Title:
Adjustable carton pocket
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The present invention provides apparatus and methods suitable for adjusting a carton pocket size in a cartoning machine. First and second side plates are spaced longitudinally apart from one another a first distance to form a first pocket size adapted to accommodate a carton of a first configuration. Means are provided for longitudinally moving the first and second side plates a distance with respect to one another to vary the first pocket size. In one embodiment, the means for longitudinally moving comprises a gear and first and second gear racks that are adapted to mesh with the gear and be driven in longitudinal directions by rotation of the gear. The first and second gear racks are coupled to the first and second side plates, respectively. In operation, rotation of the gear in a first direction is adapted to move the first and second side plates a substantially equal distance apart from one another to form an increased pocket size, while rotation of the gear in a second direction is adapted to move the first and second side plates a substantially equal distance towards each other to form a reduced pocket size.



Inventors:
Lubezny, Vadim A. (Buffalo Grove, IL, US)
Application Number:
11/788972
Publication Date:
10/25/2007
Filing Date:
04/23/2007
Assignee:
Triangle Package Machinery Company (Chicago, IL, US)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65B1/04
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
HESS, DOUGLAS A
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Crowell/BGL (CHICAGO, IL, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. An adjustable carton pocket assembly comprising: a transport member moveable in at least a first direction; a first side plate coupled to and moveable with the transport member in the first direction, wherein the first side plate is further moveable relative to the transport member; and a second side plate coupled to and moveable with the transport member in the first direction, wherein the second side plate is further moveable relative to the transport member and the first side plate, wherein the first and second side plates are spaced apart so as to accommodate a carton, wherein the first and second side plates are operably coupled such that the first and second side plates are simultaneously moveable in opposite directions toward and away from each other.

2. The adjustable carton pocket of claim 1 further comprising a first servo motor coupled to the first side plate and a second servo motor coupled to the second side plate.

3. The adjustable carton pocket of claim 2 wherein the first side plate is moveable a first distance toward or away from the second side plate, and the second side plate is simultaneously moveable a second, different distance toward or away from the first side plate.

4. The adjustable carton pocket of claim 1 further comprising: first and second gear racks connected to the first and second plates, respectively; and a gear positioned between and meshing with the first and second gear racks, the gear rotatable in opposite first and second directions, wherein rotation of the gear in a first direction simultaneously moves the first and second side plates toward each other, and wherein rotation of the gear in the second direction simultaneously moves the first and second side plates away from each other.

5. The adjustable carton pocket of claim 4 further comprising: a block member having first and second surfaces and a gear recess adapted to receive the gear; and first and second channels formed in the block member and adapted to at least partially receive the first and second gear racks, respectively, wherein the first and second channels are disposed in proximity to the gear recess to permit the first and second gear racks to mesh with the gear.

6. The adjustable carton pocket of claim 5 further comprising: a shaft extension attached to the gear; a bore formed through at least the second surface of the block member, wherein the shaft extension extends through the second surface of the block member; and a pivot link coupled to the shaft extension and adapted to cause rotation of the shaft extension to rotate the gear.

7. The adjustable carton pocket of claim 6 further comprising a cam track adapted for vertical movement with respect to the gear, wherein vertical movement of the cam track is adapted to actuate the pivot link to cause rotation of the gear.

8. The adjustable carton pocket of claim 7 further comprising a slide member operably coupled between the pivot link and the cam track, wherein the slide member is adapted for longitudinal movement with respect to the cam track.

9. The adjustable carton pocket of claim 5 further comprising first and second chain recesses formed in the block member and adapted to receive first and second endless chains.

10. The adjustable carton pocket of claim 4 further comprising at least one bracket member disposed between the first gear rack and the first side plate, and at least one bracket member disposed between the second gear rack and the second side plate.

11. A method for adjusting the size of a carton pocket in a cartoning machine, the method comprising: providing first and second side plates spaced longitudinally apart from one another a first distance to form a first pocket size; and longitudinally moving the first and second side plates simultaneously with respect to one another to vary the first pocket size.

12. The method of claim 11 further comprising: providing a gear and first and second gear racks that are adapted to mesh with the gear, wherein the first and second gear racks are coupled to the first and second side plates, respectively; and rotating the gear in a first direction to move the first and second side plates a substantially equal distance apart from one another to form an increased pocket size.

