Title:
COLLECTION AND DRAINAGE SYSTEM HAVING A FLUID DIRECTING ASSEMBLY
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A collection and drainage system for a building to redirect fluid away from the building includes a fluid directing assembly and a wash assembly. The fluid directing assembly includes a gutter having a distal edge and a proximal edge that define an opening for receiving the fluid. A cover extends over the opening and includes a support leg extending downwardly toward the opening. A retainer has an arm for mounting to the building and a catch extending from the arm downwardly toward the opening. The catch receives the support leg for removably mounting the cover to the retainer about the opening of the gutter. Should debris enter into the gutter, the collection and drainage system further includes a wash assembly for providing the gutter with water to push the debris toward a drain.



Inventors:
Herrera, Raymon N. (Clinton Township, MI, US)
Application Number:
11/466587
Publication Date:
03/01/2007
Filing Date:
08/23/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E04D13/00
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
FIGUEROA, LUZ ADRIANA
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
SAMUEL J. HAIDLE, ESQ. (Bloomfield Hills, MI, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A collection and drainage system for a building to redirect fluid away from the building, said system comprising: a gutter having a distal edge and a proximal edge defining an opening for receiving the fluid; a cover extending over a majority of said opening from said proximal edge to a position adjacent said distal edge and including a support leg extending downwardly toward said opening; and a retainer having an arm for mounting to the building and a catch extending from said arm downwardly toward said opening to receive said support leg for removably mounting said cover to said retainer about said opening of said gutter.

2. A collection and drainage system as set forth in claim 1 wherein said catch further includes a first wall extending from said arm, a second wall spaced from said first wall, and a seat extending between said first wall and said second wall for receiving said support leg such that said cover is removably mounted to said retainer about said gutter.

3. A collection and drainage system as set forth in claim 2 wherein said catch includes a U-shaped configuration when viewed in cross-section.

4. A collection and drainage system as set forth in claim 2 wherein said arm, said first wall, said second wall, and said seat are integrally formed as one piece.

5. A collection and drainage system as set forth in claim 2 wherein said arm extends from said first wall at an angle.

6. A collection and drainage system as set forth in claim 1 wherein said arm further includes a jog for directing the fluid from the building onto said cover.

7. A collection and drainage system as set forth in claim 1 wherein said cover defines a drip space for allowing the fluid to flow into said opening.

8. A collection and drainage system as set forth in claim 7 wherein said cover further includes a first edge and a second edge and with said cover sloping downward from said first edge to said second edge relative to said gutter for directing the fluid along said cover toward said second edge.

9. A collection and drainage system as set forth in claim 8 wherein said drip space is defined between said second edge of said cover and said distal edge of said gutter for allowing the fluid to flow into said opening.

10. A collection and drainage system as set forth in claim 8 further including a drip lip extending from said second edge of said cover for directing the fluid from said drip space into said opening.

11. A collection and drainage system as set forth in claim 10 wherein said drip lip is arcuate and extends downwardly from said second edge of said cover toward said opening.

12. A collection and drainage system as set forth in claim 1 wherein said cover extends over at least 55% of said opening.

13. A collection and drainage system as set forth in claim 1 wherein said cover extends over 55% to 95% of said opening.

14. A collection and drainage system as set forth in claim 1 further including a bracket disposed within said opening and having a mounting surface abutting said cover for supporting said cover above said gutter.

15. A collection and drainage system as set forth in claim 1 further including a fastener extending through said gutter for mounting said gutter to the building.

16. A collection and drainage system as set forth in claim 15 further including a bracket disposed within said opening and said bracket defining an aperture for surrounding said fastener.

17. A collection and drainage system as set forth in claim 16 wherein said bracket is further defined as including a first portion having a first tab extending from at least one side of said first portion and a second portion having a second tab extending from at least one side of said second portion for interlocking said first portion with said second portion.

18. A collection and drainage system as set forth in claim 17 wherein said first bracket and said second bracket define an aperture for surrounding said fastener.

19. A fluid directing assembly for preventing debris from entering a gutter and directing a fluid into the gutter, said fluid directing assembly comprising: a cover including a support leg; and a retainer including an arm for mounting to the building and a catch extending from said arm to receive said support leg for removably mounting said cover to said retainer about the gutter.

