Inventions Comp 2021: Steven Bell’s tractor access lift

Steven Bell’s tractor access lift

Steven Bell developed a tractor access lift for a Perthshire farmer whose ill health caused him to struggle getting in and out of his Valtra tractor.

Mr Bell, who has been a blacksmith for 42 years, had built a small house lift for his own father who struggled with MS.

However, one of the main challenges with the tractor version was getting the lift to work without the machine running, meaning he couldn’t rely on the engine or hydraulics for power. 

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He built his first iteration after drawing up a few basic plans on 2D CAD software. It provided a raise and lower function via a hydraulic ram, though he says it took a few tweaks to the geometry of the mechanism and length of the ram to achieve the required travel distance from the floor to the cab.

To power it, he tapped into the tractor’s 12V battery. This runs a hydraulic pump neatly mounted at the base of the exhaust, moving the lift up and down when engaged by a two-way power pack on the platform.

The beauty of his design is that it required no alterations to the tractor, so the steps can be refitted if the machine is sold. The platform also tucks neatly within the tractor’s footprint and allows the door to be opened and closed, no matter its position.

He has since had a number of enquiries from other operators with health conditions. Though he hasn’t totted up the total cost, the long hours spent designing the system were worth it because the end product has transformed one farmer’s life.

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