|Publication number||US3736612 A|
|Publication date||Jun 5, 1973|
|Filing date||Mar 11, 1971|
|Priority date||Mar 11, 1971|
|Also published as||DE2211718A1|
|Publication number||US 3736612 A, US 3736612A, US-A-3736612, US3736612 A, US3736612A|
|Inventors||Ader G, Check D, Pauls E|
|Original Assignee||Bass Sports Inc|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (5), Referenced by (15), Classifications (5)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
- United States Patent 1191 [111 3,736,612 Check et al. 14 1 June 5, 1973 1541 METHOD OF FITTING SKI BOOTS 3,374,561 3/1968 Werneretal. ...,..36 2.s AL 1 Dona Check, Bloomingwn; 52331; 31331 35325511111111: ..36/2.5AL
Gary B. Ader, Eden Prairie; Edward A. Pauls, Excelsior, all of Minn.
. Assignee: Bass Sports, Inc., Edina, Minn.
Filed: Mar. 11, 1971 Appl. No.: 123,360
U.S. Cl. ..l2/]42 P, 36/25 AL Int. Cl. ..A43d 9/00, A43b 00/00 Field ofSearch ,.36/2.5 AL, 2.5 R, 36/7l;l2/l42R,l42P
, References Cited UNlTED STATES PATENTS 10/1968 Werner et al ..36/7l 7/1970 Dalebout ..36/2.5 AL
ve) i /5 Primary Examiner-Patrick D. Lawson AttorneyDugger, Peterson, Johnson & Westman 57] ABSTRACT boot fitting, and which has means for advancing the bulk material into the mixing zone as necessary.
15 Claims, 6 Diawing Figures PAIENIEDJUH 5:915
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PATENTEU JUN 5 I975 SHEET 2 BF 3 INVENTORS 4 rrakms s PATENTEDJUH 5 I975 SHEET 3 [1F 3 kWh/4R0 I). P0048 A 770RA/EY3 METHOD OF FITTING SKI BOOTS BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1. Field of the Invention The present invention has relation to a fitting process for boots and the like which must fit closely to irregular objects such as human feet.
2. Prior Art In the prior art of ski boots, properly fitting the boots to the feet has been a problem. A very suitable material which will conform to the human foot has been advanced, and the material per se, as well as its use as a pad for human feet, is shown in U.S. Pat. No. 3,407,406; The previous method of fitting the boots to the foot was to utilize lining filled with a quantity of conformable material, and then finish the fitting process by adding small pillows filled with conformable material in back of the lining.
Other designers have attempted to obtain close fitting ski boots by using an on the foot" foaming process. Typical applications of this foaming process are shown in U.S. Pat. Nos. 3,377,721 to Johnson, and 3,325,919 issued to Robinson.
While initially the boots where the material is foamed in place on the foot have a good fit, the foam in many instances will tend to take a set, or even in certain instances tend to crumble slightly. In addition, the person's foot will change in size and shape with the passage of time so that the wearer may find that the foot starts to loosen up in the boot. Additional pairs of socks will have to be put on, and then the boot will likely be too tight. Further, once a boot has been custom fit to a foot, by the foaming process, so that the foam is molded in place, the fit cannot be changed short of shaving away-or cutting out portions of the foam already in place or adding socks. This of course tends to be unsatisfactory.
The padding material and pads shown in U.S. Pat. No. 3,407,406 thus are better suited for holding a foot firmly in a boot because the shape of the material can be changed, and pad material can be added or removed. However, the time spent in order to accomplish a close fit using small filler pillows has been quite high in certain instances. The material will retain its shape, once formed, until it is disturbed by external forces.
One of the problems facing the conformable material shown in U.S. Pat. No. 3,407,406 is that it does not flow like a liquid when it is subjected to pressure unless it is more or less extruded out. Further, the material itself tends to remain in its position in which it is formed so that it cannot be fed by gravity into a pad.
The present device relates to a method of utilizing the conformable material shown in U.S. Pat. No. 3,407,406 in a quick, custom fitting of footwear to the foot.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION shape when the foot is removed, but which, when fluidized as shown, will be injectable into empty pads in a boot in which a foot is positioned.
