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Patent Searching and Data


Title:
TENSIONING DEVICE
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2019/213213
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A tensioning device includes a housing, a drive member, a driven member, and a cable member. The housing includes an attachment feature. The drive member is rotatably coupled with the housing. The driven member is disposed in the housing and is operably coupled with the drive member. The cable member is coupled with the driven member. The driven member is slidably coupled with the housing such that the driven member and the cable member are slidable together between a retracted position and an extended position in response to rotation of the drive member.

Inventors:
SQUIRES, Timothy P. (3300 Wysong RoadTraverse City, MI, 49685, US)
HANNA, Ronald J. (3300 Wysong RoadTraverse City, MI, 49685, US)
LAMB, Kenneth J. (3300 Wysong RoadTraverse City, MI, 49685, US)
BULLARD, Joseph Krumme (7030 Stress Engineering WayMason, OH, 45040, US)
Application Number:
US2019/030139
Publication Date:
November 07, 2019
Filing Date:
May 01, 2019
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
SQUIRES, Timothy P. (3300 Wysong RoadTraverse City, MI, 49685, US)
HANNA, Ronald J. (3300 Wysong RoadTraverse City, MI, 49685, US)
LAMB, Kenneth J. (3300 Wysong RoadTraverse City, MI, 49685, US)
BULLARD, Joseph Krumme (7030 Stress Engineering WayMason, OH, 45040, US)
International Classes:
B25B25/00; B60P3/079; B65H59/40; F16G11/12; F16M13/02
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
VOIT, Seth A. et al. (Ulmer & Berne LLP, 600 Vine St. Ste. 280, Cincinnati OH, 45202, US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
WHAT IS CLAIMED IS:

1. A tensioning device comprising:

a housing comprising a first attachment feature;

a drive member rotatably coupled with the housing;

a driven member disposed in the housing and operably coupled with the drive member; a cable member coupled with the driven member; and

a tension sensor configured to detect a tension force applied between the first attachment feature and the cable member, wherein the driven member is slidably coupled with the housing such that the driven member and the cable member are slidable together between a retracted position and an extended position in response to rotation of the drive member.

2. The tensioning device of claim 1 further comprising an inner sleeve disposed in the housing, wherein:

the inner sleeve is coupled with the drive member and is rotatable together with the drive member relative to the housing; and

the driven member is disposed within the inner sleeve and is slidably coupled with the inner sleeve such that rotation of the inner sleeve facilitates sliding of the driven member and the cable member together between the retracted position and the extended position.

3. The tensioning device of claim 2 further comprising a clutch assembly that facilitates selective coupling between the drive member and the inner sleeve.

4. The tensioning device of claim 2 wherein the driven member is threadably coupled with the inner sleeve.

5. The tensioning device of claim 2 further comprising at least one anti -rotation member that prevents rotation of the driven member when the drive member and the inner sleeve are rotated.

6. The tensioning device of claim 1 wherein the tension sensor comprises a display that is configured to display the tension force applied between the first attachment feature and the cable member.

7. The tensioning device of claim 1 wherein the tension sensor comprises a wireless

communication module that is configured to wirelessly transmit tension data to a remote computing device.

8. The tensioning device of claim 1 further comprising a second attachment feature coupled with the cable member, the tension sensor being coupled with one of the first attachment feature and the second attachment feature.

9. The tensioning device of claim 8 wherein the tension sensor comprises a strain gage.

10. The tensioning device of claim 9 wherein one or more of the first attachment feature and the second attachment feature comprises a hook.

11. A tensioning device comprising:

a housing comprising a first attachment feature;

a drive member rotatably coupled with the housing;

a driven member disposed in the housing and operably coupled with the drive member; a cable member coupled with the driven member;

a sensor configured to detect a physical parameter of the tensioning device; and a wireless communication module that is configured to wirelessly transmit physical parameter data to a remote computing device, wherein the driven member is slidably coupled with the housing such that the driven member and the cable member are slidable together between a retracted position and an extended position in response to rotation of the drive member.

12. The tensioning device of claim 11 wherein the sensor is configured to detect one of a temperature, a physical location, an inclination angle, and a moisture level.

13. The tensioning device of claim 12 wherein the sensor comprises a display that is configured to display the physical parameter to a user.

14. The tensioning device of claim 12 further comprising an inner sleeve disposed in the housing, wherein:

the inner sleeve is coupled with the drive member and is rotatable together with the drive member relative to the housing; and

the driven member is disposed within the inner sleeve and is slidably coupled with the inner sleeve such that rotation of the inner sleeve facilitates sliding of the driven member and the cable member together between the retracted position and the extended position.

15. The tensioning device of claim 14 wherein the driven member is threadably coupled with the inner sleeve.

16. A tensioning device comprising: a housing comprising a first hook;

a drive member rotatably coupled with the housing;

a driven member disposed in the housing and operably coupled with the drive member; a cable member coupled with the driven member;

a second hook coupled with the cable member;

a tension sensor coupled with one of the first hook and the second hook and configured to detect a tension force applied between the first hook and the second hook; and

a wireless communication module that is configured to wirelessly transmit tension data to a remote computing device, wherein the driven member is slidably coupled with the housing such that the driven member and the cable member are slidable together between a retracted position and an extended position in response to rotation of the drive member.

17. The tensioning device of claim 16 wherein the tension sensor is coupled with the second hook.

18. The tensioning device of claim 17 wherein the tension sensor comprises a strain gage.

19. The tensioning device of claim 18 wherein the tension sensor further comprises a power supply that is embedded in the second hook.

20. The tensioning device of claim 19 further comprising:

an inner sleeve disposed in the housing; and

a clutch assembly that facilitates selective coupling between the drive member and the inner sleeve, wherein:

the inner sleeve is coupled with the drive member and is rotatable together with the drive member relative to the housing; and

the driven member is disposed within the inner sleeve and is slidably coupled with the inner sleeve such that rotation of the inner sleeve facilitates sliding of the driven member and the cable member together between the retracted position and the extended position.

Description:
TENSIONING DEVICE

REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

[0001] This application claims priority of U.S. provisional patent application Serial No.

62/665,053, entitled TENSIONING DEVICE, filed May 1, 2018, and hereby incorporates this provisional patent application by reference herein in its entirety.

