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Publication numberUS20030140603 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 10/057,693
Publication dateJul 31, 2003
Filing dateJan 25, 2002
Priority dateJan 25, 2002
Publication number057693, 10057693, US 2003/0140603 A1, US 2003/140603 A1, US 20030140603 A1, US 20030140603A1, US 2003140603 A1, US 2003140603A1, US-A1-20030140603, US-A1-2003140603, US2003/0140603A1, US2003/140603A1, US20030140603 A1, US20030140603A1, US2003140603 A1, US2003140603A1
InventorsVictor Krasenics, Marc Ortins
Original AssigneeHp Intellectual Corp.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Vacuum sealing bag apparatus
US 20030140603 A1
Abstract
A bag sealing apparatus including a frame having a fixed bag insertion slot into a vacuum chamber, a heat sealer connected to the frame, and means forming a vacuum connected to the vacuum chamber. The heat sealer is for sealing a bag located in the slot.
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Claims(31)
What is claimed is:
1. A bag sealing apparatus comprising:
a frame having a fixed bag insertion slot into a vacuum chamber;
a heat sealer connected to the frame for sealing a bag located in the slot; and
means for forming a vacuum within the vacuum chamber.
2. A bag sealing apparatus as in claim 1 further comprising a cleanout chamber connected between the vacuum chamber and the supply of vacuum.
3. A bag sealing apparatus as in claim 2 wherein the cleanout chamber is removably connected to the frame.
4. A bag sealing apparatus as in claim 1 further comprising a movable clamp connected to the frame at the slot.
5. A bag sealing apparatus as in claim 4 wherein the movable clamp comprises two opposing clamp members extending along a width of the slot.
6. A bag sealing apparatus as in claim 5 wherein the two opposing clamp members each comprises a vacuum seal which contacts the bag.
7. A bag sealing apparatus as in claim 1 wherein the apparatus comprises at least one movable assembly connected to the frame at the slot, the movable assembly comprising a clamp member forming a vacuum seal for directly contacting the bag and a heater seal for pressing the bag against a heater element of the heat sealer.
8. A bag sealing apparatus as in claim 1 wherein the heat sealer is located in the vacuum chamber, and the apparatus further comprises a sealing device located at the slot in front of the heat sealer.
9. A bag sealing apparatus as in claim 1 further comprising an actuator located in the vacuum chamber, the actuator being connected to the supply of vacuum for activating the supply of vacuum, wherein the actuator is adapted to be actuated by a leading edge of the bag inserted into the vacuum chamber.
10. A bag sealing apparatus comprising:
a frame having a bag receiving area;
a bag sealer connected to the frame; and
a vacuum system connected to the bag receiving area, wherein the vacuum system comprises a cleanout chamber connected between the bag receiving area and means forming the vacuum for collecting food or liquid exiting an open end of a bag inserted into the bag receiving area.
11. A bag sealing apparatus as in claim 10 wherein the cleanout chamber is removably connected to the frame.
12. A bag sealing apparatus as in claim 10 wherein the bag receiving area comprises a fixed bag insertion slot into the frame and a vacuum chamber located at an end of the slot.
13. A bag sealing apparatus as in claim 12 wherein the vacuum system comprises a conduit between the vacuum chamber and the cleanout chamber, and wherein the conduit extends into the vacuum chamber at a bottom side of the vacuum chamber.
14. A bag sealing apparatus as in claim 10 further comprising an actuator located in the bag receiving area, the actuator being connected to the means forming the vacuum for activating the supply of vacuum, wherein the actuator is adapted to be actuated by a leading edge of the bag inserted into the bag receiving area.
15. A bag sealing apparatus as in claim 10 wherein the bag sealer comprises a temporary sealer having a movable clamp connected to the frame at a fixed entrance into the bag receiving area.
16. A bag sealing apparatus as in claim 15 wherein the movable clamp comprises two opposing clamp members extending along a width of the bag receiving area.
17. A bag sealing apparatus as in claim 16 wherein the two opposing clamp members each comprises a vacuum seal which contacts the bag.
18. A bag sealing apparatus as in claim 10 wherein the bag sealer comprises at least one movable assembly connected to the frame at a vacuum chamber of the bag receiving area, the movable assembly comprising a clamp member forming a vacuum seal for directly contacting the bag and a heater seal for pressing the bag against a heater element of the bag sealer.
19. A bag sealing apparatus as in claim 10 wherein the bag sealer comprises a permanent sealer having a heater element located in a vacuum chamber of the bag receiving area, and a temporary sealer having a sealing device located at a slot entrance into the vacuum chamber in front of the heater element.
20. A method for heat sealing an open end of a bag comprising steps of:
inserting the open end of the bag into a fixed slot in a frame of a bag sealing apparatus;
moving a clamp of the apparatus to clamp onto the open end, wherein the clamp is located at the fixed slot;
applying a negative pressure to the open end of the bag; and
heat sealing the open end of the bag.
21. A method as in claim 20 further comprising actuating an actuator by the bag as the bag is inserted into the frame.
22. A method as in claim 21 wherein, when the actuator is actuated by insertion of the bag into the frame, the actuator causes the clamp to move.
24. A method as in claim 21 wherein, when the actuator is actuated by insertion of the bag into the frame, the actuator causes the supply of vacuum to be activated.
25. A method as in claim 20 wherein the step of applying a negative pressure to the open end of the bag comprises evacuating air and liquid in a bag receiving area of the frame into a cleanout chamber.
26. A method as in claim 22 wherein the step of heat sealing the open end of the bag comprises heating the bag at a location between the clamp and an open aperture into the bag.
27. A method for vacuum sealing an open end of a bag comprising steps of:
inserting the open end of the bag into a bag receiving area of a bag sealing apparatus;
applying a negative pressure to the open end of the bag at the bag receiving area; and
evacuating liquid, pulled from the open end of the bag into the bag receiving area, to a liquid holding chamber separate from the bag receiving area.
28. A method as in claim 27 further comprising heat sealing the bag in the bag receiving area.
29. A method as in claim 27 further comprising actuating an actuator by the bag as the bag is inserted into the bag receiving area.
30. A method as in claim 29 wherein, when the actuator is actuated by insertion of the bag into the bag receiving area, the actuator causes a clamp to move onto the bag.
31. A method as in claim 29 further comprising heat sealing the open end of the bag by heating the bag at a location between the clamp and an open aperture into the bag.
32. A method as in claim 31 wherein, when the actuator is actuated by insertion of the bag into the frame, the actuator causes means forming a vacuum to be activated, and wherein the means forming the vacuum applies a negative pressure inside the bag before the clamp closes the open aperture into the bag.
Description
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] 1. Field of the Invention