Further, the process includes the idea of separating the pads in the boot into compartments, and providing means for fluidizing the discrete material at different pressures so that a different amount of packing force can be achieved in each of the separate sections of the boot for different degrees of firmness for fitting onthe foot.
The pads in the boot may be lined with a compressible foam on the walls against the foot to exert compression force against the foot when the foot is in place. The amount of force against the foot can be selected by selecting the pressure with which the pads are filled.
The device for making the air particle suspension includes a housing that has a frontal area adjacent a discharge opening in which air-is introduced to turbulently mix the discrete particles covered with the liquid coating. Material is fed into this turbulent mixing area and is discharged when fluidized, into the pads being filled.
The device utilizes air under relatively low pressure,
and low air volume is all that is necessary for fitting the boot. The device permits inflating the pads against the foot of a wearer before they are filled,'to get a good fit.
The fitting process is rapid, and gets an extremely close fit utilizing the conformable material that will move slightly if changes in the foot configuration occur, or which can be removed very quickly if the person fitting the boot decides that they do not want to have the boots, or if they decide they want a completely different fit. v
Further, the conformable material can be manually removed from the pad in small quantities, or added into the pad if final adjustments are necessary after the boots have been used for a short time.
Once injected, the material particles again cluster or adhere together to retain theirshape until disturbed by external force.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 of the side elevational view of a ski boot in place on a foot wherein pads for the boot are being fitted according to the process of the present invention;
FIG. 2 is aside elevational view of thefboot of, FIG. 1 as viewed from the opposite sidethereof;
FIG. 3 is a perspective view showing the interior 0 the boot ofFIG. 1; i i l FIG. 4 isa sectional view taken as on line4-4 in FIG. 2 showing a pad filled and closed; r y i FIG. 5 is a sectional view taken substantially the same as FIG. 4 showing the filling process being carried out; and
FIG. 6 is a fragmentary perspective view showing schematically the processof removing material from a boot pad using an aspirator action with a filter compartment container for the removed material.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT Referring to FIG. 1, a ski boot illustrated generally at 10 is of the type having a lower portion 11 that holds the foot, and a cuff portion 12 for supporting the lower leg and which is pivotally mounted aboutan axis 13 with suitable brackets 14 with respect to the lower portion. Foot access into the boot is achieved through the use ofa door 15 that is hingedly attached as at 16 to the rear portions of the boot. The lower leg encircling cuff portion 12 thus comprises two sections, 12A and 12B, one section being on the door, and onebeing on the main part of the boot, and the lower foot receiving portion 11 also comprises two sections namely the main portion 11A of themain part of the boot and a door portion 11B.
Suitable fastening means. comprising encircling cables 17 and 18, held together with overcenter clamps 19 and 20, the cables encircle the cuff and the lower portion of the boot to hold the door closed, and a cover memb'er2l is carried by the cables to enclose theopen area between the cuff portion and the lower portion of the boot. In addition, a suitable clamping strap assembly over the instep area illustrated generally at 23 can be provided to hold the door tightly closed over the instep. The cuff portion 12 is made to fit around the lower leg 25 of a wearer and when the door portion 11B is held closed, the foot is held inside the lower part of the boot. The ski boot has a sole portion 26 with means 27 for attaching it to a ski binding to hold it on formed to the foot configuration, and to give it adequate support for withstanding the pressures or forces that are encountered during the skiing. Qther ski boots conventionally constructed of plastic or leather also benefit from a firm, comfortable fit and the method described herein can be used with all types of boots.
' As shown, the interior of the cuff 12 is lined with suitable padding illustrated generally at 28 that can be of the type shown in U.S. Pat. No. 3,407,406, and the cuff can be padded in the same manner as that shown in U.S. Pat. No. 3,374,561. The fit around the cuff portion is not as difficult to obtain as the fit on the lower part of the boot.
The lower door portion 11B, has a pad assembly illustrated generally at 30 mounted thereon. The pads are made with a backing member and a cover member fastened .or stitched together to form a container or packet, as will be explained in detail. The pad assembly 30 includes a frontal pad 31 that extends along the side of the foot and up partially over the instep of the boot, and the pad forms a pocket separated by stitching 32 from a door heel pad 33. As shown, the door heel pad 33 forms a pocket or cavity and is stitched at 34 to leave an isolated area along the ankle bone of a wearer which is not filled.
