In The NASA News: SATOP Newsletter - January 2011

Removing roofing and decking boards as part of a demolition project is hard work, and Steve Hoolahan, a construction industry veteran, knew there had to be ways to save time and labor costs. He set about designing a specialized tool, and with help from the NASA-funded Space Alliance Technology Outreach Program (SATOP), Hoolahan’s revolutionary “QuikRip™” device is now ready for production.

For years, Hoolahan built his own roofing and decking removal tools out of scrap wood from job sites, but they were cumbersome and quickly broke. Though not yet perfected, the concept for QuikRip was there. He eventually began collaborating with a local fabrication company to build and fine tune the tool. 

Once he had a working prototype, Hoolahan confirmed the tool worked fine on roofs, but the handle tended to fail when removing decking materials. Hoolahan needed advice on a design modification and/or material recommendation that would strengthen the handle while maintaining the tool’s light weight. The Farmingdale Small Business Development Center recommended that Hoolahan contact SATOP for help.

Hoolahan filled out a Request for Technical Assistance (RTA) with the SATOP office in Syracuse and was assigned by SATOP Senior Project Engineer Madi Kalibala to Yu-Ping Tang, an engineer with SATOP Alliance Partner New Mexico State University.

Tang performed a Finite Elements Analysis (FEA) on the handle of the QuikRip tool to identify its weaknesses. He researched new materials and suggested replacing the handle’s aluminum component with a high strength fiberglass shaft in order to increase the
tooling load and further decrease the weight. Tang also recommended some modifications that would improve the manufacturing process.

By implementing Tang’s recommendations, Hoolahan now has a QuikRip tool that can take the place of two or three other demolition tools that are appropriate for only one type of demolition. “There are tools on the market that work on only one kind of material, like decking, whereas QuikRip  can work on decks, roofs and floors,” Hoolahan explained. The tool also cuts demolition time almost in half, thereby significantly cutting labor costs, and is ergonomically engineered to reduce back strain and injury.

“This opens up new groups of contractors that we can market to since QuikRip now works on decking, thicker roofing substrates and even docks,”
Hoolahan said. “The redesigned tool will also have an improved lifespan and reliability. With all of these factors combined, we are looking forward to increased sales of QuikRip.”

The new design will be useful for homeowners, general contractors, roofers, demolition contractors, framing contractors, deck builders, and dock builders.
Hoolahan expects to have the next generation of the QuikRip ready for production in January 2011.

“I cannot say enough good things about SATOP, about how professional they were and how efficiently they handled my request for technical assistance,”
Hoolahan said. “I was so happy to speak to someone with such qualified knowledge – I couldn’t have done it without SATOP.”