Title:
ICE SHELTER WITH EXPANDABLE FISHING AREA
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A portable ice shelter with a base, a bottom wall and side walls that form an upper perimeter. At least one frame bracket is mounted to the base. A chair is located in the base with a user orientation directed at a fishing area. A plurality of folding frame members is pivotally attached to the frame bracket. The folding frame members are moveable between a transport configuration and a deployed configuration configured to support a canopy covering. A bottom frame member is moveable between the transport configuration and a deployed configuration. The bottom frame member extends beyond the upper perimeter of the base in the deployed configuration to surround a first fishing area with a first width generally perpendicular to the user orientation. At least one joint on the bottom frame member is configured to modify the bottom frame member to a second fishing area with a second width at least 40% greater than the first width. The second fishing area is greater than the first fishing area. A canopy covering extends over the folding frame members and the bottom frame member to substantially surround the base and the first and second fishing areas.


Inventors:
Schamberger, Randy (Cumberland, WI, US)
Hare, David (Comstock, WI, US)
Lonergan, Brendan (Cumberland, WI, US)
Kinderman, Trevor (Cumberland, WI, US)
Roeschlein, Todd (Cumberland, WI, US)
Application Number:
13/746903
Publication Date:
07/24/2014
Filing Date:
01/22/2013
Assignee:
Ardisam, Inc. (Cumberland, WI, US)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
29/428
International Classes:
E04H15/00
View Patent Images:
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20090301536TENT WITH VENTING TRUNCATED CORNERSDecember, 2009Cantwell
20090071517Dual function umbrellaMarch, 2009Zhao
20090007946Double folding auto-expansion and folding umbrellaJanuary, 2009Hsieh et al.
20050205124Collapsible shelter having a reinforced truss and telescoping legSeptember, 2005Goldwitz
20070235067ROLLING WALKEROctober, 2007Gale et al.
20060118154Crutches that convert into canes and methods for conversion of sameJune, 2006David
20060289046Mobility assistance devicesDecember, 2006Cato III
20080191447CycleCarAugust, 2008Nowakowski
Claims:
1. A portable ice shelter comprising: a base comprising a bottom wall and side walls that from an upper perimeter; a chair located in the base comprising a user orientation; at least one frame bracket mounted to the base; a plurality of folding frame members pivotally attached to the frame bracket, the folding frame members moveable between a transport configuration and a deployed configuration configured to support a canopy covering; a bottom frame member moveable between the transport configuration and a deployed configuration, the bottom frame member extends beyond the upper perimeter of the base in the deployed configuration to surround a first fishing area having a first width generally perpendicular to the user orientation; and at least one joint on the bottom frame member configured to modify the bottom frame member to a second fishing area having a second width at least 40% greater than the first width, the second fishing area being greater than the first fishing area, wherein the canopy covering extends over the folding frame members and the bottom frame member to substantially surround the base and the first and second fishing areas.

2. The portable ice shelter of claim 1 wherein the bottom frame member is pivotally attached to the frame brackets.

3. The portable ice shelter of claim 1 comprising articulating hinges attaching the bottom frame member to the frame brackets.

4. The portable ice shelter of claim 1 wherein the bottom frame member is detached from the base in the deployed configuration.

5. The portable ice shelter of claim 1 wherein the folding frame members are generally located along the upper perimeter of the base when in the transport configuration.

6. The portable ice shelter of claim 1 wherein the at least one joint comprises one or more of a hinge, a telescopic joint, an overlapping joint, or a separable joint.

7. The portable ice shelter of claim 1 wherein the bottom frame member comprises: a pair of frame members pivotally attached to a pair of frame brackets; hinges attached to distal ends of the tubes; and a pair of L-shaped frame members with proximal ends attached to the hinges and a joint connecting distal ends.

8. The portable ice shelter of claim 7 wherein the hinges restrict motion of the frame members relative to the L-shaped frame members to a single plane.

9. The portable ice shelter of claim 1 comprising at least one locking mechanism configured to secure the bottom frame member relative to the frame brackets.

