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Publication numberUS20040183409 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 10/447,721
Publication dateSep 23, 2004
Filing dateMay 22, 2003
Priority dateJan 23, 2001
Publication number10447721, 447721, US 2004/0183409 A1, US 2004/183409 A1, US 20040183409 A1, US 20040183409A1, US 2004183409 A1, US 2004183409A1, US-A1-20040183409, US-A1-2004183409, US2004/0183409A1, US2004/183409A1, US20040183409 A1, US20040183409A1, US2004183409 A1, US2004183409A1
InventorsEric Rinderer
Original AssigneeCooper Technologies Company
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Electrical equipment enclosure
US 20040183409 A1
Abstract
An enclosure for electrical equipment includes a plurality of vertical posts having vertical sides, and a plurality of brackets. Each bracket has first and second generally horizontal legs joined at a juncture. A connection between each bracket and the vertical side of a respective post includes a keyway on one of the post and juncture of the bracket and a key on the other of the post and juncture of the bracket received in the keyway. The first and second legs of the bracket project laterally outwardly from the post. The enclosure further includes at least one horizontal frame member having a first end attached to the first leg of the bracket on one of the posts and a second end attached to the second leg of the bracket on an adjacent post.
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Claims(24)
What is claimed is:
1. An enclosure for electrical equipment comprising:
a plurality of vertical posts, each post having vertical sides;
a plurality of brackets, each bracket comprising generally horizontal legs joined at a juncture;
a connection between each bracket and the vertical side of a respective post comprising a keyway on one of the post and juncture of the bracket and a key on the other of the post and juncture of the bracket received in the keyway, and wherein said legs of the bracket project laterally outwardly from the post; and
at least one horizontal frame member having a first end attached to the leg of a first bracket on one of the posts and a second end attached to the leg of a second bracket on an adjacent post.
2. An enclosure as set forth in claim 1 wherein said posts and brackets are formed by extrusion.
3. An enclosure as set forth in claim 1 wherein said posts are tubular.
4. An enclosure as set forth in claim 1 wherein the keyway is on the post and the key is on the juncture of the bracket.
5. An enclosure as set forth in claim 1 wherein said at least one horizontal frame member is attached to the brackets by vertically oriented threaded mechanical fasteners.
6. An enclosure as set forth in claim 1 wherein said at least one horizontal frame member has a vertical dimension which is less than one inch for increasing the vertical space of the enclosure useable for mounting electrical equipment and wherein said brackets have a vertical dimension of at least one inch.
7. An enclosure as set forth in claim 1 wherein said at least one horizontal frame member has a vertical dimension which is significantly less than a vertical dimension of said brackets.
8. An enclosure as set forth in claim 1 wherein said key and keyway extends substantially a full height of said connection.
9. An enclosure as set forth in claim 1 wherein said connection comprises at least one fastener extending through holes in the post and bracket for attaching the bracket to the post with the key received in the keyway.
10. An enclosure as set forth in claim 9 wherein the key is forced into the keyway during attachment of the bracket to the post.
11. An enclosure as set forth in claim 10 wherein said key and keyway each have tapered surfaces and the keyway has a bottom adjacent its respective tapered surfaces, the key being dimensioned so as to avoid contact with the bottom of the keyway to ensure contact between the tapered surfaces of the key and keyway.
12. An enclosure as set forth in claim 9 wherein said key and keyway are each tapered at substantially identical angles of between about 10 and about 20 degrees.
13. An enclosure as set forth in claim 9 wherein said horizontal frame member is attached to the brackets by vertically oriented threaded mechanical fasteners.
14. An enclosure as set forth in claim 1 wherein said enclosure is a generally rectangular enclosure having four of said posts at respective corners of the enclosure defining a front, a back and opposite sides of the enclosure, said enclosure further comprising a first pair of spaced-apart vertical mounting rails, each such rail having mounting holes facing the front of the enclosure for mounting electrical equipment in a position accessible from the front of the enclosure, and a second pair of spaced-apart vertical mounting rails, each such rail having mounting holes facing a side of the enclosure for mounting electrical equipment in a position accessible from said side of the enclosure.
