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  THE NATAL WITNESS THE NATAL WITNESS, FRIDAY, MARCH 14, 2003
 
         
        Donald Freeman, the inventor of the unique telescopic ladder, with two examples of the Smart Step ladder.
  Success for new ladders
EXPOSURE at the 2003 Royal Show paved the way for exhibitor Donald Freeman to expand his range of Smart Step patented telescopic and collapsible ladders.
Sharing a stand with the manufacturer of the ladders city-based aluminium fabricator Ampliform, Freeman solicited orders for a shorter ladder.
"I was amazed at the response and it was on the strength of the enquiries that we made smaller version of the models exhibited
 
the show, but with identical capabilities."
The ladders have aroused the interest of an Australian distributor who also serves the New Zealand market.
"We're engaged in negotiations with the company and look forward to some exciting news in the near future," he said.
Freeman designed the ladders after battling with unwieldy ladders during his 15-year electrician career.
Business Correspondent
         
             
 

Adjustable ladder a smart invention

Derek Alberts
Local Business

AN adjustable ladder with telescopic legs is about to go places its backers could only have dreamed of.
Designed in Durban, manufactured in Pietermaritzburg and marketed from Pinetown, the aptly named Smart Step ladder will replace at least five different pieces of equipment courtesy of its simple, effective construction. Its design was inspired by the practical experience of its inventor, former electrician Donald Freeman. ‟Imagine carrying a two-metre-long ladder up an eight-storey flight of stairs because it doesn`t fit into the lift, and then discovering it needs to be used on the staircase.”
It did not take Freeman long to realize that an extension ladder was too long and an ordinary step ladder too short for his application. Once he identified the need for an adjustable ladder, Freeman quickly refined the concept and patented the design. ‟It can be adjusted for the legs to sit on three different heights with a stabiliser bar keeping the ladder rigid,” he said.


         
        Photo DEREK ALBERTS
    Ampliform MD Sean Daly (left) and designer Donald Freeman with the revolutionary ladder.
   

The ladder has a reach variance of just over 1,5 metres, measuring 1,98 meters and extending to 3,5 metres. To have the ladder manufactured, he approached Ampliform,a specialist aluminium fabricator in Mkondeni. “We … chose Ampliform because of its technological expertise.” Ampliform MD Sean Daly said the first consignment was completed in October and the outlook

  for orders is highly promising.
Daly and Freeman say the reception of the ladder has prompted investigations into possible export.
‟ We believe it has what it takes to compete in the global marketplace,” said Daly.
 
 
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