Numnuts: an example of Design Engineering Improving the Welfare of Production Animals 2 CPD Points


The South East Queensland Branch invites you to hear from Robin Smith, Numnuts Director, who will present the story of how Vets, Scientists and Engineers have worked together to create two global firsts, both launched in Australia during the last 5yrs, that have improved the lives of millions of sheep, on Aussie shores and beyond. Learn how the production of Barbervax® (the Barber’s Pole worm vaccine) required parasitologists to lean on the skills of engineers to make it economical to manufacture the vaccine at scale and how a chance encounter became the catalysis for a 10 year, lifechanging product development which is Numnuts. The challenge presented to improve lamb marking, was how to make a practical tool which could rapidly apply a tail docking and castrating rubber ring and at the same time deliver a dose of local anaesthetic for graziers to use safely on their lambs in the field. The solution as it is presented today is simple enough, but this talk will look at the challenges both technical and commercial that had to be overcome to bring both products to market without the financial backing of a global pharmaceutical company.

Price levels

14 Jul 2020 to 19 Aug 2020
Full Member $ 0.00
New Graduate $ 0.00
Student $ 0.00

Who should attend

Veterinarians, New Graduates & Students - Small Animal, Sheep & Cattle Vets

Learning outcome

  1. Not all new veterinary products are pharmaceuticals, thinking about problems from a user-centred, design engineering approach can yield novel solutions. 
  2. Our experience might be useful for vets considering developing, commercialising and launching a new product.
  3. The concept of Technology Readiness Levels and how they are essential for providing a roadmap for commercialising innovations  
  4. The regulation and distribution challenges of getting the new hybrid product, like Numnuts, to market
  5. Fundraising capital to launch and sustain growth in the production animal welfare space
  6. An outsider’s perspective on the current lack of livestock vets in rural Australia   
  7. How good professional collaboration, humour and respect between disciplines is essential for new technology to succeed. 
  8. How getting a product like Numnuts to market requires 10% inspiration, 90% perspiration. 


Mr Robin Smith
Robin Smith, a design engineer and the inventor of Numnuts®, describes himself as ‘the black sheep of the family’. Robin’s grandfather, ‘Jimmy’ worked as a cattle Vet in Kenya and Wales and his father Dr David Smith, a parasitologist vet, invented Barbervax®, the world’s first vaccine for a gut dwelling parasitic worm, launched in 2014 in Australia. On graduating from Glasgow University with a 1st Class Masters degree in Product Design Engineering, Robin founded 4c Design, a design engineering consultancy based in Scotland. Being the type of person who likes to “get the job done”, Robin’s approach is hands-on. He is at his best working on practical solutions to engineering problems. Since 2009 Robin’s company has been working in an R&D capacity on pain relief technology to improve farm animal welfare alongside The Moredun Foundation, CSRIO, Meat & Livestock Australia and Australian Wool Innovation. In 2019, Robin and his team completed a successful pilot launch of the Numnuts® device and NumOcaine® Anaesthetic in Australia. To facilitate this new technology into the Australian agricultural/veterinary market, Robin was awarded a distinguished Global Talent visa from the Australian government and moved (with his family) to Brisbane. Senesino Ltd, the company commercialising Numnuts, is a spin-out business from 4c Group. The technology Senesino owns has potential applications in enhancing the safety of drug delivery in both the animal and human health sectors. Senesino is seeking Vet partners and investors to facilitate this upcycling of its technology.

Further details

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Numnuts: an example of Design Engineering Improving the Welfare of Production Animals

Start: 20 August 2020, 7:00PM
End: 20 August 2020, 9:00PM
(QLD time)

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Registration closes on 19 August 2020
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Camilla Broughton