In late 2014, road repair and maintenance company Stabilcorp identified the need to repair and maintain deteriorating road shoulders in a rural environment in a more efficient way.
The company came up with its own road repair and widening skid steer attachment that could quickly, safely and efficiently fix dangerous narrow roads and crumbling road shoulders.
Mrs. Pinson, Stabilcorp’s Managing Director, says the first attachment they created was “crude” in appearance; however, little did she know this innovation would see the company skyrocket into the limelight.
“There hasn’t been this kind of technology before for local government and contractors. It was initially created by us for us, and when we saw that other people were interested in it, we adapted and modified it,” says Mrs. Pinson.
The attachment can be quickly and easily attached to any skid steer and provides a faster and more economical way to rehabilitate and widen the shoulder of a road. It can lay material at a rate of more than 100 metres per hour depending on depth of excavation, and the width of any road can be widened from 0.5 metres up to 1.5 metres in one pass.
The technology was unveiled to the market for the first time in New South Wales at the Civenex Expo in Sydney in May 2015.
In September of that year, the attachment was launched under the ShoulderMaster brand at an event at the Australian Technology Park in Sydney.
The company lodged Australian and New Zealand patents for the technology in May 2015, and has since applied for an international patent.
The significance of the ShoulderMaster as an innovative solution to an ongoing problem was quickly recognised, and the product snowballed.
“The ShoulderMaster helps Australian governments, councils and contractors safeguard the future of our road infrastructure by reducing repair costs, minimising disruption to traffic and providing wider, safer roads,” states Mrs. Pinson.
She says the journey for Stabilcorp has been incredible, albeit rapid. The company’s transition from contractor to manufacturer happened over less than 18 months. Today the company is evolving further through some major developments.
“We don’t want it to be an overnight success. This is going to take years of hard work to create this market and educate councils, local government and contractors, and get them excited about the technology’s applications,” she adds.
“We’ve taken advantage of the opportunities that have been made available to us and we’ve built on those.”
This year alone, Stabilcorp released a second model of the ShoulderMaster named the ShoulderMaster – Gravel, which is designed specifically for constructing gravel road shoulders. The new attachment is purpose-built for rural and regional council areas where repair and maintenance is predominantly required on gravel roads.
The company also introduced its new SpreadMaster product line at the Diesel, Dirt & Turf trade show in Penrith in May 2016. The SpreadMaster is a tow-along stabiliser trailer used for spreading lime and other cementitious binding agents and specifically designed for heavy patching works.
As recent as June this year, the company is expanding into manufacturing and will build its growing number of attachments at its own site in Wauchope on the mid north coast of New South Wales. The new manufacturing site was officially opened by the Federal Member for Lyne, David Gillespie.
The significance of this next step for Stabilcorp is not only an important one for Mrs. Pinson and her team, but also one that has also been recognised by government and industry bodies alike.
Even during the ShoulderMaster’s early development it gained political interest with former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure Warren Truss attending a demonstration of the technology last July during work demonstrations.
Not to mention the plethora of industry awards and nominations (see sidebar).
“Our range of products is already available for sale nationwide, and we expect to move production to our own manufacturing plant within months,” says Mrs. Pinson.
“This is great news, not only because it provides us with greater control over the design and build stages, but also because of the new employment opportunities it will bring to our region while promoting growth in local manufacturing.”
The manufacturing site opens up the company’s ability to custom-build attachments for its clients, as well as the opportunity to expand and grow its product range in the short and long-term.
Stabilcorp has hired a new ShoulderMaster Sales Manager to facilitate the growth of the product in the market, and has made the ShoulderMaster attachment available for hire, further broadening the product’s use in the Australian roads sector.
Mrs. Pinson asserts that part of the company’s growth in the near future is in the safety space through products such as the ShoulderMaster.
“We’re really focusing on this road safety space, especially in rural areas where we’re from,” she says.
“A report to the Federal Government in May 2015 indicated that by adding just one extra metre of gravel or asphalt to the shoulder of the road decreases the potential for runoff accidents by 30 per cent. The ShoulderMaster makes this possible.”
Mrs. Pinson says that it has been an amazing journey so far, and there are plenty more developments on the horizon. For those interested in seeing the how the ShoulderMaster technology works, she says it really has to be seen to be believed.
“The magic of the ShoulderMaster happens in the field. It’s one thing to look at brochures, to see YouTube videos of it working, but to actively see it working in the field in the application it’s designed for is most impressive.”