October 31, 2016
At Husker Harvest Days, Lakeside Livestock Equipment unveiled the LS-450, a fully hydraulic cattle chute that was 2.5 years in the making. According to chute designer Van Neidig, co-owner at Lakeside Livestock, based in Battle Creek, it's one of the heaviest hydraulic chutes ever produced, weighing in at 5,400 pounds.
"It's all by design. I didn't know what it was going to weigh initially, but I intended it to be a very heavy chute," Neidig says. "It's a chute for discriminating buyers. It's very wide, and it's very long."
NO GREASE NEEDED: The LS-450 is designed with no grease serts or the need for them. Anywhere there's a moving part — a slide, roller, a shaft turning in a bearing — oil-filled nylon or ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene is used, which requires no lubrication. (Photo courtesy of Van Neidig)
One feature that makes this chute unique is the lack of any hoses or cylinders under the chute. The valve body is mounted on top of the chute. There are also no linkages or mechanical connections between the right and left half of the headgate — only hydraulics. This way, the noise and heat is situated above the chute, and the headgate operates at about 30 decibels. "It's virtually silent unless you're paying attention to it moving," Neidig says.
The controls are located at the operator's level, and the head extender is operated with two joysticks to let the user turn the animal's head from left to right, or extend the head all through the use of joysticks.
On each side of the chute is a removable restraining rail, which can move forward or reverse from the shoulder to the hip, and anywhere in between, giving the operator flexibility to access cattle from the side.
The squeeze is controlled by a one-of-a-kind hydraulic cylinder mounted on top of the chute, what Neidig calls a "center tube double opposing ram-phased cylinder."
"It looks like any other hydraulic cylinder, but there's a ram that comes out of each end of the cylinder at the same time, perfectly timed [which are operating the squeeze]. The center tube literally floats; it doesn't move," he explains. "With this cylinder, it's a perfectly smooth system with no linkage obstruction into the body of the chute. It's very smooth; it's low pressure [it can be operate at about 700 psi]. It's very controllable. The squeeze can go from wide to narrow in a more fluid movement."
Every single wear point on the chute is replaceable with a wrench, and Neidig notes it's the first chute he's designed that has no grease serts or the need for them.
How? Neidig explains it took a lot of work and a lot of nylon. Anywhere there's a moving part — a slide, roller, a shaft turning in a bearing — oil-filled nylon or ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene is used, which require no lubrication.
"It is truly 100% lubrication optional," he says. "It's starting from the bottom and working your way up with the intention that you have to build everything that moves so it is not necessary to lubricate and does not need grease. Nylon is cheap and easy to replace."
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