Fourteen months after his Cool Tube invention scooped the pool at the Queensland Mining Industry Health and Safety Conference innovation awards, central Queensland’s Mark Gleadhill says its success has exceeded all expectations.
Since the awards recognition in August last year, Mr Gleadhill has received $100,000 in State Government funding, meaning he can refine his invention as he looks to boost sales at a national and international level.
Mr Gleadhill came up with the idea in 2015 that vortex technology could be used to power a portable airconditioner which could reduce heat stress and other overheating issues in workplaces like underground mining sites.
Mr Gleadhill said he had sold about 200 of the Cool Tube units through he and wife Vanessa’s company Cool Mine Pty Ltd, with 70 per cent of sales in Queensland, 16 per cent in New South Wales and the rest overseas.
“Two-hundred units in the last 12 months is a pretty good result, particularly when it is a product which is new to mining,” Mr Gleadhill said.
Thanks to the Government’s Advance Queensland funding and publicity about the Cool Tube’s initial success, he is now hoping to crack what would be a lucrative Western Australian market.
He admits, though, that taking the Cool Tube from the invention phase to a fully fledged product has involved a steep learning curve.
“It has been a difficult process at times because it has all happened so quickly,” Mr Gleadhill said.
“The last 12 months have been a real journey and the Cool Tube has evolved rapidly.
“We’ve been focused lately on research and development, thanks to the State Government grant, and the need to ensure we get it just right before going full steam ahead.
“If all goes to plan we’re hoping to be able to release the latest design by summer.”
And while building a national, and even international, profile would be great, Mr Gleadhill is also proud of the fact a small start-up company making its mark is from Yeppoon in Central Queensland.
“It has exceeded all expectations and we’re continually raising the bar based on how successful the Cool Tube has been,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Livingstone Shire Council, based in Yeppoon, has lauded Cool Mine as an example of a successful Central Queensland start-up company.
The council is calling on other local start-ups and innovators to get in touch with it as it looks to build a network of local talent.
“By adopting a ‘smart region agenda’, the council is encouraging innovative people to move to the Capricorn Coast region and is creating opportunities to retain our smart young people, making us a much more attractive, smart and productive community,” deputy mayor Nigel Hutton said.