TECHNICAL FIELD

[0002] The apparatus and methods described below generally relate to a tensioning device that can be coupled with opposing ends of a lashing member. The tensioning device is operable to adjust the tension on the lashing member.

BACKGROUND

[0003] Conventional tensioning devices, such as come-a-longs and turn buckles, are oftentimes too bulky and cumbersome for use in confined areas, such as when lashing a tree stand or securing a load to a vehicle. In addition, tension imparted by the tensioning device is difficult to control and can oftentimes result in significant overtightening or under tightening.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0004] Various embodiments will become better understood with regard to the following description, appended claims and accompanying drawings wherein:

[0005] FIG. 1 is an isometric cross sectional view depicting a tensioning device, in accordance with one embodiment;

[0006] FIG. 2 is an enlarged isometric view of the encircled portion of the tensioning device of FIG. 1;

[0007] FIG. 3 is an isometric cross sectional view depicting a tensioning device, in accordance with another embodiment; [0008] FIG. 4 is an enlarged isometric view of the encircled portion of the tensioning device of FIG. 3;

[0009] FIG. 5 is an isometric cross sectional view depicting a drive member of the tensioning device of FIG. 3;

[0010] FIG. 6 is an isometric cross sectional view depicting a housing of a housing assembly of the tensioning device of FIG. 3;

[0011] FIG. 7 is an isometric cross sectional view depicting a tensioning device, in accordance with yet another embodiment;

[0012] FIG. 8 is an enlarged isometric view of the encircled portion of the tensioning device of FIG. 7;

[0013] FIG. 9 is an enlarged sectional plan view depicting the tensioning device of FIG.

7;

[0014] FIG. 10 is an isometric cross sectional view depicting a tensioning device, in accordance with still yet another embodiment;

[0015] FIG. 11 is an enlarged isometric view of the encircled portion of the tensioning device of FIG. 10;

[0016] FIG. 12 is an isometric sectional view depicting a drive member of the tensioning device of FIG. 10;

[0017] FIG. 13 is an enlarged isometric cross sectional view depicting a tensioning device, in accordance with still yet another embodiment;

[0018] FIG. 14 is an isometric cross sectional view depicting a tensioning device, in accordance with still yet another embodiment;

[0019] FIG. 15 is a cross sectional plan view depicting the tensioning device of FIG. 14; [0020] FIG. 16 is an isometric sectional view depicting a tensioning device, in accordance with still yet another embodiment;

[0021] FIG. 17 is an enlarged isometric view depicting the tensioning device of FIG. 16;

[0022] FIG. 18 is an isometric view depicting a tensioning device, in accordance with still yet another embodiment;

[0023] FIG. 19 is an enlarged partially exploded isometric view depicting the tensioning device of FIG. 18;

[0024] FIG. 20 is an isometric view depicting a tensioning device, in accordance with still yet another embodiment;

[0025] FIG. 21 is an isometric view depicting a tensioning device, in accordance with still yet another embodiment;

[0026] FIG. 22 is an enlarged isometric view depicting a tensioning device, in accordance with still yet another embodiment;

[0027] FIG. 23 is an isometric view depicting a drive member of the tensioning device of

FIG. 22;

[0028] FIG. 24 is an enlarged isometric view depicting a tensioning device, in accordance with still yet another embodiment;

[0029] FIG. 25 is an enlarged view depicting a tensioning device, in accordance with still yet another embodiment, and with a visual indicator shown in an under-torque condition;

[0030] FIG. 26 is an enlarged view depicting the tensioning device of FIG. 25 but with the visual indicator shown in an at-torque or over-torque condition;

[0031] FIG. 27 is an enlarged isometric cross sectional view depicting a tensioning device, in accordance with still yet another embodiment, and with a clutch assembly shown in an under-torque condition; [0032] FIG. 28 is an enlarged view depicting the tensioning device of FIG. 27 but with the clutch assembly shown in an at-torque or over-torque condition;

[0033] FIG. 29 is an enlarged isometric cross sectional view depicting a tensioning device, in accordance with still yet another embodiment, and with a clutch assembly shown in an under-torque condition;

[0034] FIG. 30 is an enlarged view depicting the tensioning device of FIG. 29 but with the clutch assembly shown in an at-torque or over-torque condition;

[0035] FIG. 31 is an enlarged isometric sectional view depicting a tensioning device, in accordance with still yet another embodiment, and with a clutch assembly shown in an under torque condition;

[0036] FIG. 32 is an enlarged view depicting the tensioning device of FIG. 31 but with the clutch assembly shown in an at-torque or over-torque condition;

[0037] FIG. 33 is an isometric cross sectional view depicting a clutch assembly, in accordance with another embodiment;

[0038] FIG. 34 is an isometric view depicting a clutch assembly, in accordance with yet another embodiment, and with the clutch assembly shown in an under-torque condition;

[0039] FIG. 35 is an isometric view depicting the clutch assembly of FIG. 34 but with the clutch assembly shown in an at-torque or over-torque condition;

[0040] FIG. 36 is a cross sectional view of the clutch assembly taken along the line 36-36 of FIG. 34;

[0041] FIG. 37 is an enlarged isometric sectional view depicting a tensioning device having a cable, in accordance with still yet another embodiment;

[0042] FIG. 38 is an enlarged isometric sectional view depicting a tensioning device, in accordance with still yet another embodiment; [0043] FIG. 39 is an enlarged isometric view depicting a cable, in accordance with another embodiment;

[0044] FIGS. 40A-40H are isometric sectional views of various alternative arrangements for a housing of a housing assembly of a tensioning member;

[0045] FIG. 41 is an isometric view depicting a tensioning device, in accordance with still yet another embodiment;

[0046] FIG. 42 is an exploded isometric view of the tensioning device of FIG. 41;

[0047] FIG. 43 is a cross sectional view of the tensioning device taken along the line 43-

43 of FIG. 41;

[0048] FIG. 44 is an enlarged view of a tension sensor and a hook of the tensioning device of FIG. 41;

[0049] FIG. 45 is a schematic view of the tension sensor of FIG. 44;

[0050] FIG. 46 is an isometric view depicting a tensioning device, in accordance with still yet another embodiment;

[0051] FIG. 47 is an exploded isometric view of the tensioning device of FIG. 46;

[0052] FIG. 48 is a cross sectional view of the tensioning device taken along the line 48-

48 of FIG. 46;

