How an 80s TV hero inspires Mackay’s own MacGyver




Ryan Norris never stops.

He has never not walked through a door of opportunity. 

It is what he calls his ‘gut feeling’ a perfect match to his problem-solving heart.

Ryan is the CEO and founder of Vayeron- a technology company that has created a world class product known as the Smart Idler, which was developed in response to an unaddressed challenge for the bulk material handling industry.

How the Smart Idler works is holistic and effective monitoring and maintenance of conveyor rollers in belt conveyors- in short to keep them moving 24/7.

“The Smart Idler goes inside the rollers and monitors the condition of the roller, predicts the eventual failure and provides enough time to action its maintenance before it becomes something that stops the belt on an unplanned basis,” Ryan said. 

The idea for Vayeron started growing legs after Ryan could not shake the idea, constantly thinking about ‘why’ it would not work.

After studying Mechanical Engineering at CQUniversity he took a graduate position with a conveyor consultancy in the Bowen Basin, which gave him a good grounding in our conveyors work. 

With bootstrap funding Ryan sold his boat and took a loan from his Mum and Dad.

“I had to scrounge the pennies together to make the protype.

 “For a graduate engineer at the time on a graduate salary it is a really crazy financial commitment to be making, but it did take a long time to try and kill the idea and I couldn’t come up with a good enough reason not to,” Ryan said.

From there he partnered with his business partner who had the electronic development capability and was one of the reasons the initial versions of the product was possible.

By 2014 the protype was built but Ryan had run out of money, so he used the protype to raise capital from investors.

“From 2015 onwards we really ramped up and scaled the development of the technology and come mid 2018 we had the technology we could bring to market and we were comfortable to sell it to clients and we have been commercialized since then.

“So, we are 24 months into - it is going from strength to strength. We grew 105% on the 2019 financial year in comparison with the 2018 year and we doubled that in 2020 and it looks like we will triple that in 2021,” he said. 

During the time from 2012 to now Ryan said it felt as if he was on autopilot, when reflecting on the journey to this point in his transformation.

“I think that was a large part because I believed in it that much, no matter what kind of challenge came up it was never a showstopper in my mind. It was not because I was consciously saying I must not give up and I must move ahead, instead my frame of mind was, it is problem, but I am sure we will find a way around it.

“Once you decide to commit the key is to keep chipping away, if you just stay in the game, doors open. Do not say no, just go through that door you will be surprised where that leads you,” he said.

Ryan was born in Zimbabwe, South Africa and his family migrated to Western Australia, before later moving to Mackay.

As a young boy he loved watching MacGyver and loved how the TV character could get out of any situation with a toothpick and elastic band. Ryan said he always had a wild imagination of various inventions and was always drawn to inventing things.

“I have always been innovative; I have this real vague memory from when I was about 5 years old and writing to Holden because I wanted to design a car for them and they were going to upgrade their car, it was the most ridiculous outlandish idea that resembled more of a spaceship,” he smiled.

 For Ryan problem solving is the heart of innovation and an important part of business.

“If you are not solving people’s problems you haven’t got a business essentially, any business should exist to solve problems and add value.

Vayeron have recently signed Precision Pulley & Idler (PPI) as a global premium partner, along with global adoption of the Smart Idler system in Canada, USA and Latin American countries.

“Our technology represents where the industry is heading, PPI represents the big company that has the huge brand and the industry but not at the forefront of digital technology and we work well together, we provide that digital technology edge that is in line with the way the industry is going, Ryan said.  


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