Inventions to the fore

7 February 1997

Inventions to the fore

Lamma, Lincolnshires annual machinery show, attracted not only a large attendance but also a considerable number of machinery manufacturers. Andy Collings reports

FOR the globe-trotting agricultural showgoer, the Lincolnshire Agricultural Machinery Manufacturers Associations annual event makes a refreshing change.

Relatively small in size but nonetheless high in quality, it is an event which traditionally sees the launch of machinery products from companies not normally represented at international venues. And this year the tradition was upheld.

Leading the pack was the first public showing of William Cook Engineers Bale Stacker, a machine which recently won farmers weeklys inventions competition. The brainchild of Keith Ward, the aptly christened Stacker is attached to the rear of a big square baler and is designed to leave stacks of bales in groups of two or three.

Mr Ward reports that, apart from a new blue livery, little has changed from his original prototype, which manipulates bales through a series of sequenced hydraulic manoeuvres.

Recognition that field clearance of big square bales can become a speedy operation when they are grouped in twos and threes (most lorries and trailers require a five-high load) has not been lost on Bourne-based Edward Clarke Materials Handling.

Bale hoist

The company has now launched the Baleboss. Proving there is more than one way of skinning the proverbial cat, it sets about the problem in an entirely different way.

Unlike the Bale Stacker, which at one point in its handling sequence has three bales on their edges before rotating them through 90í to deposit them on the ground, the Clarke design retains them in the position that the bales leave the baler and merely hoists them vertically to create the required stack.

First bale entering the accumulator is lifted by two squeezer panels to allow the second to slide underneath. If a three-bale stack is required the two bales are lifted for a third to be positioned before the whole lot is released out of the back on to the ground. If attached to the large Hesston baler, only two bales can be accommodated.

Simple in operation and considerably shorter than the Bale Stacker, the Baleboss could offer some stiff competition. Prices start at £9164.

Farmer inventions at LAMMA, always a draw for the showgoer, manifested themselves in the form of a quick-attach three-point linkage system and a device for securing fuel or liquid fertiliser taps.

Agricultural engineer James Whites company, Opal Trading of Thirsk, has developed a system designed to take the frustration out of linking an implement to a three-point linkage. While most tractor drivers will take pride in their ability to position a tractor correctly, most would concede that such a device could be a face-saver on a bad day.

Linkage operation

It works like this. Attached to the linkage arms and top link is a secondary unit which has lower link hook-up points that can be hydraulically widened or narrowed to match those of the implement. No more than hooks, they connect to pins which, under normal circumstances would have been placed through the balls of the tractors arms.

Simple so far and, for the discerning reader, totally insecure. It is only when the top link connection is made that the system becomes locked – a short hook is hydraulically powered down on to the top link pin with its pressure retained by isolating the hydraulic supply.

Mr White, who is currently exploring ways of marketing his invention commercially, says he is developing various model strengths. He hopes to develop versions suitable for operation with large tractors and the implements they are likely to be connected to.

While contained in a tank, bulk fuel, liquid fertilisers or even waste oil represent little threat to the environment or, indeed, the pocket. Irresponsibly released, the picture is different.

Sleaford-based C&J Supplies has developed a range of tap locks which should foil the most determined illicit efforts. Comprising a metal shroud which totally covers the tap, it is locked on with a bar-type padlock.

The company claims it is able to offer a system comparable with all tap systems and can build to order for the most extreme situations. Prices start at about £49.n

From trailer to drill. The Jumbo system, now available from Edward Clarke Materials Handling, has a hydraulically driven auger in the trailer feeding to an external pipe supply which has an off/on control at its delivery point. Height is governed by the tip of the trailer and output is rated at 70t/hour. Capable of being retro-fitted to an existing trailer, price of a system for a 6m long trailer is listed at £2971.

Tractor/implement connection from the tractor seat with Opal Tradings three-point-linkage connector.

Billericay Farm Services has extended its range of low-drift bubble jet nozzles to include the 015 version which is designed for applications as low as 33 litres/ha.

Trailer to auger operations could be eased with John Pinder Machinery Sales new hopper. Capable of being fitted to augers from 4in to 8in, price of the unit is £79.

Tank security comes with the latest development in tap-locking from Sleaford-based C&J Supplies.

Three- or two-bale stacking with the Edward Clarke vertical system (left)…Compare it with the first commercial outing for the award winning Bale Stacker (above), now being marketed by William Cook Engineers.

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