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WO1995030611A1 - Carrier puck - Google Patents

Carrier puck

Info

Publication number
WO1995030611A1
WO1995030611A1 PCT/US1995/004255 US9504255W WO1995030611A1 WO 1995030611 A1 WO1995030611 A1 WO 1995030611A1 US 9504255 W US9504255 W US 9504255W WO 1995030611 A1 WO1995030611 A1 WO 1995030611A1
Authority
WO
Grant status
Application
Patent type
Prior art keywords
puck
carrier
cavity
wall
inner
Prior art date
Application number
PCT/US1995/004255
Other languages
French (fr)
Inventor
Gary S. Bliss
James C. Pawloski
Ronald L. Siemon
Original Assignee
Dowbrands 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.)
Filing date
Publication date

Links

Classifications

    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B65CONVEYING; PACKING; STORING; HANDLING THIN OR FILAMENTARY MATERIAL
    • B65BMACHINES, APPARATUS OR DEVICES FOR, OR METHODS OF, PACKAGING ARTICLES OR MATERIALS; UNPACKING
    • B65B43/00Forming, feeding, opening or setting-up containers or receptacles in association with packaging
    • B65B43/42Feeding or positioning bags, boxes, or cartons in the distended, opened, or set-up state; Feeding preformed rigid containers, e.g. tins, capsules, glass tubes, glasses, to the packaging position; Locating containers or receptacles at the filling position; Supporting containers or receptacles during the filling operation
    • B65B43/54Means for supporting containers or receptacles during the filling operation
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B65CONVEYING; PACKING; STORING; HANDLING THIN OR FILAMENTARY MATERIAL
    • B65GTRANSPORT OR STORAGE DEVICES, e.g. CONVEYORS FOR LOADING OR TIPPING; SHOP CONVEYOR SYSTEMS; PNEUMATIC TUBE CONVEYORS
    • B65G17/00Conveyors having an endless traction element, e.g. a chain, transmitting movement to a continuous or substantially continuous load-carrying surface or to a series of individual load-carriers; Endless-chain conveyors in which the chains form the load-carrying surface
    • B65G17/30Details; Auxiliary devices
    • B65G17/32Individual load-carriers
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B67OPENING, CLOSING OR CLEANING BOTTLES, JARS OR SIMILAR CONTAINERS; LIQUID HANDLING
    • B67CCLEANING, FILLING WITH LIQUIDS OR SEMILIQUIDS, OR EMPTYING, OF BOTTLES, JARS, CANS, CASKS, BARRELS, OR SIMILAR CONTAINERS, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR; FUNNELS
    • B67C3/00Bottling liquids or semiliquids; Filling jars or cans with liquids or semiliquids using bottling or like apparatus; Filling casks or barrels with liquids or semiliquids
    • B67C3/02Bottling liquids or semiliquids; Filling jars or cans with liquids or semiliquids using bottling or like apparatus
    • B67C3/22Details
    • B67C3/24Devices for supporting or handling bottles
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B65CONVEYING; PACKING; STORING; HANDLING THIN OR FILAMENTARY MATERIAL
    • B65GTRANSPORT OR STORAGE DEVICES, e.g. CONVEYORS FOR LOADING OR TIPPING; SHOP CONVEYOR SYSTEMS; PNEUMATIC TUBE CONVEYORS
    • B65G2201/00Indexing codes relating to handling devices, e.g. conveyors, characterised by the type of product or load being conveyed or handled
    • B65G2201/02Articles
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B65CONVEYING; PACKING; STORING; HANDLING THIN OR FILAMENTARY MATERIAL
    • B65GTRANSPORT OR STORAGE DEVICES, e.g. CONVEYORS FOR LOADING OR TIPPING; SHOP CONVEYOR SYSTEMS; PNEUMATIC TUBE CONVEYORS
    • B65G2201/00Indexing codes relating to handling devices, e.g. conveyors, characterised by the type of product or load being conveyed or handled
    • B65G2201/02Articles
    • B65G2201/0235Containers
    • B65G2201/0244Bottles
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B65CONVEYING; PACKING; STORING; HANDLING THIN OR FILAMENTARY MATERIAL
    • B65GTRANSPORT OR STORAGE DEVICES, e.g. CONVEYORS FOR LOADING OR TIPPING; SHOP CONVEYOR SYSTEMS; PNEUMATIC TUBE CONVEYORS
    • B65G2201/00Indexing codes relating to handling devices, e.g. conveyors, characterised by the type of product or load being conveyed or handled
    • B65G2201/02Articles
    • B65G2201/0235Containers
    • B65G2201/0261Puck as article support

