Login| Sign Up| Help| Contact|

Patent Searching and Data


Title:
A DEVICE FOR AIDING IN LOCATING A LEAK IN A PIPE
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2019/084615
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A device for aiding in locating a leak in a pipe configured to couple to a pressurized water pipe. The device comprises a first coupling means configured to couple to a first pressurized water pipe; a pressurized air inlet configured to couple to a pressurized air source; a pressurized air line in fluid communication with the pressurized air inlet and the first coupling means; a check valve positioned in fluid communication between the pressurized air inlet and pressurized air line, the check valve disposed to allow fluid flow from the pressurized air inlet toward the pressurized air line in an open configuration and prevent fluid flow from the pressurized air line to the pressurized air inlet in a closed configuration. In use, the first coupling means is in fluid communication with the first pressurized water pipe.

Inventors:
SELBY, Matthew (106 Royal Sands, Shoal Point, Queensland 4750, 4750, AU)
Application Number:
AU2018/051181
Publication Date:
May 09, 2019
Filing Date:
November 01, 2018
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
SELBY, Matthew (106 Royal Sands, Shoal Point, Queensland 4750, 4750, AU)
International Classes:
G01M3/38; E03B7/00
Foreign References:
JP2907712B21999-06-21
Other References:
LEAKTRONICS: "Leaktronics: Proper Pressure Testing & Pipe Leak Locating", YOUTUBE, 20 February 2017 (2017-02-20), XP054979609, Retrieved from the Internet
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

1. A device for aiding in locating a leak in a pipe configured to couple to a pressurized water pipe, the device comprising:

a first coupling means configured to couple to a first pressurized water pipe; a pressurized air inlet configured to couple to a pressurized air source;

a pressurized air line in fluid communication with the pressurized air inlet and the first coupling means;

a check valve positioned in fluid communication between the pressurized air inlet and pressurized air line, the check valve disposed to allow fluid flow from the pressurized air inlet toward the pressurized air line in an open configuration and prevent fluid flow from the pressurized air line to the pressurized air inlet in a closed configuration,

wherein, in use, the first coupling means is in fluid communication with the first pressurized water pipe.

2. The device according to claim 1 wherein the first pressurized water pipe is a pressurized mains water pipe.

3. The device according to any previous claims wherein a second coupling means is

configured to couple in fluid communication to a second pressurized water pipe, the second coupling means in fluid communication with the first coupling means such that water under pressure flows from the second pressurized water pipe to the first pressurized water pipe.

4. The device according to any previous claims wherein the first pressurized water pipe is a pressure line of a swimming pool and the second pressurized water line is a pressurized mains water pipe.

5. The device according to any previous claims wherein a first shut-off valve is disposed in fluid communication with the first coupling means and the second coupling means, the first shut-off valve configured to isolate the second coupling means from the first coupling means in a closed position and permit fluid flow between the first coupling means and the second coupling means in an open position.

6. The device according to any previous claims wherein a second shut-off valve is disposed in fluid communication with the pressurized air line, the second shut-off valve configured to isolate the check valve from the first coupling means in a closed position and permit fluid flow between the first coupling means and the check valve in an open position.

7. The device according to any previous claims wherein air regulator is positioned in fluid communication between the pressurized air inlet and the check valve.

8. The device according to any previous claims wherein a pressure gauge is in fluid

communication with the first pressurized water pipe.

9. The device according to any previous claims wherein the check valve is a dual check valve.

10. The device according to any one of claims 1 to 8 wherein the check valve is a double check valve.

11. The device according to any one of claims 1 to 8 wherein the check valve is a non-return valve.

12. The device according to any previous claims wherein the pressurized air line is

configured to introduce air into the first pressurized water pipe thereby increasing the pressure in the first pressurized water pipe, the introduced air flows towards a leak in the first pressurized water pipe and, when the introduced air reaches the leak, a mixture of air and water flows through the leak resulting in pressure fluctuations in the first pressurized water pipe that are transmitted to the check valve thereby causing the check valve to move between the open configuration and the closed configuration, the movement of the check valve between the open configuration and the closed configuration generates a noise, and the noise indicates that air is flowing through the leak in the first pressurized water pipe.

13. The device according to any previous claims wherein the check valve is disposed in a housing, and the housing is configured to amplify a noise generated by the check valve.

