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Title:
THREE DIMENSIONAL PRINTING SYSTEM FOR CONSTRUCTION OF A BUILDING
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2020/128887
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The present disclosure discloses a three-dimensional printing assembly (100). According to the embodiments of the disclosure comprises a base (101), which is movably engageable in a construction site. The printing assembly includes a rotor (103) that is connectable to the base, wherein the rotor is configured to rotate about a central axis of the rotor, and a second lever arm extending from a free end of the first lever arm. The connecting portions of the first lever arm (104) and the rotor and the first lever arm and the second lever arm is coupled to at least one actuator (109) to extend and retract the first and second lever arms. Further, an extruder (107) is connectable to a free end of the second arm and is adapted to extrude a printing material.

Inventors:
REDDY B PARIVARTHAN (IN)
KUMAR V SANTHOSH (IN)
C VIDYASHANKAR (IN)
VS ADITHYA (IN)
Application Number:
PCT/IB2019/061002
Publication Date:
June 25, 2020
Filing Date:
December 18, 2019
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
TVASTA MFG SOLUTIONS PRIVATE LIMITED (IN)
International Classes:
B28B1/00; B28B17/00; B33Y10/00; E04B1/16
Foreign References:
US20180071949A12018-03-15
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
SHANKARARAJ, Gopinath Arenur et al. (IN)
Download PDF:
Claims:
Claims:

1. A three dimensional (3-D) printing assembly (100) for construction of buildings, the assembly (100) comprising:

a base (101) movably engageable in a construction site;

a rotor (103) connectable to the base (101), wherein the rotor (103) is configured to rotate about a central axis of the rotor (103) on the base (101);

a first lever arm (104) extending from the rotor (103), and a second lever arm (105) extending from a free end of the first lever arm (104), wherein connecting portions of the first lever arm (104) and rotor (103) and the first lever arm (104) and the second lever arm (103) is coupled to at least one actuator (109 and 110) to extend and retract the first and second lever arms (104 and 105);

an extruder (107) connectable to a free end of the second arm (105) and is adapted to extrude a printing material.

2. The assembly (100) as claimed in claim 1 comprises at least one ground engaging device (102) connected to the base (101), wherein the at least one ground engaging device (102) maneuvers the 3-D printing system (100) in the construction site.

3. The assembly (100) as claimed in claim 1, wherein the printing material is at least one of concrete, cement, wax, foam and polymers.

4. The assembly (100) as claimed in claim 2, wherein the ground engaging device (102) includes a plurality of wheels.

5. The assembly (100) as claimed in claim 1, wherein the rotor (103) is at least one of a hydraulic rotor and a pneumatic rotor.

6. The assembly (100) as claimed in claim 1, wherein cross-section of the rotor (103) is at least one of a cylindrical and a rectangular cross-section.

7. The assembly (100) as claimed in claim 1, wherein the rotor (103) is configured to accommodate a counterweight (108) on an end opposite to the plurality of lever arms (104 and 105) to balance the weight on either ends of the rotor (103).

8. The assembly (100) as claimed in claim 1, wherein the rotor (103) is configured to rotate about its central axis at an angle of 360°.

9. The assembly (100) as claimed in claim 1, wherein the extruder (107) is coupled to the free end of the second lever arm (105) by at least one of a universal joint.

10. The assembly (100) as claimed in claim 1, wherein the at least one actuator (109 and 110) connecting first lever arm (104) and rotor (103) and the first lever (104) and the second lever arm (103) is configured to operate the first and the second lever arm (104 and 105) between a minimum operating range and maximum operating range.

