Title:
WEATHER BLOCK FOR LOW OR HIGH PROFILE TILE
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A weather block for tile roofs. Tile roofs having a plurality of individual tiles configured adjacently to form rows of undulating tiles, with a first row of overlapping tiles, and where each one of the tiles in the first row of overlapping tiles have an upper end and an upper surface, are provided, adjacent thereto with a weather block of unique design. The weather block has an elongate spacer portion adapted to be located longitudinally straddling said upper end of the first row of tiles. The spacer extends laterally between an upper edge portion and a lower edge portion. A backing portion is provided extending downwardly from the upper edge portion of the spacer portion. A weather stop portion is provided extending downwardly from the lower edge portion of the spacer portion. The weather stop portion has a lower edge portion sized and shaped for close fitting engagement with the upper surface of the first row of tiles, to provide high resistance to wind blown water.



Inventors:
Fulford, Frank J. (Yorba Linda, CA, US)
Hughes, David M. (Scottsdale, AZ, US)
Application Number:
10/352398
Publication Date:
07/29/2004
Filing Date:
01/28/2003
Assignee:
PACIFIC AWARD METALS, INC.
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
52/91.3, 52/198, 52/200, 52/90.1
International Classes:
E04D13/17; (IPC1-7): E04D3/40; E04B7/18; E04D1/30
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
CRANMER, LAURIE K
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
R. REAMS GOODLOE, JR. (KENT, WA, US)
Claims:
1. A weather block for a tile roof, said tile roof comprising a plurality of individual tiles configured adjacently to form at least a first row of overlapping tiles, each one of said tiles in said first row of overlapping tiles having an upper end and an upper surface, said weather block comprising: (a) an elongate spacer portion adapted to be located longitudinally straddling said upper end of said plurality of said tiles, said spacer portion having an upper edge portion and a lower edge portion, (b) a backing portion, said backing portion extending downwardly from said upper edge portion of said spacer portion; (c) a weather stop portion, said weather stop portion extending downwardly from said lower edge portion of said spacer portion, said weather stop portion further comprising a lower edge portion sized and shaped for close fitting engagement with said upper surface of said first row of tiles.

2. The weather block as set forth in claim 1, wherein said lower edge portion of said weather stop portion is undulating in shape.

3. The weather block as set forth in claim 1, wherein said tile comprises a low profile S-shaped tile having an upper surface, and wherein said weather stop portion is sized and shaped complementary to said upper surface of said low profile tile.

4. The weather block as set forth in claim 1, wherein said tile roof comprises a plurality of high profile S-shaped tiles having an upper surface, and wherein said weather stop portion is sized and shaped complementary to said upper surface of said high profile tiles.

5. The weather block as set forth in claim 1, wherein said tile roof comprises high profile U-shaped opposing tiles having an upper surface, and wherein said weather stop portion is sized and shaped complementary to said upper surface of said high profile U-shaped opposing tiles.

6. The weather block as set forth in claim 1, wherein said lower edge portion of said weather stop portion comprise a series of sequential convex and concave curved surfaces, and wherein said series comprises at least one of each of said convex and of said concave curved surfaces.

7. The weather block as set forth in claim 6, wherein said weather stop portion comprises, adjacent said concave curved surface, a narrow lip portion, said lip portion sized and shaped for complementary interfitting engagement against said upper surface of said tile roof

8. The weather block as set forth in claim 6, wherein said weather stop portion comprises, adjacent said convex curved surface, a downwardly extending tongue portion, said tongue portion sized and shaped for complementary interfitting engagement against said upper surface of said tile roof.

9. A weather block as set forth in claim 1, wherein said weather block comprises a generally U-shaped elongate member.

10. A weather block as set forth in claim 9, wherein said weather block comprises a thin, elongate metal sheet.

11. A weather block as set forth in claim 10, wherein said weather block comprises thin steel.

12. A weather block as set forth in claim 10, wherein said weather block comprises a thin aluminum sheet.

13. A weather block as set forth in claim 9, wherein said generally U-shaped elongate member is integrally fabricated from a single metal part.

14. A weather block as set forth in claim 9, wherein said generally U-shaped elongate member is integrally fabricated as a non-metallic article.