[0002] The present invention relates to a method and apparatus for sealing of a bag.

[0003] 2. Brief Description of Prior Developments

[0004] U.S. Pat. No. 4,941,310 discloses an apparatus for vacuum sealing plastic bags. The apparatus has a hood pivotably mounted on a base. The apparatus has a vacuum chamber and a heat sealing means. A problem with this type of pivoting hood apparatus is that the heat sealing means could be contacted by a user when hot; thereby posing a risk of injury to the user. Another problem with this type of apparatus is that it could be difficult to clean out the vacuum chamber if foodstuff or liquid exit from the bag. Another problem with this type of apparatus is that foodstuff or liquid could be pulled into the vacuum pump which would be very difficult to clean. There is a desire to provide a bag sealing apparatus that is easier to clean and has less risk of the user contacting an exposed heating element.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0005] In accordance with one aspect of the present invention, a bag sealing apparatus is provided including a frame having a fixed bag insertion slot into a vacuum chamber, a heat sealer connected to the frame, and a supply of vacuum connected to the vacuum chamber. The heat sealer is for sealing a bag located in the slot.

[0006] In accordance with another aspect of the present invention, a bag sealing apparatus is provided including a frame having a bag receiving area; a bag sealer connected to the frame; and a vacuum system connected to the bag receiving area. The vacuum system comprises a cleanout chamber connected between the bag receiving area and the supply of vacuum for collecting food or liquid exiting an open end of a bag inserted into the bag receiving area.