On the lower main part 11A of the boot, there is a pad assembly which includes a frontal pad 35 along the outside surface of the boot and extends upwardly along the instep. This main boot frontal pad forms a pocket which is separated by stitching 36 from a main boot heel pad 37 that also forms a pocket or cavity and stitching 38 isolates the ankle bone area from the heel pad pocket. The heel pad extends along the side of the foot in the heel area and extends upwardly at the rear part of the foot above the heel of the foot.
The pad assemblys in this particular instance are constructed identically, except for peripheral shape, and referring specifically to FIG. 4 as a typical cross section each of the pads includes a backing member 40, and an inner liner wall member 41 that is stitched or otherwise fastened around the pad periphery as at 42 to the backing member. The inner liner wall 41 is' the wall that goes against the foot in each of the pads, and is of soft leather or other suitable material that is not harsh on the foot. In FIG. 4 pad pocket 37 is illustrated, which is the pad near the heel on the main part of the boot. The inner wall 41 which is next to the foot in the frontal pads may be lined on its inner side with a layer of foam 43 (see FIG. 3) that is of suitable density to provide a relatively compressible layer next adjacent the foot.
' The heel pads generally will omit the foam layer and the cover wall 41 will compress against the foot.
As typically shown in FIG. 4, each of the pads is positioned against the wall 44 of the boot, which is made up of fiberglass reinforced plastic or the like, and a ferrule 45 is passed through an opening in the backing member 40 for each of the respective pad pockets 31, 33, 35, and 37. The ferrule is fitted through a provided opening in the boot wall 44 associated with that pad. Ferrule 45 has a head on the interior of the pad and is flared outwardly at its outer end to hold the backing member 40 snuggly against the interior of the wall 44 of the boot. The ferrules 45 each have a threaded interior opening. A screw 46 is threaded in the opening and fits downwardly over the cover member 21 and seals the opening through the ferrule 45. Thus there is an opening to the interior pocket chamber of each of the pads 31, 33, 35 and 37 formed between the interior surface of the backing member 40 and the interior surface of the cover wall 41 in each of the pads, and in the frontal pads, of course, the foam layer 43 is on the interior of the wall 41.
I As shown, in FIG. 2, there are filler screws 46 adjacent the top portions over the instep on each side of the foot, (see FIG. 3 as well for the screw on the door portion), and there is a filler screw 46 on each side of the boot at the rear portions. There is one filling opening to each of the pad sections, 31, 33, 35 and 37.
In order to have the material that will conform to the foot, and support the foot under skiing loads, as well as a material which can be moved slightly to accomodate changes in the foot, the material described in U.S. Pat. No. 3,407,406 has been found to be suitable. Generally this material comprises discrete particles each of which is covered with a thin coating of a liquid lubricating material, preferably in the form of an oil or grease that has an insert base. The mixture is relatively dry when mixed in the proper portions and the particles will tend to cluster or clump together because of the coating. The desired portions are those disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 3,407,406, and the desired particulate material is the small microspheres which are small (usually less than 0.005 inch diameter), and are coated with a silicone base oil or grease in the ratio of 20 to I by weight (20 parts of the spheres to one part of the grease). This material is, when mixed as shown, a substantially incompressible, but light in weight, because the spheres are hollow. The material will retain its shape as formed from external pressures, andwill not shift or flow, but can be kneaded or worked into desired shapes. It is very difficult to move the material under pressure, such as when trying to extrude it. The previous fitting process has utilized small pillows of the material which were placed in behind the pads in the boot, and as the foot worked inside the boot, the material would gradually conform to the foot and hold it securely. This did take time, however.
Handling this material has proved to be a real problem, until the'device shown in FIG. 1 was advanced. The material mixture made up of these coated spheres, which are preferably the small particles, (but can be larger particles as well) is illustrated generally at 50 inside the cylindrical (circular cross section) barrel 51 of a ratcheting type gun, similar to a caulking gun. The material particles can be selected to be larger and the method will also work. The barrel 51 as shown has an interior plunger 52 mounted onto a ratcheting shaft 53 operated with a ratcheting'trigger 54 at one end of the gun. The barrel 51 can be filled with the material 50 in any desired manner, but for convenience, cartridges of the material 50 can be prepacked, or prefilled and then the material drawn out of the cartridge by removing the end 59 of the gun and pulling the shaft 53 rearwardly so that the plunger 52 will suck the material from the cartridge directly into the barrel. Because the material itself does not tend to flow, other forms of filling are possible, but are more time consuming than using cartridges of the material.
