A Dunedin inventor has come up with an innovative device which could solve a worldwide problem for the trucking industry.
Barry Armour's side-loading ratchet speeds up the process of strapping down cargo for transport, and the simple spin on an old device could be worth millions.
Every day across the country, huge rigs transport freight by road. That cargo has to be strapped in securely, a process that can take a long time using traditional ratchet tiedowns.
"[It takes] too long to get the strap in and out; when it's wet and frayed, very hard to get the frayed end in," says Mr Armour.
Mr Armour has spent the last four years coming up with a better design. His ratchet allows straps to be loaded from the side, speeding up the old time-consuming process where the long straps have to be threaded right through.
"We've made it side-opening," he says. "When you put it into the release position you can open the side door, and just slip the strap out the side."
It's a simple solution, but one that truckies reckon is revolutionary.
"They're probably the best invention since the wheel, I reckon," says Doug Ironmonger.
Mr Ironmonger's been testing the new ratchets for a few months. He says they're a big timesaver, and have made his long days on the road a little easier.
"Even in my sleeping pattern, I can sleep a lot better at night because I haven't got the stress of trying to rush and rush. I can probably save an hour-and-a-half to two hours a day," he says.
Trucking company Mainfreight is also looking at using the Dunedin-designed devices to improve productivity.
"It's a wee bit quicker, yep definitely," says driver Duncan McCorkindale.
The new ratchets are being licensed for both the commercial and consumer markets, and are about to go on sale in two of the United States' biggest retail chains. That's a market with a quarter of a billion dollars in potential.
There's also a smaller version aimed at tradespeople and home handymen, with the Dunedin company eyeing up Europe and Asia as well.
source: newshub archive