US20070277457A1 - Floor assembly utility panel - Google Patents

Floor assembly utility panel Download PDF

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Publication number
US20070277457A1
US20070277457A1 US11446073 US44607306A US2007277457A1 US 20070277457 A1 US20070277457 A1 US 20070277457A1 US 11446073 US11446073 US 11446073 US 44607306 A US44607306 A US 44607306A US 2007277457 A1 US2007277457 A1 US 2007277457A1
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Prior art keywords
plate
floor tile
structural reinforcement
reinforcement member
insert assembly
Prior art date
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
US11446073
Inventor
Shanell M. Langston
David E. Ward
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Steelcase Inc
Original Assignee
Steelcase Development Inc
Priority date (The priority date 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 date listed.)
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    • EFIXED CONSTRUCTIONS
    • E04BUILDING
    • E04FFINISHING WORK ON BUILDINGS, e.g. STAIRS, FLOORS
    • E04F15/00Flooring
    • E04F15/02Flooring or floor layers composed of a number of similar elements
    • E04F15/024Sectional false floors, e.g. computer floors
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H02GENERATION; CONVERSION OR DISTRIBUTION OF ELECTRIC POWER
    • H02GINSTALLATION OF ELECTRIC CABLES OR LINES, OR OF COMBINED OPTICAL AND ELECTRIC CABLES OR LINES
    • H02G3/00Installations of electric cables or lines in or on buildings, equivalent structures or vehicles
    • H02G3/02Details
    • H02G3/08Distribution boxes; Connection or junction boxes
    • H02G3/18Distribution boxes; Connection or junction boxes providing line outlets
    • H02G3/185Floor outlets and access cups

Abstract

A floor tile assembly comprises a floor panel supported above a floor surface by at least one frame member, wherein the floor panel includes an aperture, and an insert assembly including a first plate including a top surface, a bottom surface and a side edge having a first indentation, wherein the first plate covers at least a portion of the aperture. A second plate is adjacent to the first plate and includes a top surface, a bottom surface and a side edge located adjacent the side edge of the first plate, wherein the second plate covers at least a portion of the aperture and a side edge of the second plate cooperates with the first indentation of the first plate to form a first opening. A structural reinforcement member is connected to the bottom surface of the first plate and abuts the bottom surface of the second plate, thereby reinforcing the first and second plates against vertically applied loads.

Description

    BACKGROUND OF PRESENT INVENTION
  • The present invention relates to elevated floor tile assemblies for office settings and the like, and in particular to floor tile assemblies adapted for use within elevated floor tile system and capable of receiving power and communication lines therethrough.
  • Work environments often include raised floor platforms capable of supporting furniture including cabinets, work surfaces, desks, tables, chairs, computers, lighting products, etc. These raised floor platforms typically provide a space between the base floor and the raised floor for allowing power and communication lines to be routed to various outlets on the floor or in walls. While it is desirable to maintain utilities below the raised floor and out of sight, it is oftentimes undesirable to have the potential location of furniture and equipment limited by fixed access points for power and communication lines in the floor system. Accordingly, many arrangements provide apertures in the raised floor assembly so that power and communication lines can be fed through the raised floor to the devices the lines support such as computers, lighting fixtures, etc. An aperture is frequently covered by two or more plates so that the entire aperture is not exposed when the power and communication lines are passing through the aperture. The plates often include at least one opening large enough to allow power and communication lines to pass therethrough.
  • A problem that sometimes occurs is that the weight of furniture, users, or the routed power and communication lines can bear on one or more of the plates that cover the aperture. Over time, the plates are subject to fatigue and may eventually fracture or become permanently deformed under the stress of the load bearing lines resting on the plates. Not only is this condition aesthetically unappealing, the fractured or deformed plates can be a safety hazard in the workplace.
  • It would be advantageous to have a floor tile assembly that includes a raised floor having floor tiles that can be readily configured during installation and thereafter reconfigured to provide a wide variety of locations for power and communication line access points. It would also be advantageous to have a floor tile assembly plate structure that provides reinforcement to the plates and allows for a uniform appearance of the top surface of the plates. Such a floor tile assembly construction would prove beneficial and would be a significant advancement in raised floor technology.
