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Simcro Director Wins 2009 Bayer Innovators Award for Design and Engineering

Simcro executive director, Rod Walker was awarded the 2009 Bayer Innovators Award for design and engineering at a ceremony in Auckland this week.

Hamilton-based Simcro is a design manufacturing company that specialises in providing customised animal health delivery solutions to the pharmaceutical industry. “I am extremely pleased and honoured to receive this award. I work with a highly skilled and talented team of designers and engineers, and clients who have the confidence that Simcro can deliver highly innovative products,” comments Mr Walker who is head of research and development at Simcro.

The 2009 Bayer Innovators Award recognises the importance of the modern innovator in five categories: Science and Health; Design and Engineering; Agriculture and the Environment; Research and Development and Information Technology and Communications.

The award judges said of Mr Walker that: “This winner has developed a unique, innovative delivery system that makes you wonder how we managed with the traditional method for so long. The innovation has revolutionised sheep drenching for farmers. His invention was developed specifically as a result of his own agricultural experience on his family farm, and in direct response to a request from Novartis.”

In 2006, Novartis Animal Health, Switzerland, challenged Simcro and several of their global competitors to supply a revolutionary new sheep drenching system to launch a new drench, ZOLVIX® (monepantel). Simcro rose to the challenge with the development of the Optiline™ drench gun.

Mr Walker challenged the design of the traditional pistol-grip style drench gun, which had not changed from its basic form in 30 years.

The inherent design flaw of the pistol-grip gun is that the drench nozzle points away from the operator, requiring them to rotate their hand through 180 degrees to administer the drench into the sheep’s mouth.

The resulting incompatible bio-mechanics create significant operator fatigue and discomfort, and with sustained use, injury to the wrist, forearm and back.

The Optiline™ drench gun overcomes these problems by having the drench nozzle protruding from the base of the operator’s hand, allowing for a natural presentation of the drench gun with precise control, thus greatly minimising stress to the operator and animal.

A professional engineer, Mr Walker has more than 20 years’ experience in engineering design, product commissioning, project management and commercialisation of new products in the animal health, pharmaceutical and agricultural sectors. The Optiline™ drench gun is just one example of Mr Walker’s work from the Simcro range of products.

Simcro’s international partners include Novartis Animal Health Inc, Pfizer, Schering-Plough Intervet, Merial, Ancare, and Argenta.

The company currently exports over 90 percent of its products to more than 65 countries.

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