bearing packer inventor

The man behind Roller Packa, Roller Cleaner and countless other time saving, stress reducing inventions is Noel Dawson. Working out of his top secret laboratory in NSW, Australia, Noel never stops wondering if there is a better way to do things. Where does he get his ideas? How did the product range come about? And what's he working on next?

Where are you based, Noel?

I live in a wonderful part of NSW, Australia. My inventor's workshop is located within a maintenance hub and is a short drive from some of the country's best wineries, I'm happy to say.

So, what's your day job?

Actually, I wear a lot of hats and every day is different. I'm a trained and fully qualified automotive engineer - a motor mechanic - and I spent many years maintaining company vehicle fleets: I've greased a lot of bearings in my time! I'm also a fully qualified pilot and have notched up more than 3000 hours in my light aircraft, I love taking aerial photographs. And of course, lots of my time is taken up with the development of new inventions - large and small. I'm a busy boy!

How did you come up with the idea of the Roller Packa 1?

Back in the mid 1990s, I landed a big job servicing and maintaining a fleet of cars and trucks used at one of the local Coal Mines. Those rough old pit roads meant that I was kept very busy: brake rotors could wear out in weeks, and wheel bearings needed constant replacement or re-greasing. I found myself spending hours every week packing dozens of sets of roller bearings, and it was a horrible job: slow, cumbersome and very messy. It seemed like every time I got my hands dirty, the 'phone would ring. I can't begin to guess how many clean-up rags I wasted! I got to thinking: "There must be an easier way to grease roller bearings."There was: but it took a few years to perfect. At night, I drew up sketches of a special canister that could dispense grease from a pre.packaged grease cartridge without mess or wastage. In fact, my design meant that there was almost zero handling of the grease: exactly what I needed!

I refined my sketches, secured a metalworking lathe and developed several working prototypes - each slightly better than the last. Eventually, the design was perfected and I patented the design.

Over the years there has been constant research and various stages of development and production. But now thanks to high quality production dies, I arrived at a light, sturdy and durable product I'm proud to offer to other motor mechanics. It isn't the first version - but it's definitely the best!

And what about Roller Cleaner 1?

This came into the world a little easier. After Roller Packa 1 became a permanent addition to the workshop, we were able to repack bearings easily. But cleaning bearings of their old grease was still a nasty job. It struck me that the simple, compact design of the Roller Packa 1 leant itself to the development of a great cleaning device.

After making the preliminary sketches, I developed a series of prototypes using different materials, all based around the basic dimensions of the grease cartridge. I was amazed at how well the prototypes worked! After a little more research, I designed and produced durable parts which could be used reliably time after time. The result is the Roller Cleaner 1.

What else have you invented?

As an inventor your mind is always alive with new ideas and ways to improve the items we have around us. I've got a collection of tools, gadgets and gizmos I've developed over the years. Like the pipe-flaring tool I developed for the installation of air conditioning pipes. Or the de-burring device I came up with for finishing copper tubes. And then there's all the smaller little gizmos I've developed to make my life as an auto mechanic a little easier. Specialised tools for the furnishing industry and there are more in the pipeline. Just around the corner are some exciting variations on the Roller Packa and Roller Cleaner series for road haul and the aviation industry.

What advice would you give to other budding inventors?

Firstly, before you commit time and energy to following your idea - be sure to ask yourself one thing: is there a market for it? Coming up with a great invention is only half the story. If only a handful of people really want what you've developed, you can waste a lot of time and money. However, once you're sure that it's a true blue winner, get some legal advice, protect your confidentiality and file a patent. These things will protect your commercial advantage down the track. Finally, once those things are sorted - go for it! And don't give up! Sometimes a good idea takes years to come good, but when it does it's worth all the hard work. It’s a good feeling to see other people using your products and enjoying the benefits that came from your idea.

Got a question for Noel? Contact us and we'll post it here.

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