10. The portable ice shelter of claim 1 wherein the second fishing area is at least 20 percent greater than the first fishing area.

11. The portable ice shelter of claim 1 wherein the second fishing area is at least 30 percent greater than the first fishing area.

12. The portable ice shelter of claim 1 comprising a chair collapsible between a collapsed configuration and an upright configuration attached within the base, wherein the chair is located completely below the upper perimeter when in the collapsed configuration.

13. The portable ice shelter of claim 12 wherein the chair comprises attachment clips oriented at an upward angle relative to horizontal, the attachment clips are configured to engage and disengage with the base only when the chair is oriented at the same angle.

14. A method of deploying a portable ice shelter, the method comprising the steps of: pivotally moving a plurality of folding frame members attached to a base by frame brackets between a transport configuration generally located along an upper perimeter of the base and a deployed configuration configured to support a canopy covering; locating a bottom frame member beyond the upper perimeter of the base in the deployed configuration to surround a first fishing area having a first width generally perpendicular to a user orientation; modifying the bottom frame member to an expanded configuration that surrounds a second fishing area with a second width at least 40% greater than the first width; and positioning a canopy covering over the folding frame members and the bottom frame member in the deployed configuration to substantially surround the base and the first and second fishing areas.

15. The method of claim 14 comprising pivotally attaching the bottom frame member to the frame brackets.

16. The method of claim 14 comprising detaching the bottom frame member from the base in the deployed configuration.

17. The method of claim 14 comprising attaching the bottom frame members to the frame brackets with articulating hinges.

18. The method of claim 14 wherein the step of modifying the bottom frame member comprises: separating a pair of L-shaped frame members along a joint; and pivoting a pair of tubes connecting the L-shaped frame members to the frame bracket.

19. The method of claim 14 comprising locking the bottom frame member in a generally vertical position during the step of modifying the bottom frame member between the first fishing area to the second fishing area.

20. The method of claim 14 comprising modifying the bottom frame member so that second fishing area is at least 20 percent greater than the first fishing area.

21. The method of claim 14 comprising modifying the bottom frame members to the second fishing area is at least 30 percent greater than the first fishing area.

22. The method of claim 14 comprising moving a chair attached to the base between an upright configuration and a collapsed configuration where the chair is located completely below the upper perimeter of the base.

Description:

RELATED APPLICATIONS

The present application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 61/746,311 entitled ICE SHELTER WITH EXPANDABLE FISHING AREA, filed Dec. 27, 2012, the entire disclosures of which are hereby incorporated by reference.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present disclosure relates generally to a portable ice shelter with an expandable fishing area.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Ice fishing is a popular winter past time in northern climates. Ice fishing is the activity of catching fish through an opening in the ice on a frozen body of water such as a lake, river, or pond. Ice houses, also known as ice shanties in some locations, are small shelters that are used to protect an ice angler from the elements including wind and blowing snow.

Various portable ice shelter mounted on sleds are disclosed in U.S. Pat. Nos. 4,239,247, 6,397,870 and U.S. Patent Publication No. US2006/0238005. These portable ice shelters can be easily moved by the anglers and quickly set-up at different locations. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 6,397,870 discloses a portable ice fishing shelter with a central fishing hole formed in the hull. The central fishing hole provides a relatively small fishing area and limits the usable space within the hull.

U.S. Patent Publication No. US2006/0238005 discloses an ice fishing sled with a conventional canopy that extends outside the perimeter of the sled to surround the available fishing area. Once the canopy is deployed the fishing area is fixed.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present portable ice shelter includes at least one frame member that can be expanded to increase the size of the fishing area available to the user. At least the bottom frame member can be modified to increase the width and surface area of the fishing area.

