An innovative Burleigh-based company has developed a unique rust proofing system now being distributed throughout the world. Gold Coast Business News caught up with general manager Grant Taylor, who tells us there is nothing corrosive about his business.
Tell us a about CouplerTec?
CouplerTec is a wholly Australian owned and operated company with its registered head office at Burleigh. There are presently a team of six employees as well as specialist consultants in the fields of research and development, testing, marketing and packaging.
The CouplerTec systems are designed primarily for motor vehicles with systems available for cars, four-wheel drives, trucks and machinery. The primary target market is all people who enjoy the great outdoors, the beach, camping and four-wheel driving. Mining and government sectors have also been a primary focus in the company’s development.
The actual CouplerTec units or systems, as they are also known, protect motor vehicles as well as mining company vehicles from rust. The computerised capacitive coupling technology has also been applied to many other applications such as steel-framed houses and buildings, sheds and colorbond roofs. If it is susceptible it can rust, it can be protected with CouplerTec.
Can you tell us, in layman’s terms how the technology works?
In order to explain how CouplerTec Rust Protection Systems work, we first need to explain exactly what is rust. Rust is an electrochemical reaction that occurs when moisture and oxygen comes into contact with bare metal. Dents or depressions in the metal can trap moisture, increasing contact time and allowing rust to take hold. The rate of rusting can also increase with temperature. High humidity can accelerate rust as can saltwater spray. Rust is the end result of the loss of electrons from within the metal.
Oxygen combines with the metal atom and forms FE2O3 – also known as ferric oxide, more commonly known as rust.
CouplerTec electronic rust proofing systems interfere with the oxidisation cycle, and in effect, trick nature. This is achieved by feeding a small flow of electrons into the vehicle so the supply of electrons exceeds the demand, or loss of electrons.
In creating a capacitor, the pad affixed to the paint acts as the positive plate of the capacitor, the paint becomes the dielectric which in turn holds the charge static (keeps the electrons from flowing away) and the body of the vehicle or structure then acts as the negative plate in the capacitor. The end result is a large capacitor; the pad is the positive plate, paint is the dielectric, and the motor vehicle’s body is the negative plate.
Electrons are built between the positive plate and the negative plate and the paint keeps them there. Even if a vehicle endures a stone chip, the CouplerTec system ensures no rust will take hold.
Which countries do you export to and in percentage terms what amount of your product gets exported?
CouplerTec’s primary major international market is Canada with a flow on to the bordering northern states of the United States of America. In Canada the use of salt on the roads as a de-icing agent during winter and times of heavy snow and the use of salt on the roads add to the acceleration of rust and corrosion in motor vehicles.
The new markets presently being developed include Dubai and Bahrain with CouplerTec in attendance at the upcoming Auto Meckanika Trade Fair in Dubai in 2009 promoting Australian ingenuity.
There are more than 500,000 CouplerTec systems sold throughout the world.
How has the downturn in the economy affected your business and how have you overcome the presented challenges?
The growth in the company has slowed but it is still increasing in sales volume. The CouplerTec story is a story of hard work and exhaustive testing to ensure that innovative products, and technology is created for the benefit of all.
The financial savings for government, mining companies and individuals that is resultant of the elimination of corrosive rust, ensures that CouplerTec Rust Protection Systems offer a significant return on the minimal investment required to protect valuable vehicles and machinery.
CouplerTec has invested and made a significant financial commitment to funding research and development as well as exhaustive testing to produce a superior product for the benefit of all.
Can you tell us about some of your clients?
CouplerTec’s client include BHP, Rio Tinto, Cat, John Deere and various government departments to name a few.
What has been most rewarding for you in the business?
It has been rewarding to grow the brand into a respected international brand with international patents pending.
What are the future plans for Couplertec?
The contents of the CouplerTec business plan and marketing plans for Australia and international markets are obviously closely guarded secrets, but it is safe to say with now more than half a million CouplerTec electronic rust protection systems protecting vehicles on three continents, further international expansion is planned with targets and goals in place as well as a timeline for the sale and installation of the one millionth system.
With patents pending for Canada, The United States of America, the United Arab Emirates and all countries within the European Union the future continues to look bright for CouplerTec. We hope to expand in new markets such as China, India, South-East Asia; as well as continuing growth in the Arab region, Switzerland and Northern Scandinavia.
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