EP0084811B1 - Apparatus for working under water - Google Patents

Apparatus for working under water Download PDF


Publication number
EP0084811B1 EP83100231A EP83100231A EP0084811B1 EP 0084811 B1 EP0084811 B1 EP 0084811B1 EP 83100231 A EP83100231 A EP 83100231A EP 83100231 A EP83100231 A EP 83100231A EP 0084811 B1 EP0084811 B1 EP 0084811B1
European Patent Office
Prior art keywords
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German (de)
French (fr)
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EP0084811A3 (en
EP0084811A2 (en
George Dipl.-Ing. Marsland
Heinz Marschner
Klaus Wiemer
Hubert Knoblauch
Thomas Weyer
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Herion Systemtechnik GmbH
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Herion Systemtechnik GmbH
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Priority to DE3202106 priority Critical
Priority to DE19823202106 priority patent/DE3202106C2/de
Application filed by Herion Systemtechnik GmbH filed Critical Herion Systemtechnik GmbH
Publication of EP0084811A2 publication Critical patent/EP0084811A2/en
Publication of EP0084811A3 publication Critical patent/EP0084811A3/en
Application granted granted Critical
Publication of EP0084811B1 publication Critical patent/EP0084811B1/en
Expired legal-status Critical Current




    • B63C11/00Equipment for dwelling or working underwater; Means for searching for underwater objects
    • B63C11/34Diving chambers with mechanical link, e.g. cable, to a base
    • B63C11/36Diving chambers with mechanical link, e.g. cable, to a base of closed type
    • B63C11/40Diving chambers with mechanical link, e.g. cable, to a base of closed type adapted to specific work
    • E21B41/00Equipment or details not covered by groups E21B15/00 - E21B40/00
    • E21B41/04Manipulators for underwater operations, e.g. temporarily connected to well heads


