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Patent Searching and Data


Title:
MOLDED BRUSH AND METHOD OF MAKING SAME
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/1990/000867
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A brush (10) formed in its entirety of a heat-fusible synthetic material and adapted for selected application of a flowable fluid to a workpiece - and includes a hollow head section (12), a plurality of bristles (14), and a fluid distribution channel (32) defined by a flexible membrane (34) extending substantially axially within the radial interior of the bristles (14) from the head section (12) toward the free end of the bristles (14). In making, a tuft of synthetic material in filamentary form is inserted into a mold cavity (46) and a heated die (64) is moved into either direct contact or either closely proximate but predeterminately spaced apart relation with the mold (46) for transferring sufficient heat to fuse the adjacent filament ends and form the brush head section (12). A heated pin (70) is inserted into and retracted from the mold cavity through the head section (12) to form the distribution channel membrane (34).

Inventors:
Kay
Nathan, Mcnab
Donald, Moya
Edward, Stikar
Hector
Application Number:
PCT/US1989/003152
Publication Date:
February 08, 1990
Filing Date:
July 20, 1989
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
PHOTOFINISH COSMETICS INC.
International Classes:
A46B1/00; A45D1/00; A46B3/04; A46D3/04; (IPC1-7): A46B1/00
Foreign References:
US4589791A
US4786199A
US4795218A
Other References:
See also references of EP 0382830A1
Download PDF:
Claims:
Clai sWhat Is Claimed Is:
1. 5 A brush adapted for applying a flowable fluid to a workpiece, said brush comprising: a plurality of elongated filaments 1 0 formed of a synthetic heatfusible material and disposed so as to define a tuft of said filaments, ' said filaments being heatfused together to form at their proximal ends a head section comprising a 15 nonplanar heatfused wall peripherally bounding an opening, and said filaments being freely movable relative to each other at their distal ends opposite said proximal ends; and 20 a fluid distribution channel in communication with said head opening and extending longitudinally along said brush from said head section toward said filament distal ends, said channel being peripherally bounded by a substantially flexible membrane and having an aperture defined at an end of said channel opposite said head section so 0 that fluid fed to said brush at the head section is flowable through said head section opening, into and along said distribution channel: and through said aperture onto said filaments proximate their distal 35 ends for selective application to a workpiece, said flexible channel member being formed of the same material of said filaments.
2. 2 A brush in accordance with Claim 1, wherein said flexible channel membrane is formed of 5 the material of said filaments by heat fusing of at least some of said filaments.
3. 3 A brush in accordance with Claim 1, wherein said synthetic material is nylon.
4. A brush in accordance with Claim 1, wherein said synthetic material is a polymer.
5. A brush in accordance with Claim 1, 15 wherein all of said plural filaments are of relatively the same length.
6. A brush in accordance with Claim 1, wherein said distribution channel tapers radially 20 inwardly as it extends from said head section toward said filament distal ends.
7. A brush in accordance with Claim 1, wherein said head section wall is substantially nondefor ably rigid.
8. A brush in accordance with Claim 1, wherein said flexible channel membrane is 30 substantially resiliently deformable.
9. A brush adapted for applying a flowable! fluid to a workpiece, said brush comprising: a plurality of elongated filaments 5 formed of a synthetic heatfusible material and disposed so as to define a tuft of said filaments, said filaments being heatfused together to form at their proximal ends a head section comprising a heat fused wall peripherally bounding an opening, and said 5 filaments being freely movable relative to each other at their distal ends opposite said proximal ends; and a fluid distribution channel in communication with said head opening and extending 1 0 longitudinally along said brush from said head section toward said filament distal ends, said channel being peripherally bounded by a substantially 15 flexible membrane and having an aperture defined at an end of said channel opposite said head section so that fluid fed to said brush at the head section is" flowable through said head section opening, into and 20 along said distribution channel and through said aperture onto said filaments proximate their distal ends for selective application to a workpiece, said flexible channel membrane being formed of the material of said filaments by heat fusing of at least some of said filaments.
10. A brush in accordance with Claim 9, 3.0 wherein said synthetic material is nylon.
11. A brush in accordance with Claim 9, wherein said synthetic material is a polymer.
12. A brush in accordance with Claim 9, 35 wherein all of said plural^filaments are of relatively the same length. ..9 .
13. A brush in accordance with Claim 9, wherein said distribution channel tapers radially inwardly as it extends from said head section toward 5 said filament distal ends..
14. A brush in accordance with Claim 9, wherein said head section wall is substantially nondeformably rigid.
15. A brush in ε^cordance with Claim 9, wherein said flexible channel membrane is substantially resiliently deformable.
16. 5.
17. A method of making a brush adapted for applying a flowable fluid to a workpiece, comprising" the steps of: assembling a plurality of elongated 0 filaments formed of a heatfusible synthetic material into a tuft of said filaments; heating tine proximal ends of the filaments in said tuft so as to form a heatfused 25 wall defining a head section at the proximal end of the tuft; and heating a peripherallyinterior portion 30 of said tuft so as to form a substantially flexible membrane extending within and substantially axially along the tuft from said head section toward the distal end of the tuft and thereby define a fluid 5 distribution channel in said brush for feeding fluid through said brush from t\ie head section to the filaments proximate the filament distal ends for selective application of the fluid to a workpiece.
18. A method of making a brush in accordance 5 with Claim 16, further comprising defining an opening in the distribution channel membrane at the distal end of the distribution channel and through which fluid is feedable from the distribution channel onto 10 the filaments proximate the filament distal ends for selective application to a workpiece.
19. A method of making a brush in accordance ^5 with Claim 16, wherein said membrane forming heating step comprises inserting a heated die substantially axially into the interior of the tuft through said head section to define the distribution channel. 0.
20. A method of making a brush in accordance with Claim 18, wherein said membrane forming step further comprises: permitting the die to at least partly 5 cool after said insertion into the tuft interior; and withdrawing the at least partly cooled die from the tuft interior. Q.
21. A method of making a brush in accordance with Claim 19, further comprising defining an opening in the distribution channel membrane at the distal end of the distribution channel and through which 5 fluid is feedable from the distribution channel onto the filaments proximate the filament distal ends for selective application to a workpiece.
22. A method of making a brush in accordance with Claim 20, wherein said opening defining step 5 comprises inserting a punch substantially axially into the distribution channel to create the opening at the distal end of the distribution channel.
23. A method of making a brush in accordance 10 with Claim 17, wherein said opening defining step comprises inserting a punch substantially axially into the distribution channel to create the opening 15 at the distal end of the distribution channel.
24. A method of making a brush in accordance with Claim 21, wherein said opening defining step comprises inserting the punch through the head 0 section of the tuft.
25. A method of making a brush in accordance with Claim 22, wherein said opening defining step comprises inserting the punch through the head 5 section of the tuft.
26. A method of making a brush in accordance with Claim 18, wherein said membrane forming step Q further comprises: heating the die to a filament fusing temperature prior to its insertion into the tuft interior; discontinuing said heating of the die at least as early as its insertion into the tuft interior so that the die cools from said filament fusing temperature while it is in the tuft interior; and 5 withdrawing the die from the tuft interior when the die has cooled to at least a predetermined temperature less than said filament fusing temperature. 0 .
27. A method of making a brush in accordance with Claim 16, wherein the synthetic material is nylon. 5.
28. A method of making a brush in accordance with Claim 16, wherein the synthetic material is a polymer.
29. A method of making a brush in accordance 0 with Claim 25, wherein said filament fusing temperature is approximately 600 degrees F.