11. A three dimensional (3-D) printing system for construction of buildings, the 3-D printing system comprising:

a three dimensional (3-D) printing assembly (100) for construction of buildings, the assembly (100) comprising:

a base (101) movably engageable in a construction site;

a rotor (103) connectable to the base (101), wherein the rotor (103) is configured to rotate about a central axis of the rotor (103) on the base (101);

a first lever arm (104) extending from the rotor (103), and a second lever arm (105) extending from a free end of the first lever arm (104), wherein connecting portions of the first lever arm (104) and rotor (103) and the first lever arm (104) and the second lever arm (103) is coupled to at least one actuator (109 and 110) to extend and retract the first and second lever arms (104 and 105);

an extruder (107) connectable to a free end of the second arm (105) and is adapted to extrude a printing material; and

a central processor (303) associated with the 3-D printing assembly (100), wherein the central processor (303) is configured to control the operations of the #-D printing assembly (100).

12. The system as claimed in claim 11 comprises an image processing feedback unit (400) associated with the central processor (303), wherein the image processing feedback unit (400) is configured to guide the 3-D printing assembly (100) along a predefined path.

13. The system as claimed in claim 12, wherein the image processing feedback unit (400) comprises an on-ground image processing system and an image capturing unit (302).

14. The system as claimed in claim 13, wherein the image capturing unit (302) is at least one of infrared camera or range based camera.

15. The system as claimed in claim 13, wherein the image capturing unit (302) is configured to capture image of a printed structure, a ground level and thermal imaging of the printed layers.

16. The system as claimed in claim 11 comprises a positioning unit associated with central processor (303) of the 3-D printing assembly (100), wherein the positioning unit is configured to position the 3-D printing assembly (100) within a site of construction.

17. The system as claimed in claim 16, wherein the positioning unit comprises at least one of a plurality of laser beam emitters and an omnidirectional sensor.

18. The system as claimed in claim 17, wherein the plurality of laser beam emitters are positioned at the predetermined positions in the site of construction and the omni directional sensors are positioned on the 3-D printing assembly (100).

19. The system as claimed in claim 17 and 18, wherein the omnidirectional sensor is configured to receive the laser beam emitted by the plurality of laser beam emitters positioned at a predetermined positions in the site of construction.

Description:
“THREE DIMENSIONAL PRINTING SYSTEM FOR CONSTRUCTION OF A

BUILDING”

TECHNICAL FIELD

Present disclosure generally relates to a field of construction. Particularly but not exclusively, the present disclosure relates to a three-dimensional printing system used for construction. Further, embodiments of the disclosure discloses a three-dimensional printing system used for construction of a building on-site.

BACKGROUND

Construction of buildings, monuments has an ancient heritage. With, the development of social and economic standards over the recent years, scale of urbanization has increased rapidly by the way of developing infrastructure such as buildings, economic public transportations and the like. This rapid growth of urbanization has shifted focus of the construction industries to adapt efficient methods to improve cost of human resources, labour intensive, construction materials, energy and to minimize environmental pollution caused by construction waste. However, despite of adapting innovative ways in construction sector over the years, construction is still considered to be labour intensive. Even a modest sized structure may require efforts of numerous labours. Further, appearance and quality of several structures of same design may also vary due to differences in the skills, efforts, supervision, and techniques employed by the labours and other counterparts involved in the construction. Involving labours in construction may lead to wastage of construction materials and also may be hazardous to life of the labours.

To overcome, pitfalls of using labours in construction and with the advent of modern technology, a method for automatically constructing buildings known as three-dimensional printing has been evolved. Three dimensional printing is a manufacturing process used to fabricate large-scale, three-dimensional structures in a layer-by-layer manner by extruding a flowable material similar to concrete. The flowable material may be extruded through an extrusion tip carried by a print head and deposited in a sequence of paths on a substrate in a plane. The extruded material fuses with previously deposited material and solidifies over a period of time. The position of the printer head relative to the substrate is then incremented along a height, perpendicular to the plane, and the process is then repeated to form the three- dimensional structure. One way for implementing contour crafting is using a stationary machine, such as a modified gantry crane. The gantry crane may be set up in site and may carry the extrusion head on rails for printing the structure of building based on the commands stored in the controller associated with the machine. However, such gantry based machines imposes a limitation of printing the structure within the printing system, thus limiting the size of three-dimensional structure to be printed or formed. Also, the set up time of such machines are high.