Abstract

A carrier puck is provided for receiving and supporting an article to be moved along a predetermined path. The carrier puck comprises a main body having an inner cavity for receiving the article. The puck also includes at least one gripper element extending from an inner side wall of the main body into the first cavity for engaging with a protruding ridge on the article to releasably hold and stabilize the article in the puck. The carrier puck may also include a second cavity having a size which differs from the size of the first cavity.

Description

CARRIER PUCK

The present invention relates to carrier pucks for receiving and supporting objects to be moved along a processing line and, more particularly, to carrier pucks capable of receiving and supporting one of at least first and second articles, each having different dimensions, and to carrier pucks having improved stabilizing capabilities.

Carrier pucks are used to receive, support and stabilize articles to be moved along a processing line. Movement of the pucks and, hence, the articles, is effected via a conveyor. The conveyor may comprise a moving belt extending between opposing guide rails which act to maintain the pucks properly positioned on the moving belt.

Prior art carrier pucks are limited in their use since they can only adequately support and stabilize articles having one particular shape. When articles having a different shape are to be processed along the same processing line, new carrier pucks must be installed. This, however, is costly due to, inter alia, production line downtime and the expense of additional pucks.

Accordingly, there is a need for an improved carrier puck which is capable of receiving and supporting one of at least first and second articles, each having different dimensions. There is further a need for an improved carrier puck which is capable of receiving and supporting an article having walls which are not generally straight. These needs are met by the present invention wherein a carrier puck is provided which is capable of receiving and supporting an article having walls which are not generally straight Also provided is a carrier puck which is capable of receiving and supporting either of first and second articles, each having different dimensions. Both articles are held centrally within the puck and the upper end of each article is maintained at substantially the same height from the lower edge of the puck. Since the carrier puck of the present invention is capable of receiving either of two articles, each having different dimensions, the carrier puck substantially reduces production line downtime and eliminates expenses associated with acquiring additional carrier pucks.

In accordance with a first aspect of the present invention, a carrier puck is provided for receiving and supporting an article to be moved along a predetermined path. In accordance with a second aspect of the present invention, a carrier puck is provided for receiving and supporting one of at least first and second articles, each having different dimensions.

In accordance with a third aspect of the present invention, a carrier puck is provided for receiving and supporting one of at least first and second articles to be moved along a predetermined path.

In accordance with a fourth aspect of the present invention, a transport apparatus is provided for transporting first and second articles along a predetermined path The present invention provides a carrier puck for receiving and supporting an article having walls which are not generally straight; a carrier puck which is capable of receiving and supporting one of at least first and second articles, each having different dimensions; a transport apparatus having first and second carrier pucks for transporting first and second articles, each having different dimensions, along a predetermined path; a carrier puck for receiving and supporting an article having a protruding ridge; a carrier puck having a first cavity of a first size and a second cavity of a second size which differs from the first size; and a carrier puck having a first cavity having a first center line and a second cavity having a second center line which is spaced a given distance from the first center line. Fig. 1 is a top view of a carrier puck formed in accordance with a first embodiment of the present invention including a bottle shown in phantom;

Fig. 2 is a sectional view along section line 2-2 in Fig. 1;

Fig. 3 is a sectional view along section line 3-3 in Fig. 1;

Fig. 4 is a side view, partially in section, of a carrier puck including gripper elements constructed in accordance with a second embodiment of the present invention;

Fig. 5 is an enlarged view, partially in section, showing a gripper element constructed in accordance with a third embodiment of the present invention;

Fig. 6 is a perspective view of a carrier puck configured in accordance with a fourth embodiment of the present invention; Fig. 7 is a plan view of the carrier puck shown in Fig. 6;

Fig. 8 is a sectional side view of the puck shown in Fig. 7;

Fig. 9 is a sectional side view of the puck shown in Fig. 7 with the puck rotated from its position shown in Fig. 8;

Fig. 10 is a plan view of a carrier puck formed in accordance with a fifth embodiment of the present invention;

Fig. 11 is a sectional side view of the puck shown in Fig. 10;

Fig. 12 is a plan view of a carrier puck formed in accordance with a sixth embodiment of the present invention;

Fig. 13 is a sectional side view of the puck shown in Fig. 12; and, Fig. 14 is a sectional side view of first and second carrier pucks formed in accordance with a seventh embodiment of the present invention.

