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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Australian Inventor develops new CVT tranmission

WHEN you can brag your invention is an improvement on one of Leonardo Da Vinci's models, you know you're in good company. Perhaps the modern day equivalent is having your invention on The New Inventors program on ABC TV. Ormiston resident Steve urnin can lay claim to both accolades with his new take on the traditional gearbox set to appear on TV tomorrow night.

While cars today use a'step transmission' gear system, which moves between set ratios to determine gears, Steve has a new take on the 'infinite variable transmission' concept, which does away with steps and regulated ratios to give an infinite number of gears. "I've been working on the concept as a sort of brainteaser for the last 20 years, though my day job is a plumber, now as a plumbing inspector, but inventor by night!" he said. "My wife and I named it my soup-tin gearbox because a lot of the early designs and trial runs I did on the kitchen table using all her soup tins, with bandaids around them for better grip. She put up with a lot!"

STEVE said his design could potentially lead to much greater fuel efficiency in cars, in theory saving about 20 per cent, though he has now caught the eye of an interested party in Melbourne in the electric car business.
“The gearbox still has gears, there’s nothing fancy about them, just the way they move is special,” he said.
“The beauty is that when the car is in motion, it can be at optimal fuel saving level, whether it’s at 1km/h or 100km/h.”

While The New Inventors episode will feature Steve’s engine prototype, built to demonstrate the principles of how it all works, he says the real test will be when a workable model with the prototype engine is built.
“The primary focus would be on using it in cars, but it could also be used in heavy vehicles that use 20 speed gears and would really benefit from the spectrum of gears, there’s an enormous market there,” he said. “Because it’s not using ‘stepped gears’, in theory the transition between these gears should be a lot more smooth too.”

Steve secured a patent in a number of countries for his design, but says he’s a “serial inventor”, also naming a wheelchair made for rough terrain and climbing stairs as a project he’s working on. “My brother-in-law is wheelchair bound, and I believe sometimes you have to give a bit back to others,” he said. “We settled in Australia 23 years ago after living in England, Canada and Africa, and I’d like to see my design stay in Australia and benefit industry here as much as possible.”

Bayside Bulletin

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