15. A weather block as set forth in claim 1, wherein said upper row of tiles is provided along a ridge line in a roof.

16. A weather block as set forth in claim 1, wherein said upper row of tiles is provided along a hip line in a roof.

17. The combination of a weather block and a tile roof with ridge vent system, said combination comprising: (a) a roof system comprising (i) a central ridge beam, (ii) opposing roof decks, and (iii) an undulate tile roof, said tile roof having an upper row of tiles adjacent said central ridge beam, said upper row of tiles having an upper surface and an upper end, (iv) a ridge type roof vent, (v) a row of cap tiles, said cap tiles substantially covering said ridge type roof vent; and (b) a weather block, said weather block comprising (i) an elongate spacer portion adapted to be located longitudinally straddling said upper end of said upper end of said upper row of tiles, said spacer portion having an upper edge portion and a lower edge portion, (ii) a backing portion, said backing portion extending downwardly from said upper edge portion of said spacer portion, and (iii) a weather stop portion, said weather stop portion extending downwardly from said lower edge portion of said spacer portion, said weather stop portion further comprising a lower edge portion sized and shaped for close fitting engagement with said upper surface of said upper row of tiles.

18. The combination as set forth in claim 17, wherein said tile comprises a low profile S-shaped tile having an upper surface, and wherein said weather stop portion of said weather block is sized and shaped complementary to said upper surface of said low profile tile.

19. The combination as set forth in claim 17, wherein said tile roof comprises a plurality of high profile S-shaped tiles having an upper surface, and wherein said weather stop portion is sized and shaped complementary to said upper surface of said high profile tiles.

20. The combination as set forth in claim 17, wherein said tile roof comprises high profile U-shaped opposing tiles having an upper surface, and wherein said weather stop portion is sized and shaped complementary to said upper surface of said high profile U-shaped opposing tiles.

21. The combination as set forth in claim 17, wherein said lower edge portion of said weather stop portion comprise a series of sequential convex and concave curved surfaces, and wherein said series comprises at least one of each of said convex and of said concave curved surfaces.

22. The combination as set forth in claim 21, wherein said weather stop portion comprises, adjacent said concave curved surface, a narrow lip portion, said lip portion sized and shaped for complementary interfitting engagement against said upper surface of said tile roof.

23. The combination as set forth in claim 21, wherein said weather stop portion comprises, adjacent said convex curved surface, a downwardly extending tongue portion, said tongue portion sized and shaped for complementary interfitting engagement against said upper surface of said tile roof.

24. The combination as set forth in claim 17, wherein said weather block as set forth in claim 1, wherein said weather block comprises a generally U-shaped elongate member.

25. The combination as set forth in claim 24, wherein said weather block comprises a thin, elongate metal part.

26. The combination as set forth in claim 25, wherein said weather block comprises thin steel.

27. The combination as set forth in claim 25, wherein said weather block comprises a thin aluminum part.

28. The combination as set forth in claim 24, wherein said generally U-shaped elongate member is integrally fabricated from a single metal part.

29. The combination as set forth in claim 17, wherein said undulate tile roof has a peak with an upper surface, and a valley with an upper outer tile surface and with a lower inner tile surface, and wherein said backing portion is provided in an height H of at least approximately the same as the distance between said upper surface of said peak and said upper outer tile surface of said valley.

30. The combination as set forth in claim 17, wherein said undulate tile roof has a peak with an upper surface, and a valley with an upper outer tile surface and with a lower inner tile surface, and wherein said backing portion is provided in an height H of at least approximately the same as the distance between (i) said upper surface of said peak and (ii) the average between (1) said upper outer tile surface of said valley and (2) said lower inner tile surface at said valley.

31. The combination as set forth in claim 17, wherein said undulate tile roof has a peak with an upper surface, and a valley with an upper outer tile surface and with a lower inner tile surface, and wherein said backing portion is provided in an height H of at least approximately the same as the distance between (i) said upper surface of said peak and (ii) said lower inner tile surface at said valley.

32. A weather block as set forth in claim 1, wherein said weather block has a length L of from about four feet to about ten feet.

Description:

TECHNICAL FIELD

[0001] This invention relates to tile roofs, including tile roofs incorporating ridge vents designed for placement along a ridge line or along a hip line of a tile roof. More particularly, the invention is for use with roofs using low profile or high profile shaped tiles, to simplify weather protection of the structure below the roofing tile.

