US20030047107A1 - Portable ski tow - Google Patents

Portable ski tow Download PDF

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Publication number
US20030047107A1
US20030047107A1 US10203157 US20315702A US2003047107A1 US 20030047107 A1 US20030047107 A1 US 20030047107A1 US 10203157 US10203157 US 10203157 US 20315702 A US20315702 A US 20315702A US 2003047107 A1 US2003047107 A1 US 2003047107A1
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Prior art keywords
rope
ski
winch
drum
cable
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Legal status (The legal status is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the status listed.)
Abandoned
Application number
US10203157
Inventor
Dean Thomas
Original Assignee
Thomas Dean Te Wera
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    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B61RAILWAYS
    • B61BRAILWAY SYSTEMS; EQUIPMENT THEREFOR NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • B61B11/00Ski lift, sleigh lift or like trackless systems with guided towing cables only
    • B61B11/002Ski lift, sleigh lift or like trackless systems with guided towing cables only able to be dismantled or removed

Abstract

A portable ski tow mechanism utilizing a first winch (1) positioned adjacent one end of the ski run. The main ski rope (9) is wound onto a cable drum of the first winch (1). The rope (9) can be partly withdrawn and the free end transported to a remote location. The cable drum is rotated to wind the ski rope (9) onto the cable drum and to pull the skiers up the ski slope. In a modification, a second winch (20) is utilised. The second winch (20) has a cable drum on which an auxiliary rope (21) is wound. The free end of the auxiliary rope (21) is joined (22) to the free end of the main ski rope (9) and the auxiliary rope (21) is wound onto the cable drum of the second winch (20) to withdrawn the main ski rope (9) from the first winch (1). The two winches (1, 20) can be located at the same end of the ski run or at the opposite ends of the ski run.

