US20100186189A1 - Vacuum cleaner having dirt collection vessel with a labyrinthine air flow path - Google Patents

Vacuum cleaner having dirt collection vessel with a labyrinthine air flow path Download PDF

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Publication number
US20100186189A1
US20100186189A1 US12/359,803 US35980309A US2010186189A1 US 20100186189 A1 US20100186189 A1 US 20100186189A1 US 35980309 A US35980309 A US 35980309A US 2010186189 A1 US2010186189 A1 US 2010186189A1
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Prior art keywords
vacuum cleaner
ring shaped
air flow
dirt
dirt collection
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Abandoned
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US12/359,803
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Brian K. Ruben
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Panasonic Corp of North America
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Panasonic Corp of North America
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Priority to US12/359,803 priority Critical patent/US20100186189A1/en
Assigned to PANASONIC CORPORATION OF NORTH AMERICA reassignment PANASONIC CORPORATION OF NORTH AMERICA ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST (SEE DOCUMENT FOR DETAILS). Assignors: RUBEN, BRIAN K.
Publication of US20100186189A1 publication Critical patent/US20100186189A1/en
Application status is Abandoned legal-status Critical

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    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A47FURNITURE; DOMESTIC ARTICLES OR APPLIANCES; COFFEE MILLS; SPICE MILLS; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47LDOMESTIC WASHING OR CLEANING; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47L9/00Details or accessories of suction cleaners, e.g. mechanical means for controlling the suction or for effecting pulsating action; Storing devices specially adapted to suction cleaners or parts thereof; Carrying-vehicles specially adapted for suction cleaners
    • A47L9/10Filters; Dust separators; Dust removal; Automatic exchange of filters
    • A47L9/102Dust separators
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A47FURNITURE; DOMESTIC ARTICLES OR APPLIANCES; COFFEE MILLS; SPICE MILLS; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47LDOMESTIC WASHING OR CLEANING; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47L9/00Details or accessories of suction cleaners, e.g. mechanical means for controlling the suction or for effecting pulsating action; Storing devices specially adapted to suction cleaners or parts thereof; Carrying-vehicles specially adapted for suction cleaners
    • A47L9/10Filters; Dust separators; Dust removal; Automatic exchange of filters
    • A47L9/16Arrangement or disposition of cyclones or other devices with centrifugal action
    • A47L9/1658Construction of outlets
    • A47L9/1666Construction of outlets with filtering means

Abstract

A vacuum cleaner includes a body having a nozzle assembly with a suction inlet and a control assembly including a control stalk. A suction generator and dirt collection vessel are both carried on the body. A dirt collection vessel includes a housing, having a dirty air inlet, a clean air outlet, a labyrinthine air flow path connecting the dirty air inlet with the clean air outlet, and a dirt collection chamber opening to the labyrinthine air flow path.

