The harnessing of the power of the tractor with a 3-point hitch and a power takeoff unleashed access to energy that allowed farmers to start increasing productivity almost 100 years ago. The mechanical features today enable the operation of bush hogs, mowers, plows, silo fillers, post hole diggers, rock rakes, manure spreaders and many more farm implements that ease difficult and time-consuming tasks.
As standard equipment on all brands, they make the tractor a powerful workhorse on the farm. However, the difficulty of using them makes a tough job tougher.
Contemporary tractor owners have the same problem with connecting equipment to the PTO that they had when it appeared on the market shortly before 1920. It takes too long to hook up, it always means banged up knuckles, pinched fingers or worse, and it almost invariably produces language that is unfit for polite society. The PTO provided the key to making the tractor a versatile source of power that the plow horse could not deliver; the 3-point hitch replaced the traditional drawbar, a remnant of earlier times.
Shared Problems and Innovative Solutions
The obstacles to hooking up to a 3-point hitch that appeared about the same time in England are just as bad or even worse than the problems that plagued the power takeoff. The hitch was part of the early tractor designs too, as far back as the 1920s, and for nearly 100 years it has been fraught with as much inconvenience and contrariness as the PTO.
Two innovative American inventions offer workarounds that make the equipment much easier to use. Everything about the inventors’ adaptations shows the depth of their experience in making the original equipment safer, faster and more efficient. Their ingenuity created solutions for stubborn inconveniences that vex thousands of tractor owners. Now farmers have a chance to hook up and get started without annoyance, pain or delay with products that help get the job done.
Making the Power Takeoff Easy to Use with the PTO Link™
Anyone who has ever changed out a PTO knows what it’s like, and it has been the part of tractor work that everyone dreads the most until now. What has traditionally made it so challenging has been the need to match up the six splines on the male shaft with the splines of the female coupler which are on the inside and not visible. Frustrated tractor owners have tried cleaning it, greasing it and slamming it with a sledgehammer and still have had no luck in getting the PTO shaft on.
To make the job even more burdensome, accessing the PTO requires bending over and reaching into the recesses of the tractor, a hard-enough task anytime but especially when the day is hot, the job is behind schedule and maybe a pain in the back makes stretching difficult. Pulling the collar back often requires another set of hands and creates more frustration, but the PTO Link™ takes care of everything
Sharing the Frustration
Some owners recall the experiences that made them use expletives they thought they had forgotten and even to wonder about “losing their salvation.” A heartfelt report from a farmer who waited a long time for relief offered this: “At my age, it has been so difficult to hook up and release my shredder that I would just leave it connected to avoid the strain and hassle. Now with PTO Link, I can easily change out my implements.”
One who has had enough stated, “The PTO Link saved me, and I no longer need three hands to hook up the bush hog.” An admission of long-standing difficulty came from someone who appreciated not having to put up with it anymore. “Attaching a bush hog or spreader has normally been a nightmare. Now I put on my PTO Link easily and attach my bush hog in less than a minute.”
One happy customer wished that his tractor manufacturer had thought of it in the first place. It would have saved him from “screaming obscenities” and damaging his reputation with his neighbors.
The design of the PTO Link™ makes installation a breeze. Precision engineering and aerospace technology ensure durability. A QPQSM coating hardens the surface up to 3X carbon steel to ensure sustainability as a permanent or removable tractor attachment on any standard 6-tooth spline.
Creating the PTO Link™ Universal Interface
Inventor Ken Spector created a “simple but brilliant design” that replaces the typical six spline connection with a flat interlocking plate interface, according to Mark Pickle, the Administrative Officer at Tractor PTO Link, LLC. The Houston startup company that formed in 2017 closely evaluated the Spector prototype and almost instantly recognized its potential.
The 4 million+ tractor owners in the United States and more than 21 million around the world have long hoped for a simple and efficient way to connect power-driven implements to their tractor’s PTO. Ken admits that one of the most frequent questions that he gets is “what took you so long?”