[0053] FIG. 49 is an isometric view depicting a tensioning device, in accordance with still yet another embodiment;

[0054] FIG. 50 is an exploded isometric view of the tensioning device of FIG. 49; and

[0055] FIG. 51 is a cross sectional view of the tensioning device taken along the line 51-

51 of FIG. 49. PET ATT, ED DESCRIPTION

[0056] Embodiments are hereinafter described in detail in connection with the views and examples of FIGS. 1-51, wherein like numbers indicate the same or corresponding elements throughout the views. FIGS. 1 and 2 illustrate a tensioning device 10 that can be attached to opposing ends of a lashing member (e.g., a strap, a rope, a cable, a chain) (not shown) to selectively impart tension thereto as will be described in further detail below. The tensioning device 10 can comprise a housing assembly 12, a drive stem 14, a clutch assembly 16, a drive member 18, and a driven member 20. The housing assembly 12 can comprise a housing 22, a proximal cap 24, and a distal cap 26. The proximal cap 24 and the distal cap 26 can secured to opposing ends of the housing 22 via threaded engagement or any of a variety of suitable alternative securement methods (e.g., welding, adhesive, press-fit). The proximal cap 24 and the distal cap 26 can cooperate to define an interior 28. The housing 22 of the housing assembly 12 is shown to be substantially tubular shaped.

[0057] The drive stem 14 can be rotatably coupled to the housing assembly 12 and can comprise a threaded end 32 and a drive end 34. The drive stem 14 can be disposed in the interior 28 and can extend between the proximal cap 24 and the distal cap 26 such that the drive end 34 is located at the proximal cap 24 and the threaded end 32 is located at the distal cap 26. The clutch assembly 16 can be located at the proximal cap 24 and operably coupled with the drive end 34 of the drive stem 14. The drive member 18 can be operably coupled with the clutch assembly 16 and can extend from the proximal cap 24 and can be at least partially external to the interior 28 such that the drive member 18 is accessible along an exterior of the drive stem 14.

[0058] The drive member 18 can be rotated which can facilitate rotation of the drive stem

14 via the clutch assembly 16. The clutch assembly 16 can be configured to selectively decouple the drive member 18 from the drive stem 14 when a particular torque is imparted to the drive member 18. The drive member 18 can be shaped to enable mechanical mating with a tool. In one embodiment, as illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2, the drive member 18 can be hexagonal shaped to allow for selective interaction and with a wrench or socket that can be used to rotate the drive member 18. However, it is to be appreciated that the drive member 18 can be configured to mate with any of a variety of suitable alternative tools, such as an Allen bit, a Torx bit, or pliers, for example.

[0059] The driven member 20 can be disposed in the interior 28 and can be slidably coupled with the housing 22 of the housing assembly 12. As illustrated in FIG. 2, the driven member 20 can comprise a central body 36 and a pair of tab members 38 extending from the central body 36. The housing 22 of the housing assembly 12 can define a pair of elongated slots 40 that extend between the proximal cap 24 (FIG. 1) and the distal cap 26. Each of the tab members 38 can extend into one of the elongated slots 40 such that the tab members 38 are nested in the elongated slots 40. The driven member 20 can be configured to slide along the interior 28 of the housing 22 between the proximal cap 24 and the distal cap 26. The tab members 38 can interact with the elongated slots 40 to prevent rotation of the driven member 20 during such sliding. The central body 36 is shown to be substantially hexagonal shaped. An interior surface 42 of the housing 22 can be similarly shaped (e.g., hexagonal shaped) to allow for sliding of the driven member 20 within the interior 28 while also contributing to preventing rotation of the driven member 20.

[0060] Still referring to FIG. 2, the driven member 20 can define a pair of passages 44. A cable member 46 can be routed through the passages 44 and secured to the driven member 20 with nuts 48. The cable member 46 can be routed through the distal cap 26 such that it extends from the distal cap 26 and is accessible from the exterior of the tensioning device 10. The cable member 46 is shown to be provided in a looped arrangement with a clamp member 50 that gathers the cable member 46 together. The clamp member 50 can be slidable along the cable member 46 to enable the overall size of the looped arrangement to be varied. It is to be appreciated that although a cable member is described, any of a variety of suitable alternative attachment features can be provided, such as, for example, a rope, a hook, a strap, or a chain.

[0061] The threaded end 32 of the drive stem 14 can extend through the central body 36 of the driven member 20 and can be threadably engaged therewith. Rotation of the drive stem 14 (e.g., via rotation of the drive member 18) can cause the driven member 20 to either slide towards the proximal cap 24 or the distal cap 26 depending on the rotational direction of the drive stem 14. Sliding of the driven member 20 towards the proximal cap 24 can cause the cable member 46 to be retracted into the interior 28 thereby decreasing the length of the exterior portion of the cable member 46 that extends from the distal cap 26. Conversely, sliding of the driven member 20 towards the distal cap 26 can cause the cable member 46 to be extended from the interior 28 thereby increasing the length of the exterior portion of the cable member 46 that extends from the distal cap 26. In one embodiment, the threaded end 32 of the drive stem 14 can be right-hand threaded such that rotation of the drive stem 14 in a clockwise direction (when viewing the tensioning device 10 at the proximal cap 24) facilitates sliding the driven member 20 towards the proximal cap 24, and rotation of the drive stem 14 in a counter-clockwise direction facilitates sliding of the driven member 20 towards the distal cap 26.

[0062] Use of the tensioning device 10 will now be discussed. The cable member 46 can be attached to one end of a lashing member (not shown) and a hook (e.g., 2129 in FIGS. 41-43) disposed on the housing assembly 12 can be attached to the other end of the lashing member such that the tensioning device 10 is provided in line with the lashing member (as opposed to being a coil-over tensioning member like a ratchet strap). The drive member 18 can then be rotated which can retract the cable member 46 into the interior 28 to pull the ends of the lashing member together thereby increasing the tension on the lashing member. Once the tension on the lashing member reaches a particular tension, the clutch assembly 16 can decouple the drive member 18 from the drive stem 14 (e.g., clutch out) to prevent further tension from being applied to the lashing member. It is to be appreciated that the maximum tension permitted by the clutch assembly 16 can be a function of the design of the clutch assembly 16 and can be either preset or variable (e.g., by a user). It is also to be appreciated that the tensioning device 10 can be considered to apply tension to a lashing strap linearly (e.g., along the same axis of rotation of the drive member 18) as opposed to transversely (e.g., a ratchet strap that applies tension in a direction that is perpendicular to an axis of rotation of a drive member). One example of such a linear tensioning device is described in U.S. Pat. Nos. 9,073,187 and 9,108,309, which are hereby incorporated by reference herein in their respective entireties.

