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Publication numberUS20070167246 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/433,925
Publication dateJul 19, 2007
Filing dateMay 15, 2006
Priority dateJan 3, 2006
Publication number11433925, 433925, US 2007/0167246 A1, US 2007/167246 A1, US 20070167246 A1, US 20070167246A1, US 2007167246 A1, US 2007167246A1, US-A1-20070167246, US-A1-2007167246, US2007/0167246A1, US2007/167246A1, US20070167246 A1, US20070167246A1, US2007167246 A1, US2007167246A1
InventorsGeoffrey McKee, Eileen Sefchick, Albert Fan, Bruce Popek
Original AssigneeWham-O Incorporated
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Inflatable slide and method
US 20070167246 A1
Abstract
A method for assembling an inflatable slide which is furnished with water to facilitate sliding of a person's body along a plastic and/or fabric substrate. A method for providing water for recreational purposes. An inflatable slide having a slide section and a climb section.
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Claims(12)
1. A slide assembly comprising: an inflated structure defining a tunnel, a climb section and a slide section; and a slide mat passing through said tunnel.
2. The slide assembly of claim 1 additionally comprising a means for dispersing water onto said slide mat.
3. The slide assembly of claim 1 additionally comprising a means for dispersing water onto said slide section of said inflated structure.
4. The slide assembly of claim 2 wherein said means for dispersing water comprises a tubing assembly at least partially extending through said tunnel.
5. The slide assembly of claim 3 wherein said means for dispersing water onto said slide section comprises a tubing assembly.
6. The slide assembly of claim 5 wherein said tubing assembly extends through an expanded arch of said inflated structure and is supported by the expanded arch for dispersing water for subsequent flowing down said slide section.
7. The slide assembly of claim 1 wherein said slide mat is integrally secured to said inflated structure.
8. The slide assembly of claim 7 wherein at least a portion of said integrally secured slide mat pneumatically communicates with said inflated structure such that at least a portion of said slide mate inflates as said inflated structure inflates.
9. A method for providing water for recreational purposes, comprising: inflating a deflated slide assembly into an inflated structure defining a tunnel, a climb section and a slide section; disposing a slide mat through said tunnel; and dispersing water onto said slide mat.
10. The method of claim 9 additionally comprising dispersing water for flowing down the slide section of the inflated structure.
11. A method for assembling a slide assembly, comprising: providing a deflated slide assembly; engaging a blower to an opening in the deflated slide assembly; activating the blower for inflating the deflated slide assembly into an inflated structure defining a tunnel, a climb section and a slide section, and disposing a slide mat through the tunnel.
12. The method of claim 11 additionally comprising connecting a water hose to a tubing assembly supported by the inflated structure; introducing water through the water hose and into the tubing assembly for dispersing water onto the slide mat.
Description
    CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
  • [0001]
    This patent application is related to Provisional Patent Application having application No. 60/755830, filed Jan. 3, 2006, and fully incorporated herein by reference thereto as if repeated verbatim immediately herein. Benefit of the Jan. 3, 2006 filing date for the Provisional Patent Application is claimed.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • [0002]
    1. Field of Invention
  • [0003]
    The present invention broadly relates in general to an inflatable slide and method. More specifically, embodiments of the present invention relate to an inflatable water slide, a method for assembling an inflatable water slide, and a method for providing water for recreational purposes.
  • [0004]
    2. Description of the Background Art
  • [0005]
    Numerous conventional water slides are available. However, conventional water slides do not provide the feature of being inflatable in combination with providing the feature of a slide mat for sliding along with a support surface.
  • SUMMARY OF EMBODIMENTS OF THE INVENTION
  • [0006]
    Embodiments of the present invention provide a slide assembly comprising: an inflated structure defining a tunnel, a climb section and a slide section, and a slide mat passing through the tunnel. The slide mat may be detached from the inflated structure or the slide mat may be integrally secured to the inflated structure. The slide assembly additionally comprises a means for dispersing water (e.g., a hose assembly) onto the slide mat.