  • The invention relates to an underwater tool according to the preamble of claim 1.
  • For the mobile use of gripping and processing tools, handling and inspection devices as well as the associated energy and signal control devices etc., such underwater work tools are required, for example, to work in the deep water (e.g. 150 m) on wrecks, drilling towers, pipelines etc. to enable effective and largely accident-proof work with and without diver escort.
  • Such an underwater working device is known from DE-Z «Marine technology», Issue 6/1981, p. 176/177 Fig. 4. This is designed as a self-supporting body with these penetrating flow channels and propellers arranged therein and with immersion cells. This publication does not show the measures provided on this device principle for achieving a high degree of mobility and versatility with sufficient functional, load and accident safety, such as the type of gripper arm articulation and design as well as the placement of the rotating and Swivel axes are determined in relation to the focus.
  • According to FR-A-1 516 602, an underwater device became known which can be placed on the sea floor with feet, but cannot be docked on large pipes due to the small gripper with gripper arms mounted in its own rotating towers. The gripper arms have no common axes and are structurally unfavorable or spatially obstructive away from the center of gravity. Furthermore, an underwater vehicle for collecting minerals has become known (EP 0 018 891), which is also equipped as a self-supporting body with these penetrating flow or propeller channels. Its gripper device consists of bucket chain conveyors that can be moved laterally in front of two main hulls, which interact with a conveyor belt located between the hulls. The vehicle in question is neither designed as a compact diving aid vehicle for self-balancing hover use, nor is it provided with a main gripper by which it would be docked on any pillars or structural parts and could be pivoted relative thereto.
  • US-A-2 987 893 also discloses an underwater vehicle in which a propeller drive is provided between self-supporting elongated hulls. One of the hulls also has a gripper arm, which is articulated in the tip of its bow, i.e. far outside the center of gravity of the vehicle, and which further increases the overall length of the vehicle.
  • From US-A-3 381 485 gripper linkages have also been known which are mounted laterally in front of or above the front of the underwater vehicle and therefore enlarge its outer dimensions.
  • From this prior art it can be seen that main grippers for fastening such work tools to any underwater structures have so far only been attached to the front of the work tool. However, this impaired maneuverability and the work area (e.g. in confined spaces) and there were various work difficulties and risks due to the risk of getting caught or deforming the immersion body. In view of the considerable costs and risks of underwater work, an improvement with regard to the versatility of the diving bodies and the shortening of transport times for tools and aids between the supply ship and the place of use is necessary.
  • The object of the invention is therefore to improve an underwater tool of the type mentioned in such a way that the arrangement of the main gripper in this case better suits the areas of application, even in confined spaces and high performance or weight requirements, with reduced risk of malfunction and accident becomes.
  • This object is achieved in an underwater working device of the type mentioned by the features of the characterizing part of claim 1.
  • First of all, the main gripper has such a large access area to securely fix the underwater work tool directly by clasping large pipes or other thick objects. In addition, the extreme size ratio of the gripper arms compared to the vibrating body compared to the prior art and their bearing arrangement, among other advantages, mean that the gripper weights are supported cheaply when the device is moved with the aid of propeller drives and the vehicle can still be trimmed satisfactorily. The connection area of the holding and supply cable remains largely independent of the occasional turning and tilting movements of the device, and the cable is exposed to minimal stresses due to such movements, because a swivel bracket, in the middle of which a cable entry chamber is installed, on the top of the hollow body is attached, the arms are rotatably mounted in the side walls of the hollow body. As a result, the support point of the main gripper comes very close to the center of gravity, and the front wall of the implement body is now further stiffened by the bearing housing of the main gripper fastened in the recess, and the risk of jamming is now greatly reduced between the gripper and storage.
  • By designing the device body according to the invention with an arrangement of the main gripper bearing in a stiffening recess near the center of gravity, it is achieved in particular that the sensitivity to impact (for example in comparison to the frame construction and hollow bodies with le digitally pre-flanged gripper) and the bending stiffness (even when using light metal) is improved. The arrangement of the main gripper in a recess in the device body gives less cause for changes in the direction and size of the reaction forces or the flow influences and the tilting moments influencing them, so that the drive elements for trimming the working device need to be switched on less often or for less time.
  • Advantageous further developments of the invention are characterized in the subclaims.
  • According to claim 2, favorable trim conditions can also be attributed to the fact that the arrangement according to the invention, which is particularly advantageous for optimal trimming, makes it possible for the horizontal and vertical lines of action of the flow channels in the device body to intersect in or near the center of gravity of the fully equipped working device.
  • According to claim 3 it is achieved that, in particular, the maximum tilting moment occurring when the gripper is stretched out and possibly loaded, is counteracted jointly with two vertically directed drive elements located in front of the horizontal tilting axis.
  • According to claim 4 it is achieved that the underwater work device can also be used directly as a “machine tool”, in that a diver no longer guides a tool by hand and, if necessary, supports himself against the equipment carrier, but rather now by means of support attached to the equipment carrier - Tool holder can be directly guided without a diver being in the immediate vicinity.