Description

    TECHNICAL FIELD AND INDUSTRIAL APPLICABILITY OF THE INVENTION
  • The present invention relates generally to the floor care equipment field and, more particularly, to a new and improved vacuum cleaner incorporating a dirt collection vessel having a labyrinthine air flow path for enhanced cleaning performance.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • A vacuum cleaner is an electromechanical appliance utilized to effect the dry removal of dust, dirt and other small debris from carpets, rugs, fabrics or other surfaces in domestic, commercial and industrial environments. In order to achieve the desired dirt and dust removal, most vacuum cleaners incorporate a rotary agitator. The rotary agitator is provided to beat dirt and debris from the nap of the carpet or rug while a pressure drop or vacuum is used to force air entrained with this dirt and debris into the nozzle of the vacuum cleaner. The particulate laden air is then drawn into a dirt collection vessel before being directed through the motor of the suction generator to provide cooling. Finally, the air is filtered to remove any fine particles of carbon from the brushes of that motor or other dirt that might remain in the airstream before being exhausted back into the environment.
  • Dirt collection vessels on vacuum cleaners typically comprise a dirt cup having a cylindrical sidewall, a tangentially directed air inlet for receiving dirt and debris from the nozzle of the vacuum cleaner, and an axially oriented outlet for discharging clean air from the dirt collection vessel. Such a structural arrangement allows for cyclonic air flow in the dirt cup. Such air flow causes dirt and debris to move outwardly toward the side wall of the dirt cup under the centrifugal force generated by the cyclonic air flow. That dirt and debris is then collected in the dirt cup as the clean air is drawn toward and through the axially directed outlet.
  • In many vacuum cleaners a filter of some type is provided over the discharge outlet to eliminate any dirt and debris not removed from the air stream by the cyclonic air flow. In other, more recent designs, one or more secondary cyclones are provided to remove any fine dust particles that may have escaped the first or primary cyclone cleaning stage.
  • The present invention relates to a vacuum cleaner incorporating a dirt collection vessel of novel design that includes a labyrinthine air flow path that provides enhanced cleaning performance without the need for a fine particle filter in the dirt collection vessel.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • In accordance with the purposes of the present invention as described herein, an improved vacuum cleaner is provided. That vacuum cleaner comprises a body including (a) a nozzle assembly having a suction inlet, (b) a control assembly including a control stalk, (c) a suction generator carried on the body, and a dirt collection vessel carried on the body. The dirt collection vessel is characterized by a housing having a dirty air inlet, a clean air outlet, a labyrinthine air flow path connecting the dirty air inlet with the clean air outlet, and a dirt collection chamber opening to the labyrinthine air flow path. As the air stream follows the labyrinthine air flow path it moves in the shape of a sign wave.
  • More specifically describing the invention, the dirt collection vessel includes a series of spaced baffles forming a series of interconnected passageways. This series of spaced baffles comprises a first ring shaped baffle, a second ring shaped baffle, and a third ring shaped baffle. The first, second and third ring shaped baffles are concentrically disposed with respect to one another.
  • A first airflow pathway is defined between the dirty air inlet and the first ring shaped baffle. A second airflow pathway is defined between the first and second ring shaped baffles. A third air flow passageway is defined between the second and third ring shaped baffles.
  • Still further describing the invention, the dirt collection chamber includes a first divider, a second divider and a cylindrical outer wall. The first and second dividers are ring shaped and concentrically received within the cylindrical outer wall. The first divider projects between the first and second ring shaped baffles so that the second air flow passageway is u-shaped. Similarly, the second divider projects between the second and third ring shaped baffles so that the third air flow passageway is u-shaped. A first blind channel is formed in the first divider while a second blind channel is formed in the second divider. Still further, a third blind channel is formed adjacent the cylindrical outer wall. A clean air outlet is formed between the third ring shaped baffle and the third blind channel. All of the blind channels open toward the dirt collection chamber and away from the labyrinthine air flow path.
  • The dirt collection chamber includes a first dirt compartment formed between the dirty air inlet and the first divider, a second dirt compartment formed between the first and second dividers, and a third dirt compartment formed between the second divider and the cylindrical outer wall. In addition, a ring shaped air deflector is positioned in the second dirt compartment. The ring shaped deflector is aligned with the second ring shaped baffle.