  • SUMMARY OF INVENTION
  • One aspect of the present invention is a floor tile assembly having a floor panel supported above a floor surface by at least one frame member wherein the floor panel includes an aperture. An insert assembly is included and has a first plate including a top surface, a bottom surface and a side edge having a first indentation. The first plate covers at least a portion of the aperture. A second plate is adjacent to the first plate and includes a top surface, a bottom surface and a side edge located adjacent the side edge of the first plate. The second plate covers at least a portion of the aperture and a side edge of the second plate cooperates with the first indentation of the first plate to form a first opening. A structural reinforcement member is connected to the bottom surface of the first plate and abuts the bottom surface of the second plate. The first and second plates are reinforced against loads applied to the top surfaces of the first and second plates.
  • Another aspect of the present invention is a floor tile insert assembly that is adapted to be received within a floor tile supported above a floor surface by a frame assembly, wherein the floor tile includes an aperture extending therethrough. The floor tile insert comprises a first plate including a top surface, a bottom surface and at least one side edge having a first indentation, wherein the first plate is adapted to be located within an aperture of a floor tile and adapted to be supported by the floor tile, a first structural reinforcement member having a first end connected to the bottom surface of the first plate, and a first catch disposed below the first plate. The floor tile insert also comprises a second plate, including a top surface, a bottom surface and at least one side edge cooperating with the indentation of the first plates to form a first opening adapted to receive power and communication lines therethrough, wherein the second plate is adapted to be located within an aperture of the floor tile, and adapted to be supported by the floor tile. The floor tile insert further comprises a second structural reinforcement member having a first end connected to the bottom surface of the second plate and a second end nesting within the first catch, wherein the first and second structural reinforcement members cooperate to form the first and second plates against a load applied to the top surface of the first and second plates.
  • Floor tile assemblies having plates that include structural reinforcement members provide an aesthetically pleasing appearance and are capable of withstanding loads placed on them by power lines and communication lines. In addition, any deflection of the plates that does occur will occur with uniformity, as the structural reinforcement member will enable both plates to share the load uniformly, thus deflecting proportionately.
  • These and other aspects, objects, and features of the present invention will be understood and appreciated by those skilled in the art upon studying the following specification, claims, and appended drawings.
  • DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS
  • FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a floor tile assembly embodying the present invention;
  • FIG. 2 is an enlarged perspective view of the floor tile assembly;
  • FIG. 3 is an exploded perspective view of an insert assembly;
  • FIG. 4 is a perspective view of a structural reinforcement member;
  • FIG. 5 is a top elevational view of the insert assembly of FIG. 3;
  • FIG. 6 is an exploded perspective view of an alternative insert assembly embodying the present invention;
  • FIG. 7 is a perspective view of the alternative insert assembly in an assembled state;
  • FIG. 8 is a top perspective view of a first structural reinforcement member of an alternative embodiment of the present invention;
  • FIG. 8A is a top perspective view of a second structural reinforcement member of the alternative embodiment;
  • FIG. 9 is a top perspective view of the first and second structural reinforcement members of the alternative embodiment in a nested configuration;
  • FIG. 10 is an end elevational view of the first and second structural reinforcement members of the alternative embodiment in the nested configuration;
  • FIG. 11 is an exploded view of the first and second structural reinforcement members of the alternative embodiment connected with the first and second plates; and
  • FIG. 12 is a perspective view of the alternative floor tile assembly in an assembled state.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS
  • For purposes of description herein the terms “upper”, “lower”, “right”, “left”, “rear”, “front”, “vertical”, “horizontal” and derivatives thereof shall relate to the invention as oriented in FIGS. 1 and 2. However, it is to be understood that the invention may assume various alternative orientations and step sequences, except where expressly specified to the contrary. It is also to be understood that the specific devices and processes illustrated in the attached drawings, and described in the following specification are exemplary embodiments of the inventive concepts defined in the appended claims. Hence, specific dimensions and other physical characteristics relating to the embodiments disclosed herein are not to be considered as limiting, unless the claims expressly state otherwise.
