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Self-Loading Semi Truck Bale Hauler
Alberta farmer Mike Waldner, of Rocky Ford, needed some big capacity to haul bales. But he suffered "sticker shock" when he saw that what he wanted could run him up around $70,000, so he de-signed and built his own self-loading and unloading semi truck bale hauler.
It's equipped with a special two-piece loading arm that allows the operator to load bales one or two high and can carry up to 17 round bales at a time at highway speeds - six bales on each bottom row, with five on top.
The bale hauler is 33 ft. long and 10 ft. wide and has four parallel unloading chains along its length. The operator approaches each bale so that its end fits into the open end of the loader arm. When the bale is cradled within the arm, the operator activates a pair of hydraulic cylinders which swing the bale up and flip it onto the bed. The operator then hydraulically lifts a 2-ft. sq. hinged steel plate mounted on the floor that kicks the bale over to the opposite side. He then lifts a second bale onto the bed alongside the first one. The third bale is lifted on top of the other two by tilting the fork 45 degrees outward while bringing the arm to the vertical position, then tilting the fork inward.
To make room for the next set of bales, a hydraulically-operated pusher plate attached to the unloading chains pushes the bales toward the rear of the trailer. To unload bales, the operator hydraulically tilts the bed until the back end touches the ground, and then moves the chains back-ward to push bales off as the truck moves ahead.
"It moves bales faster than any rig we've ever seen. It lets us keep up with five round balers," says Waldner. "The arms are powered by a 24 gpm hydraulic pump so they work fast. It takes only about 5 minutes to load the entire truck. The operator can put either two or three bales on at a time before pushing them back `on the go' while he drives from one bale to the next. An orbit motor drives the truck's apron chain. The pusher plate is returned automatically by a hydraulic-operated winch. When bales are unloaded they stay in a nice neat stack. We spent only about $12,000 to build it.
"The bale hauler is equipped with four hydraulic cylinders. Two cylinders operate the loading arm, one tilts the fork in or out, and one kicks the bale over to the opposite side of the deck.
"Our Western Star truck has a 200 hp gas engine and an automatic transmission. We lengthened the wheel base by 3 ft. to make the deck 33 ft. long. We beefed up the truck frame where the bales mount by adding a reinforcing plate on each side. We've custom-built two other bale carriers, one for a Ford truck and one for a Chevrolet. The customer supplies the truck with an extended frame."
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Mike Waldner, Box 249, Rocky Ford, Alberta, Canada TOJ 2R0 (ph 403 533-2102).


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1994 - Volume #18, Issue #4