[0063] It is to be appreciated that the tensioning device 10 can be equipped with any of a variety of sensors or monitoring devices that facilitate monitoring of an operational parameter of the tensioning device, such as, for example, a strain gage, an accelerometer, a GPS device, or an encoder. These sensors or monitoring devices can communicate with a remote computing device (e.g., a smartphone, a personal computer, a laptop, or a tablet) wirelessly (e.g., via Bluetooth) or through a wired connection, as provided as part of an internet of things (IoT) system.

[0064] FIGS. 3-6 illustrate an alternative embodiment of a tensioning device 110 that can be similar to, or the same in many respects as, the tensioning device 10 illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2. For example, the tensioning device 110 can include a housing 122 and a driven member 120 disposed in an interior 128 at least partially defined by the housing 122. However, the housing 122 can include a threaded interior surface 142 that can mate with a threaded outer surface 151 of the driven member 120. In one embodiment, the driven member 120 can be a two piece arrangement, one piece of which is illustrated in FIG. 5. As illustrated in FIGS. 3, 4, and 6, the housing 122 can have a substantially square cross-sectional shape.

[0065] FIGS. 7-9 illustrate an alternative embodiment of a tensioning device 210 that can be similar to, or the same in many respects as, the tensioning device 10 illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2. For example, the tensioning device 210 can include a housing 222 and a driven member 220 disposed in an interior 228 at least partially defined by the housing 222. However, the housing 222 can include an interior surface 242 that defines a helical groove 252 that can mate with tab members 238 of the driven member 220. The driven member 220 can be configured for selective rotation with respect to the housing 222. When the driven member 220 is rotated, the interaction between the tab members 238 and the helical groove 252 can cause the driven member 220 to move laterally (e.g., between a proximal cap and a distal cap) within the interior 228. The helical groove 252 can have a greater pitch than the pitch of the threads on a drive stem 214.

[0066] The driven member 220 can be rotated in response to rotation of the drive stem

214 in one of a gradual motion mode and a rapid motion mode. When in the gradual motion mode, the drive stem 214 can be rotated with respect to the driven member 220 which can cause the driven member 220 to rotate with respect to the housing 222 (at a slower rotational velocity than the drive stem 214). When in the rapid motion mode, the drive stem 214 and the driven member 220 can rotate together which can cause the driven member 220 to move laterally within the interior 228 more rapidly (for a particular rotational velocity of the drive stem 214) than when the driven member 220 is rotated in the gradual motion mode. In one embodiment, operation of the drive stem 214 and the driven member 220 in either of the gradual motion mode or the rapid motion mode can depend upon the rotational velocity of the drive stem 214. For example, when the drive stem 214 is rotated slowly, the drive stem 214 and the driven member 220 can operate in the gradual motion mode. However, when the drive stem 214 is rotated more rapidly, the drive stem 214 and the driven member 220 can operate in the rapid motion mode.

[0067] FIGS. 10-12 illustrate another alternative embodiment of a tensioning device 310 that can be similar to, or the same in many respects as, the tensioning device 10 illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2. For example, the tensioning device 310 can include a housing 322 and a driven member 320 disposed in an interior 328 at least partially defined by the housing 322. The driven member 320 can include a central body 336. However, the central body 336 can be substantially annular shaped, and an interior surface 342 of the housing 322 can be similarly shaped. The housing 322 can have a substantially square cross-sectional shape. In one embodiment, the driven member 320 can be provided in a two piece arrangement, one piece of which is illustrated in FIG. 12.

[0068] FIG. 13 illustrates yet another alternative embodiment of a tensioning device 410 that can be similar to, or the same in many respects as, the tensioning device 10 illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2. For example, the tensioning device 410 can include a housing 422 and a driven member 420 disposed in an interior 428 at least partially defined by the housing 422. The driven member 420 can include a central body 436. However, the central body 436 can be devoid of tab members (e.g., 38) and instead rely on the interaction between the substantially hexagonal shape of the central body 436 with a similarly-shaped interior surface 442 to prevent rotation of the driven member 420. The housing 422 can have a substantially hexagonal square cross-sectional shape.

[0069] FIGS. 14 and 15 illustrate yet another alternative embodiment of a tensioning device 510 that can be similar to, or the same in many respects as, the tensioning device 10 illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2. For example, the tensioning device 510 can include a housing 522 and a driven member 520 disposed in an interior 528 at least partially defined by the housing 522. The driven member 520 can include a central body 536. However, the central body 536 can include a nose portion 554 that can nest within a narrowed area 556 of the interior 528 when the driven member 520 is slid towards a proximal cap 524. Nesting of the nose portion 554 within the narrowed area 556 can effectively prevent further sliding of the driven member 520 towards the proximal cap 524. When the nose portion 554 is nested within the narrowed area 556, the tapered shape of each of the nose portion 554 and the narrowed area 556 can prevent the nose portion 554 from becoming stuck in the narrowed area 556 thereby allowing for easy sliding of the driven member 520 away from the proximal cap 524.

[0070] FIGS. 16 and 17 illustrate yet another alternative embodiment of a tensioning device 610 that can be similar to, or the same in many respects as, the tensioning device 310 illustrated in FIGS. 10 and 11. For example, the tensioning device 610 can include a housing 622 and a driven member 620 disposed in an interior 628 at least partially defined by the housing 622. The driven member 620 can include a central body 636. However, a rigid loop 658 can be coupled with the central body 636 instead of a cable member (e.g., 46). The rigid loop 658 can facilitate attachment of a lashing member thereto but can be rigid enough to allow the tensioning device 610 to be used to push objects apart. In particular, the tensioning device 610 can be wedged between two objects and a drive member 618 can be rotated to extend the rigid loop 658 with respect to the housing 622 which can urge the two objects apart.

