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Publication numberUS3382888 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateMay 14, 1968
Filing dateAug 8, 1966
Priority dateDec 7, 1963
Publication numberUS 3382888 A, US 3382888A, US-A-3382888, US3382888 A, US3382888A
InventorsMueller Frank H, Smith John J
Original AssigneeMueller Co
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Tamper-proof plug and tool for fluid line
US 3382888 A
Abstract  available in
Images(4)
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

y 1968 F. H. MUELLER ETAL 3,382,888

TAMPER'PROOF PLUG AND TOOL FOR FLUID LINE 4 Sheets-Sheet 1 Original Filed Dec. 7, 1965 May 14, 1968 F. H. MUELLER ETAL 3,382,888

TAMPER-PROOF PLUG AND TOOL FOR FLUID LINE Original Filed Dec. 7, 1963 4 Sheets-Sheet 2 y 1968 F. H. MUELLER ETAL 3,382,388

TAMPER'PROOF PLUG AND TOOL FOR FLUID LINE 4 Sheets-Sheet :5

Original Filed Dec.

y 1968 F. H. MUELLER ETAL 3,382,888

TAMPER'PROOF PLUG AND TOOL FOR FLUID LINE 4 Sheets-Sheet 4 Original Filed Dec.

United States Patent 3,382,888 TAMPER-PROOF PLUG AND TOOL FOR FLUID LINE Frank H. Mueller and John J. Smith, Decatur, 111., as-

signors to Mueller Co., Decatur, 111., a corporation of Illinois Griginal application Dec. 7, 1963, Ser. No. 331,212, now Patent No. 3,296,861, dated Ian. 10, 1967. Divided and this application Aug. 8, 1966, Ser. No. 571,110

7 Claims. (Cl. 137-327) ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A tamper-proof plug and special tool for a fluid line wherein the driving connection between said plug and tool is characterized by cooperating uneven surfaces with no sharp protrusions, angles, or edges which may be grasped or wedged by pliers or other simple tools, and wherein the plug may be turned only after the tool has been securely affixed to said plug so as to make slippage impossible. Means for securing the tool to the plug are also disclosed. The preferred means being an internal bore in the plug with threads to cooperate with external threads of a center rod within the special tool and extendable therefrom through the center of the surface which cooperates with the plug.

This application is a divisional application of our copending application Ser. No. 331,212 filed Dec. 17, 1963, now United States Patent No. 3,296,861 issued Jan. 10, 1967.

The present invention relates to a by-pass type meter installation or setting and more particularly to an improved arrangement wherein a fluid meter can be removed from a fluid service line, such as a gas line, without interrupting service.

It is an object of the present invention to provide a bypass type meter setting that is substantially tamper-proof.

Yet another object of the present invention is to provide a by-pass type meter setting that is simple in construction with resulting economics of manufacture and installation.

It is a further object of the present invention to provide an improved by-pass type meter setting in which the bypass line includes means for removing a tamper-proof plug from a by-pass port in a by-pass fitting.

It is another object of the present invention to provide an improved type of tamper-proof plug for a by-pass fitting.

Ancillary to the immediately preceding object it is a further object of the present invention to provide an improved by-pass line incorporating a tool for removing a tamper-proof plug from a by-pass fitting after the by-pass line has been connected to the fitting.

These and other objects and advantages of the present invention will be more clearly understood from the following detailed specification, claims and drawings in which:

FIGURE 1 is a perspective View of a meter setting embodying the present invention;

FIGURE 2 is an elevational view of a by-pass line illustrated in FIGURE 1;

FIGURE 3 is a sectional view partly in elevation and illustrating the end of the by-pass line adapted for connection to the by-pass fitting having the tamper-proof plug;

FIGURE 4 is a side elevational view of the tamperproof plug used in the by-pass fitting disclosed in FIG- URE 1;

FIGURE 5 is a view similar to FIGURE 4but with the plug rotated on its axis 90;

'ice

FIGURE 6 is an end view of the plug looking from the left of FIGURE 4;

FIGURE 7 is a vertical sectional view of the by-pass fitting or meter stop illustrated in FIGURE 1, the valve plug being shown in elevation;

FIGURE 8 is an end view of the by-pass fitting or stop shown in FIGURE 7, parts being shown in section; and

FIGURE 9 is a top view of the stop shown in FIGURE 7 with fragmentary portions broken away to show the tamper-proof plug in position recessed within the by-pass port.