The present disclosure is directed to overcome one or more limitations stated above and any other limitations associated with the prior art.

SUMMARY OF THE DISCLOSURE

The shortcomings of the prior art are overcome, and additional advantages are provided through the provision of system as disclosed in the present disclosure.

Additional features and advantages are realized through the techniques of the present disclosure. Other embodiments and aspects of the disclosure are described in detail herein and are considered a part of the disclosure.

In a non-limiting embodiment of the present disclosure, a three dimensional printing system for construction of building on-site is disclosed.

The three-dimensional printing assembly [hereinafter referred as printing assembly] according to the embodiments of the disclosure comprises a base, which is movably engageable in a construction site. The printing assembly includes a rotor that is connectable to the base, wherein the rotor is configured to rotate about a central axis of the rotor, and a second lever arm extending from a free end of the first lever arm. The connecting portions of the first lever arm and the rotor and the first lever arm and the second lever arm is coupled to at least one actuator to extend and retract the first and second lever arms. Further, an extruder is connectable to a free end of the second arm and is adapted to extrude a printing material.

In an embodiment, the printing assembly includes at least one ground engaging device connected to the base, wherein the at least one ground engaging device maneuvers the 3-D printing system in the construction site. The ground engaging device includes a plurality of wheels In an embodiment, the printing material is at least one of concrete, cement, wax foam and polymers.

In an embodiment, the rotor is at least one of a hydraulic motor and a pneumatic rotor. The cross-section of the rotor is at least one of a cylindrical or rectangular cross-section.

In an embodiment, the rotor is configured to accommodate a counterweight on an end opposite to the plurality of lever arms to balance the weight on wither ends of the rotor.

In an embodiment, the rotor is configured to rotate about its central axis at an angle of 360°.

In an embodiment, the extruder is coupled to the free end of the second lever arm by at least one of a universal joint.

In an embodiment, the at least one actuator connecting first lever arm and rotor and the first lever arm and the second lever arm is configured to operate the first lever arm and the second lever arm between a minimum operating range and maximum operating range.

In another non-limiting embodiment, a three dimensional printing system for construction of buildings is disclosed. The printing system includes a three dimensional printing assembly for construction of buildings. The printing assembly includes a base movably engageable in a construction site. The printing assembly includes a rotor connectable to the base, wherein the rotor is configured to rotate about a central axis of the rotor on the base. Further, the printing assembly includes a first lever arm extending from the rotor and a second lever arm extending from a free end of the first lever arm. The connecting portions of the first lever arm and rotor and the first lever arm and second lever arm is coupled to at least one actuator to extend and retract the first and second lever arms. An extruder associated with the printing assembly, wherein the extruder is connectable to a free end of the second arm and is adapted to extrude a printing material. Further, the 3-D printing system includes a central processor associated with the 3-D printing assembly, wherein the central processor is configured to control the operations of the 3-D printing assembly in the construction site.

In an embodiment, the printing system includes an image processing feedback unit associated with the central processor, wherein the image processing feedback unit is configured to guide the 3-D printing assembly along a pre-defined path. In an embodiment, the image processing feedback unit comprises an on-ground image processing system and an image capturing unit.

In an embodiment, the image capturing unit is at least one of infrared camera or range based camera.

In an embodiment, the image capturing unit is configured to capture image of a printed structure, a ground level and thermal imaging of the printed layers.

In an embodiment, the printing system includes a positioning unit associated with the central processor of the 3-D printing assembly, wherein the positioning unit is configured to position the 3-D printing assembly within a site of construction.

In an embodiment, the positioning unit includes at least one of a plurality of laser beam emitters and an omnidirectional sensor. The plurality of laser beam emitters are positioned at the predetermined positions in the site of construction and the omnidirectional sensors are positioned on the 3-D printing assembly. The omnidirectional sensor is configured to receive the laser beam emitted by the plurality of laser beam emitters positioned at a predetermined positions in the site of construction.

