US 3203553 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
1965 J. a. PENDERGRAST. JR., ETAL REVERSIBLE GRAVITY FEED CAN RACK I:
Filed Jan. 27, 1964 5 Sheets-Sheet 1 INVENTORS JOHN 8. PE NDERGRASZ'JQ! BY IRA J SILBERMAN QJXJLV/ ATTORNE Aug. 31, 1965 J. B. PENDERGRAST, JR., ET'AL 3,203,553
REVERSIBLE GRAVITY FEED CAN RACK Filed Jan. 27, 1964 5 Sheets-Sheet 2 INVENTORS JOHN 8. PE NDE RGRASZJ: BY IRA J- S/LBERMAN ATTOR Aug. 31, 1965 J. B. PENDERGRAST, JR., ETAL REVERSIBLE GRAVITY FEED CAN RACK 5 Sheets-Sheet 3 Filed Jan. 27, 1964 L 132 Z n G. 5 9 54- 1965 J. B. PENDERGRAST, JR., ETAL. 3, 53
REVERSIBLE GRAVITY FEED CAN RACK Filed Jan. 27, 1964 5 Sheets-Sheet 4 j'u Hill] [1 H0 L L .1 L55 j FIG. 9 F/G /0 VENTORS'" JOHN B. PENDE/F RASZJR. um J. SILBERMAN Aug. 31, 1965 J. B. PENDERGRAST. JR.. ETAL REVERSIBLE GRAVITY FEED CAN BACK 5 Sheets-Sheet 5 Filed Jan. 27, 1964 K. V! E m M 04 NG W T mM A United States Patent 3,203,553 REVERSIBLE GRAVITY FEED CAN RACK John B. Pendergrast, In, Atlanta, and Ira .I. Silberman, De Kalb County, Ga., assignors to Southern Spring Bed 'Company, Atlanta, Ga, a corporation of Georgia Filed Jan. 27, '1964,Ser. No. 340,292 7 Claims. (Cl. 211-49) This invention relates to a reversible gravity feed can rack and particularly to a rack of that sort which slopes at one time for merchandising of cans in a downwardly sloped gravity feed position and is shiftable from this position manually to a reverse slope in the opposite direction for the purpose of loading the rack with cans and then shifting the rack to merchandising or dispensing position.
Supermarkets and similar merchandising establishments display and sell a great deal of merchandise contained in cans such as soups, soft drinks or other products.
In large volume establishments it is necessary from time to time to maintain a proper supply of cans on the shelves and at the same time to display them with maximum advantage both for convenience so that the customer can find what he is looking for as well as to promote any particular items. Cans stacked on end on top of each other on ordinary rigid supermarket shelves do not readily dispense from the shelf, sometimes fall when the customer attempts to remove them, and requires some amount of care in stacking or tumbling will result. The present merchandising shelf aids and facilitates both the loading of cans and the presentation of the cans for removal by the customer.
Generally described, without restriction on the scope of my invention which is found in the appended claims, in one embodiment the rack is constructed from open, welded wires forming an upstanding frame having individual, spaced shelves thereon constructed from longitudinal wire bottom runners with side frames substantially the width of the typical can, such as a soft drink can. All of the shelves are supported on a common frame having four corners, two on the front and two on the rear. Each end of the rack is hinged to a support member such as shelf board or the like and in one embodiment the hinge consists of a bent U-shaped member with ends looped around the wires substantially at opposite corners of the rack. These U-shaped members are in turn fastened as by straps to the bottom board. The front of each shelf is provided with a can stopping member adapted to stop the outermost can in its gravity feed from leaving the shelf. In the operation of the device, normally the rear hinge is inclined upwardly and the front hinge is inclined outwardly substantially horizontally so that there is a forward slope, downwardly from rear to front thereby dispensing the cans towards the front and against the stopping member. However, when it is desired to load the shelf, the attendant grasps the rack and shifts the whole rack lifting the front hinge upwardly substantially vertical and lowering the back hinge rearwardly and substantially horizontally to reverse the slope from front to rear. In the position just mentioned, the attendant then deposits cans at the front part of the rack and these roll readily to the rear portion of the rack until each shelf is full at which time the attendant then reverses the inclination of the rack by grasping same and tilting the hinges opposite from the manner previously described.