Referring now to FIGURE 1 of the drawings, a conventional gas meter has an inlet conduit 22 and an outlet conduit 24 projecting therefrom. The inlet conduit 22 and the outlet conduit 24 are spaced from each other and substantially parallel to each other and are secured as by unions 26 to nipples 28 and 30, respectively for suspending the same from the meter bar 32. The meter bar 32 may be of the type shown in the copending application of Wilbur R. Leopold, Jr. and John J. Smith, Ser. No. 331,213, filed Dec. 17, 1963, now United States Patent No. 3,272,009, issued Sept. 13, 1966, in that it is provided with a bracket (not shown) enabling it to be supported from a vertical Wall 37. The meter bar 32 embodies an integral inlet fitting 36 in the form of an elbow and an integral outlet fitting 38 which includes a by-pass valve arrangement as disclosed in the aforementioned Leopold and Smith application or as disclosed in the copending application of Mueller, Ser. No. 229,704, filed Oct. 10, 1962, now United States Patent No. 3,187,570 issued June 8, 1965.

A gas supply line generally indicated at 40 and extending from a source of supply (not shown) is connected to the inlet fitting 36 of the meter bar 32 whereas a service line 42 extending from the Wall 37 is connected directly to the outlet fitting 38, the service line supplying gas to the house piping (not shown).

The gas supply line 40 includes a conventional riser pipe 44 into which is connected an improved by-pass fitting or meter stop 46 embodying the present invention. The meter stop 46, as best shown in FIGURES 7 through 9 inclusive, is a rotary plug valve similar to the one disclosed in the US. patent to Mueller, No. 2,653,791. The stop 46 is connected to the downstream side of the line 40 by an insulated coupling 48 of the type disclosed in greater detail in the copending application of Bowan et al., Ser. No. 860,303 filed Dec. 15, 1956, now United States Patent No. 3,115,354, issued Dec. 24, 1963. If gas is supplied to the supply line 40 under high pressure, such pressure must be lowered before it enters the residence or a commercial building. For this purpose, a conventional pressure regulator or reduction valve 50, shown in dotted lines in FIGURE 1, can be connected into the supply line between the meter stop 46 and the meter bar 32. The meter stop 46, shown in FIGURES 7 to 9 inclusive, is a modification of the lubricating meter stop disclosed in the aforementioned US. patent to Mueller 2,653,791, as well as that shown in the aforementioned copending application of Leopold and Smith. The stop 46 includes a body 52 provided with a tapered valve seat 54 having diametrically aligned inlet and outlet ports 56 and 58 communicating respectively with aligned inlet and outlet passageways 60 and 62. The inlet passageway 60 may he provided with interior threads 64 for connection to the upstream end of the riser pipe 44 while the valve body 52 may be provided with exterior threads for engagement of a coupling nut 68 to connect the outlet passageway 62 with the downstream side of the supply line 40 by the insulated coupling 48, as mentioned above.

As best shown in FIGURES 1 and 9, the body 52 of c) the stop 46 is provided with a boss 69 upstream of the valve seat 54. The boss 69 is provided with a by-pass port 70 communicating directly with a bypass passageway 72 in the boss 69, the passageway 72 communicating with the inlet passageway 61 The outer end of the passageway 72 is internally threaded as indicated at 73 and is normally closed by an exteriorly threaded tamper-proof closure plug 74 when the by-pass passageway is not being used. It will be understood that when the by-pass passageway 72 is not being used and the plug 74 is in position closing the same, it will be recessed from the by-pass port 78. A dust cap 76 is threaded onto the external threads of the boss 69, to cover the by-pass port 78, the cap 76 being sealed in position by a seal 78.

The tamper-proof plug 74 is best illustrated in FIG- URES 4, and 6. The plug 74 is provided with a wedgeshaped end 75 which is defined by a pair of planar surfaces 77 and 79. The planar surfaces 77 and 79 extend at an angle to a radial plane of the plug and have an included angle A therebetween in the order of 120 so that when the plug is recessed in the passageway 72 it is impossible for a person, other than one having a special tool, to remove the same from the passageway 72. Additionally, the plug 74 is provided with an axial bore 81 in its wedgeshaped end 75, the bore being closed at one end and interiorly threaded as indicated at 83 in FIGURES 3 and 6. The purpose of the threaded bore 81 will appear more fully later in the specification.

