Title:
Washing machine having a filtering drain pump
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A washing machine having a drain pump, which filters out impurities contained in water supplied to a drain casing, and conveniently removes the impurities. The drain pump includes a drain casing provided with an inlet and an outlet to supply and discharge the water, and a plurality of filtering pins filter impurities contained in the water; and a drain filter provided with through holes defined therein, into which the plurality of filtering pins are respectively connected.



Inventors:
Jang, Jae Hyun (Suwon-si, KR)
Lim, Dong Bin (Suwon-si, KR)
Application Number:
11/635547
Publication Date:
10/18/2007
Filing Date:
12/08/2006
Assignee:
SAMSUNG ELECTRONICS CO., LTD. (Suwon-si, KR)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
68/208
International Classes:
D06F35/00; D06F37/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
KLING, CHARLES
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
STAAS & HALSEY LLP (WASHINGTON, DC, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A washing machine, comprising: a drain pump draining water, said drain pump comprising: a drain casing provided with an inlet and an outlet to supply and discharge the water, and a plurality of filtering pins to filter impurities contained in the water, and a drain filter provided with through holes defined therein, into which the plurality of filtering pins are respectively connected.

2. The washing machine according to claim 1, wherein the through holes comprise a plurality of pin holes into which the plurality of filtering pins are respectively inserted, and a plurality of collection holes filtering out the impurities in the water.

3. The washing machine according to claim 2, wherein the plurality of filtering pins are installed at a designated tilt angle with respect to a flow direction of the water supplied to the inlet of the drain casing.

4. The washing machine according to claim 1, wherein the drain filter comprises a filter body portion filtering out the impurities in the water, a head connected to the filter body portion of the drain filter facilitating insertion and removal of the drain filter into and out of the drain casing, and connection members connecting the filter body portion and the head.

5. The washing machine according to claim 4, wherein a level portion is formed at an end of the filter body portion and a guide protrusion is formed on a wall of the drain casing such that the drain filter is correctly positioned within the drain casing when the drain filter is inserted into the drain casing.

6. The washing machine according to claim 4, wherein the connection members are separated from each other by a distance so that the impurities are removed.

7. The washing machine according to claim 4, wherein the impurities filtered out by the filtering pins are elevated by the filter body when the drain filter is separated from the drain casing.

8. A washing machine, comprising: a drain pump for draining water, said drain pump comprising: a drain casing provided with an inlet and an outlet to supply and discharge the water; a drain filter installed in the drain casing and provided with through holes defined therein; a filtering plate; and a plurality of filtering pins attached to the filtering plate, which are respectively inserted into the through holes of the drain filter.

9. The washing machine according to claim 8, wherein the through holes comprise a plurality of pin holes, into which the plurality of filtering pins are respectively inserted so the plurality of filtering pins protrude from the pin holes by a designated length, and a plurality of collection holes to filter impurities in the water.

10. The washing machine according to claim 9, wherein the plurality of filtering pins are installed at a designated tilt angle with respect to the flow direction of the water supplied to the inlet.

11. The washing machine according to claim 8, wherein the drain filter comprises a filter body provided with the through holes, a head connected to the filter body facilitating insertion and removal of the drain filter into and out of the drain casing, and connection members connecting the filter body and the head.

12. The washing machine according to claim 11, wherein a level portion and a guide protrusion are individually formed on the filter body and the drain casing to position the drain filter in the drain casing.

13. The washing machine according to claim 11, wherein the plurality of connection members are separated from each other by a distance so that the impurities are removed by a user.

14. The washing machine according to claim 11, wherein the impurities filtered out by the filtering pins are elevated by the filter body when the drain filter is separated from the filtering plate.

15. The washing machine according to claim 8, wherein the drain pump further comprises filtering plate connectors connecting the drain filter and the filtering plate.

16. The washing machine according to claim 8, wherein the filtering plate is fixedly installed in the drain casing.

17. A drain pump, comprising: a drain filter filtering impurities contained in water; a drain casing, in which the drain filter is installed; and a plurality of filtering pins attached to the drain casing to filter impurities in the water.

18. The drain pump according to claim 17, wherein the drain filter is provided with through holes into which the plurality of filtering pins are respectively selectively inserted.