  • The reference numeral 10 generally designates a floor tile assembly embodying the present invention. The floor tile assembly 10 includes a floor panel 12 supported above a floor surface 14 by at least one frame member 16. The floor panel 12 includes an aperture 18 (FIG. 3). The floor tile assembly 10 also includes an insert assembly 20 having a first plate 22 (FIGS. 2 and 3) having a top surface 24, a bottom surface 26, and a side edge 28 having a first indentation 30. The first plate 22 covers a portion of the aperture 18. A second plate 32 is adjacent to the first plate 22 and includes a top surface 34, a bottom surface 36, and a side edge 38 located adjacent to the side edge 28 of the first plate 22. The second plate 32 covers a portion of the aperture 18 and the side edge 38 of the second plate 32 cooperates with the first indentation 30 of the first plate 22 to form a first opening 40. A structural reinforcement member 42 is connected to the bottom surface 26 of the first plate 22 and abuts the bottom surface 36 of the second plate 32. This arrangement reinforces the first and second plates 22, 32 against loads applied to the top surfaces 24, 34 of the first and second plates 22, 32.
  • In the example shown as FIG. 1, the floor tile assembly 10 includes multiple floor panels 12 that cooperate to form the floor assembly 10 above the base floor surface 14. At a consistent interval, frame members 16 are attached to the underside of the floor panels 12 to raise the floor panels 12 above the floor surface 14. The frame members 16 may be attached at each corner 44 (FIG. 2) of the floor panels 12, at a central location below each floor panel 12, or any other arrangement that provides rigidity and durability to the floor tile assembly 10. The insert assembly 20 is located in an aperture 18 in one of the floor panels 12 and is used to relay power and communication lines 46 through the floor tile assembly 10 from the floor surface 14. The power and communication lines 46 can then be directed to the various components (i.e., computers, printers, light fixtures, etc.) that the lines 46 support.
  • Referring to FIG. 2, the insert assembly 20 in the floor panel 12 is situated such that the distance Y between a perimeter 48 of the insert assembly 20 and a perimeter 50 of the floor panel 12 is twice that of distance X. This arrangement allows for the insert assembly 20 to be rotated into four different positions when the floor panel 12 is rotated. Consequently, the power and communication lines 46 can be routed through one of four desirable quadrants depending on the floor panel position. Further, a grommet 54 (FIG. 3) may cover the power and communication lines 46, or alternatively, a wire cover 56 may be utilized.
  • FIG. 3 illustrates the various components of the insert assembly 20. An outer frame member 60 having an outer support rim 62 and an inner support rim 64 is adapted to fit inside the aperture 18 of the floor panel 12. Mechanical fasteners 66 secure the outer frame member 60 to the aperture 18 and are secured to mechanical fastener apertures 68 in the first and second plates 22, 32 and the floor panel 12. The first and second plates 22, 32 fit inside the outer support rim 62 and rest on the inner support rim 64. When assembled, the second plate 32 also rests on the structural reinforcement member 42 fixedly attached to the bottom surface 26 of the first plate 22. The side edges 28, 38 of the first and second plates 22, 32 are positioned adjacent to one another when located within the outer frame member 60. The first indentation 30 of the first plate 22 cooperates with a first indentation 70 of the side edge 38 of the second plate 32 to form the first opening 40. Additionally, a second indentation 72 of the first plate 22 cooperates with a second indentation 74 of the side edge 38 of the second plate 32 to form a second opening 76.
  • As previously mentioned, a variety of devices, including grommets 54 or wire covers 56, may be placed over the first and second openings 40, 76 to cover the power and communication lines 46 extending therethrough. Moreover, the first and second openings 40, 76 may be covered by air-diffusers (not shown) and, rather than being used for routing power and communication lines 46, may be utilized for delivering air from an under-the-floor air delivery system commonly used in office settings.
