Nevada, IA As manufacturers of agricultural combines and other off-highway equipment integrate more computer-enabled technology into their products, the equipment operators have more to do than just drive. Machines like those manufactured at ALMACO, developers of agricultural research equipment, are loaded with digitally linked devices that monitor seed quality, moisture content of soil, and other crop data.
One of the challenges for ALMACO engineer Don Handorf was how to include a touch-screen monitor without sacrificing the cab's ergonomic qualities or impairing the driver's visibility. He tried using an adjustment arm on the monitor, but there was a problem. "Adjustment of the monitor meant loosening a thumb screw," he says. "If the operator wasn't careful and accidentally unscrewed the screw too far, the whole assembly would fall apart and come crashing down."
Handorf found a solution by replacing his old adjustment mechanism with a Variloc adjustable locking hub from Adjustable Locking Technologies (Lanthrup Village, MI). The hub adjusts in ten-degree increments and locks with two stainless steel pins that engage when locked. It is actuated by a simple, push-button release.
The locking hub is attached to the top of the cab and the touch-screen monitor is suspended from it, in the driver's field of vision. "The device works well in this location because of its 360-degree adjustability," says Handorf. Drivers glance at the screen when necessary and move the screen out of the way when it's not needed.
The Variloc device is suitable for other off-highway and heavy equipment with operator cabs. Additional applications include folding and adjustment mechanisms for wheelchairs, vehicle workstations, aircraft, machine control panels, exercise equipment, camping equipment, and ergonomic devices.
Variloc hubs withstand up to 100 ft-lbs of torque. Tapped mounting holes are used for attachment to plates and mounting blocks.