19. The drain pump according to claim 18, wherein the through holes comprise a plurality of pin holes, into which the plurality of filtering pins are respectively inserted so the plurality of filtering pins protrude from the pin holes by a designated length, and a plurality of collection holes filter impurities in the water.

20. A drain pump, comprising: a drain filter to filter impurities contained in water provided to the drain pump; a drain casing, into which the drain filter is installed; a filtering plate connected to the drain filter; and a plurality of filtering pins affixed to the filtering plate to filter impurities in the water.

21. The drain pump according to claim 20, wherein the drain filter has through holes defined therein into which the filtering pins are inserted.

22. A drain filter, comprising: a filter body portion having through holes defined therein; a filtering plate connected to the filter body portion; and a plurality of filtering pins affixed to the filtering plate to filter impurities and insertable within the through holes of the filter body portion.

23. The drain filter according to claim 22, further comprising flexible filtering plate connectors connecting the filter body portion to the filtering plate.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims the benefit of Korean Patent Application No. 2006-0033702, filed Apr. 13, 2006, in the Korean Intellectual Property Office, the disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to a washing machine, and more particularly, to a washing machine having a drain pump to filter impurities contained in water.

2. Description of the Related Art

Generally, washing machines are apparatuses that wash laundry by rotating a cylindrical drum containing water for washing and the laundry. Washing machines may be, for example, a drum washing machine or a vertical axis washing machine. In the drum washing machine, laundry is raised and dropped and is thus washed when a drum is rotated. In the vertical axis washing machine, laundry is washed by water current generated by the rotation of a pulsator.

A washing machine generally includes a drain casing and a drain filter for filtering out impurities contained in washing water. Korean Patent Application No. 10-2005-106259 discloses a washing machine having a drain casing and a drain filter.

The washing machine disclosed in the above Korean Patent Application No. 10-2005-106259 includes a drain casing for draining water, a filter member installed in the drain casing and provided with a plurality of filtering holes and filtering protrusions, and a drain pump for forcibly discharging the water. When the drain pump is operated so that the water is supplied to the inside of the drain casing, impurities in the water are first filtered out by the filtering protrusions of the filter member, and impurities that pass through the filtering protrusions are then filtered by the filtering holes.

In the above structure of the washing machine disclosed in the above Korean Patent Application No. 10-2005-106259, the drain filter has filtering grooves and filtering protrusions, which filter out impurities contained in the water in two ways.

The filtering protrusions of the drain filter protrude in the flow direction of the water, supplied to the drain casing through an inlet pipe, and thus are incapable of effectively filtering out impurities contained in the washing water.

Further, when the drain filter is taken out of the drain casing provided with the filtering protrusions so as to remove the impurities, the impurities may be entangled with the filtering protrusions and the filtering holes.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Therefore, one aspect of the present invention is to provide a washing machine having a drain pump, which easily filters impurities contained in water supplied to a drain casing, and then conveniently removes the impurities.

Additional aspects and/or advantages of the invention will be set forth in part in the description which follows and, in part, will be apparent from the description, or may be learned by practice of the invention.

The foregoing and/or other aspects are achieved by providing a washing machine having a drain pump for draining water, the drain pump including a drain casing provided with an inlet and an outlet to supply and discharge the water, and a plurality of filtering pins to filter impurities contained in the water; and a drain filter provided with through holes defined therein, into which the plurality of filtering pins are respectively connected.

The through holes include a plurality of pin holes into which the plurality of filtering pins are respectively inserted, and a plurality of collection holes filtering out the impurities in the washing water.

The plurality of filtering pins are installed at a designated tilt angle with respect to the flow direction of the water supplied to the inlet of the drain casing.

The drain filter includes a filter body filtering out the impurities in the water, a head facilitating insertion and removal of the drain filter into and out of the drain casing, and connection members connecting the filter body and the head.

A level portion is formed at an end of the filter body portion and a guide protrusion is formed on a wall of the drain casing such that the drain filter is correctly positioned within the drain casing when the drain filter is inserted into the drain casing.

The plurality of connection members are separated from each other by a distance so that the impurities are able to be removed.

