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Publication numberUS20020112411 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 09/790,362
Publication dateAug 22, 2002
Filing dateFeb 22, 2001
Priority dateFeb 22, 2001
Publication number09790362, 790362, US 2002/0112411 A1, US 2002/112411 A1, US 20020112411 A1, US 20020112411A1, US 2002112411 A1, US 2002112411A1, US-A1-20020112411, US-A1-2002112411, US2002/0112411A1, US2002/112411A1, US20020112411 A1, US20020112411A1, US2002112411 A1, US2002112411A1
InventorsDonald Gravel, Jared Judson, Ela Ben-Ur, Otto DeRuntz
Original AssigneeGravel Donald P., Judson Jared A., Ela Ben-Ur, Deruntz Otto D.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Bracket assembly for partition panels
US 20020112411 A1
Abstract
A furniture system including a substantially planar partition panel, a furniture unit and a bracket assembly. The substantially planar partition panel extends in vertical and horizontal directions and has a framework. The framework has at least first and second attachment sites, with the first and second attachment sites being spaced apart. The bracket assembly includes a first member and a second member. The first member is detachably secured to the framework at the first attachment site and has a portion freely extending therefrom relative to the framework. The second member is detachably secured to the framework at the second attachment site and has a portion freely extending therefrom relative to the framework. The freely extending portion of the first member includes a load transferring body and a mounting feature supportingly secured to the furniture unit at a position vertically spaced from the first attachment site whereby a vertical support load imparted by the furniture unit is transferred by the first member to the framework through the load transferring body. The freely extending portion of the second member also has a bearing surface engageable with the first member and configured to resist horizontal displacement of the first member.
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Claims(20)
We claim:
1. A bracket assembly for attaching a furniture unit to a structural framework, said bracket assembly comprising:
a first member having a longitudinally and freely extending load transferring body with a first attachment feature securable to the structural framework at a first attachment location on the structural framework, said first member including a mounting feature supportingly securable to the furniture unit whereby a vertical support load imparted by the furniture unit is transferable in the longitudinal direction to the structural framework by said first member; and
a second member having a second attachment feature securable to the structural framework at a second attachment location spaced from said first attachment location, said second member freely extending from said second attachment location and having at least one bearing surface engageable with said first member, said bearing surface oriented to resist movement of said first member in a direction which is in part transverse to said longitudinal direction.
2. The bracket assembly of claim 1, wherein said bearing surface of said second member at least partially defines a slot in said second member and said mounting feature of said first bracket extends through said slot.
3. The bracket assembly of claim 1, wherein said first and second attachment locations are vertically aligned and said first attachment location is positioned below said second attachment location.
4. The bracket assembly of claim 3, wherein said load transferring body of said first member includes a C-shaped channel section and said second member includes a C-shaped channel section which is overlappingly engageable with said load transferring body.
5. The bracket assembly of claim 1, wherein said first and second attachment features comprise a plurality of tabs selectively engageable with rows of horizontal slots.
6. The bracket assembly of claim 1, wherein substantially all of the vertical support load imparted by the furniture unit to the framework is transferred by said first member.
7. The bracket assembly of claim 1, wherein said bearing surface is non-securably engageable with said first member.
8. The bracket assembly of claim 1, wherein said second member includes a flexible lock member for securely engaging said second member with the structural framework.
9. A furniture system comprising:
a substantially planar partition panel extending in vertical and horizontal directions and having a framework, said framework having at least first and second attachment sites, said first and second attachment sites being spaced apart;
a furniture unit; and
a bracket assembly including a first member and a second member; said first member being detachably secured to said framework at said first attachment site and having a portion freely extending therefrom relative to said framework, said second member being detachably secured to said framework at said second attachment site and having a portion freely extending therefrom relative to said framework; said freely extending portion of said first member including a load transferring body and a mounting feature supportingly secured to said furniture unit at a position vertically spaced from said first attachment site whereby a vertical support load imparted by said furniture unit is transferred by said first member to said framework through said load transferring body; said freely extending portion of said second member having a bearing surface engageable with said first member and configured to resist horizontal displacement of said first member.
10. The furniture system of claim 9, wherein said bearing surface of said second member at least partially defines a slot in said second member and said mounting feature of said first bracket extends through said slot.
11. The furniture system of claim 9, wherein said first and second attachment sites are vertically aligned and said first attachment site is positioned below said second attachment site.
12. The furniture system of claim 11, wherein said load transferring body of said first member includes a C-shaped channel section and said second member includes a C-shaped channel section which is overlappingly engageable with said load transferring body.
13. The furniture system of claim 9, wherein said framework comprises at least two rows of vertically spaced horizontal slots defining said first and second attachment sites and said first and second members each further comprise a plurality of tabs selectively engageable with said horizontal slots.
14. The furniture system of claim 9, wherein substantially all of the vertical support load imparted by the furniture unit to the framework is transferred by said first member.
15. The furniture system of claim 9, wherein said bearing surface is non-securably engagable with said first member.
16. The furniture system of claim 9, wherein said furniture unit comprises an overhead storage bin and said framework comprises at least two horizontal structural members, each of said horizontal structural members including a row of horizontal slots.
17. The furniture system of claim 9, wherein said second member includes a flexible lock member for securely engaging said second member with the structural framework.
18. A method of assembling a furniture system comprising:
providing a substantially planar partition panel extending in vertical and horizontal directions and having a framework, said framework having at least first and second spaced apart attachment sites;
providing a bracket assembly including a first member and a second member;
engaging a bearing surface of said second member with said first member, said bearing surface configured to resist horizontal displacement of said first member;
detachably securing said first member to said framework at said first attachment site such that a portion of said first member freely extends relative to said framework, said portion of said first member including a load transferring body;
detachably securing said second member to said framework at said second attachment site such that a portion said second member freely extends relative to said framework;
supportingly securing a furniture unit on a mounting feature of said freely extending portion of said first member at a position vertically spaced from said first attachment site; and
transferring a vertical support load imparted by said furniture unit from said first member to said framework through said load transferring body.
19. The method of assembling a furniture system of claim 18, further including extending said mounting feature of said first bracket through a slot in said bearing surface of said second member.
20. The method of assembling a furniture system of claim 18, further including overlappingly engaging a C-shaped channel section of said load transferring body of said first member with and a C-shaped channel section of said second member.
Description
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] The present invention relates to bracket assemblies, and in particular to a bracket assembly for partition panels.