In another embodiment of the rack, the front and rear hinges are eliminated and the rack is substantially identical in height and size both in the front and the rear. Substantially transversely and at the bottom center of the rack approximately at the fulcrum point there is located a transverse fulcrum member which is supported on a support on opposite sides of the rack and the support is fastened to a shelf. With this construction, the rack is substantially balanced about the center fulcrum point and the length of the shelves is preferably such that each shelf is slightly longer than an exact number of can diameters thereby leaving a distance between the front can or rear can and the respective front or rear of the rack. For loading the rack, the attendant manually causes the rack to pivot or swing about the fulcrum point to place the slope from the front downwardly toward the rear and cans are deposited in the front and roll to the rear of the rack until each shelf becomes full with the maximum number of cans at which time the attendant grasping the front of the rack pushes down slightly thereon causing the cans to shift toward the front thereby bringing the rack into a reverse slope from that previously mentioned whereby the front of the rack is lower than the back of the rack and the cans are feeding by gravity toward the front. Balance may be varied and any desired balancing may be achieved through the relationship between the amount of cans carried at one time forward of the pivot point as opposed to the amount of cans that can be carried at a given time rearward of the pivot point. With proper design, the rack is fairly easily shifted in one direction or the other both in the loaded and unloaded condition.
An object of this invention is to provide a gravity feeding can rack which may be reversed in slope for loading.
A further object of this invention is to provide a gravity feed can rack having opposite ends hingedly fastened to a support surface so that the rack may be selectively inclined in one direction or other for loading.
A further object of this invention resides in a form of the invention whereby the rack is balanced substantially about a fulcrum point and supported above the support surface thereon so that the position of the front or rear of the rack is determined by the fulcrum.
Other and further objects and advantages of my invention will become apparent upon reading the following specification taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which:
FIG. 1, is a perspective view of one of one form of the present can rack inclined forwardly and downwardly for gravity dispensing.
FIG. 2, is a perspective view of the rack shown in FIG. 1, tilted from the FIG. 1, position to a rearwardly inclined gravity loading position.
FIG. 3, is a side elevation view of the rack shown in the position in FIG. 2.
FIG. 4, is a rear perspective view of the rack shown in FIG. 2.
FIG. 5, is a front perspective view of the rack in the position shown in FIG. 2 and FIG. 3.
FIG. 6, is a perspective view of a modified form of the gravity feed can rack with some of the interior wires removed for clarity.
FIG. 7, is a side elevation view of the rack shown in FIG. 6, tilted to feed cans to the left hand side of the sheet.
FIG. 8, is a front elevation view of the rack shown in FIG. 6, but at a level balanced position.
FIG. 9 is a cross-sectional view of a detail taken substantially along lines 99 in FIG. 11.
FIG. 10, is a side elevation cross-sectional view taken substantially along lines 1010 in FIG. 11.
FIG. 11, is an exploded view of a modified form of the rack with some of the rear most lines omitted to reduce possible optical illusion and with the side members dotted in place to their assembled position.
Referring initially to the rack shown in FIG. 1, which is designated generally by the reference number 10, a rack frame comprises opposed, spaced open wire sides 12, 14, constructed from wires or rods which may be chrome plated or otherwise covered for appearance, sides 12, 14 consists of top members 16, 18, front and rear members 20, 22, respectively and bottom cross-connecting members 24 at the rear and 25 at the front.
The rear end of the rack between members 22 is strengthened and connected by means of cross members 26 formed as part of U-shaped members 28 having the sides thereof 30, 32 ext-ending between the front members 20, and the rear members 22 on each side 12, 14. Members at the front are cross-connected by means of rods 36 which together with the rear cross members 26 and elongated shelf members 38 welded thereto provide elongated can shelves open at the top and provided with sides constructed with the members 28 and the respective sides 12, 14.
Each shelf member 38 is composed of a pair of spaced rods 40, 42 bent at the front into a can stopping member or can ledge 44, which extends upwardly at the front of the'rack.
The lower most transverse member 24 on the rear of the rack and which in the form shown in FIG. 1, is formed as a loop with the opposing rear members 22, has movably attached thereto a pair of spaced loop members 48, 50 which are bent from and formed with the U-shaped hinge member 52. Member 52 is hingedly or movably attached in place by a pair of straps 54, fastened by screws 56 to a fixed surface 58 which could be the top shelf of a supermarket rack or could be any suitable fixed support such as a wooden shelf or platform provided for this specific purpose.
