Farmer's son invents innovative dial-reading tool

Tom McNamara is now on the hunt for additional farms willing to take part in device trials
Tom McNamara is now on the hunt for additional farms willing to take part in device trials

A young entrepreneur and farmer's son has invented an innovative dial-reading tool that has the potential to save farmers significant time and money.

Tom McNamara’s device, called a ‘freeup’, can be mounted onto any kind of equipment or machinery to read and record their analogue dials, instantly making them ‘smart’.

It is currently being tested on three farms: Overbury Enterprises, Gloucestershire, Stackpole Farm in Pembrokeshire and Cheshire's Reaseheath College.

Tom has established his own company to develop the device, and he is now on the hunt for more farms willing to take part in trials.

The invention can read the value on any dial, as frequently as needed. Readings are recorded on a webpage and, if they move outside the parameters set by the operator, they will be notified via text message.

The ability to review the data gathered over time supports better informed decision-making, he said, and the data can also be exported for use in any other software.

“It is not realistic for most farmers to replace their expensive analogue equipment with digitised versions," Tom explained.

"The freeup offers the solution by making any piece of equipment with a traditional dial ‘smart’.

"It doesn’t matter what the dial measures, when it was built, what brand it is - the freeup will automate it.”

The entrepreneur recently trialled his tool at Agri-EPI Centre's Overbury Enterprises, where it is mounted on the water irrigation system.

It is also being trialled at Stackpole Farm for monitoring water pressure in a bore pump and Reaseheath College where it is being put to various uses in the milking parlour.

Overbury Farm Manager Jake Freestone said: “Whilst irrigating, we use the freeup to monitor water pressure on the irrigation reel which alerts us to significant changes in pressure, allowing us to react quickly to any problems.

"We are now looking at other applications across the farm and estate.”