  • According to claim 5 it is achieved that a particularly wide display of the tool arm enables corresponding inserts even at a greater distance from the front wall of the implement.
  • According to claim 6 it is achieved that remote-controlled processing of parts is also possible, which are initially movable at the place of use, but must be held by the auxiliary gripper for processing (e.g. for absorbing reaction forces when processing components with tools, etc.) .
  • According to claim 7 it is achieved that a rope winch can also be brought into the working position with the main gripper, with which e.g. Objects can be pulled up to the underwater work tool, or that it can also take over the transport or transfer of loads at the place of use as a kind of underwater crane.
  • The following further advantages can be achieved with the design of the proposed implement:
    • - Since the interior of the device body is divided several times and pressure chambers are provided near the storage of the main gripper, in which locating and control devices as well as auxiliary drives are accommodated, it is achieved that integrated pressure chambers, which can be used for various equipment elements, in the immediate vicinity of the center of gravity pre-extended main gripper cause additional buoyancy forces in the device body itself.
    • - If some of the pressure chambers are used as storage rooms, some of the pressure rooms can be used as storage areas (e.g. as hydraulic oil tanks) or for heat exchanger applications (e.g. for hot water generation) and can also be used as counterweights against gripper moments will.
    • - Thanks to a flow cladding, the device body has an outer contour that reduces or stabilizes flow influences, at least over edges, corners or openings, which also reduces the dangers of getting caught, for example on construction parts, cables and hoses. The smooth outer surfaces of the device body also give fewer reasons for loose, floating parts to get caught in the device (e.g. as in a frame construction or on a gripper mounted on the front side) and possibly come into contact with a propeller or a gripper part. Pressure chambers that are permanently installed in the device body act both additionally stiffening and as buoyancy elements, whereby access to the inside of the pressure chambers (also in contrast to the frame) is easily possible via lid flanges that have a bulge-stiffening effect on the outer surfaces of the hollow body in order to store additional parts or to install. The pre-assembled internals can be easily inserted into the pressure chambers in a drawer-like manner and protected against impact.
    • - The flow cladding also includes additional buoyancy bodies attached to the outside of the hollow body, or in multiple use itself is immediately effective as an additional buoyancy body.
    • - Designed as a bumper, the flow panel resiliently absorbs any bumps or blows so that e.g. B. when bumping into wreckage or structures during maneuvering, functionally indispensable parts of the working device are not immediately endangered and the risk of crushing may also be reduced for divers located nearby.
    • - When arranging device boxes that can be opened outwards in the flow cladding below the horizontal flow channels, it is possible not only to include the storage locations for processing tools etc. in a loss-proof manner in the flow cladding, but also to place them so deep that no parts can fall into the flow channels . It also offers the option of designing the flaps of the device boxes as running boards for the accompanying diver.
    • - With device connections within the device boxes, the power supply connections for the tools can also be included in the cladding in such a way that there is no risk of ramming damage and hose connections etc. normally do not need to be changed under water Chen, and that the underwater interchangeable couplings that are used here are also better protected against contamination.
    • - The processing tools can also be secured so reliably by means of safety lines attached in the device boxes that the diver does not need to devote any extra special attention or time to the tools or devices being lost, even when the device boxes are open and the device is strongly inclined.
    • - If actuators and support as well as tool arm can be operated remotely and interact with a tool changer that is also connected to the device body and can be controlled remotely, the result is that the underwater work tool can also be used without the assistance of a diver, i.e. can penetrate to even greater depths or to even more dangerous locations, than are normally accessible to divers.
    • - Because the main gripper can be swiveled at least 90 ° to the vertical, the implement can also be shortened perpendicularly to the longitudinal axis of the implement in a particularly space-saving manner, so that it can also be used in narrow structures or ship holds etc. a clinging across to elongated parts, for example astride a pipe, is inexpensive to set.
    • - By attaching a rotating console to the top of the device body, on which a swiveling, collapsible platform that can be positioned by an assistant is attached, it is achieved that, especially for divers, a safe, rigid work base can be created directly at the place of work without auxiliary scaffolding or the like can, if the point of application of the main gripper is so far away from the actual work place that the diver cannot rely directly on the actual work equipment when using his tools. - The fastening of the rotary console can advantageously be designed such that, for. B. an automatic tool changing system can be used here modularly in the hollow body instead of the platform.
    • With a swivel bracket on the top of the hollow body, the arms of which are rotatably mounted in the side walls of the hollow body, and in the middle of which a cable entry chamber is installed, the connection area of the holding and supply cable is largely independent of the occasional turning and tilting movements of the device remains and that the cable is only exposed to minimal stresses due to such movements.