The foregoing summary is illustrative only and is not intended to be in any way limiting. In addition to the illustrative aspects, embodiments, and features described above, further aspects, embodiments, and features will become apparent by reference to the drawings and the following detailed description.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE ACCOMPANYING DRAWINGS

The novel features and characteristic of the disclosure are set forth in the detailed disclosure. The disclosure itself, however, as well as a preferred mode of use, further objectives and advantages thereof, will best be understood by reference to the following detailed description of an illustrative embodiment when read in conjunction with the accompanying figures. One or more embodiments are now described, by way of example only, with reference to the accompanying figures wherein like reference numerals represent like elements and in which:

Figures. 1 illustrates perspective view of a three-dimensional printing system, in accordance with an embodiment of the present disclosure. Figures. 2a and 2b illustrates schematic view of the three-dimensional printing system in a minimum and maximum operating range respectively, in accordance with an exemplary embodiment of the present disclosure.

Figures. 3 is a flow chart depicting a laser based feedback system employed in the three- dimensional printing system, in accordance with an exemplary embodiment of the present disclosure.

Figure. 4 is a block diagram, depicting an image processing feedback unit employed in the three-dimensional printing system, in accordance with an exemplary embodiment of the present disclosure.

The figures depict embodiments of the disclosure for purposes of illustration only. One skilled in the art will readily recognize from the following description that alternative embodiments of the structures and methods illustrated herein may be employed without departing from the principles of the disclosure described herein.

DESCRIPTION

The foregoing has broadly outlined the features and technical advantages of the present disclosure in order that the description of the disclosure that follows may be better understood. Additional features and advantages of the disclosure will be described hereinafter which form the subject of the disclosure.

It should be appreciated by those skilled in the art that the conception and specific embodiment disclosed may be readily utilized as a basis for modifying or designing other devices for carrying out the same purposes of the present disclosure. It should also be realized by those skilled in the art that such equivalent constructions do not depart from the spirit and scope of the disclosure. The novel features which are believed to be characteristic of the disclosure, as to its organization, together with further objects and advantages will be better understood from the following description when considered in connection with the accompanying figures. It is to be expressly understood, however, that each of the figures is provided for the purpose of illustration and description only and is not intended as a definition of the limits of the present disclosure. Embodiments of the present disclosure describe a three dimensional (3-D) printing assembly and a system. The 3-D printing assembly and system of the present disclosure may be used in construction of structures such as but not limiting to buildings. The 3-D printing assembly of the present disclosure may include a base which may be movably engageable in the construction site. In an embodiment, at least one ground engaging device may be connected to the base of the 3-D printing assembly. The ground engaging device may be configured to maneuver the 3-D printing assembly in the construction site. In an embodiment, the ground engaging device may be at least one of but not limiting to plurality of wheels. Further, the base of the 3-D printing assembly may be defined with a provision to accommodate a rotor. The rotor of the 3-D printing assembly may be movably connected to the base within the provision defined on the base. The said rotor may be configured to rotate about its central axis on the base. In an embodiment, the rotor may be at least one of but not limiting to a hydraulic rotor and a pneumatic rotor. In further embodiments, the cross-section of the rotor may be at least one of a cylindrical and a rectangular cross-section. Further, a provision may be defined on a free end of the rotor to accommodate a counterweight. The counterweight may be provided on the side opposite to the plurality of lever arm to balance the weight on either ends of the rotor. In an embodiment, the rotor is configured to rotate about its central axis at an angle of 360°.

