Press Release: Verton reaching great heights in safety

A Brisbane start-up, which has developed a load-management system to significantly improve safety and productivity in crane operations, has secured a $100,000 grant from the Queensland Government.

Verton Group, previously known as Innovation Overload, developed ROVER - Remotely Operated Variable Effort Rotator - to overcome a problematic need for human held taglines to control free-swinging or suspended loads.

Engineers and Verton Group founders Stanley Thomson and Andrew Miller created ROVER to improve productivity and safety in industries that use cranes and hoists. Mr Thomson says ROVER could dramatically reduce fatalities by ensuring no human contact is required for suspended loads. “Moving heavy loads using cranes or hoists is highly dangerous with industry research showing proximity to a load, let alone actual contact, is accountable for 80 per cent of cranerelated fatalities,” Mr Thomson says. “However, very few loads suspended by cranes and hoists can be picked up and set down without using taglines to control their orientation. ROVER eliminates this need.”

In its simplest form ROVER is a single pair of gyroscopic modules and one handheld remote controller. The pair of modules are attached to both ends of a lifting beam or spreader bar with a load’s orientation being controlled using the remote. Dr Miller says ROVER will also increase productivity and profitability of businesses operating or relying upon crane and hoists for movement of heavy loads.

“ROVER will reduce hook time (the time each load needs to be suspended in the air) by 50 per cent or more,” Dr Miller says. “In a simple case study, a 50 per cent saving in hook time translates to around 20 per cent of time spent by a ship loading and unloading in port.”

Novato Group Director Trevor Bourne, who is working with Verton Group to raise capital, has welcomed the grant from Advance Queensland’s Ignite Ideas Fund. Mr Bourne says a Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) application has been submitted for ROVER, with the company ready to start commercialisation. “The company is ahead of any competition and well positioned to establish its place as a world leader in the market,” Mr Bourne says. “We have already raised $150,000 but are looking to raise a further $250,000 to build the first prototype.”

Nicole Cox