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Thursday, 21 April 2016

CPUT invention granted international patents

MILESTONE: The industrial Flow-Viz system, an invention by CPUT and Swedish partner SP – Technical Research Institute of Sweden has been approved for a US patent, further paving the way for the formation of an international spin-off company MILESTONE: The industrial Flow-Viz system, an invention by CPUT and Swedish partner SP – Technical Research Institute of Sweden has been approved for a US patent, further paving the way for the formation of an international spin-off company

The industrial Flow-Viz system, an invention by CPUT and Swedish partner SP – Technical Research Institute of Sweden has been approved for a US patent, further paving the way for the formation of an international spin-off company.

This is another first for the university’s Technology Transfer Office (TTO), which plays a key role in promoting innovation at CPUT.

The news comes just a few months after the real-time industrial Flow-Viz system was granted a European Patent Office (EPO) approval, giving CPUT and SP the official rights to file national phase filings in numerous European countries. Patents in other countries have also been applied for.

Obtaining US and EPO patent approvals is no mean feat as this involves defending intricate technical and legal intellectual property office actions. Such applications are fully examined by leading international patent examiners and success proves the novelty, non-obviousness and applicability to industry of the invention. 

Flow-Viz technology is a highly specialised industrial fluids characterization system that improves process and quality control within a fluid production line.

CPUT inventors, Dr Reinhardt Kotzé and Prof Rainer Haldenwang, who are based at the Flow Process and Rheology Centre, along with Swedish co-inventor, Dr Johan Wiklund worked tirelessly over many months with the TTO to achieve these approvals, and have welcomed the news.

Haldenwang says the patents will stand them in good stead as they will open doors for commercialisation in regions where they have identified possible business links.

Research work leading to this invention began 15 years ago, with CPUT coming aboard in 2007. The device was first demonstrated in South Africa in 2011 at CPUT. Since then pilot tests have been conducted on a wide-range of products such as food products and even wastewater. 

Two systems have already been set up in pilot plants in America and Europe.

“Flow-Viz is unique, there is no similar product that currently exists in the world for opaque non-Newtonian fluids,” says Kotzé.

“Its aim is to replace time-consuming off-line measurements in the quality control laboratory with continuous real-time and non-invasive process monitoring of industrial fluids that takes place directly in the production line.”

Kotzé says that currently operators take fluid samples and conduct time-consuming lab tests to monitor product quality.

Director of Technology Transfer and Industrial Linkages at CPUT, Prof Gary Atkinson - Hope, says this is a major achievement for the University.

“These achievements place our forthcoming Flow- Viz company on a very sound footing and we can now with confidence move into the commercialisation space,” says Atkinson - Hope.

 

 

Written by Candes Keating

Tel: +27 21 959 6311
Email: keatingc@cput.ac.za

Provides coverage for the Engineering and Applied Sciences Faculties; the Bellville and Wellington Campuses, and research and innovation news.