  • [0007]
    Embodiments of the present invention also provide a method for assembling an inflatable slide. The method comprises providing a deflated slide assembly, engaging a blower to an opening in the deflated slide assembly, activating the blower for inflating the deflated slide assembly into an inflated structure defining a tunnel, a climb section and a slide section, and disposing a slide mat through the tunnel. The method additionally comprises connecting a water hose to a tubing assembly supported by the inflated structure, and introducing water through the water hose and into the tubing assembly for dispersing water onto the slide mat.
  • [0008]
    Embodiments of the present invention provide a method for providing water for recreational purposes. The method comprises inflating a deflated slide assembly into an inflated structure defining a tunnel, a climb section and a slide section, disposing a slide mat through the tunnel, and dispersing water onto the slide mat. The method additionally comprises dispersing water for flowing down the slide section of the inflated structure.
  • [0009]
    These provisions, together with the various ancillary provisions and features which will become apparent to those skilled in the art as the following description proceeds, are attained by the apparatuses and methods of the present invention, preferred embodiments thereof being shown with reference to the accompanying drawings, by way of example only, wherein:
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0010]
    FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an embodiment of the slide assembly after inflation.
  • [0011]
    FIG. 2 is a perspective view of another embodiment of the slide assembly after inflation.
  • [0012]
    FIG. 3 is a perspective view of another embodiment of the slide assembly after inflation.
  • [0013]
    FIG. 4A is a perspective view of another embodiment of the slide assembly after inflation, wherein the slip ′N slide section is detached from the body of the slide assembly.
  • [0014]
    FIG. 4B is a perspective view of the slip ′N slide section removed from underneath of the body of the slide assembly.
  • [0015]
    FIG. 5 is a top plan view of another embodiment of the slide assembly, with the body of the slide assembly resting on the separate slip ′N slide section of FIG. 4B and with the tunnel hose in position for placing water on the slip ′N slide section.
  • [0016]
    FIG. 6 is another perspective view of an embodiment of the slide assembly after inflation.
  • [0017]
    FIG. 7 is another perspective view of an embodiment of the slide assembly after inflation.
  • [0018]
    FIG. 8 is an enlarged perspective view of the coupling assembly.
  • [0019]
    FIG. 9 is another enlarged perspective view of the coupling assembly.
  • [0020]
    FIG. 10 is a top plan view of the coupling assembly.
  • [0021]
    FIG. 11 is an end elevational view of an embodiment of the slide assembly after being inflated and showing the slide section.
  • [0022]
    FIG. 12 is an end elevational view of an embodiment of the slide assembly after being inflated and showing the climb or ladder section.
  • [0023]
    FIG. 13 is a side elevational view of an embodiment of the slide assembly after being inflated and showing the slide hose and an end of the tunnel hose.
  • [0024]
    FIG. 14 is a side elevational view of a side of the slide assembly opposed to the side of FIG. 13.
  • [0025]
    FIG. 15 is a top plan view of an embodiment of the slide assembly after being inflated and showing the top of the tunnel hose extending along a side wall of the slide substrate.
  • [0026]
    FIG. 16 is a bottom plan view of an embodiment of the slide assembly after being inflated and showing the bottom of the slide substrate.
  • [0027]
    FIG. 17 is another perspective view of an embodiment of the slide assembly after inflation.
  • [0028]
    FIG. 18 is an end elevational view of an embodiment of the slide assembly after being inflated and showing the slide section.
  • [0029]
    FIG. 19 is an end elevational view of an embodiment of the slide assembly after being inflated and showing the climb or ladder section.
  • [0030]
    FIG. 20 is a side elevational view of an embodiment of the slide assembly after being inflated and showing the slide hose and an end of the tunnel hose.
  • [0031]
    FIG. 21 is a side elevational view of a side of the slide assembly opposed to the side of FIG. 20.
  • [0032]
    FIG. 22 is a top plan view of an embodiment of the slide assembly after being inflated and showing the top of the tunnel hose extending along a side wall of the slide substrate.
  • [0033]
    FIG. 23 is a bottom plan view of an embodiment of the slide assembly after being inflated and showing the bottom of the slide substrate.
