A new device for helping tractor operators’ hook up to implements using the three point linkage system has been developed by a Monaghan company.
Safehitch, which is patented and was developed by engineer Jim Cassidy and businessman and part-time farmer Pat McKenna, has received the endorsement of the Irish Farmers’ Association.
The product itself consists of a zinc plated steel bar that connects onto the swinging lower hydraulic arms of the tractor via a set of brackets. The Safehitch bar has pre-set increments identified by numbers which correspond to the spacing on the linkbox, topper or other machine. Widths of various implements can be measured and allocated a number which matches up with that on the Safehitch. This means the operator can set the Safehitch before climbing into the cab. He then can reverse into the implement and connect first time.
Crucially, tractor operators no longer need to exit the cab to move the arms when trying to hook up to a link box or mower. With Safehitch, implements can be hooked up faster but primarily much more safely.
Partner Pat McKenna said: “Farmers are all too aware of how difficult it is to connect a topper or any other piece of farm machinery to their tractor using the now standard three point linkage system.
“The swinging lower arms are extremely difficult to align and it is almost impossible for one person to hitch the equipment on to the tractor.
“While Safehitch is a labour saving device, we view it primarily as a safety feature.
“Many older farmers are physically uncomfortable mounting and dismounting in order to set the lower arms so many farmers tend to resort to dragging implements into place opening up the risk of physical injury.
“In many cases a second person, often a child, is called on to push the arms into place thus exposing themselves to the risk of being crushed when the tractor moves back.
“In light of the number of injuries and fatalities in recent times on farms, Safehitch has an important role to play in limiting risk in this crucial area of hitching implements to tractors.”
Jim added: “The inspiration has come from a growing realisation that tractors and implements are getting bigger, farmers older and children are being exposed to greater forces than in days gone by.
“We just realised that there was an easier way to connect a tractor to the implement.”
Eddie Downey, president of the Irish Farmers’ Association, said: “I am pleased to endorse Safehitch. Any product that increases safety on the farm and in particular around tractors and machinery is welcomed and in light of the convenience Safehitch provides I am delighted to recommend it.”
Safehitch is on the market for around £70 including UK delivery.
For more information on this new device contact Jim on 00353 87 7461351 or Pat on 00353 86 6372798.
Or alternatively visit the website www.gethitched.ie.