    • - By using the angular positions of the swivel bracket as well as a cable length control in the cable entry chamber to trim the weight of the underwater work tool, it is achieved that both by adapting the swivel bracket position to the respectively favorable cable connection angle and by signals from here to the cable winch on the The above-water station always only unwinds as much cable as corresponds to the most favorable cable angle for the desired implement position or that the proportion of cable weight acting on the device is used for trimming as cheaply as possible.
    • - If further buoyancy elements are arranged in the device bodies, which result in a low sinking speed of the underwater working device when the drive elements are switched off, it is achieved in particular that the device always keeps the cable tight enough and cannot float without power and would thus be endangered by shipping traffic etc. .
    • - Since a local control of the underwater work device and the auxiliary devices is housed in a control point that can be inserted into the hollow body from the outside and temporarily removed from it for remote control and can be moved at a distance from the underwater work device by means of a control cable, the control panel or . The signal transmitters for the actuators and actuators for normal use are conveniently integrated and protected against ramming in the device at the cheapest place, but they can still be easily taken away by the diver himself to a more protected distance, e.g. when diving in dangerous areas or for maneuvering , while the signal is transmitted to the device via the control cable, which is usually rolled up under the control panel.
    • - The attachment and connection devices for special equipment on the end facing away from the main gripper mean that the device can be expanded with additional units (e.g. sludge pumps), operating fluid tanks (e.g. welding gas) which can be attached to a backpack and connected to its energy system is. It is advantageous here to achieve the most favorable trimming without external weights by appropriate, predeterminable cable connection angle adjustments on the swivel bracket that can be achieved when attaching or detaching such attachments.
  • In summary, the underwater work device according to the invention presents itself as a device with which the type of work possibilities under water can be greatly expanded as well as the working hours can be shortened and the security can possibly be increased considerably with a diver as well as the devices and the processing parts.
  • The invention is explained in more detail with reference to schematic drawings. Show it:
    • Fig. 1 shows the underwater tool in the marching state, equipped for use as an accompanying diving aid.
    • Fig. 2 expanded the device with equipment for companionless use as an underwater machine tool.
    • Fig. 3 shows the device without flow cladding and outer drive elements in a side view.
    • Fig. 4 shows the device as in Fig. 4, but in plan view.
    • Fig. 5 shows the underwater tool in use as a mobile scaffold with attached additional unit (eg material testing device).
    • Fig. 6 the same device, but used as a hoist or load transporter (e.g. assembly aid).
  • In Fig. 1 the underwater tool 1 is shown in the maneuvering state.
  • The device body 2, on which the handling devices 3 for the actuation of the gripping tools 4 or for supporting the processing tools are movably attached, also carries light sources 6, locating devices 7 (television sets, sonar devices etc.), also accommodates the control devices 8 and the drive elements 9 . The entire device is both kept in operation and controlled to the place of use via a central tow and supply cable 10 from an above-ground base (not shown). For this purpose, drive elements 9 (e.g. propellers) in the various flow channels 11, which penetrate the device body 2 or are attached to it, can be started up and controlled as needed via remote control from the above-water base or from the diver on the device. On the end face 12 of the device body 2 there is a recess 13 which is open at the top and bottom and in which the main gripper 14 has pivot and rotation axes 15 which have a bearing 17 in the interior 16 of the device body 2. Pressure chambers 18 enclose the valves and switches etc. for auxiliary drives 19 for actuating the gripping tools 4 and the drive elements 9. A device box 20 which can be opened from the outside and in which device connections 21 and device fishing lines 22 are located, can be used for the various processing tools 5 when used as diving Pick up auxiliary device.
  • The gripping arms 30 of the main gripper 14 work together via a common drive with the abutment 31, which can be pushed out of the device body between the gripping arms which can move in opposite directions in the direction of the object to be enclosed. At the free ends of the gripping arms 30, swiveling claws 32 can further improve the reliable application of the gripping arms 30. A winch 34 is provided on a gripper cross member 33 connecting the two gripper arms 30 in front of their swivel bearings. When the main gripper 14 is rotated relative to the device body 2, the position of the winch 34 also changes. On the upper side of the device body there is an extendable and collapsible, ladder-like platform 35, which can also be inserted at any angle in a rotating bracket 36 embedded in the device body can be used across the implement 1. The platform drive 37, here also consisting of hydraulic cylinders and swivel drives, can, depending on requirements, be operated by the diver on the platform 35 itself or by the device 1. An approximately above the normal center of gravity of the device body 2 on both sides of the pivot bracket 38 is assembled with the cable entry chamber 39, in which the trailing and supply cable 10 ends on the device side, so that different cable entry angles can be set and the cable weight can be used in part as a trimming aid . The diver will normally control the device 1 at the control panel 40, which is embedded in the device body 2 from above. He can lie on the device or take the control panel 40 out of the hollow body and control the device from a certain protective distance on a long transmission line.
  • Buoyancy bodies 41 can be accommodated in the flow cladding 23 and also in the empty spaces of the device body 2 which are not used for other purposes. Tilting moments that are not easily compensated for by buoyancy bodies 41 can advantageously also be compensated for with the aid of the cable length control 42, which is preferably installed in the cable entry chamber 39 itself, if, for example, a displacement occurs on the gripping tool 4 or on the device body 2 (e.g., by attaching additional devices 43) of the center of gravity is inevitable to a greater extent.