  • [0034]
    FIG. 24 is another perspective view of an embodiment of the slide assembly after inflation.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF EMBODIMENTS OF THE INVENTION
  • [0035]
    In the description herein for embodiments of the present invention, numerous specific details are provided, such as examples of components and/or methods, to provide a thorough understanding of embodiments of the present invention. One skilled in the relevant art will recognize, however, that an embodiment of the invention can be practiced without one or more of the specific details, or with other apparatus, systems, assemblies, methods, components, materials, parts, and/or the like. In other instances, well-known structures, materials, or operations are not specifically shown or described in detail to avoid obscuring aspects of embodiments of the present invention.
  • [0036]
    Referring in detail now to the drawings, there is seen for various embodiments of the invention, a slide assembly 10 generally comprising a generally hollow collapsible member which is inflatable from a collapsed posture into an expanded posture. The slide assembly 10 (e.g., the expanded embodiment of the slide assembly 10) comprises a base 13 supporting a climb or ladder section 12, a slide section 14, a platform section 16, and a pool section 18. The base 13 includes a pair of upstanding opposed base side walls 15 and 17. Base side wall 17 is formed with opening 410 to which an air hose 230 may connect, preferably integrally connects. Air hose 230 connects to a blower/compressor 500 for causing air to flow through the air hose 230 and into the collapsed slide assembly 10 for inflating the same into an upright posture. Preferably, the blower 500 continually blows air into the inflated slide assembly 10 to compensate of air losses. Base side wall 17 also includes an openable/closable opening 400 for deflating the inflated slide assembly 10 back into a collapsed posture. The opening 400, as best shown in FIGS. 17, 19 and 22 may be defined by a plastic and/or fabric tube, integrally connected to opening, and tied close by a suitable string 710. Conveniently disposed around the perimeter of the base 13 are pouches or bags 300 which may be filled with any suitable “weighty” matter (e.g., water) to add weight and stability to the slide assembly 10 when inflated. The bags 300 have a sealable opening (not shown) through which weighty matter (water) may be poured to fill the bags 300. The slide assembly 10, including the air hose 230, may be manufactured from any suitable material. Preferably, the slide assembly 10, including air hose 230, comprises a fabric (e.g., a fabric formed from a polyester, or polyester and oxford, material) covered by a plastic layer (e.g., a PVC layer, or any other suitable plastic material, such as polyethylene, polypropylene, and the like).
  • [0037]
    The climb section 12 provides a section for a person to climb to the platform section 16. From the platform section 16, a person may slide down a portion of the slide section 16 for landing in water contained in the pool section 18. The sliding procedure is facilitated by water flowing down a ramp of the slide section 16. The slide assembly 10 also comprises a tunnel assembly 20, and may be manufactured from any suitable material, such as, by way of example only, a plastic and/or fabric (e.g., polyethylene, polypropylene, polyester oxford with PVC coated, etc).
  • [0038]
    Climb section 12 is bordered by side walls 22 and 24 supported by base side walls 15 and 17 respectively. Climb section 12 includes a climb platform 26 and a climb ramp 28 having recesses 30 for receiving a foot and having handles 32 for being gripped or grasped while climbing toward the platform section 16.
  • [0039]
    Platform section 16 includes a platform arch 36 supported by sidewalls 38 and 40 which are respectively supported by base side walls 15 and 17. Sidewalls 38 and 40 connect integrally with sidewalls 22 and 24 of the climb section 12. Grips 23-23 are provided on sidewalls 38 and 40. The platform section 16 also includes a platform 44 connecting with or to the climb ramp 25 and is covered by the platform arch 36. The platform arch 36 has an opening 600 through which a slide hose 120 passes for being conveniently disposed around the inside of the platform arch 36 to spray of disperse water through apertures 210 in the slide hose. A person leaves the platform 44 for sliding down the slide section 14. As will be further illustrated and explained below, the platform arch 36 holds a portion of a hose (a hose termed “slide hose” hereinafter) which has a structure defined by apertures from which water is sprayed or otherwise dispersed to land on the platform 44 and flow down a section of the slide section 14 to facilitate the sliding procedure. After the water finishes flowing down a portion of the slide section 14 it accumulates in the pool section 18 to form a pool of water.
