FIELDAYS FOCUS | JUNE 2017
The next exciting step for a ground-breaking machine that won not one, but two innovation awards at National Fieldays 2016 is to begin manufacture.
The Pest Trap Mechanism, a spring-loaded, self-resetting pest trap that won the Tru Test Prototype Grassroots Award and the Locus Research Innovation Award, is in the final stages of fine-tuning, undergoing trial work to ensure the innovation is entirely robust before it hits the market.
Pest Trap Mechanism creator, Hamilton industrial electrician Kevin Bain, was tramping in 2014 when he came across the standard Department of Conservation pest traps and recalled reading a news article about DoC trialling some alternative traps.
“The reports weren’t glowing, so I thought, I can do better than that,” Bain said. “I believed the spring-loaded design was effective, but it needed to be reusable in areas that can’t be reset every day.”
Bain said many traditional pest traps were spring-loaded, but they had to be re-set manually and therefore would only catch one animal per night. There were also auto-resetting traps available that use different methods of technology, except spring loading.
Bain spent 18 months before Fieldays 2016 researching and developing the mechanism. He used the existing DoC 200 Auto designed for stoats, rats and mice and the CMI Trapinator Auto for possums and adapted those to be self-resetting.
The traps are battery operated and expected to last around 12 months, catching between 100-150 predators annually.
The mechanism was extremely well received at Fieldays, with many people having signed up to purchase a trap once they were in production.
Since his win last June, Bain has undertaken more trialling and research with the mechanism. In October 2016, George Campbell came on board as Bain’s business partner so Bain could continue uninterrupted with the “brainwork” of developing the product.
They undertook trial work with the existing equipment that was showcased at Fieldays and identified a few issues in the design that needed to be improved upon.
“One of those was the initial reliability of the operating software of the equipment,” Campbell said. “We had the operating software re-developed but it has taken longer than we expected.”
There is also more work to be done on perfecting the clearing of the trap. As it is an auto-resetting trap, the carcases need to be able to fall clear of the trap.
“The possum-specific trap, which will be mounted on a tree, will cause the possum to drop out the bottom, but we are still finalising the design on how we will clear the rat and stoat trap,” Campbell said.
The next step is put 50 more trial traps out in the field that can be monitored regularly.
“Kevin wanted to ensure the product was completely robust before it was put back into the field,” Campbell said.
“Alongside that, we are looking to set up manufacture as soon as we are happy with the products. We were hoping to exhibit in the Launch NZ area at National Fieldays 2017 but we are a bit behind, so are hoping to do that next year.”