20. A fluid directing assembly as set forth in claim 19 wherein said catch further includes a first wall, a second wall spaced from said first wall, and a seat extending between said first wall and said second wall for receiving said support leg such that said cover is removably mounted to said retainer about the gutter.

21. A fluid directing assembly as set forth in claim 19 wherein said catch includes a U-shaped configuration when viewed in cross-section.

22. A fluid directing assembly as set forth in claim 20 wherein said arm, said first wall, said second wall, and said seat are integrally formed as one piece.

23. A fluid directing assembly as set forth in claim 19 wherein said arm further includes a jog for directing the fluid from the building onto said cover.

24. A fluid directing assembly as set forth in claim 24 wherein said cover further includes a first edge and a second edge and with said cover sloping downward from said first edge to said second edge relative to said gutter for directing the fluid along said cover from said first edge to said second edge.

25. A fluid directing assembly as set forth in claim 25 further including a drip lip formed on said second edge of said cover for directing the fluid into the gutter.

26. A fluid directing assembly as set forth in claim 19 further including a bracket having a mounting surface abutting said cover for supporting said cover above the gutter.

27. A fluid directing assembly as set forth in claim 27 wherein said bracket is further defined as including a first portion having a first tab extending from at least one side of said first portion and a second portion having a mounting surface and a second tab extending from at least one side of said second portion for interlocking said first portion with said second portion.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application claims the benefit of provisional patent application Ser. No. 60/710,547 filed Aug. 23, 2005.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to a collection and drainage system having a fluid directing assembly and a wash assembly for preventing debris from entering the drainage system and washing the drainage system.

2. Description of the Related Art

Drainage systems having a cover to prevent debris from entering a trough are well known in the art and have been used in various applications. One application where the drainage system may include the cover is with gutters mounted to an eave of a building. These gutters may also be known in the art as eaves troughs. Since gutters and other drainage systems are typically meant to move a fluid, such as water, away from an area, it is common for the gutter to define an opening that allows the fluid to enter into the drainage system. However, debris from the surrounding environment such as leaves, twigs, branches, seeds, and flowers, among others, may also be able to enter the gutter through the opening. Debris in the gutter can prevent water from draining properly, resulting in the gutter overflowing. When water overflows, it may result in damage to the surrounding area, such as soil erosion or structural damage to the building.

In the drainage systems of the prior art, covers are typically mounted to the gutters to prevent debris from entering and clogging the gutter while still allowing the fluid to flow into the gutter and drain properly, thus minimizing soil erosion or structural damage to the building. An example of such a drainage system is found in U.S. Pat. No. 4,604,837 to Beam (the '837 patent). The '837 patent discloses a cover mounted onto a gutter of a building. The gutter includes a pair of channels formed at each end of the gutter, and the cover includes a support leg that extends into the channel. The drainage system of the '837 patent requires the channels to be preformed in the gutter before the gutter may receive the cover. The cover and the gutter define a drip space, and the fluid flows from the building onto the cover, through the drip space, and into the gutter. Other types of covers of the prior art have been held onto a roof of the building by shingles.

Typically, the cover prevents debris from entering and clogging the gutter. However, it may be possible for some smaller debris to enter the gutter through the drip space, and eventually cause a clog. When this occurs, removing the cover from the gutter may be the only way to gain access to the inside of the gutter so that the smaller debris may be removed. Removing the cover can be a difficult task since that may require removing the gutter and/or removing the shingles. Additionally, once the gutter is cleaned, replacing the cover may be just as difficult as removing it. Because of the difficulty in removing the cover, collection and drainage systems of the prior art may alternatively include a wash assembly as opposed to the cover. An example of such a wash assembly is shown in U.S. Pat. No. 4,972,863 to Morrow (the '863 patent). The '863 patent discloses a nozzle connected to an end of the gutter. Water enters the nozzle through a hose, and the nozzle is pointed toward a drain. When activated, the water flows through the nozzle into the gutter. The water is able to push the debris toward the drain.

