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Make the connection

12/14/2010 @ 11:32am

Ideas to make life better on the farm typically come from necessity. And that holds true for Jay Potter. When Potter was frustrated with the shortcomings of the top links currently on the market, he decided it was time to put pen to paper. So he began drawing the design for the first HydrauLink prototype, a self-contained air-over-hydraulic ram (or top link).

HydrauLink promises to solve the age-old problem of the shortcomings of a standard top link.

“A replacement for all standard top links on tractors, this device saves time, is easier to use, and is self-adjusting, which gives you more time on the tractor and less time behind it making adjustments,” says Potter.

Most top links are difficult to manage and often require large pipe wrenches or long steel bars to adjust or install. Since it’s necessary to adjust these connections on a regular basis to keep the implement you’re attached to working the way it should, valuable time is lost.

Before HydrauLink, the only solution to the old screw-type system was hydraulic rams that had to be permanently installed on the tractor. Those may have cost more than $1,000 (total cost including installation). Yet you still wouldn’t get the benefit of the floating cushion that makes the job easier and quicker for the operator.

According to Potter, HydrauLink can be installed without tools in about three minutes by one person, and he says the air-over-hydraulic system used by HydrauLink greatly reduces the need to adjust frequently.

“The air in the system delivers a cushion, allowing implements to self-adjust to a small degree. With the twist of a hand-adjustable valve, more dramatic adjustments can easily be made, which saves time and labor,” he says.

This patent-pending device can be used with a number of implements including tillers, box scrapers, spreaders, mowers, graders, plows, and disks.

Ready to go right out of the box, HydrauLink will retail for under $300, and it comes with a one-year warranty.

“By 2011, we are hoping to have HydrauLink licensed and available through a number of large manufacturers, like John Deere, Kubota, and Case IH,” says Potter.

In the meantime, Columbus Hydraulics Company, Columbus, Nebraska, will be manufacturing the device and is excited to be involved in such an innovative idea.

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