Helicopter technology to power up Enterprize 200814 October 2008

Mack Pull, a finalist in UQ Business School's $100,000 Enterprize business plan competition, is an innovative system for quickly and safely stringing high tension powerlines.

The Mack Pull system is mounted to the side of a helicopter and can pull the 24mm wire used in power infrastructure up to 3.6 kilometers, saving constructors up to three days per 10 kilometers of line strung when compared to other methods.

Team leader, Kelvin Andrews, said the use of a helicopter to string cables was already advantageous over the traditional method of hauling the cables overland using trucks, but the Mack Pull system went even further by improving the efficiency and safety of the technique.

"The Mack Pull system is a unique product that is faster and safer than any other method," Mr Andrews said.

"The safety aspect is very important for us because occupational health and safety is a huge part of the environment we operate in.

"The wires involved in this process could end up carrying 500,000 volts, or greater which when compared to the household voltage of 240 volts, can do considerable damage."

Mack Pull has been in development since 2005 and Mr Andrews said the technology had been market tested by a number of leading companies with impressive results.

"Basically, the system saves up to three days for every ten kilometers of line, which equates to a saving of at least $45,000 for every two weeks of operation," he said.

Mr Andrews said Mack Pull's safety advantage was derived from the system's dual direction pulling capability and the removal of the need for an external weight on a sling required for other helicopter stringing methods.

The Mack Pull team has received interest in their product from the United States, Europe, Africa and the Subcontinent and Mr Andrews said a $100,000 cash injection from winning Enterprize would allow the team to take the product to the global market.

"The big thing about winning Enterprize would be that it will help us become investment ready and get our last few outstanding issues in place," he said.

"The money would be used to open international offices, attend trade shows, put in place strategic agreements, and set up marketing campaigns centered on safety and efficiency in the electrical transmission line industry.

"We have a product that if we get it out there and in use could make a big difference."

Mack Pull, along with six other outstanding finalists will compete for the $100,000 prize at the UQ Business School Enterprize Pitch Day on Thursday 16 October.

If you would like to reserve your place at Enterprize Pitch Day, email the Event Manager, Jarna King, events@business.uq.edu.au.

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