Anti-crush system wins award

MARYANNE TWENTYMAN
Last updated 12:01 14/06/2012
ROLLING IT IN: Vernon Suckling is $5000 richer after taking out the Fieldays Golden Standard award for innovation.
KELLY HODEL/FAIRFAX NZ
ROLLING IT IN: Vernon Suckling is $5000 richer after taking out the Fieldays Golden Standard award for innovation.
BRUCE MERCER / WAIKATO TIMES Zoom
"Blue" with a blue eye owned by Graeme Strawbridge. Hamilton

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Fieldays visitors are flocking to purchase an innovative safety device for quad bikes before it's even gone into production.

Dargaville inventor, Vernon Suckling, took out the Fieldays Golden Standard innovation award for his Lifeguard anti-crush roll over system for quad bikes, which judges believed had "massive" international appeal.

"We've had a heap of people coming up and asking to purchase but we are still working through the final stages of meeting international standards and then we can get on with production," Mr Suckling said.

The Lifeguard is based on a roman arc system which has the ability to deflect around an object or persons' body, limbs or head on impact.

The arc consists of two inner fibre cables with 3.5 tonnes of breaking strain each. 

"It is soft at the point of contact when deflected but increases in vertical strength," Mr Suckling said.

The system is designed to hold an upturned quad off the ground providing space to help prevent the rider from being crushed.

Visitors to the Ag Tech Industries site were amazed to see a DVD of the Lifeguard undergoing trials where two men pushed a riderless quad bike off a hill and watched it roll down the hill where it landed unscathed.

Fieldays innovations committee spokesman Tony Smith said the invention had huge international potential.

"I think their is potential not only for quad bikes, but for the wider farming industry as well," he said. "This Lifeguard would not only prevent deaths, it would reduce injuries and for the busy rural community that is crucial."

Mr Suckling hopes to have the Lifeguard into production by the end of the year when the retail cost will sit "just under $1000".


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