13. The method of claim 12 further comprising rotating the gear in a second direction to move the first and second side plates a substantially equal distance towards each other to form a reduced pocket size.

14. The method of claim 13 further comprising: providing a block member having first and second surfaces, a gear recess adapted to receive the gear, and first and second channels formed in the block member and adapted to at least partially receive the first and second gear racks, respectively; disposing a shaft extension attached to the gear through a bore formed in at least the second surface of the block member; and rotating the shaft extension to cause rotation of the gear.

15. The method of claim 14 further comprising providing a pivot link coupled to the shaft extension and causing rotation of the pivot link to rotate the shaft extension.

16. The method of claim 15 further comprising: providing a cam track adapted for vertical movement within the cartoning machine, the cam track being operably coupled to the pivot link; and vertical moving the cam track to actuate the pivot link, thereby causing rotation of the gear.

17. The method of claim 16 further comprising: providing a slide member operably coupled between the pivot link and the cam track; allowing longitudinal movement of the slide member with respect to the cam track; and causing vertical movement of the slide member when the cam track is vertically adjusted, wherein vertical movement of the slide member causes rotation of the pivot link.

18. The method of claim 11 further comprising: providing a first servo motor coupled to the first side plate; actuating the first servo motor to cause the first side plate to move a first distance toward or away from the second side plate; providing a second servo motor coupled to the second side plate; and actuating the second servo motor to cause the second side plate to move a second distance toward or away from the first side plate.

19. Apparatus suitable for adjusting a carton pocket size in a cartoning machine, the apparatus comprising: a gear; first and second gear racks that are adapted to mesh with the gear and be driven in longitudinal directions by rotation of the gear; and first and second side plates coupled to the first and second gear racks, respectively, wherein rotation of the gear in a first direction is adapted to move the first and second side plates a substantially equal distance apart from one another to form an increased pocket size, and wherein rotation of the gear in a second direction is adapted to move the first and second side plates a substantially equal distance towards each other to form a reduced pocket size.

20. The apparatus of claim 19 further comprising: a block member having first and second surfaces and a gear recess adapted to receive the gear; and first and second channels formed in the block member and adapted to at least partially receive the first and second gear racks, respectively, wherein the first and second channels are disposed in proximity to the gear recess to permit the first and second gear racks to mesh with the gear.

21. The apparatus of claim 20 further comprising: a shaft extension attached to the gear; a bore formed through at least the second surface of the block member, wherein the shaft extension extends through the second surface of the block member; and a pivot link coupled to the shaft extension and adapted to cause rotation of the shaft extension to rotate the gear.

22. The apparatus of claim 21 further comprising a cam track adapted for vertical movement within the cartoning machine, wherein vertical movement of the cam track is adapted to actuate the pivot link to cause rotation of the gear.

23. The apparatus of claim 22 further comprising a slide member operably coupled between the pivot link and the cam track, wherein the slide member is adapted for longitudinal movement with respect to the cam track.

24. The apparatus of claim 20 further comprising first and second chain recesses formed in the block member and adapted to receive first and second endless chains.

25. The apparatus of claim 19 further comprising at least one bracket member disposed between the first gear rack and the first side plate, and at least one bracket member disposed between the second gear rack and the second side plate.

Description:

PRIORITY CLAIM

This invention claims the benefit of priority of U.S. Provisional Application Ser. No. 60/794,644, entitled “Adjustable Carton Pocket,” filed Apr. 25, 2006, the disclosure of which is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety.

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present invention relates to apparatus and methods suitable for adjusting a carton pocket size in a cartoning machine. More specifically, the invention relates to a carton pocket having first and second side plates spaced longitudinally apart from one another and adapted to be moved a distance with respect to one another to vary the pocket size.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

A cartoning machine, also referred to as a “cartoner,” may be used to manufacture, pack and/or seal a carton. Cartoners generally erect cartons from blanks. The cartons may be filled with a product, either manually or automatically when passing through a filling station. The carton then may be sealed, for example, using hot melt glue, sift-proof hot melt glue, and tuck style techniques whereby the carton's own flaps are tucked into each other.

