12 May 2000

Auto-attach device puts safety first

ATTACHING implements to a tractors three-point linkage is not with out its dangers – as many operators will testify.

Unexpected movement of either the tractor or the implement can result in a nasty bone-crushing accident.

David McVeigh, who farms at Kenton Hall, near Stowmarket, believes he now has the safe solution – an automatic implement attachment system.

"Standing between a tractor and an implement is a dangerous place to be," he says. "And having someone sitting in the tractor cab with his foot on the clutch pedal – as people frequently do – can make things even worse."

Mr McVeigh calls his system the Implink. He concedes it is not a totally new concept, but it is one he has now developed and refined so it can be used to handle the heavy implements modern farming now employs.

It comprises two parts – one for the tractor and one for the implement. At the tractor end a sturdy A-frame is attached to the top link and lower linkage arms. But then it is perhaps unfair to call it A-shaped – it has short vertical sections above the two arm connection points, two sloping sections and a short horizontal top. This top section has two pins which locate in corresponding holes in the similarly shaped frame attached to the implement.

When connected – the tractors frame is lowered to "scoop" up and into the implements frame – two hydraulically-powered locking pins then secure the frames together.

Hydraulic supply is from the tractors spool valves. Once the pins are locked in place by tap, the hydraulic supply is available for other duties from two spool valves attached to the side of the frame – no more climbing over linkage arms.

"The beauty of the system is that it is both safer and quicker," says Mr McVeigh. "For a farmer or contractor wanting to swap implements – a plough to a hedge trimmer, for example – it could save hours every week."

Removing an implement, he says, is equally straightforward. "With the frame not being totally A-shaped there is no pinching of metal at the top."

And according to Mr McVeigh, stringent field trials with a variety of implements and powerful tractors have all been successful with no hint of failure.

With the Implink poised for full production plans are being made to market it.

"It is early days," he says. "But I think that the system should retail for about £1595 for the tractor frame and £275 for each of the implement frames. Remember, removing the implement frames reverts the implement back to a standard, three-point linkage attachment unit." &#42

Tractor end of the Implink. Note the two fixed locating pins at the top of the frame and the hydraulically locking pins on the side. Spool valve connection points can also be seen.

David McVeigh: "The system is both safer and quicker."