  • In Fig. 2, the underwater tool is also designed with devices for completely companion-free use as a machine tool.
  • For this purpose, parallel linear actuators 24 are attached to the device body 2 on both sides of the end wall 12 parallel to the vertical flow channels 11 arranged on both sides of the recess 13 on the device body 2. These vertical linear actuators 24 can move a horizontal linear actuator 25, which is arranged between them vertically adjustable, closer or farther to the axis of rotation of the main gripper 14. A tool support 26 can be moved laterally on the horizontal linear actuator 25 transversely to the main gripper 14 between the vertical linear actuators 24. A tool holding arm 27 is preferably pivotally mounted on the tool support 26 and can be changed in the direction of a processing point located above the main gripper 14 with respect to its distance as well as its inclined position. The tool arm 27 can automatically work together with an automatic tool changer 28, which is inserted behind it in the top of the device body 2 instead of a rotary console 36. In the case of more complicated assemblies or fixing problems, there is the possibility of using an auxiliary gripper 29, which is fastened outside the working area of the linear actuators, but can reach into this area, regardless of the machining process. During maneuvering, this auxiliary gripper 29 can remain folded back and locked completely parallel to the flow cladding of the implement 1 in such a way that it adjusts to the profile of the flow cladding 23 without any notable protrusions.
  • FIG. 3 schematically shows a preferred embodiment of the structure of the device body 2 in a side view. The main gripper 14 is in these figures on the left side in the wide recess 13 with its bearing 17 pivotally attached up and down and also rotatable in the same. The pressure chambers 18 located in the right of the recess 13 in the interior 16 are z. B. with the electrical system for the light sources 6 and the locating devices 7 or with the hydraulics for the drive elements 9 and for the auxiliary drives 19 (on grippers, platform, swivel bracket, etc.).
  • On the end facing away from the gripper 14 (on the right in the picture), hydraulic oil tanks 44 are provided in further pressure chambers 18 on both sides of a vertical flow channel 11. The horizontal flow channel 11 above the pressure chambers 18 near the bearing 17 of the main gripper 14 additionally stiffens the device body 2 in its upper region, on which, depending on the intended use of the implement 1, e.g. a rotary console 36 or an automatic tool changer 28 or similar device can be constructed in a modular manner. These structures, e.g. B. 36 or 28 etc., are normally enclosed by the swivel bracket 38, which is both cable entry 39 and in the unfolded state carrying devices for the entire implement 1. The swivel bracket 39 is mounted here above the recess 13, approximately at the highest point of the device body 2 in the side walls of the device body and can be swiveled to the longitudinal axis thereof.
  • FIG. 4 shows the structure of the device body 2 in a top view and an assembly opening for the drive element 9 arranged in the horizontal flow channel 11 is visible behind the cutout. To the right of this, approximately in the middle of the device body 2, two square covers of pressure chambers 18 for hydraulic valves for controlling the drives 9 and 19 are then visible. At the stern, the vertical flow channel 11 and on both sides of the same are further valve box pressure chambers 18 (via the hydraulic tank 44). 3 and 4 do not show the flow claddings 23 to be attached to the outside of the device body 2 or the buoyancy bodies combined therewith and the device boxes 20 which are still embedded therein. This arrangement, which is extremely compact and yet easy to access, has been achieved in particular that the suspension point with the swivel bracket 39 comes to lie approximately above the position of the center of gravity with the gripper standing horizontally and the platform 35 folded. In this operating position, the resultant of all lines of action from the various drive elements also comes close to or in the center of mass, so that only minimal energy expenditure is required to correct the position, as long as no moment effect from the gripper or cantilever occurs.
  • 5, the underwater working device 1 is fastened with its main gripper 14 mounted in the device body 2, for example on a pipe support, and is supplied with energy and monitored via the towing and supply cable 10, which does not need to perform any trim functions. In the example, the device is attached to the add-on device attachment 43 (e.g. for welding work) and the diver has extended the platform 35 in order to be able to use the various processing tools 5 via the platform 35 and the rotary console 36 on the over the Main gripper 14 supported device body 2 to support. The course of the work can also be observed from the above-water station with the aid of the light sources 6 and the locating devices 7 (sonar television cameras) which are installed in the working device 1.
  • In Fig. 6, the underwater work tool 1 is clamped in the opposite position to the arrangement of Fig. 3 to a horizontal tube with the main gripper 14, the winch 34 being used for holding or transporting components. The diver has moved from the working device 1 via the foldable platform 35, which is extended vertically downwards and is provided with openings and ladder rungs, to a fixed point near the installation site, but away from the working device 1. The diver can control the winch and possibly the platform via the control panel 40 which is removed from the device body 2 and which is connected to the control devices 8 and auxiliary drives 19 in the device body 2 via a corresponding long-distance line.
  • In such and many other applications, the smooth outer contour of the implement 1 and the versatile and very compact design of the implement body 2 are advantageous not only to avoid accidents and damage, but also due to the high rigidity of the implement body and the resulting high load-bearing capacity due to the Different moments acting on it, depending on the position of the grippers and the platform or the type and size of the reaction forces from the various machining tool inserts.
    Figure imgb0001
    Figure imgb0002