The lower most front transverse member 36 which is actually a portion of a wire loop formed from side front members 20, is provided with a pair of opposed, loosely fitting loops 48 identical with those found on the rear of the rack 10 constructed from a hinge member 52 held in place by straps 54 and screws 56.
The front of the rack for dispensing purposes is shown in FIG. 1, is adapted to dispense cans 64 removed by hand 66 from behind the front can retaining members 44. In a dispensing position shown in FIG. 1, the rack is inclined from the rear forwardly and downwardly toward the front at such an angle as conveniently to dispense cans that roll by gravity along the track formed by members 40, 42 on a shelf 38. It is to be understood that the height of the rack may be varied and the respective lengths of the hinge members 52 may be varied and even may be different at the front than at the rear or vice-versa, the object being to incline the rack for loading to the rear as easily as possible and conversely to incline the rack towards the front for gravity feeding as easily as possible and to have as little force on the cans as necessary but at the same time to provide a smooth positive and ready dispensing and rolling of the cans along the track formed by members 40, 42 after a can 64 is removed from the front.
As shown in FIG. 2, when the rack 10 is empty or near empty the stock clerk or any other person may reverse the tilt of the rack from the position shown in FIG. 1, which is the dispensing position, to incline the rack from a forwardly downwardly to a rearwardly position whereby when the stock clerk removes cans 4 from a shipping carton he merely inserts them behind the front can retaining member 44, and the cans will then roll by gravity towards the rear of the rack against members 26.
As readily seen in FIG. 3, when the rack in the design shown in the present embodiment is inclined rearwardly for loading, the U-shaped hinge member 52 is lying with the loop portions 48 thereof on top of the bottom support 58 and at the same time the front hinge member 52 is raised to a substantially vertical position, or perhaps inclined very slightly to the left of a vertical line through the bottom support member 58 and through the center of the strap 54. In this position, after the cans 64 have been loaded into the respective shelves 38, it requires very little force to offset the center of gravity and to incline the loop members 48, 50 sufficiently forward of a vertical line to cause gravity to then tilt the rack all the way forward to the FIG. 1, position.
It is deemed better to have the length of the shelves and the overall length of the rack measured from the front can stopping member 44 to the rear member 26, less than an exact number of can diameters so that it is impossible for the supermarket clerk to load the rack and to jam cans tightly from member 26 rear, to front member 44, thereby assuring that there will always be sufiicient space on each shelf 38 to make it easy for a customer to slightly push the row of cans rearwardly sufiiciently to take the force off of the can 64 in the hand 66, and to simply lift it over the short front can stopping member 44.
FIG. 6, Embodiment The rack shown in FIG. 6, is still a gravity feed rack adapted to load with the shelves inclined in one direction toward the rear for loading and to be inclined to a reverse slope toward the front for the purpose of gravity feeding the cans that have been loaded into the rack as each can is removed by a customer substantially in the manner shown in FIG. 1. To this extent, the racks of FIG. 1, and FIG. 6, are identical in operation and arrangement whereby they tilt in one direction for loading so that the cans will roll to the rear and tilt in the opposite direction for dispensing so that the cans will roll downwardly toward the front.
Rack 100, shown in FIG. 6, comprises actually two side-by-side racks rigidly constructed on a common frame and having opposed side members 102, 104 constructed from bent wire or rod material and in a particular shape shown clearly in the drawings. A center longitudinal and vertical frame member 106 divides the rack in half and provides a side for each of the side members 102, 104 and to define a shelf for cans 64 supported therein.
The sides 102, 104 and the center member 106 are connected transversely by means of rear rods 108 and front rods 110 arranged in spaced relationship in a substantially vertical direction from top to bottom of the rack. Longitudinal, side members 112 connect the front and rear verticals 114, 116 of each of the respective sides 102, 104 and intermediate member 106, and together with intermediate longitudinal members 117 provide longitudinal shelves in spaced relation from top to bottom of the rack, there being three such shelves on each side of the rack shown in FIG. 6, for a total of six shelves.