Description

    BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • [0001]
    Ski tows for assisting skiers up ski slopes are well known. Known ski tows consist essentially of an endless rope loop between a fixed driving station and a fixed slave station. The rope passes around a rope drive pulley driven by a winch of the driving station and passes also around a slave pulley of the slave station. The driving station and the slave station are appropriately positioned to maintain a desired tension on the endless rope loop. Generally but not always the driving station is located at the bottom of the ski run and the slave station is located at the top of the run. Both the slave wheel and the winch must be very securely located at a predetermined position so as to maintain adequate tension on the ski rope and to maintain the winch and the slave wheel braced against any movement out of the desired location.
  • [0002]
    Generally a ski tow is a comparatively large installation and the manner in which the winch and the slave wheel are located means that once fixed in the desired location, it is rare for the apparatus to be moved to another location.
  • [0003]
    In an endeavour to overcome that disadvantage, it is known to provide portable forms of ski tows. One such form is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 4,023,502 (Elsing) which has a first portable frame assembly with a motorised rope wheel and a second portable frame assembly for the return pulley for the rope. Both frame assemblies have means whereby the assemblies can be anchored to the ground.
  • [0004]
    Another form of portable ski tow rope apparatus is disclosed in U.S. Pat. Specification No. 4,920,892 (Pesek) which discloses a portable ski tow unit which consists of an upper station and a lower rope return station. The upper station has a drive unit with a motor power drive pulley and with guide pulleys to guide the tow rope around the pulley. The rope return station is positioned at the base of the ski slope and has an idler pulley which guides the tow rope. The two rope is in the form of a continuous loop passing between the drive pulley and the idler pulley and the skier is able to grasp the upwardly moving rope to be towed up the hill. The disclosure is mainly concerned with a means to ensure the rope passes satisfactorily around the drive pulley of the winch.
  • [0005]
    U.S. Pat. Specification No. 5,205,219 (Groskreutz) discloses another form of portable ski tow rope mechanism which consists in a mechanism for supporting the extreme ends of an endless loop of a ski tow rope. A series of pulleys are utilised to guide the tow rope about an elongated enclosed path. A motor driven winch is located so the tow rope will pass through the winch at a location which is within the ski rope path and displaced from either extreme end. The winch includes a pinch wheel to ensure the ski rope passes around at least 180° of the circumference of the drive wheel.
  • [0006]
    U.S. Pat. Specification No. 3,739,728 discloses a portable winch for a ski tow. A tow rope for the skiers serves also as a control link to enable the winch to be actuated to wind up the cable under power or release the cable. The winch is able to pull itself to the top of the ski run and when anchored, skiers can grasp the rope and be pulled to the top of the hill. The rope can be pulled in a downhill direction either by a weight or it can be pulled downwards by a skier.
  • [0007]
    U.S. patent application No. 3,874,303 includes an endless belt supported by intermediate rollers and by end rollers. The belt includes conveyor means which are resiliently connected to the belt so that skiers can hold the conveyor means between their knees or by their hands to enable the skiers to be pulled up the hill.
  • [0008]
    While the known forms of ski tow rope mechanisms as exemplified in the prior art referred to above are described as ‘portable’, they are not in fact portable or if they are portable are of insufficient size to make them practical as a viable alternative to fixed ski tow installations. A further disadvantage with known forms of portable ski tow rope mechanisms is that they can generally only be located where a clear run for both the upward and downward legs of the loop of the ski rope can be obtained. This severely restricts the locations and the manner in which the mechanisms can be used.
  • OBJECT OF THE INVENTION
  • [0009]
    It is therefore an object of the invention to provide an improved form of portable ski tow rope mechanism which does not require an endless tow rope and which can, with a minimum amount of effort, be relocated from one position to another and which is capable of operating a tow rope of an adequate length.
  • DISCLOSURE OF THE INVENTION
  • [0010]
    Accordingly one form of the invention may be said to comprise a portable ski tow mechanism including a first winch having
  • [0011]
    drive means to rotate a cable drum to wind a main ski rope onto the drum,
  • [0012]
    clutch means to connect or to disconnect the drum to the drive means
  • [0013]
    the construction and arrangement being that the winch is adapted to be transported to and anchored adjacent one end of the intended ski slope,
  • [0014]
    the main ski rope is wound onto the cable drum
  • [0015]
    the clutch is operated to disconnect the drum from the drive means, and
  • [0016]
    the main ski rope is withdrawn from the cable drum by transporting the free end of the rope to a distant location whereupon a skier or skiers can grasp the ski rope
  • [0017]
    the clutch is engaged to commence rewinding of the ski rope onto the cable drum to haul the skier or skiers up the ski slope.
  • [0018]
    Preferably the winch includes guide means to guide the ski rope onto the drum and brake means to enable rotation of the drum to be retarded when the drum is disconnected from the drive means.
  • [0019]
    Preferably the mechanism includes a second winch adapted to be anchored adjacent an end of the ski run, said second winch including
  • [0020]
    drive means to rotate a cable drum to wind an auxiliary ski rope onto the drum,
  • [0021]
    clutch means to connect or to disconnect the drum to the drive means,
  • [0022]
    means to initiate operation of the second winch to wind the auxiliary ski rope onto the drum of the second winch and
  • [0023]
    means to disconnect the drum from the drive means to enable the auxiliary ski rope to be withdrawn from the drum,
  • [0024]
    the construction and arrangement being that the first and second winches are adapted to be utilised in unison by attaching the free end of the main ski rope to the free end of the auxiliary rope to thereby couple the two winches together and by operating the two winches in a manner that as the main ski rope is being withdrawn from the cable drum of one winch, the auxiliary rope is being wound onto the cable drum of the second winch.
  • [0025]