30. A method of making a brush in accordance with Claim 16, wherein said wall forming step 5 comprises heating a die disposed proximate the proximal ends of the filaments to a predetermined temperature sufficient to cause melting of the Q filaments at their proximal ends and formation of the wall abuttingly along a peripheral wall of the die.
31. A method of making a brush in accordance with Claim 29, wherein at least a portion of the peripheral wall of the die is configured so as to be initially proximally spaced from the tuft of fila ents and the heating of said die causes the filaments to melt and form said head section wall abuttingly along said portion of the peripheral wall 5 of the die.
32. A method of making a brush in accordance with Claim 16, wherein said assembling step comprises placing the plural filaments into a holder having a heatable die portion at a proximal end of the holder and a filamentreceiving cavity extending into the holder form its proximal end.
33. 15.
34. A method of making a brush in accordance with Claim 31, wherein said wall forming step comprises heating the holder die portion to at least " a predetermined temperature sufficient to melt the 0 proximal ends of the filaments and form the head section defining wall on said tuft.
35. A method of making a brush in accordance with Claim 32, wherein said heating of the holder die 25 portion comprises relatively moving a heated member into heat transfer relation with said die portion of the holder. ,G.
36. A method of making a brush in accordance with Claim 16, further comprising: inserting the plurality of elongated filaments forming a tuft of said filaments into a 5 cavity defined in a mold body so tha".' the proximal ends of the filaments are disposed proximate the open end of the cavity; wherein said heatfused wall forming step comprises: 5 heating a member to a temperature at least as high as the melting point of the synthetic material and moving the heated member into closely proximate, predeterminately spaced apart relation with the mold body proximate the open end of the cavity so as to cause melting of the proximate ends of the filaments; and 1 maintaining the heated member in said closely proximate, predeterminately spaced apart relation with the mold body for a time period sufficient to form from the melted filaments the 20 heatfused wall defining the brush head section at the proximal end of the tuft.
37. A method of making a brush in accordance with Claim 34, wherein the mold body includes a heatable portion and said movement of the heated member into closely proximate, predeterminately spaced apart relation with the mold body causes heat 3C to be transferred from the heated member to the heatable portion of the mold body for forming the heatfused wall at the proximal, end of the tuft.
38. A method of making a brush in accordance with Claim 35, wherein the open end of the cavity is defined in the heatable portion of the mold body, and said heatfused wall is formed abuttingly along a peripheral wall of the mold body cavity proximate its open end.
39. A method of making a brush in accordance with Claim 34, further comprising the step of preheating the mold body, prior to said moving of the heated member into closely proximate, predeterminately spaced apart relation with the mold body, to a selected temperature less than the melting point of the synthetic material.
40. A method of making a brush in accordance with Claim 35, further comprising the step of preheating the heatable portion of the mold body, Q prior to said moving of the heated member into closely proximate, predeterminately spaced apart relation with the mold body, to. a selected temperature less than the melting point of the synthetic material.
41. A method of making a brush in accordance with Claim 37, wherein the selected temperature is at least approximately 125 degrees F.
42. A method of making a 'brush in accordance 5 with Claim 38, wherein the selected temperature is at least approximately 125 degrees F.
43. 42 A method of making a brush in accordance with Claim 39, wherein the selected temperature is at least approximately 125 degrees F.
44. A method of making a brush in accordance with Claim 34, wherein said inserting of 15 the plural'filaments into the mold body cavity further comprises placing the tuft of filaments into" the cavity so that the tuft forms an interference fit within the cavity. 20 44.
45. A method of making a brush in accordance with Claim 34 wherein the mold body cavity has a minimum internal diameter, said inserting of the plural filaments into the mold body cavity further comprising assembling the plural filaments into a tuft having a diameter greater than the minimum internal diameter of the mold body cavity, and 30 inserting the assembled tuft into the cavity so that the tuft forms an interference fit within the cavity.
46. A method of making a brush in accordance with Claim 34, further comprising defining an opening in the distribution channel membrane at the distal end of the distribution channel and through which fluid is feedable from the distribution channel onto the filaments proximate the filament distal ends for selective application to a 5 workpiece.
47. A method of making a brush in accordance with Claim 34, wherein said membrane forming heating step comprises inserting a heated die substantially axially into the interior of the tuft through said head section to define the distribution channel. 5.
48. A method of making a brush in accordance with Claim 46, further comprising the step of preheating the mold body, prior to said inserting of a heated die substantially axially into the interior ° of the tuft to define the distribution channel, to a selected temperature less than the melting point of the synthetic material.
49. A method of making a brush in accordance with Claim 46, wherein said membrane forming step further comprises: permitting the die to at least partly cool after said insertion into the tuft interior; and withdrawing the at least partly cooled die from the tuft interior.
50. A method of making a brush in accordance with Claim 48, further comprising defining an opening in the distribution channel membrane at the distal end of the distribution channel and through which fluid is feedable from the distribution channel onto the filaments proximate the filament distal ends for 5 selective application to a workpiece.
51. A method of making a brush in accordance with Claim 49, wherein said opening defining step comprises inserting a punch substantially axially 1 0 into the distribution channel to create the opening at the distal end of the distribution channel.
52. A method of making a brush in accordance 1 5 With Claim 45, wherein said opening defining step comprises inserting a punch substantially axially into the distribution channel to create the opening at the distal end of the distribution channel. 20 52.
53. A method of making a brush in accordance with Claim 50, wherein said opening defining step comprises inserting the punch through the head section of the tuft.
54. A method of making a brush in accordance with Claim 51, wherein said opening defining step comprises inserting the punch through the head 30 section of the tuft.
55. A method of making a brush in accordance with Claim 46, wherein said membrane forming step further comprises: heating the die to a filament fusing temperature prior to its insertion into the tuft interior; discontinuing said heating of the die at least as early as its insertion into the tuft 5. interior so that the die cools from said filament fusing temperature while it is in the tuft interior; and withdrawing the die from the tuft 10 interior when the die has cooled to at least a predetermined temperature less than said filament fusing temperature. 1 55. A method of making a brush in accordance . with Claim 34, wherein the synthetic material is nylon.
56. 56 A method of making a brush in accordance 20 with Claim 34, wherein the synthetic material is a polymer.
57. 57 A method of making a brush in accordance with Claim 54, wherein said filament fusing temperature is approximately 550 to 600 degrees F.
58. 58 A method of making a brush in accordance with Claim 34, further comprising the step of 30 preheating the mold body, prior to said heating of a peripherallyinterior portion of the tuft so as to form the substantially flexible membrane, to a selected temperature less than the melting point of the synthetic material.
59. 59 A method of making a brush in accordance with Claim 34, further comprising the step of preheating the mold body proximate the open"end of the cavity, prior to said heating of a peripherally 5 interior portion of the tuft so as to form the substantially flexible membrane, to a selected temperature less than the melting point of the synthetic material.
60. 60 A method of making a brush in accordance with Claim 35, further comprising the step of preheating the heatable portion of the mold body, '5 prior to said heating of a peripherallyinterior portion of the tuft so as to form the substantially flexible membrane, to a selected temperature less than the melting point of the synthetic material. ° 61. A method of making a brush in accordance with Claim 58, wherein the selected temperature is in the range of approximately 250 to 275 degrees F.
61. 62 A method of making a brush in accordance 5 with Claim 59, wherein the selected temperature is in the range of approximately 250 to 275 degrees F.
62. 63 A method of making a brush in accordance Q with Claim 60, wherein the selected temperature is in the range of approximately 250 to 275 degrees F.
Description:
M o l d e d B r u s h A n d M e t h o d O f M a k i n g S a m e