[0002] In new building constructions, partition systems are ordered so that, when interconnected and assembled, they divide the building space into a predetermined arrangement of offices, work areas, and other specialized areas. However, as businesses continue to evolve and the office area undergoes rearrangement, the partition systems are often not as flexible as desired, such that the existing components of the partition systems limit the rearrangement unless new components are ordered. Such new components are expensive, delay the rearrangement, and often are not even available, such as when particular upholstery for covering the component has been discontinued. Sometimes the components include removable covers used to cover partition frames of the partition system. One advantage of removable covers is that, when a corner of one is damaged, it can be interchanged with another removable cover that is in a less visible location. However, unless all of the partition frames are the same size, the removable covers must be interchanged only with other removable covers that are the same size. In addition to the above, architects and office designers are constantly looking for novel constructions that provide novel and distinctive appearance, but that are flexible enough to accommodate both modernistic and more conservative appearance. Furniture units are sometimes added to the partition frames for personalizing individual work spaces in the partition system. The furniture units have included bins, shelves, worksurfaces or any other unit that could be attached to a partition frame. Brackets have typically extended through the covers or have been attached to the panels about the periphery of the covers for connecting the furniture unit to the panels. These brackets have been of a one-piece construction wherein the vertically directed loads applied to the brackets have been transferred through the brackets to be shared by the beams to which the brackets are connected. The load distribution between the beams is variable, dependent on the design and tolerances of the beams and the brackets. However, the one-piece construction of the brackets does not provide for easy adaptability to tolerances of the covers or the furniture units unless the space between the frame and the portion of the brackets connected to the furniture unit is large. These large gaps between the frame and the brackets can be aesthetically displeasing.