The barrel 51 has an air inlet opening in one side wall thereofand a petcock valve 55, which can be turned on or off, and is threadably mounted in the opening and opens into the interior of the barrel adjacent the outlet end thereof. A suitable line 56 is attached to the inlet side of the petcock 55, and leads from a pressure regulator 57, that in turn is attached to a compressor or air pressure source 58.
The outlet end of the barrel 5] has the removable cap 59 mounted thereon, which can be twist locked on or off as desired, and this cap 59 has an outlet opening of small diameter, with a valve 62 mounted in the opening to control flow out through the opening in the cap 59. The valve 62 has a lever 63 for operating it, and the outlet side of the valve is connected to a small diameter tube 64. Tube 64 is made to fit inside an adapter 65 that is threaded into a selected one of the ferrules 45 when a pad is to be filled, and after the screw 46 is removed from that particular ferrule. In FIG. 1, for example, the adapter 65 is threaded into the opening leading to the door heel pad section 33 adjacent the heel of the foot in the boot and on the door of the boot.
The fitting process is initiated by placing the boot on V the foot to be fitted. The lower end of tongue 70 is usually lifted up over the top of the lower part of the boot and the door closed. The strap 23 is latched, but usually the other clamps are left loose with cover 21 open so aircan escape from inside the boot.
Prior to any mixing of material and passage ofthe fluidized material, air can be discharged through the valves and the end of barrel 51, through tube 64 to inflate the pad that is being filled, for example the pad 37. The pad inner liner actually billows out under air pressure and the interior liner member 51 will contact the foot under air pressure. The air will discharge out through the stitching 42 around the periphery of the pad, and also some of the air will pass out through the member 41, which is usually leather and porous, so that the air actually blows the pad against the foot. Some means for permitting air to escape from the pads must be provided and preferably the air will discharge around the periphery.
The particulate material is moved forwardly toward the end cap 59 by ratcheting the trigger and plunger into a turbulent mixing zone that forms automatically inside the barrel 51. This turbulent mixing zone is indicated at 67 and is filled with swirling air and suspended small particles which make up the material 50. The mixing zone self forms as the air tends to rotate around the cylindrical barrel 51 when the air comes in through the regulator 57 and line 56. With the valves 62 and 55 open, this mixing takes place as long as the material 50 is moved by the plunger 52 to the area adjacent the mixing zone 67 until the material is broken up into the individual particles and is fluidized or in other words the particles are suspended in the fluid with a sufficiently low particle to air ratio to permit passage of the fluidized material through the outlet opening in the cap 59, through the valve 62 and into the tube 64. The air under pressure then moves this air suspended material through the adapter 65, through the ferrule and into the interior of the connected pad. As the fluidized material is blown into the pad it will migrate toward the seams or stitching or wherever air is being discharged. The material will blow into the farthest corner of the pad first, filling up these areas and compressing the foam layer 43 ofthe particular pad being filled under a force directly proportional to the air pressure delivered from the regulator 57. The trigger 54 on the ratchet plunger is operated as desired to move the material into the mixing zone 67. The mixing of air and particles will take place, and the additional fluidized material will be discharged out through the tube 64 into the pad. The pad will be filled at the desired pressure. As the pad fills, material fills in the irregularitiesagainst the foot and when the pad fills the material starts to build up around the interior end of the adapter 65. When the build up occurs no additional material can be blown in, and then the tube 64 starts to fill up. This is an indication that the pad is full. The tube 64 is of a clear plastic material, and is a small tube preferably about one-fourth of an inch in diameter. However the tube size will be selected depending on the size of the particles being blown, but the one-fourth inch diameter tube works well with the microballoon particles. The valves can be turned off, the tube 64 and the adapter removed and the plug 46 replaced. t
The frontal pads 31 and 35 are filled first. These pads do not have to be filled with such a high holding pressure, and generally the regulator 57 will be set at a rela' tively low air pressure, for example 25 lbs per square inch this will compress the foam layer 43 in the frontal pads.
