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Pick-up-Mounted Loader Built To Last
A Minnesota inventor who first put a front-end loader on a farm pickup 16 years ago (Vol. 14, No. 4) says he's updated the loader for his Dodge Ram 250, including a patent-pending new "safeloader" feature that he thinks may revolutionize the design of front-end loaders on tractors and pickups.
  The problem is what happens when a bucket hits an immovable object. It has happened more than Grant Hanson cares to remember. He's driving along pushing snow in a parking lot, and suddenly he hits a section that has frost-heaved up. The jolt snaps his neck, the loader framework breaks, and he limps his equipment back home to add another weld.
  After many years of use, Hanson's old IH Scout with his first front loader has nearly rusted away. He says the loader has about 25 lbs. of welding rods from repairs over the years.
  An inventor since he was a kid, Hanson started working on a better loader two years ago.
  "What I designed into this thing is a cushion and a new pivot point," Hanson explains. His loader arm has a "knee" that gives when the bucket hits an object. The bucket automatically raises over the object and levels off again. The vehicle pushing the bucket keeps moving ahead, and the driver only feels a slight jar from the impact of hitting the object.
  Hanson says the leading edge of the bucket raises up to various heights, according to how the linkage is designed. In addition, when put on new tractors or skidloaders with computer sensors, the arms can be set according to the speed the machine is operated. And during slower operations, the system can be deactivated so that the loader frame stays rigid.
  Hanson has used his new loader the past two years pushing snow and for landscaping and other projects he's very pleased with its performance.
  "Nothing has broken, because the bucket has always freed itself," he says.
  People who look at it can't figure out how it works, but they see that it works, Hanson says. (His website, www.safeloader.com, has a video that shows how it works.)
  "I did this simply so I wouldn't have to weld the loader," Hanson explains, "but the deeper thing is that it could literally save lives."
  His wife, Debbie, has been doing Internet research and discovered many incidents where drivers have been thrown from tractors when their loader buckets caught the ground and stopped suddenly, resulting in injuries or death.
  Hanson hopes to connect with an existing loader manufacturer to incorporate his invention. He also plans to contact insurance underwriters to inform them that technology for safer loaders exists.
  Hanson understands the difficulties about getting an invention onto the market. He's learned lessons from past ideas, but he's excited about the Safe Loader.
  "We're on the right track," he says. "And if it can save one life, it's worth it."
  Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Grant Hanson, 186 N. Hwy. 55, Glenwood Minn. 56334 (ph 320 760-1485; grant@safeloader. com; safeloader.com).

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2006 - Volume #30, Issue #4