Pickle confirmed that Ken has had many inventive ideas in his years of technical and mechanical experience, but his personal frustration in hooking up to his tractor’s PTO inspired this one.
“Connecting a PTO spline to an implement’s driveline now needs only two hands,” Pickle said. “It requires about 30 seconds to connect once the PTO Link system is properly installed on all tractors and implements.”
The female plate of the PTO Link™ is a permanent installation to the tractor’s PTO, and the male plate of the PTO Link™ is likewise a permanent installation to the driveline of every power-driven implement as it does not need to be removed once properly installed with one plate to the tractor and one to each implement.
However, owners can easily remove the device by reversing the installation procedure. Pickle added that “the PTO Link was identified as the world’s only true quick-connect solution to this age-old problem for tractors under 100 hp.”
The extraordinary ease of connecting and disconnecting to the PTO with a universal interface streamlines the process. With the one-time, permanent adaptation of the fittings on the tractor and implements, it is now easier, faster and safer to get hooked up and underway.
Simplifying the 3-Point Hitch with Pat’s Easy Change
A magnificent idea that revolutionizes the implement connection process, Pat’s Easy Change simplifies it and takes the frustratingly hard work out of it too.
Hooking up to implements is not easy for anyone, even the most practiced and experienced Ag guys and gals. Tractor dealers are quick to say that it isn’t difficult to connect implements to the standard 3-point hitch that comes on every tractor, but they admit that it helps to get used to it.
Some may even confess that they have the Easy Change on their own tractors. Its ease of use means that it does not have to match holes on any 3-point implement, and the driver can see where the lift arms need to go without getting off the tractor.
Pat Greenwell invented the Easy Change system for use on his farm without realizing the potential that it had for so many tractor owners. He founded Greenwell Manufacturing in 2000 to facilitate operations, and his team of local craftsmen manufactures the All-American product in his native Meade County, Kentucky.
Wanting to work smarter and not harder on his farmland, Pat made a set of hitches for his tractor. When friends and neighbors saw how much work his invention saved, they wanted sets for themselves and the farming community. Their insistence on getting him to share a fantastic idea led to the manufacture of Pat’s Easy Change.
Almost anyone who sees the simplicity of the way it works can imagine the advantages that it provides. The Easy Change lengthens the lift arms by 4 inches, and a tractor may need an extra-long top link to allow it to span the distance.
Hooking Up on Unlevel Ground
In what may seem like a minor miracle, the Easy Change can hook up to implements on unlevel ground. It is a simple matter to back the hooks under the implement’s pins.
As the arms lift, the lower arm hooks on first and then the higher arm engages. Farmers no longer need to drive to a flat area to connect or disconnect implements. The worries of spending needless hours in hooking up can disappear with the Easy Change system on level or unlevel ground.
The ability to hook up on unlevel ground demonstrates the capacity of the system to make the most dreaded job doable. Level or unlevel ground makes no difference to the versatile system that can connect to implements with ease.
Bypassing the Limitations
Pat’s Easy Change ditches the hitch concept entirely. His devices fit on the end of the lift arms and convert them to a hook system. The confounding problem with the traditional hitch is the need to precisely line up the tractor with the implement’s connector pins. Owners know that the equipment weighs too much to move by hand, and many sore backs can attest to it. Moving a tractor in increments of inches forward or back, left or right to position it where the hitch can find the hole locations on the implement is an exasperating task.
Each move of the tractor requires the driver to mount and dismount as many times as it takes to get it right. Tractor dealers recommend having an extra person who can direct the driver to pull up and start over a little to one way or the other; the extra person is unnecessary with the Easy Change.
Setting Lift Arm Widths
The standard configuration on tractors includes a stability mechanism for each lift arm, but they provide no control until the hitch is in place. Pat’s Easy Change uses a rigid bar that sets a width that conforms to the implement, and many owners mark it to match various pieces of equipment.
With the lift arms placed at the proper width, they can latch onto an implement the first time. The stability bar’s purpose is to set the width of the lift arms, and it needs to come off before any connection with the PTO occurs. Pat’s Easy Change and the PTO Link™ work efficiently alone or together.