Once the pad 35, for example, has been filled, the material will back up into the tube 64 indicating that the pad is filled, the adapter will be removed and the screw 46 for that pad inserted. Then the next screw 46 on the frontal pad 31 on the door side of the boot will be removed, the adapter 65 inserted and this pad filled under the same air pressure. The stitching 36, and 32 in the respective pad assemblys prevents material from being blown into heel pad areas 33 and 37.
The heel areas will then be filled and in this instance the pressure regulator 57 is increased in pressure output to approximately 40 lbs per square inch, and the pads are filled as before, by first inflating them with air, and then moving the material 50 into the turbulent mixing zone 67 to fluidize it and send] it out through the valve 62 and tube 64 into the pad. The increased air pressure will cause the material to compressthe wall 41 against the flesh in the heel areas under a greater pressure, and thus a greater pressure will be exerted against the heel area for more secure heel hold down. One of the problems in fitting ski boots of course is to get a sufficient amount of padding just above the heel proper at the rear part of the leg to the rear of the ankle bone where there are depressions or sockets in the foot. The present process inflates the pad so that the interior of the pad will conform into this area, and the filling with the fluidized particles forces the wall 41 to compress against these areas at a higher pressure to insure adequate heel hold down. The wall 41 is somewhat resilient and also the flesh compresses slightly.
Then when both sides of the heel area have been filled, the boot is fitted properly and can be used. If desired, some material can be removed from the pads by merely pressing on the interior surface of the pad and forcing material in small quantities out through the opening ferrule. Likewise, small amounts of material can be forced into the pad after the foot is removed by taking out the screw 46 and pushing columns of the material through the openings of the ferrule.
The particles can be removed from the pads by aspirating action. As shown in FIG. 6, the adapter 65 can be inserted into the opening of the pad to be emptied and air under pressure is flowing through main line 73. This line goes past an aspirator member 74 to form a suction or vacuum on line 75 under well known physical principles. The air is discharged through a tube 76 I into a porous bag 77 which can be of the suitable construction such as a vacuum cleaner bag, so that air can pass out through the walls of the bag, and padding material will remain in the bag and not pass through these walls. The aspirator action through tube 75 will pull the particles right out of the pad in a reverse action, and this can be aided by jiggling the pads to loosen the particles and get them into the air flow. in this manner boots that were fitted to one foot can be refitted to a different foot if desired, or if the person's foot changes drastically a substantial amount of material can be removed in this manner and new material 50 inserted as previously described.
The method has been particularly described in connection with footwear, where fitting problems are greatest. However, the method also may be used generally for filling pads that are between a rigid or semirigid member and an irregular shaped portion of the body where close fit is desired. Further, the provision of means for fluidizing the discrete particles covered with the lubricating material can be used for transferring the material from one place to another, or for filling pads.
The coating on the particles will tend to make them cluster together inside the pad before the particles pass out through the seams with the discharging air. If a small amount of particles do pass through the seams, the material can be brushed off easily. The air discharge openings can be selected to be small enough in size to prevent any substantial loss of particles during filling.
The microsphere particles, coated with the liquid coating will quite easily slide along the barrel 51 as the material is fed by plunger 52 and the ratchet drive. The material is very difficult to extrude into a smaller cross section, or smaller opening, however.
in the claims, the term microspheres is to be interpreted as in U.S. Pat. No. 3,407,406. The discrete particles may be of size to provide the necessary padding effect without too harsh a feel. Usually this is under one-fourth inch in major dimension.
Microspheres range from 0.0002 inch in diameter to 0.025 inch. The preferred microballoons, which are the hollow phenolic resin spheres range from 0.0002 inch, to 0.005 inch in diameter.
The fluidizing process components are selected to obtain the proper volume and velocity of air in relation to the particle size. Also, the diameter of tube 64 and v the opening in the ferrules 45 are selected to suit the particle size used. The foam layers in the pads can be foam commonly used for padding and selected to give the firmness of hold desired.