[0071] FIGS. 18 and 19 illustrate yet another alternative embodiment of a tensioning device 710 that can be similar to, or the same in many respects as, the tensioning device 10 illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2. For example, as illustrated in FIG. 19, the tensioning device 710 can include a housing 722 and a driven member 720 disposed in an interior 728 at least partially defined by the housing 722. However, a drive member 718 can be located on the housing 722 between a proximal cap 724 and a distal cap 726 (FIG. 18) such that the tensioning device 710 is in a“side drive” arrangement. In such an arrangement the driven member 720 can slide along an axis (not shown) that is perpendicular to a rotational axis of the drive member 718. The drive member 718 can be operably coupled with a bevel gear 760 that is intermeshed with a threaded end 732 of a drive stem 714. Rotation of the drive member 718 can rotate the bevel gear 760 which can rotate the drive stem 714 (via the threaded end 732) to facilitate sliding of the driven member 720 within the interior 728. The proximal cap 724 can include a hook member 762 (FIG. 18) or other similar device that allows a lashing member to be secured thereto. It is to be appreciated that the tensioning device 710 can facilitate two-way pulling of a lashing member from opposing ends of the tensioning device 710 rather than from a hook (e.g., 2129 in FIGS. 41-43) disposed on the housing 722.

[0072] FIG. 20 illustrates yet another alternative embodiment of a tensioning device 810 that can be similar to, or the same in many respects as, the tensioning device 710 illustrated in FIGS. 18 and 19. However, a drive member 818 can be angled differently with respect to the rotational axis of the drive stem (e.g., 714).

[0073] FIG. 21 illustrates yet another alternative embodiment of a tensioning device 910 that can be similar to, or the same in many respects as, the tensioning device 10 illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2. For example, the tensioning device 910 can include a housing 922 and a driven member 920 disposed in an interior 928 at least partially defined by the housing 922. However, the tensioning device 910 can include a bar member 964 that is routed along the interior 928 and through the driven member 920. The driven member 920 can have an elongate gear member 966 that extends from a central body 936 in a cantilevered arrangement. An actuator 968 can be disposed along an exterior of the housing 922 and can interface with the elongate gear member 966 such that actuation of the actuator 968 can cause the driven member 920 to slide within the interior 928.

[0074] FIGS. 22 and 23 illustrate yet another alternative embodiment of a tensioning device 1010 that can be similar to, or the same in many respects as, the tensioning device 310 illustrated in FIGS. 10 and 11. For example, as illustrated in FIG. 22, the tensioning device 1010 can include a housing 1022 and a driven member 1020 disposed in an interior 1028 at least partially defined by the housing 1022. The driven member 1020 can include a tab member 1038 (FIG. 23). However, the housing 1022 can define an elongated slot 1070 that extends through the housing 1022. The tab member 1038 can extend through the elongated slot 1070 and to an exterior of the tensioning device 1010 to allow a hook or other device to be attached thereto for engaging a lashing member. The tab member 1038 can also provide a visual indication of the position of the driven member 1020 within the housing 1022.

[0075] FIG. 24 illustrates yet another alternative embodiment of a tensioning device 1110 that can be similar to, or the same in many respects as, the tensioning device 10 illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2. For example, the tensioning device 1110 can include a drive member 1118 located at a distal cap 1126. However, the drive member 1118 can be configured as a ratcheting head that only allows the drive stem (e.g., 14) to be rotated in one direction when the drive member 1118 is rotated in different directions. A selector switch 1172 can be provided that extends from the distal cap 1126 and allows a user to select the direction of rotation of the drive stem. The clutch assembly (not shown) can be configured to provide an audible sound (such as a click or a pop) to notify a user when a particular torque value has been reached (similar to a torque wrench).

[0076] FIGS. 25 and 26 illustrate yet another alternative embodiment of a tensioning device 1210 that can be similar to, or the same in many respects as, the tensioning device 10 illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2. However, the tensioning device 1210 can include a visual indicator 1274 that can notify a user when a particular torque value has been reached (similar to a torque wrench). FIG. 25 illustrates the visual indicator 1274 in an under-torque condition and FIG. 26 illustrates the visual indicator 1274 in an at-torque or over-torque condition.

[0077] FIGS. 27 and 28 illustrate yet another alternative embodiment of a tensioning device 1310 that can be similar to, or the same in many respects as, the tensioning device 10 illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2. For example, the tensioning device 1310 can comprise a clutch assembly 1316. The clutch assembly 1316 can be a disc-type arrangement that includes an inner disk 1376 that is sandwiched between a pair of outer disks 1378. When the clutch assembly 1316 is in an under-torque condition, as illustrated in FIG. 27, the inner disk 1376 is engaged with the outer disks 1378 such that a drive member 1318 is engaged with a drive stem 1314 to facilitate rotation of the drive stem 1314 with the drive member 1318. When the clutch assembly 1316 is in an at-torque or over torque condition, as illustrated in FIG. 28, the outer disks separate such that the inner disk 1376 is no longer engaged with the outer disks 1378 and the drive member 1318 separates from the drive stem 1314 such that rotation of the drive member 1318 no longer rotates the drive stem 1314.

[0078] FIGS. 29 and 30 illustrate yet another alternative embodiment of a tensioning device 1410 that can be similar to, or the same in many respects as, the tensioning device 1310 illustrated in FIGS. 26 and 27. For example, the tensioning device 1410 can comprise a clutch assembly 1416. However, the clutch assembly 1416 can be a Sprag-type clutch arrangement that includes a plurality of sprags 1480 that selectively engage an upper disk 1482. When the clutch assembly 1416 is in an under-torque condition, as illustrated in FIG. 29, the sprags 1480 are engaged with the upper disk 1482 such that a drive member 1418 is engaged with a drive stem 1414 to facilitate rotation of the drive stem 1414 with the drive member 1418. When the clutch assembly 1416 is in an at-torque or over torque condition, as illustrated in FIG. 30, the sprags 1480 disengage from the upper disk 1482 such that rotation of the drive member 1418 no longer rotates the drive stem 1414.

[0079] FIGS. 31 and 32 illustrate yet another alternative embodiment of a tensioning device 1510 that can be similar to, or the same in many respects as, the tensioning device 1410 illustrated in FIGS. 28 and 29. For example, the tensioning device 1510 can comprise a clutch assembly 1516 that comprises a plurality of sprags 1580. However, the sprags 1580 selectively engage a lower disk 1584. When the clutch assembly 1516 is in an under-torque condition, as illustrated in FIG. 31, the sprags 1580 are engaged with the lower disk 1584 such that a drive member 1518 is engaged with a drive stem 1514 to facilitate rotation of the drive stem 1514 with the drive member 1518. When the clutch assembly 1516 is in an at-torque or over torque condition, as illustrated in FIG. 32, the sprags 1580 disengage from the lower disk 1584 such that rotation of the drive member 1518 no longer rotates the drive stem 1514.

