The U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) invented and transferred a coating to replace traditional epoxy resins with a siloxane-based material that marked a signifi cant advancement in non-skid surface coating technology.
The novel coating decreases environmental levels of volatile organic compounds, delivers greater durability, and improves direct adhesion to metals. Through a series of technology transfer eff orts, NRL completed a non-exclusive patent license agreement with NCP Coatings, Inc. of Niles, Michigan. The new non-skid coating is commercially available under the company’s brand name, SiloxoGrip™, and NCP Coatings has achieved sales in both defense and commercial markets.
Both the NRL and NCP Coatings were collectively responsible for excellence in the technology transfer process. A series of eff orts occurred in a relatively short period of time, beginning in 2011 when NRL’s Technology Transfer Offi ce established an “Agreement Between Owners of Invention Rights” with a third-party contractor that had inventorship rights in the technology. Under this agreement, the contractor took the lead in patent prosecution and licensing, and in 2012 engaged with NCP Coatings under a nonexclusive license agreement. However, the third-party contractor made the decision to discontinue its involvement in the technology and returned the invention rights to NRL in 2013.
As a result of these dedicated efforts, the Navy can now purchase the non-skid coatings product that originated from its research.
NRL quickly negotiated termination of both the Invention Rights agreement and the existing license between the contractor and NCP. On January 30, 2014, the NRL signed a nonexclusive Navy patent license agreement with NCP Coatings to enable commercialization of the Navy’s siloxane-based non-skid surface coating. NRL materials engineers worked closely with the licensee to ensure product compliance with MIL-SPEC requirements, achieving the NAVSEA Qualifi cation confi rmed in September 2015, and met a crucial milestone of the NRL/NCP license agreement. As a result of these dedicated efforts, the Navy can now purchase the non-skid coatings product that originated from its research.
The Navy applies approximately 3.7 million square feet of non-skid coatings each year at an annual cost of over $56 million. The new siloxane-based coatings are more durable (i.e., color retentive, wear- and chemical- resistant); thereby reducing costs through longer service life.
The life expectancy of conventional epoxy coatings is 12 to 36 months, whereas the new non-skid coatings are expected to last 60 months or longer. The siloxane non-skid can be roll- or spray-applied due to its lower viscosity, whereas most epoxies are diffi cult to spray. The new coating is also dries to use within 24 hours, reducing the overall number of costly man-hours and downtime required. Increased service life allows ships to remain at sea longer before replacing deck coatings while in port. The reduction in consumption of both fuel and coating materials provides a favorable impact on the Navy’s “Great Green Fleet” initiative for energy efficiency.