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Shell Deploys New ATEX-rated PowerQuick Ascender on North Sea Rigs to Increase Safety and Work Access

2008-07-25 08:05:00

Shell Deploys New ATEX-rated PowerQuick Ascender on North Sea Rigs to Increase Safety and Work Access

    DAYTON, Nev., July 25 /EMWNews/ -- PowerQuick, Inc. announced today

that their PowerQuick ascender was awarded ATEX certification, making it

the first powered climbing device to be approved for use in hazardous

environments. The testing was conducted by TRL Compliance, Ltd., West

Lancashire, UK with financial support and technical assistance from Shell

U.K. Limited who is deploying the devices on offshore platforms in the

North Sea; however they expect the technology to quickly spread throughout

the oil industry.

    The PowerQuick Ascender, which was originally developed for US Special

Forces under a Defense Advanced Research Program (DARPA) contract made

international news in 2006 as the first battery-powered climbing device in

the industry, for which technology developer Quoin International, Inc of

Carson City, NV was awarded a DARPA Developer of the Year Award.

    While the mere mention of a powered climbing device conjures images of

Spiderman-like superhero tools, the PowerQuick Powered Ascender is serious

business. The ascender operates like a personal elevator. It allows

personnel to work at heights or below ground as in rescue or below platform

operations with greater safety and less fatigue. This reduces chances of

injury or death form accidental falls. To use the PowerQuick ascender

simply attach the unit directly to the climbing rope, attach it to the

climbing harness, then pull the trigger, and up you go. Unlike standard

winches, the PowerQuick system literally climbs the length of the rope

instead of collecting the rope around a capstan. The PQ-500 is rated for

500 pounds so it can lift personnel and/or equipment at a speed of 0.7

ft/second (.22m/sec). It also has a remote control and works with standard

climbing equipment. The main focus however is on increasing safety for the

workers by eliminating climbing fatigue, as well as reducing operational


    The PowerQuick Ascender is currently used in tower, building

maintenances, wind farms and other applications, the ATEX certification now

allows the technology to be used in industries where there is a potential

explosion hazard, such as oil installations, grain elevators and some

confined entry applications. "Companies in these markets have been anxious

to use the ascender, but we still had a lot of work to complete before it

would pass certification for use in hazardous areas," said Cathy Jacobson,

CEO of PowerQuick Inc., which manages the product through a Bonanza-Miura

(P) Ltd., manufacturing joint venture. "Richard Brooks, who started

PowerQuick, UK to distribute the ascender in that part of the world, worked

directly with Shell to get the testing completed. As a small company

struggling with expansion, it would have been a long time before we could

fund the development and test effort without Richard and Shell. They had a

need, believed in the product, and stepped up to the plate with the funds,"

she continued.

    "We've made a lot of changes and improvements since we first introduced

the technology," said Jacobson. We redesigned the PowerQuick for rescue

service and telecommunication/construction industries and other industries

where people had to struggle with manual climbs for high-angle rope access.

Now a person can safely go hundreds of feet by pulling a trigger. We used

feedback from customers such as National Grid to make continued

improvements. PowerQuick is now being sold around the world for military

tactical, commercial, rescue and work-at-heights applications," said

Jacobson. "Our major customers so far have been international military

organizations, the tower industry, arborists, building maintenance

companies and the entertainment industry. In fact, the Ascender has been

featured on The CBS show "NUMB3RS", Discovery Science's "Beyond Tomorrow,"

and most recently the MTV' reality show "Parental Control," and Discovery's

"Smash-Bang" both of which will air internationally later this year.

    Shell will use the ascender initially for maintenance of off-shore

platforms, but the applications should soon expand as they become more

experienced with the ascender's utility. It is the operators who come up

with most of the new ways to use the product, said Jacobson.

    "The PowerQuick is a safe versatile machine, and this certification

will open an entirely new set of markets for us and provide a much needed

tool for an industry where safety takes on a whole new set of challenges.

The new hazardous environment version will be is called the PQ500-AX. It's

not often a large company like Shell is willing to bet on a small company

like ours. While this will kick us off in the new industries Shell will

always be our favorite customer," said Jacobson.

    For videos of the PowerQuick ascender visit their web site at .

For photos contact Cathy Jacobson 775-882-8100 Ext 1103 Cathy Jacobson CEO PowerQuick Inc. 775 882-8100 ext 1103 [email protected] This release was issued through WebWire(R). For more information visit

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