A carrier puck formed in accordance with the present invention is shown in Figs. 1-3, and is generally designated by the reference numeral 10. The carrier puck 10 comprises a main body 12 which may be formed from a metal or a polymeric material such as polyurethane foam. The main body 12 includes a cavity 14 which is capable of receiving and supporting an article such as a bottle 20.

The bottle 20 includes first and second protruding ridges 20a and 20b extending respectively from opposing side walls 20c and 20d of the bottle 20. The cavity 14 is defined by an inner side wall 14a and an inner base wall 14b. Extending from the inner side wall 14a are four gripper elements comprising fins 15a-15d. Each of the fins 15a-15d is spaced a distance Df from the inner base wall 14b such that a lower edge portion 15e on each of the fins 15a-15d engages with one of the protruding ridges 20a and 20b to releasably hold and stabilize the bottle 20 within the cavity 14.

In accordance with a second embodiment of the present invention, a carrier puck 22 is provided comprising a main body 23 having an inner cavity 24 for receiving a bottle 25, see Fig. 4. The inner cavity 24 is defined by an inner side wall 24a and an inner base wall 24b. Extending from the inner side wall 24a are four gripper elements, each comprising a rounded- 0 end screw 16 (only two are shown in Fig. 4). Each screw 16 extends through the main body 23 such that its rounded end 16a engages one of two protruding ridges 25a and 25b provided on the bottle 25. The extent to which the screw 16 extends into the cavity 24 may beadjusted by turning the screw 16 via its slotted head 16b. A chamfered-end or other appropriately shaped screw (not shown) may be used in place of the rounded-end screw 16. 5 In accordance with a third embodiment of the present invention, a carrier puck 26 is provided comprising a main body 27 having an inner cavity 28 for receiving a bottle 29, see Fig. 5. The inner cavity 28 is defined by an inner side wall 28a and an inner base wall 28b. Extending from the inner side wall 28a are four gripper elements, each comprising a spring- biased ball detent 17 located within a bore 27a in the main body 27. The spring-biased ball o detent 17 comprises a screw 17a, a ball 17b and a spring 17c. The spring 17c urges the ball 17b in a direction toward the inner cavity 28 such that the ball 17b engages with one of two protruding ridges 29a (only one is shown in Fig. 5) on the bottle 29. The inner end 27b of the bore 27a has an inner diameter which is less than the outer diameter of the ball 17b so as to prevent the ball 17b from leaving the bore 27a. 5 A carrier puck 30 formed in accordance with a fourth embodiment of the present invention is shown in Figs. 6-9. The carrier puck 30 comprises a main body 32 having a first cavity 34 of a first size and a second cavity 36 of a second size which differs from the first size. The first cavity 34 is defined by a first inner side wall portion 34a and a first inner base wall portion 34b. The second cavity 36 is defined by second inner side wall portions 36a and second 0 inner base wall portions 36b. An opening 37 extends through the bottom wall 30a of the main body 32 to allow for easy bottle removal, either manually or via a reciprocating piston (not shown) or like device. The opening 37 also allows for drainage when the puck 30 is filled with a liquid such as when the puck is washed.