    Preferably the first winch is located adjacent a first end of the ski run, and the second said winch is located adjacent a second end of the ski run, and in operation the clutch means of a winch is disengaged to disconnect the cable drum from the drive means,
  • [0026]
    the free end of the rope is withdrawn from the disengaged cable drum and transported to the second winch and is connected to the free end of the rope of the second winch,
  • [0027]
    the drum of the second winch is disconnected from the drive means and
  • [0028]
    the clutch means of the first winch is engaged to commence re-winding of the rope onto the cable drum and to withdraw the rope from the drum of the second winch.
  • [0029]
    Preferably the ski tow mechanism includes a single winch is located adjacent the top of the intended ski run, and in operation
  • [0030]
    the free end of the main ski rope is manually transported to the desired location on the ski run to thereby withdraw the main ski rope from the cable drum and
  • [0031]
    the winch is activated to rewind the main ski rope onto the cable drum to enable the main ski rope to be utilised to haul a skier or skiers up the ski run.
  • [0032]
    Preferably the method of operating a ski tow including two winches comprises locating the first winch having a cable drum on which the main ski rope is wound adjacent the top of the intended ski run and locating the second winch having a cable drum on which the auxiliary rope is wound adjacent the bottom of the ski run and releasing the clutch means of one of the winches and withdrawing the rope from the cable drum until it can be connected to the free end of the rope on the cable drum of the second of the two winches and activating the winch having the cable drum to which the main ski rope is connected to wind the main ski rope onto the cable drum and to withdraw the auxiliary ski rope from the cable drum of the second winch.
  • [0033]
    Preferably at least one of the winches is controlled remotely.
  • [0034]
    Preferably the remote control is by an electronic signal.
  • [0035]
    Preferably the first and second winches are situate adjacent each other at one end of the ski run, and the rope is withdrawn from the cable drum of one winch and is passed around pulley means situate at the second end of a ski run and the free end of the rope from the first winch is joined to the free end of the rope from the second winch, the winches being operated so the first winch having the cable drum on which the main ski rope is wound is utilised to haul a skier or skiers up the ski slope and the second winch having the cable drum on which the auxiliary rope is wound is utilised to withdraw the main ski rope from the cable drum of the first winch.
  • [0036]
    Preferably the first and second winches are under the control of a single operator.
  • [0037]
    Preferably the first and second winches share the same motive power.
  • [0038]
    Preferably the motive power comprises an engine driving a hydraulic pump and wherein hydraulic lines connect the hydraulic pump to a hydraulic motor for the cable drum of the first winch and to the cable drum of the second winch.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0039]
    [0039]FIG. 1 is a schematic elevational drawing of one side of a first winch mechanism for the main ski rope.
  • [0040]
    [0040]FIG. 2 is a schematic elevational drawing of the second side of the winch mechanism illustrated in FIG. 1.
  • [0041]
    [0041]FIG. 3 is a schematic elevational illustration of the front of the winch mechanism illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2.
  • [0042]
    [0042]FIG. 4 is a schematic view of a highly preferred form of the invention utilising a second winch.
  • DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED FORMS OF THE INVENTION
  • [0043]
    As illustrated in FIGS. 1, 2 and 3 of the accompanying drawing, the apparatus includes a winch mechanism one form of which has a frame 1 to house a rotary power means which may be an internal combustion engine 2. The engine is coupled either to a gear train or chain drive or in a highly preferred form to a hydraulic pump 3. The pump is in turn coupled through hydraulic lines 4 to a hydraulic motor 5 which drives a cable drum 6 through a suitable clutch mechanism 7. The clutch is designed so that when it is released, the cable drum 6 can freely rotate with a minimum of frictional resistance. Preferably also the cable drum is provided with braking means such as a disc brake 8.
  • [0044]
    The cable drum is of a width and diameter that a considerable length of main ski rope 9 can be wound onto the drum. A suitable rope is formed of polypropylene or other tough non degradable material which has sufficient strength for the task. It has been found that a rope of polypropylene of no more that 6 mm diameter can lift up to 1.5 tonnes and that is suitable for the task although other weights and sizes of rope can also be utilised in the required circumstances. The length of the rope 9 will vary as required but preferably the rope should have a length of up to 1.5 kilometres and the cable drum must therefore be of a size that such a length of rope can be fully wound onto the drum. To assist with the most efficient winding of the rope onto the cable drum the mechanism preferably also includes a known type of cable feeder 10 which can be suitably driven such as by a chain drive 11 from the cable drum.
  • [0045]
    Suitable lifting handles or the like (not shown in the drawings) are also provided so that the unit can be transported. In a highly preferred form, the winch mechanism is manufactured so that it can be lifted by a helicopter so that it can be transported easily and simply from one location to another.
  • [0046]
    To use the mechanism, it is first transported, such as by ground transport or by a flying machine such as a helicopter to a suitable location where it is firmly secured in position at or adjacent to one end of the ski slope using suitable anchors, such as snow anchors and pegs. An appropriate length of rope 9 will have been wound onto the cable drum and the clutch can then be released so the cable drum can freely rotate. The free end of the main ski rope 9 can then be grasped and can be transported to a remote location. One method of this is for a skier to take the rope and ski to the remote location. In a modification, the free end of the rope can be attached to a harness which can be worn by the skier. The distance the free end of the main ski rope can be transported will preferably be up to 1.5 kilometres, depending upon the length of the rope and the topography of the country. The skier can then disengage if desired from the ski rope and intending skiers can grasp the ski rope either at this time or later as desired. A signal is then sent to the operator to activate the winch to commence winding the main ski rope which will haul the skiers up the ski run. The second operator can if desired grasp also be hauled to the top of the ski run.
  • [0047]
