How a great idea takes shape
One of the most simple, yet highly successful electrical inventions of all time is the “C-indicator”.
The C-indicator is effectively a broken plastic washer for insertion in a mains-power connecter head.
Since Robert Battle from Sicame developed the C-indicator in 2005, it has grown to become one of the greatest selling items of its class.
The C-indicator is now a common sight beneath new power pole installations all over the country, and South East Queensland in particular.
A simple yet effective solution
Mains-power electrical connectors have connector heads with a tip that is sheared off when the connecter is properly fastened.
In the past, linesmen checking electrical connectors from the ground could not reliably tell whether or not the small connector tip had actually been sheared off. The result of a poorly secured connecter is that live powerlines can become loose resulting in electrocution and death.
The highly visible C-indicator can be snapped sideways onto the connecter head. The C-indicator will axially drop off when the connector tip is sheared during proper tightening of the connector. Accordingly, linesmen can readily see that the C-indicator is absent which indicates a safe connection.
The C-indicator may appear straightforward, but hindsight is always 20/20. Although the simplicity and effectiveness of the C-indicator was initially apparent, nobody could predict the ultimate success of the product in advance.
It wasn’t long before competitors started selling the C-indicator. Patents put a swift end to the copying. Instead, competitors were then forced to design around the patents with their own more expensive and less elegant solutions. This has helped the humble C-indicator maintain its rightful place as a market leader.