Field of the Invention

The present invention generally relates to an

10 improved brush and to a method of making such a brush. The invention is more particluarly directed to a molded brush, and to a method of its fabrication, which is adapted for selectively

15 applying a flowable fluid to a workpiece.

20

3.C

•*.

Objects of the Invention

It is the desideratum of the present 5 invention to provide a brush adapted for use in applying a flowable fluid to a workpiece wherein the brush bristles receive the fluid to be applied in a

10 manner which assures appropriate distribution of the fluid throughout the bristles for facilitated application to the workpiece.

It is a particular object of the invention to

15 provide such a brush wherein the fluid is distributed to the bristles from an interior part of the bristle tuft.

It is another object of the invention to

20 ■ provide such a brush wherein distribution of the fluid to an interior part of the bristle tuft is accomplished without risk of damage to the workpiece surface in applying the fluid. ...5

It is a further object of the invention to provide such a brush which is fabricated in its entirety of a single material of construction. 3.0 It is a particular object of the invention to provide such a method for molding a brush from a heat-fusible material.

It is another object of the invention to 35 provide such a method of making a brush with a degree of precision that assures consistency of all brushes

produced in accordance with the method.

It is a further object of the invention to provide such a method of making a brush that is unusually economical to practice and which enables the brush to be manufactured at relatively high speed.

10 Further objects, features and advantages of the present invention will be more fully appreciated by reference to the following detailed description of presently preferred, but nonetheless illustrative,

15 embodiments in accordance with the present invention when taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.

20

Brief Description of the Drawings

In the drawings, wherein similar reference 5 numerals denote similar elements throughout the several views:

FIG. 1 is an elevated side view of a

10 preferred embodiment of a brush adapted for selective application of a flowable fluid to a workpiece in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a sectional side view of the

15 brush of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a top plan view of the brush of FIGS. 1 and 2;

FIGS. 4A and 4B are sectional side and

20 top plan views, respectively, of a mold for use in fabricating an improved brush in accordance with a first method of the invention;

FIGS. 5 to 17 serially depict the 25 various steps in a method of fabricating an improved brush using the mold of FIGS. 4A and 4B in accordance with the invention; and

3.0 FIGS. 18 to 21 serially depict certain steps in a second or modified — and currently preferred — method of fabricating a brush in accordance with the invention, these Figures

35 generally corresponding to the steps represented in FIGS. 6 to 9, respectively, in the first-disclosed

brush-fabricating method.

10

15

20

3.C

Detailed Description of the Preferred Embodiments

The present invention is directed to an 5 improved brush which is adapted for use in selectively applying a flowable fluid to a workpiece, and to methods of making the brush. The brush has

10 particular utility when disposed on or in association with a dispenser or the like containing a supply of flowable fluid and constructed to enable ready discharge and selected application of the fluid to an

15 intended surface or the like. Thus, the brush may, by way of example only, be advantageously employed for applying cosmetic fluids, such as nail polish or mascara, to appropriate areas on a user's body, for

20 which purpose it is generally contemplated that the brush be mounted at the discharge end of a typically hand-held and user-manipulatable fluid containing dispenser. Nevertheless, numerous other uses of the brush are also contemplated and no limitation to any particular disclosed or suggested application is intended.

3.0 A currently preferred form of the brush, designated by the general reference numeral 10, is illustrated in FIGS. 1 to 3. Although the brush is preferably constructed in its entirety of a single

35 material so as to form a unitary structure, those skilled in the art will recognize and appreciate that

other arrangements and constructions and modifications by which the brush 10 is fabricated, for example of discrete parts or elements variously 5 formed of the same or of different materials, are within the scope of the invention. As will become apparent as this description proceeds, the within

10 disclosed methods of making the brush 10 contemplate its preferred fabrication from a heat fusible synthetic material such, for example, as a polymer such as nylon or polyethylene or the like.

