Colorado Patent of the Month – July 2022

Marshall Poland, the founder of Slick Tools LLC, left his engineering job to help in the fight against climate change. In the first step of this journey, Marshall began installing residential solar. He quickly determined the tools used in solar installations are lacking, causing wasted time and risk of injury. He knew his next move was to design and deliver better tools to the industry.

In one case, it became abundantly clear that birds and animals were a nuisance when it came to solar panels. They build nests and chew on wires in the shade of the panels, degrading their performance and potentially causing fires. The conventional solution is to put a wire mesh around the panel. Slick Tools found bending and stripping this wire mesh by hand to be a truly slow and painful process. As such, they designed, developed, and patented a device capable of continuously bending metal mesh.

This purpose-built tool uses a series of contact rods to receive a sheet of wire mesh. The mesh then moves through the device in an over-under fashion. The mesh bends around the middle contact road as it moves along the device. In this fashion, the wire mesh feeds through, folding up the outer edges to create a 3-sided cage which can be applied to a solar panel. The width can be adjusted so various meshes can be used, and any size cage can be made. Similarly, the angle of the bend can be adjusted, and you can choose to fold one or both edges. This adaptability ensures it can fold metal mesh for any solar panel application. Simplifying the bending process with the right tool delivers a consistent and reliable product while saving time and preventing repetitive strain injuries.

Are you developing new technology for an existing application? Did you know your development work could be eligible for the R&D Tax Credit and you can receive up to 14% back on your expenses? Even if your development isn’t successful your work may still qualify for R&D credits (i.e. you don’t need to have a patent to qualify). To find out more, please contact a Swanson Reed R&D Specialist today or check out our free online eligibility test.

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