Award-winning SAV-EFF fast fall system a success for the marine and boating industries
Savwinch makes drum-style electric boat anchor winches and accessories for the marine and boating industries. Their core innovation is the SAV-EFF, an electronically controlled, variable speed unit that allows the winch to drop the anchor as fast as a free fall system but with complete user control.
Design of the Savwinch SAV-EFF eliminates the need for a mechanical clutch, the main source of breakdowns, line snarls and anchor line ‘over runs’. The product currently sells through distributorship networks and to consumers at boat shows Australia-wide and overseas. It can also potentially be used in other applications such as mining, research, medical and defence.
Nick and Eleni Savva, owners of Savwinch, are fishing and boating devotees who developed the SAV-EFF in response to a gap in the market. After gaining no commitment from big companies, they worked nights and weekends in their garage at home, along with another young, local engineer, taking two years of hard work to perfect the product.
“When it came to the product testing and development stage, we were limited by finance and found the grant application process too onerous,” said Eleni. “Another barrier to innovation for us was the cost of intellectual property. To patent the SAV-EFF internationally is very expensive, and difficult to come up with a budget to patent it on every continent and in every country.”
Effective collaboration is how Savwinch is able to make and sell a quality product. They engage several local businesses to provide parts for the manufacture of the winches and accessories. They ensure these businesses meet high quality standards and are now working on R&D to broaden their range.
“We’re committed to local manufacture. We make our stainless steel fabrication, fast falls and motors here in Australia, and assemble the products here,” Eleni explained. “Our aim is to invest in our business, but also our local area, in local manufacturers and in Australian manufacturing. Because nobody else makes a product like ours – it’s a world first – we had to work out how best to make it. We’re in a competitive industry and we’re continually looking at ways to do things better.
“Keeping costs down to deal with aggressive competitors is always a challenge for us. Supply chain issues are also difficult sometimes but we’re constantly learning. To keep up with demand we order in bulk because waiting times for components can be lengthy. It’s a drain on our finances but the only way we can make sure our customers get their orders filled on time. To deal with our challenges and make sure we can get to the next level, we’ll be engaging with professionals to help us develop our next strategic plan.”
The SAV-EFF itself is an energy saving device. The motors draw half the current of a normal electric winch so that they don’t drain power from the boat. They run off the boat battery’s 12 volt supply, so there is no need for another power source. The winch is the lowest noise winch on the market, well below the allowable DBA levels of the EPA. And they have no electrical/oil seals, so there are no leaks due to the unique fully sealed gearbox design.
At the moment exports are primarily to New Zealand, where that country’s largest boating retailer distributes Savwinch’s products, and there are plans to move into other markets internationally in the future.
“The challenge for us is resources to export, and the cost. We know we have a great product but we need to find ways to get the finance to export to key markets,” Eleni added. “Our goals for the future are to continue to invest in R&D, to make boating more enjoyable and safer for people. And we want to take our products to the world. It’s an exciting time.”
The SAV-EFF won the 2012 Victorian Marine Industry Innovation Award winner, was a finalist in the 2014 New Zealand International Innovation Award and in 2015 won the International Innovation Award category. They have also won a local Manufacturing award and continue to be recognized for their success in business and product innovation.
You can find out more about Savwinch by visiting www.savwinch.com.au