[0080] FIG. 33 illustrates an alternative embodiment of a clutch assembly 1616 that can be similar to, or the same in many respects as, the clutch assembly 1316 illustrated in FIGS. 27 and 28. However, the clutch assembly 1616 can be a torque limiting, friction type clutch which can comprise a plurality of discs 1686 sandwiched between an upper disk 1688 and a lower disk 1690. The upper disk 1688 can be attached to a drive member (not shown) and the lower disk 1690 can be coupled with a drive stem (not shown). When the clutch assembly 1616 is in an under-torque condition, the upper disk 1688 is engaged with the lower disk 1690 such that the drive member is engaged with the drive stem to facilitate rotation of the drive stem with the drive member. When the clutch assembly 1616 is in an at-torque or over torque condition, the discs 1686 facilitate mechanical decoupling of the upper disk 1688 from the lower disk 1690 such that rotation of the drive member no longer rotates the drive stem. [0081] FIGS. 34-36 illustrate another alternative embodiment of a clutch assembly 1716 that can be similar to, or the same in many respects as, the clutch assembly 1316 illustrated in FIGS. 27 and 28. However, the clutch assembly 1716 can be a tension limiting clutch which can comprise an input flange 1792 and an output flange 1794. The input flange 1792 can be coupled with a drive member (not shown) and the output flange 1794 can be coupled with a drive stem (not shown). As illustrated in FIG. 36, the clutch assembly 1716 can include an actuation ring 1796 that is coupled with the input flange 1792 and a base element 1798 that is coupled with the output flange 1794. A plurality of engaging balls 1799 are sandwiched between the actuation ring 1796 and the base element 1798. When the clutch assembly 1716 is in an under-torque condition (FIG. 34), the engaging balls 1799 couple the actuation ring 1796 and the base element 1798 together such that the drive member is engaged with the drive stem to facilitate rotation of the drive stem with the drive member. When the clutch assembly 1716 is in an at-torque or over torque condition (FIG. 35), the engaging balls 1799 fall away from the actuation ring 1796 to decouple the actuation ring 1796 from the base element 1798 such that rotation of the drive member no longer rotates the drive stem.

[0082] FIG. 37 illustrates yet another alternative embodiment of a tensioning device 1810 that can be similar to, or the same in many respects as, the tensioning device 10 illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2. For example, the tensioning device 1810 can include a cable member 1846. However, the cable member 1846 can be devoid of a clamp member (e.g., 50).

[0083] FIG. 38 illustrates yet another alternative embodiment of a tensioning device 1910 that can be similar to, or the same in many respects as, the tensioning device 310 illustrated in FIGS. 10 and 11. For example, the tensioning device 1910 can include a housing 1922, a proximal cap 1924, and a distal cap 1926. A cable member 1946 can be routed through a driven member 1920. However, one end of the cable member 1946 can be attached to the distal cap 1926 such that sliding of the driven member 1920 within an interior 1928 only slides one end of the cable member 1946 relative to the distal cap 1926 to change the effective length of the cable member 1946. [0084] FIG. 39 illustrates an alternative embodiment of a cable member 2046 that can include a rigid thimble 2002 and a clamp member 2050 disposed adjacent to the rigid thimble 2002

[0085] FIGS. 40 A, 40B, 40C, 40D, 40E, 40F, 40G, and 40H illustrate various alternative arrangements for the housing (e.g., 22) of the housing assembly (e.g., 12). For each arrangement, an anti-rotation device (not shown) can be disposed within the housing and shaped similarly to the housing.

[0086] FIGS. 41-45 illustrate another alternative embodiment of a tensioning device

2110 that can include features that are similar to, or the same in many respects as, the features of the tensioning devices described above. As illustrated in FIGS. 42 and 43, the tensioning device 2110 can include a housing assembly 2112 that includes an inner sleeve 2115, a housing 2122, and a cap 2126. The inner sleeve 2115 can be disposed within the housing 2122 and rotatably coupled with the housing 2122.

[0087] A driven member 2120 can be disposed within the inner sleeve 2115, as illustrated in FIG. 43, and slidably coupled with the inner sleeve 2115. In one embodiment, the inner sleeve 2115 can include a threaded portion 2121 (FIG. 42) that includes threads formed on an inner diameter of the inner sleeve 2115. The threads of the threaded portion 2121 can mate with threads on an outer diameter of the driven member 2120 such that the inner sleeve 2115 and the driven member 2120 are threadably coupled together. In such an embodiment, rotation of the inner sleeve 2115 relative to the housing 2122 facilitates sliding of the driven member 2120 longitudinally within the inner sleeve 2115. The inner sleeve 2115 can also include an unthreaded portion (not shown) adjacent the threaded portion 2121 to protect against over-travel of the driven member 2120 relative to the inner sleeve 2115.

[0088] Referring now to FIGS. 42 and 43, a cable member 2146 can be coupled with the driven member 2120 such that sliding of the driven member 2120 with respect to the inner sleeve 2115 can correspondingly slide the cable member 2146 relative to the housing 2122 between an extended position (shown in dashed lines in FIG. 43) and a retracted position (shown in solid lines in FIG. 43). In one embodiment, the driven member 2120 can include a crimping portion 2127 that can be crimped to the cable member 2146 to facilitate attachment therebetween. In other embodiments, the cable member 2146 can be coupled to the driven member 2120 through welding, fasteners, adhesives, or any of a variety of suitable coupling arrangements.

[0089] As illustrated in FIGS. 41-43, the housing 2122 can include a hook 2129 and the cable member 2146 can include a hook 2147 disposed at an opposite end of the cable member 2146 as the driven member 2120. The hooks 2129, 2147 can cooperate with one another to facilitate attachment of the tensioning device 2110 to a lashing member (not shown). In one embodiment, the hook 2147 can be crimped or cast on to the cable member 2146, but in other embodiments the hook 2147 can be coupled with the cable member 2146 in any of a variety of suitable alternative manners. It is to be appreciated that, although a pair of hooks 2129, 2147 are illustrated and described, any of a variety of suitable alternative attachment features can be provided on the housing 2122, the cable member 2146, and/or at other locations on the tensioning device 2110 to facilitate attachment of the tensioning device 2110 to a lashing member.

