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Ariens makes Iowa boys' invention become a reality
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Eli
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« on: December 28, 2009, 22:55:17 »

Good inventions are still coming along! This was by 2 teenagers!  Early teens at that!

Quote
Ariens makes Iowa boys' invention become a reality

Snowblowers spread salt with MeltBuddy

By Larry Avila
Gannett Wisconsin Media

A couple of years ago, two boys from Iowa came up with an idea for a salt-spreading accessory for a snowblower.

The device was simple. As the operator cleared snow, with a flip of a lever, the accessory would release a small amount of salt in one pass.

Today the invention of Matt Moran, 13, and Sam Hipple, 14, both of Davenport, Iowa, has evolved into the Ariens MeltBuddy Spot Spreader, which retails for $39.99 at Home Depot and is available for sale on the home improvement center's Web site, at authorized Ariens dealers and in retail outlets in Canada and Europe.

"It's pretty cool to see the product at Home Depot," Moran said. He was 12 when the idea was conceived for the 2007 Invent Iowa contest. Hipple was 13 at the time. Their invention landed a meritorious award from Invent Iowa.

The boys' story of how their invention became reality is featured on the MeltBuddy's packaging. The invention got the attention of Dan Ariens, owner and president of Ariens Co. in Brillion, a maker of outdoor commercial and residential power equipment, when someone sent him a picture of the boys' device attached to an Ariens' snowblower.

Ariens later worked out an agreement with Moran and Hipple to patent, license and distribute the invention. Moran and Hipple receive an undisclosed royalty from all MeltBuddy sales.

"The product has been doing great," Ariens said. "It's gotten a lot of attention in the stores. People have been ordering the accessory with snow blowers."

Moran, Hipple and their families visited Ariens' facilities in Brillion in the fall when the MeltBuddy went into production.

Ariens said the boys produced one MeltBuddy and also saw the product's entire production and packing process.

"They got some experience what the production process was like," Ariens said.

Moran and Hipple have spoken at schools around their hometown to encourage other students to present ideas to adults.

"It's been fun to talk to other students about what we did," Moran said. He and Hipple also have toured other factories in Iowa.

Hipple said different manufacturing facilities he has seen were not what he expected.

"The plants were very organized and clean," he said.

Rene Hipple, Sam's mother, said she and Matt's parents are very proud of their sons' accomplishments.

"We've heard so many nice things from friends and business colleagues," she said. "It's great that their idea has become a product that's sold throughout the country."


Additional Facts
Ariens MeltBuddy Spot Spreader

# What it does: It's an accessory that attaches to a snowblower that releases salt or some other ice melt material.
# How it originated: It was developed from an invention entered in the Invent Iowa competition in 2007 by Matt Moran, 13, and Sam Hipple, 14 of Davenport, Iowa.
# Where it's produced: Brillion, by the Ariens Co., a maker of outdoor commercial and residential power equipment.
# Retail cost: $39; available through Ariens dealers and Home Depot.
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