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Title:
COMPUTER CONTROLLED BRAKE PARKING BRAKE CONTROL SYSTEM
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2018/156102
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A computer controlled locomotive brake (CCB) configured for setting and releasing the automatic parking brakes of the railcars of a train. The CCB may initially recharge the brake pipe to a pressure slightly less than the parking brake unlatch pressure. The CCB may then continue charging to this level until the brake pipe flow, measured at the CCB on the controlling locomotive and the brake pipe pressure on the last car, as measured by an end of train device, indicate that the pressure in the braking system reservoirs are substantively equal to the brake pipe pressure. Once the reservoirs are substantively charged, the CCB may complete the brake release and recharge by recharging the brake pipe pressure to its final charge so that all parking brakes are released and the train has sufficient braking system recharge to safely control movement of the train.

Inventors:
WRIGHT, Eric C. (26156 County Route 16, Evans Mills, NY, 13637, US)
Application Number:
US2017/018688
Publication Date:
August 30, 2018
Filing Date:
February 21, 2017
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
NEW YORK AIR BRAKE, LLC (748 Starbuck Avenue, Watertown, NY, 13601, US)
International Classes:
B60T13/66; B60T17/22
Domestic Patent References:
WO2016018215A12016-02-04
WO1999041119A11999-08-19
Foreign References:
US20040226779A12004-11-18
Other References:
None
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
NOCILLY, David L. et al. (Bond, Schoeneck & King PLLC,One Lincoln Cente, Syracuse NY, 13202, US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

What is claimed is:

1. An automatic parking brake control system, comprising:

a computer controlled brake for controlling an amount of pressure in a brake pipe that is interconnected to a pilot of an automatic parking brake that will latch a brake cylinder of a railcar when the pressure at the pilot is below a latch pressure and unlatch the brake cylinder when the pressure at the pilot is above an unlatch pressure;

wherein the computer controlled brake is programmed to cause the pressure in the brake pipe to charge to a first predetermined pressure that is below the unlatch pressure of the automatic parking brake, to wait for a command indicating a full charge of the brake pipe, and to cause the pressure in the brake pipe to charge to a second predetermined pressure in response to receipt of the command.

2. The system of claim 1, wherein the computer controlled brake is programmed to determine whether the brake pipe has charged to the first predetermined pressure.

3. The system of claim 2, wherein the computer controlled brake is programmed to provide a notification to a driver of the train after determining that the brake pipe has charged to the first predetermined pressure.

4. The system of claim 3, wherein the computer controlled brake is programmed to slow the rate at which the pressure in the brake pipe charges to the first predetermined pressure.

5. The system of claim 4, wherein the computer controlled brake is programmed to inhibit causing the pressure in the brake pipe to charge to the first predetermined pressure before charging to the second predetermined pressure if the difference between the pressure in the brake pipe at a first end of the train and the pressure in the brake pipe at an opposing end of the train is above a predetermined threshold.

6. The system of claim 1, wherein the computer controlled brake is programmed to reduce the brake pipe pressure to a level that is below the latch pressure of the automatic parking brake but that is above zero.

7. A system for controlling the automatic parking brake of railcar of a train, comprising:

at least one automatic parking brake that will latch a brake cylinder of the railcar when the pressure at the pilot is below a latch pressure and unlatch the brake cylinder when the pressure at the pilot is above a unlatch pressure; a source of brake pipe pressure coupled to the pilot of the automatic parking brake; and

a computer controlled brake controlling the brake pipe pressure, wherein the computer controlled brake is programmed to cause the pressure in the brake pipe to charge to a first predetermined pressure that is below the unlatch pressure of the automatic parking brake, to wait for a command indicating a full charge of the brake pipe is desired, and to cause the pressure in the brake pipe to charge to a second predetermined pressure that is above the unlatch pressure of the automatic parking brake in response to receipt of the command.

8. The system of claim 7, further comprising an end of train device

interconnected to the computer controlled brake for providing the brake pipe pressure at a remote end of the train.

9. The system of claim 8, wherein the computer controlled brake is programmed to determine whether the brake pipe has charged to the first predetermined pressure based at least in part on the brake pipe pressure at the end of train.

