11 Jun 2015

Drizzle no dampener for Fieldays crowds

4:39 pm on 11 June 2015

A drizzly first day at the National Agricultural Fieldays did not put off the visitors, with more than 28,000 people through the gate.

National Fieldays 2015.

National Fieldays 2015. Photo: RNZ / Andrew McRae

One of the areas which is always crowded is the innovations centre, where inventors display the latest labour saving ideas they've come up with to make the daily routine a little bit easier on the farm, orchard, or in the factory.

Among the innovations this year is a high visibility tape invented by Delwyn Wilkins, from Rotorua's Cee Mee Limited.

"It is a race tape. The normal races use a piece of tape that people can't see," she said.

"We've designed a zig-zag, high-visual, plastic race tape. It has high durability and six different colours.

"It has easy clip handles that clip on one end and hook on to the fence, or with the zig zag constuction you can actually put the fence between the zig zags."

Pieter Muller from Auckland has also invented a safety device, Safe Buddy.

The genesis of his invention was an accident in a plastic factory, when a blade "exploded" and hit his face while he was cutting a piece of metal with an angle grinder.

"I work with 12 guys in the factory and after what happened to me I could never get them to wear their safety helmets," he said.

"So I came up with an idea that if you don't wear your safety equipment you can't use your power tools. So what I've done is build a bluetooth system into the helmet.

"There are two connectors in there, one that's making sure it makes contact with your skin and the other one is making sure it's in the down position. So once the helmet is on your head and in the down position it's sending a blue tooth signal to the power supply and only then will it switch on your power tools."

Mr Muller said he was also looking at putting the safety device into life jackets and motorbike helmets.

Masterton man Steve Blakemore has developed a practical tool which also improves safety - a saw horse for cutting wood with a chain saw.

It was essentially an update of the old criss-cross sawhorse but with a twist.

"The key is what we call the hydro clamp, which is a rotationally moulded plastic tank that adds pressure to the butts of all the wood that you're sawing. So you put all the wood on the sawhorse with all the butts aligned at one end and the hydro clamp holds them there.

"You start sawing from the opposite end and the hydro clamp applies continuous pressure downwards on your load and clamps the wood tighter and tighter as you move towards your last cut."

Ernest Sanders has invented a safety device of a different kind - a weed hoe which fits on to an everyday cordless drill and eliminates the need to bend.

"(It has) a long shaft, stainless steel, going from the chuck of the drill down to a ground working blade that spins and digs out the weeds," he said.

It can be used as a cultivator because it can dig as deep as you need to a destroy the deep weed roots. So it's a cultivator and a weeder and the drill is doing all the hard work and you're not bending down."

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