[0007] In accordance with one method of the present invention, a method for heat sealing an open end of a bag is provided comprising steps of inserting the open end of the bag into a fixed slot in a frame of a bag sealing apparatus; moving a clamp of the apparatus to clamp onto the open end, wherein the clamp is located at the fixed slot; applying a vacuum force to the open end of the bag; and heat sealing the open end of the bag.

[0008] In accordance with another method of the present invention, a method for vacuum sealing an open end of a bag is provided comprising steps of inserting the open end of the bag into a bag receiving area of a bag sealing apparatus; applying a vacuum force to the open end of the bag at the bag receiving area; and evacuating liquid, pulled from the open end of the bag into the bag receiving area, to a liquid holding chamber separate from the bag receiving area.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0009] The foregoing aspects and other features of the present invention are explained in the following description, taken in connection with the accompanying drawings, wherein:

[0010]FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a bag sealing apparatus incorporating features of the present invention; and

[0011]FIG. 2 is schematic cross sectional view of a portion of the bag sealing apparatus shown in FIG. 1.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

[0012] Referring to FIG. 1, there is shown a perspective view of a bag sealing apparatus 10 incorporating features of the present invention. Although the present invention will be described with reference to the single embodiment shown in the drawings, it should be understood that the present invention can be embodied in many alternate forms of embodiments. In addition, any suitable size, shape or type of elements or materials could be used.

[0013] The apparatus 10 is generally adapted to vacuum seal a plastic bag 42 (see FIG. 2). In a preferred embodiment, the bag is constructed with three separate plies. One of the three plies is sandwiched between the other two plies and this one ply may be patterned. However, in alternate embodiments, any suitable type of plastic or polymer bag could be used with the present invention.

[0014] The apparatus 10 generally comprises a frame 12, a control system 13, a vacuum system 14, and a bag sealer system 16. The frame 12 is preferably suitably sized and shaped to be located on a kitchen counter top surface. However, in alternate embodiments, the frame 12 could be suitably sized and shaped to be located in any suitable type of location, such as mounted to the bottom surface of a kitchen cabinet. The frame 12 comprises a front face 18 which includes a slot or aperture 20. The slot 20, in the embodiment shown, has a fixed shape. However, in an alternate embodiment, the shape of the slot 20 might be variable. For example, in one type of alternate embodiment the top of the frame 12 at the slot 20 might comprise a movable flap similar to that shown in U.S. Pat. No. 4,941,310. In the embodiment shown, the frame 12 also comprises a movable access door 22. The door 22 is movably attached to the rest of the frame 12 by hinges 24. However, in alternate embodiments, the movable access door 22 could be mounted to the rest of the frame 12 by any suitable type of movable connection. In another type of alternate embodiment, the door 22 might not be provided. For example, the top of the cleanout chamber (described below) might be formed flush with the rest of the frame 12, or the cleanout chamber might not be provided (thus, there would be no need for a movable access door).

[0015] Referring also to FIG. 2, the control system 13, in the embodiment shown, generally comprises a controller 26, two user actuated switches or selectors 28, 30, and a sensor 32. However, in alternate embodiments, the control system could comprise additional or alternative components. The controller 26 is preferably a printed circuit board with a microprocessor. However, an alternate embodiments, any suitable type of controller could be used.

[0016] The two user actuated switches 28, 30 are fixedly attached to the frame 12 and are accessible to a user at the top side of the frame. However, in alternate embodiments, the user actuated switches 28, 30 could be located at any suitable position on the frame, such as the front face 18. In the embodiment shown, the user actuated switches 28, 30 comprise rocker switches. However, in alternate embodiments, any suitable type of user actuated selectors could be provided, such as a push button switch, or a rotatable selector knob, or an electronic touch control pad. The two user actuated switches 28, 30 are operably connected to the controller 26. The first user actuated switch 28 is a power ON/OFF switch. The second user actuated switch 30 is a vacuum ON/OFF switch. However, in an alternate embodiment, the second user actuated switch 30 might not be provided.