14. The device according to claim 13 wherein the noise generated by the check valve will cause the housing to vibrate.

15. The device according to any previous claims wherein the leak is located using a listening device.

16. The device according to claim 15 wherein the listening device is a sonar device.

17. The device according to any previous claims wherein the device comprises a housing.

18. The device according to claim 17 wherein the housing includes a damper.

19. A method of locating a leak in a first pressurized water pipe, the method comprising the steps of:

coupling a pressurized air source to the first pressurized water pipe, wherein a check valve is disposed in fluid communication between the pressurized air source and the first pressurized water pipe, the check valve disposed to allow fluid flow from the pressurized air source toward the first pressurized water pipe in an open configuration and prevent fluid flow from the first pressurized water pipe to the pressurized air source in a closed configuration;

introducing air into the first pressurized water pipe to increase or equalize the pressure in the first pressurized water pipe, whereby the introduced air flows towards a leak in the first pressurized water pipe and, when the introduced air reaches the leak, a mixture of air and water flows through the leak resulting in pressure fluctuations in the first pressurized water pipe that are transmitted to the check valve thereby causing the check valve to move between the open configuration and the closed configuration, the movement of the check valve between the open configuration and the closed

configuration generates a noise, and the noise indicates that air is flowing through the leak; and

locating the leak in the first pressurized water pipe once the check valve begins moving between the open configuration and the closed configuration in response to the pressure fluctuations in the first pressurized water pipe.

20. The method according to claim 19 wherein the method further comprises the step of coupling a second pressurized water pipe in fluid communication to the first pressurized water pipe, wherein water flows from the second pressurized water pipe to the first pressurized water pipe.

21. The method according to any one of claims 19 to 20 wherein the method further

comprises the step of adjusting an air regulator to regulate the pressure of air introduced into the first pressurized water pipe.

22. The method according to claim 19 wherein the pressure fluctuations will cause the housing to vibrate thereby alerting a user the leak has been located.

23. The method according to claim 22 wherein the method further comprises the step of locating the leak using a listening device.

24. The method according to claim 23 wherein the listening device is a sonar device.

Description:
A DEVICE FOR AIDING IN LOCATING A LEAK IN A PIPE

Field

[0001] The present invention relates to a device for aiding in locating a leak in a pipe or other elongate pressurized object.

Background

[0002] Leaks in water systems or the like lead to a loss of water and increased water

consumption and therefore water bills. Known methods of detecting leaks in water systems are only capable of detecting large leaks, for example, 200L/hr.

[0003] In the past, compressed air is typically introduced into an isolated water line suspected of having a leak. With this method, water is firstly introduced into the isolated water line and then compressed air from an air compressor is introduced into the isolated water line. The air will flow towards the leak in the isolated water line and will bubble through the leak. The bubbling noise, and therefore, the leak is subsequently located using a sonar device. However, after some time, when enough water flows out of the leak, there will not be sufficient water left in the isolated water pipe to cause a mixture of air and water to bubble through the leak and only air will flow through the leak, meaning that there is only a limited time to locate the leak using the sonar device. If the leak is not detected before this time, the process must be repeated. It will be appreciated that this process may be repeated multiple times before the leak is located. It will also be appreciated that a disadvantage of this method is the impossibility to control the air to the leak. Even if the leak is detected, this method does not alert the user that the leak has been found. Further, in this method, the air compressor provides all the pressure to the isolated water line, meaning that there is a chance that the air compressor may be overworked and possibly burn out.

Object of the Invention

[0004] It is an object of the invention to overcome or at least ameliorate one or more of the above disadvantages. Embodiments of the invention may also prevent the compressor from being overworked thereby reducing the possibility of damage to the water system. [0005] It will be clearly understood that, if a prior art publication is referred to herein, this reference does not constitute an admission that the publication forms part of the common general knowledge in the art in Australia or in any other country.

Summary of Invention

[0006] In a first aspect, the present invention provides a device for aiding in locating a leak in a pipe configured to couple to a pressurized water pipe, the device comprising:

a first coupling means configured to couple to a first pressurized water pipe;

a pressurized air inlet configured to couple to a pressurized air source;

a pressurized air line in fluid communication with the pressurized air inlet and the first coupling means;

a check valve positioned in fluid communication between the pressurized air inlet and pressurized air line, the check valve disposed to allow fluid flow from the pressurized air inlet toward the pressurized air line in an open configuration and prevent fluid flow from the pressurized air line to the pressurized air inlet in a closed configuration,

wherein, in use, the first coupling means is in fluid communication with the first pressurized water pipe.

