US' UltraStrip Systems, the developer of robotic ship hull cleaning equipment
, has announced that it has received from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office patent number US 6,564,815 titled "Air Gap Magnetic Mobile Robot". The new patent allows UltraStrip Systems
to further expand its patented coatings removal systems
. The advantages to the Air Gap patent over existing UltraStrip patented roller designs are greater adhesion and non-marring of the surface.
President and CEO Dr. Robert O. Baratta said, "UltraStrip's latest patent, in our opinion, gives even greater patent protection for our M3500 Robotic System than we had with our earlier patents. We have also applied for international patents to give us the global rights to the air gap technology in the coatings removal industry."
UltraStrip Systems has received four other U.S. patents for its coatings removal equipment (#5,628,271, #5,849,099, #6,287,340, and #6,425,389) with two Notice of Allowances approved, and two other patents applied for. UltraStrip develops and manufactures robotic solutions to environmental problems in the surface preparation and coatings removal industry and has developed portable, self-contained filtration equipment for possible use in homeland security. UltraStrip's patented robotic water jetting systems are designed to provide an environmentally safe coatings removal process in both heavy marine and above ground storage tank applications. The robotic systems represent a significant innovation in the surface preparation of ships and other structures.
UltraStrip's patented systems have been used on the USS Eisenhower, a U.S. Navy Nimitz-class aircraft carrier, the USS Cole, the U.S. Navy destroyer attacked in Yemen in October 2000, the USS Doyle, a Navy guided
missile destroyer, the USS Shreveport, Carnival and NCL cruise ships, as well as in Portugal's Lisnave.
One of the latest projects in which Ultrastrip has been involved has been the surface preparation work on the Navy's new San Antonio class amphibious assault ship, LPD 17. The company expects to receive revenues in excess of $90,000. The M3500 Robotic System allowed the Navy to have its surface preparation work completed simultaneously with other trades finishing their work. Normally, if the ship were being grit blasted, other trades would not have been able to work while the grit blasting was in progress. The M3500 is also environmentally friendly as it completely contains all the toxic paint material for proper disposal
UltraStrip has also announced that Jackwell Engineering Pte Ltd
, a Singapore surface preparation service contractor firm, has placed an initial order for two robotic systems for delivery in September 2003 under the terms of a five year contract with UltraStrip, originally entered into in August 2002, providing for the purchase of up to $25 million of UltraStrip's robotic systems under an exclusive licensing arrangement for the M3500 Robotic System in Singapore.
Under the agreed purchase order and payment terms entered into by Jackwell and UltraStrip on June 19, 2003, Jackwell has agreed to make a $950,000 down payment to UltraStrip prior to July 4, 2003 for the manufacture of the first two systems. Representatives of Jackwell and its partner, Asia Crossing Pte Ltd., have stated to management of Ultrastrip that payment is being arranged by Asia Crossing Pte Ltd. The payment balance is to be made to UltraStrip four weeks prior to delivery of the two systems in September 2003.
UltraStrip has agreed to make delivery and complete training services to Jackwell through an existing domestic surface preparation service contract. To maintain exclusivity in the Singapore market, Jackwell has agreed to purchase up to twenty (20) systems under the terms of the five-year arrangement. Before the end of July, principals from both companies plan to meet to discuss accelerating these commitments.
Dr. Robert O. Baratta states
, "UltraStrip Systems is delighted to establish this relationship with Jackwell Engineering. Jackwell is an aggressive competitor in one of the premier ship repair countries in the world and the robotic systems produced
by UltraStrip will give them a productivity advantage over competing contractors in Singapore's ship repair business. Jackwell will assume a leadership role in addressing the environmental issues created by grit blasting."
Jack Ng, President of Jackwell Engineering, said, "UltraStrip's M3500 is the state of the art paint removal equipment in the world today and we are excited to be the exclusive contractor for the Singapore ship
repair industry. There are tremendous advantages to the use of ultra high-pressure water with complete containment of the toxic paint over the current method of grit blasting. The air will no longer be filled with grit contaminating the atmosphere, the ocean, and the health of our workers. It is safe, highly productive, and environmentally friendly. What more could we ask for?"