    The signaling to the operator of the first winch can be effected by any known means such as by direct sight, by radio telephony or whatever suitable means it is decided to use.
  • [0048]
    As illustrated in FIG. 4, the apparatus preferably also includes a second winch 20 which is of a size that it is highly portable. The ancillary winch includes a drive means to drive a cable drum on which an ancillary rope 21 is wound. The ancillary rope 21 is preferably at least as long as the main ski rope but is of a lighter construction. In one method of operation, the second winch will be stationed at or near the bottom of the ski slope or run. In this mode, the free end of the main ski rope is permanently or temporarily joined to the free end of the auxiliary rope. One means of effecting this comprises the steps of anchoring the first and second winches in position, drawing the main ski rope from the cable drum of the first winch down the ski slope, for instance by a skier or skiers to the location of the second winch. The second winch will already have the auxiliary rope 21 wound onto the cable drum and the end of the main ski rope 9 may then attached to the free end of the auxiliary ski rope. Such attachment can be by a simple knot or by other mechanical means as is known in the art. The second winch is then configured to free the cable drum and the first winch activated to draw the main tow rope up the ski run together with the skiers. Since the auxiliary rope 21 has been connected to the main ski rope 9, the auxiliary rope will be withdrawn from the drum of the second winch as the main ski rope 9 is being wound onto the cable drum of the first winch.
  • [0049]
    The second winch can be either manually controlled or remotely controlled. If it is manually controlled, it is necessary for the winch to be attended by an operator. In this mode of operation, when the main ski rope 9 has been wound the desired amount onto the drum of the first winch, the drum of the main winch can be released and a signal sent to the operator of the second winch by any known means, such as by a landline type telephone, radio telephony or other means as will be apparent, to activate the second winch. This will commence winding of the auxiliary rope onto the drum of the second winch and thereby withdraw the main ski rope from the cable drum back down the slop until a sufficient amount of the rope has been withdrawn. The operator will then disengage the drive means to the cable drum of the second winch to allow it to rotate freely and the first winch can be operated to commence winding the main ski rope onto the drum of the first winch for the next cycle of hauling the skiers up the ski run.
  • [0050]
    If the second winch is to be remotely operated, it will not require an operator. Instead all the required functions can be initiated or completed remotely under the control of the operator of the first winch. Such remote control can be by electrical or electronic signals send either by wireless telegraphy or by landline or other means as will be known in the art.
  • [0051]
    In yet another mode of operation, the first and second winches can be situate at one end, preferably at the lower end of the ski run. In this mode both winch can be under the direct control of one operator. To effect this a pulley means is first anchored adjacent the top of the ski run and the free ends of either or both the main ski rope and the auxiliary ski rope can be transported from the winches to the pulley where one rope is passed around the pulley and the free ends of the two ropes are joined. To utilise the arrangement in this mode, the winches are set so that as the main ski rope is being wound onto the cable drum of the first winch, the auxiliary rope will be withdrawn from the cable drum of the second winch. It will be understood that the main ski rope is utilised to haul the skiers up the ski slope and the auxiliary rope will be utilised to return the main ski rope back to its start position. While it is possible to adapt the two winches so that each can utilise the same type of ski rope so that both runs of the ski rope can be utilised alternately to haul skiers up the ski run, it is highly preferred that one of the winches be smaller than the other and to have an auxiliary rope which is a lighter grade than the main ski rope so that skiers can be hauled up the ski run only by the main ski rope.
  • [0052]
    While in one form both winches can have independent motor drive means, inn the configuration where the first and second winch are situate close together, it can be convenient for the two machines to use the same power source. For instance if the engine of one winch drives a hydraulic pump, the secondary hydraulic lines cann be connected to the second winch to provide the motive power.
  • [0053]
    The main advantages provided by the ski tow rope mechanism of the present invention are the mechanism is very portable and does not require complicated anchoring system for the winch or winches. The system also eliminates any problem of having to arrange all of the mechanism to cope with a particular length of looped ski rope so that the mechanism can be used for any distance up to the maximum length of rope capable of being wound onto the cable drums of one winch if only one winch is used, or onto both cable drums if two winches are used.
  • [0054]
    If a single winch is used, the free end of the main ski rope will generally be transported by a skier to the distant location. If two winches are used, the free ends of either or both the main ski rope and/or auxiliary rope can be transported by a skier or other means to a location whereby the free end of the two ropes can be joined. The second winch therefore can be of particular assistance since it can eliminate the necessity for a skier to tow the main ski rope down hill after each run. In addition, should the ski run be of a considerable length it could be difficult for the skier to tow the rope down the ski slope unaided and consequently the second skier can work in conjunction with the second winch to considerably ease this task. Should the second winch not be required for any reason, the auxiliary rope can be simply detached from the main ski rope.
  • [0055]
    Since the winch mechanism is entirely self contained, to remove the apparatus to a new location, all that is necessary is to disconnect the main ski rope from the auxiliary ski rope, if the second winch has been used and wind the main skip rope 9 onto the cable drum. The first and second winches can then be released from the anchoring means and transported to the new location where they can be anchored and so ready for operation.
  • [0056]
    Having disclosed the preferred forms of the invention, it will be apparent that modifications and changes can be made to the particular apparatus and method of carrying the invention into effect and yet still come within the basic concept of the invention. All such modifications are intended to come within the scope of the present invention.