In one embodiment the portable ice shelter includes a base with a bottom wall and side walls that form an upper perimeter. At least one frame bracket is mounted to the base. A chair is located in the base comprising a user orientation directed toward a fishing area. A plurality of folding frame members is pivotally attached to the frame bracket. The folding frame members are moveable between a transport configuration and a deployed configuration configured to support a canopy covering. A bottom frame member is moveable between the transport configuration and a deployed configuration. The bottom frame member extends beyond the upper perimeter of the base in the deployed configuration to surround a first fishing area with a first width generally perpendicular to the user orientation. At least one joint on the bottom frame member is configured to modify the bottom frame member to a second fishing area with a second width at least 40% greater than the first width. The second fishing area is greater than the first fishing area. A canopy covering extends over the folding frame members and the bottom frame member to substantially surround the base and the first and second fishing areas.

The bottom frame member is optionally pivotally attached to the frame brackets. Articulating hinges preferably attach the bottom frame member to the frame brackets. In another embodiment, the bottom frame member is detached from the base in the deployed configuration.

The at least one joint can be selected from one or more of a hinge, a telescopic joint, an overlapping joint, a ball joint, or a separable joint. In one embodiment, the bottom frame member includes a pair of frame members pivotally attached to a pair of frame brackets, hinges attached to distal ends of the tubes, and a pair of L-shaped frame members with proximal ends attached to the hinges and a joint connecting distal ends. The hinges preferably restrict motion of the frame members relative to the L-shaped frame members to a single plane. At least one locking mechanism is provided to secure the bottom frame member relative to the frame brackets.

The second fishing area is preferably at least 20 percent greater than the first fishing area. In another embodiment, the second fishing area is at least 30 percent greater than the first fishing area.

A chair collapsible is releasably attached to the base. The chair is preferably completely below the upper perimeter when in the collapsed configuration. The chair includes attachment clips oriented at an upward angle relative to horizontal. The attachment clips are configured to engage and disengage with the base only when the chair is oriented at the same angle.

The present disclosure is also directed to a method of deploying a portable ice shelter. The method includes pivotally moving a plurality of folding frame members attached to a base by frame brackets between a transport configuration generally located along an upper perimeter of the base and a deployed configuration configured to support a canopy covering. A bottom frame member is located beyond the upper perimeter of the base in the deployed configuration to surround a first fishing area with a first width generally perpendicular to a user orientation. The bottom frame member is modified to an expanded configuration that surrounds a second fishing area with a second width at least 40% greater than the first width. A canopy covering is positioned over the folding frame members and the bottom frame member in the deployed configuration to substantially surround the base and the first and second fishing areas.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWING

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an ice shelter in a transport configuration in accordance with an embodiment of the present disclosure.

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the ice shelter of FIG. 1 in a deployed configuration in accordance with an embodiment of the present disclosure.

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a frame bracket for the ice shelter of FIG. 1.

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of a locking mechanism for the frame bracket of FIG. 3.

FIGS. 5A and 5B illustrate front views of an bottom frame member in a conventional and an expanded configuration in accordance with an embodiment of the present disclosure.

FIGS. 5C and 5D illustrate top views of the bottom frame member of FIGS. 5A and 5B in the conventional and the expanded configuration.

FIGS. 5E and 5F illustrate sectional views of a telescopic joint for the bottom frame member of FIGS. 5A and 5B in the conventional and the expanded configuration.

FIGS. 6A and 6B illustrate an alternate joint for a bottom frame member for an ice shelter in accordance with an embodiment of the present disclosure.

FIGS. 7A and 7B illustrate another alternate joint for a bottom frame member for an ice shelter in accordance with an embodiment of the present disclosure.

FIGS. 8A and 8B illustrate an ice shelter with alternate folding frame members in accordance with an embodiment of the present disclosure.

FIGS. 9A and 9B illustrate an ice shelter with a detachable bottom frame member in accordance with an embodiment of the present disclosure.

FIG. 10A is a perspective view of a folding chair for an ice shelter in accordance with the embodiment of the present disclosure.

FIG. 10B is a perspective view of the folding chair of FIG. 4A in a folded configuration.

FIGS. 11A-11C illustrate a method of engaging and disengaging a folding chair with an ice shelter in accordance with an embodiment of the present disclosure.