The impurities filtered out by the filtering pins are elevated by the filter body when the drain filter is separated from the drain casing.

The foregoing and/or other aspects are achieved by providing a washing machine having a drain pump draining water, the drain pump including a drain casing provided with an inlet and an outlet to supply and discharge the water; a drain filter installed in the drain casing and provided with through holes defined therein; a filtering plate; and a plurality of filtering pins attached to the filtering plate, which are respectively inserted into the through holes of the drain filter.

The through holes include a plurality of pin holes, into which the plurality of filtering pins are respectively able to be inserted so the plurality of filtering pins protrude from the pin holes by a designated length, and a plurality of collection holes to filter impurities in the water.

A level portion and a guide protrusion are individually formed on the filter body and the drain casing so as to easily position the drain filter in the drain casing. The plurality of connection members are separated from each other by a distance so that the impurities are able to be removed by a user.

The impurities filtered out by the filtering pins are elevated by the filter body when the drain filter is separated from the filtering plate.

The drain pump further includes connectors connecting the drain filter and the filtering plate.

The filtering plate is fixedly installed in the drain casing.

The foregoing and/or other aspects are achieved by providing a drain pump including a drain filter filtering impurities contained in water; a drain casing, in which the drain filter is installed, and a plurality of filtering pins attached to the drain casing to filter impurities in the water.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

These and/or other aspects and advantages of the invention will become apparent and more readily appreciated from the following description of the embodiments, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings in which:

FIG. 1 is a schematic perspective view of a washing machine in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is an exploded perspective view of a drain pump of the washing machine in accordance with the embodiment of the present invention of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a partially broken-away perspective view illustrating the connection between a drain casing and a drain filter of the drain pump of FIG. 2; and

FIG. 4 is an exploded perspective view of a drain pump of a washing machine in accordance with another embodiment of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Reference will now be made in detail to the embodiments of the present invention, examples of which are illustrated in the accompanying drawings, wherein like reference numerals refer to like elements throughout. The embodiments are described below to explain the present invention by referring to the annexed drawings.

The present invention may be applied to, for example, a vertical axis washing machine and a drum washing machine. Hereinafter, for the convenience of description, a drum washing machine will be described.

FIG. 1 is a schematic perspective view of a washing machine in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention; FIG. 2 is an exploded perspective view of a drain pump of the washing machine in accordance with the embodiment of the present invention of FIG. 1; and FIG. 3 is a partially broken-away perspective view illustrating the connection between a drain casing and a drain filter of the drain pump of FIG. 2.

As shown in FIG. 1, a washing machine in accordance with one embodiment includes a case 1 having an approximately hexahedral shape for forming the external appearance of the washing machine, a tub 2 having a cylindrical shape and which may be slantingly installed in the case 1 containing water, a drum 3 rotatably installed in the tub 2 and provided with a plurality of dehydration holes 3a formed through the surface thereof, a driving motor 4 rotating the drum 3 to perform washing, rinsing, and dehydrating operations, a water supply device 5 supplying detergent and water to the inside of the tub 2, and a drain device 10 draining the water contained in the tub 2.

The front surfaces of the tub 2 and the drum 3 are able to be opened so that laundry to be washed can be put into the drum 3 or the washed laundry can be taken out of the drum 3. A door 6 opening and closing the opened front surfaces of the tub 2 and the drum 3 is hinged to the front surface of the case 1.

A plurality of lifters 3b lifting the laundry from a lower portion of the drum 3 to an upper portion of the drum 3 are disposed on the inner circumferential surface of the drum 3 at designated intervals.

The water supply device 5 includes water supply hoses 5a provided in an upper portion of the case 1 receiving water supplied from an external water supply source, and a detergent case 5b mixing the detergent with the water and supplying the water containing the detergent to the tub 2.

When the drum washing machine is operated after the door 6 is opened and the laundry is put into the drum 3, the water containing the detergent is supplied to the tub 2 through the water supply device 5, and the laundry is lifted along the lifters 3b by the rotation of the drum 3 and is then dropped. Thus, the laundry is washed.

The drain device 10 is provided in the lower portion of the case 1 of the washing machine of the embodiment of the present invention. The drain device 10 includes first and second drain hoses 21 and 22 and a drain pump 30 discharging the water contained in the tub 2 to the outside of the washing machine.

