Y-12 technology brings licensee recognition

Posted: December 31, 2012 - 9:00am

The pairing of an environmentally friendly solvent invented and patented by the Y‑12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge with the business acumen of its licensee Scott Manley has gained recognition in two recent competitions.

Manley owns RockinBoat LLC, a South Carolina start-up that in 2011 obtained sole commercial rights to manufacture and market the solvent RonJohn®. Teknikem, the chemical division of RockinBoat LLC, offers the solvent as its sole technology. Initially developed at Y‑12 by Ron Simandl and John Brown for use in dismantling weapons parts, the 2011 R&D 100 Award-winning technology can completely strip adhesives and finishes from a variety of surfaces with advantages not afforded by other commercially available solvents.

Teknikem was recently named an InnoVision Award finalist in a competition that annually recognizes regional South Carolina businesses, individuals and educators who set new standards for innovation in finding, developing and retaining profitable business.

The company was also one of ten new South Carolina independent ventures chosen to participate in the 2012 LaunchPadSC competition. The contest, whose major sponsor is Clemson University’s Spiro Institute for Entrepreneurial Leadership, features finalists pitching their new business concepts and answering questions in front of a field of 20 business leaders. Teknikem was selected as one of two winners of the December 7 competition, netting a $5,000 cash prize and $5,000 worth of prizes for services such as Website development and legal and accounting assistance.

At the suggestion of Tammy Graham in Y‑12’s Office of Technology Commercialization and Partnerships, Manley participated in both the Technology Ventures Corporation Deal Stream Summit in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and the WBT Innovation Marketplace in San Diego, California, presenting the company and RonJohn® to potential investors earlier this year. Manley reflected, “Long after signing the license agreement, Y‑12 and I are still working together to bring the world this amazing technology.”

The solvent is now available in a growing line of products, and two products in the line recently passed regulatory milestones for specific coating- and adhesive-removal applications.

One of these products, Dip Strip, has a mineral oil additive, which forms a cap that reduces both evaporation and fumes when the solvent is heated in a dip tank. Consumers wishing to strip parts that can be immersed in heated product find this variation desirable because heating accelerates the solvent’s action.

Dip Strip was recently certified to a U.S. Air Force specification and received a national stock number that identifies it as a standardized aircraft paint remover recognized by all NATO countries and the U.S. Department of Defense.

Aero Strip, another RonJohn® variation, is a high-viscosity gel that has a low-volatile organic compound content. Its low flammability and superb corrosion resistance make it especially attractive for use by the U.S. Navy, and it has recently passed the first round of testing to a NAVAIR specification.

Other products in the line include Electra Strip, specifically formulated to remove varnish and epoxy sealers from electrical components, and Auto Strip, designed to remove automotive paints and powder coatings.

Y‑12 began establishing commercial partnerships with private-sector entities in the late 1980s. The company under which Teknikem operates is one of Y‑12’s 36 currently active commercial partners and is one of five start-ups that have entered business relationships with Y‑12 within the past two years.

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Innovation Portal provides descriptions of numerous Y‑12 technologies currently available for licensing and outlines each technology’s benefits, applications and development stage. For additional information, contact Y‑12’s Office of Technology Commercialization and Partnerships toll-free . Licensing agreements with new-start companies are encouraged.

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