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Australian Cattle Council : Yearbook 2008
the bush has got to be tough,” he says. “When I was building the prototype, I kept thinking about that Stihl ad, where the chainsaw is slamming around in the back of the ute. It really had to be that resilient to withstand the reality of day-to-day use on a property.” William’s wand reader is already garnering plenty of attention – in August, he won the inaugural AgForce President’s Award for Innovation at the prestigious Rabobank Red Meat Innovation Awards. The honour was all the more remarkable, considering he only started “tinkering” with his PVC pipe version the previous month. “I’d already finetuned some of the design with the first reader box model, so it was pretty straightforward once I wrapped my head around how to redesign it for the wand,” he says. In March 2006, William had a trip to Brisbane to receive the Queensland Primary Industries Young achiever award, during primary industries week presented at Customs House. William has also made a cheap wireless option to align his reader with popular models of scales, and is developing a low cost, simple race reader for his thesis. “I’ll have to start from scratch, and it can be a pretty tedious process, but there has to be a cheaper, less complex option,” he explains. He says his study at JCU, which focuses on hardware design and computer programming, has been critical to the success of his creation, and after he completes his thesis and final year in 2006, is determined to build a career combining his rural and technical interests. Already, he has formed a company, Harrington Systems Electronics, and a Townsville-based company has signed on to manufacture components. The readers are rolling off the production line, and William is confident there is a market for his product. “Either way, it might make other manufacturers look at their pricing,” he says. “I believe some of the major operators are charging more than they need to because they know people have to buy them. All I want to do is offer an alternative.” Harrington Systems Electronics Harrington Systems Electronics Pty. Ltd, manufacturer of “The Pipe Reader®”, is a family-owned company, based north of Richmond, Queensland. The company was formed in 2005 after William demonstrated the Pipe Reader at the Royal Brisbane Exhibition at the Red Meat Dinner and received the Agforce Young Innovators Award. Unprecedented support and enquiries were received from throughout Australia. Now that William has graduated from his Computer Systems Engineering degree at James Cook University production is in full swing. William is currently developing a Race Reader, and a Table reader, but is most excited about the remote monitoring system which allows pictures to be taken of watering points, or of any site of interest. Other information such as the weather can also be monitored via a web site, allowing it to be checked from anywhere in the world. William and his father, Peter, have travelled to many shows and properties throughout Queensland and are constantly working to improve “The Pipe Reader®”. The team has just returned from the Dubbo Beef Spectacular and has sites booked for the Richmond Field Days in June, and AgGrow in Emerald in July. The family find it especially satisfying visiting and setting up “The Pipe Reader®” using Bluetooth® to read into scales or management software. MCC Pastoral on the Central Highlands is one such company using the system in their bullock fattening enterprise. A blue tooth Pipe Reader is connected to a Tru Test scale-head which records the NLIS number against their weight, and data relating to each animal can be viewed. This instant weight gain and animal history information helps streamline the 7000 to 8000 head yearly production operation. Through these visits, they keep in touch with the cattleman’s current thoughts and have implemented many of the suggestions given, as well as helping bush people with any computer related problems. William being the company’s hardware and software engineer is able to modify and customise their products and incorporate new ideas at any stage. By making software and equipment simple to use and more reliable, they aim to assist the producer to feel more at ease with the NLIS System, and to benefit from it in ther day to day herd management. For more information, see their website http://www.harringtonsystems.com.au or give them a call on (07) 4741 8531