15 Referring now specifically to FIGS. 1 to 3, brush 10 includes a head section 12 and a plurality of elongated fibers or filaments or bristles 14 extending axially outwardly from the head section to

20 their free and relatively-moveable distal ends 16.

The fibers 14 form a tuft of generally but not necessarily circular cross-section which, in the illustrated form of the brush 10, is radially ...5 outwardly flared from the brush axis at the distal or workpiece-engaging end of the tuft. The presence or lack of radially outward flaring at the tuft distal

3.C end, and the amount of any such flaring, is a matter of design choice which may be determined at least in part by the particular application contemplated or intended for the brush. Head section 12 is defined by a peripheral wall 18 that extends from a rim 20 to its juncture

with the root or proximal ends 22 of fibers 14. Wall 18 is depicted as having a substantially circular cross-section but may of course have many alternate

5 shapes. Rim 20 defines an opening 24 into the substantially hollow interior of head section 12 through which fluid fed into opening 24 is delivered to fibers 14 for selected application to a workpiece. That hollow interior of the head section is peripherally bounded by wall 18 which, in the preferred form of brush 10, is formed of the same

15 material as the fibers 14. Where this material is, for example, a heat fusible synthetic polymer, as is currently preferred, wall 18 may be conveniently and advantageously fabricated by heat-induced fusing of

2-0 the proximal ends of the elongated fibers 14 whereby the wall and head section 12 are integrally formed on and unitarily bonded to the fibers. This method of fabrication in accordance with the invention is fully 25 disclosed and described herein. Thus, the root or proximal ends 22 of the fibers supportedly depend — preferably unitarily and integrally depend — and

3.0 extend outwardly from the neck 26 of head section 12.

In the illustrated embodiment of the brush 10, head section 12 is unitarily formed of three readily discernable sections. Rim 20 defines the

35 upper edge of a mounting skirt 28 which is unitarily connected to neck 26 by an intermediate portion or

section 30. Intermediate section 30 has a radially inward taper as it extends from the relatively larger diameter periphery of skirt 28 to the cross- 5 sectionally smaller neck 26. Skirt 28 and neck 26 may each, as illustrated, have a substantially constant diameter or, alternatively, one or both may

1 0 selectively inwardly taper as they extend in the direction of fibers 14. Indeed, even where the exterior diameter of skirt 28 is substantially constant along its axial extent, the provision of a

15 predetermined taper on at least a portion of the interior periphery of wall 18 at skirt 28 may facilitate mounting of the brush 10 on the fluid discharge end of a particular operatively associated

20 dispenser (not shown).. Moreover, although it is generally contemplated that wall 18, howsoever formed, be substantially rigid so as to facilitate mounted retention of the brush on a fluid-containing

25 dispenser or other article, wall 18 (or a part or parts thereof) may also be provided with a predetermined flexibility or plasticity for use in a

3.0 particular application. In the disclosed embodiment of the brush 10, for example, wall 18 has a substantial thickness for providing a desired degree of rigidity, and the thickness of wall 18, or of a 5 part or parts thereof, may be varied to provide a predetermined rigidity or flexibility for a

particular use of the brush. All such modifications are within the scope and contemplation of the invention. 5

Brush 10 further includes a fluid distribution channel 32 which extends axially from the terminating end of head section neck 26 toward

1 0 the distal ends 16 of the fibers 14. Channel 32 is defined by an annular membrane 34 that depends from and forms an extension of wall 18 and is preferably fabricated so as to render membrane 34 flexible —

15 and most preferably resiliently flexible. Such flexibility prevents inadvertent damage to the workpiece, as for example scratching or chaffing of the skin of a user, should the brush be pressed with

20 undue force against the surface to which an application of fluid is intended. Where, as herein disclosed in accordance with the invention, brush 10 is unitarily formed in its entirety of the same material — such as a heat-fusible synthetic — the preferred flexibility of membrane 34 may be provided by significantly limiting its thickness,

3.C particularly with respect to the substantial thickness of the peripheral wall 18 byi which wall 18 is rendered relatively rigid.

Membrane 34 serves as the peripheral boundary

3 5 of the distribution channel 32 along which fluid is fed or directed from the brush head section 12 into

-li¬

the interior of the tuft of fibers 14 for selective, typically user-manipulated application to the workpiece. For this purpose channel 32 is provided 5 with a discharge outlet or opening 36 at its discharge or free end 38. The size of the opening 36 may be selected in accordance with the flow

1 0 characteristics of the fluid and-the desired volumetric rate of fluid application to the workpiece. Thus, some fluids and/or applications may dictate or suggest that the opening 36 be unusually

15 small so that, in order to discharge fluid onto the brush fibers for application to a workpiece, the fibers must be pressed against the workpiece with sufficient force to deform the distribution channel

20 membrane 34 and thereby force or otherwise facilitate the flow of fluid through the opening. In other cases, a relatively larger opening 36 permitting ready and substantially unimpeded flow of fluid discharged from an attached or associated dispenser onto the brush fibers 14 may be provided. The size of the opening 36, therefore, is a matter of design

3.0 choice.

Since it is generally intended that fluid be delivered from distribution channel 32 onto the fibers 14 at a location within the tuft suitable for

35 enabling appropriate distribution of the fluid amongst the plural, relatively moveable fibers and

thereby facilitating user-controllable application of the fluid to the workpiece, the particular point along the axial extension of the fibers at which 5 fluid is discharged onto the fibers from distribution channel 32 may be varied as a matter of design choice with attention to the characteristics

1 0 of the fluid to be dispensed, the manner of its intended application to the workpiece, and any pertinent aspects of the workpiece. It should in any event be clearly understood that membrane 34 extends

15 preferably substantially axially from neck 26 toward the distal ends 16 of the fibers and terminates at its free end 38 proximate but short of the fiber ends. Proximate, as thus used in this disclosure in

20 - connection with the brush 10, is accordingly intended to broadly cover a wide range of axial extensions of fluid distribution channel 32 and of

Z c membrane 34 from the head section neck 26 toward the free ends 16 of the brush fibers.

