Ten years ago, ICE-LOC® inventor and CEO Dennis Salazar came home to find a burst pipe in the attic that resulted in damage to his walls and floors. His experience inspired him to invent an inexpensive, easy-to-use pipe protector. ICE-LOC®’s patented product uses a high-performance, FDA-approved flexible tube, requires a minimum number of tools to install, and needs no electricity, allowing it to be used in remote locations or during power outages.
Initially, ICE-LOC® attracted some customers through its website, but without the ability to demonstrate the product’s performance scientifically and visually, the start-up company had trouble convincing potential clients of the product’s effectiveness. This problem led the company to the NMSBA Program. NMSBA paired ICE-LOC® with engineer Kevin Fleming from SNL’s Explosive Applications Team. Fleming and co-workers Chris Colburn and Rosa Montoya are experts at capturing explosive component tests on video and analyzing the results.
The team placed an ICE-LOC®-fitted pipe and an unprotected pipe, both filled with water, into a temperature-controlled test chamber with a viewing window and dropped the temperature to minus 30°F. The pipe utilizing ICE-LOC® held through multiple tests, while the unprotected pipe exploded catastrophically each time. This was captured on high-speed video shot through the chamber window, providing visual confirmation of the product’s performance under harsh conditions.
The report and video from the assistance provide important information to new customers, who now have more assurance that the company has investigated its claims. This helped ICE-LOC® negotiate a contract with the State of New Mexico General Services Department, and the company is now in the final stages of becoming a Federal General Services Administration contractor. Grateful for NMSBA’s assistance, Salazar advises other inventors and entrepreneurs, “Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Be humble and transparent and people will go out of their way to help you.”