  • In an alternative embodiment of the invention, the dirt collection vessel further includes a primary cyclone separator upstream from the labyrinthine air flow path. In this embodiment, air flows through the dirty air inlet, into the primary cyclone separator, and from the primary cyclone separator into the labyrinthine air flow path, and then from the labyrinthine air flow path to the clean air outlet. Thus, the labyrinthine air flow path acts as a secondary cleaning means for removing fine dirt and debris from the air stream.
  • In the following description, therein describes multiple embodiments of the invention, simply by way of illustration of some of the modes best suited to carry out the invention. As it should be realized, the invention is capable of other different embodiments, and its several details are capable of modification in various, obvious aspects departing from the invention. Accordingly, the drawings and descriptions will be regarded as illustrative in nature, but not as restrictive.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • The accompanying drawings incorporated herein and forming a part of the specification, illustrate several aspects of the present invention and together with the description serve to explain certain principles of the invention. In the drawings:
  • FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an upright vacuum cleaner incorporating the novel dirt collection vessel of the present invention;
  • FIG. 2 is a cross-sectional view, illustrating a first embodiment of the dirt collection vessel of the present invention;
  • FIG. 3 is a schematical cross-sectional view of an alternative embodiment of the dirt collection vessel of the present invention.
  • Reference will now be made in detail of the present invention, examples of which are illustrated in the accompanying drawings.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS OF THE INVENTION
  • Reference is now made to FIG. 1 illustrating an upright vacuum cleaner 10. incorporating the novel dirt collection vessel 12 of the present invention. The vacuum cleaner 10 includes a body, generally designated by reference numeral 14. The body 14 includes a nozzle assembly 16 and a control assembly 18. As is known in the art, the control assembly 18 is pivotally connected to the nozzle assembly 16 to aid the operator in manipulating the vacuum cleaner 10 back and forth across the floor. Wheels (not shown) carried on the body 14 allow the vacuum cleaner 10 to be moved smoothly across the floor. As illustrated, the nozzle assembly 16 is equipped with a suction inlet 20. A rotary agitator 22, including bristle tufts, wipers or cleaning ribs 23, is mounted on the nozzle assembly 16 and extends across the suction inlet 20. The rotary agitator 22 rotates relative to the nozzle assembly 16 in a manner well known in the art.
  • The control assembly 18 carries a suction generator 28 (i.e. a fan and motor assembly) and the collection vessel 12. The details of the dirt collection vessel will be described in greater detail below. The control assembly 18 also includes a control stalk 30 and an actuator switch 32 for turning the vacuum cleaner 10 on and off. The vacuum cleaner 10 may be powered by electricity from an electrical wall outlet through a power cord (not shown) or by means of an onboard battery.
  • In operation, the rotary agitator 22 quietly and efficiently brushes dirt and debris from the nap of an underlying carpet. That loosened dirt and debris is first drawn into the suction inlet 20 before being delivered to the dirt collection vessel 12 by means of the suction generator 28. Dirt and debris is trapped in the dirt collection vessel 12 and the now clean air is directed over the motor of the suction generator 28 to provide cooling before being exhausted into the environment through the exhaust vent or port 34.
  • A first embodiment of the dirt collection vessel 12 of the present invention is illustrated in FIG. 2. As illustrated, the dirt collection vessel 12 includes a housing 40, including a cylindrical outer wall 42, as well as a cylindrical inner wall 44 concentrically received within the cylindrical outer wall 42. The cylindrical inner wall 44 defines the dirty air inlet 46. Dirty air inlet 46 opens into a labyrinthine air flow path, generally designated by reference numeral 48. A dirt collection chamber, generally designated by reference numeral 50, opens to the labyrinthine air flow path 48. The dirt collection chamber 50 is closed at one end by an annular bottom wall 52 that may be connected by means of a hinge 54 to the outer side wall 42. A latch mechanism of a type known in the art and generally designated by reference numeral 56, holds the bottom wall 52 closed. When the latch mechanism 56 is unlatched, the bottom wall 52 pivots about the hinge 54 to allow one to empty dirt and debris from the dirt collection chamber 50.