FIG. 12A-12C illustrates the ice shelter of FIG. 2 with a canopy cover in place in accordance with an embodiment of the present disclosure.

In the description which follows, like parts or elements are marked throughout the specification and drawings with the same reference numerals, respectively. The drawing figures are not necessarily to scale and certain features may be shown in somewhat generalized or schematic form in the interest of clarity and conciseness.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an ice shelter 50 folded in a transport configuration 52 in accordance with an embodiment of the present disclosure. The ice shelter 50 includes folding chair 54 and folding canopy assembly 56 are attached to base 58. The base 58 is typically a contiguous polymer shell with side walls 60, a bottom wall 62, and a reinforced upper perimeter 64. The bottom wall 62 and side walls 60 define recess 66 located below the upper perimeter 64. In the illustrated embodiment, the bottom wall 62 includes curve surface 68 to facilitate sliding in direction 70.

The base 58 is preferably a water tight hull that is designed to keep the occupant afloat in the event of a catastrophic ice failure. In one embodiment, the base 58 is a molded structure with a nominal wall thickness in a range of about 0.20 inches to about 0.10 inches.

The folding chair 54 is illustrated in a collapsed configuration 72. The folding chair 54 is preferably located in the recess 66 completely below the reinforced upper perimeter 64 when in the collapsed configuration 72. The remainder of the recess 66 can be used to store additional gear during transport. The folding chair 54 includes a user orientation 55 generally directed at fishing area 104.

The folding canopy assembly 56 includes a plurality of folding frame members 74A, 74B, 74C (“74”) pivotally attached to frame brackets 76. The frame brackets 76 are attached to the base 58 proximate rear edge 78. Although the frame members 74 are illustrated as generally rectangular, a variety of other shapes are possible (See e.g., FIG. 8A).

As best illustrated in FIG. 3, the frame brackets 76 include a pair of spaced apart plates 80A, 80B (“80”). FIG. 4 illustrates the frame bracket with the frame members 74 removed for clarity. Each of the folding frame members 74 include a separate spaced apart pivot axes 82A, 82B, 82C (“82”) extending between the spaced apart plates 80. The pivot axes 82 are generally parallel.

The frame brackets 76 restrict movement of the folding frame members 74 to rotation around respective pivot axes 82 between transport configuration 52 (see FIG. 1) and deployed configuration 84 (see FIG. 2). Vertical portions 74V of the frame members 74 preferably move in the same plane or parallel planes. That is, the pivot axes 82 provide the frame members 74 a single degree of freedom.

By contrast, bottom frame member 86 is coupled to the frame bracket 76 by articulating hinges 88 that provides two degrees of freedom. The articulating hinges 88 are preferably attached to outer surfaces of the plates 80B. The articulating hinges 88 rotate around pivot axes 90 that are generally parallel to pivot axes 82. Secondary pivot axes 92 permits tubes 94 to rotate outward in a plane containing the pivot axes 90. The tubes 94 are permitted to move in a plane that is generally perpendicular to the planes in which the vertical portions 74V of the frame members 74 move.

Turning back to FIG. 1, the folding frame members 74, 86 in the transport configuration 52 have a length 96 and a width 98 generally corresponding to the base 58. The compact transport configuration 52 facilitates transport to different locations on the ice, such as by towing behind an all-terrain vehicle, snowmobile, or other vehicle.

FIG. 2 illustrates the folding canopy assembly 56 in the deployed configuration 84 with canopy cover 100 removed (see FIG. 12A-12C) for the sake of clarity. In the deployed configuration 84 the bottom frame member 86 extends beyond the upper perimeter 64 of the base 58 to frame fishing area 104. The dashed line 102 corresponds to a fishing area 104 framed by the bottom frame member 86 according to conventional ice shelters (see also FIG. 5C).