The first cavity 34 is capable of receiving and supporting a first bottle 40 having 5 first dimensions and the second cavity 36 is capable of receiving and supporting a second bottle 42 having second dimensions which differ from the first dimensions. In the illustrated embodiment, the dimensions of the first bottle 40 are greater than those of the second bottle 42. The first cavity 34 has a first depth Di and the second cavity 36 has a second depth D2, see Fig. 8. The first inner base wall portion 34b is vertically spaced from the second inner base wall portions 36b such that the first depth Di is greater than the second depth D2. The upper end 40a of the first bottle 40 is spaced a distance L] from the lower end 32a of the main body 32 and the upper end 42a of the second bottle 42 is spaced a distance L from the lower end 32a, see Figs. 8 and 9. Preferably, the depths D-i and D are selected such that L2 is substantially equal to L-]. When L2 is substantially equal to l_ι, the upper ends 40a and 42a of the first and second bottles 40 and 42 are located at generally the same position relative to machinery along a processing line. This result in a reduction in processing line downtime since most or all machinery along the processing line does not have to be modified when a change is made from processing bottles 40 to bottles 42 and, vice versa.

The carrier puck 30 further includes four first gripper elements 38a which act to engage with protruding ridges 40b provided on the first bottle 40 to releasably hold and stabilize the first bottle 40 when it is received in the first cavity 34. Further provided are four second gripper elements 39a which act to engage with protruding ridges 42b provided on the second bottle 42 to releasably hold and stabilize the second bottle 42 when it is received in the second cavity 36. The number of first and second gripper elements 38a and 39a provided may be less than four or greater than four. In the embodiment illustrated inFigs. 6-9, the first and second gripper elements 38a and 39a comprise protruding elements which are integrally formed with the inner walls 34a and 36a.

Each of the first and second gripper elements 38a and 39a may alternatively comprise a rounded-end screw (see Fig. 4), a spring-biased ball detent (see Fig. 5), a fin (see Figs. 1-3), a helical spring (not shown) partially extending from one of the inner walls 34a and 36a, or other like element. It is also contemplated by the present invention that the puck 30 may be devoid of gripper elements.

The main body 32 includes two outer diametrically opposed first recesses 32b (only one is shown in Fig. 6) and two outer diametrically opposed second recesses 32c (only one is shown in Fig. 6). The first recesses 32b are vertically spaced from the second recesses 32c to allow a packaging machine to sense via a roller (not shown) or like element when the puck is properly oriented to receive either a first bottle 40 or a second bottle 42. The roller is received in one of the first and second recesses 32b and 32c when the puck is properly oriented to receive either the first bottle 40 or the second bottle 42.

In the embodiment illustrated in Figs. 6-9, the first and second cavities 34 and 36 intersect one another. It is also contemplated by the present invention that the main body 32 may include first and second cavities which do not cross one another such that the puck 30 is capable of supporting first and second bottles at the same time

The puck 30 and, hence, one of the first and second bottles 40 and 42, is conveyed along a predetermined path, e.g., a packaging line, by a conveyor (not shown) which may comprise a belt extending between opposing guide rails (not shown). The guide rails engage with first lower side surfaces 32d or secondlower side surfaces 32e to maintain the puck 30 properly positioned on the conveyor.

A carrier puck 50 formed in accordance with a fifth embodiment of the present

5 invention is shown in Figs. 10 and 11. The carrier puck 50 comprises a main body 52 having a first cavity 54 of a first size, a second cavity 56 of a second size, and a third cavity 58 of a third size. The first cavity 54 is defined by a first inner side wall portion 54a and a first inner base wall portion 54b. The second cavity 56 is defined by second inner side wall portions 56a and second inner base wall portions 56b. The third cavity 58 is defined by second inner side wall portions

10 58a and second inner base wall portions 58b. An opening 57 extends through the bottom wall 50a of the main body 52 to allow for liquid drainage and for easy bottle removal, either manually or via a reciprocating piston (not shown) or like device.

The first cavity 54 is capable of receiving and supporting a first bottle (not shown) having first dimensions. The second cavity 56 is capable of receiving and supporting a second

15 bottle (not shown) having second dimensions which are less than the first dimensions. The third cavity 58 is capable of receiving and supporting a third bottle (not shown) having third dimensions which are less than the first and second dimensions. While the carrier puck 50 is not shown having gripper elements, gripper elements such as spring-biased ball detents, rounded- end screws, fins, helical springs, protruding members integral with inner side wall portions or

20 other like elements may be provided.