  • The labyrinthine air flow path 48 is formed by a series of spaced baffles 58, 60, 62, that project from the top wall 64 of the dirt collection vessel 12. As illustrated, the ring shaped baffles 58, 60, 62 are concentrically disposed with respect to one another. A first air flow passageway 66 is defined between the dirty air inlet 42 or cylindrical inner wall 44 and the first ring shaped baffle 58. A second air flow passageway 68 is defined between the first ring shaped baffle 58 and the second ring shaped baffle 60. A third air flow passageway 70 is defined between the second ring shaped baffle 60 and the third ring shaped baffle 62.
  • The dirt collection chamber 50 includes a first divider 72 and a second divider 74. The dividers 72, 74 are ring shaped and concentrically received within the cylindrical outer wall 42. As illustrated, the first divider 72 projects between the first and second ring shaped baffles 58, 60 so that the second air flow passageway 68 is unshaped. Similarly, the second divider 74 projects between the second and third ring shaped baffles 60, 62 so that the third air flow passageway 70 is unshaped.
  • A first blind channel 76 is formed in the first divider 72, and a second blind channel 78 is formed in the second divider 74. In addition, a third blind channel 80 is formed adjacent to the cylindrical outer wall 42. All of the blind channels 76, 78, 80 open toward the bottom wall 52 of the dirt collection chamber 50 and away from the labyrinthine air flow path 48. The clean air outlet 82 is formed between the third ring shaped baffle 62 and the third blind channel 80.
  • The dirt collection chamber 50 includes a first dirt compartment 84 formed between the dirty air inlet 42 and the first divider 72, a second dirt compartment 86 formed between the first and second dividers 72, 74, and a third dirt compartment 88 formed between the second divider 74 and the cylindrical outer wall 42. An annular or ring shaped deflector 90 is positioned in the second dirt compartment and aligned with the second ring shaped baffle 60. Ribs 95 connect the inner wall 44, first divider 72, second divider 74 and deflector 90 to the sidewall 42.
  • The movement of air through the dirt collection vessel 12 will now be described in detail. Suction generator 28 draws an air stream entrained with dirt and debris through the suction inlet 20. That air stream is delivered by duct work (not shown) to the dirty air inlet 46 provided in the cylindrical inner wall 44. At this point, the air stream enters the labyrinthine air flow path 48. For purposes of this document, the terminology “labyrinthine air flow path” shall mean an air flow path having intricate passageways. Upon entering the labyrinthine air flow path 48, the air stream passes through the first air flow passageway 66 between the cylindrical inner wall 44 or dirty air inlet 46 and the first ring shaped baffle 50. That air stream then makes a sharp 180 degree turn around the first ring shaped baffle 58 before entering the second air flow pathway 68 (note action arrows A). As the air stream turns 180 degrees around the first ring shaped baffle 58, centrifugal forces act upon dirt and debris in the air stream, forcing that dirt and debris downward where it is collected within the first dirt compartment 84. The air stream now minus the dirt and debris collected in the first dirt compartment 84 travels through the second air flow passageway 68. The air stream then makes another 180 degree turn around the second ring shaped baffle 60 (Note action arrow B). Here, the air stream passes through the annular gap 92 provided between the second ring shaped baffle 60 and the air deflector 90. Once again, centrifugal forces are generated on any remaining dirt and debris in the air stream as the air stream moves around the second ring shaped baffle 60 to enter the third air flow passageway 70. Thus, any remaining fine particles of dirt are acted upon by centrifugal force that tends to capture those particles in the second dirt compartment 86. The air stream, minus the particles captured in second dirt compartment 86, then passes through the third air flow passageway 70 until making yet a third 180 degree turn around the third ring shaped baffle 62 (note action arrows C). At this point, only a relatively few of the finest dirt particles, if any, are remaining in the air stream. Centrifugal forces generated by the 180 degree turn of the air stream force any remaining particles outwardly toward the bottom of the third dirt compartment 86 where those particles are collected while the now clean air stream passes through the clean air outlet 82. As should be appreciated, the air stream moves along a sine wave shaped path as it moves through the passageways 66, 68, 70 of the labyrinthine air path 48.
  • It should be appreciated that the unique combination of ring shaped baffles 58, 60, 62 that force the air stream to make a 180° change of direction, blind channels 76, 78, 80 that help capture dirt particles and prevent their return to the air stream traveling through the labyrinthine air path 48, dirt compartments 84, 86, 88, and air deflector 90 function to clean the air free of dirt and debris including fine dirt particles. Thus, there is no need to provide a fine particle filter media in the dirt collection vessel 12 of the present invention. This eliminates the need to service/replace such a filter. It also eliminates any possibility of operating the vacuum cleaner at less than top efficiency due to the presence of such a filter when it is partially clogged with particles.