Claims (7)

1. Underwater implement with a tool carrier, on which handling tools (3), gripping tools (4), working tools (5), light sources (6), locating tools (7), control tools (8) and drive elements (9) are arranged, the implement (1) being connected to an above-water base via a retaining, control and supply cable (10), and the tool carrier being a self- supporting tool body (2) penetrated by flow channels (11), which are arranged at an angle with respect to one another and in which the drive elements (9) are arranged, characterised in that a power-driven main gripper (14) comprising two arms (30), which can be swivelled inwards in opposite directions, and an abutment (31) which is displaceable between the latter, is guided such that it can be swivelled upwards and downwards and rotated in a bearing (17) in a recess (13) formed at a front end (12) in the tool body (2).
2. Underwater implement according to claim 1, characterised in that the bearing (17) is arranged as close as possible to the mass centre.
3. Underwater implement according to claim 1, characterised in that drive elements (9), which are directed at a right angle to a swivel and rotational axis (15) of the main gripper (14), are provided on the tool body (2) on both sides of the recess (13).
4. Underwater implement according to claim 1 or 2, characterised in that a respective linear adjusting member (24), which is vertical when the implement (1) is in the normal position, is secured to the front end (12), on the gripper side, of the tool body (2) on each side of the recess (13), at which member (24) a third linear adjusting member (25), which is horizontal when the implement (1) is in the normal position, can be adjusted and moved in steps, the third linear adjusting member (25) guiding a tool support (26).
5. Underwater implement according to claim 3, characterised in that the support (26) comprises a tool arm (27) which can be swivelled about the third, horizontal adjusting member (25) and adjusted in length and which drives or carries working tools (5).
6. Underwater implement according to one of claims 1 to 4, characterised in that a further auxiliary gripper (29) is arranged on the tool body (2) of the implement (1) outside of the operating area of the main gripper (4), the access area of which gripper (29) is dimensioned for co-operation with the tool arm (27).
7. Underwater implement according to one of the preceding claims, characterised in that a winch (34) is arranged on a crossbar (33) of the main gripper (14) such that it can also rotate.
EP83100231A 1982-01-23 1983-01-13 Apparatus for working under water Expired EP0084811B1 (en)

Priority Applications (2)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
DE3202106 1982-01-23
DE19823202106 DE3202106C2 (en) 1982-01-23 1982-01-23

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EP0084811A2 EP0084811A2 (en) 1983-08-03
EP0084811A3 EP0084811A3 (en) 1984-10-24
EP0084811B1 true EP0084811B1 (en) 1987-12-09



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EP (1) EP0084811B1 (en)
JP (1) JPS58127818A (en)
CA (1) CA1207603A (en)
DE (1) DE3202106C2 (en)

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Also Published As

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US4620819A (en) 1986-11-04
DE3202106A1 (en) 1983-09-29
CA1207603A1 (en)
DE3202106C2 (en) 1984-10-11
CA1207603A (en) 1986-07-15
JPS58127818A (en) 1983-07-30
EP0084811A2 (en) 1983-08-03
EP0084811A3 (en) 1984-10-24

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