The contents of a carton may be loaded vertically or horizontally. Vertical cartoners may be employed when the product being loaded can most easily be handled using gravity. Vertical cartoners may seal the bottom of the carton prior to loading the carton with a product, and may be used in conjunction with volumetric feeders or scale feeders to fill the carton. Both horizontal and vertical cartoners must operate with precision, since if a transported carton is not squarely positioned, the sealing flaps may be misaligned resulting in an unacceptable seal. Moreover, the contents intended to be disposed in the carton may be erroneously discharged onto the ground or in the machine itself.

It may become desirable to adjust the dimensions of the carton pocket to accommodate cartons of different configurations. Conventionally, the pocket size was adjusted manually by loosening the components, adjusting them with respect to each other, and re-tightening the parts in the new configuration. Such an exchange was time consuming and labor intensive, particularly if there were dozens of carton pockets in a machine.

Other approaches have attempted to vary multiple carton pocket sizes simultaneously, for example, using techniques that move one lug with respect to another stationary lug, whereby the distance between the lugs defines the pocket size. Such an approach is described in U.S. Pat. No. 5,544,738 to Ivansco, Jr. (“the '738 patent”). The '738 patent discloses an adjustable pocket mechanism for a vertical cartoner that has a pair of endless chains that pass around a pair of upper and lower sprockets. A leading lug is fixed to the first endless chain and moves therewith, while a trailing lug is fixed to the second endless chain. Means, such as a clutch mechanism, are provided for adjusting the chains relative to one another. The clutch mechanism may lock the upper and lower sprocket together to move the endless chains at the same speed and in the same relative position. When it is desired to adjust the pocket size, the clutch is disengaged so that one sprocket moves with respect to the other, thereby advancing one chain and causing one lug to move with respect to the other lug. The movement of one lug, while the other lug remains stationary, adjusts the pocket size formed between the lugs. Such a technique must rely on precise timing when rotating one sprocket with respect to another in order to yield the desired pocket size.

In view of the foregoing, there exists a need for an improved cartoner having the ability to adjust the size of multiple carton pockets in a reliable, cost-effective manner that will yield the precisely desired pocket dimensions.

SUMMARY

The present invention provides apparatus and methods suitable for adjusting a carton pocket size in a cartoning machine. First and second side plates are spaced longitudinally apart from one another a first distance to form a first pocket size adapted to accommodate a carton of a first configuration. Means are provided for longitudinally moving the first and second side plates a distance with respect to one another to vary the first pocket size.

In a preferred embodiment, the means for longitudinally moving comprises a gear and first and second gear racks that are adapted to mesh with the gear and be driven in longitudinal directions by rotation of the gear. The first and second gear racks are coupled to the first and second side plates, respectively. In operation, rotation of the gear in a first direction is adapted to move the first and second side plates a substantially equal distance apart from one another to form an increased pocket size, while rotation of the gear in a second direction is adapted to move the first and second side plates a substantially equal distance towards each other to form a reduced pocket size.

In one embodiment, each carton pocket in the cartoning machine has an associated block member, which has first and second surfaces and a gear recess provided therein. The gear recess receives the gear and permits rotation of the gear therein. First and second channels are formed in the block member and adapted to at least partially receive the first and second gear racks, respectively. The first and second channels are disposed in proximity to the gear recess to permit the first and second gear racks to mesh with the gear. As the gear is rotated within the gear recess, the first and second gear racks move longitudinally within the first and second channels, respectively.

The apparatus may further comprise a shaft extension attached to the gear and disposed through a bore formed in at least the second surface of the block member. A pivot link coupled to the shaft extension causes rotation of the shaft extension to rotate the gear. Each pivot link that is associated with a carton pocket is operably coupled to a cam track. The cam track is adapted for vertical movement within the cartoning machine.

In operation, if the cam track is vertically lowered a predetermined amount, it will rotate the pivot link in a first direction and therefore cause the gear to rotate in the first direction to increase the carton pocket size by a predetermined amount. By contrast, if the cam track is vertically raised a predetermined amount, it will rotate the pivot link in a second direction to cause the gear to rotate in the second direction to increase the carton pocket size by a corresponding predetermined amount.