BACKGROUND

[0002] Although a variety of designs exist for tile roofs, historically, weather protection at the upper end of tile roofs, and in particular, at the upper end of undulating tile roofs, has been provided in the form of a plug of grouting. That approach was widely used before “ridge type” roof vents suitable for use with tile roofs were developed. Ridge top vents reduce the number of roof penetrations necessary to achieve adequate ventilation, which is particularly important since the cumbersome and weighty nature of roof tiles has not been generally conducive to incorporation of vents in the roof design. One useful design ridge vents for tile roofs is provided in U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/905,585, filed Jul. 12, 2001, and entitled Ridge Vent for Tile Roofs, the disclosure of which is incorporated herein its entirety by this reference. And, although a few designs have been proposed or actually used, in so far as is known to us, prior art tile roof designs have not adequately addressed the problem of preventing ingress of wind blown water, as might occur during a thunderstorm or hurricane, for example. Thus, it would be desirable to provide a new weather block for an undulating tile roof system that is resistant to entry of wind blown water. Such a design would be especially desirable if provided in an easily installed, elongate section providing installation labor savings, for use in both low profile, artistically pleasing tile roof systems, and in high profile, classic tile roof systems.

SUMMARY

[0003] We have invented a novel weather block for incorporation in tile or tile type roof applications. The weather block design may be easily adapted for various tile roofs, ranking from low profile, S-type tiles to high profile (undulating, interlocking opposing U-shaped design) tile roof structures. The weather block design is simple and easily installed at the upper end of an upper row of roofing tiles, whether along a ridge line or along a hip line. The weather block is strong enough to resist the necessary weather loads (wind, water, snow, ice, etc.), even though relatively lightweight. The weather block designs are superior to heretofore known weather block methods and apparatus used for tile roofs. Importantly, our weather block for tile roofs provides exemplary protection against entry of wind driven water, as well as unwanted debris, insects, or vermin, while allowing the installation of a preselected roof ventilator along a ridge line.

[0004] In one embodiment, the new weather block design utilizes (a) a longitudinally extending spacer portion having upper and lower lateral edges, and (b) extending from the upper lateral edge of the spacer portion, a downwardly extending backing portion, and (c) extending from the lower lateral edge, a downwardly extending weather stop portion. The weather stop portion is sized and shaped for close fitting mating engagement with the upper surface of the upper row of tiles against which the weather block is installed. In order to secure the weather block to a roof structure, nailing slots are provided at spaced apart locations along the length of the spacer portion., The nailing slots are sized and shaped to accommodate therethrough nails of sufficient length to secure, through an aperture in the tile therebelow, the weather block to the batten and/or roof deck located below the tile layer.

[0005] In one embodiment a plurality of sections of weather block are provided along a roof ridge. Each one of the sections of weather block has a weather stop portion with a plurality of trough portions and a plurality of peak portions, longitudinally running and spaced for matching engagement with and complementary to the corresponding peaks and valleys in the tile roofing.

[0006] Each of the weather block sections spans a selected length longitudinally across the roofing deck. The weather block is mounted so that the backing portion extends downward through at least a portion of the lower portion of the tile forming the trough, and in some embodiments, can extend downward for at least half of the thickness of the tile, and in other embodiments, can extend downward for the full thickness of tile, or further. Moreover, when using the weather block design disclosed herein, a conventional elongated array of ridge cap tiles can be affixed above the ridge beam.

OBJECTS, ADVANTAGES, AND FEATURES OF THE INVENTION

[0007] An important and primary object of the present invention resides in the provision of a novel weather block that is easy to install on tile roofs. Other important objects, advantages, and novel features include a weather block for tile roofs which:

[0008] has the advantage that they can be configured by installation personnel to quickly and efficiently utilize the method disclosed herein to provide an efficient weather block on tile roof;

[0009] provides a tile roof which is fully protective from the elements, as well as windblown debris, large insects, and vermin; and

[0010] that provide appropriate variations in the design for use in either low profile roofs or in high profile undulating type tile roofs.

[0011] Other aspects of various embodiments will become apparent to those skilled in the art from the foregoing and from the detailed description that follows and the appended claims, evaluated in conjunction with the accompanying drawing.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING

[0012] In order to enable the reader to attain a more complete appreciation of the invention, and of the novel features and the advantages thereof, attention is directed to the following detailed description when considered in connection with the accompanying drawings, wherein:

[0013] FIG. 1 is a perspective view of portions of an exemplary tile roof system installed on a sloping roof having a longitudinally extending ridge line, showing the use of a ridge top ventilator, and using a weather block strip as taught herein to substantially prevent water and vermin from entering the structure by blocking the upper end of the upper row of S-type undulating tiles.

