Lab conjures secure ceiling clips

PSU facility looking for partner to make, sell invention
Friday, February 1, 2002

STATE COLLEGE, Pa.-A research laboratory at Penn State University has invented a small metal clip that will make secure an acoustic tile drop ceiling and is searching for a commercial manufacturing partner to mass produce it.

Penn State, which operates the Applied Research Laboratory that performs a large portion of the classified work for the Department of Defense, was remodeling a facility and needed to secure a 2,000-square-foot space that featured an acoustic tile drop ceiling. Since securing the space to DOD standards meant remodeling at a cost of $75,000, Leroy Siebenrock, assistant director of facilities at the university and his team came up with the clip system.

The clip system was installed in about a day, Siebenrock said.

The clips, small stainless steel tabs that grip the tile and the T-grid ceiling system, secures a drop ceiling to DOD standards, creating an environment where tampering with the ceiling wouldn't go unnoticed.

Steve Andrews, assistant for program development at Penn State, said the university is currently involved in the patent process, having filed for a provisional patent application.

The university, which owns all intellectual property developed through its research facilities, is searching for a commercial partner to manufacture and sell the clips.

Siebenrock estimated that about 90 percent of all offices, laboratories and other commercial spaces throughout the country feature an acoustic tile drop ceiling. The clips run about $1 per square foot to install, he said.