New safer PTO option now available through TAMS

The new mounting plate moves the entire assembly rearwards, ensuring the lift arms will not strike the hydraulic motor at full lock.
The new mounting plate moves the entire assembly rearwards, ensuring the lift arms will not strike the hydraulic motor at full lock.

Jamie Casey

The Safeshaft System was developed by Co Waterford brothers Noel and Ger Hickey to help reduce the number of PTO entanglement accidents on Irish farms and is now available under the TAMS scheme.

Launched at the 2017 FTMTA Farm Machinery show in Punchestown, the product has just been granted TAMS eligibility.

The dangers associated with PTO driven equipment are widely recognised nationwide, yet accidents and fatalities continue to occur at an alarming rate. We are all familiar with the Health and Safety authority demonstration of the 'straw man' becoming entangled in the spinning PTO shaft, and suffice to say an unguarded shaft will tear flesh from bone without mercy.

The SafeShaft system removes the PTO shaft from the equation completely, and replaces it with a hydraulically driven motor. While the system was originally developed for slurry tankers, it can also power other machinery with low torque requirements, such as sprayers and fertiliser spreaders.

Sold as a retrofit unit, the system retains the original pump on the slurry tanker. One double acting service is required to operate the hydraulic motor, and 50 litres per minute of oil will be sufficient to run the vacuum pump at the correct speed.

If required, a flow control valve can be supplied as part of the package. This will allow the operator to control the speed of the vacuum pump if the tractor is not equipped with variable flow spool valves.

An external control valve has recently been added to the package to bring it into line with TAMS guidelines. This allows the operator to start and stop the vacuum pump externally, without having to climb back into the cab.

Launched just over a year ago, the product is now working successfully in Ireland, the UK and New Zealand. While originally developed for farms, the SafeShaft System has found firm favour in industrial and construction applications alike, due to the ease of use and low maintenance costs.

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One unit is currently working on a UK construction site, where it allows a telehandler to tow and operate a slurry tanker for dust suppression. The telehandler features two rear spool valves, generally used to lift and lower the pick-up hitch, but now proving most useful to run the vacuum pump.

Prices vary depending on specification, but a TAMS approved model, including the external control valve will set you back €1,800 + VAT. However, with up to 40% grant aid available on the unit, it soon becomes an attractive alternative to the PTO shaft.

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