  • With reference to FIGS. 4 and 5, the structural reinforcement member 42 has a first portion 80 and a second portion 82 that extends orthogonally to the first portion 80. This construction results in the structural reinforcement member 42 having an L-shaped cross-sectional configuration. Approximately one-half of the first portion 80 is fixedly connected to the bottom surface 26 of the first plate 22 by welded material 84 leaving approximately one-half of the structural reinforcement member 42 protruding from the first plate 22 and adjacent to the bottom surface 36 of the second plate 32. The second portion 82 is disposed approximately half-way between first and second frame edges 86, 88 (FIG. 6) to provide symmetrical support to the plates 22, 32 during load bearing conditions. The second portion 82 has approximately the same dimensions as the first portion 80.
  • Referring now to FIGS. 6 and 7, another embodiment of the present invention includes a floor panel 12 having a beveled edge 90. The beveled edge 90 has a depth approximately equal to the thickness of the first and second plates 22, 32 such that when the plates 22, 32 are positioned over the aperture 18, the top surface 24, 34 of the first and second plates 22, 32 is coplanar with a top surface 92 of the floor panel 12 providing for a “flush” appearance.
  • The side edge 28 of the first plate 22 in FIGS. 6 and 7 is adjacent to the side edge 38 of the second plate 32. A first indentation 30 of the first plate 22 cooperates with a first indentation 70 of the side edge 38 of the second plate 32 to form the first opening 40. The first opening 40 may be used to route power and communication lines 46 through the floor panel 12. Additionally, a second indentation 72 of the first plate 22 may be present. The second indentation 72 of the first plate 22 cooperates with a second indentation 74 of the side edge 38 of the second plate 32 to form a second opening 76. Like the first opening 40, the second opening 76 is used to route power and communication lines 46 through the floor panel 12. As in the previous embodiment, grommets 54 or wire covers 56 may be placed over the first and second openings 40, 76 to cover the power and communication lines 46 extending therethrough. The first and second plates 22, 32 are secured over the aperture 18 by mechanical fasteners 66 that engage mechanical fastener apertures 68 in the first and second plates 22, 32 and in the floor panel 12.
  • Referring to FIG. 8, another embodiment of the instant invention includes a first structural reinforcement member 100 that includes a first portion 102 and a second portion 104. The second portion 104 has approximately the same dimensions as the first portion 102 and extends longitudinally along and perpendicularly to the first portion 102. A catch 106 is integrally formed with the second portion 104 and extends in a direction opposite the first portion 102. The catch 106 includes a support wall 108 and a side wall 110. The support wall 108 is substantially parallel with the first portion 102 of the first structural reinforcement member 100 and the side wall 110 is substantially parallel with the second portion 104 of the first structural reinforcement member 100. The catch 106 may be welded to the first structural reinforcement member 100 or be integral with and stamped from the same material as the first structural reinforcement member 100. The first structural reinforcement member 100 otherwise has the same structure and is set in the same environment as the structural reinforcement member 42 of the first embodiment and it is to be understood that those structural and environmental details explained with regard to the first embodiment are generally the same with regard to the second embodiment.
  • As shown in FIG. 8A, a second structural reinforcement member 120 has a similar construction to the first structural reinforcement member 100 disclosed above. The second reinforcement member 120 includes a first portion 122 and a second portion 124. The second portion 124 has approximately the same dimensions as the first portion 122 and extends longitudinally along and outwardly from the first portion 122. The second reinforcement member 120 also includes a catch 125 having a support wall 126 and a side wall 127. The first and second reinforcement members 100, 120 are adapted to matingly engage as shown in FIGS. 9 and 10, as discussed below.
  • As best illustrated in FIG. 10, the distance “X” between the side wall 110 of the first structural reinforcement member 100 and the second portion 104 is greater than the width “W” of the second portion 124 of the second structural reinforcement member 120, with similar dimensions being used for corresponding elements in the first and second structural reinforcement member 100, 120. Because the distance “X” between the side wall 110 and the second portion 104 of the first structural reinforcement member 100 is greater than the width “W” of the second portion 124 of the second structural reinforcement member 120, the second portion 124 of the second structural reinforcement member 120 is allowed to easily engage the catch 106 of the first structural support member. The same is true for the second portion 104 of the first structural reinforcement member 100 engaging the catch 125 of the second structural reinforcement member 120.