The membrane-bounded distribution channel 32 may, as illustrated, have a gentle or moderate inward

3.0 taper or slope as it extends axially toward the fiber ends 16. The rate of inward taper may be substantially constant or may, alternatively, vary along the axial extension of channel 32. It is,

35 however, generally anticipated that to the extent that opening 36 has a diameter less than the

peripheral diameter of the membrane substantially adjacent the channel's free end 38, the free end 38 will have a relatively sharp inward taper so as to 5 facilitate discharge of the fluid from channel 32 onto fibers 14 through opening 36. Configurations in which the channel free end 38 lacks a sharp inward taper are, nevertheless, contemplated.

1 0

Also contemplated are modifications of distribution channel 32 having substantially no inward taper, or having axially-extending sections or

15 areas having substantially no inward taper. Here again, however, it is anticipated that such modified constructions may have a relatively sharp inward taper at or adjacent the free end 38 of membrane 34.

20 In a modified embodiment (not shown) of the brush having a substantially untapered membrane 34 from its juncture with neck 26 to at least proximate discharge opening 36, the membrane may be integrally joined to 5 or otherwise depend from the interior periphery of neck 26 so as to provide a diameter sufficiently smaller than that of neck 26 to enable ready

3.0 disposition of channel 32 fully within the radial

- interior of fibers 14.

In use, fluid fed to brush 10 from an associated dispenser or other fluid source enters the 5 brush at opening 24 and is directed along head section 12 through its hollow interior. From head

section 12, the fluid enters and flows through distribution channel 32 from which it is discharged onto the fibers 14 through outlet 36. The placement 5 of outlet 36 within the radial interior of the fiber tuft and in predetermined spaced relation with the fiber free ends 16 is such that the discharged fluid

1 0 is distributed throughout the fibers, particularly at or proximate their free ends 16, to an extent commensurate with the particular intended use of the brush 10. Where, for example, the fluid is a nail

15 polish or enamel intended for broad application to a user's nails, a relatively wide dispersion of the fluid among the brush fibers is desireable. A fluid such as mascara, on the other hand, intended for

20 application to a selectively limited area or surface region may more appropriately require very limited dispersion of the fluid among the brush fibers after delivery to the fibers from within distribution channel 32.

A method for making a brush 10 in accordance with the invention will now be described with

3.G particular reference to FIGS. 4 to 17. In this first-disclosed and illustrative method the brush is fabricated in its entirety from a plurality of elongated fibers or filaments formed of a synthetic

35 heat-fusible material so that the entire resulting brush is unitarily constructed of the same synthetic

material such, for example, as a polymer such as nylon or polyester. The fibers are initially assembled into a tuft of said fibers and then placed 5 into a holder in -which the fibers are retained during the remainder of the brush-fabricating process.

Typically, as is known in the art, a multiplicity of

1 0 such fibers are arranged in parallel relationship in a puck or other supply container from which a desired quantity and/or density of fibers is picked to form a tuft of desired cross-sectional shape.

1 5 Thus, in accordance with the method of the invention a pick-up tube 40 (FIG. 5) is inserted into a puck

(not shown) or the like containing a multiplicity of parallel synthetic fibers and, when the pick-up tube

20 • is subsequently withdrawn from the puck, it contains a plurality of the fibers defining a fiber tuft or bundle 42. The fibers contained in the puck and picked by reciprocated insertion and withdrawal of 25 tube 40 may be cut-to-length before picking, as is preferred, or may be cut down to appropriate length subsequent to the fiber picking operation. In any

3.0 event, it is generally intended that all of the plural fibers forming the tuft 42 be of 1 substantially the same length at least prior to the first fusing of the fibers as hereinafter described. 5 A suitable holder into which the tuft 42 of fibers may be received for further processing in the

fabrication of the brush 10 is illustrated, by way of example, in FIGS. 4A and 4B. This tuft holder or mold 44 includes a cavity 46 extending into the 5 interior of the mold for receiving and retaining the tuft of fibers during the brush-fabricating process.

Cavity 46 is specially configured in accordance with

1 0 the intended final configuration of the brush as will hereinafter become clear.

Mold 44 comprises a mold head or die 48 formed of a readily heat-conducting and retaining

15 material and disposed at that portion of the mold which carries the open end of tuft-receiving cavity

46. Mold head 48 peripherally bounds cavity 46 throughout the entire axial extent of the head

20 section 12 to be formed on the completed brush 10 in the practice of the method of the invention. The remainder or lower-disposed (in FIG. 4A) base section 50 of mold 44 — i.e. that portion peripherally bounding the relatively freely movable fibers 14 in the completed brush 10 — is formed of a material that neither retains nor absorbs heat. A

3.0 presently contemplated material for this base section 50 of the mold is asbestos, although numerous alternate materials — such, for example, as various nonferrous materials — may be utilized.

35 The upper (in- he Figures) portion of tuft- receiving cavity 46 — that portion bounded by mold

head 48 — has the same peripheral shape as the intended final exterior configuration of the completed brush head section 12. Thus, this upper 5 portion of cavity 46 includes respective wall sections 52, 54, 56 diametrically corresponding to the mounting skirt 28, the. intermediate portion 30

1 0 and the neck 26 of head section 12 of the brush 10.

This correspondence is a result of the fact that, as is hereinafter described, the peripheral wall 18 of head section 12 is formed along the internal

15 peripheral wall sections 52, 54, 56 of cavity 46 in mold head 48 which, accordingly, determine the final exterior shape of the brush head section 12. Other configurations of the internal peripheral wall of

20 mold head 48 are, of course, within the scope and contemplation of the invention.

After having been picked from the puck or other supply of fibers by tube 40, the fiber tuft 42 25 is inserted into mold cavity 46 through the cavity open end 58. The transfer of the tuft from the pick¬ up tube to a receiver — such as the mold 44 of the

3.0 invention — may be effected in any conventional or otherwise appropriate manner such, for example, as by driving the tuft from the tube by operation of a reciprocatable piston or using compressed or a

35 pressurized gaseous fluid such as air or the like.

In any event, pick-up tube 40 is moved into

suitable abutment or proximity with mold head 48 and the tuft 42 of fibers is driven into cavity " 46 until the distal ends 60 of the fibers and tuft

5 substantially abut the cavity bottom 62. The pick-up tube is then retracted (FIG. 6) from the mold. As illustrated in FIGS. 6 and 7, the cut-to-length

1 0 elongated .fibers are preferably sized so as to initially protrude beyond the top surface 63 of the mold at the cavity open end 58 by an amount selected to provide a sufficient volume of the synthetic

15 material of the fibers for forming the preferably relatively thick peripheral wall 18 of the completed brush 10.