[0017] The sensor 32 comprises a microswitch. However, in alternate embodiments, any suitable type of sensor could be provided, such as an optical sensor. The sensor 32 is operably connected to the controller 26. The sensor 32 is fixedly attached to the frame 12 inside a vacuum chamber 34 of the frame. The vacuum chamber 34 is located at a rear end of the slot 20. The sensor 32 comprises a movable contact arm 36. The movable contact arms 36 is located at the end of a bag insertion path through the slot 20. The movable contact arm 36 is adapted to be moved rearward against a contact 38 of the sensor 32 by a leading edge 40 of an inserted bag 42. The sensor 32 is generally provided to function as a sensor to determine when an end 41 of the bag 42 has been inserted through the slot 20 and into the vacuum chamber 34. In an alternate embodiment, the sensor 32 might not be provided, such as when a user actuated switch is provided to initiate vacuum sealing a bag.

[0018] The vacuum system 14 generally comprises a vacuum pump 44 (see FIG. 1) and a vacuum conduit system 46. The vacuum pump 44 is operably connected to the controller 26 by a line 60. The controller 26 is adapted to control the operation of the vacuum pump 44. The vacuum conduit system 46 generally comprises a cleanout chamber 48 and two vacuum conduits 50, 52. However, in alternate embodiments, the vacuum conduit system 46 could comprise additional or alternative components. The first vacuum conduit 50 extends from the vacuum chamber 34 to the cleanout chamber 48. In the embodiment shown, the first vacuum conduit 50 has a first end which is connected to a bottom side 54 of the vacuum chamber 34. The opposite end of the first vacuum conduit 50 is attached to the cleanout chamber 48 proximate a bottom end 56 of the cleanout chamber. The second vacuum conduit 52 has a first end 58 which is attached to the cleanout chamber 48 at a top end of the cleanout chamber. An opposite end of the second vacuum conduit 52 is connected to the vacuum pump 40.

[0019] In an alternate embodiment, the two vacuum conduits 50, 52 could both be attached to the top end of the cleanout chamber 48, such as when the cleanout chamber 48 comprises a baffle extending downward from its top side between the two vacuum conduits 50, 52. However, the first end of the first vacuum conduit 50 is preferably located at the bottom of the vacuum chamber 34 such that the vacuum system can evacuate material, such as foodstuffs or liquid, which enter the vacuum chamber 34 from an open end of an inserted bag. In one type of embodiment, the cleanout chamber 48 could be removably connected to the frame 12. However, in an alternate embodiment, the cleanout chamber 48 might be formed as part of the frame 12, or could be fixedly connected to the frame and not intended to be removed. In another type of alternate embodiment, the cleanout chamber 48 might not be provided. In such an alternate embodiment, the first end of the vacuum conduit 50 might be located at the top side of the vacuum chamber 34.

[0020] The bag sealer system 16 generally comprises a temporary clamping system 62 and a permanent sealing system 64. The clamping system 62 generally comprises a first clamp section 66, a second clamp section 68, and a motor 70. The first clamp section 66 forms a fixed, stationary clamping member. However, in alternate embodiments, the first clamp section 66 could be movable. The first clamp section 66 comprises a first resilient vacuum seal member 72. The second clamp section 68 forms a movable clamping member. However, in an alternate embodiment, the second clamp section could be stationary. The second clamp section 68 generally comprises a second resilient vacuum seal member 74 and a drive member 76. The drive member 76 is connected to the motor 70. The motor 70 is operably connected to the controller 26. When the motor 70 is activated by the controller 26, the motor 70 is adapted to move the drive member 76 vertically up and down. When the motor 70 moves the drive member 76 in a downward direction, the second seal member 74 is moved towards the first seal member 72. This allows the two seal members 72, 74 to clamp the end 40, 41 of the bag 42 therebetween.

[0021] The two seal members 72, 74 extend along the entire length of the slot 20. The two clamp sections 66, 68 form a door to the vacuum chamber 34. When the two clamp sections 66, 68 clamp the bag 42 therebetween, they close the entrance aperture into the vacuum chamber through the slot 20. The two clamp sections 66, 68 and the bag 42 thereby seal the entrance into the vacuum chamber 34. With the door to the front entrance of the vacuum chamber closed by the two clamp sections, a stronger vacuum is formed inside the vacuum chamber 34. The two seal members 72, 74 are preferably sized and shaped, and their movement towards each other is such, to allow the negative pressure inside the vacuum chamber 34 to evacuate air from inside the bag 42 through the open end 41 at the leading edge 40. In other words, in a preferred embodiment, the clamping action provided by the two clamp sections 66, 68 does not prevent air from being evacuated from the bag 42 through the open end of the bag at the leading edge 40. In alternate embodiments, any suitable type of bag clamping system could be provided. In addition, any suitable type of system for closing the entrance into the vacuum chamber could be provided.