A carrier puck 60 formed in accordance with a sixth embodiment of the present invention is shown in Figs. 12 and 13. The carrier puck 60 comprises a main body 62 having first and second cavities 64 and 66, respectively. The first cavity 64 is defined by first inner side wall portions 64a and first innerbase wall portions 64b. The first cavity 64 has a center line 64c

25 which is spaced a distance Yi from a center line 60b of the main body 60, see Fig. 13. The second cavity 66 is defined by a second inner side wall portion 66a and a second inner base wall portion 66b. The center line 66c of the second cavity 66 is essentially collinear with the center line 60b. An opening 67 extends through the bottom wall 60a of the main body 62 to allow for liquid drainage and for easy bottle removal, either manually or via a reciprocating piston (not

30 shown) or like device.

The first cavity 64 is capable of receiving and supporting a first bottle 70 having an off-center upper end portion 70a. The second cavity 66 is capable of receiving and supporting a second bottle (not shown). The distance Yi between the center lines 64c and 60b is determined so that a line 70b extending centrally through the upper end portion 70a of the

35 first bottle 70 is generally collinear with the center line 60b of the main body 60.

While the carrier puck 60 is not shown having gripper elements, one or more gripper elements may be provided. The gripper elements may comprise any one of the gripper elements described above. First and second carrier pucks 80 and 90 formed in accordance with a seventh embodiment of the present invention are shown in Fig. 14. The first carrier puck 80 comprises a first main body 82 having a first cavity 84 of a first size for receiving a first bottle 100. The second carrier puck 90 comprises a second main body 92 having a second cavity 94 of a second

5 size for receiving a second bottle 102. The first bottle 100 has first dimensions and the second bottle 102 has second dimensions which are different from the first dimensions.

The first cavity 84 is defined by a first inner side wall portion 84a and a first inner base wall portion 84b of the first main body 82. The second cavity 94 is defined by a second innerside wall portion 94a and a second inner base wall portion 94b of the second main body

10 92. The first inner base wall portion 84b extends a first distance Xi from an outer lower end 82a of the first main body 82. The second base wall portion 94b extends a second distance X from an outer lower end 92a of the second main body 92. The upper end 100a of the first bottle 100 is spaced a distance 2* from the outer lower end 82a of the first main body 82 and the upper end 102a of the second bottle 102 is spaced a distance Z from the outer lower end

15 92a of the second main body 92. The second distance X2 is greater than the first distance Xi such that the upper end 102a of the second bottle 102 is at substantially the same height as the upper end 100a of the first bottle 100.

The first carrier puck 80 may include first gripper elements (not shown) extending from the first side wall portion 84a for engaging with protruding ridges 100b provided on the

20 first bottle l OO to releasably hold and stabilize the first bottle 100 in the first main body 82. The second carrier puck 90 may further comprise second gripper elements (not shown) extending from the second side wall portion 94a for engaging with protruding ridges 102b provided on the second bottle 102 to releasably hold and stabilize the second bottle 102 in the second main body 92. The first and second gripper elements may comprise spring-biased ball detents,

25 rounded-end screws, fins, helical springs, protruding members integral with inner side wall portions or the like.

The first and second pucks 80 and 90 are moved along a predetermined path via a conveyor, such as a belt 1 10. Positioned on opposite sides of the belt 110 are guide rails 1 12 (only one is shown in Fig. 14) for maintaining the first and second pucks 80 and 90 correctly

30 positioned on the belt 1 10.

It is contemplated by the present invention that puck 60 shown in Figs. 12 and 13 may include only recess 64.