15. An enclosure as set forth in claim 14 further comprising horizontal rail mounting bars attached to said brackets on adjacent posts, said vertical rails being attached to said rail mounting bars.
16. An enclosure as set forth in claim 14 wherein the vertical rails are adapted for mounting cable spools to form a vertical wireway.
17. An enclosure for electrical equipment comprising:
four posts at four corners of said enclosure,
a plurality of generally L-shaped brackets, at least one at each of said corners, each bracket comprising first and second generally horizontal legs joined at a juncture,
horizontal frame members extending between the posts,
a first mechanical connection between each bracket and a respective post comprising a keyway on one of the post and juncture of the bracket and a key on the other of the post and juncture of the bracket received in the keyway, said first and second legs of the bracket projecting laterally outwardly from the post,
a second mechanical connection between the first horizontal leg of each bracket and a first respective horizontal frame member,
a third mechanical connection between the second horizontal leg of each bracket and a second respective horizontal frame member.
18. An enclosure as set forth in claim 17 wherein the posts and brackets are formed by extrusion.
19. An enclosure as set forth in claim 18 wherein said posts are tubular.
20. An enclosure as set forth in claim 19 wherein the keyway is on the post and the key is on the juncture of the bracket.
21. An enclosure as set forth in claim 20 wherein said first mechanical connection comprises a horizontally oriented threaded fastener extending through holes in the bracket and post.
22. An enclosure as set forth in claim 21 wherein said key and keyway are tapered at substantially identical angles and said horizontally oriented fastener tends to force the key into the keyway during assembly.
23. An enclosure as set forth in claim 22 wherein said second and third mechanical connections comprise vertically oriented threaded fasteners.
24. An enclosure as set forth in claim 17 wherein at least one of said horizontal frame members has a vertical dimension which is less than one inch for increasing the vertical space of the enclosure useable for mounting electrical equipment.
Description
    CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION
  • [0001]
    This application is a continuation-in-part of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/054,640 filed Jan. 22, 2002, which claims priority from U.S. Patent Application No. 60/331,364 (was 09/767,488 as filed, later converted to provisional 60/331,364), filed Jan. 23, 2001, all of which are hereby incorporated by reference.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • [0002]
    This invention relates generally to enclosures, and more particularly to an enclosure for holding electrical equipment and the like.
  • [0003]
    There are many different types of cabinets, racks and other enclosures for holding electrical equipment (e.g., patch panels, power supplies, telephone equipment, computer system equipment, oscilloscopes). Conventionally, cabinets have been formed by welding panels together. More recently, cabinets and racks have been formed with internal frames formed either from rolled sheet metal or extruded bars. The increasing use of telecommunications equipment and other forms of electronic equipment has developed a demand for lighter, cheaper and more stable racks having maximum useable vertical space for mounting equipment in a high-density fashion.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • [0004]
    Among the several objects of this invention may be noted the provision of an improved enclosure for electrical equipment; the provision of such an enclosure which is relatively lightweight, strong and inexpensive to manufacture; the provision of such an enclosure which has a novel joint construction between the corner posts and the horizontal frame members of the enclosure; the provision of such a joint construction having component parts which are economical to make, easy to assemble and which, when assembled, provide a strong, stable joint; and the provision of such an enclosure which can be constructed to enable equipment to be mounted from the sides of the enclosure in addition to the front of the enclosure.
  • [0005]
    In general, an enclosure of the present invention comprises a plurality of vertical posts having vertical sides, and a plurality of brackets. Each bracket comprises generally horizontal legs joined at a juncture. A connection between each bracket and the vertical side of a respective post comprises a keyway on one of the post and juncture of the bracket and a key on the other of the post and juncture of the bracket received in the keyway. The legs of the bracket project laterally outwardly from the post. The enclosure further comprises at least one horizontal frame member having a first end attached to the leg of a first bracket on one of the posts and a second end attached to the leg of a second bracket on an adjacent post.