  • As is further illustrated in FIG. 2, the air stream travels from the clean air outlet 82 into the internal chamber 94 of the discharge manifold 96. A discharge port 98 in the manifold 96 is connected by duct work (not shown) to the suction generator 28 (see action arrows D). Accordingly, the air stream, now clean of particles, is drawn over the motor of the suction generator 28 to provide cooling before being exhausted back into the environment through the exhaust port 34. If desired, it should be appreciated that a filter, such as a HEPA filter, may be provided between the suction generator 28 and the exhaust port 34 in order to filter any carbon particles from the coils of the motor, or from any other source that might remain in the air stream.
  • An alternative embodiment of dirt collection vessel 100 is illustrated in FIG. 3. As illustrated, the dirt collection vessel 100 includes a primary cyclone, generally designated by 102, and a secondary cyclone generally designated by reference numeral 104.
  • Primary cyclone 102 includes a dirt collection chamber 106 having an outer or side wall 108, of substantially cylindrical shape, a tangentially directed inlet 110 and an axially directed outlet 112. A bottom wall 116 is pivotally connected to the Outer side wall 108 by means of a hinge 118. A latching arrangement 120 of a type known in the art, secures the bottom wall 116 in the closed position, but may be unlatched by the operator to allow the bottom wall 116 to hinge open so that dirt and debris may be removed from the dirt collection vessel 100.
  • The axial outlet 112 of the dirt collection chamber 106 is covered by a shroud 122. The upper portion 124 of the shroud 122 provides smooth continuous inner and outer surfaces to promote smooth air flow. The lower portion 126 of the shroud 122 includes a series of apertures 128. The shroud 122 is supported in the center of the dirt collection chamber 106 by the top wall 114 of the primary cyclone 102.
  • During vacuum cleaner operation, the suction generator 28 draws dirt and debris through the suction inlet 20. That dirt and debris is then conveyed by duct work (not shown) to the tangentially directed inlet 110. The air stream with entrained dirt and debris then moves in a cyclonic air flow pattern through the dirt collection chamber 106 (note action arrows E). This flow pattern creates centrifugal forces that force dirt and debris in the air stream outwardly toward the side wall 108. That dirt and debris then gradually falls downwardly toward the bottom of the dirt collection chamber 106, where it collects. Relatively clean air is then drawn through the apertures 128 (only some of which are illustrated in FIG. 3 for simplicity) of the shroud 122 and passes through the axially directed outlet 112, connected directly from the inlet 46 of the secondary cyclone 104 (not action arrow F). The secondary cyclone 104 is identical to the dirt collection vessel 12 discussed above.
  • Thus, the air stream exiting the axially directed outlet 112 of the primary cyclone flows through the inner cylindrical wall 44, past the dirty air inlet 46, into the labyrinthine air flow path 48. Any relatively fine particles of dirt and debris remaining in that air stream are removed from the air stream by centrifugal force as the air stream travels along the labyrinthine air flow path 48, making 180 degree turns around the first, second and third ring shaped baffles 58, 60, 62 (note action arrows A, B and C). That fine dirt and debris is collected in the first, second and third dirt compartments 84, 86, 88. The clean air then passes through the clean air outlet 82, entering the discharge manifold chamber 94 before passing through the outlet port 98 and then through duct work to the suction generator 28. The air stream is then exhausted back into the environment through the exhaust vent 34. The air stream may, of course, be directed through a final filter, such as a HEPA filter, before exhausting through the air vent 34 if desired.
  • The foregoing description of the preferred embodiments of the present invention have been presented for purposes of illustration and description. It is not intended to be exhaustive or to limit the invention to the precise form disclosed. Obvious modifications or variations are possible in light of the above teachings. The embodiments were chosen and described to provide the best illustration of the principles of the invention and its practical application to thereby enable one of ordinary skill in the art to utilize the invention in various embodiments and with various modifications as are suited to the particular use contemplated. All such modifications and variations are within the scope of the invention as determined by the appended claims when interpreted in accordance with the breadth to which they are fairly, legally and equitably entitled. The drawings and preferred embodiments do not and are not intended to limit the ordinary meaning of the claims in their fair and broad interpretation in any way.