Claims (12)

  1. 1. A portable ski tow mechanism including a first winch having
    drive means to rotate a cable drum to wind a main ski rope onto the drum,
    clutch means to connect or to disconnect the drum to the drive means
    the construction and arrangement being that the winch is adapted to be transported to and anchored adjacent one end of the intended ski slope,
    the main ski rope is wound onto the cable drum
    the clutch is operated to disconnect the drum from the drive means, and
    the main ski rope is withdrawn from the cable drum by transporting the free end of the rope to a distant location whereupon a skier or skiers can grasp the ski rope
    the clutch is engaged to commence rewinding of the ski rope onto the cable drum to haul the skier or skiers up the ski slope 2.
  2. 2. The portable ski tow mechanism as claimed in claim 1, including guide means to guide the ski rope onto the drum and brake means to enable rotation of the drum to be retarded when the drum is disconnected from the drive means 3.
  3. 3. The ski tow mechanism as claimed in claim 1, including a second winch adapted to be anchored adjacent an end of the ski run, said second winch including
    drive means to rotate a cable drum to wind an auxiliary ski rope onto the drum,
    clutch means to connect or to disconnect the drum to the drive means,
    means to initiate operation of the second winch to wind the auxiliary ski rope onto the drum of the second winch and
    means to disconnect the drum from the drive means to enable the auxiliary ski rope to be withdrawn from the drum,
    the construction and arrangement being that the first and second winches are adapted to be utilised in unison by attaching the free end of the main ski rope to the free end of the auxiliary rope to thereby couple the two winches together and by operating the two winches in a manner that as the main ski rope is being withdrawn from the cable drum of one winch, the auxiliary rope is being wound onto the cable drum of the second winch.
  4. 4. A method of operating a ski tow mechanism as claimed in claim 3,
    wherein the first winch is located adjacent a first end of the ski run, and the second said winch is located adjacent a second end of the ski run,
    the clutch means of a winch is disengaged to disconnect the cable drum from the drive means,
    the free end of the rope is withdrawn from the disengaged cable drum and transported to the second winch and is connected to the free end of the rope of the second winch,
    the drum of the second winch is disconnected from the drive means and
    the clutch means of the first winch, is engaged to commence re-winding of the rope onto the cable drum and to withdraw the rope from the drum of the second winch.
  5. 5. The method of operating a ski tow mechanism as claimed in claim 1, wherein
    a single winch is located adjacent the top of the intended ski run,
    the clutch means of the winch is released
    the free end of the main ski rope is manually transported to the desired location on the ski run to thereby withdraw the main ski rope from the cable drum and
    the winch is activated to rewind the main ski rope onto the cable drum to enable the main ski rope to be utilised to haul a skier or skiers up the ski run.
  6. 6. A method of operating a ski tow mechanism as claimed in claim 3, wherein the first winch having a cable drum on which the main ski rope is wound is located adjacent the top of the intended ski run and the second winch having a cable drum on which the auxiliary rope is wound is situate adjacent the bottom of the ski run and wherein the clutch means of one of the winches is released and the rope withdrawn from the cable drum until it can be connected to the free end of the rope on the cable drum of the second of the two winches and wherein the winch having the cable drum to which the main ski rope is connected is activated to wind the main ski rope onto the cable drum and to withdraw the auxiliary ski rope from the cable drum of the second winch.
  7. 7. The ski tow mechanism as claimed in claim 3, wherein at least one of the winches is controlled remotely.
  8. 8. The ski tow mechanism as claimed in claim 7, wherein the remote control is by an electronic signal.
  9. 9. The ski tow mechanism as claimed in claim 3, wherein the first and second winches are situate adjacent each other at one end of the ski run, and the rope is withdrawn from the cable drum of one winch and is passed around pulley means situate at the second end of a ski run and the free end of the rope from the first winch is joined to the free end of the rope from the second winch and wherein the winches are operated so that the first winch having the cable drum on which the main ski rope is wound is utilised to haul a skier or skiers up the ski slope and the second winch having the cable drum on which the auxiliary rope is wound is utilised to withdraw the main ski rope from the cable drum of the first winch.
  10. 10. The ski tow mechanism as claimed in claim 9, wherein the first and second winches are under the control of a single operator.
  11. 11. The ski tow mechanism as claimed in claim 9, wherein the first and second winches share the same motive power.
  12. 12. The ski tow mechanism as claimed in claim 11, wherein the motive power comprises an engine driving a hydraulic pump and wherein hydraulic lines connect the hydraulic pump to a hydraulic motor for the cable drum of the first winch and to the cable drum of the second winch.
US10203157 2000-02-07 2001-02-07 Portable ski tow Abandoned US20030047107A1 (en)