[0014] FIG. 2 is perspective view of an upper row of S-type undulating tiles for a roof, showing the upper surface of the tiles which has peaks and valleys longitudinally extending across a row in the undulating tile roof, and particularly illustrating how a lower edge portion of an upright portion of the weather block is provided shaped and sized for snug interfitting engagement with the upper surface of the tiles, so as to substantially avoid any appreciable gap between the lower edge portion of the upright portion of the weather block and the upper surface of the tile roof.

[0015] FIG. 3 is a transverse sectional view of an exemplary low profile tile roofing system, wherein a ridge type roof ventilator system is employed, and further showing the integrated use of a ridge vent system and the weather block having a configuration taught herein.

[0016] FIG. 4 is a side elevation view of a section of weather block, as may be manufactured for use in a tile roofing structure, showing an upright weather blocking panel having a lower edge portion shaped and sized for interfitting engagement in a selected low profile tile roof structure.

[0017] FIG. 5 is a sectional view taken along lines 5-5 of FIG. 4, but on an enlarged scale.

[0018] FIG. 6 is a sectional view taken along lines 6-6 of FIG. 4, but on an enlarged scale.

[0019] FIG. 7 is a perspective view of the weather block for a low profile shaped tile roof structure, now also showing in the spacer portion a plurality of elongated apertures for accommodating nails therethough, to enable the weather block to be secured, through a tile, to a selected roof batten or similar structure, as can be seen by reference to FIG. 3 or 8.

[0020] FIG. 8 is a transverse sectional view of a roof structure including the rafters, center beam between the ridge ends, a ridge beam above the center beam, roof decking with waterproof felt, longitudinally running battens, and a plurality of rows of undulating tile, with the weather block strip as taught herein being used to provide a weather barrier at the upper end of the upper row of undulating tile.

[0021] FIG. 9 is an exploded perspective view of a roof structure using a ridge type vent, including the rafters, center beam between the ridge ends, a ridge beam above the center beam, roof decking with waterproof felt, longitudinally running battens, and a plurality of rows of undulating tile, with the weather block strip as taught herein being used to provide a weather barrier at the upper end of each of the two upper rows of undulating tile.

[0022] FIG. 10 is taken along line 10-10 of FIG. 11, to provide (a) a side elevation view of a selected length of weather block, and (b) a cross-section of the tile against which the weather block is placed, in order to show the weather block strip as may be manufactured for use in a tile roofing structure, showing an upright weather blocking panel having a lower edge portion shaped and sized for interfitting engagement in a selected high profile tile roof structure.

[0023] FIG. 11 is a sectional view taken along line 11-11 of FIG. 10, showing a tile forming a peak and a tile forming a trough in a first row of tiles, against which the weather block is placed to effectively prevent migration of the elements and of vermin.

[0024] FIG. 12 is a perspective view of the weather block for a high profile shaped tile roof structure, now also showing in the spacer portion one of the elongated apertures provided for accommodating nails therethough, to enable the weather block to be secured, through a tile, to a selected roof batten or similar structure, as can be seen by reference to FIG. 3 or 8.

[0025] The foregoing figures, being merely exemplary, contain various elements that may be present or omitted from actual implementations depending upon the circumstances. An attempt has been made to draw the figures in a way that illustrates at least those elements that are significant for an understanding of the various embodiments and aspects of the invention. However, various other elements of the weather block for tile roofs, and the accompanying roofing system and vent system, are also shown and briefly described to enable the reader to understand how various optional features may be utilized in order to provide an efficient weather block for tile roofs.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0026] Attention is directed to FIGS. 1 and 2, where perspective views are provided showing the use of a weather block section 20 (partially shown) in combination with low profile S-shaped tiles 22. In FIG. 3, the partially completed roofing system 30 as illustrated in FIG. 1 has been completed to provide one embodiment for a fully usable roofing system 40 including rafters 42, a central beam 44, a ridge beam 46, a roofing deck 48, a felt 50 on the roofing deck 48, first layer battens 52 and second layer battens 53, roofing tiles 22, weather block section 20 with securing nail 54, a sub-flashing ridge vent component 56, a top cap flashing ridge vent component 58, and a ridge cap tile 60.

