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Friday, April 5, 2013

Ratcheting landing-gear handle: Best thing since canned beer?



At first glance, I thought this was just a new gimmick. Take a look, it just may be a great new product! Great piece thanks to Tom Berg at Truckinginfo.com Link to their site provided below:
Forget that headline. Comparing a product to a container for an alcoholic beverage isn’t politically correct on a website that’s concerned about trucking safety, as this one is. But I wanted to get your attention because this thing, called the Sixth Wheel Ratchet, seems like a better idea than a pop-top can, whether or not you’re thirsty.
If you’ve ever had to crank hard on the landing-gear handle to raise a trailer’s nose to match a fifth wheel’s height, you know what a pain that can be for your arms, shoulders and back. Actually, that type of activity is the second-greatest cause of injuries among truck drivers. (The greatest is falling off a tractor or truck; do a Google on this if you don’t believe these factoids.)
Medically treating or repairing a guy’s injured back or shoulder can cost thousands of dollars in worker’s compensation claims, not to mention time off the job.
By contrast, the Sixth Wheel Ratchet shown here costs 40 bucks. Even if you run a fleet with thousands of trailers, equipping every one with this gizmo has got to be ultra cheap insurance. One major fleet is doing that after testing it for two years, said Gary Alexander, a representative of the product’s maker, Dixie Industries, who was demonstrating it at the TMC’s equipment expo earlier this week in Nashville, Tenn.
Alexander showed me how it works: Instead of standing there and winding the handle 360 degrees clockwise until the trailer’s raised enough, straining against the vehicle’s weight, the driver positions himself ahead of the cranking point and sets the handle at a safe and comfortable working position – usually at about 2 o’clock. Are you with me?
From there he can bear down with his upper body strength and some of his body’s weight, moving the handle down about a quarter turn and without bending his back much. Then he pulls the handle back up while the ratchet goes click-click-click, and he pushes down again. It’ll probably take longer to raise the trailer’s nose than going through the full-circle motions, but it’s much easier on his body. It also works while lowering the nose, which can also be difficult, because the ratchet is settable either way.
It’s shown in pictures here and in a YouTube video below.
http://www.truckinginfo.com/blog/trailer-talk/story/2013/03/ratcheting-landing-gear
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