Quick hitch fitting (QHF) on a piece of plant is a latching device that enables attachments to be connected to the plant and interchanged quickly. Depending upon the environment and application an operator may change the bucket and loading shovel attachments on his plant many times a day in order to maximise the machine productivity. and do specific tasks efficiently.
All quick hitches have to engage with the pins or lugs in the attachment and then retain the engagement with a latching mechanism which must then be secured to ensure that inadvertent disconnection does not occur. It is always recommended that the operator performs a visual check to ensure that the attachment is connected and the pins are securely located. It is critical that the bucket doesn’t become unintentionally detached from a QHF which could be a potentially dangerous occurrence. In this article we look at some quick hitch brackets usage hints and tips.
Types of Quick Hitch
Originally buckets and other attachments were secured to the end of the plant by bucket pins held in place by lynch pins or nuts and bolts. Problems with this method included:
To remove a bucket the pivot pins had to be withdrawn by hand, which could often be a time consuming procedure.
With wear and rust pins could be difficult to remove which presented the the consequent risk of hand and eye injuries to persons knocking
out the pins.
Buckets often need to be changed during the working day so to meet the needs of construction and agricultural processes quick hitches were
developed to speed up the process and reduce changeover time.
Depending on their method of operation Quick Hitches are further categorised:
Manual Quick Hitches
Manual quick hitch systems require the operator to manually operate the latching mechanism. Once the bucket ( loading shovel attachment) is connected the latching mechanism should be locked (e.g. a safety pin inserted manually) to prevent inadvertent disconnection.
Whilst a manual quick hitch is faster than changing a direct attachment which is directly connected to the plant, it requires the operator to get down from the machine cab ( which is time consuming) and relies on the operator to install the locking device.
Fully Automatic Quick Hitches
Some of these systems have an indicator on the quick hitch so an operator can verify from the cab that the locking system has fully engaged.
The fully automatic quick hitch enables attachments to be changed very quickly.
It is essential that these quick hitches are regularly inspected and maintained to ensure that damage, wear, or the ingress of foreign bodies does not prevent the locking mechanism from functioning correctly.
From a safety perspective it is essential that operators get out of the cab to physically ensure that all quick hitches are securely locked before starting work with a newly attached attachment.
3 Simple Visual / Operational Checks
Check that the locking pins are greased and move freely.
Are there any obvious missing or broken parts.
Check that Hydraulic pipes close to the hitch are not kinked, worn or badly damaged.
Quick Hitch Operator Checks
Have operators been trained in the use of their Quick Hitch brackets.
Is there a checklist in the cab of daily and weekly inspection and maintenance carried out on the plant.
What are their management systems for checking whether manual safety pins are always in place?
Are the safety pins inserted where appropriate?
Does the operator know how to visually check that the QH is locked?
Does the operator know that, for all types of QH, they should test the security of the bucket after changing it?
To see the Quick Hitch Brackets click here to see loading shovels in action click here
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