The 3-D printing system further includes a first lever arm extending from the rotor, and a second lever arm extending from a free end of the first lever arm. The connecting portions of the first lever arm and the rotor may be coupled to each other with the aid of at least one actuator. Further, the connecting portions of the first lever arm and the second lever arm also may be connected to each other by aid of at least one actuator. In an embodiment, the at least one actuator may be a motor such as but not limiting to a hub motor. The said actuators are configured to extend and retract the first lever arm and the second lever arm to a maximum operating range and a minimum operating range respectively. Also, the 3-D printing assembly further includes an extruder that may be connectable to a free end of the second arm. The said extruder may be adapted to extrude a printing material. In an embodiment, the extruder may be connected to the second lever arm by universal joints, but not limiting it to the same. In further embodiments, the printing material may be any one of nut not limiting to cement, concrete, foam, wax or polymers. In another embodiment of the present disclosure, the three dimensional printing system for construction of buildings is disclosed. The three dimensional printing system of the present disclosure may include a central processor associated with the 3-D printing assembly. The central processor may be configured to control the operations of the 3-D printing assembly. The 3-D printing system further includes an image processing feedback unit. The image processing feedback unit may be associated with the central processor. The image processing feedback unit may be configured to guide the 3-D printing assembly along a predefined path. In an embodiment, the image processing feedback unit includes an on-ground image processing system and an image capturing unit. In further embodiments, the image capturing unit may be at least one of infrared camera or range based camera. The image capturing unit may be configured to capture image of a printed structure, a ground level and thermal imaging of the printed layers. Further, the printing system may include a positioning unit associated with central processor of the 3-D printing assembly. The positioning unit may be configured to position 3-D printing assembly within a site of construction. In an embodiment, the positioning unit comprises at least one of a plurality of laser beam emitters and an omnidirectional sensor. The laser beam emitters may be positioned at the predetermined positions in the site of construction and the omnidirectional sensors may be positioned on the 3-D printing assembly. In an embodiment, the omnidirectional sensors may be configured to receive the laser beam emitted by the plurality of laser beam emitters positioned at the predetermined positions in the site of construction.

The terms “comprises”, “comprising”, or any other variations thereof used in the specification, are intended to cover a non-exclusive inclusion, such that an assembly that comprises a list of components or steps does not include only those components or steps but may include other components or steps not expressly listed or inherent to such setup or method. In other words, one or more elements in an assembly proceeded by“comprises... a” does not, without more constraints, preclude the existence of other elements or additional elements in the assembly.

In the following description of the embodiments of the disclosure, reference is made to the accompanying figures that form a part hereof, and in which are shown by way of illustration specific embodiments in which the disclosure may be practiced. These embodiments are described in sufficient detail to enable those skilled in the art to practice the disclosure, and it is to be understood that other embodiments may be utilized and that changes may be made without departing from the scope of the present disclosure. The following description is, therefore, not to be taken in a limiting sense.

The following paragraphs describe the present disclosure with reference to FIGS.1A-2D. In the figures, the same element or elements which have similar functions are indicated by the same reference signs.

The following paragraphs describe the present disclosure with reference to Figures 1 to 3. In the Figures, the same element or elements which have similar functions are indicated by the same reference signs.

Figure. 1, is an exemplary embodiment of the present disclosure disclose a three-dimensional printing system (100) [hereinafter referred as printing system] for construction of a building on-site. The printing system (100) according to the embodiments of the disclosure comprises a base (101), which may be accommodated on one or more ground engaging devices (102). The one or more ground engaging devices may assist in mobility or maneuvering of the printing system (100). In an embodiment, the ground engaging devices (102) may be wheels, continuous track and the like known in the state of art. The printing system (100) may be provided with power source such as an internal combustion engines, electric motor and the like, to move ground engaging devices (102), which in turn assists in mobility of the printing structure (100). Further, the base (101) may be configured to accommodate a rotatable, outwardly extending rotor (103). In an embodiment, the rotor (103) may be a hydraulic rotor with cylindrical or rectangular configuration. The hydraulic rotor (103) rotates about its axis either in clock-wise or anti-clockwise direction. The hydraulic rotor (103) is configured to accommodate lever arms (104, 105) which may extend outwardly away from the hydraulic rotor (103). In an embodiment, the hydraulic rotor (103) may be configured to accommodate counter weight (108), wherein the counter weight (108) assist in balancing the forces induced under static and dynamic conditions of the printing system (100).

