Many factors can lead to injury or death when changing big tires on high clearance sprayers, combines or tractors. These tragedies often occur when the jacks or blocking give way.
There are distinct trends at play. As the number of farmer-owned sprayers increases, their use in applying nutrients and crop protection products also increases, and that means more tire changes.
That also means as wheel/tire combinations become heavier, more farmers save time and money by changing tires themselves. To compound the situation, it’s becoming more difficult to find competent hired help who can safely manage tire change equipment.
As more criticism is levelled at concrete blocking and timber blocking, farmers are looking at purpose-built heavy jacking systems as a safer way to lift machinery.
One of the latest equipment jacks comes from TireGrabber in Ferintosh, Alta.
The remotely operated TireGrabber Equipment Jack lifts machines weighing up to 30,000 pounds, thus allowing users to remove tires on the spot. In those situations, the operator would lift only one end of the sprayer at a time. Some farmers have bought two equipment jacks to lift both ends of a sprayer at the same time for faster tire changes.
TireGrabber Equipment Jack is designed with the understanding that a large heavy machine requires a larger contact surface area. This means instead of lifting one corner of the machine on a small jack post, a much larger surface area is used to lift one end of the implement.
The remote control jack is powered by a 12-volt pump which is self-contained with its own battery. Locking arms prevent it from unexpectedly lowering.
Maximum continuous operating pressure is 3,000 PSI. The unit is 41 inches high with a maximum lift of 68 inches using medium lift nine-inch rubber blocks.
Short three-inch, and tall 12-inch rubber lift blocks are also available. It weighs 900 lb. Most operators position the jack on a solid surface, then drive the machine over it. Others position it with a forklift or skid steer loader.
In a phone interview, Tire Grabber inventor Darcy Goossen said, “The most important thing is that your machinery is secured. When you attempt to shake a machine after it’s lifted, it should just stay solid.
“Working conditions must be safe first and foremost. That is our goal. The strain, pain and danger of handling large tires and dealing with heavy equipment is not to be underestimated. The equipment jack is another milestone in our mission to provide safe solutions by providing tools for specialized needs.
“TireGrabber products are user-friendly workhorses for machine operators who want to save the time and expense of sending machinery out for tire swaps or bringing technicians in.”
The TireGrabber Equipment Jack sells for $8,000.