Rotatably mounted in the interior of the valve seat 54 is a tapered key or valve plug 85 provided with a diametric passageway 87 shown in dotted lines in FIGURE 7 and alignable with the inlet and outlet seat ports 56 and 58 in the open position of the valve 46 in order to permit flow to then pass through the inlet and outlet passageways 60 and 62 to the gas meter 20. The valve plug 85 is also provided with a false port 84 which registers with a false port 82 in the valve seat 54. The purpose of the false ports 82 and 84 is to eliminate seat and valve plug sealing surfaces that would be exposed to line fluids with the resulting possible corrosion of such surfaces in the valve or stop 46. It will be obvious that when the valve plug 85 is turned 90 from the position shown in FIGURE 7 or 9, the valve 46 will be in a closed position as the passageway 87 will be out of alignment with the passageways 60 and 62. When in this position, there can be no flow of fluid to the meter 26), but there can be flow of fluid to the passageway 72 and therefrom when the tamper-proof plug 74 is removed.

As disclosed in greater detail in the aforementioned Mueller Patent No. 2,653,791, the valve plug 85 is preferably provided adjacent its larger and smaller ends with circumferential grooves within which are disposed resilient pressure deformable packing rings 86, illustrated in the drawings as being O-rings, which provide an effective seal between the valve plug and its valve seat 54 adjacent the opposite ends of the latter. Longitudinal lubricant channels 88 extend between and connect the O-ring grooves so as to form therewith a closed lubricant system. Lubricant can be introduced into the system through a radial charging port 90 (FIGURE 8) in the body 52, the port 90 registering with one of the longitudinal grooves 88 with the valve plug 85 in either the open or closed position. The outer end of the charging port 90 is enlarged and interiorly threaded to receive a closure plug (not shown). The valve plug 85 is retained in its valve seat 84 by a nut 94 (FIGURES 7 and 8) engaged with a reduced threaded extension 96 on the smaller end of the plug and bearing against a washer 97 which in turn bears against an annular sealing surface on the body 52 and the smaller end of the valve seat 54. Preferably, the washer 97 is locked to the plug 76 by a retaining pin 98 which extends through one side of the washer, through the extension 96 on the small end of the plug, and into a blind socket in the other side of the washer, in order to render the valve 46 substantially tamper-proof, all as disclosed in greater detail in the aforementioned Mueller patent.

The larger end of the plug is provided with a substantially flat wrench-engageable extension 189 for rotating the plug between the open and closed positions, such extension being aligned with the diametric passageway 87 in the plug so as to provide an exterior indication of the position of such passageway 87. The larger end of the plug 85 is also provided with a radial lock-wing 104 having an aperture 106 therein alignable with a corresponding aperture 198 in a fixed lock-wing 111) on the body 52 in the closed position of the valve so as to permit the insertion of a locking device such as a padlock (not shown) through both such apertures in order to lock the valve 46 in its closed position. The Valve body 52 can also be provided with projections (not shown) which serve as stops to limit rotary movement in the open and closed positions.

The outlet fitting 38 which is integral with the meter bar 32 is provided with an interiorly threaded inlet 122 for connection therein of the nipple 31) leading to the outlet 24 of the meter 25 The outlet fitting 38 is also provided with a lateral outlet 13% which is adapted to be connected to the service line 42 leading to the house piping. Additionally, the outlet fitting 38 is provided with a by-pass port 134 normally closed by a detachable closure (not shown). Within the outlet fitting 38 there is provided a spool valve of the type disclosed in the copending application of Leopold and Smith, as well as in the Mueller application, Ser. No. 229,704, filed Oct. 10, 1962, now United States Patent No. 3,187,570, issued June 8, 1965, which is operable between an open position wherein fluid can flow from the meter to the service line 42 to a closed position where fluid can flow through the by-pass port 134 to the service line 42 with flow from the meter being blocked. When the spool valve is intermediate the open and closed positions, there can be flow both from the meter 24 and the by-pass port 134 to the service line 42. A detailed description of the operation of the spool valve within the outlet fitting 38 will not be given herein as such a valve is disclosed fully in the copending applications of Leopold and Smith and Mueller, respectively.