Claims (16)

1. A vacuum cleaner, comprising:
a body including (a) a nozzle assembly having a suction inlet and (b) a control assembly including a control stalk;
a suction generator carried on said body; and
a dirt collection vessel carried on said body;
said dirt collection vessel being characterized by a housing having a dirty air inlet, a clean air outlet, a labyrinthine air flow path connecting said dirty air inlet with said clean air outlet and a dirt collection chamber opening to said labyrinthine air flow path.
2. The vacuum cleaner of claim 1, wherein said dirt collection vessel includes a series of spaced baffles forming a series of interconnected passageways.
3. The vacuum cleaner of claim 2, wherein said series of spaced baffles comprises a first ring shaped baffle, a second ring shaped baffle and a third ring shaped baffle.
4. The vacuum cleaner of claim 3, wherein said first, second and third ring shaped baffles are concentrically disposed with respect to one another.
5. The vacuum cleaner of claim 4, wherein a first air flow passageway is defined between said dirty air inlet and said first ring shaped baffle, a second air flow passageway is defined between said first and second ring shaped baffles and a third air flow passageway is defined between said second and third ring shaped baffles.
6. The vacuum cleaner of claim 5, wherein said dirt collection chamber includes a first divider, a second divider and a cylindrical outer wall.
7. The vacuum cleaner of claim 6, wherein said first and second dividers are ring shaped and concentrically received within said cylindrical outer wall.
8. The vacuum cleaner of claim 7, wherein said first divider projects between said first and second ring shaped baffles so that said second airflow passageway is u-shaped.
9. The vacuum cleaner of claim 8, wherein said second divider projects between said second and third ring shaped baffles so that said third air flow passageway is u-shaped.
10. The vacuum cleaner of claim 9, wherein a first blind channel is formed in said first divider and a second blind channel is formed in said second divider.
11. The vacuum cleaner of claim 10, wherein a third blind channel is formed adjacent said cylindrical outer wall.
12. The vacuum cleaner of claim 11, wherein said clean air outlet is formed between said third ring shaped baffle and said third blind channel.
13. The vacuum cleaner of claim 12, wherein said dirt collection chamber includes a first dirt compartment formed between said dirty air inlet and said first divider, a second dirt compartment formed between said first and second dividers and a third dirt compartment formed between said second divider and said cylindrical outer wall.
14. The vacuum cleaner of claim 13, including a ring shaped air deflector positioned in said second dirt compartment and aligned with said second ring shaped baffle.
15. The vacuum cleaner of claim 14, wherein said dirt collection vessel further includes a primary cyclone separator upstream from said labyrinthine air flow path so that air flows through said dirty air inlet into said primary cyclone separator and from said labyrinthine air flow path to said clean air outlet.
16. The vacuum cleaner of claim 1, wherein said labyrinthine air flow path is shaped like a sign wave.
US12/359,803 2009-01-26 2009-01-26 Vacuum cleaner having dirt collection vessel with a labyrinthine air flow path Abandoned US20100186189A1 (en)

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US20110314631A1 (en) * 2009-03-13 2011-12-29 G. B. D. Corp. Surface cleaning apparatus
CN102961087A (en) * 2012-12-10 2013-03-13 大连民族学院 Baffle insertion air-dust separation device

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* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US20110314631A1 (en) * 2009-03-13 2011-12-29 G. B. D. Corp. Surface cleaning apparatus
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CN102961087A (en) * 2012-12-10 2013-03-13 大连民族学院 Baffle insertion air-dust separation device

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Owner name: PANASONIC CORPORATION OF NORTH AMERICA, NEW JERSEY

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Effective date: 20090121

STCB Information on status: application discontinuation

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