Propspeed – a new ecofriendly, non-toxic primer for propeller protection


Company Profile

Propspeed is privately owned by Jacobsen Holdings Limited, an entrepreneurial holding company, established to manage and grow the business interests of the Jacobsen family. Propspeed, Jacobsens Flooring and Tredsafe are their three trading companies.  Propspeed manufacture and distribute globally, market leading foul-release coatings for vessel propellers and associated running gear. Their coatings are exported worldwide through a network of distributors with staff based in NZ, US and Europe.

 Company website

The Relationship

A key pillar of the NZ Product Accelerator’s model is engagement with the company to co-design technology solutions. In this case the NZPA met several times with Jacobsen’s senior management team to discuss the company’s business plans and intentions to develop  new products. Initial discussions were held with both Tredsafe and Propspeed, before research priorities determined that this Propspeed project was the right one to investigate.

Propspeed contacted The NZPA because of longstanding expertise in coating systems for various technology platforms and industries. Through meetings with the NZPA and Propspeed a suite of work was determined and carried out.The relationship has built over several years to include commercial R&D projects,a 3-year  Ph.D. programme, and consultancy projects including international collaborators. The PhD projects  funded by Propspeed with funding from Callaghan Innovation.


The Impact

Coating formulations in the marine environment typically contain hexavalent chromium which poses health concerns to both humans and the marine environment. Propspeed are looking to develop novel non-toxic primer systems compatible with an existing topcoat.  One of Propspeed’s primary considerations was to ensure they could research, develop formulations and test the product in a comprehensive, credible and timely manner, ultimately achieving commercialisation as quickly as possible. The work carried out to date has shown promising results on aluminum and steel propellers. The project is still continuing to optimize results on bronze propellers. The project outcomes will contribute to environmental benefits, societal benefits and economic benefits. The global anti-fouling coatings market is estimated to be $US8.8 billion and few environmentally friendly options are available. If this project is successful Propspeed will significantly increase their global market share resulting in increased export earnings for the company and the NZ economy


The Value

Chris Baird, Managing Director of Propspeed International Ltd said, “Propspeed have been working with the NZPA for the past year. This partnership has added incredible value and contribution to our R&D efforts..NZPA has brought specialist expertise and experience to our team, not only with their technical research and guidance but with their connections, facilitating valuable relationships and access to equipment and testing, quickly and cost effectively. I have no doubt that our product development has been accelerated with the NZPA team involvement.”

NZPA and Propspeed are currently working together on a Ph.D. project, to develop sustainable and durable primer to protect propellers and and associated running gear.


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