  • [0040]
    The slide section 14 includes a slide ramp 48 which integrally connects to the platform 44 of the platform section 16. The slide section 14 also has a pair of side walls 50 and 54 at opposed sides of the slide ramp 48 and supported by base side walls 17 and 15, respectively. The side walls 50 and 54 respectively connect to side walls 40 and 38 and possess respective sinusoidal-shaped ridges 50 a and 54 a.
  • [0041]
    Pool section 18 has a bottom 60, a pair of opposed side walls 62 and 64 supported by the base 13 and secured to the bottom 60 and to the respective side walls 62 and 64 of the slide section 14. A generally arcuate-shaped end wall 68 is integrally connected to the side walls 62 and 64. Side wall 62 is formed with an opening 70 which facilitates exiting the pool section 18.
  • [0042]
    The tunnel assembly 20 includes a generally cylindrical tunnel 76 having a generally cylindrical tunnel wall 80 and formed in the opposed base sidewalls 15 and 17. The tunnel assembly 20 also includes a tunnel base member 84 (a slide mat) which provides a surface for people to slide on, particularly after becoming wet. The tunnel base member 84 may be detached from the slide assembly 10, as shown in FIGS. 4A-5, or the tunnel base member 84 may be integrally connected to the slide assembly 10 as shown in FIGS. 1-3.
  • [0043]
    In an embodiment of the invention, the tunnel base member 84 is bordered in one section by a pair of opposed sides 86 and 88, and bordered in another section by opposed sides 90 and 92 which terminate in a generally arcuate-shaped end wall 96. The tunnel wall 80 borders the tunnel base member 84 at an intermediate section thereof between opposed sides 90 and 92 and opposed sides 86 and 88. Longitudinally extending along side wall 88, along a lower side or section of tunnel wall 80, and along side 92 is a perforated tunnel hose 124. As illustrated in FIG. 37 tunnel hose 124 includes apertures 200 where through water may be sprayed or otherwise dispersed of landing on tunnel base member 84. Water on tunnel base member 84 facilitates the bodily sliding of a person along tunnel base member 84. In an embodiment of the invention both the tunnel hose 124 and the slide hose 120 (including the portion of slide hose 120 under the platform arch 36) come connected to their associated structural slide-assembly structures (or associated structural slide-assembly hose supports). Thus, the tunnel hose 124 and the slide hose 120 are collapsible with the slide assembly 10. When the slide assembly 10 is in its collapsed posture, the tunnel hose 124 and the slide hose 120 are also collapsed and included within the collapsed slide assembly. Thus, there is no need to separately provide and connect the tunnel hose 124 and the slide hose 120 to their appropriate structural locations.
  • [0044]
    The slide assembly 10 also includes a tubing assembly 100 (see FIGS. 8 and 9) for appropriately watering the tunnel base member 84 and the platform 44 (including the slide ramp 48). The tubing assembly 100 comprises a coupling assembly 104 (see FIG. 10) having conduit 106 and conduit 112 which respectively releasably engage the slide hose 120 and the tunnel hose 124. A valve 108 controls and/or diverts the flow of water to and/or through conduits 106 and 112 (and thus through tunnel hose 124 and slide hose 120). Valve 108 appropriately meters the desired amount of water through conduits 106 and 112. Valve 108 is capable of completely cutting off the flow of water through tunnel hose 124 or through slide hose 120, or splitting the flow of water such that water flows through both hoses 124 and 120 in a desired quantity, such as 50% through respective hoses. The tubing assembly 100 also includes conduit 114 for releasably engaging a water hose 140 (e.g., an ordinary gardening hose engaged to an external faucet) for furnishing water to the tunnel hose 124 and the slide hose 120.