  • [0006]
    In another aspect of the invention, an enclosure for electrical equipment comprises four posts at four corners of the enclosure, a plurality of generally L-shaped brackets, at least one at each of said corners, and horizontal frame members extending between the posts. Each bracket comprises first and second generally horizontal legs joined at a juncture. A first mechanical connection between each bracket and a respective post comprises a keyway on one of the post and juncture of the bracket and a key on the other of the post and juncture of the bracket received in the keyway. The first and second legs of the bracket project laterally outwardly from the post. The enclosure further comprises a second mechanical connection between the first horizontal leg of each bracket and a first respective horizontal frame member, and a third mechanical connection between the second horizontal leg of each bracket and a second respective horizontal frame member.
  • [0007]
    Other objects and features of the present invention will be in part apparent and in part pointed out hereinafter.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0008]
    [0008]FIG. 1 is a perspective of a framework of an enclosure of one embodiment of the invention with closure panels omitted for clarity;
  • [0009]
    [0009]FIG. 2 is an enlarged perspective of an upper corner connection or joint of the framework;
  • [0010]
    [0010]FIG. 3 is an exploded perspective of the corner joint shown in FIG. 2;
  • [0011]
    [0011]FIG. 4 is a plan view of the framework with horizontal frame members omitted;
  • [0012]
    [0012]FIG. 5 is an exploded plan view of a corner connection or joint of the framework with horizontal frame members omitted;
  • [0013]
    [0013]FIG. 5A is a plan view of the corner connection of FIG. 5;
  • [0014]
    [0014]FIG. 6 is a plan view of the framework showing corner posts, horizontal frame members and cable spools mounted on the horizontal frame members forming a wireway;
  • [0015]
    [0015]FIG. 7 is an exploded perspective of a connection or joint of the framework;
  • [0016]
    [0016]FIG. 8 is a perspective of the joint shown in FIG. 7;
  • [0017]
    [0017]FIG. 9 is a perspective of the framework with electrical equipment mounted thereon;
  • [0018]
    [0018]FIG. 10 is an enlarged perspective of a portion of the framework of FIG. 9;
  • [0019]
    [0019]FIG. 11 is a plan view of the framework of FIG. 9 with the top horizontal frame members omitted for clarity;
  • [0020]
    [0020]FIG. 12 is a front elevation of the enclosure;
  • [0021]
    [0021]FIG. 13 is a perspective of the enclosure;
  • [0022]
    [0022]FIG. 14 is a perspective of the enclosure;
  • [0023]
    [0023]FIG. 15 is a perspective of the enclosure;
  • [0024]
    [0024]FIG. 16 is an enlarged perspective of an upper corner of the enclosure corresponding to circle 16 in FIG. 15 with portions of the enclosure cut away to show details;
  • [0025]
    [0025]FIG. 17 is a front elevation of the enclosure with a front closure panel swung open to show electrical equipment mounted in the enclosure; and
  • [0026]
    [0026]FIG. 18 is a perspective of the enclosure of FIG. 17.
  • [0027]
    Corresponding reference characters indicate corresponding parts throughout the several views of the drawings.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT
  • [0028]
    Referring now to the drawings, particularly to FIGS. 1-5A, an enclosure of one embodiment of the present invention is designated in its entirety by the reference numeral 21. FIG. 1 shows the basic framework of the enclosure; various closure panels are omitted for clarity.
  • [0029]
    As illustrated in FIG. 1, the enclosure 21 is generally rectangular in cross section, having a front, back, and opposite sides. The framework includes four vertical posts, each generally designated 23, at the four corners of the enclosure 21, each post preferably being an extruded metal part having a closed cross sectional shape as shown in FIG. 5. The shape resembles a generally rectangular (e.g., square) tube having four vertical sides 25, with at least one corner of the tube formed as a vertical keyway generally designated 27. The keyway has a flat bottom 29 extending at about a 45 angle relative to adjacent sides of the post, and two tapered side walls 31 flaring out from the bottom. The keyway 27 is flanked by a pair of outwardly projecting vertical ribs 33 which serve as abutments for the closure panels of the enclosure 21. The two sides 25 of the tube not adjacent the keyway 27 are extruded to have shallow recesses 35 therein for aesthetic reasons.