10. The system of claim 9, further comprising a driver display interconnected to the computer controlled brake, wherein the computer controlled brake is programmed to provide a notification to a driver of the train using the driver display when the brake pipe has charged to the first predetermined pressure or to notify the driver if the automatic parking brake is insufficient to hold the train.

11. The system of claim 10, wherein the computer controlled brake is

programmed to slow the rate at which the pressure in the brake pipe charges to the first predetermined pressure.

12. The system of claim 11, wherein the computer controlled brake is

programmed to determine whether the difference between the brake pipe pressure at the front of the train and the brake pipe pressure at the remote end of the train is above a

predetermined threshold and, if so, inhibit causing the pressure in the brake pipe to charge to the first predetermined pressure before charging to the second predetermined pressure.

13. A method of controlling an automatic parking brake, comprising the steps of: providing a parking brake control module as part of a computer controlled brake that controls the brake pipe pressure of a train having at least one automatic parking brake that will latch a brake cylinder of the railcar when the pressure at the pilot is below a latch pressure and unlatch the brake cylinder when the pressure at the pilot is above a unlatch pressure; causing the pressure in the brake pipe to charge to a first predetermined pressure that is below the unlatch pressure of the automatic parking brake;

waiting for a command indicating a full charge of the brake pipe is desired after charging to the first predetermined pressure; and

causing the pressure in the brake pipe to charge to a second predetermined pressure that is above the unlatch pressure of the automatic parking brake in response to receipt of the command.

14. The method of claim 13, further comprising the step of checking whether the pressure in the brake pipe has charged to the first predetermined pressure and continuing to charge if the brake pipe has not charged to the first predetermined pressure.

15. The method of claim 14, further comprising the step of inhibiting the step of waiting for a command indicating a full charge of the brake pipe is desired after charging to the first predetermined pressure if the difference between the brake pipe pressure at the front of the train and the brake pipe pressure at the rear of the train exceeds a predetermined threshold.

Description:
TITLE

COMPUTER CONTROLLED BRAKE PARKING BRAKE CONTROL SYSTEM BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0001] The present invention relates to train braking systems and, more specifically, to a automatic parking brake control by a computer controller brake system.

2. DESCRIPTION OF THE RELATED ART

[0002] Train parking brake systems, such as the ParklocĀ® parking brake system available from New York Air Brake, LLC of Watertown, New York, are well known in the field for providing automatic parking brake functions in response to brake pipe pressure changes. In general, parking brake systems function by mechanically latching an automatic brake application so that even if the brake cylinder pressure subsequently leaks away, the brakes will remain applied. The mechanical latching mechanism is usually piloted by the brake pipe pressure of the train so that the parking brake will latch when the brake pipe pressure falls below a predetermined amount, such as approximately 50 psi. The latching mechanism is also piloted to release when the brake pipe pressure of the train is restored to at least a predetermined release pressure, such as approximately 75 psi. This arrangement works satisfactorily for normal parking functions when the train is on flat terrain, such when the train is located at a freight unloading facility, so that the fully loaded train may be safely parked while waiting in a queue for unloading.

[0003] Conventional parking brake systems are not effective in circumstances where the train needs to be parked at the top of a grade because the train braking system needs to be fully recharged before the train can proceed down the grade. As a result, the train must be first stopped using the automatic train brakes and then the train crew must manually set a proscribed number of hand brakes on the cars in the train. In some instances, the train crew may also set the retainer valves on each railcar in the train to the "high pressure" position to bottle approximately 20 psi in the brake cylinder. The train driver can then release and recharge the train braking system while the train remains stationary on the grade due to the manual hand brakes and, in some cases, the retainer valve application. A full recharge after a full service brake application may take more than five minutes. Once the train braking system is recharged to a safe level, the train crew must then manually release all of the hand brakes before the train can proceed down the grade with the automatic brakes used as needed to control the speed of the train speed. If the retainer valves were set to the "high pressure" position, the train must then be stopped and all the retainer valves manually reset to the release position to allow an unrestricted release of the brake cylinder by the railcar control valves. If a hand brake or a retainer valve is missed, the wheels on that railcar may be damaged due to skidding and/or overheating. As a result, there is a need for a system that can provide parking brake functions when a train is on a grade while reducing the amount of manual intervention that is required.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0004] The present invention is a computer controlled locomotive train brake system that can set and release the parking brakes of a train when it is parked on flat terrain or on a grade and ensure that the train braking system has fully recharged before the parking brakes are released. More specifically, the present invention may comprise a computer controlled brake for controlling an amount of pressure in a brake pipe having a full release pressure that is interconnected to a pilot of an automatic parking brake that will latch a brake cylinder of a railcar when the pressure at the pilot is below a latch pressure and unlatch the brake cylinder when the pressure at the pilot is above an unlatch pressure, wherein the computer controlled brake is programmed to cause the pressure in the brake pipe to charge to a first predetermined pressure that is below the unlatch pressure of the automatic parking brake, to wait for a command indicating a full charge of the brake pipe, and to cause the pressure in the brake pipe to charge to a second predetermined pressure in response to receipt of the command. The computer controlled brake may be programmed to determine whether the brake pipe has charged to the first predetermined pressure. The computer controlled brake may also be programmed to provide a notification to a driver of the train after determining that the brake pipe has charged to the first predetermined pressure. The computer controlled brake may further be programmed to slow the rate at which the pressure in the brake pipe charges to the first predetermined pressure. The computer controlled brake may additionally be

programmed to inhibit causing the pressure in the brake pipe to charge to the first

predetermined pressure before charging to the second predetermined pressure if the difference between the pressure in the brake pipe at a first end of the train and the pressure in the brake pipe at an opposing end of the train is above a predetermined threshold.

[0005] The present invention also includes a system for controlling the automatic parking brake of railcar of a train, comprising at least one automatic parking brake that will latch a brake cylinder of the railcar when the pressure at the pilot is below a latch pressure and unlatch the brake cylinder when the pressure at the pilot is above a unlatch pressure, a source of brake pipe pressure coupled to the pilot of the automatic parking brake, and a computer controlled brake controlling the brake pipe pressure, wherein the computer controlled brake is programmed to cause the pressure in the brake pipe to charge to a first predetermined pressure that is below the unlatch pressure of the automatic parking brake, to wait for a command indicating a full charge of the brake pipe is desired, and to cause the pressure in the brake pipe to charge to a second predetermined pressure that is above the unlatch pressure of the automatic parking brake in response to receipt of the command. The system may also include an end of train device interconnected to the computer controlled brake for providing the brake pipe pressure at a remote end of the train with the computer controlled brake being programmed to determine whether the brake pipe has charged to the first predetermined pressure based at least in part on the brake pipe pressure at the end of train. The system may further include a driver display interconnected to the computer controlled brake so that computer controlled brake can provide a notification to a driver of the train using the driver display when the brake pipe has charged to the first predetermined pressure.

[0006] The present invention also includes a method of controlling an automatic parking brake, comprising the steps of providing a parking brake control module as part of a computer controlled brake that controls the brake pipe pressure of a train having at least one automatic parking brake that will latch a brake cylinder of the railcar when the pressure at the pilot is below a latch pressure and unlatch the brake cylinder when the pressure at the pilot is above a unlatch pressure, causing the pressure in the brake pipe to charge to a first predetermined pressure that is below the unlatch pressure of the automatic parking brake, waiting for a command indicating a full charge of the brake pipe is desired after charging to the first predetermined pressure, and causing the pressure in the brake pipe to charge to a second predetermined pressure that is above the unlatch pressure of the automatic parking brake in response to receipt of the command. The method may include the step of checking whether the pressure in the brake pipe has charged to the first predetermined pressure and continuing to charge if the brake pipe has not charged to the first predetermined pressure. The method may also include the step of inhibiting the step of waiting for a command indicating a full charge of the brake pipe is desired after charging to the first predetermined pressure if the difference between the brake pipe pressure at the front of the train and the brake pipe pressure at the rear of the train exceeds a predetermined threshold.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWF G(S)

[0007] The present invention will be more fully understood and appreciated by reading the following Detailed Description in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which: [0008] FIG. 1 is a schematic of a train braking system having computer controlled brake programmed to control automatic parking brake functions according to the present invention; and