Although covers for gutters have been enjoyed by a wide variety of consumers, there remains an opportunity to improve upon the drainage systems of the prior art. Specifically, a cover for a drainage system is needed that may easily attach to various types of gutters, regardless of whether the gutter has been preformed with channels to receive the cover. Additionally, a cover is needed that is easily removable from the gutter so that the gutter may be cleaned to remove small debris that enters the gutter. Furthermore, a collection and drainage system is needed that may further accommodate a wash assembly to clean the gutter should debris enter the gutter despite the cover.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION AND ADVANTAGES

The subject invention provides a collection and drainage system for a building to redirect fluid away from the building. The collection and drainage system includes a gutter having a distal edge and a proximal edge defining an opening for receiving the fluid. A cover extends over a majority of the opening from the proximal edge to a position adjacent the distal edge. The cover further includes a support leg extending downwardly toward the opening. The collection and drainage system further includes a retainer having an arm for mounting to the building and a catch extending from the arm downwardly toward the opening to receive the support leg for removably mounting the cover to the retainer about the opening of the gutter.

Accordingly, the subject invention provides a drainage system having several advantages over the drainage systems of the prior art. First, the catch in the retainer of the drainage system of the subject invention allows the cover to fit into the gutter, regardless of whether the gutter has been preformed with channels or other features to receive the catch. Additionally, the catch allows the cover to be removably mounted to the gutter, making the cover easy to remove in case smaller debris enters the gutter and the gutter requires cleaning. Furthermore, should debris enter the gutter, a wash assembly provides water to the gutter for spraying the debris toward a drain.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Other advantages of the present invention will be readily appreciated, as the same becomes better understood by reference to the following detailed description when considered in connection with the accompanying drawings wherein:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a building illustrating a collection and drainage system having a gutter and a cover in accordance with the subject invention;

FIG. 2 is a partial cross-sectional view of the collection and drainage system assembled in accordance with the subject invention;

FIG. 3 is a partial cross-sectional view of an alternative embodiment of the collection and drainage system assembled in accordance with the subject invention;

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of a bracket for supporting the cover inside the gutter of the collection and drainage system;

FIG. 5 is an exploded perspective view of an alternative embodiment of the bracket having first and second portions;

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of the bracket of FIG. 5 with the portions interlocked;

FIG. 7 is a perspective view of a building having the collection and drainage system including a wash assembly in accordance with the subject invention;

FIG. 8 is a partially fragmented side view of one embodiment of a nozzle used in the wash assembly in accordance with the subject invention;

FIG. 9 is a side view of another embodiment of the nozzle used in the wash assembly; and

FIG. 10 is a partially fragmented side view of yet another embodiment of the nozzle used in the wash assembly.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Referring to the Figures, wherein like numerals indicate corresponding parts throughout the several views, a collection and drainage system is shown generally at reference numeral 10 in FIGS. 1 and 7. The collection and drainage system 10 may be used to redirect a fluid, such as water, away from a building 12, such as a house or any other structure having a roof 14. As the fluid flows from the roof 14 to a ground 16 supporting the building 12, the fluid may cause erosion in the ground 16 or damage to the building 12 itself. Therefore, the collection and drainage system 10 may be disposed on an eave of the building 12 to receive the fluid before the fluid is able to fall to the ground 16. Those skilled in the art realize that the collection and drainage system 10 may be disposed on other areas of the building 12 or in other locations independent of the building 12.

The collection and drainage system 10 includes a trough, such as a gutter 18. When disposed on the eaves of the building 12, those skilled in the art may refer to the gutter 18 as an eaves trough. The gutter 18 may be sloped such that the fluid will flow toward a drain 27. Draining the fluid in such a manner helps to minimize soil erosion on the ground 16 and structural damage to the building 12. Gutters 18 of this type are well known and are typically placed along each of the eaves of the building 12.

Referring to FIGS. 1 and 2, the gutter 18 includes a distal edge 20 and a proximal edge 22 defining an opening 24 for receiving the fluid. The distal edge 20 is spaced from the proximal edge 22 to define the opening 24, and the fluid flows from the building 12 into the opening 24 of the gutter 18 between the proximal edge 22 and the distal edge 20. The proximal edge 22 is closer to the building 12 than the distal edge 20 and the proximal edge 22 may be mounted to the building 12 with a fastener 26, such as a nail or screw. Those skilled in the art realize that other fasteners may be used to mount the gutter 18 to the building 12. The fastener 26 extends through both the distal edge 20 and the proximal edge 22 of the gutter 18 and into the building 12 to hold the gutter 18 in place. Alternatively, the fastener 26 may extend only through the proximal edge 22 and into the building 12.