The bottom frame member 86 of the present disclosure, however, can be reconfigured from a compact configuration 123 (see FIG. 1) to an expanded configuration 124 to provide expanded fishing area 106. A pair of L-shaped frame members 108A, 108B (“108”) are engaged at least one joint 110. In the illustrated embodiment, the joint 110 telescopically engages distal portions 111A, 111B of the frame members 108A, 108B, respectively.

Opposite ends of the L-shaped frame members 108 are attached to distal ends 112 of the tubes 94 by hinges 114. The hinges 114 preferably restrict movement of the L-shaped frame members 108 relative to the tubes 94 to a single plane to prevent the frame member 86 from twisting or becoming unmanageable.

The frame members 74, 86 can be made from a variety of plastic materials or metals such as aluminum, aluminum alloys, titanium and titanium alloys, and other suitable materials known in the art. The frame members 74, 86 can have any suitable cross-sectional configuration to provide strength and minimal weight. For example, the poles can have a circular, square, diamond, or a hexagonal cross-section.

As illustrated in FIG. 2, the joint 110 permits the L-shaped frame members 108 to be separated in direction 116 generally perpendicular to the user orientation 55, increasing width 120 of the fishing area 104. As used herein, width of the fishing area 104 is measured generally orthogonal to the user orientation 55 relative to the folding chair 54.

The hinges 114 and secondary pivot axes 92 preferably restrict expansion of the bottom frame member 86 to a single plane, again to prevent twisting. In one embodiment, the width 119 increases from between about 30 inches to about 50 inches, or an increase of about 67%. The expanded fishing area 106 also has a width 120 that is at least 40% greater, and preferably at least 50% greater than the width 119 of the fishing area 104.

The tubes 94 rotate outward relative to the frame bracket 76 in the range of about 15 degrees to about 30 degrees. The resulting expanded fishing area 106 is preferably more than about 20 percent greater than the fishing area 104. In another embodiment, the fishing area 106 is more than about 25 percent, or more than about 30 percent greater than the fishing area 104.

It will be appreciated that it is possible to include a plurality of joints and hinges on the bottom frame member 86. The five-sided fishing area 106 could include six or more sides, and can be symmetrical or asymmetrical. The trade-off for adding more joints 110, 114 is the increased chance that the bottom frame member 86 will twist or become unmanageable. Another consideration is that the canopy covering 100 (see FIGS. 12A-12C) needs to accommodate whatever changes are made to the bottom frame member 86. Consequently, it is believed that the present structure optimizes the fishing area 106 and minimizes complexity of operation.

FIGS. 5A through 5F illustrate additional details of the bottom frame member 86 with the frame members 74 removed for clarity. The telescopic joint 110 optionally includes plunger 118 that engages with holes 120A or 120B in the L-shaped frame members 108. The hole 120B can optionally be replaced by a plurality of holes that permit the frame member 86 to be configured with various widths 120. The plunger 118 is preferably biased into engagement with the holes 120 by biasing mechanism 122, such as for example a leaf spring. An alternate plunger mechanism is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 8,079,380 (Engstrom) entitled Portable Ice House, which is hereby incorporated by reference.

Turning back to FIG. 4, locking mechanism 140 is provided to retain the bottom frame member 86 in a generally vertical position. In particular, the locking mechanism 140 rotates around axis 92 into engagement with slot 142, to prevent further rotation around axis 90. While in the generally vertical position the user operates the telescopic joint 110 to separate the L-shaped frame members 108 to expand the bottom frame member 86. Once expanded, the user release the locking mechanism 140 from the slot 142 and rotates the bottom frame member 86 in direction 144 to the fully deployed configuration illustrated in FIG. 2.

FIGS. 6A and 6B illustrate an alternate joint 110′ that permits the distal ends 111A′, 111B′ (collectively 111′) of the bottom frame member 86′ in accordance with an embodiment of the present disclosure. The distal ends 111′ are arranged generally parallel to permit sliding in direction 116′ generally perpendicular to the user orientation 55′ to increase the size of the fishing area 104′ from the compact configuration 123′ to the expanded configuration 124′ illustrated in FIG. 6B. In an alternate embodiment, bracket 113′ is provided to guide movement of the distal ends 111′ in direction 116′.