[0003] Accordingly, an apparatus solving the aforementioned disadvantages and having the aforementioned advantages is desired.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0004] One aspect of the present invention is to provide a furniture system including a substantially planar partition panel, a furniture unit and a bracket assembly. The substantially planar partition panel extends in vertical and horizontal directions and has a framework. The framework has at least first and second attachment sites, with the first and second attachment sites being spaced apart. The bracket assembly includes a first member and a second member. The first member is detachably secured to the framework at the first attachment site and has a portion freely extending therefrom relative to the framework. The second member is detachably secured to the framework at the second attachment site and has a portion freely extending therefrom relative to the framework. The freely extending portion of the first member includes a load transferring body and a mounting feature supportingly secured to the furniture unit at a position vertically spaced from the first attachment site whereby a vertical support load imparted by the furniture unit is transferred by the first member to the framework through the load transferring body. The freely extending portion of the second member also has a bearing surface engageable with the first member and configured to resist horizontal displacement of the first member.

[0005] Another aspect of the present invention is to provide a bracket assembly for attaching a furniture unit to a structural framework. The bracket assembly includes a first member and a second member. The first member has a longitudinally and freely extending load transferring body with a first attachment feature securable to the structural framework at a first attachment location on the structural framework. The first member further includes a mounting feature supportingly securable to the furniture unit whereby a vertical support load imparted by the furniture unit is transferrable in the longitudinal direction to the structural framework by the first member. The second member has a second attachment feature securable to the structural framework at a second attachment location spaced from the first attachment location. The second member freely extends from the second attachment location and has at least one bearing surface engageable with the first member. The bearing surface is oriented to resist movement of the first member in a direction which is in part transverse to the longitudinal direction.

[0006] The principal objects of the present invention include providing a bracket assembly for attaching a furniture unit to a structural framework. The bracket assembly can be easily and quickly assembled. The bracket assembly provides simple construction and assembly without tools. The bracket assembly allows a top beam of the framework to be substantially free of vertical loading. The bracket assembly further provides that substantially all of the vertical loads on the bracket assembly are transmitted to a central beam of the framework. The brackets assembly also allows for small gaps between the bracket assembly and the frame because the brackets assembly can be adjusted for adapting to tolerances of cover members positioned adjacent the bracket and for other elements of the furniture system. The bracket assembly is efficient in use, economical to manufacture, capable of a long operable life, and particularly adapted for the proposed use.

[0007] These and other features, advantages, and objects of the present invention will be further understood and appreciated by those skilled in the art by reference to the following specification, claims and appended drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0008]FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a furniture system embodying the present invention.

[0009]FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a framework, a second member of a left-hand bracket assembly and a first member of a right-hand bracket assembly of the furniture system of the present invention with cover panels and a furniture unit removed from the furniture system.

[0010]FIG. 3 is an exploded view of a left-hand bracket assembly of the present invention.

[0011]FIG. 4 is a front isometric view of the left-hand bracket assembly of the present invention.

[0012]FIG. 5 is a rear isometric view of the left-hand bracket assembly of the present invention.

[0013]FIG. 6 is a front isometric view of a right-hand bracket assembly of the present invention.

[0014]FIG. 7 is a rear isometric view of the right-hand bracket assembly of the present invention.

[0015]FIG. 8 is a fragmentary view of the furniture system of the present invention.

[0016]FIG. 9 is a fragmentary rear isometric view of a second member of the left-hand assembly bracket of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

[0017] For purposes of description herein, the terms “upper,” “lower,” “right,” “left,” “rear,” “front,” “vertical,” “horizontal,” and derivatives thereof shall relate to the invention as orientated in FIG. 1. However, it is to be understood that the invention may assume various alternative orientations, 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 simply 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.