Other systems, methods, features and advantages of the invention will be, or will become, apparent to one with skill in the art upon examination of the following figures and detailed description. It is intended that all such additional systems, methods, features and advantages be within the scope of the invention, and be encompassed by the following claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The invention can be better understood with reference to the following drawings and description. The components in the figures are not necessarily to scale, emphasis instead being placed upon illustrating the principles of the invention. Moreover, in the figures, like referenced numerals designate corresponding parts throughout the different views.

FIG. 1 is a perspective view illustrating components of a cartoning machine that has a plurality of adjustable carton pockets.

FIG. 2 is an exploded view illustrating components of an adjustable carton pocket.

FIG. 3 is a front perspective view illustrating the components of the adjustable carton pocket of FIG. 2 in an assembled state.

FIG. 4 is a rear perspective view illustrating the components of the adjustable carton pocket of FIG. 2 in the assembled state.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

The present invention relates generally to apparatus and methods for adjusting the size of a carton pocket in a cartoning machine. Referring now to FIG. 1, a portion of cartoning machine 10 having a plurality of adjustable carton pockets 25 is shown. Cartoning machine 10 may be either a vertical or horizontal cartoner. As will be explained in greater detail below, the size of carton pockets 25 may be adjusted to accommodate cartons of different dimensions by moving first and second side plates 71 and 73 towards each other or away from each other. A preferred mechanism for adjusting the size of each carton pocket 25 is described in greater detail in FIGS. 2-4 below.

In accordance with one aspect, each carton pocket 25 comprises a block member 30, as depicted in FIG. 1. First and second side plates 71 and 73 of each pocket 25 are coupled to an associated block member 30, as explained in greater detail below.

Cartoning machine 10 further comprises a pair of endless chains 86 and 87, which are shown in FIGS. 2-4 below. Endless chains 86 and 87 may be driven by one or more rotating sprockets (not shown). Endless chains 86 and 87 are coupled to each block member 30 in cartoning machine 10, as explained in FIGS. 2-4 below, thereby moving each carton pocket 25 throughout the cartoning machine 10.

Referring still to FIG. 1, cartoning machine 10 comprises at least one structural support member 12. Support member 12 preferably is provided in the form of a cross-beam and has side passages 13 formed therein. Cam track 90 extends around an inner circumference of cartoning machine 10 and through passages 13 of support members 12. A plurality of cam track support members 15 are operably coupled to cam track 90 and support cam track 90. In operation, the height of cam track 90 may be adjusted to move vertically within passages 13 of support members 12. As will be explained in greater detail below, when cam track 90 is vertically raised or lowered a predetermined amount within cartoning machine 10, the size of each carton pocket 25 will be adjusted a predetermined amount accordingly.

Referring now to FIG. 2, an exploded view of components of adjustable carton pocket 25 is shown. Apparatus 20 generally comprises block member 30, gear 50 and first and second gear racks 61 and 63, which are attached to first and second side plates 71 and 73, respectively. When assembled, as shown in FIGS. 3-4, first and second side plates 71 and 73 are spaced apart from one another a predetermined distance to form carton pocket 25, which is adapted to receive and transport a carton of a predetermined side.

Block member 30 comprises front surface 32 and rear surface 33. Gear recess 36 is formed in front surface 32 and is adapted to receive gear 50. Block member 30 further comprises bore 37, which is disposed between gear recess 36 and rear surface 33 of block member 30. Shaft member 52, which is attached to gear 50, is adapted to be disposed through bore 37, as depicted in FIG. 2. In a fully assembled state, gear 50 is housed within gear recess 36 while shaft extension 52 extends through bore 37 and through rear surface 33 of block member 30.

First and second endless chains 86 and 87 are used in conjunction with cartoning machine 10. First and second endless chains 86 and 87 preferably comprise hollow pin chains that are driven by a sprocket assembly (not shown). As the sprockets are rotated, chains 86 and 87 are driven to permit movement of carton pockets 25 within the machine 10. In a preferred embodiment, first and second endless chains 86 and 87 are coupled to block member 30 when disposed within chain recesses 46 and 47, respectively. Pins 76 and 78 may be employed to secure chains 86 and 87 to block member 30. In one embodiment, pins 76 and 78 extend through bores or slots formed in block member 30, then extend through hollow portions of endless chains 86 and 87 to secure the chains to block member 30. One or more retaining means 77 may be employed to secure the pins in place.