The collection and drainage system 10 incorporates a fluid directing assembly, shown generally at reference numeral 28, for directing the fluid into the gutter 18 and preventing debris from entering the gutter 18. The fluid directing assembly 28 includes a cover 30 that extends over the opening 24. The cover 30 includes a first edge 32 near the building 12 and the cover 30 extends away from the building 12 toward a second edge 34. The cover 30 is sloped such that the fluid will flow along a top surface 36 of the cover 30 from the first edge 32 toward the second edge 34. For instance, the slope of the cover 30 may correspond to an angleθ of 6 degrees relative to a horizontal plane parallel to the ground 16. Those skilled in the art realize that the cover 30 may have any suitable slope or angle.

In order for the fluid to enter the gutter 18, the cover 30 defines a drip space 38. As illustrated, the drip space 38 is defined between the distal edge 20 of the gutter 18 and the second edge 34 of the cover 30. Preferably, the cover 30 extends over a majority of the opening 24, and more preferably, the cover 30 extends over at least 55% of the opening 24. In the most preferred embodiment, the cover 30 extends between 55% and 95% of the opening 24. Those skilled in the art realize that the drip space 38 may be any size, and that the greater distance the cover 30 extends over the gutter 18, the smaller the drip space 38. Those skilled in the art also realize that a smaller drip space 38 may help prevent debris larger than the drip space 38 from entering the gutter 18. Alternatively, the drip space 38 may be at least one gap formed on the top surface 36 of the cover 30, and the cover 30 may fully extend between the proximal edge 22 and the distal edge 20 of the gutter 18.

In order to assist directing the fluid to flow from the cover 30 through the drip space 38 and into the opening 24, a drip lip 40 is formed on the second edge 34 of the cover 30. In one embodiment, the drip lip 40 is arcuate and extends downwardly from the second edge 34 of the cover 30 toward the opening 24. Those skilled in the art realize that the drip lip 40 may have other configurations or shapes. As the fluid flows from the roof 14 of the building 12 and onto the cover 30, the slope of the cover 30 causes the fluid to flow toward the second edge 34. When the fluid reaches the drip lip 40, the fluid flows around the drip lip 40 by capillary action and through the drip space 38. Once the fluid has flowed around the drip lip 40, the fluid pours or drips into the opening 24 of the gutter 18. At the same time, debris may fall onto the cover 30 or be carried by the fluid flowing from the roof 14 of the building 12 onto the cover 30. However, debris larger than the drip space 38 will not be able to enter into the gutter 18.

In order to hold the cover 30 in the gutter 18, the cover 30 includes a support leg 42 extending downwardly toward the opening 24. As illustrated, the support leg 42 extends into the opening 24, or alternatively, the support leg 42 may extend toward the opening 24 without actually entering into the gutter 18. In one embodiment, the support leg 42 extends from the first edge 32 of the cover 30 in a vertical direction parallel to the building 12 near the proximal edge 22 of the gutter 18. Those skilled in the art realize that the support leg 42 may extend from the second edge 34 of the cover 30, or any location between the second edge 34 and the first edge 32 of the cover 30. Likewise, the support leg 42 extends from the cover 30 toward the gutter 18 near the distal edge 20 of the gutter 18. Furthermore, in one embodiment, the support leg 42 may be continuous along a length of the cover 30. In another embodiment, the cover 30 may include multiple support legs 42 spaced from one another along the length of the cover 30.

The fluid directing assembly 28 further includes a retainer 44. The retainer 44 includes an arm 46 for mounting the retainer 44 to the building 12 and a catch 48 extending from the arm 46 downwardly toward the opening 24 to receive the support leg 42 for removably mounting the cover 30 to the retainer 44 about the gutter 18. In one embodiment, the catch 48 is either partially or wholly contained within the opening 24 and the arm 46 is partially or wholly contained within the opening 24. Alternatively, both the catch 48 and the arm 46 may be disposed outside the opening 24. For instance, the catch 48 may receive the support leg 42 such that the support leg 42 is supported by the retainer 44 above the gutter 18.