[0009] FIG. 2 is a flowchart of a two stage recharging process for a computer controlled brake programmed to control an automatic parking brake according to the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0010] Referring to the figures, wherein like numerals refer to like parts throughout, there is seen in FIG. 1, an exemplary train 10 having a computer controlled brake (CCB) 12 associated with a lead locomotive 14 and one or more railcars 16. CCB 12 is interconnected to a driver interface 18 that can include a screen display as well as any mechanical or electronic inputs used by the driver to command changes in the braking system of train 10. More specifically, CCB 12 is programmed to respond to driver input and control the pressure of the brake pipe 20 that extends along the length of train 10. As is understood in the art, brake pipe 20 is used to provide pressurized air to railcars 16 and propagate the brake system signals that can cause the braking system of each railcar 16 to selectively apply and release the brake cylinders (BC) 22 of each railcar. The pressure in brake pipe 20 is also used to pilot the mechanical latching mechanism of any automatic parking brake 24 that is coupled to each brake cylinder 22 of railcar 16 to automatically latch the brake cylinder 22 in the applied position when the pressure in brake pipe 20 falls below a predetermined latching pressure and thus provide an automatic parking brake function.

[0011] To set the parking brakes of the train, the pressure in brake pipe 20 is generally reduced to less than a predetermined parking brake latching pressure that is established by the design of parking brake 24. When the latching pressure threshold is satisfied, the mechanical latching mechanism of parking brake 24 latches brake cylinder 22 in the brakes applied position. As seen in FIG. 1, CCB 12 includes a parking brake control module 30 that ensures that parking brake 24 remains latched during a recharge of the braking system of train 12 so that brake cylinders 22 are not released until the braking system of train 12 has recharged sufficiently that train 12 can be safely braked. It should be recognized by those of skill in the art that parking brake control module 30 can be a discrete software implementation of CCB 12 or integrated into the programing of CCB 12.

Additionally, parking brake control module 30 can be provided as a discrete physical device that is incorporated or retrofit into CCB 12. [0012] To provide a partial train brake recharge before brake release, parking brake control module 30 initially recharges the brake pipe to a pressure slightly less than the predetermined parking brake unlatch pressure so that the parking brake is not released during system recharging. The initial recharge continues until the brake pipe flow, measured by CCB 12 at the lead locomotive, and the brake pipe pressure on the last car, measured by EOT device 32, indicate that the pressure of the railcar braking system reservoirs (typically the auxiliary and emergency reservoirs) are substantively equal to the initial recharge brake pipe pressure target. Once the reservoirs are charged, parking brake control module 30 can allow CCB 12 to complete a full release and recharge by recharging the brake pipe pressure to its normal full charge pressure. As the final charge pressure is greater than the parking brake unlatch pressure, all parking brakes will be released with the braking system at a sufficient level of recharge to enable safe operation of train 10.

[0013] The latching pressure that triggers latching of the parking brake of the railcars is preferably selected to be less than the designed full service equalization pressure to prevent inadvertent latching of the parking brakes during normal brake operation. For example, trains that are compliant with Association of American Railroads (AAR) requirements operate at a full release and recharge brake pipe pressure of 90 psi. A full service brake application is generally defined as a 26 psi reduction of the full release and recharge brake pipe reduction, i.e., 64 psi. Equalization, where the brake pipe, auxiliary reservoir, and brake cylinder pressures are equal, is actually about 60 psi. Any further reduction of brake pipe pressure below this equalization pressure will not result in additional brake force. Therefore, it is desirable to set latching pressure at less than 60 psi, such as approximately 50 psi. At this latching pressure, the parking brake will latch following an emergency brake application where the brake pipe is vented to 0 psi. Parking brake 24 will also latch for any intentional reduction less than 50 psi. Parking brake 24 will also latch in the event of any brake pipe leakage below 50 psi, which can occur if railcars 16 are parked following a full service brake application and brake pipe 20 is bottled up by the angle cock before the locomotive is disconnected from the train.

[0014] Some trains, such as those that are compliant with AAR regulations, include a feature referred to as "service accelerated release" that connects the emergency reservoir to the brake pipe during certain service brake releases. As an example, a service accelerated release from a full service brake application in 90 psi brake pipe pressure will rapidly charge the brake pipe to about 78 psi. For systems that include service accelerated release, the parking brake unlatching pressure is preferably selected to be less than the brake pipe release and recharge pressure, but greater than the service accelerated release pressure. For example, the unlatching pressure may be set to 82 psi in a train operating with a 90 psi full release and recharge brake pipe pressure.