  • [0030]
    Referring again to FIG. 1, horizontal front and back frame members 39 and horizontal side frame members 41 extend between the posts 23 at their upper and lower ends to form the base and top of the framework. Each front and back horizontal frame member 39 is wide in the horizontal dimension D1 (FIGS. 2 and 3) for strength, but narrow (e.g., preferably less than 1 inch, and more preferably about {fraction (1/2)} in.) in the vertical dimension D2 (height) to maximize the vertical space in the enclosure 21 useable for mounting equipment, as will appear. Each horizontal side frame member 41 is generally T-shaped (FIG. 3), having a horizontal head 43 and a vertical flange 45 extending down from the head a distance D3 to provide good strength (e.g., about 1 in.). A vertical lip 47 extends along the outer edge of the head. The horizontal frame members 39, 41 are preferably extruded of the same metal as the posts 23. Alternatively, the posts and/or frame members could be a roll or press formed and/or continuously welded part.
  • [0031]
    The posts 23 and horizontal frame members 39, 41 are connected by brackets, each generally designated 51, to form solid, stable joints. Each bracket 51 is preferably an extruded part, again preferably of the same metal as the other frame parts previously described. Alternatively, the bracket could be formed as a cast metal part, or as a roll or press formed metal part. As shown best in FIGS. 3, 5 and 5A, the bracket 51 is generally L-shaped, having a pair of horizontal first and second legs 53 a, 53 b joined at a juncture 55 extending at about a 45 angle relative to the legs. The juncture 55 is formed with a pair of outwardly projecting lugs 57 which combine to function as a key (generally designated 59) receivable in the keyway 27 of a respective post 23, the lugs being spaced apart and having tapered outwardly facing surfaces 58 so that the key fits snugly in the keyway against the side walls 31 of the keyway (FIG. 5A). As shown, the side walls 31 and the lugs 57 are tapered, though it is contemplated that they not be tapered, i.e., the side walls and lugs may extend parallel to a center line CL. Preferably, each side wall 31 and lug 57 is tapered at a substantially identical angle Θ (relative to center line CL). The angle Θ is preferably significantly less than 90, more preferably greater than 0 and less than 60, more preferably less than or equal to about 45 and even more preferably between about 10 and about 20.
  • [0032]
    The face-to-face contact of the outwardly facing surfaces 58 of the key 59 against the side walls 31 of the keyway 27 is preferred since this adds to the strength of the connection in the preferred embodiment. Therefore, the lugs 57 should be dimensioned so that they do not engage the bottom 29 of the keyway 27, thus ensuring contact between the mating tapered surfaces of the lugs and keyway. Also, note that it is contemplated to have a gap (e.g., on the order of a few thousandths of an inch) between sections 61 of post sides 25 and the legs of the bracket 51 (FIG. 5A).
  • [0033]
    The bracket 51 is attached to the post 23 by means comprising, in the preferred embodiment, two mechanical fasteners 63, preferably self-tapping threaded screws, extending through a clearance hole 65 in the juncture of the bracket 51 into a hole 67 in the bottom of the keyway 27. Other types of mechanical fasteners are contemplated (e.g., rivets, drive screws). Tightening of the fasteners during assembly preferably functions to force the key 59 into wedging contact with the side walls 31 of the keyway 27. Note that it is contemplated to use any number of mechanical fasteners. Alternatively, the bracket 51 could be attached to the post 23 by welding, or by interlocking components on the post and bracket, such as a “T” slot in the keyway and a mating “T” component of the key. In any case, the attachment of the bracket to a vertical side of the post with the key received in the keyway forms a rigid, stable connection between the bracket and the post. The key and keyway configurations illustrated in the drawings are exemplary only, and are not intended to be limiting in any way. Other configurations may also be used without departing from the scope of this invention. Further, while the drawings depict the key as being on the bracket and the keyway on the post, it will be understood that this configuration could be reversed to place the key on the post and the keyway on the bracket.
  • [0034]
    As shown in FIG. 3, the bracket 51 has a vertical dimension D4 (height) sufficient to give the bracket and the connection good strength. By way of example, dimension D4 is preferably in the range of about 1 to 6 inches, more preferably in the range of 1-2 inches, and most preferably about 1 inches. Preferably, the lugs 57 extend the full height of the bracket so that the key 59 and keyway 27 extend substantially a full height of the connection. When attached to the post 23, the top surface of the bracket 51 is preferably flush with the top surface of the post (FIG. 2), and the legs 53 a, 53 b project laterally outwardly from the post.
