When changing the bucket or other implement on a loader, one of the chores is climbing from the cab to swap the hydraulic hoses over.
This small task is often antagonised by the problem of residual pressure in the system which can make the coupling and uncoupling an awkward affair, and one that is unsympathetic to the operator’s patience.
Locking pin solution
Kramer has gone a long way towards solving this issue with the launch of its new ‘Smart Attach’ system, which avoids the necessity of the operator having to climb from the cab at all.
The secret behind the new linkage is that the oil flow is directed through the locking pins, doing away with the need for hose couplings altogether.
At first glance this is a simple solution and it is a wonder why nobody has done it before, however, there are problems.
The major problem being that the oil pressure generated by the standard loader has a habit of blowing the necessary seals in the pin locking mechanism.
This difficulty has been overcome with the help of electronics. Whenever the system is engaged, through a switch on the dashboard, the pressure is automatically reduced from 220bar to 25bar.
This lower pressure is quite sufficient to activate the pins and locate them in the female sockets in the frame of the bucket or implement. It then returns to normal when the system is deactivated.
The drawback to this is that it is not feasible to retrofit the system to existing machines as the pressure drop function relies on new circuitry and valves.
59 years of Kramer quick hitch
On the plus side, many existing buckets and attachments can be adapted to the system, and it is entirely compatible with all the Kramer equipped quick hitch attachments that have been produced since 1963.
However, it is only available on the 8 Series loaders at present, with plans to extend it across the range in future.
To account for any wear in the hitch points, the locator pints have some ‘float’ built in, allowing them to locate securely even if the frames on the bucket and on the loader fail to line up exactly.
The company claims that oil flow remains unconstructed and that switching buckets can be done in seconds, rather than the minutes required when climbing out of the cab, twice, is involved.
Another advantage, not mentioned by the company, is that it will no longer be possible to forget to decouple the hydraulics and drag the bucket half way across the yard before noticing that it is still attached by the overstretched hoses.
That alone should sell it to many.