[0022] In one type of embodiment, a vacuum force is created in the vacuum chamber 34 while the second clamp section 68 is still moving towards its final clamping position, but before the bag 42 is completely clamped between the two seal members 72, 74. In this type of embodiment, the motor 70 could be adapted to move the second clamp section 68 in a stepped progression of movement, or the movement of the second clamp section 68 might slow down as it approaches the first clamp section 66. This would allow the vacuum force created in the vacuum chamber 34 to evacuate air from inside the bag 42 before the two clamps sections 66, 68 might completely clamp the bag 42 therebetween.

[0023] The bag sealer system 16, in the embodiment shown, is a heat sealing system. However, in alternate embodiments, any suitable type of sealing system could be provided, such as an ultrasonic welding system for example. The bag sealer system 16 generally comprises a heater 78 and a heater seal 80. The heater 78, in the embodiment shown, comprises a heater wire attached to a support platform 82. The support platform 82 is connected to the first clamp section 66 to form a bottom half of the door to the vacuum chamber 34. The heater 78 is located at about a same height or just slightly below the top of the first seal member 72. The bottom end of the heat seal 80 is located opposite the heater 78. The heat seal 80 is connected to the second clamp section 68 to form a top half of the door to the vacuum chamber 34. When the second clamp section 68 is moved by the motor 70 towards the first clamp section 66, the heater seal 80 is also moved downward. When the heater seal 80 is moved downward it presses the end 41 of the bag 42 against the heater 78. The heater 78 is operably connected to the controller 26.

[0024] The controller 26 is adapted to activate the heater 78. When the bag 42 is clamped between the heater 78 and the heater seal 80, and the controller 26 activates the heater 78, the heater 78 causes the plastic of the bag 42 to melt. When the melted plastic cools the opposite sides of the bag become fixedly attached to each other forming a seal therebetween. Thus, this forms a seal of the opening through the end 41 into the bag.

[0025] In a preferred embodiment, the controller 26 activates the heater 78 when vacuum force in the vacuum chamber 34 reaches a predetermined pressure. In an alternate embodiment, the controller 26 could be adapted to activate the heater 78 based upon any suitable type of predetermined conditions or events, such as the passage of time when the motor 70 starts to move the second clamp section 68. In an alternate embodiment, the motor 70 or another motor or transmission (not shown) could be adapted to move the heater seal 80 separately from the second clamp section 68. Thus, in this alternate embodiment, the two clamps sections 66, 68 could clamp onto the end 41 of the bag 42, the bag 42 could then be evacuated, and the heater seal 80 could then be moved to press the bag 42 against the heater 78 to thereby seal the bag.

[0026] With the present invention, when the user inserts the end 41 of the bag 42 into the slot 20, the leading edge 40 contacts and moves the movable contact arm 36 to actuate the sensor 32. This sends a signal to the controller 26. The controller 26 then activates the motor 70 to move the second clamp section 68. The controller 26 activates the vacuum pump 44. When a predetermined vacuum is created in the vacuum chamber 34, the controller 26 activates the heater 78. After a predetermined amount of time, the controller 26 deactivates the heater 78, has the motor 70 move the second clamp section 68 back to its up position, and turns OFF the vacuum pump 44.

[0027] As noted above, the control system 13 comprises a second user actuated switch 30. The second user actuated switch 30 is operably connected to the controller 26. The second user actuated switch 30 is provided to allow a user to control whether or not the controller 26 activates the vacuum pump 44 during the bag sealing process. Thus, the present invention can be used to both vacuum seal a bag or, alternatively, seal a bag without a vacuum process. In an alternate embodiment, the second user actuated switch 30 might not be provided.

[0028] As seen in FIG. 1, the apparatus 10 preferably comprises an electrical cord and plug assembly 84. The plug of the assembly 84 is adapted to be connected to an electrical outlet to power the controller 26, vacuum pump 44, motor 70, and heater 78. However, in an alternate embodiment, apparatus 10 could be adapted to be powered by a battery power source or any other suitable type of electrical power source.

