Tackling the silage: Tip and ‘flick’ or use this push-off fork?

Carlow-based machinery manufacturer – ProDig – has just released its newest development ahead of the 2017 silage season. On the back of customer demand, the company has added a push-off silage fork to its growing range of attachments.

The line-up already includes high-tip buckets, shear grabs and forks – to name a few.

ProDig started development work on its push-off fork (or heavy-duty buck-rake, if you prefer) last year. The prototype was put through “extensive testing in multiple conditions, to ensure it was up to the company’s demanding standards – before being released onto the market”.

Commenting on the new product, Sales and Finance Director, Donny Nolan, said: “There are many benefits associated with a push-off fork, such as reduced machine wear (because you don’t have to ‘flick’ the fork repeatedly), lower fuel consumption and improved operator comfort. We are looking forward to seeing it working on silage pits this season.”

ProDig

Offered in five sizes – from 8ft (2.5m) up to 12ft (3.6m), ProDig’s push-off fork is designed to suit a variety of machines, from large industrial loaders and teleporters to tractors (either 3-point linkage-mounted and on a heavy-duty front loader).

The fork can be supplied with as many reinforced brackets as are needed, to suit the application and the machine onto which it will be mounted. The newly-developed ‘combi‘ attachment can accommodate both a quick-attach frame on a loader or teleporter and a tractor’s front or rear 3-point linkage.

Fine-grain Swedish steel

According to ProDig, the push-off fork’s frame is fabricated from fine-grain, high-yield Swedish steel. The bottom tines (40mm x 65mm) are made from Hardox; these are 1400mm (4.6ft) long and have replaceable wear-tips, according to Nolan.

You should never have to replace a tine with this system. The tines are fitted into a hardened steel box section (150mm x 100mm x 10mm) and welded in place for longevity and to remove any flex during operation.

“On the sides, two heavy-duty durable tines are fitted as standard, with the option of an extra side tine if required. Different tine spacing and lengths are available to suit customers’ requirements – as well as a round tine option,” he added.

ProDig

“Underneath the fork, replaceable hardened cutting-edge wear-plates are fitted – to help protect the frame during operation, while also adding strength. These plates are also welded to each side of the bottom frame, for added protection when rubbing against clamp walls.”

A “high-strength” steel gate is fitted to – as the name suggests – ‘push’ the grass off the fork. This gate has laser cut holes incorporated into its design to reduce weight and improve visibility. The gate has a 5º lay-back and incorporates a sloped spill frame at the top, to maximise capacity when pushing through a load.

ProDig

Pushing muscle is courtesy of a pair of 70mm-bore rams, which have an oil requirement of just 80L/min. This, said Nolan, means that the fork can also be used on smaller machines.

The hydraulic system requires only one service (outlet). It is fitted with a hydraulic equaliser – to ensure a uniform push, if the load is not evenly spread across the width of the fork. This, said Nolan, helps to eliminate the risk of twisting.

ProDig

Pushing force is delivered by two “heavy-duty” cranked arms, made from 20mm steel and further reinforced with 15mm-thick plate. 40mm pins are used on the hinge points; these are fully greaseable and feature replaceable bronze teflon-coated bushings.

During operation, the gate slides out along the tines and is held in place by a hardened steel locking pin – which stops it falling back when under load. A pair of ‘soft-close’ rubber buffers are fitted to the rear frame, to reduce the impact and strain on all components during work.

ProDig

Completing the package, the fork is finished in the company’s trademark gun-metal grey and green paint scheme. It can be optionally specified with safety strobes and work-lights.

Prices start at €5,000 excluding VAT.

It’s worth noting that ProDig also manufactures a range of ‘conventional’ silage forks, including wide ‘folding’ versions for large loading shovels.

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