Home' Phillip Island and San Remo Advertiser : June 1, 2016 Edition Contents PAGE 12 - THE ADVERTISER, WEDNESDAY, JUNE 1, 2016
International award for
Phillip Island inventor
PHILLIP Island’s one-man think
tank Kevin Trapnell has taken out
one of the top three awards at the
prestigious Las Vegas National
The show puts the spotlight on
inventors from across the world
annually, and is held in the US to
showcase what could well be the
next big product to revolutionise
the home improvement industry.
Along with another 2800 exhibi-
tors from across the globe, Kevin
converged on the Las Vegas Con-
vention Centre last month with
Fred, invented by Kevin, is the
world’s first step trolley, which
lifts and shifts heavy parcels and
loads with ease, to a safe height,
thus avoiding back strain.
Thirty two thousand industry
professionals from 32 countries
were in attendance.
After three days of demonstra-
tion and explanation, Kevin came
away with one of the show’s three
top awards - for Most Innovative
Concept in the New Inventions
And an interview and demon-
stration that will see Fred aired on
the popular US TV Channel DIY,
Just as the invention of the fork
lift revolutionised the trucking in-
dustry, Fred is set to do the same
when it comes to manually shift-
ing heavy case loads.
The concept looks to be quite a
simple one, when you look at Fred
Body weight is used to easily le-
verage a heavy bag or object from
the floor to waist level, thus saving
strain on the back.
But its simplicity belies the work
that has gone into this invention.
In fact, says Kevin, he’s been at
it for 14 years.
Kevin and his wife Barb are well
known on Phillip Island.
They operated a nursery and
garden supply business in Cowes
between 1993 and 2006.
The nature of the industry
meant that they were both con-
stantly having to lift heavy objects,
from 40kg cement bags, 50kg
bags of fertilizer and up to 60 kg
bags of crushed rock or toppings.
This was done manually, with
the ever-present risk of back in-
The idea for Fred emerged back
in 2002, when Kevin noticed a
pit crew at an F1 car race using
a hand trolley to raise a heavy ve-
This quick lifting action in-
He immediately started design-
But he could not raise the load
The solution came to him on
one of the many sleepless nights
Fred has given him, since that
“If I attached a rope to the work
platform up over a pulley and
down to a step, and stand on the
step the work platform would
rise,” he decided.
He set to work.
Kevin remembers a family
friend Leela Maki called in just as
he was about to test his machine
for the first time.
Leela asked: “Will it work? Will
it lift me?”
It worked, and it did.
Version 1 of the Quick Lift Trol-
ley was born.
But it was basic, awkward and
difficult to operate safely.
Kevin continued to work on it,
greatly encouraged by his nursery
customers, who were impressed
with the effectiveness of his trolley,
and his talent and zeal.
In 2006, when he closed his
nursery and went to work at an-
other garden supply, he took his
His boss, Craig Baker, loved it.
Craig had a chronic back injury,
and due to the nature of this busi-
ness, was constantly having to
visit his chiropractor.
To Craig’s delight, for the six
years they worked together, Craig
never once had to go back to the
chiropractor, thanks to the trolley
Kevin had invented.
The trolley metamorphosed as
the years went on.
“Version 1” had an extendable
length lift platform, that allowed
various sized objects to be han-
dled safely, and could be totally re-
moved, so that it could be used to
lift pine poles and stubborn star
pickets out of the ground.
The “Version 2” trolley that
could easily lift 100kg was pur-
pose built to load a compactor.
“Version 3” reduced the trolley’s
By now, Kevin’s many friends
and customers were encouraging
him to patent his work.
So he did! An Australian Provi-
sional Patent was taken out.
The next stage
At this point, it was clear to Kev-
in that to proceed, a backer was
needed if the trolley was to ever be-
come a marketable product.
Around about this time Kevin
met businessman Fred Bart,
through his one of his older broth-
Fred was very interested in Kev-
He established a company in
which Kevin held a share, to assess
Versions 4 and 5 appeared in
quick succession, the design being
modified and improved each time.
Noise reduction, safety, stability
and versatility all needed still, to
be further addressed.
For example, Kevin realised a
heavy person lifting something
light would upset the centre of
gravity of the trolley.
Finally, with all modifications
complete, Kevin had something
he could take to China and have a
prototype made, this time in alu-
minium, as opposed to steel, to re-
Kevin had not been overseas in
his entire life, and the thought of
the trip was daunting.
He arrived in China, changed
planes and flew north to Qingdao,
to be met by two strangers who
spoke very little English, before be-
ing taken to a factory.
Translating drawings into a 3D
CAD program was no easy task,
because of the language barrier.
After much nodding and hand
signals, Version 6 was born.
But the language barrier had
It took a further three trips to
China before an acceptable version
appeared, and even then, Kevin
worked on it back in Australia be-
fore he was satisfied.
Version 7 weighed in at 31 kg,
well down on its steel counterpart.
Next it was off to a Work Safe As-
sessor in Sydney, so that it could
be legally approved for use on an
Australian job site.
Safety issues were identified by
the assessor, and yet again, Kevin
went home to address these.