As shown in FIGS. 2 and 3, the drain pump 30 includes a drain casing 40 forming the external appearance of the drain pump 30 and defining an internal space in which water flows, an impeller 50 installed in a rear portion of the drain casing 40 forcibly discharging the water from the tub 2 to the outside of the tub 2, a pump motor 51 installed in the rear of the impeller 50 providing driving force to the impeller 50, and a drain filter 70 detachably attached to the drain casing 40 filtering out impurities contained in the water supplied to the drain casing 40.

An opening 41 allowing the drain filter 70 to be inserted into and removed from the drain casing 40 is defined through the front surface of the drain casing 40. A hollow 42, in which the water flows, is defined through the drain casing 40.

A first screw thread 41a is formed on an inner circumferential surface of the opening 41. The first screw thread 41a is engagable with a second screw thread 91 of the drain filter 70, which will be described later, so that the drain filter 70 is easily attached to and detached from the drain casing 40.

An inlet 43 is formed through a side surface of the drain casing 40 so that the water is supplied to the drain casing 40 through the inlet 43, and an outlet 44 is formed through a rear surface of the drain casing 40 so that the water in the drain casing 40 is discharged to the impeller 50. A supply pipe 45 is connected to the inlet 43 of the drain casing 40, and a discharge pipe 46 discharging the water to the outside of the drain pump 30 through the impeller 50 is connected to the outlet 46.

A guide protrusion 42a is formed on an inner wall of the upper portion of the drain casing 40 in the longitudinal direction such that the lower portion of the guide protrusion 42a is leveled. The guide protrusion 42a serves to fix the position of the drain filter 70, which is inserted into the drain casing 40, thereby simply adjusting filtering pins 47 to pin holes 82a, which will be described later, so that the filtering pins 47 are easily inserted into the pin holes 82a.

The first drain hose 21 receiving the water contained in the tub 2 is connected to the supply pipe 45, and the second drain hose 22 discharging the water to the outside is connected to the discharge pipe 46.

A plurality of filtering pins 47 protrude from an inner wall of the rear surface of the drain casing 40 around the outlet 44. The filtering pins 47 have a designated length so that the filtering pins 47 are able to pass through the pin holes 82a of the drain filter 70, which will be described later, and protrude towards the opening 41. The filtering pins 47 are installed at a designated tilt angle (α°) with the flow direction (direction A) of the water supplied through the inlet 43. The filtering pins 47 may be installed at a right angle with the direction A. Accordingly, the filtering pins 47, which extend in a direction perpendicular to the flow direction of the water supplied through the supply pipe 45, improve the efficiency in filtering out impurities contained in the water.

The filtering pins 47 may have various lengths. Accordingly, the impurities of the water supplied to the hollow 42 through the supply pipe 45 are filtered out by the filtering pins 47.

An air hole 48 preventing the deterioration of the performance of the impeller 50 due to air supplied together with the supply of the water is formed through an upper surface of the drain casing 40. Accordingly, the air in the hollow 42 of the drain casing 40 is discharged to the outside of the drain casing 40 through the air hole 48.

The drain filter 70 includes a filter body 80 filtering out impurities in the water, a head 90 inserting the drain filter 70 into the hollow 42 of the drain casing 40 so that the drain filter 70 is easily inserted into and removed from the drain casing 40, and connection members 71 connecting the filter body 80 and the head 90.

The filter body 80 may be, for example, a circular plate, which is provided with through holes 82 and a level portion 81 formed at an upper end thereof, so that the filter body 80 can be inserted into the hollow 42 of the drain casing 40. The through holes 82 include the pin holes 82a corresponding to the filtering pins 47 of the drain casing 40 so that the filtering pins 47 are insertable into the pin holes 82a, and a plurality collection holes 82b having a designated size to filter out the impurities in the water. The pin holes 82a may have a diameter smaller than that of fixing ends 47a of the filtering pins 47. Thereby, when the filtering pins 47 are inserted within the pin holes 82a, the rear surface of the drain casing 40 and the drain filter 70 are separated from each other by a designated distance. Further, the collection holes 82b have a diameter equal to or larger than that of the pin holes 82a.