In one exemplary embodiment of the disclosure, the printing system (100) includes two lever arms (104, 105). The lever arms are configured as a first lever arm (104) and a second lever arm (105) and may be connected and operated independently in a co-ordinate manner, with the aid of at least one actuator (109 and 110). In an embodiment, the at least one actuator (109 and 110) may be a motor such as but not limiting to a hub motor. In another embodiment, the at least one actuator (109 and 110) may be a first hub motor (109) and a second hub motor (110). The first lever arm (104) may be coupled to a shaft of the first hub motor (109) residing within the mount, connected to the hydraulic rotor (103). The second lever arm (105) may be coupled to a shaft of the second hub motor (110) residing within a mount, connected on to a far end of the first lever arm (104). In an embodiment, the first lever arm (104) and second lever arm (105) may be moved to any position inside a building, and also facilitates in increasing reach of the printing system (100), thus assists in printing the structures of any shape exterior of the printing system (100). The printing system (100) further comprises one or more extruders (107) positioned at the end of the second lever arm (105) via an universal joint (106), such that that the extruder (107) may be pointing downwards for various lever arm configurations. In an embodiment, the extruder (107) is configured to deposit material such as but not limiting to concrete for forming one or more layers of a three-dimensional structure.

During operation i.e. printing a structure, the printing system (100) may be positioned at the center of the construction site and printing may be carried out exterior to the printing system (100) with the aid of first lever arm (104) and second lever arm (105). The lever arms (104, 105) may be adjusted between minimum operating range (best seen in figure. 2a) and maximum operating range (best seen in figure. 2b) based on the requirement by actuating the respective hub motors (109, 110) and printing is carried out within the radius defined by the length of the first lever arm (104) and second lever arm (105).

In an embodiment, the printing system (100) may also be configured to perform plastering and finishing process to the structure with minimum modification to the printing system (100). In order to perform plastering process, the head of the printing system may be changed to accommodate a plaster jetting head, and to perform finishing operation, the printing system head may be changed to accommodate a crafter head.

Now referring to figure. 3, which illustrates flow chart depicting a laser based feedback system (300) employed in the printing system (100), for guiding position of the printing system head during operation. In an embodiment, the feedback system employs optical unit including but not limiting to lase based unit. At block 200, the laser emitter emits laser beam of certain intensity. The emitted light from the laser emitter strikes wall or ground and gets reflected [block 201]. At block 202, the reflected light is received and analyzed by a receiver. At block 203, the central processor associated with the receiver, , generates position signal based on the analysis of the receiver. At block 204, the printing controller based on the position signal from the central processor adjusts the printing system (100).

In an embodiment, the laser based feedback system (300) may be adapted to guide accurate positioning of the printing system (100) according to height of the printed structure during laying of the top layer with respect to the previous layer. During operation, i.e. laying of number of layers, curing of layers takes place due to change in temperature, which may result in slight change in height of the printed structure due to compression of stacked layers. In order to compensate the change in height of the printed structure, the laser feedback system gauges the position of the printed structure accurately and allows the printing system to correct the error and print the layers accurately.

Now turning to figure. 4, which illustrates block diagram of an image processing feedback unit (400) employed in the printing system (100). The image processing feedback unit (400) may assists in guiding the printing system along particular path defined in the construction site. In an embodiment, the path may be defined using a black paint or a black tape. The on ground image processing system may include an input element or sensor (301), an image capturing unit (302) such as but not limiting to infrared camera and a visible range based camera positioned on the printing system (100). The cameras continuously captures images of the printed structure, ground level and temperature imaging of concrete layers and feeds the images to the central processor (303) associated with the printing system (100). The central processor (303) may be configured to conduct an image processing analysis and determine height of the printed structure ground positioning, position of the printed structure. The analyzed data from the central processor (303) may be fed into the printer controller (304) which controls or guides the movement of the printing system (100) through the site.