[0007] In a preferred form, the first pressurized water pipe is a pressurized mains water pipe.

[0008] In a preferred form, the device further comprises a second coupling means configured to couple in fluid communication to a second pressurized water pipe, the second coupling means in fluid communication with the first coupling means such that water under pressure flows from the second pressurized water pipe to the first pressurized water pipe.

[0009] In a preferred form, the first pressurized water pipe is a pressure line of a swimming pool and the second pressurized water line is a pressurized mains water pipe.

[00010] In a preferred form, the device further comprises a first shut-off valve disposed in fluid communication with the first coupling means and the second coupling means, the first shut-off valve configured to isolate the second coupling means from the first coupling means in a closed position and permit fluid flow between the first coupling means and the second coupling means in an open position. [00011] In a preferred form, the device further comprises a second shut-off valve disposed in fluid communication with the pressurized air line, the second shut-off valve configured to isolate the check valve from the first coupling means in a closed position and permit fluid flow between the first coupling means and the check valve in an open position.

[00012] In a preferred form, the device further comprises an air regulator positioned in fluid communication between the pressurized air inlet and the check valve.

[00013] In a preferred form, the device further comprises a pressure gauge in fluid

communication with the first pressurized water pipe.

[00014] In a preferred form, the check valve is a dual check valve. The check valve is a valve that allows fluid (either liquid or gas) to flow through the valve in only one direction. The check valve has two openings in the body, one for fluid to enter and the other for fluid to exit the body. Generally, check valves are constructed from plastic or metal. The dual check valve may be a mini dual check valve constructed in a chrome finish.

[00015] In a preferred form, the check valve is a double check valve.

[00016] In a preferred form, the check valve is a non-return valve.

[00017] In a preferred form, the pressurized air line is configured to introduce air into the first pressurized water pipe thereby increasing the pressure in the first pressurized water pipe, the introduced air flows towards a leak in the first pressurized water pipe and, when the introduced air reaches the leak, a mixture of air and water flows through the leak resulting in pressure fluctuations in the first pressurized water pipe that are transmitted to the check valve thereby causing the check valve to move between the open configuration and the closed configuration, the movement of the check valve between the open configuration and the closed configuration generates a noise, and the noise indicates that air is flowing through the leak in the first pressurized water pipe.

[00018] In a preferred form, the check valve is disposed in a housing, and the housing is configured to amplify a noise generated by the check valve. [00019] The housing may be constructed from metal, such as aluminium. The housing may also be constructed from other materials such as plastic. In another preferred form, the housing may be constructed from metal with the base of the housing constructed from polyurethane.

[00020] In a preferred form, the noise generated by the check valve will cause the housing to vibrate.

[00021] In a second aspect, the present invention provides a method of locating a leak in a first pressurized water pipe, the method comprising the steps of: coupling a pressurized air source to the first pressurized water pipe, wherein a check valve is disposed in fluid communication between the pressurized air source and the first pressurized water pipe, the check valve disposed to allow fluid flow from the pressurized air source toward the first pressurized water pipe in an open configuration and prevent fluid flow from the first pressurized water pipe to the pressurized air source in a closed configuration; introducing air into the first pressurized water pipe to increase or equalise the pressure in the first pressurized water pipe, whereby the introduced air flows towards a leak in the first pressurized water pipe and, when the introduced air reaches the leak, a mixture of air and water flows through the leak resulting in pressure fluctuations in the first pressurized water pipe that are transmitted to the check valve thereby causing the check valve to move between the open configuration and the closed configuration, the movement of the check valve between the open configuration and the closed configuration generates a noise, and the noise indicates that air is flowing through the leak; and

locating the leak in the first pressurized water pipe once the check valve begins moving between the open configuration and the closed configuration in response to the pressure fluctuations in the first pressurized water pipe.

[00022] In a preferred form, the method further comprises the step of coupling a second pressurized water pipe in fluid communication to the first pressurized water pipe, wherein water flows from the second pressurized water pipe to the first pressurized water pipe.

[00023] In a preferred form, the method further comprises the step of adjusting an air regulator to regulate the pressure of air introduced into the first pressurized water pipe.

