Northern Star

Dean's had bright (and shiny) idea

TEVEN inventor Dean Klower has a thirst for knowledge that goes back to his childhood.

“Every toy I got at Christmas was in small bits by lunch,” said the electrician.

And now he has taken on the world with his passion for tinkering.

“Some got back together, some didn't.”

Now his keen mind for technical detail and a deft hand with tools have created a world first in portable electro-polishing.

Working alone in his Teven shed and assisted by his ever-supportive wife Suzanne, Dean chipped away at a solution for polishing welded stainless steel that has frustrated craftspeople for years.

All stainless steel work, whether it be for a veranda balustrade or a piece of mining equipment, normally relies on a lot of dangerous hydrofluoric acid to clean the dirty weld before manually polishing it back to a high lustre.

"If you look at the data about 70 per cent of the cost of a stainless steel item lies in polishing the welds," Dean explains.

Now, the inventor's patented machine does all of this with, literally, the wave of a magic wand.

Electric current, about 2400 watts, applied to the weld, with a weak acid to assist the process, actually removes iron molecules from the metal and reveals a shiny chromium-rich stainless steel surface.

With the unit price about $5500, the same cost as a high-end welder, small shops specialising in quality stainless work can now produce those results quicker, and cheaper.

His first prototype machine filled his shed and produced mediocre results, but it was a start.

Eighteen months later he was still refining, and spending.

An estimated $200,000 of his own money went into this project before an investor came on board.

Now Dean's portable product is proving itself in the workplace, with units purchased by small shops like Byron's Optimus Creative Manufacturing to industry giants like Bluescope Steel.

This week his invention took first place on ABC TV's New Inventors program, and now inquiries are coming in from all over the world.

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