[0029] The present invention can provide an apparatus which is adapted to evacuate a plastic storage bag and heat seal the end of the bag to protect perishables, such as foodstuffs or other products, from oxidation. The present invention is easier for a user to use and clean than prior bag sealing apparatus. With the embodiment described above, a user could insert the end of the plastic bag into a slot until the bag actuates a microswitch or other sensor. A clamping seal could then automatically close on the bag end. The vacuum process could then be automatically started. When a desired vacuum is reached, a heater wire inside the clamp could seal the bag. Upon completion of the sealing process, the clamping seal could then release. A bypass switch could be provided to allow seal only of the bags without a vacuum force being provided.

[0030] By using the above described invention, an apparatus can be provided in which there is no pivot in a movable hood to open and close. The static sealing means is not exterior to the vacuum chamber, but contained within a door that clamps and seals the vacuum area. There is no continuous elastomeric seal. The vacuum area would not collect liquids that spill into it. Spills would be drawn through the vacuum tube into a separate holding chamber that can be easily cleaned. The heat sealing means could be contained within the vacuum area; not exterior to it.

[0031] It should be understood that the foregoing description is only illustrative of the invention. Various alternatives and modifications can be devised by those skilled in the art without departing from the invention. Accordingly, the present invention is intended to embrace all such alternatives, modifications and variances which fall within the scope of the appended claims.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7086211 *Oct 8, 2003Aug 8, 2006Bassett Wade MMethod, apparatus and system for evacuation of containers
US7197860Nov 17, 2004Apr 3, 2007Vacnseal Holdings, LlcMethod and apparatus for vacuum sealing
US7200974 *Jul 30, 2004Apr 10, 2007Sunbeam Products, Inc.Lidless vacuum appliance
US7308785Jun 26, 2006Dec 18, 2007Bassett Wade MDevice for evacuating a container
US7503158Oct 31, 2007Mar 17, 2009Mbhd Enterprises, LlcSystem for evacuation of containers
US7669434 *Feb 6, 2008Mar 2, 2010Whirlpool CorporationRefrigerator door vacuum preservation system
US8281606Feb 6, 2008Oct 9, 2012Whirlpool CorporationRefrigerator vacuum storage system
US8438870 *Jan 27, 2010May 14, 2013Whirlpool CorporationRefrigerator door vacuum preservation system
US20100126117 *Jan 27, 2010May 27, 2010Whirlpool CorporationRefrigerator door vacuum preservation system
WO2005012090A2 *Jul 28, 2004Feb 10, 2005Landen HigerRemovable drip trays and bag clamps for vacuum packaging appliances
WO2011037577A1 *Sep 25, 2009Mar 31, 2011Conair CorporationVacuum sealing appliance
Classifications
U.S. Classification53/434, 53/375.6, 53/512
International ClassificationB65B31/02
Cooperative ClassificationB65B31/046
European ClassificationB65B31/04E
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Aug 6, 2010ASAssignment
Owner name: APPLICA INCORPORATED, FLORIDA
Free format text: RELEASE BY SECURED PARTY;ASSIGNOR:BANK OF AMERICA, N.A., AS ADMINISTRATIVE AGENT;REEL/FRAME:024794/0886
Effective date: 20100616
Owner name: SONEX INTERNATIONAL CORPORATION, FLORIDA
Owner name: APPLICA CONSUMER PRODUCTS, INC., FLORIDA
Owner name: SALTON, INC., FLORIDA
Owner name: HP INTELLECTUAL CORP., FLORIDA
Aug 27, 2002ASAssignment
Owner name: BANK OF AMERICA, N.A., AS AGENT, GEORGIA
Free format text: NOTICE OF GRANT OF SECURITY INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:HP INTELLECTUAL CORP.;REEL/FRAME:013177/0482
Effective date: 20011228
Jan 25, 2002ASAssignment
Owner name: HP INTELLECTUAL CORP., DELAWARE
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:KRASENICS, VICTOR A.JR.;ORTINS, MARC P.;REEL/FRAME:012560/0352
Effective date: 20020121