As best shown in FIGURES 1, 2 and 3, the by-pass meter setting of the present invention is provided with a flexible by-pass line generally designated at 150, the by-pass line being adapted to be connected to the boss 69 and to the by-pass port 134. In more detail, the bypass line contains at its upstream end a plug removing tool generally indicated at 152 and at its downstream end with a fitting 154 for connection to the by-pass port 134 in the outlet fitting 38. A pressure regulation 151 may be provided in the by-pass line 158 if the gas supply line 48 is under high pressure and the regulator 50 is required. The fitting 154 is provided with a bleed valve 157 and with a pressure gauge 158. The pressure gauge 158 will register the pressure within the line whenever the line is connected to the by-pass ports 70 and 134 so that the operator may have a ready indication of the pressure in the by-pass setting at all times during the operation of repair or replacement of the meter 20.

The tool 152 in the upstream end of the by-pass line 150 comprises a collar 159 having an enlarged bore 161 therein interiorly threaded as indicated at 163. The collar 159 is adapted to be threaded onto the exterior threads of the boss 70. Collar 159 is provided with a swivel fitting 165 retained thereon on a lock ring 167. O-rings 169 provide a seal between the swivel fitting 165 and collar 159. An annular groove 171 on the interior wall of the swivel fitting 165 communicates with lateral passageways 173 in the collar, the passageways 173 communicating with the enlarged bore 161. The swivel fitting 165 is provided with an offset portion 175 having a passageway 177 therein, communicating with the groove 171, the passageway 177 being interiorly threaded at 179 for reception of a threaded coupling on a flexible hose 181 of the by-pass line 150.

Collar 159 is provided with a bore 183 of reduced diameter as compared to the enlarged bore 161, the bore 183 being axialy aligned with and communicating with the enlarged bore 161. Bore 183 slidably receives a tubular shaft 185. A suitable O-ring 187 is provided in an annular groove in the wall of bore 183 for maintaining a seal with the exterior surface of the shaft 185. The tubular shaft 185 extends through the counterbore into and through the enlarged bore 11 and has on its outer end a fitting 189 which is wedge-shaped and complementary to the wedge-shaped end 75 of the tamper-proof plug 74. A handle 191 is keyed to the other end of the shaft 185 so that the shaft 185 can be rotated within the collar 159. A second shaft 193 is carried within the tubular shaft 185, the shaft 193 extending from both ends of the same. The end of the shaft 193 extending from the end of the shaft 185 having the wedge-shaped fitting 189 therein is exteriorly threaded as indicated at 195 whereas the other end of the shaft 193 is provided with a knurled knob or handle 197 so that the shaft 193 can be rotated relative to the shaft 185. It will now be obvious that the tubular shaft 185 and the shaft 193 will he slid axially in the collar as a unit, but cannot be moved axially relative to one another.

When it is desirous to use the installation for by-passing purposes, with the meter stop 46 in its open position, the by-pass line is connected, respectively, to the boss 69 and to the by-pass port 134. Of course, the cap 76 on the boss 69 is first removed. When line 150 is connected, the stop 46 is in its open position, i.e., that is the position wherein gas flows from the riser pipe 44 through the supply line 40 to the meter 20, whereas the valve in the outlet fitting 38 is in the position where flow is from the meter through the nipple to the service pipe 42 with the'by-pass port 134 blocked. After the bypass line 150 has been connected as described above, then it is necessary to remove the tamper-proof plug 74 from the bypass passageway 72 so that there can be flow of gas into the bore 161 and through the by-pass line 150.