What is claimed is: I
1. A method of fitting a ski boot to a foot utilizing a filling of relatively dry discrete particles comprising the steps of providing a boot and placing a foot form inside said boot, providing a pad member having a cavity adjacent at least portions of said foot form, providing an inlet opening to said pad cavity, mixing and suspending said discrete particles in a stream of air and injecting said air and particle suspension in a flowing stream into said pad until said pad is filled.
2. The process of claim 1 further characterized in that said pad cavity is inflated with air prior to fluid introducing the air and particle mixture into said pad.
3. The process of claim 1 further characterized in that said pad cavity is defined by a wall having a resilient layer adjacent said foot form, and said process comprises adjusting the pressure of the air'in the air suspension material to attain the desired compaction pressure of material in said pad against said resilient layer.
4. The process of claim 1 comprising the step of separating said pad in said boot into separate cavities and individually filling each cavity sequentially.
5. The process of claim 1 comprising the step of separating said pad member into separated cavity means adjacent the front portions of said foot form and adjacent the heel portions of said foot form, and injecting the air and material mixture into the cavity means adjacent said heel at a higher pressure then in the cavity means adjacent the front portions of said foot form.
6. The process of claim 5 including the further step of providing an air and particle mixing chamber having an outlet, and feeding selected amounts of discrete particle material into said mixing chamber at a rate to permit the air and particle suspension to escape through said outlet.
7. A method of fitting a boot such as a ski boot to the foot of a wearer, said boot including a shell providing a pad member having a cavity, placing a foot form inside said boot with said pad member between the shell and said foot form, inflating said pad member cavity to cause the pad to assume the shape of portions of the foot form, and filling said cavity with padding material carried in an air suspension.
8. A method of fitting an athletic boot to the foot of a wearer utilizing a normally substantially nonflowable material comprising a particulate material composed of discrete particles ranging generally up to 0.025 inches in major dimension comprising the steps of providing a boot having a wall, providing pad means having a cavity between the boot wall and the foot form, suspending said particulate material in a gaseous fluid stream, injecting particulate material in the fluid stream into the pad cavity and permitting the fluid to escape from the which retains the discrete particle characteristic in use comprising the steps of providing a boot and placing a foot form to be fitted inside said boot, providing a pad member having a cavity adjacent at least portions of said form, providing an inlet opening to said pad cavity, mixing and suspending said discrete particles in a stream of gaseousfluid to cause the discrete particles to be suspended to flow with the fluid, and injecting said fluid and suspended particles into said pad, and
' permitting air to escape from the cavity until said pad is filled with discrete particles a desired amount.
10. The process of claim 8 further characterized in that said pad cavity is defined by a wall having a resilient layer adjacent said foot, and said process comprises adjusting the pressure of the fluid carrying the suspended particles to attain the desired compaction pressure of particles in said pad against said resilient layer.
7 jacent said heel at a higher pressure than in the cavity means adjacent the front portions of said foot.
12,. A method of fitting a boot, such as a ski boot, on a foot of a wearer using a pad filled with discrete particles comprising the steps of providing a boot shell, providing pad means defining a pad chamber on the interior of the shell, placing a foot in the boot, providing a quantity of discrete particles which form the pad filling in suspension in an air stream, injecting the air stream and suspended discrete particles into the pad chamber and permitting the air to escape from the pad chamber at a rate such that the pad is initially inflated and the chamber subsequently fills with discrete particles in a pad shape generally conforming to the configuration of the space the pad occupies.
13. A method of fitting a boot such as a ski boot to the foot of a wearer, said boot including a shell providing a flexible wall member forming an interior cavity, placing a foot form inside said boot with said flexible wall member between the shell and said foot form, inflating said interior cavity under fluid pressure to cause portions of the flexible wall to be forced toward the foot form under pressure to exert a pressure on portions of the foot form, and subsequently filling said interior cavity with padding material while permitting the inflating fluid to escape from the interior cavity.
14. The method of claim 13 wherein the flexible wall forms a pad member and including the step of regulating the fluid pressure to a desired level prior to inflating said interior cavity.
15. The method of claim 14 including the step of fill- I ing the pad with padding material with the padding material exerting a pressure on the foot substantially equal to the fluid pressure of pad inflation.
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|U.S. Classification||12/142.00P, 36/117.6|