Z-shaped aluminum tube holder

A more practical solution for the lab

Technical file

Innovation leader: Víctor Grífols i Lucas

Year: 1962

Period: The American influence (1960-1994)

Type of innovation: Instrument

Scope: Clinical analysis

Patent: Yes

Geographical reach: National

Economic impact:  1-High

Level of innovation:  1-Disruptive

Interdisciplinary connections: -

Related innovations: Microcentrifuge

As the practice of clinical analysis gained popularity in the 1960s, so did the number of test tubes in hospital laboratories. Over time, these tubes and the bulky wooden racks which held them would take up more and more valuable space, and present a storage problem.

Responding to this rather mundane but pressing challenge led Víctor Grífols i Lucas to design and patent a light-weight, Z-shaped aluminum holder that could be transported and stored easily, in 1962.


A tube for every purpose

Víctor Grífols designed and manufactured racks with capacity for tubes of three different diameters, depending on their use: 12mm for immunohematology reactions, 14.5mm for chemical reactions and general use, and finally 17mm for standard test tubes.

In addition, he designed them grouping the holes into two clearly differentiated and separated groups of five rows and five columns each, which made the location and differentiation of the tubes much faster.

The production of anodized aluminum racks was a sales success, becoming the most popular model in Spanish laboratories. It also enjoyed good sales in Switzerland and Germany.

Even today Grifols manufactures and markets a large variety of aluminum racks. Those with 48 holes are one of the most used, since they adapt more easily to microplate techniques and the capacity of centrifuges.



Optimizing both time and space in any laboratory



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  • GRI-CEL, S.A. (1962). Aparatos científicos para control y análisis. Folleto comercial de la compañía GRI-CEL, S.A., Grupo AHSC.
  • Grífols-Lucas, V. (1963). Gradilla-12. Manuscrito publicado por GRI-CEL, S.A., Grupo AHSC.
  • GRI-CEL, S.A. (1971). Formularios de cumplimentación de anàlisis. Folletos comercializados por GRI-CEL, S.A., Grupo AHSC.
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  • Grífols-Lucas, V. (2009). Amb un suro i un cordill. Vivències d'un empresari de postguerra. Barcelona: Grífols Group, S.A.
  • Grifols, S.A. (2011). ¿Y si lo hacemos así? Patentes de Víctor Grífols i Lucas. Barcelona: España.
  • Avellà, R., & Miquel, B. (Eds.). (2015). Cuando un sueño se cumple. Crónica ilustrada de 75 años de Grifols. Barcelona: Grupo Grifols S.A.