[0018] The reference number 10 (FIG. 1) generally designates a furniture system embodying the present invention. The furniture system 10 includes a substantially planar partition panel 12, a furniture unit 14 and at least one bracket assembly 16. The substantially planar partition panel 12 extends in vertical and horizontal directions and has a framework 18 (FIG. 2). The framework 18 has at least first 20 and second 22 attachment sites, with the first 20 and second attachment 22 sites being spaced apart. Each bracket assembly 16 (FIG. 3) includes a first member 24 and a second member 26. The first member 24 is detachably secured to the framework 18 at the first attachment site 20 and has a portion 28 freely extending therefrom relative to the framework 18 (as shown in FIG. 2 without the second member 26 of the bracket assembly 16). The second member 26 is detachably secured to the framework 18 at the second attachment site 22 and has a portion 30 freely extending therefrom relative to the framework 18 (as shown in FIG. 2 without the first member 24 of the bracket assembly 16). The freely extending portion 28 of the first member 24 includes a load transferring body 32 and a mounting feature 34 supportingly secured to the furniture unit 14 at a position vertically spaced from the first attachment site 20 whereby a vertical support load imparted by the furniture unit 14 is transferred by the first member 24 to the framework 18 through the load transferring body 32. The freely extending portion 30 of the second member 26 also has a bearing surface 36 engageable with the first member 24 and configured to resist horizontal displacement of the first member 24.

[0019] The illustrated framework 18 (FIG. 2) includes a pair of opposite side frame members 38, a top frame cross-member 40, a bottom frame cross-member 42 and a pair of central frame cross-members 44. Each of the pair of opposite side frame members 38 has a substantially U-shaped cross section, wherein the open sides of the side frame members 38 face each other. Opposite ends of the top frame cross-member 40, the bottom frame cross-member 42 and the middle frame cross-members 44 are located within the open sides of both of the side frame members 44. The top frame cross-member 40 has a substantially rectangular cross-section and includes the second attachment site 22. The illustrated second attachment site 22 comprises a row of horizontal slots located along the top of a front face 48 of the top frame cross-member 40. Each of the central frame cross-members 44 includes a pair of rectangular rails 50 arranged vertically. The top rail 50 of each of the central frame cross-members 44 includes the first attachment site 20. The illustrated first attachment site 20 also comprises a row of horizontal slots. Likewise, the bottom rail 50 of each of the central frame cross-members 44 includes another second attachment site 22 comprising a row of horizontal slots. Therefore, the second member 26 is detachably secured to the framework 18 at the second attachment site 22 of the top frame cross-member 40 or one of the central frame cross-members 44. Furthermore, the first member 24 is detachably secured to the framework 18 at the first attachment site 20 of one of the central frame cross-members 44. Consequently, the furniture unit 14 can be located between the top frame cross-member 40 and one of the central frame cross-members 44 or between the two central frame cross-members 44. The front face of each of the top frame cross-member 40 and the central frame cross-members 44 includes apertures 50. Cover panels 52 (see FIG. 1) are connected to the framework 18 by inserting attachment members (not shown) into the apertures 50. Furthermore, as seen in FIG. 1, trim strips 54 are placed in between faces of the side frame members 38 and over the bottom frame cross-member 42.

[0020] The illustrated furniture unit 14 (FIG. 1) comprises an overhead storage bin for holding papers, books and other goods. Although the furniture unit 14 is shown as being a substantially rectangular open faced bin, the furniture unit 14 could also have a lift-up lockable door. The furniture unit 14 could also be a partition, a shelving unit or any other furniture unit that could be connected to the substantially planar partition panel 12.

