Practical-minded Hew McDonald has invented something that is making life easier for mechanics around the world.
Through his business, Evolving Workshop Technologies (EWT), Hew’s customised hydraulically-driven elevating work platforms are being used for a myriad of operations, including pastoral, mining, defence, local government, transport and remote work camps.
The platforms can be fitted to old or new work pits - or customers can buy or lease a whole package as a re-deployable workshop facility.
Not bad for something invented in a small workshop in Howard Springs on the outskirts of Darwin.
Hew said he came up with an idea for an elevated mechanics platform while working on earthmovers in the eighties.
"We worked on the ground or in a mechanics pit that were never the correct depth, it made me think there must be a better way!"
“I sat on the idea of a height adjustable platform for a long time before building a prototype in early Noughties,” he said.
Hew and his team developed and patented a new style of cable suspension lifting system, but realised a one size fits all product wasn’t going to cut it.
“The problem with mechanics pits is that they are all customised to the individual workshop needs,” he said.
“We developed our system to be flexible in design to adapt to huge variances in lengths.”
The design proved to be very popular and EWT received plenty of enquiries from the heavy mechanical industry. The Territory business now has elevated work platforms (EWP) located in every mainland state of Australia and exported their first EWP to New Zealand in 2017.
EWT won the inaugural Innovation Award at the 2018 Australian Industry Defence Network NT (AIDN-NT) awards, which were held as part of the Northern Australia Defence Summit in Darwin.
The award couldn’t have come at a better time.
“I’ve patented my inventions but I’m still a very small company,” says Hew, who has lived in the Territory for more than 25 years.
“It was an honour to win the innovation award.”