It should be noted that in FIGS. 2-4, pins 76 and 78 extend through bore 56 and slot 58, respectively. However, multiple slots may be used and bores may be omitted, or vice versa. Further, pins 76 and 78 may comprise different configurations, as generally depicted in FIG. 2.

Block member 30 comprises first and second channels 41 and 43, which preferably are recessed in front surface 32, as shown in FIG. 2. First channel 41 extends longitudinally above gear recess 36, while second channel 43 extends longitudinally below gear recess 36. Portions of first and second channels 41 and 43 intersect with gear recess 36, i.e., these machined regions slightly overlap with one another, as depicted in FIG. 2.

In an assembled state, first and second gear racks 61 and 63 are adapted to be disposed at least partially within first and second channels 41 and 43, respectively. First and second gear racks 61 and 63 preferably comprise substantially longitudinal bars having one smooth surface and another surface comprising teeth. As shown in FIG. 2, first gear rack 61 is positioned such that the smooth surface faces upward, while the surface having teeth faces downward. By contrast, second gear rack 63 is positioned such that its smooth surface faces downward, while the surface having teeth faces upward. Therefore, when first and second gear racks 61 and 63 are disposed at least partially within first and second channels 41 and 43, respectively, the teeth of first and second gear racks 61 and 63 mesh with the teeth of gear 50.

First and second carton end regions 70a and 70b are attached to first and second gear racks 61 and 63, respectively. In one embodiment, first carton end region 70a comprises first side plate 71 and one or more bracket members 72. As shown in FIG. 2, bracket member 72 is attached between first gear rack 61 and first side plate 71, e.g., using a screw, adhesive or other means. Alternatively, bracket member 72 may be integrally formed with first side plate 71. First side plate 71 preferably extends substantially orthogonal to bracket member 72, as shown in FIG. 2.

Similarly, second side plate 73 is attached to second gear rack 63 via one or more bracket members 74, as shown in FIG. 2. Second side plate 73 preferably extends substantially orthogonal to bracket member 74. In this manner, first and second side plates 71 and 73 extend in a direction substantially parallel to each other to form the end walls of carton pocket 25.

First and second gear racks 61 and 63 mesh with gear 60 in a manner similar to a rack and pinion arrangement. Specifically, rotation of gear 50 in a clockwise direction (as seen from the front view of FIGS. 2-3) moves first and second gear racks 61 and 63 in an inward direction towards each other, while rotation of gear 50 in a counterclockwise direction moves first and second gear racks 61 and 63 in an outward direction away from each other. As explained in greater detail below, the selective rotation of gear 50 enables adjustment of the size of carton pocket 25.

Cap member 80 and first and second cap blocks 81 and 82 may be used to hold gear 50 and gear racks 61 and 63 in place. In a preferred embodiment, first cap block 81 is attached to block member 30 on a first side of gear recess 36, while second cap block 82 is attached to block member 30 on the other side of gear recess 36, as depicted in FIG. 2. Cap member 80 then is secured to first and second cap blocks 81 and 82 using any known technique, such as a screw, adhesive or other means. In the assembled state, shown in FIGS. 3-4, first and second gear racks 61 and 63 are coupled securely to block member 30, but loosely enough to let them slide longitudinally within first and second channels 41 and 43, respectively, to adjust the carton pocket size, as explained below.

Apparatus 20 further comprises pivot link 92, which preferably functions in manner similar to a crank arm. Pivot link 92 has a first region to which shaft 94 is attached, and has a second region having bore 93 formed therein, as shown in FIG. 2. Bore 93 is adapted to receive shaft member 52, which is attached to gear 50. Shaft member 52 may be secured within bore 93 of pivot link 92 using pin 98, which may extend into a corresponding bore formed in shaft member 52. Alternatively, shaft member 52 may be rigidly secured to pivot link 92, e.g., by spot welding or soldering.

Shaft 94 of pivot link 92 extends in a rearward direction, i.e., in a direction away from block member 30. Shaft 94 is adapted to be coupled slide member 96. In the embodiment of FIG. 2, slide member 96 comprises a substantially rectangular block shape having a bore disposed therethrough. Shaft 94 is disposed through the bore of slide member 96 and is securely coupled thereto, e.g., using retaining means 97. Optionally, spacer element 95 may be disposed over shaft 94 between pivot link 92 and slide member 96.

