Queensland invention aids manufacturing safety and productivity

A Pullenvale Queensland inventor, Charles Shuter, won Wednesday night’s episode (March 7) of the popular ABC series The New Inventors, with a valve locking device that could improve the safety and productivity in manufacturing plants.

"The device effectively locks valves in a safe, closed position and prevents extremely dangerous liquids penetrating through them during maintenance and repairs and potentially injuring workers,” said Queensland Minister for State Development, John Mickel.

"Being able to lock off valves to enable work on specific sections of pipe or equipment also means plants can keep operating, so as well as improving safety the device also helps to improve productivity.

Mr Shuter spent more than three years developing the product, which included extensive field testing in Queensland sugar mills and coal mines.

It was Mr Shuter's experience of supplying valves, actuators and accessories to these industries that exposed him to the serious problem of unsecured valves, said Minister Mickel.

Mr Shuter was the recipient of a $76,000 grant as part of the Queensland Government Innovation Start-Up Scheme early last year, which helped him bring the product to market.

"That support has enabled the inventor to secure the patent for the device, now being used in Queensland mining and sugar operations, in Australia and the US – with the European patent in its final stages,” he said.

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