Each longitudinal 117 has an upwardly bent forward and rear end 120 and all together the upwardly bent or upturned ends at the front and the rear form a can stopping means both at the front and rear of the rack to catch front most or rear most can depending upon the inclination of the rack.
The center portions of side members 102, 104 each bends and extends downward to form a V-shaped center with an apex 126 and in similar manner the center section 106 bends to form an identical V-shaped portion with a bottom apex 126. Apexes 126 are joined together by the means of a transverse fulcrum or pivot rod 128 having the ends thereof extending and connected to the bottoms of the respective apexes 126 as by welding or otherwise. A transverse fulcrum member 129 is constructed from flat metal strap or the like and extends substantially the full width of the rack between the apexes 126 on the respective sides 102, 104 and is fastened to a support 130 which may be a part of rack or shelf or may be any support member stably mounted to support the entire rack 100. The fulcrum 128 is attached in place in the embodiment of FIG. 6, by means of screws 131. The opposite ends 132 of member 128 have notches 134 therein and in these notches 134 rests the rod 128 approximately next to the bottom apex 126 of side members 102, 104 and also at apex 126 on number 106. Rod 128 is located approximately in the center of the rack as measured from front to rear and each shelf 120 as shown in FIG. 7, is arranged to hold slightly less than an exact number of can diameters 64 whereby the cans 64 can be caused to roll to the front to off-balance the rack at the front in the manner shown in FIG. 7, or to roll when the front of the rack is lifted by hand to the rear of the rack to tilt the rack 100 in exactly the opposite tilt from that shown in FIG. 7, whereby the cans will roll from front to rear. Members 114, 116 may be provided with small ferrules 130, to contact respectively the top of support 130. Thus, when the rack is inclined forwardly in the manner shown in FIG, 7, this is considered to be the front dispensing position whereby manually a can may be removed by gently pushing the row of cans to the rear of the rack on the right hand side in FIG. 7, and lifting the can over the front member 120. Whenever it is desired to load the rack either when it is empty or partially empty the front of the rack is lifted by hand to shift the center of gravity about the fulcrum point on member 126 and at the same time to cause any cans 64 which are still on the rack to roll to the rear thereby causing the rack to tilt in the opposite direction whereby the slope is from front downwardly to rear rather than from rear downwardly to front in the manner shown in FIG. 7. In the loading position the ferrules 138, on the rear legs 116 would be touching the top of surface 130.
An intermediate position is shown in FIG. 8, wherein the rack is substantially level or horizontal and is neither resting on the front legs 114 or rear legs 116. This is an abnormal condition which is only intermediate between a front dispensing or a rear loading position and does not normally exist in normal operation of the rack 100.
It is to be noted that the forces involved are small and the distances to travel are relatively small so that the rack can be shifted readily from a front dispensing position shown in FIG. 7, to rear loading position on the opposite direction with a minimum of effort or time.
FIG. 11 Embodiment As stated previously in connection with the brief description of the Figures, FIG. 11, shows an exploded view of a modified form of the rack with some of the rear most lines omitted to avoid possible optical illusion. The embodiment of the rack shown in FIG. 11, is very worthwhile from the standpoint of ease of manufacture, shipping and assembly and is particularly arranged to be knocked-down and shipped at minimum shipping cost.
The opposed sides of the rack 200 in FIG. 11, designated as 202 and 204 are pre-fabricated in one piece as an open frame each consisting of a wire rod side frame member 206, 208. Each side frame 206, 208 comprises a substantially MM-shaped frame member having longitudinal strengthening side members 210, 212 welded or otherwise fastened thereto and having loops at the front end at 214, 216 for a purpose to be described.
The rack in FIG. 11, has three trays or shelves spaced vertically and each being designated by the overall reference numeral 220 and each shelf 220 comprising a plurality of longitudinal shelf support members or wire runners 222 bent into a curved front member 224 providing a can stopping means on the front member and terminating at the rear end upwardly turned members 226 providing a can stopping means on the rear. A transverse strengthening rod 228 strengthens and interconnects the runners 222 on each shelf and since the shelves 220 are identical in construction and substantiall flat they will be next in contact vertically with each other for shipping. The rear members 226 are interconnected transversely by a transverse rod or wire member 230 welded or otherwise attached thereto. Rod or wire 230 attached to the ends 226 forms a curved can stopping means at one end of the rack 200 on each of the shelves 220.