FIGS. 7A and 7B illustrate another alternate joint 110″ that permits the distal ends 111A″, 111B″ (111″) to be separated to create gap 115″ in accordance with an embodiment of the present disclosure. The joint 110″ connects the distal ends 111″ in the compact configuration 123″. The joint 110″ then disconnects the distal ends 111″ to form the expanded configuration 124″ shown in FIG. 7B. The weight of the bottom frame member 86″ and the stiffness of the fabric retains the canopy covering 100 (see FIG. 12A) across the gap 115″.

FIGS. 8A and 8B illustrate an ice shelter 50′ with folding frame members 74A′, 74B′, 74C′ (74′) with an expanded configuration 124′ in accordance with an embodiment of the present disclosure. The expanded configuration 124′ increases width 120 of the working space for the user above the base 58′. In one embodiment, the folding frame members 74′ have generally the same shape as the bottom frame member 86′.

In one embodiment, one or more joints/hinges 121′ are provided to permit the folding frame members 74′ to be configured in either a compressed configuration or an expanded configuration. In another embodiment, the frame members 74′ are fixed in the expanded configuration. Any of the joints disclosed herein can be used with the frame members 74′ of the present embodiment.

FIGS. 9A and 9B illustrate an ice shelter 50″ with a detachable bottom frame member 86″ in accordance with an embodiment of the present disclosure. In the deployed configuration 84″ the bottom frame member 86″ is a free-floating structure that is separated from the base 58″ by gap 127″. The weight of the bottom frame member 86″ holds the canopy cover 100 in contact with the ice in the deployed configuration illustrated in FIGS. 12A-12C.

In one embodiment, the bottom frame member 86″ is pivotally attached to the frame brackets 76″. Once in the deployed configuration 84″ the bottom frame bracket 86″ is detached and permitted to rest on the ice as illustrated. In another embodiment, the bottom frame member 86″ is only attached to the canopy cover 100 and not to the frame brackets 76″. The canopy cover 100 supports the bottom frame member 86″ during deployment.

One or more joints/hinges 121″ are optionally provided to permit the bottom frame members 86″ to be configured in either a compressed configuration or an expanded configuration. In another embodiment, the bottom frame members 86″ is fixed in the expanded configuration. Any of the joints disclosed herein can be used with the bottom frame member 86″ of the present embodiment.

FIGS. 10A and 10B illustrate the folding chair 54 in the upright configuration 150 and the collapsed configuration 72, respectively. Cross member 152 includes a pair of attachment clips 154 that releasably couple the folding chair 54 to the base 58, as discussed herein. The attachment clips 154 include a pair of opposing tabs 156 that are oriented upward at an angle of about 30 degrees relative to horizontal. In the collapsed configuration 72 illustrated in FIG. 4B, the folding chair 54 has a height 152 less than a depth of the recess 66 of the base 58.

FIGS. 11A through 11C illustrate a method of attaching and detaching the folding chair 54 from the base 58 in accordance with an embodiment of the present disclosure. As illustrated in FIG. 11A, the folding chair 54 is tipped forward at angle 162 of about 30 degrees so that the opposing tabs 156 are oriented horizontal or slightly downward. In this configuration the attachment clips 154 are snapped into engagement with cross member 160 located at the base of the recess 66 in the base 58.

As illustrated in FIG. 11B, once the opposing tabs 156 are engaged with the cross member 160, the chair is rotated in direction 162 to the upright configuration. As illustrated in FIG. 11C, the opposing tabs 156 are now oriented upward again, preventing the chair 54 from moving forward or backward. The cross member 152 is also restrained from moving up or down. To disengage the chair 54 from the base 58, the process is reversed.

FIG. 12A through 12C illustrates the present ice shelter with canopy covering 100 in place in accordance with an embodiment of the present disclosure. FIG. 12A illustrates rear side 170 of the ice shelter 50 located adjacent to curved surface 68 of the base 58. Door 172 and window 174 are provided in the canopy covering 100.