The removal of the plug 74 is accomplished by first threading the end .195 of the shaft 193 into the threaded axial bore of the plug 74 until the wedge-shaped end 189 is in tight mating engagement with the wedge-shaped end 75 of the plug 74. When this has occurred, there can be no axial movement between the plug 74 and the end 189 of shaft 186, and, thus, the handle 191 is rotated in a direction such that the plug can be withdrawn from the by-pass passageway 72 through the by-pass port 70 into the enlarged bore 161 in the collar 159. Gas can then flow through the by-pass port 70 into the line 150 up to the outlet fitting 38. The bleed valve 157 is opened just prior to removal of the plug 74 so that as gas flows to the fitting 38, and air in the line 150 is expelled to atmosphere after air is expelled from the line 150, the bleed valve 157 is closed and the operator can then observe the gauge 158 to make sure that pressure in the line has reached a predetermined desired pressure. The valve in the outlet fitting 38 is then moved from its first position to the intermediate position Where there can be flow of gas both through the meter 20 to the service line 42 and through the by-pass line 150 to the service line 42. After the valve in the outlet 38 has been moved to the intermediate position and it is determined that gas under pressure is flowing through the line 150 to the service pipe 4 2, the valve in the outlet setting 38 is then moved to the position where it blocks flow from the meter 20 and permits only How from the by-pass line 156 to the service pipe 42.

Then the stop 46 is moved to its fully closed position to block flow of gas from the riser 44 to the meter 20 and then the meter is removed from the meter bar 32 and repaired or replaced. During the entire operation mentioned above, the operator has constant indication of the pressure in the line 150 and thus if he notes the pressure dropping below a predetermined amount, he will know that it is necessary to relight pilot lights in the dwelling. However, this is usually not necessary as the changeover accomplished as described above avoids any pressure surges or pressure drops to the service pipe 42.

After the meter 20 has been repaired and it, or a new meter, has been reconnected to the meter bar 32, service through the meter is re-established by following substantially the reverse procedure. However, in re-establishing service, it is necessary to purge air from the supply line 40 upstream from the stop 46 and from the meter 20- and this is accomplished by opening a bleed (200) on the outlet fitting 38 in the manner described fully in the Mueller copending application, Ser. No. 229,704, nOW United States Patent No. 3,185,570, issued June 8, 1965, or in the copending Leopold and Smith application, Ser. No. 331,213, now US. Patent No. 3,272,009.

It will thus be seen that the objects of this invention have been fully and effectively accomplished by the bypass type meter setting described above and illustrated in the drawings. However, it will be realized that the foregoing specific embodiments have been shown and described only for the purposes of illustrating the principles of this invention and are subject to extensive changes without departure from such principles. Therefore, the terminology used throughout the specification is for the purposes of description and not limitation, the scope of the invention being defined in the claims.

What is claimed is:

1. In combination, an outlet fitting for a fluid line comprising:

a boss having a bore therein,

said bore being interiorly threaded,

a tamper-proof closure plug having exterior threads thereon for reception in the interiorly threaded bore within said boss,

said closure plug further having an outwardly facing wedge-shaped driving end defined by intersecting planar surfaces,

said closure plug further having an axial bore opening at least to the wedge-shaped end,

said body having retaining means within said axial bore, and

a special tool for inserting and removing said plug,

said special tool comprising at least an inner and an outer member rotatable relative to each other,

said inner member having means thereon for insertion into said axial bore in said plug,

said insertion means being capable of cooperative engagement with and retention by said retaining means in said axial bore,

said outer member having a wedge-shaped driving head complementary to the wedge-shaped driving end of said plug whereby when said inner member of said special tool is inserted into said axial bore of said plug and secured in a retentive position, said wedgeshaped driving head of said outer member mates with the wedge-shaped driving end of said plug to prevent axial movement between said wedge-shaped driving head of said outer member and said wedgeshaped driving end of said plug, thereby preventing rotary slippage of said special tool relative to said plug and providing rotary driving contact so that said plug may be inserted or removed from the fluid line by rotating said outer member.

'2. The combination as claimed in claim .1 in which said planar surfaces of said plug have an inciuded angle therebetween in the order of 3. The combination as claimed in claim 1 wherein said retaining means in said axial bore includes interior threads and wherein said insertion means on said inner member includes exterior threads for cooperating with said interior threads of said axial bore of said body.