The level portion 81 of the filter body 80 has a shape corresponding to the guide protrusion 42a formed on the inner wall of the upper surface of the drain casing 40. The level portion 81 of the filter body 80 serves to fix the position of the drain filter 70 so that the drain filter 70 is correctly adjusted to the hollow 42, thereby inserting the filtering pins 47 correctly into the pin holes 82a.

The head 90 of the drain filter 70 has a cylindrical shape corresponding to the inner circumferential surface of the opening 41 of the drain casing 40. The head 90 includes the second screw thread 91 formed on the outer circumferential surface of the head 90 and engagable with the first screw thread 41a formed on the inner circumferential surface of the opening 41, a protruding knob 92 to rotate the head 90, and a sealing member 93 provided at the rear of the second screw thread 91 and able to be pressed onto a protruding portion 49 of the drain casing 40 by the rotation of the head 90 to prevent the water in the hollow 42 from being discharged to the opening 41.

Accordingly, when the knob 92 of the head 90 is rotated in one direction after the drain filter 70 is inserted into the hollow 42, only the head 90 is rotated. Therefore, the first screw thread 41a is engaged with the second screw thread 91, and the sealing member 92 is fixedly pressed onto the protruding portion 49. When the knob 92 of the head 90 is rotated in the reverse direction, only the head 90 is also rotated. Thus, the drain filter 70 is easily separated from the drain casing 40.

The plurality of connection members 71, which are provided between the outer circumferential surface of the head 90 and the outer circumferential surface of the filter body 80, serve to guide the drain filter 70 so that the drain filter 70 is able to be moved back and forth into and out of the hollow 42 of the drain casing 40. The plurality of connection members 71 are separated from each other so as to allow the water supplied through the supply pipe 45 to be introduced into the hollow 42. When the drain filter 70 is separated from the drain casing 40 to remove foreign substances caught by the filter body 80 after the washing operation is completed, a user is able to insert the user's hand into a space formed by the separated connection members 71, thereby being able to easily remove the foreign substances.

Further, when the drain filter 70 is connected to the drain casing 40, the filter body 80 of the drain filter 70 is separated from the rear surface of the drain casing 40 by a designated length so that the water is effectively drained.

Hereinafter, the connection of the drain filter 70 to the drain casing 40 of the washing machine and the separation of the drain filter 70 from the drain casing 40 of the washing machine will be described.

When the filter body 80 of the drain filter 70 is inserted into the drain casing 40, allowing for the level portion 81 to be adjusted to the position of the guide protrusion 42a so that the filter body 80 corresponds to the shape of the hollow 42, the filtering pins 47 formed on the inner wall of the rear surface of the drain casing 40 are inserted into the pin holes 82a formed through the filter body 80 and protrude toward the opening 41 of the drain casing 40. Thereby, the filter body 80 is fixed to the drain casing 40. Thereafter, when the knob 92 of the head 90 is rotated in one direction, only the head 90 is rotated and is screw-connected with the opening 41 of the drain casing 40, as the sealing member 93 of the head 90 is caught by the protruding portion 49 formed on the inner wall of the drain casing 40. Thereby, the sealing member 93 exhibits a sealing capacity.

When water is supplied to the hollow 42 of the drain casing 40, the filtering pins 47 installed at a designated tilt angle (α°) with respect to the flow direction (direction A) of the water first catch impurities contained in the water, and then the collection holes 82b secondarily catch impurities in the water, which pass through the filtering pins 47. Thus, it is possible to effectively filter out the impurities in the water.

Compared with filtering pins that are installed in the same direction as the flow direction of the water, the filtering pins 47, which are installed at a designated tilt angle (α°) with respect to the flow direction (direction A) of the water, increase the amount of filtered impurities under similar washing conditions. Accordingly, the amount of impurities caught by the collection holes 82b using the filtering pins 47 installed at the designated angle is decreased compared with the use of filtering pins installed in the same direction as the flow direction of the water, and thus the cleaning cycle of the drain filter 70 is elongated.