  • [0035]
    Each leg 53 a, 53 b of the bracket 51 is formed with integral vertical receivers 71 for receiving vertically oriented threaded mechanical fasteners 73 (e.g., self-tapping screws) used to attach the horizontal frame members 39, 41 to the bracket 51. This attachment is shown in FIGS. 2, 3 and 16. Each of the front and back frame members 39 is secured to the first leg 53 a of a respective bracket 51 by mechanical fasteners 73 extending down through holes 75 (FIG. 16) in the frame members into respective receivers 71 in the bracket. The holes 75 are located in a groove 77 in the upper surface of the horizontal front and back frame members 39 so that the heads of the fasteners 73 do not project above the top surface of the frame member. Each of the side frame members 41 is secured to the second leg 53 b of a respective bracket 51 by mechanical fasteners 73 extending down through holes 81 in the head of the frame member into respective receivers 71 in the bracket 51. The vertical flanges 45 of the horizontal side frame members are positioned on the outside exterior sides of the legs 53 b of the brackets 51.
  • [0036]
    When assembled, the joints between the posts 23 and the horizontal frame members 39, 41 are strong and stable, as a result of the extruded metal components, the solid key/keyway connections, the substantial vertical dimensions D3, D4 of the side frame members 41 and brackets 51, respectively, and the horizontal depth D1 of the front and back horizontal frame members 39. The use of vertically oriented fasteners 73 is also advantageous since the fasteners are subject primarily to tensile forces in this orientation, not shear forces.
  • [0037]
    The front and back horizontal frame members 39 (the front horizontal frame member is shown in FIG. 16) are formed with horizontal lips 85 which project into the interior of the enclosure 21 and which have upper surfaces which are flush with the upper surfaces of the heads 43 of the horizontal side frame members 41, the result being that these surfaces combine to form a peripheral rim extending around the interior of the enclosure 21 for supporting a cover panel 87 to cover the top of the framework.
  • [0038]
    Referring to FIGS. 1, 7 and 8, a plurality of horizontal rail mounting bars 89 extend within the enclosure 21 generally from the front to the back of the enclosure. Each mounting bar 89 is preferably an extruded metal part formed with a longitudinally extending receivers 91. The ends of the mounting bar 89 butt up against respective bracket legs 53 a of brackets 51 so that the receivers 91 are in alignment with holes 93 in each bracket leg to receive mechanical fasteners 95 (e.g., self-tapping screws) to attach the bar to the brackets 51. The mounting bar 89 has a row of holes 97 therein spaced at intervals along the bar generally at the center of the bar. The purpose of these holes will become apparent. The height of the bar is substantial (e.g., about 1 in.) to provide strength for supporting the load of the equipment in the enclosure 21.
  • [0039]
    A plurality of vertical rails 99 for mounting the equipment are attached to the horizontal rail mounting bars 89. The vertical rails 99 are preferably made of angle bar, as shown in FIGS. 7 and 8, for example, so that the rail has first and second legs indicated at 101 and 103. The vertical rails 99 are secured to the rail mounting bars 89 in the desired position within the enclosure 21 by mechanical fasteners 104 extending through selected holes 97 in the rail mounting bars and through holes 105 in the first legs of the rails 101. The fasteners 104 used are preferably nut and bolt fasteners so that the positions of the rails 99 in the enclosure 21 may be readily changed, if necessary. The second legs 103 of the vertical rails have vertical rows of mounting equipment holes 107 therein spaced at regular intervals along the rails corresponding to the height of a standard panel mounting unit, i.e., 1 in.
  • [0040]
    As shown in FIGS. 9 and 10, electrical components C (broadly, electrical equipment) are mounted on the vertical rails 99 by using mechanical fasteners 109 (e.g., 12-24 machine screws) threaded into the appropriate holes 107 in the rails. Note that the terms electrical equipment and electrical components include for example, patch panels, power supplies, telephone equipment, computer system equipment, oscilloscopes. The vertical rails 99 can extend the full height of the enclosure 21. Alternatively, some or all of the rails 99 can extend only a fraction of the height (e.g, one-half of the height) to permit components C to be mounted at various depths in the enclosure 21, as illustrated in FIGS. 9 and 10. If the rails extend less than the full height of the enclosure 21, additional brackets 51 and rail mounting bars 89 are provided, as shown in FIGS. 1 and 9, for example.