Priority Applications (2)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
NZ50273300 2000-02-07
NZ502733 2000-02-07

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EP (1) EP1255667A1 (en)
JP (1) JP2003521430A (en)
CN (1) CN1398232A (en)
CA (1) CA2398809A1 (en)
WO (1) WO2001056855A1 (en)

Cited By (5)

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US20080083363A1 (en) * 2006-10-06 2008-04-10 Hart L Adam Human towing device and sports based on the device
US20120226394A1 (en) * 2010-12-15 2012-09-06 Robert Marcus Uav- or personal flying device-delivered deployable descent device
US8511234B2 (en) 2011-06-08 2013-08-20 Leonard Nelson Snow sled towing device
US20130305954A1 (en) * 2012-05-15 2013-11-21 Everett Ogden DC Motor Tow Winch
US8973862B2 (en) 2010-02-24 2015-03-10 Robert Marcus Rotocraft

Families Citing this family (1)

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Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US20170120934A1 (en) 2014-06-12 2017-05-04 Ernesto Aramburo Winch for Water Sports and Other Uses

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Also Published As

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EP1255667A1 (en) 2002-11-13 application
WO2001056855A1 (en) 2001-08-09 application
CN1398232A (en) 2003-02-19 application
CA2398809A1 (en) 2001-08-09 application
JP2003521430A (en) 2003-07-15 application

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