[00024] In a preferred form, the leak is located using a listening device. [00025] In a preferred form, the listening device is a sonar device.

Brief Description of Drawings

[00026] A preferred embodiment of the invention will be described hereinafter, by way of example only, with reference to the accompanying drawings, wherein:

[00027] Figure 1 shows a top view of the device for aiding in locating a leak in a pipe according to an embodiment of the present invention; and

[00028] Figure 2 shows an inside view of the device of Figure 1.

[00029] Figure 3 is a side view of an alternative embodiment of the invention showing a damper. Description of Embodiments

[00030] Figures 1 and 2 show a device 100 for aiding in locating a leak in a pipe (not shown) according to an embodiment of the present invention. The device 100 comprises a housing 102, a water line 104, and a pressurized air line 106. The housing 102 is manufactured from aluminium, however, it is envisaged that other suitable materials may be used to construct the housing 102. In one embodiment illustrated in figure 3, the housing may be made of aluminium with a damper 121 located at the base of the housing. The damper 121 may be manufactured from polyurethane. The damper 121 protects the device and improves the acoustic of the housing 102. It is envisaged that any combination of materials may be used to manufacture the housing.

[00031] The water line 104 comprises a first coupling 108, a second coupling 110, and a first shut-off valve 112. The first coupling 108 is in fluid communication with the fluid outlet 110. The first coupling 108 and the second coupling 110 are each configured to couple to a pressurized water pipe such as a mains water supply via a hose connection. However, any other suitable means known in the art may be used to couple the first coupling 108 and the second coupling 110 to a pressurized water pipe. The first coupling 108 is also configured to be coupled to a test bung or plug connected to a pressure line of a swimming pool or the like. It is envisaged that any suitable means may be used to couple the first coupling 108 to the pressure line of a swimming pool or the like.

[00032] The pressurized air line 106 comprises a pressurized air inlet 114, an air regulator 116, a dual check valve 118, and a second shut-off valve 120. The pressurized air inlet 114 is configured to couple to a pressurized source of air, such as, for example, an air compressor. The first shut-off valve 112 and the second shut-off valve 120 may be any suitable valve known in the art that may be used to restrict/prevent fluid flow.

[00033] The device 100 further comprises a pressure gauge 122. The pressure gauge 122 may be any suitable pressure gauge known in the art that is suitable for measuring fluid pressure.

[00034] The water line 104, the pressurized air line 106, air regulator 116, and check valve 118 are disposed within the housing 102 as best seen in Figure 2. The first coupling 108, the second coupling 110, pressurized air inlet 114, pressure gauge 122, first shut-off valve 112, and second shut-off valve 120 are secured to the housing 102, and are partially disposed within the housing 102. The housing 102 is also configured to amplify any noises generated within the housing 102.

[00035] Assembly of the device 100 will now be discussed. Referring to Figure 2, the air regulator 116 is coupled in fluid communication between the pressurized air inlet 114 and the check valve 118. The check valve 118 is coupled in fluid communication between the air regulator 116 and the second shut-off valve 120. The second shut-off valve 120 is coupled in fluid communication between the check valve 118 and the pressurized air line 106. The pressurized air line 106 is in fluid communication with the first coupling 108. The pressure gauge 122 is coupled in fluid communication with the water line 104 and is configured to measure the pressure in the water line 104.

[00036] The check valve 118 is movable between an open configuration and a closed configuration. In the open configuration, the check valve 118 permits fluid flow from the air regulator 116 to the second shut-off valve 120. In the closed configuration, the check valve 118 prevents/restricts fluid flow from the second shut-off valve 120 to the air regulator 116.

[00037] The first shut-off valve 112 is movable between a closed position and an open position. In the closed position, the first shut-off valve 112 is configured to isolate the second coupling 110 from the first coupling 108, thereby restricting/preventing fluid flow from the first coupling 108 to the second coupling 110. In the open position, the first shut-off valve 112 is configured to permit fluid flow between the first coupling 108 and the second coupling 110.

[00038] The second shut-off valve 120 is movable between a closed position and an open position. In the closed position, the second shut-off valve 120 is configured to isolate the check valve 118, air regulator 116, and pressurized air inlet 114 from the first coupling 108 and the water line 104. In the open position, the second shut-off valve 120 is configured to permit fluid flow between the first coupling 108 and the check valve 118.