[0090] Referring now to FIGS. 42 and 43, a plurality of anti-rotation members 2130 can be disposed in the inner sleeve 2115 and can be configured to prevent rotation of the driven member 2120 during rotation of the inner sleeve 2115. Each of the anti-rotation members 2130 can be coupled at one end with the driven member 2120 and at an opposite end with the housing 2122 (see FIG. 43). For example, one end of the anti-rotation members 2130 can extend through apertures 2131 (FIG. 42) defined by the driven member 2120 to facilitate coupling therebetween. An opposite end of the anti-rotation members 2130 can extend into the cap 2126 to facilitate coupling therebetween. The ends of the anti-rotation members 2130 can be attached to the driven member 2120 or the housing 2122 via an interference fit, with adhesive, through welding, though crimping, or with any of a variety of other suitable alternative attachment arrangements. It is to be appreciated that although three anti-rotation members are illustrated, any quantity of anti rotation members can be provided.

[0091] A drive member 2118 can be rotatably coupled with the housing 2122 and operably coupled with the inner sleeve 2115 such that rotation of the drive member 2118 facilitates rotation of the inner sleeve 2115 relative to the housing 2122. In one embodiment, the drive member 2118 can be rigidly attached to the inner sleeve 2115 through welding, with adhesives, or via an intermeshing arrangement. In another embodiment, the drive member 2118 and the inner sleeve 2115 can be provided as a unitary one-piece construction. The drive member 2118 can include a drive head 2133 that is configured to mate with a wrench or a socket to facilitate manual or powered rotation of the drive member 2118 with the tool.

[0092] The inner sleeve 2115 and the drive member 2118 can be sandwiched between a pair of thrust washers 2137 that facilitate journaling of the inner sleeve 2115 with respect to the housing 2122. It is to be appreciated that any of a variety of suitable alternative arrangements can be provided for journaling the inner sleeve 2115 and the drive member 2118 with respect to the housing 2122, such as a ball bearing or a roller bearing, for example. A retaining ring 2139 (FIG. 42) can be provided over the thrust washer 2137 located at the drive member 2118 to facilitate retention of the inner sleeve 2115, the drive member 2118, the driven member 2120, and the thrust washers 2137 within the housing 2122. In some embodiments, an O-ring, a bushing, or other suitable sealing arrangement can be provided between the inner sleeve 2115 and the housing 2122.

[0093] The drive member 2118 can accordingly be operably coupled with the driven member (via the inner sleeve 2115) such that driven member 2120 can slide along an axis (not shown) that is parallel to a rotational axis of the drive member 2118. In one embodiment, as illustrated in FIGS. 41-43, the driven member 2120 can slide along an axis that is coaxial with the rotational axis of the drive member 2118. The drive member 2118 can accordingly be rotated to facilitate selective extension and retraction of the cable member 2146 (via the driven member 2120) with respect to the housing 2122. For example, when the drive member 2118 is rotated (e.g., with a tool), the inner sleeve 2115 can correspondingly rotate with respect to the housing 2122. When the inner sleeve 2115 rotates, the anti-rotation members 2130 can prevent the driven member 2120 from rotating which can cause the driven member 2120 to move linearly along the inner sleeve 2115 (e.g., due to the threaded engagement between the inner sleeve 2115 and the driven member 2120) to slide the cable member 2146 between the extended position (shown in dashed lines in FIG. 43) and the retracted position (shown in solid lines in FIG. 43) depending on the direction of rotation of the drive member 2118. In one embodiment, rotation of the drive member 2118 in a clockwise direction or a counter-clockwise direction (when viewing the drive member 2118 of the tensioning device 2110) can facilitate movement of the cable member 2146 into either the retracted position or the extended position, respectively. In another embodiment, rotation of the drive member 2118 in a clockwise direction or a counter-clockwise direction can facilitate movement of the cable member 2146 into either the extended position retraction or the retracted position, respectively. It is to be appreciated that when a lashing member (not shown) is attached to the hooks 2129, 2147, retracting and extending the cable member 2146 can increase and decrease, respectively, the tension on the lashing member.

[0094] Referring now to FIGS. 44 and 45, the hook 2147 can include a tension sensor

2149 that is configured to facilitate detection of a tension applied by the tensioning device 2110. As illustrated in FIGS. 44 and 45, the tension sensor 2149 can comprise a sensing device 2153, a wireless communication module 2155, a microcontroller 2157 (e.g., a control module), and a power supply module 2159. In one embodiment a cover (not shown) can be provided over the tension sensor 2149 to protect the tension sensor 2149 from environmental conditions (e.g., moisture, precipitation, or inadvertent contact). The sensing device 2153 can be configured to detect the tension on the lashing member as a function of strain (or other forces) imparted to the hook 2147 by the lashing member. In one embodiment, the sensing device 2153 can comprise a strain gage or a Hall-effect sensor. However, other sensing devices for detecting strain or other forces are contemplated.

[0095] The wireless communication module 2155 can facilitate wireless communication with a remote computing device 2161 via any of a variety of wireless communication protocols such as, for example, near field communication (e.g., Bluetooth, ZigBee), a Wireless Personal Area Network (WPAN) (e.g., IrDA, UWB). The microcontroller 2157 can gather sensor data from the sensing device 2153 for processing and can wirelessly communicate the sensor data (via the wireless communication module 2155) to the remote computing device 2161.

[0096] The remote computing device 2161 can be a smartphone (e.g., an iOS or Android device), a laptop computer, a tablet, or a desktop computer, for example. The remote computing device 2161 can have an application loaded thereon that is configured to analyze the data from the tension sensor 2149 to display a tension value and/or generate a warning, when appropriate, such that the tension sensor 2149 and the remote computing device 2161 cooperate to provide a monitoring system (e.g., an internet of things (IoT) system) for the tensioning device 2110. In some arrangements, the tension sensor 2149 can communicate directly (e.g., via a cellular connection) with a remote server (e.g., a cloud-based server) that is accessed by the remote computing device 2161. In one embodiment, the tension sensor 2149 can include an on-board display 2163 that displays a tension value to a user at the hook 2147.