Weight still remained a problem.
The trolley could not be used by
the delivery industry, if it was too
“How ironic would it be if you
hurt your back lifting a trolley
out of your van that was sup-
posed to save you from injury,”
So it was back to the drawing
board, for a total redesign to re-
duce the weight to 16kg.
A Sydney based engineering
company was contracted for this
The Sydney company totally re-
engineered the unit using thinner
heat treated aluminium and an
improved structural design that
increased the rigidity of the frame,
making it much lighter in weight,
and included various plastic com-
posite materials to achieve further
Fourteen years in the making,
and the trolley was finally a reality.
The world’s first step trolley can
soon be used by a wide variety of
people in their day to day activities.
“The only group that might not
be too thrilled about it, would be
the Chiropractors Association,”
jokes Kevin. The trolleys are not
yet on the market, and full scale
production is yet to begin.
But advance orders have been
placed, and a rosy future looks set
for Fred and its inventor Kevin.
On the cusp of realising his long
held dream, in relation to this
invention, Kevin is in awe of the
wonderful support he has received
over the last decade from the Phil-
lip Island community.
“Friends, acquaintances and
friends of friends have been stop-
ping me in the street for years to
see how the trolley is going, and
giving me enormous encourage-
ment and support,” he said.
“People like Craig Baker have
pushed and pushed me to keep on
and get this to a patent stage.”
Kevin deeply appreciates the
friendly encouragement he has
been given, as he sits back and re-
flects on the past 14 years.
Although sitting back may not
entirely be what he has in mind.
There’s the matter of another in-
vention that he has on the go, that
could revolutionise the plumbing
And there’s an amazing rake
accessory that saves you bending
over and the list goes on.
For now, however, it’s congratula-
tions Kevin, on what is wonderful
achievement, on a world beating
If you would like to see Fred in
action go to the web on www.levrio.
Kevin Trapnell is pictured with Fred, the world’s first step trol-
ley, which lifts and shifts heavy parcels and loads with ease, to a
safe height, thus avoiding back strain.
Phillip Island’s Kevin Trapnell has taken out one of the top
three awards at the prestigious Las Vegas National Hardware
Show for the most Innovative Concept in the New Inventions
Section. Kevin, pictured with his award, will be featured on the
US TV DIY Channel in July.
The National Vietnam Veterans Museum will pres-
ent the inaugural Military and General Antiques
Fair. It will be held on Sunday, June 12, and format
will be similar to the Antiques Roadshow.
NVVM hosts military
and antiques fair
THE National Vietnam Veterans Museum is proud
and excited to present the inaugural Military and Gen-
eral Antiques Fair on Sunday, June 12.
This event will be conducted in the style of the An-
tiques Roadshow with a range of specialists available
to provide advice, information and estimates on items
presented to them.
Take this opportunity to come along and chat with
professionals about your particular treasures.
We encourage you to bring not just militaria, but also
Specialists will have a range of knowledge on differ-
ent categories including jewellery, militaria, books, art-
work, ephemera, medals, and coins.
There will be some stalls to browse upon and don’t
forget to watch the famous holographic Sound and
Light Show while you are in the Museum.
If you haven’t been to the museum before, take some
time to walk among the displays and exhibits.
All the activities will take place undercover, so it won’t
matter what the weather does.
The Nui Dat Café will be open for refreshments.
Standard admission fees apply. Call the Museum on
5956 6400 for more information or check out the web-
HACC funding for Bass
THE Bass Valley Community Group has been allocat-
ed the sum of $20,575 in funding for Home and Com-
munity Care services to support local residents.
Federal Member for Flinders Greg Hunt said that the
money helped to enable older people and people with a
disability to receive extra support to stay in their own
The combined funding comes from the Common-
wealth and Victorian governments.
Mr Hunt said that the Home and Community Care
program is a vital service that provides support for our
most vulnerable residents.
The Home and Community Care program provides
critical services that help older people and people with
a disability stay independent for longer by providing
care where people prefer to receive it – in their own
homes and communities.
This home at 22 Terry Crescent in Wimbledon
Heights would make an ideal first home or holiday
Bring the chequebook,
“MAKE sure you attend and bring your chequebook.
These types of entry level homes that may sell under
$200,000 are becoming a scarce commodity,” says auc-
tioneer, Simon Sheldy of 1st Choice Estate Agency at
San Remo this week.
The hardiplank home comprises three bedrooms, an
open living area with kitchen, a bathroom and laundry,
plus some decking and attached carport. The grounds
and gardens are generally established and include a
garden shed and fencing.
The home at 22 Terry Crescent, Wimbledon Heights
is being auctioned on Saturday, June 11 at 1pm and
is open each Saturday between 12.30pm – 1pm for in-
spection leading up to the sale.
The home is certainly in need of some TLC but could
make an ideal first home, holiday cottage or a budget
A copy of the Contract of Sale and Section 32 is avail-
able now and can be emailed immediately to any po-
tential buyer or their legal representative for perusal
For further information, call First Choice at San
Remo on 5678 5408.
Links Archive May 25, 2016 Edition June 8, 2016 Edition Navigation Previous Page Next Page