  • [0045]
    In an embodiment of the invention where the tunnel base member 84 is integrally attached to the slide assembly 10, the slide assembly 10 may be assembled from a collapsed posture. In a collapsed posture the slide assembly 10 is generally rectangular or cubical in geometric shape. The collapsed posture of the slide assembly 10 is unfolded such that the tunnel base member 84 and sides 90, 92, 86, 88 and end 96, all in a collapsed position, are lying flat on the ground or any other suitable surface. In this unfolded position the remaining sections (i.e., the climb section 12, the slide section 14, the platform section 16, and the pool section 18) are transversely collapsed on top of an intermediate section of the tunnel base member 84. The air hose 230 is then connected to opening 410 while opening 400 is sealed. Air hose 230 is connected to the blower/compressor 500 which is subsequently activated to commence the flow of air through the air hose 230 and into the collapsed slide assembly 10 for inflating the same into an upright posture. Preferably, air initially commences to inflate the remaining sections (i.e., the climb section 12, the slide section 14, the platform section 16, and the pool section 18) that are transversely collapsed on top of an intermediate section of the tunnel base member 84. More preferably, the climb section 12 and the slide section 14 are commenced to be initially inflated. All of the sections (including sides 90, 92, 86, 88 and end 96) of the slide assembly 10 pneumatically communicate with each other so that flowing air is capable of inflating the slide assembly 10 into a fully expanded posture. Water may be introduced through the tunnel hose 124 for dispersing water through the apertures 200. For this embodiment of the invention the water is dispersed through the apertures 200 and onto the integrally connected tunnel base member 84. Water may also be introduced through the slide hose 120 for dispersing water through apertures 210 and onto the platform 44 to flow down the slide ramp 48 and into the pool section 18. The blower 500 continually blows air into the inflated slide assembly 10 to compensate for any air losses. Pouches or bags 300 may then be filled with water to add stability to the inflated slide assembly 10. The bags 300 have a sealable opening (not shown) through which water may be poured to fill the bags 300. When the inflated slide assembly 10 is to be deflated for storage, blower 500 is stopped, and opening 400 is unsealed to begin the deflation procedure by air flowing outwardly there through. Preferably air initially commences to exit or leave from the pool section 18 and/or the climb section 14 before the other sections. Water is removed from the bags 300 at any suitable time, preferably before unsealing opening 400.
  • [0046]
    In another embodiment of the invention where the tunnel base member 84 is detached from the slide assembly 10, the slide assembly 10 may again be assembled from a collapsed posture, which again may be generally rectangular or cubical in geometric shape. The collapsed posture of the slide assembly 10 is at least partially unfolded until opening 400 is exposed. In this at least partially unfolded position the climb section 12, the slide section 14, the platform section 16, and the pool section 18 may be partially transversely collapsed. The air hose 230 is then connected to opening 410 while opening 400 is sealed. Air hose 230 is connected to the blower/compressor 500 which is subsequently activated to commence the flow of air through the air hose 230 and into the collapsed, or partially unfolded, slide assembly 10 for inflating the same into an upright posture. Preferably, air initially commences to inflate the climb section 12, the slide section 14, the platform section 16, and the pool section 18. More preferably, the climb section 12 and the slide section 14 are commenced to be initially inflated. All of the sections of the slide assembly 10 pneumatically communicate with each other so that flowing air is capable of inflating the slide assembly 10 into a fully expanded posture. After the slide assembly 10 has been inflated into its fully expanded posture, the tunnel base member 84 may be disposed through the tunnel 76. As was seen for other embodiments of the invention, water may be introduced through the tunnel hose 124 for dispersing water through the apertures 200. For this embodiment of the invention the water is dispersed through the apertures 200 and onto the separate, detached tunnel base member 84. As was seen for other embodiments of the invention, water may also be introduced through the slide hose 120 for dispersing water through apertures 210 and onto the platform 44 to flow down the slide ramp 48 and into the pool section 18. The blower 500 continually blows air into the inflated slide assembly 10 to compensate for any air losses. Pouches or bags 300 may then be filled with water to add stability to the inflated slide assembly 10. The bags 300 have a sealable opening (not shown) through which water may be poured to fill the bags 300. When the inflated slide assembly 10 is to be deflated for storage, blower 500 is stopped, and opening 400 is unsealed to begin the deflation procedure by air flowing outwardly there through. Preferably air initially commences to exit or leave from the pool section 18 and/or the climb section 14 before the other sections. Water is removed from the bags 300 at any suitable time, preferably before unsealing opening 400.