In an embodiment, the printing system (100) may be employed with Cloud-point image feedback unit, which may include a plurality of cameras, which continuously captures images of the surrounding area. The images captured by the plurality of cameras may be processed and combined together to form a 3D image of the surrounding, which may be stored in the central processor associated with the printing system (100). Based on the 3D images stored in the central processor, the printing system (100) allows for correction when the top layer is printed onto the previous layers. The printing system (100) may also be configured with positioning unit for accurate positioning of the printing system (100) within the site of construction. In an embodiment, the positioning unit may be a laser based positioning unit. The laser based positioning unit comprises a plurality of laser beam emitters placed across the printing site and an omnidirectional sensor positioned on the printing system (100). The omnidirectional sensor may receive the laser beam emitted by the plurality of laser beam emitters placed across the site. Based on the received signal the printing system (100) aligns accurately and printing process may be initiated.

In an embodiment, the printing system (100) may be equipped with Global positioning system (GPS) to track and log the printing system (100) movement in a macro scale.

In an embodiment, the printing system (100) is designed in a modular way, such that the printing system may be assembled and disassembled easily on-site, which facilitates in easy transportation of the printing system (100). Further, the printing system (100) may be designed in such a manner that the printing system may be lifted from inside the building before construction of roof.

It should be construed that the various aspects and embodiments have been disclosed herein, other aspects and embodiments will be apparent to those skilled in the art. The various aspects and embodiments disclosed herein are for purposes of illustration and are not intended to be limiting, with the true scope and spirit being indicated by the following claims.

EQUIVALENTS

With respect to the use of substantially any plural and/or singular terms herein, those having skill in the art can translate from the plural to the singular and/or from the singular to the plural as is appropriate to the context and/or application. The various singular/plural permutations may be expressly set forth herein for sake of clarity.

It will be understood by those within the art that, in general, terms used herein, are generally intended as "open" terms (e.g., the term "including" should be interpreted as "including but not limited to," the term "having" should be interpreted as "having at least," the term "includes" should be interpreted as "includes but is not limited to," etc.). It will be further understood by those within the art that if a specific number of an introduced claim recitation is intended, such an intent will be explicitly recited in the claim, and in the absence of such recitation no such intent is present. For example, as an aid to understanding the description may contain usage of the introductory phrases "at least one" and "one or more" to introduce claim recitations. However, the use of such phrases should not be construed to imply that the introduction of a claim recitation by the indefinite articles "a" or "an" limits any particular claim containing such introduced claim recitation to inventions containing only one such recitation, even when the same claim includes the introductory phrases "one or more" or "at least one" and indefinite articles such as "a" or "an" (e.g., "a" and/or "an" should typically be interpreted to mean "at least one" or "one or more"); the same holds true for the use of definite articles used to introduce claim recitations. In addition, even if a specific number of an introduced claim recitation is explicitly recited, those skilled in the art will recognize that such recitation should typically be interpreted to mean at least the recited number (e.g., the bare recitation of "two recitations," without other modifiers, typically means at least two recitations, or two or more recitations). Furthermore, in those instances where a convention analogous to "at least one of A, B, and C, etc." is used, in general such a construction is intended in the sense one having skill in the art would understand the convention (e.g., "a system having at least one of A, B, and C" would include but not be limited to systems that have A alone, B alone, C alone, A and B together, A and C together, B and C together, and/or A, B, and C together, etc.). In those instances where a convention analogous to "at least one of A, B, or C, etc." is used, in general such a construction is intended in the sense one having skill in the art would understand the convention (e.g., "a system having at least one of A, B, or C" would include but not be limited to systems that have A alone, B alone, C alone, A and B together, A and C together, B and C together, and/or A, B, and C together, etc.). It will be further understood by those within the art that virtually any disjunctive word and/or phrase presenting two or more alternative terms, whether in the description, or drawings, should be understood to contemplate the possibilities of including one of the terms, either of the terms, or both terms. For example, the phrase "A or B" will be understood to include the possibilities of "A" or "B" or "A and B."

While various aspects and embodiments have been disclosed herein, other aspects and embodiments will be apparent to those skilled in the art. The various aspects and embodiments disclosed herein are for purposes of illustration and are not intended to be limiting, with the true scope being indicated in the description

REFERRAL NUMERALS: