50 which will be described in detail below. Figures 2a and 2b show a first embodiment of the present invention. According to such embodiment, the container 10 is of rectangular shape with two side walls 20 for support in x-direction and two side walls 30 for support in y-direction. The side walls 20 and 30 are perpendicular to each other. For support in z-direction, the container 10 is provided with a bottom wall 40. The bottom wall has an outer bottom 44 as well as a support bottom for contact with the glass cylinders 100. The side walls 20 and 30 have support sides 22 and 32 for contact with the glass cylinders 100. That way the side walls and the bottom wall form a cavity for supporting the glass cylinders 100. Within such cavity, geometrical means 50 are spaced in x-directionand/or y-direction and may extend in z-direction. The geometrical means 50 comprise several disturbing wings 54, which are connected to the support bottom. The disturbing wings 54 are of elliptic profile and of the same height as the side walls 20 and 30. Such disturbing elements 54 are spread all over the support bottom 42 to achieve a regular disturbing of the glass cylinder array within the container 10.

In Figures 3a and 3b, a further embodiment of the present invention is shown. There, the geometrical means 50 comprise protective lanes 56. The protective lanes 56 extend along the support bottom 42 of the container in y-direction. Of course, an orientation in x-direction would also be possible within the scope of the present invention or any other orientation. The protective lanes 56 are of different heights and or of different width. In other words, the dimension of the protective lanes 56 is different as to the z-direction and x-direction. When the container 10 shown in figures 3a and 3b is filled with glass cylinders 100, the glass cylinders 100 are supported by the support bottom 42 via the protective lanes 56. Therefore, the glass cylinders are in direct contact with the protective lanes 56. The direct contact leads to different orientations of the glass cylinders 100. For example, a glass cylinder fitting within the protective lane 56 is placed lower than a glass cylinder 100 placed between two protective lanes 56. Therefore, by the space between the protective lanes 56 and the dimension of the protective lanes 56 both in x-direction and y-direction, the space between the glass cylinders 100 can be defined. That free space is the cause that the glass cylinders 100 are not able to form an array in perfect order. A further embodiment of the present invention is shown in Figures 4a and 4b. There, the geometrical means 50 of container 10 comprise wave braking frames 58. In the specific embodiment of Figures 4a and 4b, there are three wave braking frames, all located at the supporting walls 22 and 32 of the side walls 20 and 30. Only one side wall 30 is not provided with a wave braking frame 58. The wave braking frame 58 has, similar to the protective lanes 56 described above, upper and lower portions in the x- direction and the y-direction, respectively. Also similar to the protective lanes 56, such different portions lead to a guidance of the glass cylinders 100 and therefore, to a disturbing of the array of glass cylinders 100. A perfect order is not build up due to the presence of the wave breaking frames 58.

Figures 5a and 5b show a further embodiment of the present invention. There, the geometrical means 50 are combined of long disturbing wings 60 as well as medium or normal sized disturbing wings 54. The combination of such different elements shows that within the scope of the present invention also combinations of different elements can form the geometric means 50. In the present embodiment of Figures 5a and 5b, in the central part of the rectangular container 10, the long disturbing wings 60 are located, while in the corner of the container 10, the normal sized disturbing wings 54 are located. Due to the use of long disturbing wings 60, the array of glass cylinders 100 can be separated into different sections. Each section is decoupled from the other sections of the glass cylinder array as to the transfer of vibrations and/or impulses. As illustrated in Figs. 5a and 5b, the long disturbing wings may be three to four times larger than the ordinary ones, at least in the main wing direction. In the direction perpendicular to the main extension of the wings, ordinary wings and long disturbing wings may feature similar material strength and thickness.

A further embodiment of the present invention is shown in Figures 6a and 6b. There, the geometrical means 50 are formed as curved protective lanes 62. Such curved protective lanes 62 are similar to the normal protective lanes 56, but with the advantage, that due to the curved shape, less of the curved protective lanes 62 are necessary for effective disturbing of the perfect order of the glass cylinder array. Also the use of at least one or several protection elements 64 is possible within an inventive container 10. The protections elements 64 may comprise a plastic and/or elastic foam protection 64 and may be arranged at the side wall sections 20, 30 and/or at the bottom structure 40. Especially when the protection elements comprise inward facing or upwardly directed protrusions, they may also induce the desired effect of disturbing a regular arrangement of cartridges. Besides a possible disturbing effect, the plastic foam protection 64 further induces a damping effect into the system of the container 10. In particular in situations where vibrations of specific frequencies are introduced into the container and therefore also into the array of glass cylinders 100, the damping effect of the plastic foam protection can damp the amplitude of the vibration. Besides the damping, due to the disturbing of the perfect order within the array of glass cylinders 100, the transmittance and propagation of vibrations and other mechanical excitations can be reduced or even cut off.

Figure 8 shows one possibility of the connection between the geometrical means 50 and the container 10. In this Figure, the geometrical means 50 is a long disturbing wing

58 as already described with respect to Figures 5a and 5b. Such geometrical means 50 has connecting elements 52 in form of cylindrical pins. Corresponding with the pins of the connecting element 52 are cylindrical holes 46 within the support bottom 42 of the bottom wall 40. The geometrical means 50 is placed within the container 10 and the pins of the connecting elements 52 are placed within the respective holes 46. The holes 46 can comprise a snapping mechanism, which snaps into respective parts of the connecting elements 52 to ensure the placement of the geometrical means 50 within the container 10.

Figures 9 to 14 illustrates to additional embodiments wherein the geometric means comprise regularly arranged planar projections 70 rising from the bottom structure 40. As can be seen in Figure 9, the bottom structure 40 comprises a series of rectangular or quadratic and even shaped protruding sections 70 that are arranged in a

chessboard-like pattern. Hence, adjacently located projections 70 are alternatively arranged in x- and y-direction. As illustrated in the enlarged sketch of Figure 10, alternatively arranged planar projections 70 of quadratic shape are separated by a distance 74 in x-direction as well as by a predefined distance 76 in y-direction. This way, alternatively arranged planar projections 70 of adjacent rows or columns do not even touch with their corners.

As illustrated in the cross-sectional illustration according to Figure 12, the planar protruding portions 70 are integrally formed with a mat structure 72 interconnecting the protruding elements 70. The mat structure 78 therefore comprises protruding portions 70 and interjacent surface portions 72 of planar geometry. As further illustrated in the cross section of Figure 12, side wall sections 71 of the protruding geometric means 70 extend perpendicular to the plane of the mat structure 78.

In an alternative embodiment as illustrated in Figures 1 1 , 13 and 14, the protruding portions 80 comprise a planar support surface 82 extending via bevelled or slanted side wall sections 84 into interjacent surface portions 86 of the mat structure 88. The angle a of the bevelled or slanted side wall sections 84 may vary between 30° and 90°. In the sketch of Figure 13, the angle a is around 45°. Further illustrated in Figure 13 is the height 81 , the support surface 82 of the

projections 80 rises from the interjacent lowered ground surface portions 86 of the mat structure 88. The height 81 is typically 10- to 50-times smaller than the lateral extent of the protruding portions 80 in either x- or y-direction.

In the cross-sections according to Figures 12 and 13 it is further illustrated, that the protruding structures 70, 80 are part of a mat structure 78, 88, which may be arranged across the entire bottom structure or bottom wall 40 of the container 10. In Figure 14, the lateral extent and periodicity of the regularly arranged protruding portions 80 with respect to the size of the items 100 to be arranged thereon is illustrated. From this sketch it is apparent, that the elevated structures in form of planar projections 80 are larger in size than the diameter of the tubular items 100 to be placed thereon. This way, a symmetry breaking arrangement of an array of tubular items in the container can be sufficiently attained. Hence, a potential devastating effect to externally applied mechanical impact can be sufficiently decreased.

According to the present invention, all different kinds of geometrical means 50 described above, are to be understood as examples. Moreover, such geometrical means 50 can comprise different elements for disturbing the perfect order of the glass cylinder array.

Reference signs:

10 container

20 side wall supporting in x-direction

22 support side of side wall supporting in x-direction

24 outer side of side wall supporting in x-direction

30 side wall supporting in y-direction

32 support side of side wall supporting in y-direction

34 outer side of side wall supporting in y-direction

40 bottom wall supporting in z-direction

42 support bottom of bottom wall supporting in z-direction

44 outer bottom of bottom wall supporting in z-direction

46 receiving holes

50 geometrical means

52 connecting elements

54 disturbing wings

56 protective lanes

58 wave braking frame

60 long disturbing wings

62 curved protective lanes

64 protection element

70 planar projection

71 side surface

72 ground surface section

74 distance

76 distance

78 mat structure

80 planar projection

81 height

82 support surface

84 bevelled side surface

86 ground surface section

88 mat structure ţylinder