The catch 48 includes a first wall 50 extending from the arm 46, a second wall 52 spaced from the first wall 50, and a seat 54 extending between the first wall 50 and the second wall 52 for receiving the support leg 42 such that the cover 30 is removably mounted to the retainer 44 about the gutter 18. When mounted, the support leg 42 is placed in the catch 48 between the first wall 50 and the second wall 52 with the support leg 42 resting on the seat 54. In one embodiment, the catch 48 includes a U-shaped configuration when viewed in cross-section. Those skilled in the art realize that the catch 48 may include other configurations when viewed in cross-section. Additionally, in one embodiment, the arm 46, the first wall 50, the second wall 52, and the seat 54 are integrally formed as one piece.

As previously discussed, the arm 46 of the retainer 44 is for mounting the retainer 44 to the building 12. In one embodiment, the arm 46 of the retainer 44 extends from the first wall 50 at an angleφ relative to the horizontal plane parallel to the ground 16 for mounting the retainer 44 to the roof 14 of the building 12. For example, the angleφ of the arm 46 relative to the first wall 50 is an acute angle. Those skilled in the art realize that the angleφ may alternatively be an obtuse angle or a right angle. In this embodiment, the roof 14 includes shingles 56 that are placed over the arm 46. The shingles 56 hold the arm 46 in place. Furthermore, those skilled in the art realize that the arm 46 may be in line with the first wall 50 such that any fastener may be used to attach the arm 46 to the building 12.

Referring to FIG. 3, an alternative embodiment is shown having a collection and drainage system 10 substantially similar to that shown in FIG. 2. However, in this embodiment, the arm 46 includes a jog 58 for directing the fluid from the building 12 onto the cover 30. In one embodiment, the jog 58 extends from the arm 46 over the cover 30 in a direction toward the second edge 34 of the cover 30 and then extends back toward the first edge 32 of the cover 30 until the jog 58 reaches the first wall 50 of the retainer 44. When viewed in cross-section, the jog 58 defines a sideways V-shaped configuration, although those skilled in the art realize that other configurations and shapes are within the scope of the subject invention.

Referring to FIGS. 2, 4, and 5, although the cover 30 may be supported by the retainer 44 alone, the collection and drainage system 10 may further include a bracket 60 disposed within the opening 24 of the gutter 18. For illustrative purposes, the bracket 60 is shown separate from the collection and drainage system 10. However, those skilled in the art realize that the bracket 60 may rest either partially or wholly within the opening 24. In a one embodiment, part of the bracket 60 is be disposed within the gutter 18, and the remainder of the bracket 60 extends above the opening 24 of the gutter 18. Those skilled in the art realize that the collection and drainage system 10 may include any number of brackets 60 within the scope of the subject invention. The bracket 60 may extend between the proximal edge 22 and the distal edge 20 of the gutter 18.

As best shown in FIGS. 4 and 5, the bracket 60 includes a mounting surface 61 abutting the cover 30 for supporting the cover 30 and the mounting surface 61 is sloped to match the slope between the first edge 32 and the second edge 34 of the cover 30. For instance, the slope of the mounting surface 61 corresponds to an angleθ of 6 degrees relative to the horizontal plane parallel to the ground 16. Those skilled in the art realize that the mounting surface 61 may have another slope. Additionally, the bracket 60 defines an aperture 62 for surrounding the fastener 26. The fastener 26 extends through the bracket 60 such that the fastener 26 supports the bracket 60 and holds the bracket 60 in place within the gutter 18. Alternatively, those skilled in the art realize that the bracket 60 may be supported or held in place with another fastener.

In embodiment of FIGS. 4 and 5, the bracket 60 includes multiple portions attached to one another. A first portion 64 includes a first tab 65 that extends from a side of the first portion 64. Likewise, a second portion 66 includes a second tab 67 that extends from a side of the second portion 66. In this embodiment, the tabs 65, 67 of the first portion 64 and second portion 66 are used to interlock the first portion 64 with the second portion 66. In other words, the first tab 65 of the first portion 64 holds the second portion 66 to the first portion 64. Likewise, the second tab 67 of the second portion 66 holds the first portion 64 to the second portion 66 (see FIG. 5). Those skilled in the art realize that the first portion 64 and the second portion 66 may be held together using various methods within the scope of the subject invention. Once interlocked, the first portion 64 and the second portion 66 define the aperture 62 for surrounding the fastener 26. In an alternative embodiment shown in FIG. 6, the bracket 60 is extruded to form a single piece.