In a preferred form of the method of the

20 invention, the tuft 42 of fibers has a diameter which is at least slightly or marginally greater than the smallest internal diameter of the mold cavity 46 so that, as received in the mold cavity, the tuft forms an interference or frictional fit with the peripheral wall of the cavity. Put another way, at least a portion of the fiber tuft is sufficiently

3.0 diametrically compressed so that, were the mold body 44 to be inverted a full 180 degrees immediately after receiving the tuft, the fibers would not drop or otherwise fall out of the mold cavity but would,

35 rather, be retained in the mold by reason of the interference fit. While no such inversion of the

mold body is currently contemplated in the normal practice of the inventive method, the interference fit or resulting marginal diametric compression of

5 the tuft in the mold cavity advantageously discourages upward movement of fibers as fusing heat is applied about their upper ends as will hereinafter be described.

1 0

The preferred interference fit may be readily attained by utilizing a pick-up tube 40 having an internal diameter at least slightly or marginally

15 greater than the smallest, internal diameter of the mold cavity 46. For example, with a mold cavity 46 having an internal diameter of 0.140 inches at the juncture of the mold head 48 of base section 50, a

20 fiber tuft pick-up tube having an internal diameter of 0.160 inches may be employed to provide a suitable interference fit. Other apparatus and/or methods of attaining the preferred interference fit of the fiber 25 tuft in the mold are fully within the scope of the invention.

It is also contemplated that, in an alternate

3.0 form of the brush and in further accordance with the method of the invention, the free or bottom or work end of the brush 10 be provided.-with a contour — other than that illustrated in the drawing — 5 defined by fiber ends 16 of variously graduated or otherwise different lengths. For this purpose, the

cavity bottom 62 of mold 44 may have a contour (not shown) corresponding to the desired final contour of the brush end, so that as the fiber tuft 42 is 5 ejected or driven from pick-up tube 40 into mold cavity 46 the respective fiber ends 16 move into abutment with the corresponding portions of the

1 0 contoured cavity bottom 62. Following receipt of the fiber tuft fully within the mold cavity, such that " the fiber ends 16 abut the contoured surface 62, the opposite (i.e. proximal) ends of the fibers may be

15 variously trimmed to length, as may be necessary, prior to the ensuing heat fusing step of the inventive method. The mold 44 may additionally, both in the methods of the invention herein described and

20 illustrated and in this further modification for providing a selectively contoured brush end, be vibrated or driven or otherwise subjected to forces sufficient to facilitate downward movement of all of the fiber ends 16 into abutment with the cavity bottom 62.

A heater or die block 64, which is maintained

3.G during the entire period of its reciprocation at a temperature sufficient to effect substantially immediate or at least rapid fusing of the synthetic material of the fibers, is then moved into heat

3 transfer relation with the mold head 48. Where the synthetic material is nylon, block 64 may be

aintained at a temperature of, for example, approximately 550° to 600° F. which is suitably above the melting point or range of the material. As seen 5 in FIGS. 7 and 8, block 64 has a contact face 66 arranged in this first-disclosed method of fabricating the brush for reciprocated abutment with

1 0 the surface 63 of mold 44 and, in addition, a recess

68 aligned with and substantially corresponding in cross-sectional size to that of the wall section 52 of cavity 46. Thus, when the heated block 64 is

15 placed in surface-to-surface abutment with the head

48 of mold 44, there is a transfer or communication of heat from the heated block 64 to the relatively cooler mold head 48 and the temperature within the

20 confined space bounded by block recess 68 and the upper portion of cavity 46 at head 48 is raised to a point sufficient to cause melting of the fibers contained therewithin. This heat transfer abutment of the block 64 and mold head 48 is maintained for a period — of, for example, approximately 5 to 10 seconds where the synthetic material is nylon and the

3.0 temperature of block 64 is held at approximately 550° to 600° F. — selected so that, when the heated block is subsequently retracted (FIG.- ' 9) , the synthetic material within the mold head 48 has fused and formed along the interior peripheral will sections f 52, 54, 56 the relatively thick wall 18 of the brush.

The lower portions of the fibers, on the other hand, by reason of their containment within that portion of the cavity 46 bounded by base 50, remain unfused and 5 thus retain their original elongated filamentary form. These unfused and relatively movable fibers are, however, unitarily connected at and depend from

1 0 the fused synthetic material within the mold head 48, which fused material defines the wall 18 and has been formed from the original proximal ends of the fibers.

In a preferred form of the invention, the

15 mold head 48 is preheated prior to movement of the heater block 64 into heat transfer relation with the mold head, to a temperature suitably below the melting point or range of the material of the fibers.

20 A preheat temperature of as low as 125° F. — or even less, as a matter of design choice — may be employed, and the preheat temperature may also of course be appreciably higher so long, once again, as

-_ 1 it is less than the fiber material melting point or range. Such preheating advantageously facilitates the subsequent fusing operation in which the brush

3.0 wall 18 is formed and, in addition, notably decreases the cycle time for performing sequentially continuous fabrication of a plurality of brushes. Heating of the mold head may be effected in any appropriate

35 manner such, for example, as by incorporating heater elements integrally within the mold head wall, or

through heating of a substantially confined area within which the mold is situate.

The membrane 34 of the fluid distribution 5 channel 32 of the brush is next formed by inserting a heated pin 70 into mold cavity 46 through its open end 58. Pin 70 is constructed of a suitably high

1 0 heat-conductive material such, by way of example, as copper or bronze. Referring to FIG. 10, pin 70 includes an elongated rod or shaft 72 along which the distribution channel membrane 34 is formed and which

1 5 is carried on a base 74 and a step 76. The radial peripheries of base 74 and step 76 conform to the intended final configurations of the interior faces of the brush wall 18 at the skirt 28 and intermediate

20 portion 30, respectively, and are cross-sectionally sized smaller than the cross-sectional sizes of the respective peripheral wall sections 52, 54 by an amount corresponding to the intended final thickness 25 of the peripheral brush wall 18 at skirt 28 and intermediate portion 30. Thus, when heated pin 70 is inserted into mold cavity 46 (FIGS. 10 and 11) the

3.0 base 74 and step 76 provide, to the extent necessary, final shaping of the skirt and intermediate portions 28, 30 of the brush head section 12.