When the drain filter 70 is removed from the drain casing 40 to clean the drain filter 70, the impurities caught by the filtering pins 47 are elevated by the filter body 80, thus being separated from the filtering pins 47. The impurities separated from the filtering pins 47 are situated on the filter body 80. Accordingly, a user is able to insert the user's hand into the internal space formed between the connection members 71 and easily remove the impurities located on the filter body 80 and the impurities caught in the collection holes 82b.

Hereinafter, a washing machine in accordance with a second embodiment of the present invention will be described. Some parts in this embodiment, which are substantially the same as those in the first embodiment, are denoted by the same reference numerals even through they are depicted in different drawings, and a detailed description thereof will thus be omitted.

FIG. 4 is an exploded perspective view of a drain pump of a washing machine in accordance with the second embodiment of the present invention.

As shown in FIG. 4, a drain pump 30 of a washing machine of the second embodiment includes a drain casing 40 forming the external appearance of the drain pump 30 and defining an internal space therein, in which water flows, an impeller 50 installed in the rear portion of the drain casing 40, a pump motor 51 providing driving force to the impeller 50, a drain filter 70 filtering out impurities contained in the water supplied to the drain casing 40, and a filtering plate 60 detachably attached to the drain filter 70 and provided with filtering pins 62 filtering out the impurities in the water.

The filtering plate 60 includes a base 61 having a designated size such that the filtering plate 60 can be inserted into the drain casing 40 after the filtering plate 60 is connected to the drain filter 70 and the filtering pins 62 formed on the base 61. The filtering pins 62 are formed perpendicularly to the surface of the base 61.

The filtering pins 62 are formed at positions of the base 61 corresponding to pin holes 82a of the drain filter 70 and are insertable into the pin holes 82a so that the filtering pins 62 protrude toward the head 90 of the drain filter 70. An outer surface of each of the filtering pins 62 is pressed into the inner surface of each of the corresponding pin holes 82a, thereby fixing the filtering plate 60 to the drain filter 70. Thereafter, the drain filter 70 provided with the filtering plate 60 fixed thereto is able to be inserted into the hollow 42 of the drain casing 40 in the same method as that of the first embodiment. Thereby, when the washing operation of the washing machine is performed, the drain filter 70 effectively filters out impurities contained in the water.

In order to remove the impurities filtered out by the drain filter 70, the drain filter 70 provided with the filtering plate 60 fixed thereto is removed from the drain casing 40 and the filtering plate 60 is separated from the drain filter 70. Then, the impurities caught by the filtering pins 62 are elevated and are accumulated on the filter body 80. Accordingly, a user inserts the user's hand into the internal space formed between the plurality of connection members 71 and is able to easily remove the impurities accumulated on the filter body 80.

The drain pump 30 further includes filtering plate connectors 83 connecting the drain filter 70 and the filtering plate 60. The filtering plate connectors 83 serve to allow only the drain filter 70 to be taken out of the drain casing 70 when the filtering plate 60 remains in the hollow 42 of the drain casing 40. If the connection between the drain filter 70 and the filtering plate 60 becomes loosened due to the vibration of the drain pump 30 such that the filtering plate 60 becomes separated from the drain filter 70 when the drain filter 70 is taken out of the drain casing 40, the filtering plate connectors 83 allow the filtering plate 60 to be taken out of the hollow 42 of the drain casing 40. The filtering plate connectors 83 may be flexible and may be made of, for example, an elastic material, such as a yarn or a string.

As apparent from the above description, the embodiments of the present invention provide a washing machine having a drain pump, in which filtering pins installed at a designated tilt angle with respect to the flow direction of water and collection holes of a drain filter effectively filter out impurities contained in the water.

The filtering pins of the drain pump filter out a relatively large amount of impurities. Accordingly, the drain pump prevents the collection holes from being clogged by the impurities, and causes the cleaning cycle of the drain filter to be elongated.

When the filtering pins are separated from the pin holes, the impurities caught by the filtering pins are elevated and accumulated on a filter body. Further, connection members, which are separated from each other, allow a user to easily remove the impurities accumulated on the filter body.

Although embodiments of the invention have been shown and described, it would be appreciated by those skilled in the art that changes may be made in these embodiments without departing from the principles and spirit of the invention, the scope of which is defined in the claims and their equivalents.