  • [0047]
    Reference throughout this specification to “one embodiment”, “an embodiment”, or “a specific embodiment” means that a particular feature, structure, or characteristic described in connection with the embodiment is included in at least one embodiment of the present invention and not necessarily in all embodiments. Thus, respective appearances of the phrases “in one embodiment”, “in an embodiment”, or “in a specific embodiment” in various places throughout this specification are not necessarily referring to the same embodiment. Furthermore, the particular features, structures, or characteristics of any specific embodiment of the present invention may be combined in any suitable manner with one or more other embodiments. It is to be understood that other variations and modifications of the embodiments of the present invention described and illustrated herein are possible in light of the teachings herein and are to be considered as part of the spirit and scope of the present invention.
  • [0048]
    Additionally, any directional arrows in the drawings/Figures should be considered only as exemplary, and not limiting, unless otherwise specifically noted. Furthermore, the term “or” as used herein is generally intended to mean “and/or” unless otherwise indicated. Combinations of components or steps will also be considered as being noted, where terminology is foreseen as rendering the ability to separate or combine is unclear.
  • [0049]
    As used in the description herein and throughout the claims that follow, “a”, “an”, and “the” includes plural references unless the context clearly dictates otherwise. Also, as used in the description herein and throughout the claims that follow, the meaning of “in” includes “in” and “on” unless the context clearly dictates otherwise.
  • [0050]
    The foregoing description of illustrated embodiments of the present invention, including what is described in the Abstract, is not intended to be exhaustive or to limit the invention to the precise forms disclosed herein. While specific embodiments of, and examples for, the invention are described herein for illustrative purposes only, various equivalent modifications are possible within the spirit and scope of the present invention, as those skilled in the relevant art will recognize and appreciate. As indicated, these modifications may be made to the present invention in light of the foregoing description of illustrated embodiments of the present invention and are to be included within the spirit and scope of the present invention.
  • [0051]
    Thus, while the present invention has been described herein with reference to particular embodiments thereof, a latitude of modification, various changes and substitutions are intended in the foregoing disclosures, and it will be appreciated that in some instances some features of embodiments of the invention will be employed without a corresponding use of other features without departing from the scope and spirit of the invention as set forth. Therefore, many modifications may be made to adapt a particular situation or material to the essential scope and spirit of the present invention. It is intended that the invention not be limited to the particular terms used in following claims and/or to the particular embodiment disclosed as the best mode contemplated for carrying out this invention, but that the invention will include any and all embodiments and equivalents falling within the scope of the appended claims.
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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7789804 *Nov 12, 2007Sep 7, 2010Worldslide, L.L.C.Sliding exercise apparatus and recreational device
US7878877 *Jan 4, 2008Feb 1, 2011Scherba Industries, Inc.Inflatable educational structure
US8647213 *Feb 14, 2011Feb 11, 2014Spectrum Sports InternationalApparatus for a playground bouldering slide
US8702525 *May 19, 2011Apr 22, 2014Whitewater West Industries Ltd.Flume within a flume
US9061215Apr 22, 2010Jun 23, 2015Scherba Industries, Inc.Inflatable educational structure
US9278291Nov 15, 2010Mar 8, 2016Scherba Industries, Inc.Inflatable educational structure
US9463390Oct 30, 2014Oct 11, 2016FlowriderSurf, Ltd.Inflatable surfing apparatus and method
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Classifications
U.S. Classification472/116
International ClassificationA63G21/00
Cooperative ClassificationA63G21/00, A63G21/18, A63G31/12, A63G31/007
European ClassificationA63G21/00, A63G31/12, A63G31/00W
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
May 15, 2006ASAssignment
Owner name: WHAM-O INCORORATED, CALIFORNIA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:MCKEE, GEOFF;SEFCHICK, EILEEN;FAN, ALBERT;AND OTHERS;REEL/FRAME:017900/0898;SIGNING DATES FROM 20060509 TO 20060513
Jul 12, 2011ASAssignment
Owner name: WORLDSLIDE, LLC, CALIFORNIA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:WHAM-O INCORPORATED;REEL/FRAME:026588/0369
Effective date: 20110706