The upper portion of shaft 72 — i.e. that 5 portion immediately adjacent step 76 — has the cross-sectional shape and size of the interior face

of brush wall 18 at neck 26. The remainder of shaft

72 substantially corresponds in shape and size to the intended final configuratiori ' of channel 32. In the 5 form of the brush 10 illustrated in FIGS. 1 to 3 and to which the herein-described method of fabrication is particularly directed, channel 32 has only a

10 relatively gentle or moderate inward taper along its length — with the possible exception of a relatively sharp taper that may be provided immediately adjacent discharge opening 36 where the opening 36 has a

15 diameter substantially smaller than the diameter of the membrane at its free end. Of course, a variety of tapers may be applied, in accordance with the invention, to the channel 32 by appropriate

20 • modification of the configuration of shaft 72, and a channel 32 having substantially no inward taper along its length except, perhaps, immediately adjacent discharge opening 36 is also contemplated. It is, in 25 any event, important where a one-piece mold of the type disclosed is employed that the cross-sectional size of the exterior periphery of channel 32 at its

3.0 juncture with brush neck 26 be no larger than the exterior periphery of neck 26 so as to permit ready removal of the completed brush 10 from the mold (FIGS. 16 and 17), as will hereinafter become

35 apparent.

Referring now to FIG. 10, prior to movement

into fusing relation with mold 44 the pin 70 is heated to a temperature sufficient to cause melting of the synthetic material of the fibers. Where that

5 material is for example nylon, a temperature of approximately 550° to 600° F. is presently contemplated although the pin temperature, so long as

1 0 above the material's melting point or range, is not generally critical. The pin is then moved into fully seated position in mold cavity 46 — determined for example by abutment of pin platform face 78 with

1 5 mold surface 63 — as illustrated in FIG. 11. At some point before the attainment of full seating of pin 70 in cavity 46, and preferably immediately before insertion of the pin into the mold, the

20 heating of the pin is discontinued to enable suitably gradual cooling of the pin 70 while disposed in the mold cavity.

When first moved into fully inserted position in the mold cavity, the temperature of pin 70 is sufficient to cause substantially immediate fusing of the adjacent synthetic material. As a consequence,

3.0 the interior faces of the brush head sections

28, 30, 26 are fused to their final shapes by the base 74, step 76 and upper portion of shaft 72, respectively, the brush rim 20 is formed against pin 5 platform face 78, and the remainder of shaft 72 forms the brush membrane 34 from the adjacent fibers

disposed in the base section 50 of the mold. At this point, it should be noted, the bottom or free end 38 of the distribution channel 32 '' defined by 5 membrane 34 is closed.

The dwell time of pin 70 — i.e. the time that the preheated pin remains within cavity 46

10 before its withdrawal therefrom — is preferably less than the period during which heater block 64 is held in heat transfer relation with mold 44, assuming that block 64 and pin 70 are heated to substantially the

15 same temperature for fusing of the synthetic material. At the temperatures and with the materials herein mentioned by way of example for fabricating a brush having a total length of about 1 1/4 inches, a

20 pin dwell time of approximately 1 to 5 seconds is preferred. Indeed, more important than the dwell time of the pin is the combination of the initial pin temperature on insertion into the mold cavity and of 25 the rate of cooling of the pin, since it is generally intended that pin 70 — and particularly that portion of shaft 72 that forms the distribution

3.0 channel membrane 34 — remain at a temperature sufficient to fuse the synthetic material for only. a relatively brief interval before cooling to a temperature below the melting point or range of the

35 material. This assures that, as is most preferred, the membrane 34 so formed is relatively thin, for

exa ple with respect to the brush wall 18, and therefore sufficiently flexible to prevent damage to the workpiece or discomfort to the user should the 5 brush be pressed with undue force against the surface to which fluid is being applied. In addition, the cooling of the pin 70 below the melting point or range of the synthetic material of the brush prior to withdrawal of the pin from the mold cavity 46 assures that the fused synthetic material in immediate abutment with the pin will not stick or adhere to the pin as it is retracted from the mold. Those skilled in the art will understand and appreciate that the rate of cooling of pin 70 may be appreciably increased by circulating a cooling fluid through its

2-0 interior or in any other suitable manner known in the art, thereby enabling the use of higher initial fusing temperatures and substantially shorter dwell times. 25

In a most preferred form of the inventive method, the mold head 48 is preheated, prior to movement of the heated pin 70 into the mold cavity 46

3.0 to form the fluid distribution channel 32 of the brush, to a temperature below the melting point or range of the material of the fibers. Where the synthetic fiber material is for example nylon or the 5 like, a currently most preferred mold head preheat temperature in connection with the heat-induced

formation of the fluid distribution channel is approximately 250° to 275° F. Such heating of the mold head 48 prior to the movement of the pin 70 into 5 the mold cavity 46 as depicted in FIGS. 10 and 11 has been found to facilitate formation of the fluid distribution channel 32, particularly in the quality

1 Q of the resulting molded brush structures and particularly, though not exclusively, in the area of the free or distal end 38 of the channel 32. It is further preferred that the said preheating of the

15 mold head be discontinued by approximately no later than full insertion of the pin 70 into the mold cavity 46 so as not to impede or retard the desired suitably rapid cooling of the pin, and the resulting

20 • setting of the fluid distribution channel membrane

34, for subsequent retraction of the pin 70.

Moreover, although the above-mentioned 250 to

275° F. preheat temperature range is currently most 25 preferred where the synthetic material of the brush is nylon or the like, both higher and lower preheat temperatures may alternatively be employed; it has

3.0 been observed that, for a constant dwell time of the pin 70 in the mold cavity 46, higher preheat temperatures result in a thicker — and therefore less flexible — membrane 34, whereas lower preheat

35 temperatures yield a thinner, less rigid membrane.

Thus, the preheat temperature may be selected, for a

given pin dwell time, to provide a membrane 34 having a predetermined or otherwise desired degree of flexibility or rigidity. The use of preheat 5 temperatures both higher and lower than that currently most preferred is, accordingly, within the scope and contemplation of the invention, as is the

1 0 practice of the inventive method without express preheating of the mold head immediately prior to formation of the distribution channel 32. In any event, such preheating may be implemented in any

15 convenient or appropriate manner such, for example, as by way of heating elements embedded in or otherwise integral with the mold head, or by appropriate space heating of the area within which

20 the mold is situate.