[00039] Use of the device 100 to aid in locating a leak in a pressurized water pipe (e.g. a mains water pipe, pressure line of a swimming pool, or the like) will now be discussed. The pressurized water pipe remains under its operating pressure during use of the device 100.

[00040] The first shut-off valve 112 and the second shut-off valve 120 are both moved to their respective closed positions. The first coupling 108 is coupled to a pressurized water pipe (e.g. a mains water pipe) through, for example, a tap, garden tap, or the like. The pressurized air inlet 114 is coupled to a pressurized source of air, such as an air compressor. The pressurized water pipe is "opened" such that water flows from the pressurized water pipe into the water line 104 through the first coupling 108. As the first shut-off valve 112 is in the closed position, water flows into the water line 104 until the pressure in the water line 104 is at least substantially the same as the pressure in the pressurized water pipe. Pressurized air is introduced into the device 100 through the pressurized air inlet 114. The second shut-off valve 120 is then moved to its open position, thereby allowing pressurized air to flow through the pressurized air line 106. It will be appreciated that the pressurized air line 106 is configured to introduce air into the pressurized water pipe, thereby increasing the pressure in the pressurized water pipe. The air regulator 116 is adjusted to regulate the pressure in the pressurized water pipe to a predetermined pressure P above the normal operating pressure of the pressurized water pipe by regulating the amount of air introduced into the pressurized water pipe. The pressure gauge 122 is used to measure pressure changes in the pressurized water pipe.

[00041] The air introduced under pressure into the pressurized water pipe will flow towards a leak in the pressurized water pipe. When the introduced air reaches the leak, a mixture of air and water will flow through the leak, resulting in pressure fluctuations in the pressurized water pipe. These pressure fluctuations result from the different flow rates of air and water through the leak. A given volume of air will flow through the leak faster than the same volume of water.

Accordingly, as air flows through the leak, the pressure in the pressurized water pipe decreases below the predetermined pressure P and, as the water again flows through the leak, the pressure in the pressurized water pipe increases above the predetermined pressure P. Therefore, as the flow through the leak changes between air and water, the pressure in the pressurized water pipe decreases and increases accordingly, thereby producing the pressure fluctuations in the pressurized water pipe. These pressure fluctuations are transmitted back to the check valve 118. During pressure fluctuations, the housing and the pressurized air line will vibrate. The vibration serves as another indicator that the leak has been located.

[00042] When the pressure in the pressurized water pipe decreases due to the introduced air flowing through the leak, the pressure upstream of the check valve 118 is lower than the predetermined pressure P set by the air regulator 116. The air regulator 116 will attempt to return the pressure in the pressurized water pipe back to the predetermined pressure P by introducing more air into the pressurized water pipe through the pressurized air line 106.

Accordingly, in this case, the check valve 118 is in the open configuration, thereby permitting air to flow through the air regulator 116, check valve 118, second shut-off valve 120, and pressurized air line 106 and into the pressurized water pipe.

[00043] When the pressure in the pressurized water pipe increases due to water again flowing through the leak, the pressure upstream of the check valve 118 is higher than the predetermined pressure P set by the air regulator 116. This will produce a back flow, whereby fluid in the pressurized air line 106 will attempt to flow back towards the air regulator 116. In this case, the check valve 118 will move to the closed configuration, thereby preventing fluid flow from the second shut-off valve 120 to the air regulator 116.

[00044] Accordingly, the check valve 118 will move between the open configuration and the closed configuration in response to the pressure fluctuations in the pressurized water pipe caused by the mixture of air and water flowing through the leak. The movement of the check valve 118 between the open configuration and the closed configuration generates an audible noise. As the check valve 118 is disposed in the housing 102, and the housing 102 is configured to amplify any noises generated within, the housing 102 amplifies the audible noise generated by the check valve 118. This audible noise indicates to a user that air is now flowing through the leak. Further, the mixture of air and water flowing through the leak will generate a loud noise which sometimes sounds like a bubbling noise. Once the user knows that air is flowing through the leak, known listening devices (e.g. sonar equipment) can subsequently be used to pinpoint the bubbling noise and therefore the location of the leak in the pressurized water pipe. The audible sound generated as a result of the mixture of air and water travelling together through the pressurized water pipe also assists a user to locate the water pipes underground.