[0027] Returning now to FIG. 1, the weather block 20 extends along a longitudinal axis for a length L between a first end 62 and a second end 64, and in the embodiment shown in FIG. 1, includes three major components. First, a spacer portion 66 having an upper lateral edge 68 and a lower lateral edge 70 is provided. As shown, the spacer portion 66 is a planer component provided in a generally parallelepiped shaped thin sheet. Second, as illustrated in FIG. 1, downwardly extending from the upper lateral edge 68 of the spacer portion 66 is a backing portion 72. Third, downwardly extending from the lower lateral edge 70 of spacer portion 66 is a weather stop portion 73 having a length Z.

[0028] The backing portion 72 can be provided in a uniform height H0 along the length L as suitable to approximate or slightly exceed the height H1 between the peak 74 of a tile 22 and the bottom surface 76 of a valley portion 78 of a tile 22. As better seen by reference to weather block 20′ illustrated in FIG. 10. Here, a weather strip 20′ better adapted for use with a high profile tile roof is illustrated. But, in either the case of weather block 20 for low profile tile roofs or of weather block 20′ for high profile tile roofs, the backing portion 72 should be at least of height H2 corresponding to the approximate height between the peak 74 of an upper tile or tile portion 22U and the upper surface 80 of a valley portion 78 of a lower tile or tile portion 22L. It is believed advantageous that the backing portion 72 be at least of the approximate height H3 which corresponds to the distance between the peak 74 of a tile 22 and the average middle location 82 between (i) the upper surface 80 of a valley portion 78 of a tile 22 and (ii) the bottom surface 76 of a valley portion 78 of a tile 22. Additionally, extra height H4, which corresponds to a small distance from the spacer portion 66 to the lip edge 94 at the upper most portion of the concave portion 96 of the undulate lower edge 100 of weather stop portion 73, may be added to any on of heights H1, H2 or H3, to provide an overall height H0 for backing portion 72. On the other hand, as indicated in FIG. 2, the height H4 may be zero.

[0029] The downwardly extending weather stop portion 73 has a lower edge portion 100, undulate in nature as depicted in FIGS. 2, 4, and 7, but which in any event is sized and shaped for close fitting mating engagement with the upper surface S of the upper row of tiles 221 against which the weather block 20 is installed. In order to secure the weather block 20 to a roof structure, nailing slots 110 are provided at spaced apart locations along the length L of the spacer portion 66. The nailing slots 110 can be in the form of elongate or oval shape as shown in FIG. 1, and in any event are sized and shaped to accommodate therethrough nails 54 of sufficient length to secure, through an aperture 114 defined by edge walls 116 in the tile 22 therebelow, the weather block 20 to the batten 52 and/or roof deck 48 located below the tile 22.

[0030] Weather block strips 20 can be advantageously manufactured out of suitable metal. In one embodiment, the weather block strips 20 can be configured in integral, one piece configurations wherein the spacer portion 66, the backing portion 72, and the weather stop portion 73 are all formed from a single piece of metal which is bent into a downwardly oriented U-shaped configuration. When fabricated from steel, the finished part can be provided with either a painted finish or a galvanized finish. Alternately, the weather block strips 20 or 20′ may be made from other metals, such as aluminum, which does not require a finish coating. Or, the weather block strips 20 or 20′ may be manufactured from non-metallic components. Lengths L of weather block strips 20 or 20′ may be of any convenient size, such as 4 foot, or incremental in desired lengths up to about 10 foot in length, or more.