Following the formation of membrane 34 and retraction of pin 70 from the mold, a punch 80 is reciprocated into the mold cavity whereby the 25 sharpened tip 82 of the punch cuts the discharge outlet or opening 36 in the free end of the distribution channel membrane (FIGS. 12 and 13) . The

3.0 opening 36 is preferably substantially centered at the bottom of the fluid distribution channel 32 and such centering may be facilitated by suitable configuration of the pin shaft 72 to provide an 5 inward taper at the membrane end 38 to be cut by the punch; that taper, combined with the preferred

flexibility of the membrane 34, enables substantial self-centering of the punch as it contacts and cuts through the membrane to form the opening 36. 5

Punch 80 may advantageously be provided with a throughpassage 84 terminating at the sharpened tip

82. A piston may be driven or a gaseous fluid such

1 0 as air may be directed through passage 84 and outwardly through the tip end of the punch for displacing any loose fibers, as well as the portion of membrane 34 cut out by punch 80, from the brush

15 interior while the punch remains within cavity 46.

Mold 44 may correspondingly be provided, for example, with a vent aperture 86 or the like in its base section 50 through which such debris is dischargeable

20 by the piston or gas stream or is otherwise removable from within the mold cavity.

With the punch 80 thereafter withdrawn from the mold (FIG. 14) , fabrication of the brush 10 is 25 substantially complete. The completed brush may be removed from the mold cavity in any convenient manner, an example of which is depicted in FIGS. 15

3.0 to 17. As there shown, a rubber or similarly flexibly resilient pick-up member 88 is moved into the interior of the brush head section 12 to form an interference or press fit with the interior of

35 peripheral wall 18. When the member 88 is thereafter retracted from the mold, it carries with it the brush

18 which may then, for example, be mounted to a fluid dispenser or the like and/or, if desired, subjected to buffing or other finishing steps which form'no 5 part of the present invention.

In an alternate or modified — and currently most preferred — embodiment of the inventive brush- forming method, movement of the heated die 64 into

1 0 heat transfer relation with the mold head 48 is carried out by moving the die into closely proximate but spaced apart relation with the mold head; all

15 other aspects and method steps of this alternate method may be substantially as otherwise hereinabove described and illustrated in FIGS. 5 to 17. The transfer of filament fusing heat from the heated die

20 to the closely proximately spaced mold thus occurs at a slightly reduced rate that results in more even fusing of the fibers and further facilitates control of the melt and formation of the brush wall 18; 25 significantly, the resulting brush has been found to exhibit enhanced physical structure and increased brush-to-brush uniformity than where the heated die

3.0 and mold head are brought into full abutment as illustrated in FIG. 8.

The modified steps of this second embodiment of the inventive method will now be described with 5 particular reference to FIGS. 18 to 21 which generally correspond to FIGS. 6 to 9, respectively,

of the first-disclosed method. It should first be noted that although the same mold 44 and heated die block 64 may be employed, a differently-configured 5 mold and die set such as that depicted in FIGS. 18 to

21 may be substituted therefor. Thus, the upper or head section 90 of the modified mold 92 has a

1 0 frustoconical outer periphery 94 which tapers inwardly from a radial shoulder 96 to the top surface or face 98 through which the open end 58 of the mold cavity 46 is defined. The mating heated die block

15 100 includes a correspondingly shaped recess 102 of frustoconical configuration and which inwardly tapers from the front face 104 of the die block.

Parenthetically, the modified mold 92 and die block

20 100 may also be utilized in the practice of the first-disclosed method wherein the transfer of heat to the mold is effected through surface-to-surface contact with the heated die block. -.—c I

In FIG. 18, the pick-up tube 40 is shown in the course of its withdrawal after having deposited the tuft or bundle 42 of elongated fibers within —

3.0 and preferably frictionally within — the mold cavity 46. Unless the head section 90 of the mojld is normally maintained at an elevated temperature less than the melting point or range of the fiber

35 material, the head section is then (or by then) preferably preheated to an appropriate temperature

such, for example, as 125° to 150° F. where the fiber material is nylon or the like, in preparation for the heat-fused formation of the brush wall 18. The die 5 block 100, heated to a temperature sufficiently in excess of the fiber material melting point or range as previously described, is next reciprocated from

10 its FIG. 19 position remote from the- mold head to its

FIG. 20 position in which the heated die is held in closely proximate but spaced apart relation with the mold 92 and, more particularly, with the mold head

15 section 90. The frustoconical periphery 94 of the mold head 90 and the corresponding taper of the die block recess 102 are sized to enable the former to nest with the latter, for example in the manner

20 depicted in FIG. 20, and so as to define an interior space 106 sufficient for accommodating the upward, premelt extension of the fibers in the mold, preferably without permitting contact of the fiber upper ends with the walls of the die block recess

102. For example, at temperatures appropriate for use with nylon fibers, a spacing of approximately

3.0 0.004 inches between the confrontingly opposite tapered walls of the heated die 100 and the mold head section 90 has been found satisfactory. Then, after an appropriate interval of close proximity with the 5 mold head, the heated die is withdrawn or retracted leaving (FIG. 21) the now partly-completed brush with

its ewly-formed peripheral wall 18 disposed about the interior peripheral wall surfaces of the mold head cavity. 5

Numerous additional modifications to one or both of the currently preferred and herein described methods of forming a molded brush are intended and

1 0 will be apparent from the foregoing disclosure. For example, alternate constructions of the heated pin " 70 for defining the discharge opening 36 concurrently with the formation of the distribution channel

15 membrane 34 — thereby obviating the need for a separate punch 80 and/or an ensuing method step for forming the opening 36 — are contemplated. For this purpose and by way of example, the punch or the like

20 for creating the opening 36 may reciprocate through the fluid distribution channel-defining heated pin, e.g. while the heated pin remains inserted in the brush body or concurrent with the subsequent ..J retraction or withdrawal of the pin therefrom. Thus, while there have been shown and described and pointed out fundamental novel features

3.0 of the invention as applied to preferred embodiments thereof, it will be understood that various omissions and substitutions and changes in the form and details of the disclosed methods may be made by those

35 skilled in the art without departing from the spirit of the invention. It is the intention, therefore, to

be limited only as indicated by the scope of the claims appended hereto.

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15

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3.0