The subject invention therefore provides a collection and drainage system 10 including a fluid directing assembly 28 that can be easily removed from the collection and drainage system 10 for cleaning small debris that enters into the gutter 18 through the opening 24. Additionally, the fluid directing assembly 28 may work in various types of collection and drainage systems 10 with no alterations to the collection and drainage system 10.

Furthermore, referring to FIGS. 7-10, the collection and drainage system 10 includes a wash assembly 68 for cleaning the gutter 18 while the cover 30 remains supported by the retainer 44. Alternatively, the wash assembly 68 may operate independently of the fluid directing assembly 28. The wash assembly 68 includes a nozzle 70 that attaches to the gutter 18 by extending through a surface 72 of the gutter 18. For instance, the nozzle 70 may extend through a bottom surface 74 or an end surface 76 of the gutter 18. Those skilled in the art realize that the nozzle 70 may extend through any other surface 72 of the gutter 18. Alternatively, instead of extending through the gutter 18, the nozzle 70 may extend through the cover 30 and into the opening 24 of the gutter 18. Typically, the nozzle 70 includes a threaded end 78 that extends through a hole 80 defined by the gutter 18. Alternatively, the hole 80 may be defined by the cover 30. A nut 82 or any other type of fastener is used to secure the nozzle 70 to either the gutter 18 or the cover 30. For instance, the nut 82 may be screwed onto the threaded end 78 of the nozzle 70.

Once the nozzle 70 is secured to either the gutter 18 or the cover 30, the nozzle 70 is adjusted to point toward the drain 27. A pipe 83 attaches to the nozzle 70 and extends toward the ground 16 along the building 12. The pipe 83 may extend to any distance above the ground 16. For instance, the pipe 83 may extend to a distance of five feet above the ground 16. Those skilled in the art realize that the pipe 83 may extend to other distances relative to the ground 16. Furthermore, the pipe 83 may be made of any material, such as polyvinyl chloride (PVC). Those skilled in the art realize that other materials for the pipe 83 are within the scope of the subject invention. A hose 84 is then attached to the pipe 83 for supplying water to the nozzle 70. As the water leaves the nozzle 70, water pressure forces the debris in the gutter 18 to flow toward the drain 27 and out of the gutter 18. In one embodiment, the nozzle 70 is disposed in the gutter 18 at an end furthest from the drain 27. In this embodiment, the nozzle 70 has an L-shaped configuration when viewed in cross-section. The nozzle 70 having an L-shaped configuration directs the water and debris in a single direction relative to the gutter 18. In another embodiment, the nozzle 70 may have a T-shaped configuration when viewed in cross-section. In this embodiment, the nozzle 70 sprays the water in two directions. The T-shaped configuration may be used when the nozzle 70 is placed in the gutter 18 between two drains at opposite ends of the gutter 18.

Therefore, the subject invention provides a collection and drainage system 10 having a fluid directing assembly 28 and a wash assembly 68. The fluid directing assembly 28 directs the fluid from the building 12 into the gutter 18 while minimizing debris from entering the gutter 18. The catch 48 in the retainer 44 of the drainage system 10 of the subject invention allows the cover 30 to fit into the gutter 18 regardless of whether the gutter 18 has been preformed with channels or other features to receive the catch 48. Additionally, the catch 48 allows the cover 30 to be removably mounted to the gutter 18 making the cover 30 easy to remove in case smaller debris enters the gutter 18 and the gutter 18 requires cleaning. Should debris enter the gutter 18, the wash assembly 68 provides water to the gutter 18 for spraying the debris toward the drain 27.

The invention has been described in an illustrative manner, and it is to be understood that the terminology which has been used is intended to be in the nature of words of description rather than of limitation. As is now apparent to those skilled in the art, many 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.