Toowoomba-based saddlemakers Paul and Clint Gollan are turning to the same radio frequency identification (RFID) technology that is used to track livestock to deter would-be thieves from stealing saddles.
With individual saddles worth $2000 plus, and their own hand-made saddles ranging upwards from $3800, saddle theft is a large and growing problem in the bush, the father and son craftsmen say.
Like most saddle makers Paul and Clint individually number their saddles, but external physical markings such as engraved metal plates and brands can be removed by thieves.
A chance meeting at a Cloncurry field day last year with an NLIS tag supplier and a police stock squad officer gave Clint the idea to use concealed RFID chips within saddles to provide a permanent form of identification.
The polymer-coated chips the Gollans now use from Datamars are smaller in size than a paracetamol capsule but have the potential to avert big headaches for customers by deterring potential theft.
The tiny devices are concealed well inside each saddle, and would be all but impossible for a thief to remove without destroying the saddle, but can be easily read with a simple wave of a handheld RFID wand reader.
The polymer design of the ID chip makes it resistant to shock and therefore provided greater longevity than glass-based chips, making the devices suitable for embedding in saddles.
- Clint and Paul Gollan from Paul Gollan Saddlery will demonstrate the use of RFID technology their stand at Beef 2012 at outdoor site 84.