Slide member 96 is operably coupled to cam track 90. In one embodiment, cam track 90 comprises recess 91, which is adapted to receive slide member 96, as best seen in FIG. 3. Recess 91 preferably houses slide member 96 and permits longitudinal advancement of slide member 96 therein. Alternatively, slide member 96 may be coupled to an exterior surface of cam track 90 and permitted to slide longitudinally about the exterior of cam track 90.

Cam track 90 extends around the perimeter of cartoning machine 10, as depicted in FIG. 1. Each carton pocket 25 of cartoning machine 10 comprises a gear assembly as described with respect to FIGS. 2-4. Therefore, each carton pocket 25 comprises a slide member 96 which is coupled to cam track 90. In operation, as carton pockets 25 are guided along the cartoning machine 10, e.g., using a sprocket and endless chain assembly, each slide member 96 is longitudinally guided by cam track 90.

If it becomes desirable to adjust the dimensions of carton pockets 25, then an actuation means (not shown) may be actuated to raise or lower cam track 90. The actuation means may comprise one or more levers (not shown) that are operably coupled to cam track support members 15 and configured to incrementally raise or lower cam track 90 via the support members 15.

In operation, the size of each carton pocket 25 may be simultaneously reduced by increasing the height of cam track 90 within machine 10. Specifically, vertical heightening of cam track 90 causes corresponding vertical heightening of each slide member 96, which is secured to cam track 90. As each slide member 96 is raised, each corresponding pivot link 92 is rotated in a clockwise direction (as seen from the front view of FIGS. 2-3). Clockwise rotation of pivot link 92 causes corresponding rotation of gear 50 via shaft member 52. As gear 50 is rotated in a clockwise direction, first and second gear racks 61 and 63 are driven longitudinally towards each other. Since first and second gear racks 61 and 63 are attached to first and second side plates 71 and 73, respectively, first and second side plates 71 and 73 are driven towards each other, thereby reducing the size of each carton pocket 25. In sum, by increasing the vertical height of cam track 90 a predetermined amount, first and second side plates 71 and 73 will be moved towards each other a predetermined amount.

By contrast, if it is desirable to reduce the size of each carton pockets 25 in machine 10, then cam track 90 may be vertically lowered. Specifically, vertical lowering of cam track 90 lowers each slide member 96, thereby causing each corresponding pivot link 92 to rotate in a counterclockwise direction (as seen from the front view of FIGS. 2-3). Counterclockwise rotation of each pivot link 92 causes corresponding rotation of gear 50 via shaft member 52, thereby driving first and second gear racks 61 and 63 in a longitudinal direction away from each other. This causes first and second side plates 71 and 73 to be driven longitudinally away from each other, thereby increasing the size of each carton pocket 25.

Advantageously, the size of each carton pocket 25 throughout cartoning machine 10 may be adjusted an identical amount by increasing or decreasing the height of cam track 90. The cartoning machine 10 operates with precision since cam track 90 may be raised or lowered incrementally, thereby causing a known amount of rotation of gear 50 and simultaneously yielding a desired pocket size for each carton pocket 25. Measurement indicia may be provided so that an operator may know the exact position of cam track 90, and a conversion chart may be provided to translate the exact vertical position of cam track 90 with the precise dimensions of each carton pocket 25.

In an alternative embodiment, gear 50 and gear racks 61 and 63 may be omitted, and the means for longitudinally moving first and second side plates 71 and 73 with respect to one another may comprise one or more servo motors (not shown). For example, a first servo motor may be coupled to first side plate 71, e.g., via bracket member 72, while a second servo motor may be coupled to second side plate 73, e.g., via bracket member 74. In this embodiment, the first servo motor may receive instructions to move first side plate 71 a first distance toward or away from second side plate 73. Similarly, the second servo motor may receive instructions to move second side plate 73 a second distance toward or away from first side plate 71. The servo motors may operate independent of one another, such that the first distance moved by first side plate 71 may be different than the second distance moved by second side plate 73.

While various embodiments of the invention have been described, it will be apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art that many more embodiments and implementations are possible within the scope of the invention. Accordingly, the invention is not to be restricted except in light of the attached claims and their equivalents.