  • As can be seen in FIGS. 11 and 12, the first and second structural reinforcement members 100, 120 are fixedly connected (i.e., welded, adhered, fastened) to a bottom surface 26, 36 of the first and second plates 22, 32, respectively. This arrangement allows for a protruding end of the second portion 124 of the second structural reinforcement member 120 to be moved in the direction of arrows 132 to engage and nest in the catch 106 of the first structural reinforcement member 100. Simultaneously, a protruding end of the second portion 104 of the first structural reinforcement member 100 engages and nests in the catch 125 of the second structural reinforcement member 120.
  • When each catch 106, 125 has been engaged, the side edges 28 of the first plate 22 abut the side edge 38 of the second plate 32, such that any loads bearing down on the top surfaces 24, 34 of the first and second plates 22, 32, respectively, will be supported by the first and second structural reinforcement members 100, 120. Optionally, one of the first or second structural reinforcement members 100, 120 may include a catch while the other of the first and second structural reinforcement member may not.
  • The configurations of the floor panels and the insert assemblies as disclosed and described herein allow for a flush-type fitting of the insert assemblies into the associated floor panels and with the upper surfaces associated therewith, thereby providing for an aesthetically pleasing surface when covered by carpet and the like.
  • It is to be understood that variations and modifications can be made on the aforementioned structure without departing from the concepts of the present invention, and further it is to be understood that such concepts are intended to be covered by the following claims unless these claims by their language expressly state otherwise.

Claims (20)

  1. 1. A floor tile assembly comprising:
    a floor panel supported above a floor surface by at least one frame member, wherein the floor panel includes an aperture; and
    an insert assembly comprising:
    a first plate including a top surface, a bottom surface and a side edge having a first indentation, wherein the first plate covers at least a portion of the aperture;
    a second plate adjacent to the first plate and including a top surface, a bottom surface and a side edge located adjacent the side edge of the first plate, wherein the second plate covers at least a portion of the aperture, and wherein the side edge of the second plate cooperates with the first indentation of the first plate to form a first opening; and
    a first structural reinforcement member connected to the bottom surface of the first plate and abutting the bottom surface of the second plate, thereby reinforcing the first and second plates against a load applied to the top surfaces of the first and second plates.
  2. 2. The floor tile assembly of claim 1, wherein the side edge of the second plate includes a first indentation and wherein the first indentation of the first plate and the first indentation of the second plate cooperate to form the first opening.
  3. 3. The floor tile insert assembly of claim 1, wherein the first structural reinforcement member has a first portion and a second portion, the first portion is fixedly connected to the first plate, and the second portion of the structural reinforcement member extends substantially orthogonal to the first portion.
  4. 4. The floor tile insert assembly of claim 1, wherein the bottom surface of the first plate is weldably coupled to the first portion of the structural reinforcement member.
  5. 5. The floor tile insert assembly of claim 1, wherein approximately one-half of the first portion of the structural reinforcement member extends outwardly from the side edge of the first plate.
  6. 6. The floor tile insert assembly of claim 1, wherein the side edge of the first plate has a second indentation and the side edge of the second plate has a second indentation, and wherein the second indentation of the first plate and the second indentation of the second plate cooperate to form a second opening.
  7. 7. The floor tile insert assembly of claim 1, further including:
    a second structural reinforcement member connected to the bottom surface of the second plate and operably engaging the first structural reinforcement member thereby reinforcing the first and second plates against a load applied to the top surfaces of the first and second plates.
  8. 8. The floor tile insert assembly of claim 7, further including:
    a first catch disposed below the first plate, wherein the second structural reinforcement member nests within the first catch.
  9. 9. The floor tile insert assembly of claim 8, further including:
    a second catch disposed below the second plate, wherein the first structural reinforcement member nests within the second notch.
  10. 10. The floor tile insert assembly of claim 9, wherein the first and second catches are integrally connected with the first and second structural reinforcement members, respectively.
  11. 11. The floor tile insert assembly of claim 9, wherein the first and second catches are each U-shaped.
