XXsys Technologies Inc. aggressively is promoting its polymer-composite technology for wrapping bridge supports in earthquake-prone areas - a little too aggressively, according to a spokesman for California's Department of Transportation. Publicly held XXsys raised a flurry with a Sept. 11 news release that said data on its seismic-retrofitting technology has been transmitted to Caltrans ``for final review.''
But Jim Drago, Caltrans public affairs director, said Sept. 20, ``That is not true. This is the first step in a long process. They transmitted material for initial review.''
Spurred by the release, common stock for XXsys rose more than 71 cents to $4.84 on Sept. 11 and to $6 on Sept. 25.
The San Diego company was organized in 1985 as The Expert Systems Technology, or TEST, and changed its name to XXsys Technology Inc. before listing the stock on Nasdaq's small cap-italization market in July 1992.
On Aug. 25, a University of California San Diego-administered consortium submitted to Caltrans a package of XXsys-related data and results from tests at UCSD's Powell Structural Research Laboratories. The federal Advanced Research Projects Agency, two universities and seven companies fund the consortium's efforts to develop civil infrastructure applications for polymer-composite materials. The XXsys continuous-carbon-fiber jacketing technology is a subset among the consortium's 12 tasks.
Separately, joint venture Hexcel-Fyfe Co. of Del Mar, Calif., and contractor C.C. Myers Co. of Rancho Cordova, Calif., have submitted data to Caltrans in addition to UCSD, Drago said.
At this time, XXsys is not participating in a newly organized program to evaluate fibers, resins and composite structures.
As previously reported, the Society for the Advancement of Material and Process Engineering sent contracts to more than 20 infrastructure companies interested in qualifying polymer-composite systems for California seismic-retrofit work. The yearlong Phase I involves material evaluations. Phase II, beginning in late 1996, will test composite-jacketed bridge columns using materials that look promising.
Another track exists.
``None of the processes [UCSD, Hexcel-Fyfe and Myers] is at a point where it applies to projects, but they could be done outside'' the SAMPE-administered evaluation program, Drago said. On this plane, Caltrans engineers will discuss technical aspects with system sponsors, develop specifications and application criteria and begin demonstration projects.