35

Claims

WHAT IS CLAIMED IS:
1. A carrier puck for receiving and supporting an article to be moved along a predetermined path, said article including a first portion having a protruding ridge, said carrier puck comprising: a main body having an inner cavity for receiving at least said first portion of said article; and, at least one gripper element extending from an inner side wall of said main body into said first cavity for engaging with said protruding ridge to releasably hold and stabilize said article in said puck.
2. A carrier puck as set forth in claim 1, wherein said at least one gripper element comprises at least one spring-biased detent.
3. A carrier puck as set forth in claim 1 , wherein said at least one gripper element comprises at least one screw.
4. A carrier puck as set forth in claim 1, wherein said at least one gripper element comprises at least one fin.
5. A carrier puck as set forth in claim 1 , wherein said at least one gripper element comprises at least one protruding member integral with said inner side wall.
6. A carrier puck for receiving and supporting one of at least first and second articles, said first article having first dimensions and said second article having second dimensions which differ from said first dimensions, said carrier puck comprising: a main body having a first cavity of a first size and a second cavity of a second size which differs from said first size, said first cavity being adapted to receive and support saidfirst article and said second cavity being adapted to receive and support said second article.
7. A carrier puck as set forth in claim 6, wherein said first and second cavities intersect one another.
8. A carrier puck as set forth in claim 6, wherein said first cavity has a first depth and said second cavity has a second depth which differs from said first depth such that an upper end on said first article is maintained at substantially the same height as an upper end on said second article.
9. A carrier puck as set forth in claim 6, wherein said first article has an off- center upper end portion and said first cavity has a center line which is spaced a given distance from a center line of said main body such that a line extending centrally through said upper end portion of said first article is generally collinear with said center line of said main body.
10. A carrier puck as set forth in claim 6, wherein said first cavity is defined by a first inner side wall portion and a first inner base wall portion of said main body and said second cavity is defined by second inner side wall portions and second inner base wall portions of said main body, said second base wall portions being vertically spaced from said first base wall portion.
11. A carrier puck as set forth in claim 10, further comprising a first gripper element extending from said first side wall portion for engaging with a protruding ridge provided on said first article to releasably hold and stabilize said first article when said first article is received in said main body.
12. A carrier puck as set forth in claim 1 1, further comprising a second gripper element extending from one of said second side wall portions for engaging with a protruding ridge provided on said second article to releasably hold and stabilize said second article when said second article is received in said main body.
13. A carrier puck as set forth in claim 12, wherein each of said first and second gripper elements comprises a spring-biased detent.
14. A carrier puck as set forth in claim 12, wherein said first gripper element comprises a protruding member integral with said first side wall portion and said second gripper element comprises a protruding member integral with said one second side wall portion.
15. A carrier puck as set forth in claim 6, wherein said main body further comprises a third cavity which is adapted to receive and support a third article.
16. A carrier puck for receiving and supporting one of at least first and second articles to be moved along a predetermined path, said carrier puck comprising: a main body having a first cavity having a first center line and a second cavity having a second center line which is spaced a given distance from said first center line, said first cavity being adapted to receive and support said first article and said second cavity being adapted to receive and support said second article.
17. A transport apparatus for transporting first and second articles along a predetermined path, said transport apparatus comprising: a first carrier puck comprising a first main body having a first cavity of a first size, said first cavity being adapted to receive said first article; a second carrier puck comprising a second main body having a second cavity of a second size which differs from said first size, said second cavity being adapted to receive said second article; and, a conveyor for moving said first and second carrier pucks along a predetermined path.
18. A transport apparatus as set forth in claim 17, wherein said first cavity has a first depth and said second cavity has a second depth which is different from said first depth.
19. A transport apparatus as set forth in claim 17, wherein said first cavity is defined by a first inner side wall portion and a first inner base wall portion of said first main body and said second cavity is defined by a second inner side wall portion and a second inner base wall portion of said second main body, said first inner base wall portion extending a first distance from an outer lower end of said first main body and said second base wall portion extending a second distance from an outeriower end of said second main body, said second distance being different from said first distance.
20. A transport apparatus as set forth in claim 19, wherein said first carrier puck further comprises a first gripper element extending from said first side wall portion for engaging with a protruding ridge provided on said first article for releasablyholding and stabilizing said first article in said first main body and said second carrier puck further comprises a second gripper element extending from said second side wall portion for engaging with a protruding ridge provided on said second article for releasably holding and stabilizing said second article in said second main body.
21. A transport apparatus as set forth in claim 17, wherein said first article has an off-center upper end portion and said first cavity has a center line which is spaced a given distance from a center line of said first main body such that a line extending centrally through said upper end portion of said first article is generally collinear with said center line of said first main body.
PCT/US1995/004255 1994-05-06 1995-04-06 Carrier puck WO1995030611A1 (en)

Priority Applications (2)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
US08238778 US5484052A (en) 1994-05-06 1994-05-06 Carrier puck
US08/238,778 1994-05-06

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