[0021] In the illustrated example, the bracket assembly 16 (FIGS. 2-5) comprises the first member 24 detachably secured to the framework 18 at the first attachment site 20 and the second member 26 detachably secured to the framework 18 at the second attachment site 22. Although each of the bracket assemblies 16 includes the first member 24 and the second member 26, the first member 24 and the second member 26 are each shown individually attached to the framework 18 in FIG. 2. The second member 26 includes the portion 30 freely extending from the framework 18. The illustrated portion 30 includes a substantially vertical portion 56 and a substantially horizontal portion 58. The vertical portion 56 has a C-shaped channel cross-section and includes the bearing surface 36. The bearing surface 36 includes a pair of elongated vertically aligned slots 60. The horizontal portion 58 is a plate connected to the top edge of the vertical portion 56. The horizontal portion 58 includes a pair of horizontally extending L-shaped tabs 62 configured to be inserted into a pair of adjacent horizontal slots of the second attachment site 22 to attach the second member 26 to the framework 18. The first member 24 includes the portion 28 freely extending from the framework 18. The illustrated portion 28 includes a substantially vertical portion 64 and a substantially horizontal portion 66. The vertical portion 64 has a C-shaped channel cross-section and includes the load transferring body 32 and the mounting feature 34 adapted to be supportingly secured to the furniture unit 14. The horizontal portion 66 of the first member 24 includes a pair of horizontally extending L-shaped tabs 63 configured to be inserted into a pair of adjacent horizontal slots of the first attachment site 20 to attach the first member 24 to the framework 18. The illustrated mounting feature 34 comprises a pair of vertically aligned, upwardly extending hooks 68. The hooks 68 each have a planar cross-section and are configured to be inserted into the pair of elongated vertically aligned slots 60 of the bearing surface 36 of the second member 26. Although two hooks 68 are shown as the mounting feature 34, it is contemplated that only one hook or any other mounting features 34 could be used. The furniture unit 14 is connected to the hooks 68 by inserting the hooks 68 into slots in the rear of the furniture unit 14 and by moving the furniture unit 14 downward. The furniture unit 14 is therefore supported by the hooks 68 by gravity. Each of the hooks 68 also include holes 70 for insertion of fasteners. The furniture unit 14 can therefore be securely connected to the first member 24 by inserting fasteners through the furniture unit 14 and into the holes 70 of the hooks 68.

[0022] In the preferred embodiment, the furniture system 10 includes a left hand bracket assembly 16 (FIGS. 3-5) for attachment to the left side of the furniture unit 14 and a right hand bracket assembly 16 a (FIGS. 6 and 7) for attachment to the right side of the furniture unit 14. The right hand bracket assembly 16 a is a mirror image and includes all of the elements of the left hand bracket assembly 16. Preferably, the hooks 68 of the left hand bracket assembly 16 a extend adjacent the left side of the left hand bracket assembly 16 and the hooks 68 of the right hand bracket assembly 16 a extend adjacent the right side of the right hand bracket assembly 16 a.

[0023] The illustrated furniture unit 14 is connected to the panel 12 by preferably attaching the cover panels 52 to the framework 18. However, the cover panels 52 do not have to be attached to the framework 18 in order to connect the furniture unit 14 to the panel 12. As seen in FIG. 8, the second attachment location 22 is located above the cover panels 52. Furthermore, the first attachment location 20 is located below the cover panels 52. Thereafter, the bracket assembly 16 is assembled by extending the mounting feature 34 of the first member 24 of the bracket assembly 16 through the slots 60 in the second member 26. Therefore, the C-shaped channel section of load transferring body 32 of the first member 24 is overlappingly engaged with the C-shaped channel section of the second member 26. Furthermore, the bearing surface 36 of the second member 26 is non-securably engaged with the first member 24. The tabs 62 of the second member 26 and the tabs 63 of the first member 24 of the bracket assembly 16 are then inserted into vertically aligned pairs of slots of the second attachment location 22 and the first attachment location 20, respectively. The first member 24 and the second member 26 are then slid laterally until a portion of the tabs 62 and 63 are located behind a portion of the framework 18 (e.g., FIG. 8). The horizontal portion 58 of the second member 26 is therefore located above a top edge of the cover panel 52 and the vertical portion 64 of the first member 24 is located directly adjacent an outer face of the cover panel 52 (see FIG. 7). The furniture unit 14 is connected to the bracket assembly 16 by inserting the hooks 68 into slots in the rear of the furniture unit 14 and moving the furniture unit 14 downward.

[0024] Once the furniture unit 14 is connected to the bracket assembly 16, a vertical support load imparted by the furniture unit 14 is transferable in the vertical direction by the support feature 34 and the load transferring body 32 of the first member 24 to the framework 18. Furthermore, the bearing surface 36 of the second member 26 is oriented to resist movement of the first member 24 in a direction that is in part transverse to the vertical direction. Therefore, the second member 26 and the top frame cross-member 40 of the framework 18 are substantially free of vertical loads. Consequently, the gap between the cover panel 52 and the framework 18 can be kept to a minimum.