Members 206, 208 are flattened at selected positions 230 and provided with bolt or screw openings thereat for attaching the parts detachably in place. The assembly and rigid attachment of members 208 and 206 to the shelves 220 is by means of transverse flat bar members 236 having inturned ends 238 with screw or bolt openings therein matching with positions 230 on the respective members 206, 208. There are three such members 236 at the front of the rack 200 and beneath each of the 'respective shelves 220 and likewise three members 236 at the rear of the rack there being one beneath each of the respective shelves 220 at the rear thereof and the front and rear members 236 rigidly attach the sides 206, 208 together and support a respective shelf 220.
Since the entire rack 200 is tiltable or capable of reverse slope or inclination in the manner of the previously described racks a support bar 240 has screw holes 242 therein for attachment to a surface against which the bottom ends of legs 243 on each of the four corners of the rack on respective side members 206, 208 can contact the surface depending upon the inclination of the rack. Member 242 has upturned ends 244 with open slots 246 therein and the bottoms of the V-shaped portions of members 206, 208 are provided respectively with lugs or shouldered attachment bolts 24% which set into the slot 246 on member 240.
As in the previous embodiments the height of the upturned ends 244 and the bottom of slot 246 is such that when supporting the shouldered attachment bolts 248 of the rack 200 the entire rack is supported with the bottom terminal ends of the legs 243 normally above the surface of the support for the rack, such as a supermarket shelf or the like not shown, unless the rack is tilted either rearwardly downwardly toward the front at which time the rack rests on the front legs 243 or is tilted front downwardly to the rear at which time the rack is resting on the rear legs 243.
While I have shown and described a particular embodiment of my invention, this is by way of illustration only and does not constitute the only form of my invention as various departures may be made within the scope of the appended claims.
1. In a gravity feed can rack mounted on a rigid support such as a supermarket stand:
(a) a can supporting and dispensing shelf of a width sufficient to hold at least the length of one can and of a length to hold a plurality of cans arranged each resting with the cylindrical side thereof and in a row of cans along the length of the shelf,
(b) a front can stopping member on said shelf and a rear can stopping member on said shelf preventing cans from completely rolling therefrom when said shelf is tilted,
(c) means for manually inclining said shelf forwardly for gravity feeding cans toward the front whereby as a can is removed manually by hand another can and all the cans behind roll forward to the can stopping member on the front; and conversely means for inclining said shelf manually by hand to a rearwardly inclined position so that cans manually placed on the front, to load said shelf, roll to the rear until the rack is full, said means including,
(d) a fulcrum means on each side of said shelf and being located approximately in the center of the rack to provide stability and balance.
2. In a gravity feed can rack mounted on a rigid support, such as a supermarket stand:
(a) a plurality of vertically spaced can supporting and dispensing shelves of a width sufiicient to hold at least the length of one can and of a length to hold a plurality of cans arranged each resting with the cylindrical side thereof on the shelf and in a row of such cans along the length of the shelf, whereby said cans will roll along the shelf when the shelf is tilted.
(b) means on each of said shelves preventing cans from completely rolling therefrom either at the front or rear when tilted by gravity, and means rigidly connecting all of said shelves together in stacked relation,
(c) fulcrum means movably supporting said shelves whereby one of said front end or rear end is tilted selectively simultaneously to place said shelves in an inclined position selectively at the front or the rear to cause the cans to travel to that end and to roll by gravity each time a can is removed from the front for dispensing and to travel to the rear for loading, said fulcrum means being located substantially in the center of the rack to provide stability both in the loaded and unloaded position,
(d) said shelves when inclined forwardly to gravity feeding cans toward the front whereby as a can is removed manually by hand another can and all the cans behind roll forward to the can stopping means on the front; and conversely when said shelf is not full and is inclined manually by hand another can and all the cans behind roll forward to the can stopping means on the front; and conversely when said shelf is not full and is inclined manually by hand to a rearwardly inclined position, cans may be placed on the front manually to load said shelf and said cans will roll to the rear until the rack is full.