[0097] The power supply module 2159 can facilitate onboard powering of the sensing device 2153, the wireless communication module 2155, and the microcontroller 2157 and can comprise an integrated power storage device such as a disposable battery, a rechargeable battery, a super capacitor or any of a variety of suitable alternative power storage arrangements. A rechargeable battery pack can be recharged through any of a variety of power sources, such as a wall plug, a solar panel, or energy harvested from a nearby communication device (e.g., a passively powered device). In one embodiment, as illustrated in FIG. 44, the power supply module 2159 can be embedded within the hook 2147.

[0098] It is to be appreciated that although a tension sensor is described, any of a variety of suitable alternative sensors are contemplated for monitoring different physical parameters of the tensioning device, such as temperature, location (e.g., GPS), inclination angle, or moisture, for example. It is also be appreciated that although the tension sensor 2149 is shown to be provided on the hook 2147, the tension sensor 2149, or any other sensor, can be provided at any of a variety of internal or external locations along the tensioning device 2110.

[0099] An example of the tensioning device 2110 in use will now be described. First, the cable member 2146 of the tensioning device 2110 can be provided in the extended position (as illustrated in solid lines in FIG. 43) or near the extended position. A lashing member that has been routed around/over an article can be attached at each end to one of the hooks 2129, 2147. A user can then rotate the drive member 2118 (e.g., with a hand tool or power tool) in a tightening direction (e.g., clockwise) to begin retracting the cable member 2146 into the housing 2122 and tightening the lashing member. The tension sensor 2149 can detect the tension on the lashing member (via the hook 2147) and can display the tension to the user (either on an on-board display or a remote computing device). As the user continues to rotate the drive member 2118 to increase the tension on the lashing member increases, the user can monitor the tension value displayed to the user on the remote computing device 2161 and/or on the on-board display 2163. Once lashing has reached a desired tension, the user can stop rotating the drive member 2118. In one embodiment, the tension sensor 2149 and/or the remote computing device 2161 can be programmed with a predefined threshold tension value and can alert the user (e.g., visually or audibly) when the tension has reached or exceeded the threshold tension value. To release the lashing member, the user can rotate the drive member 2118 in a loosening direction (e.g., a counter-clock wise direction).

[00100] In one embodiment, the tensioning device 2110 can be used in the trucking industry for securing loads on a long haul trailer. In such an embodiment, the tension sensor 2149 can be configured to communicate directly with an onboard fleet management computing system. The tension detected by the tensioning member can be wirelessly transmitted to the onboard fleet management computing system (e.g., via Bluetooth) and displayed to an operator of the tractor trailer. When the tension falls below a predetermined threshold, such as due to the load shifting or breaking loose, an alarm can be presented to the operator.

[00101] An alternative embodiment of a tensioning device 2210 is illustrated in FIGS. 46- 48 and can be similar to, or the same in many respects as, the tensioning device 2110 illustrated in FIGS. 41-45. For example, as illustrated in FIGS. 47 and 48, the tensioning device 2210 can include a housing 2222, an inner sleeve 2215, and a drive member 2218 operably coupled with the inner sleeve 2215. The tensioning device 2210 can also include a cable member 2246 coupled with a hook 2247. The hook 2247 can comprise a tension sensor 2249 (FIG. 47). However, the tensioning device 2210 can include a clutch assembly 2265 that facilitates selective, operable coupling between the drive member 2218 and the inner sleeve 2215 and includes a clutch spring 2267 sandwiched between a pair of clutch pins 2269. The clutch spring 2267 and the clutch pins 2269 can be disposed in a notch 2271 (FIG. 47) defined by the drive member 2218. The clutch pins 2269 can each reside in one of a plurality of interior slots 2273 (FIG. 47) defined by the inner sleeve 2215. During rotation of the drive member 2218, the clutch pins 2269 can extend into the interior slots 2273 to couple the drive member 2218 with the inner sleeve 2215. Once the torque applied to the drive member 2218 exceeds a predefined threshold, the clutch pins 2269 can slip out of the interior slots 2273 which can decouple the drive member 2218 from the inner sleeve 2215 (e.g., clutch out) and can provide audible and/or tactile feedback that proper cable tension has been obtained. It is to be appreciated that the predefined threshold torque can be a function of the spring constant of the clutch spring 2267, the configuration of the clutch pins 2269 and/or the configuration of the interior slots 2273. It is to also be appreciated that the tension applied by the cable member 2246 can be proportional to the torque applied to the drive member 2218 (e.g., input torque).

[00102] An alternative embodiment of a tensioning device 2310 is illustrated in FIGS. 49- 51 and can be similar to, or the same in many respects as, the tensioning device 2210 illustrated in FIGS. 46-48. For example, as illustrated in FIGS. 49-51, the tensioning device 2310 can include a housing 2322, an inner sleeve 2315, and a drive member 2318 operably coupled with the inner sleeve 2315. The tensioning device 2310 can also include a cable member 2346 coupled with a hook 2347. The hook 2347 can comprise a tension sensor 2349. The tensioning device 2310 can include a clutch assembly 2365 that facilitates selective operable coupling between the drive member 2318 and the inner sleeve 2315 and includes a clutch spring 2367 sandwiched between a pair of clutch pins 2369. However, the tensioning device 2310 can include an anti-rotation sleeve 2375 (in lieu of the anti-rotation members 2130 illustrated in FIGS. 42 and 43). The anti-rotation sleeve 2375 can include a pair of arms 2377 that extend through apertures 2331 in a driven member 2320. The driven member 2320 can slide along the arms 2377 without rotating when the drive member 2318 is rotated.

[00103] The foregoing description of embodiments and examples has been presented for purposes of illustration and description. It is not intended to be exhaustive or limiting to the forms described. Numerous modifications are possible in light of the above teachings. Some of those modifications have been discussed and others will be understood by those skilled in the art. The embodiments were chosen and described for illustration of various embodiments. The scope is, of course, not limited to the examples or embodiments set forth herein, but can be employed in any number of applications and equivalent devices by those of ordinary skill in the art. Rather, it is hereby intended that the scope be defined by the claims appended hereto. Also, for any methods claimed and/or described, regardless of whether the method is described in conjunction with a flow diagram, it should be understood that unless otherwise specified or required by context, any explicit or implicit ordering of steps performed in the execution of a method does not imply that those steps must be performed in the order presented and may be performed in a different order or in parallel.