  12. 12. The floor tile insert assembly of claim 1, wherein the insert assembly includes an outer frame member, and wherein the outer frame member includes an outer support rim abutting the floor panel and an inner support rim supporting the first and second plates.
  13. 13. A floor tile insert assembly adapted to be received within a floor tile supported above a floor surface by a frame assembly, the floor tile having an aperture extending therethrough, the floor tile insert comprising:
    a first plate including a top surface, a bottom surface, and at least one side edge having a first indentation, wherein the first plate is adapted to be located within an aperture of a floor tile and adapted to be supported by a floor tile;
    a first structural reinforcement member having a first end connected to the bottom surface of the first plate;
    a first catch disposed below the first plate;
    a second plate including a top surface, a bottom surface, and at least one side edge cooperating with the indentation of the first plate to form a first opening adapted to receive power and communication lines therethrough, wherein the second plate is adapted to be located within an aperture of a floor tile, and adapted to be supported by a floor tile; and
    a second structural reinforcement member having a first end connected to the bottom surface of the second plate and a second end nesting within the first catch, wherein the first and second structural reinforcement members cooperate to support the first and second plates against a vertically applied load.
  14. 14. The floor tile insert assembly of claim 13, wherein the first and second structural reinforcement members each include a first planar portion and a second planar portion extending longitudinally along and perpendicularly to the first planar portion.
  15. 15. The floor tile insert assembly of claim 13, wherein the first structural reinforcement member is weldably coupled to the bottom surface of the first plate and the second structural reinforcement member is weldably coupled to the bottom surface of the second plate.
  16. 16. The floor tile insert assembly of claim 13, further including:
    a second catch disposed below the second plate, wherein the first structural reinforcement member is nested within the second catch.
  17. 17. The floor tile insert assembly of claim 16, wherein the second catch is integrally formed with the second structural reinforcement member.
  18. 18. The floor tile insert assembly of claim 16, wherein the first and second catches are each U-shaped.
  19. 19. The floor tile insert assembly of claim 16, wherein the first catch is located proximate the first end of the first structural reinforcement member, and wherein the second catch is located proximate the first end of the second structural reinforcement member.
  20. 20. The floor tile insert assembly of claim 13, wherein the first catch is integrally formed with the first structural reinforcement member.
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Cited By (7)

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WO2009106670A1 (en) * 2008-02-29 2009-09-03 Industrias Tomas Morcillo S.L. Access floor and installation method therefor
EP2037551A3 (en) * 2007-09-13 2010-12-22 Schneider Electric Industries SAS Floor passage
US20110291533A1 (en) * 2010-05-25 2011-12-01 Mammoth, Inc. Cabinet for an air handling system
US8656668B2 (en) * 2011-12-14 2014-02-25 Hilti Aktiengesellschaft Modular frame for fastening a conduit at a construction part
EP2887479A1 (en) * 2013-12-18 2015-06-24 Tarkett GDL S.A. Tile to be applied on a building surface and method for installing cables in a building
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EP2037551A3 (en) * 2007-09-13 2010-12-22 Schneider Electric Industries SAS Floor passage
WO2009106670A1 (en) * 2008-02-29 2009-09-03 Industrias Tomas Morcillo S.L. Access floor and installation method therefor
US20100325992A1 (en) * 2008-02-29 2010-12-30 Industrias Tomas Morcillo S.L. Access Floor and Installation Method Therefor
US20110291533A1 (en) * 2010-05-25 2011-12-01 Mammoth, Inc. Cabinet for an air handling system
US8656668B2 (en) * 2011-12-14 2014-02-25 Hilti Aktiengesellschaft Modular frame for fastening a conduit at a construction part
EP2887479A1 (en) * 2013-12-18 2015-06-24 Tarkett GDL S.A. Tile to be applied on a building surface and method for installing cables in a building
US9657484B2 (en) 2015-02-12 2017-05-23 The United States Of America, As Represented By The Secretary Of The Army Rapid deployment communications tile
WO2016168799A1 (en) * 2015-04-17 2016-10-20 Hubbell Incorporated Floor box cover
US9859698B2 (en) 2015-04-17 2018-01-02 Hubbell Incorporated Floor box cover

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