After Robert Hooper bought a flatbed
trailer to haul bales from field to farm, he and a friend, Dale Hutchinson, got
to thinking about how they could hold a large cargo load of bales in place
without having to go through the tedious procedure of strapping them down.
Their solution was to mount a hydraulically-controlled cage on top of the trailer that clamps down on top of the bales once they’re loaded.
Hydraulic rams about 5 ft. long mount at front and back. The cage is high enough to accommodate bales stacked up to 3 high.
Building the top of the bale clamp was tricky because it had to be light enough to stretch the length of the 30-ft. trailer but strong enough to avoid sagging in the middle. They used square tubing arranged in a ladder-style framework.
A series of 10-in. long steel spikes – pointing downward – run along both sides of the top framework to pin bales in place.
Hooper and Hutchinson say after a season of use that the clamping trailer saves them about 30 min. per load hauled.