[0031] Weather block strips 20 as depicted in FIGS. 8 and 9, may be utilized in conjunction with a ridge type ventilator system. Although one exemplary ridge type ventilator system is depicted in FIGS. 8 and 9, the weather block described herein is useful in connection with the installation of tile roofs with various types of ridge ventilators, or, without ridge ventilators. For a brief understanding of details of such a roofing system, note that a longitudinally extending sub-flashing 56 is provided having apertures A therethrough. Roof rafters 42 have ridge ends 120 ending at a center beam 44. Above the center beam 38 is mounted a longitudinally running ridge beam 46 which extends across the roof system. The roof decking 48 is affixed above the upper side 122 of the rafters 42. Either through roof deck 48, or preferably above the upper end 49 of roof deck 48 and up to the side 124 of ridge beam 46, an air gap G is provided to allow air to flow upward or downward in the direction of reference arrows 126. Longitudinally extending sub-flashing 56, having a plurality of ventilation apertures A1 therein is provided to span gap G. A top cap flashing 58 is mounted over the top 130 of ridge beam 46. The top cap flashing 58 is longitudinally extending to support a plurality of ridge cap tiles 60, as indicated in FIG. 9. In the embodiment shown in this FIG. 9, the top cap flashing 58 has a downwardly directed U-shaped center section 132 and a pair of opposing first and second outward wing portions 134 and 136, each of which may be bounded at the outer tip 140 thereof by a an upwardly directed flange portion F. Preferably, a sealant layer S is provided between the lower side 142 and 144 of wing portions 134 and 136, respectively, and the adjacent tiles 22.

[0032] The various figures provide general views of certain embodiments of weather block strips 20 and 20′, without limitation as to details of exact size, which may be provided as a convenience for stocking distributors and/or for contractor installation. In one set of exemplary dimensions for the weather block strips, as applied to low profile type tile roofs can be provided, as detailed in FIGS. 4, 5, and 6. For example, a weather block strip 20 can be provided in a convenient length L, as described herein above, and with a width W of the spacer portion 66 of about 2.5 inches, and with a height H0 of the backing portion 73 of about 2.25 inches, and with an overall height HW of the weather stop portion of about 2.375 inches, as formed into an integral, upside down U-shaped article. However, this is merely exemplary and the actual dimensions and sizes may be varied to suit individual needs, without varying from the more general teachings hereof.

[0033] A method of installing a weather block 20 on a ridge, or on a roof hip, can be easily understood by those of ordinary skill in the art and to whom this specification is addressed. And the weather block can be used in a roofing method to provide weather protection in any undulating roofing system, whether S-tile type or opposing U-shaped tiles. A first step in a method of installation of an exemplary weather block in an undulating roof system is shown, wherein an upper roof tile row is provided. The tiles have an upper surface S. The second step in a method of installation of a weather block in an undulating type tile roof system is to provide a weather block strip 20 as disclosed herein. The weather block 20 is affixed so that the backing portion 72 is in abutting engagement with the upper end of the first row of tiles 221, and so that the lower end portion of the weather stop portion 73 is situated in close fitting engagement with the upper surface S of the adjacent tiles 22. Next, the weather strip 20 is secured to the roofing structure by a fastener such as nail 54. Finally, a ridge cap tile is provided to cover the ridge line, or hip line, as applicable.

[0034] It is to be appreciated that the novel weather block system provided by way of the present invention is a significant improvement in the state of the art of weather blocking systems for tile roofs. The weather block is lightweight, being normally manufactured of lightweight metal or other structurally strong material, and is capable of being easily packaged and shipped.

[0035] Importantly, the weather block for tile roofs allows installation of a weather tight ridge vent system even in locales where it has heretofore been impossible to do so and comply with building code requirements, since the combination weather block and a ridge vent system is fully capable of passing the most stringent regulatory tests for wind and wind driven rain resistance.

[0036] Although only a few exemplary embodiments and aspects of this invention have been described in detail, various details are sufficiently set forth in the drawing and in the specification provided herein to enable one of ordinary skill in the art to make and use such exemplary embodiments and aspects, which need not be further described by additional writing in this detailed description. Importantly, the designs described and claimed herein may be modified from those embodiments provided without materially departing from the novel teachings and advantages provided by this invention, and may be embodied in other specific forms without departing from the spirit or essential characteristics thereof. Therefore, the embodiments presented herein are to be considered in all respects as illustrative and not restrictive. As such, this disclosure is intended to cover the structures described herein and not only structural equivalents thereof, but also equivalent structures. Numerous modifications and variations of the present invention are possible in light of the above teachings. It is therefore to be understood that within the scope of the appended claims, the invention may be practiced otherwise than as specifically described herein. Thus having described some embodiments of the invention, though not exhaustive of all possible equivalents, what is desired to be secured by letters patent is claimed below. Therefore, the scope of the invention, as set forth in the appended claims, and as indicated by the drawing and by the foregoing description, is intended to include variations from the embodiments provided which are nevertheless described by the broad interpretation and range properly afforded to the plain meaning of the claims set forth below.





 
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