3. In a gravity feed can dispensing rack for mounting on a rigid support, such as a display shelf in a supermarket:
(a) a rack frame,
(b) an elongated shelf on said frame at least the width of a cylindrical can and of a length of more than one such cans,
(c) said shelf on said rack having can stopping means on the front and rear thereof,
((1) side members on said shelf,
(e) front and rear contact portions on said shelf,
(f) and means supporting said rack for movement intermediate said front and rear contact portions and in manner such that front and rear contact portions do not touch simultaneously whereby said rack must be inclined from front to rear or vice versa in order respectively to place said front or rear contact portions in contact with the support surface, said means including,
(g) a fulcrum means mounted on the rigid support, such as a display shelf, and including opposite sides of said rack mounted for movement on said fulcrum means, and said fulcrum means being located substantially midway intermediate the length of the shelf to provide stability in both loaded and unloaded position and to assist the movement of the rack from one inclination to the other inclination when the shelf is less than full of cans.
4. In a reversible can dispensing rack:
(a) a rack having can supporting shelf thereon,
(b) front and rear can stopping means on said shelf,
(c) a support surface for said rack,
(d) a first member on said rack movably attaching said front to said support and movably to said rack, and a second member on said rack movably attaching said rear to said support and said rack,
Q (a (e) in one position said second member being extensible upwardly to incline and raise the rear of said rack and said first member being retractable to lower the front edge for dispensing, and in another position said second member being retractable rearwardly to lower said rear edge and said front member being extensible upwardly to raise said front edge, whereby said rack may be inclined in one direction to cause cans to feed by gravity toward the rear for loading, and reversed in inclination in the other direction to cause cans to feed from the rear toward the front for dispensing. 5. In a can dispensing rack for positioning on a support such as a supermarket shelf:
(a) a longitudinal can supporting shelf accommodating at least the width of a can lying on its side, and a plurality of such cans in a row,
(b) said shelf having a front and a rear,
(c) said shelf having a front and rear can stopping means to prevent cans from rolling off the shelf when the shelf is inclined,
(d) a front and rear hinge means on said rack attached to said support and to said rack effecting relative motion therebetween,
(e) said rear hinge connection means being operable to raise the rear of said rack and said front hinge connection means being operable to lower the front in one position of dispensing and said rear hinge being operable in another position to lower said rear and said front hinge being operable to raise said front, whereby said rack may be inclined in one direction to cause cans to feed by gravity toward the rear for loading and reverse in the other direction to cause cans to feed from the rear toward the front for dispensing.
6. In a can dispensing rack:
(21) a longitudinal can supporting shelf accommodating at least the width of a can lying on its curved side, and a plurality of such cans in a row,
(b) said shelf having a front and a rear,
(c) said rack having a front and a rear can stopping means therein,
(d) the front of said rack attached movably to said support and movably to said rack by a link member and a rear link member on said rack attached movably to said support and said rack,
(e) said rear link being extensible upwardly to incline and raise the rear of said rack and said front link being retractable to lower the front edge; said rear link being retractable rearwardly to lower said rear edge and said front link being extensible upwardly to raise said front edge, whereby said rack may be inclined in one direction to cause cans to feed by gravity toward the rear for loading and reverse in the other direction to cause cans to feed from the rear toward the front for dispensing.
'7. In a can dispensing rack for positioning on a support such as a shelf,
(a) a longitudinal can supporting shelf accommodating at least the width of a can lying on its curved side and a plurality of such cans in a row, said shelf having,
(b) a front and a rear,
(c) said rack having a front and a rear can stopping means thereon,
(d) the front of said rack attached movably to said support and the rear of said rack attached movably to said support and said front and rear including extensible means therein,
(e) said rear being extensible upwardly at the attachment to raise the rear of said rack and said front being retractable to lower the front edge; said rear being retractable rearwardly to lower said rear edge and said front being extensible upwardly to raise said front edge, whereby said rack may be inclined in one 9 10 direction to cause cans to feed by gravity toward the 2,218,444 10/40 Vineyard 21149 rear for loading and reverse in the other direction to 2,588,618 3/52 Di Renzo 31249 cause cans to feed from the rear toward the front for 2,958,424 11/60 Bigatti 21141 dispensing. 3,007,580 1 1/ 61 Dickson 21149 References Cited by the Examiner FOREIGN PATENTS UNITED STATES PATENTS 96,780 1/61 Netherlands.
2,119,700 6/38 Burgess 21149 CLAUDE A. LE ROY, Primary Examiner.