[0025] In the preferred embodiment, the illustrated bracket assembly 16 also includes a flexible lock member 72 (FIG. 9) for securely attaching the bracket assembly 16 to the framework 18. The lock member 72 includes a bent vertical section 73 connected to an inside face 74 of the vertical portion 56 of the second member 26 and a horizontal section 76 located adjacent the horizontal portion 58 of the second member 26. The horizontal section 76 of the lock member 72 includes a strip 78 that extends behind one of the tabs 62 of the horizontal portion 58 of the second member 26. The first member 24 of the bracket assembly 16 includes a U-shaped slot 79 (see FIG. 3) in the top edge of the vertical portion 64 of the first member 24 for accepting the lock member 72 when the C-shaped channel section of load transferring body 32 of the first member 24 is overlappingly engaged with the C-shaped channel section of the second member 26. As seen in FIG. 8, the horizontal portion 58 of the second member 26 of the bracket assembly 16 includes a centrally located hole 80 and a groove 82 located behind one of the tabs 62. The groove 82 is configured to accept the strip 78 of the lock member 72 and the hole 80 assists in unlocking the lock member 72. The lock member 72 securely attaches the bracket assembly 16 to the framework 18 by moving the horizontal section 76 of the lock member 72 towards the vertical portion 56 of the second member 26 before the tabs 62 of the second lock member 26 are inserted into the pair of slots of the second attachment site 22. After the bracket assembly 16 is slid laterally until a portion of the tabs 62 are located behind a portion of the framework 18, the lock member 72 is released and the strip 78 will flex into one of the slots of the second attachment site 22 to occupy the remaining space in the slot. The tab 62 adjacent the strip 78 therefore will not be able to slide out of the slot, thereby locking the tab 62 in the slot and locking the bracket assembly 16 to the framework 18. The strip 78 is removed from the slot by inserting an item through the hole 80 in the horizontal portion 58 of the second member 26 of the bracket assembly 16 and into an aperture 84 in the horizontal section 76 of the lock member 72. The horizontal section 76 of the lock member 72 is then pulled towards the vertical portion 56 of the second member 26 until the strip 78 is no longer in the slot, thereby allowing the tab 62 to slide out of the slot.

[0026] In the forgoing description, it will be readily appreciated by those skilled in the art that modifications may be made to the invention without departing from the concepts disclosed herein. Such modifications are to be considered as included in the following claims, unless these claims by their language expressly state otherwise.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7469512 *Jun 22, 2004Dec 30, 2008Board of Regents of the University of Nebraska by and behalf of University of Nebraska Medical CenterFabricated wall system
US7676992May 31, 2007Mar 16, 2010Vantage Point Products Corp.Wall mountable frame structure for mounting equipment
US8844210 *Dec 16, 2011Sep 30, 2014Kimball International, Inc.Upmount overhead brackets for office partition systems
US8882065Apr 24, 2012Nov 11, 2014Kimball International, Inc.Two piece track assembly
US8887459 *May 20, 2013Nov 18, 2014Virginia Tech Intellectual Properties, Inc.Modular wall assembly system
US20120167500 *Dec 16, 2011Jul 5, 2012Kimball International, Inc.Upmount overhead brackets for office partition systems
US20130305638 *May 20, 2013Nov 21, 2013Virginia Tech Intellectual Properties, Inc.Modular wall assembly system
US20140115985 *Dec 19, 2012May 1, 2014Toshihiro HayashiConvenient and portable space partitioning device
Classifications
U.S. Classification52/36.1, 52/36.5
International ClassificationE04B2/74
Cooperative ClassificationE04B2/7422, E04B2002/7487, E04B2002/7483
European ClassificationE04B2/74C3D
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Feb 22, 2001ASAssignment
Owner name: STEELCASE DEVELOPMENT INC., MICHIGAN
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:GRAVEL, DONALD P.;JUDSON, JARED A.;BEN-UR, ELA (NMI);ANDOTHERS;REEL/FRAME:011558/0413;SIGNING DATES FROM 20010129 TO 20010204