[0015] Referring to FIG. 2, parking brake control module 30 of CCB 12 may be programmed with the appropriate logic and function to implement a parking brake set/release process 40 as described above. To set or latch the parking brakes, parking brake control module 30 is configured to reduce the brake pipe pressure to a pressure less than the predetermined latching pressure of the parking brakes 42. For example, if the parking brake latching pressure is set at 50 psi, parking brake control module 30 can reduce the brake pipe pressure to 45 psi to ensure that all of the parking brakes are latched. Thus, parking brake control module 30 can initiate a set parking brake function that reduces the brake pipe pressure to just below the parking brake latching pressure to set the parking brakes without completely venting brake pipe to zero, thereby avoiding the need for the braking system to need to recharge from zero pressure when a recharge is desired. To hold the train in the parked state while the braking system recharges, parking brake control module 30 execute a two stage recharge that preserves the parking brake in the latching position while performing a partial recharge of the train braking system.

[0016] The first stage begins with an initial recharge of the brake pipe to an initial recharge pressure that is slightly less than the predetermined unlatching pressure of the railcar parking brakes so that the parking brakes do not unlatch. For example, if the parking brake unlatching pressure is set at 82 psi, parking brake control module 30 can recharge the brake pipe to 80 psi, which is slightly greater than the brake pipe pressure that results from any service accelerated release, but less than the parking brake unlatching pressure. As parking brakes 24 will not release brake cylinders 22 while the pressure in brake pipe 20 is being charged to below the unlatching pressure, train 10 will not be free to roll if it is parked on a grade. At this brake pipe pressure, all of the braking system control valves on railcars 16 will be in the release and recharge position, and the braking system reservoirs on the cars will be recharging from brake pipe 20 via the railcar control valves.

[0017] Parking brake control module 30 then performs a check 46 whether the train braking system has recharged to the initial first stage recharge pressure reaches equalization such that the pressures in brake pipe 20, the braking system reservoirs, and brake cylinder 22 are equal. For example, parking brake control module 30 may check the air flow into brake pipe 20 though CCB 12 and the brake pipe pressure on the last car of the train via EOT device 32 to determine whether the train braking system has recharged throughout its length to the first stage recharge pressure. If not, recharging continues until check 46 confirms that the first stage recharge pressure has been reached. If so, parking brake control module 30 notifies the train driver that it is safe that the second stage of recharging is available 48. For example, parking brake control module 30 could display a message on driver interface 18 instructing the driver that it is safe to complete the parking brake release. A check 50 is then performed to determine whether the driver has commanded the second stage. For example, the train driver can command the commencement of the second stage via an input associated with driver interface 18 or via the brake handle in the cab of locomotive 14. Once the second stage has been commanded, parking brake control module 30 may then cause the train braking system to recharge to the full recharge brake pipe pressure 52. As the full recharge pressure is above the unlocking pressure of parking brake 24, parking brake 24 will unlatch 54 so that brake cylinder 22 can return to the brakes releases position. As train 10 was provided with an initial recharge of the braking system via the first recharge stage, the braking system of train 10 has been sufficiently recharged so that the train brakes are available 56 and allow for safe control of train 10 along any grade that requires the use of the braking system. In the second stage, the brake pipe pressure is recharged to the full release and recharge pressure, e.g., 90 psi in the example above. Because the brake pipe and railcar braking system were already partially charged from the first stage, the brake pipe will pressurize quickly, resulting in uniform release of all of the parking brakes on the train.

[0018] Notably, during normal train service brake operation, the brake pipe pressure is never reduced below equalization so parking brakes 24 will not latch. If the brake pipe pressure has not been reduced below the parking brake latching pressure, CCB 12 will perform a single step release and recharge of the brake pipe pressure directly to the final value (e.g., 90 psi) whenever a brake release and recharge is required after a normal service brake operation.