4. In combination, a tamper-proof plug for closing an interiorly threaded fluid line,

said plug comprising a body having exterior threads for reception in the interiorly threaded opening of the fluid line,

said body having an outer Wedge-shaped driving end and an axial bore opening at least to the Wedgeshaped end,

said body having retaining means within said axial bore,

a special tool for inserting and removing said plug,

and

said special tool comprising at least an inner and .an

outer member rotatable relative to each other,

said inner member having means thereon for insertion into said axial bore in said plug,

said insertion means being capable of cooperative engagement with and retention by said retaining means in said axial bore,

said outer member having a wedge-shaped driving head complementary to the wedge-shaped driving end of said plug whereby when said inner member of said special tool is inserted into said axial bore of said plug and secured in a retentive position, said Wedgeshaped-driving head of said outer member mates with the wedge-shaped driving end of said plug to prevent axial movement between said wedge-shaped driving head of said outer member and said wedgeshaped driving end of said plug, thereby preventing rotary slippage of said special tool relative to said plug and providing rotary driving contact so that said plug may be inserted or removed from the fluid line by rotating said outer member.

5. The combination as claimed in claim 4 wherein the said means includes interior threads in said bore.

'6. The combination as claimed in claim 4 wherein said Wedge-shaped driving end of said body is defined by intersecting planar surfaces.

*7. The combination as claimed in claim 6 in which the included angle between the intersecting planar surfaces is in the order of 120.

References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,361,059 12/1920 Hoff 8545 X 2,770,998 11/1956 Schwartz 85-45 2,964,290 '12/1960 Mueller 25129'1 FOREIGN PATENTS 943,521 12/ 1963 Great Britain.

WILLIAM F. ODEA, Primary Examiner.

D. R. MATTHEWS, Assistant Examiner.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US1361059 *Mar 4, 1920Dec 7, 1920Pure Carbonic CompanyGas-valve
US2770998 *Dec 15, 1954Nov 20, 1956Robert F SchwartzTamper-proof screw having frusto-conical head with flat tool engaging facets thereon
US2964290 *Jul 22, 1957Dec 13, 1960Mueller CoService cross
GB943521A * Title not available
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4911193 *Jul 19, 1988Mar 27, 1990British Gas PlcTemporary or permanent blocking of the bore of a pipe
US4969482 *Dec 1, 1988Nov 13, 1990Flodyne Controls, Inc.Emergency fuel shut-off valve
US5557041 *Mar 3, 1995Sep 17, 1996Sanford, Jr.; James W.Modified water meter arrangements
US5918624 *Mar 12, 1998Jul 6, 1999Young; William C.Gas meter quick change meter bar
US5934304 *Apr 13, 1998Aug 10, 1999Peterson; Michael H.Apparatus and method for gas meter bypass
US6283153 *Jun 30, 1999Sep 4, 2001The Better Way Company, LlcFlow valve
US6648009 *Jun 10, 2002Nov 18, 2003Jomar InternationalTamper-proof ball valve
US7152621Sep 19, 2003Dec 26, 2006R.W. Lyall & Company, Inc.Integrated gas meters bar device and locking shut-off valve
US7325782 *Jan 18, 2006Feb 5, 2008Innovative Technology Concepts, Inc.Remotely activated manifold shut-off
US7360554Dec 7, 2006Apr 22, 2008R.W. Lyall & Company, Inc.Integrated gas meter bar device and locking shut-off valve
US7604216Oct 20, 2009Innovative Technology Concepts, Inc.Remotely activated manifold shut-off
US20040035477 *Aug 25, 2003Feb 26, 2004Mico, Inc.Auto-relieving pressure modulating valve
US20060118746 *Jan 18, 2006Jun 8, 2006Innovative Technology Concepts, Inc.Remotely activated manifold shut-off
US20070079876 *Dec 7, 2006Apr 12, 2007R.W. Lyall & Company, Inc.Integrated gas meter bar device and locking shut-off valve
US20080142749 *Dec 7, 2007Jun 19, 2008Gebler Kirk ARemotely activated manifold shut-off
US20100000612 *Sep 15, 2009Jan 7, 2010Innovative Technology Concepts, Inc.Remotely activated manifold shut-off and method of using the same
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Classifications
U.S. Classification137/327, 137/15.3, 137/599.13, 73/201, 251/291, 137/315.41, 138/94, 29/402.3
International ClassificationG01F15/18, G01F15/00
Cooperative ClassificationG01F15/185
European ClassificationG01F15/18B