[00045] Use of the device 100 to aid in locating a leak in a water system, such as a swimming pool system, will now be discussed. The first shut-off valve 112 and the second shut-off valve 120 are both moved to their respective closed positions. The second coupling 110 is coupled to a pressurized water pipe (e.g. a mains water pipe) through, for example, a tap, garden tap, or the like. A conventional rubber test bung or plug is connected to a pressure line of the swimming pool system, and the first coupling 108 is coupled to the rubber test bung or plug.

[00046] The first shut-off valve 112 is moved to its open position, and the pressurized water pipe is "opened" such that water flows from the pressurized water pipe through the second coupling 110, into the water line 104, and out of the first coupling 108. The pressurized air inlet 114 is coupled to a pressurized source of air, such as an air compressor, and pressurized air is introduced into the device 100 through the pressurized air inlet 114. The second shut-off valve 120 is then moved to its open position, thereby allowing pressurized air to flow through the pressurized air line 106. It will be appreciated that the pressurized air line 106 is configured to introduce air into the pressure line of the swimming pool system, thereby increasing the pressure in the pressure line of the swimming pool system. The air regulator 116 is adjusted to regulate the pressure in the pressure line of the swimming pool system to a predetermined pressure P above the normal operating pressure of the pressure line by regulating the amount of air introduced into the pressure line. The pressure gauge 122 is used to measure pressure changes in the pressurized water pipe.

[00047] The air introduced under pressure into the pressure line of the swimming pool will flow towards a leak in the pressure line. Similar to paragraph [0040], when the introduced air reaches the leak, a mixture of air and water will flow through the leak, resulting in pressure fluctuations in pressure line that are transmitted back to the check valve 118. [00048] Similar to what was discussed above, the check valve 118 will move between the open configuration and the closed configuration, thereby generating an audible noise that is amplified by the housing 102. This audible noise indicates to a user that air is now flowing through the leak in the pressure line of the swimming pool. Further, the mixture of air and water flowing through the leak will generate a bubbling noise. Once the user knows that air is flowing through the leak, known listening devices (e.g. sonar equipment) can subsequently be used to pinpoint the bubbling noise and therefore the location of the leak in the pressure line of the swimming pool.

[00049] Although the preferred embodiment have been described using a dual check valve 118, is will be appreciated that a single check valve or similar (such as a non return valve) may also be used.

[00050] The device 100 allows a user to utilize the pressure provided by the pressurized water pipe (e.g. a mains water pipe) together with the pressure provided by an air compressor. In other words, the mains water pipe remains under pressure when using the device 100 and is not isolated from the mains water supply. Accordingly, it will be appreciated that the air compressor does not have to supply all the pressure and therefore reduces the possibility of the air compressor burning out. Further, according to at least a preferred embodiment, leaks having a flow rate of 2L/hr can be detected.

[00051] As the device 100 is coupled to a pressurized water pipe, water flowing out of the leak will be replaced, meaning that a mixture of air and water can bubble through a leak for a longer period of time, thereby allowing sufficient time for a user to locate the leak using a listening device, without having to repeat the process.

[00052] The device 100 and the components therein are not limited to a particular size. A person skilled in the art would understand that the device may come in various sizes. For example, a device for use in a large commercial application may have larger coupling and larger diameter pipes or conduits than a device that is to be used in smaller domestic applications.

[00053] Although the invention has been described with reference to a specific example, it will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that the invention may be embodied in many other forms. [00054] In the present specification and claims (if any), the word 'comprising' and its derivatives including 'comprises' and 'comprise' include each of the stated integers but does not exclude the inclusion of one or more further integers.

[00055] Reference throughout this specification to 'one embodiment' or 'an embodiment' means that a particular feature, structure, or characteristic described in connection with the embodiment is included in at least one embodiment of the present invention. Thus, the appearance of the phrases 'in one embodiment' or 'in an embodiment' in various places throughout this specification are not necessarily all referring to the same embodiment. Furthermore, the particular features, structures, or characteristics may be combined in any suitable manner in one or more combinations.

[00056] In compliance with the statute, the invention has been described in language more or less specific to structural or methodical features. It is to be understood that the invention is not limited to specific features shown or described since the means herein described comprises preferred forms of putting the invention into effect. The invention is, therefore, claimed in any of its forms or modifications within the proper scope of the appended claims (if any)

appropriately interpreted by those skilled in the art.