September 23, 2015
The 2015 Henty Machine of the Year, the Flatrac, has become something of a social media sensation with thousands of hits on Youtube and a sale made on the strength of a Twitter photo.
The machine, a world-first, not only impressed the panel of judges at Henty, but also field day visitors with a Flatrack selling before 9am on the first day.
TPOS Fabrications engineer Trevor Postlethwaite, of Coonooer West, developed the revolutionary new concept machine after many years of controlled traffic farming on the family farm had led to wheel ruts in the tramlines.
Speaking at Henty, TPOS Fabrications director Neale Postlethwaite said several prototypes had been trialled over the years until the final design was launched this year.
“It has been an 18 month process since we had the first prototype out in the paddock,’’ Mr Postlethewaite said.
“There is no other machine in the world doing this type of work.
“We have even used it to fill in a fox hole.’’
Mr Postlethwaite said the Flatrac, valued at just under $40,000 had been launched at the Speed field days in August, with one machine sold on the way into the entry gate.
“When we had the first machine working in the paddock and saw what sort of job it did, we were excited it was going to work and knew it was going to be a success,’’ he said.
“It’s pleasing to see our thoughts have turned into reality.’’
Interest has also been generated in the Western Australian market, with one machine selling on the strength of a Twitter photograph.
The Postlethwaite family crops 2300ha and has been practising no-till for 30 years and controlled traffic for 15 years.
Trevor Postlethwaite said attempting to repair wheel ruts with machines that disturbed the soil structure only made the problem worse.
Flatrac has the unique ability to repair the damage without disturbing the soil structure on either side of the wheel track.
Using patented axial throw technology, the machine simply moves soil across the service back into the rut, when and where it is needed.
“It is perfect for a no till farming system, as no soil is moved if now rut is present,’’ Mr Postlethwaite said.
“In wet conditions, it is a real advantage, as you don’t slip off the track into a boggy mess either side of the renovated track.
“The soil and straw swept into the rut is packed firm by the large packing wheels at the rear of the machine.’’
Mr Postlethwaite said the Flatrac was available as a three-metre wheelbase machine, or other sizes can be built as required.
“The CAD designed machine is solidly built, powder coated and designed for minimal maintenance and easy operation,’’ he said.