February 24, 2006
Ken Heley was tired of climbing out of his truck to move a swing hopper when unloading corn, soybeans or wheat so he began devising a remote-controlled model. After a few years of trial and error, the North Dakota grain farmer says he is ready to go to the market with his new remote-controlled swing hopper, called the Hopper Walker.
“I knew there had to be a better way to move the swing hopper than manually,” Heley says. “With the remote control, you can do it while sitting in the truck. I’ve been working on this close to three years to make sure it will work and that it is weatherproofed. I think I have it the best I can get it now.”
The remote-controlled hopper saves time and trips out of the truck to move a hopper, especially when hopper-bottom trailers are used. It may be used in places where drive-over hoppers can’t be accessed. Heley also notes that not moving the hopper by hand saves strain on a worker’s back and keeps grain haulers happier.
The Hopper Walker is powered by a totally enclosed, fan-cooled, gear reduction motor. This motor produces a precise and steady speed to accurately position the hopper. It takes 30 to 45 min. to mount the motor to an auger and will not change how the auger works, Heley adds.
The remote to control the hopper features six function buttons. One set of function buttons controls automatic in and out and will stop the hopper at predetermined, adjustable limits. Another set of function buttons controls momentary in and out and will inch the hopper along to precisely position the hopper under a trailer. Should something happen to the remote, the swing hopper includes a hard-wired control box with emergency stop and momentary in and out control. All switches and controls on the swing hopper and remote are rated at Nema 4 for waterproof and dustproof.
The swing hopper may be mounted on many different sizes and brands of augers. It also may be removed from one auger and installed on another.
The remote-controlled swing hopper sells in one complete package for a list price of $2,150, which includes two remotes. Heley says no wiring is necessary. To install, the operator simply bolts the motor on the auger and plugs it in.
“Anywhere you can use a swing hopper, you can use this,” Heley says. “There is very smooth and precise movement from the motor. And it doesn’t change the height of the swing hopper itself. It may be used on either side of the auger. The wheels are part of the package and there is nothing else you need to buy.” Certified electricians produce all the electrical equipment.
Heley has applied for a patent. For more information, contact Heley at CLWORKS, Dept. FIN, 8895 160th Ave. S.E., Lidgerwood, ND 58053, 701/538-4013, visit www.hopperwalker.com.
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