[0019] Parking brake set/release process 40 may be modified to address trains 10 that include or are required to implement service accelerated release. For example, in the first stage, parking brake control module 30 could charge the brake pipe pressure to the initial first stage recharge pressure at rate that is slow enough to avoid the application of the service accelerated release function. While the initial stage recharge of the train braking system would thus take longer, parking brake control module 30 could then charge the brake pipe in the second state at a rate that is sufficient to initiate service accelerated release, thereby accelerating the final recharging of the brake system as the parking brakes are unlatched. [0020] CCB 12 may optionally include a diagnostic module 34 that determines the train brake pipe taper by comparing the brake pipe pressure at the head of the train and the brake pipe pressure at the end of the train via EOT device 32. Brake pipe leakage may be measured by the air flow into brake pipe 20 when brake pipe 20 is fully charged and/or when the brakes are set and brake pipe 20 is in a maintaining state. If the brake pipe taper is determined to be more than the full brake pipe release and recharge pressure minus the parking brake unlatch pressure, CCB 12 could be programmed to inhibit the two stage release of parking brake control module 30. In a state of excessive brake pipe taper, the brake pipe pressure at the end of train 10 will not exceed the parking brake unlatch pressure and thus the parking brakes at the end of train 12 will not unlatch. For example, brake pipe taper may be deemed excessive and used to inhibit process 40 if the brake pipe taper exceeds a difference of 8 psi (+/- an acceptable tolerance) from the full release pressure of 90 psi less the unlatching pressure of 82 psi.

[0021] CCB 12 may be configured for use with a train management system, such as the LEADERĀ® train control system available from New York Air Brake of Watertown, New York. For example, CCB 12 may be provided with the number and type of locomotives in the train and the track gradient where the train is currently stopped by the train control system. In addition, if the train manifest includes data indicating which cars in the train are equipped with an automatic parking brake, the train control system can calculate the available train parking brake holding power. For example, the locomotive independent brake power and the total brake power available from automatic parking brake equipped railcars 12 equipped with parking brakes may be compared to the amount of brake effort that is required to hold train 12 on the current grade (within an acceptable safety margin). If the train management system determines that there is not sufficient brake power to safely hold train 12, the train management system can provide a notification that a certain number of handbrakes must be set to provide the required amount of parking brake force or, if so equipped, apply a sufficient number of powered hand brakes.

[0022] Train 10 may also be outfitted with a release delay system that will, as the full release and recharge pressure is being reached by CCB 12, delay the release of parking brakes 24 on rail cars 16 positioned are at the front of the train so that they do not release before railcars 16 positioned at the remote end of the train. For example, a release delay system may comprise a rate sensitive valve having an inlet connected directly to a first pilot and connected to a second pilot via a choke and a reservoir, where the rate sensitive valve is moveable between a first position, wherein said inlet is connected to an outlet via a second cracking valve having a second cracking pressure, and a second position, wherein the inlet is connected directly to the outlet. A second spring is positioned in parallel with said second pilot and provides a second force for biasing the valve into the first position. The release delay system may also comprise a rate sensitive valve having an inlet connected directly to a first pilot and connected to a second pilot via a choke and a reservoir, with the rate sensitive valve being moveable between a first position, wherein the inlet is connected to an outlet via the choke, and a second position, wherein said inlet is connected directly to the outlet. A second spring is positioned in parallel with the second pilot and provides a second force for biasing the rate sensitive valve into the first position.

[0023] The various system operating pressures described herein are for example and should not be considered limitations of the invention. Other pressures could be selected to provide the functionality of the present invention. As described above, the present invention may be a system, a method, or a computer program associated therewith and is described herein with reference to flowcharts and block diagrams of methods and systems. The flowchart and block diagrams illustrate the architecture, functionality, and operation of possible implementations of systems, methods, and computer programs of the present invention. It should be understood that each block of the flowcharts and block diagrams can be implemented by computer readable program instructions in software, firmware, or dedicated analog or digital circuits. These computer readable program instructions may be implemented on the processor of a general purpose computer, a special purpose computer, or other programmable data processing apparatus to produce a machine that implements a part or all of any of the blocks in the flowcharts and block diagrams. Each block in the flowchart or block diagrams may represent a module, segment, or portion of instructions, which comprises one or more executable instructions for implementing the specified logical functions. It should also be noted that each block of the block diagrams and flowchart illustrations, or combinations of blocks in the block diagrams and flowcharts, can be implemented by special purpose hardware-based systems that perform the specified functions or acts or carry out combinations of special purpose hardware and computer instructions.