  • [0041]
    Significantly, some vertical rails 99 may be oriented so that the second legs 103 of the rails (the legs with the rows of equipment mounting holes 107) face forward or rearward to mount component C so that it is accessible from the front F and back B of the enclosure 21, and other rails may be oriented so that the second legs of the rails with the equipment mounting holes 107 therein face to the side so that components can be mounted for access from one or both sides S of the enclosure. In the latter instance, angle brackets 111 are used to mount the rails to the rail mounting bars, as shown best in FIGS. 6, 9, 10 and 11.
  • [0042]
    As shown in FIG. 6, the vertical rails 99 can also be used to mount cable spools 113, cable tray or the like on the enclosure 21 to form one or more vertical wireways W at the sides of the enclosure 21 to receive and direct cable (i.e., wiring) to and from the equipment in the enclosure.
  • [0043]
    Referring to FIGS. 12-18, the top of the enclosure 21 is closed by the cover panel 87 releasably secured by fasteners to the framework. As shown in FIGS. 14 and 18, the cover panel 87 may optionally include vents 115 for venting hot air from the cabinet, and passages 116 for wires extending out of the cabinet. The vents 115 and passages 116 are omitted in FIG. 15 for clarity. The back and sides of the enclosure 21 are closed by closures 117 and the front is closed by door 119; the closures and door engaging the ribs 33 on the corner brackets 51 (FIG. 5). The closures 117 may be releasably held in place by latches 121 so that they can readily be removed. The door 119 is hinged to the enclosure 21 for swinging open and closed. It is contemplated that doors 119 can be used to close the back and/or sides. When all closures 117 and the door 119 are in place and closed, the components C are fully enclosed within the enclosure 21. The closures 117 and door 119 may be solid panels of opaque material, or they may be constructed of transparent panels in suitable frameworks.
  • [0044]
    The design of the enclosure 21 maximizes the vertical space within the enclosure useable for mounting components C. In particular, the use of the vertically thick corner brackets 51 and vertically thin front and rear horizontal frame members 39 minimizes the space occupied by the framework, leaving more vertical space for the mounting of electrical components C, while providing sufficient strength at the joints. Further, the enclosure 21 is easy to assemble, since welding may be eliminated, if desired, by the use of simple mechanical fasteners, e.g., {fraction (1/4)} in. nut and bolt fasteners and {fraction (1/4)} in. self-tapping screws. The bracket 51 and post 23 design, using what may be referred to as a key and keyway (or tongue and groove) connection therebetween, also provides stable, rigid and strong joints which resist twisting relative to the post and which resist bending and flexing under heavy loads. It is contemplated, however, that the key and keyway connection may be omitted. The tubular cross section of the posts also improves the torsional rigidity. The extruded design further reduces cost and weight without sacrificing strength. The extrusions can also be cut to any suitable length to vary the height, depth and width of the enclosure 21 as needed.
  • [0045]
    In view of the above, it will be seen that the several objects of the invention are achieved and other advantageous results attained.
  • [0046]
    As various changes could be made in the above constructions without departing from the scope of the invention, it is intended that all matter contained in the above description or shown in the accompanying drawings shall be interpreted as illustrative and not in a limiting sense. For example, it is contemplated that more or less than four posts may be used within the scope of this invention.
  • [0047]
    When introducing elements of the present invention or the preferred embodiment(s) thereof, the articles “a”, “an”, “the” and “said” are intended to mean that there are one or more of the elements. The terms “comprising”, “including” and “having” are intended to be inclusive and mean that there may be additional elements other than the listed elements.
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Classifications
U.S. Classification312/265.4
International ClassificationH05K7/14
Cooperative ClassificationH05K7/1421
European ClassificationH05K7/14E
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Aug 15, 2003ASAssignment
Owner name: COOPER TECHNOLOGIES COMPANY, TEXAS
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:RINDERER, ERIC R.;REEL/FRAME:014391/0909
Effective date: 20030731