Front side 176 illustrated in FIG. 12C is located adjacent to bottom frame member 86. The rear side 170 has a width 178 generally corresponding to width 98 of the base 58 (see FIG. 1). The front side 176 has a width 180 generally corresponding to the width 120 of the bottom frame member 86. The cover 100 can be attached to the folding canopy frame using a plurality of Velcro loops or ties and is typically constructed from various breathable, flame-retardant, water-resistant, wind-resistant films or fabrics.

In operation, the canopy covering 100 is attached to the frame members 74, 86. As the user moves the bottom frame member 86 from the transport configuration 52 to the deployed configuration 84 the other frame members 74 are automatically deployed. Once the bottom frame member 86 is in a generally vertical position (see e.g., FIG. 4) the locking mechanism 140 is engaged with the slot 142. In this position the plunger 118 is depressed to release the L-shaped members 108 and the frame member 86 is expanded. Once the plunger 118 is engaged with the hole 120B the locking mechanism 140 is released and the frame member 86 is advance in direction 144 to the fully deployed configuration adjacent to the ice. This process is reverse to move from the deployed configuration 84 to the transport configuration 52.

Where a range of values is provided, it is understood that each intervening value, to the tenth of the unit of the lower limit unless the context clearly dictates otherwise, between the upper and lower limit of that range and any other stated or intervening value in that stated range is encompassed within the embodiments of the disclosure. The upper and lower limits of these smaller ranges which may independently be included in the smaller ranges is also encompassed within the embodiments of the disclosure, subject to any specifically excluded limit in the stated range. Where the stated range includes one or both of the limits, ranges excluding either both of those included limits are also included in the embodiments of the present disclosure.

Unless defined otherwise, all technical and scientific terms used herein have the same meaning as commonly understood by one of ordinary skill in the art to which the embodiments of the present disclosure belong. Although any methods and materials similar or equivalent to those described herein can also be used in the practice or testing of the embodiments of the present disclosure, the preferred methods and materials are now described. All patents and publications mentioned herein, including those cited in the Background of the application, are hereby incorporated by reference to disclose and described the methods and/or materials in connection with which the publications are cited.

The publications discussed herein are provided solely for their disclosure prior to the filing date of the present application. Nothing herein is to be construed as an admission that the present disclosure is not entitled to antedate such publication by virtue of prior invention. Further, the dates of publication provided may be different from the actual publication dates which may need to be independently confirmed.

Other embodiments of the disclosure are possible. Although the description above contains much specificity, these should not be construed as limiting the scope of the disclosure, but as merely providing illustrations of some of the presently preferred embodiments of this disclosure. It is also contemplated that various combinations or sub-combinations of the specific features and aspects of the embodiments may be made and still fall within the scope of the present disclosure. It should be understood that various features and aspects of the disclosed embodiments can be combined with or substituted for one another in order to form varying modes of the disclosed embodiments of the disclosure. Thus, it is intended that the scope of the present disclosure herein disclosed should not be limited by the particular disclosed embodiments described above.

Thus the scope of this disclosure should be determined by the appended claims and their legal equivalents. Therefore, it will be appreciated that the scope of the present disclosure fully encompasses other embodiments which may become obvious to those skilled in the art, and that the scope of the present disclosure is accordingly to be limited by nothing other than the appended claims, in which reference to an element in the singular is not intended to mean “one and only one” unless explicitly so stated, but rather “one or more.” All structural, chemical, and functional equivalents to the elements of the above-described preferred embodiment(s) that are known to those of ordinary skill in the art are expressly incorporated herein by reference and are intended to be encompassed by the present claims. Moreover, it is not necessary for a device or method to address each and every problem sought to be solved by the present disclosure, for it to be encompassed by the present claims. Furthermore, no element, component, or method step in the present disclosure is intended to be dedicated to the public regardless of whether the element, component, or method step is explicitly recited in the claims.





 
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