INNOVATION on the Far South Coast continues to impress, with the latest local invention having the potential to revolutionise council operations across the country.
Slasher Teck has its main office in Bega and its prototype slasher was awarded the Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia (IPWEA) Best Innovation award at Civenex, Australia’s premier infrastructure expo, held in Sydney last week.
The innovative piece of equipment is the brainchild of Nathan Boyle, who owns an Australian patent on it and is currently seeking international protection through the Patent Cooperation Treaty.
While current contractors tend to hook a slasher to the back of a tractor, Slasher Teck’s bright-orange prototype– looking somewhat like a large Pac-Man on its side – will be front mounted to a tractor tasked with roadside vegetation management or similar jobs.
Then, once on the job, instead of taking wide berths around roadside markers and street sign poles with a rear-mounted slasher, a tractor operator using the Slasher Teck creation can drive right up to the pole and engage the revolving frame to cut completely around it.
It will also be able to cut grass under guard rails.
Slasher Teck says being able to cut close to poles and other roadside assets removes the need for costly manual trimming and spraying.
Nathan’s proud father Norm Boyle said it’s a “fantastically simple application to solve a widespread problem”.
“And to get the IPWEA best innovation award during Civenex’s 60th anniversary year is a really big thing for us,” he added.
“There’s nothing overly fancy about the materials.
“But the simplicity of the patent was that no-one had used the idea of a rotating frame relative to a fixed frame before.”
Mr Boyle said the slasher comes with added benefits of improved health and safety for operators who will no longer need to turn in their seat to check on their rear-mounted slasher’s progress.
“There is less road incursion and there is no need for whipper snipping or weed spraying hazardous chemicals around poles once the slashing is completed.”
Additional models will include a smaller version on a reach arm, and potentially a lawnmower-sized self-propelled option.
Mr Boyle said the slasher’s debut at AgFest in Tasmania in early May was well received, particularly by fruit orchards looking at a side-mounted option with wheels that would extend horizontally under tree canopies.
Then Civenex on May 20-21 was an obvious highlight.
Bill Woodcock, IPWEA board members and portfolio director of Civenex, said judges were unanimous in their decision to award Slasher Teck the best innovation award.
“It’s a clever solution to a problem that’s been around for a very long time,” Mr Woodcock said.
“It’s going to improve productivity and do a more thorough job with fewer people.”
Each slasher will cost around $25-30,000, with local councils the likely main customers Mr Boyle said.
Slasher Teck hopes to start small batch construction within the next few months, right here on the South Coast, using Australian steel and hydraulics.