An Austrian farmer believes he has solved the problem of how to make a three-point linkage quick-hitch that not only allows operators to attach the implement to the tractor without leaving the seat, but also automatically couples the pto shaft and hydraulic hoses.
Beef producer Johann Gangl has formed a company, Gangl Docking Systems, to manufacture and produce his invention. He is now looking to sign overseas importers and reckons sales will top 1,000 units by the end of 2012.
Aside from the merits of faster implement hitching, cleaner hands and less swearing, there are significant safety advantages to the system, suggests GDS. It points out that in Austria alone, 13% of all tractor accidents occur when putting on and taking off implements.
Four models are available – a simple linkage coupler with or without automatic locking, a version incorporating pto and a top-spec model with pto and a double-acting hydraulic coupling.
All versions use the Category II couplings found on mid-sized tractors and the firm says all of them will suit draft implements as well as those that work above ground.
What does it do?
The system comprises two main elements – a coupling frame mounted on the tractor’s three-point linkage and a secondary frame fitted to each implement, into which are installed the machine’s pto shaft and hydraulic hoses.
Pto and hydraulic services must also be preinstalled into the tractor end of things.
On higher-spec models a valve block is incorporated and pre-plumbed by the purchaser into a double-acting spool on the tractor. Implements lock automatically when the linkage is raised and are detached hydraulically by unlocking a latch system.
How does it work in practice?
First, the driver raises the linkage so that the upper part of the hitch slots into the corresponding bit of the secondary frame. Then, he inches the tractor forward a little until the latch on the upper link point locks.
A diverter valve then draws together the pto shaft mating plate on the tractor and the shaft stub on the implement.
How long does it take?
To couple up an implement with pto and hydraulic spools takes no longer than six seconds, reckons the firm, and a brief drive on the launch day showed this to be a fair claim. In addition to reductions in wasted time, there are significant fuel savings to be had, says GDS.
Price for the coupling module is €2,300-4,700 (approx £1,870-£3,820), depending on whether you have opted for linkage-only, linkage + pto or linkage + pto + hydraulics)
The secondary frames that fit on the implements cost between €230 and €470 (approx £186- £380) depending on complexity.
Find out more
A UK importer is being appointed but in the meantime the company can be contacted by emailing email@example.com. There’s also a video on www.ganglsystems.com.
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