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Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Hunter inventor set to impress green thumbs

Peter McKinnon loves solving problems.

Drawing on his knowledge of construction and design, the Novocastrian innovator quite literally re-invented the wheel last month.

From his Beresfield-based business, Mr McKinnon launched the Omnia Plant Glider, a plant dolly that holds up to 90kg and boasts a multi-directional, swivel caster system.

The potted plant trolley, produced in the Hunter, was born from a lack of suitable options available in the gardening market, and to impress family members who’d requested a back-saving invention.

“There’s hundreds of different types of these things on the market,” Mr McKinnon said.

“But they’re all low-quality products.

“I noticed boutique nurseries tended not to stock any of them because none of them really lived up to expectation.”

The challenge, Mr McKinnon said, was to create a potted plant mover that was both functional and good-looking.

“It really does look great and compliments people’s pots rather than detracting from them,” he said.

“Just think of those shopping trolleys that are stubborn in their movements.

“This is a wheel, just like they are, but this has a lot more directional movement and load stability, it potentially has unlimited uses.”

The wheel technology used in the Omnia Plant Glider offers 360-degree manoeuvrability, better directional control and tracking, precise positioning, minimal wheel space/housing requirements, simple mounting, non-marking polyurethane rollers, load stability, load distribution and a rust-free construction.

Gaining support from several Hunter businesses, Mr McKinnon is now hoping his invention will impress green thumbs across the globe.

“It’s the first dolly of its kind – and price-point – that won’t corrode or easily tip by getting caught in cracks and gaps,” he said.

“It can easily move heavy plants (up to 90kg), can be customised to suit any colour/design and it looks like part of the pot.

“It’s being supplied to Coles and Woolworths and we’re hoping to crack the US and European markets this year.”

Managing Director of Omnia (formally Rotacaster) Mr McKinnon has more than 20 years in the building and construction industry.

“We like to say we’re a 15-year-old start-up business that’s hoping to be a 16-year-old overnight success,” he said.

The Omnia Plant Glider is 100% Australian-made and comes with a three-year warranty.

Omnia also recently won Manufacturer of the Year at the Hunter Manufacturing Awards.