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Thread: hand controls for tractors and dozers

  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2001

    hand controls for tractors and dozers

    I need to know who makes hand controls for farm tractors and bull dozers--I still have some land to clear. I am T10 complete and 15 months post...

  2. #2

    Tractor hand controls

    Check to see if there is an Agribility program in your state. The VR program may be the office to contact. As I remember it, Agribility will recommend the device, and if it is vocationally necessary, DVR may purchase it.

  3. #3
    Not sure who makes the hand controls myself. Try these links: OR OR OR I use our tractor and bulldozer as well as other heavy equipment around our land, but have made do without the controls. Here is a cool piece of equipment that I recently came across that you may be interested in (or others may): This equipment does come with a hefty price tag though! Imagine the all the stuff you could do though!

    [This message was edited by birdeJ on October 28, 2001 at 10:42 AM.]

  4. #4

    Using a Tractor with Hand Controls

    AgrAbility Tip Sheet # 3 on Reducing Potential for Secondary Injuries

    Using a Tractor with Hand Controls Introduction
    Due to the variation in makes and models of tractors, no commercial manufacturers produce off the shelf, ready-made hand controls for tractors. At the present time, the only commercial manufacturer that AgrAbility staff has identified that will fabricate custom-made hand controls for tractors is Round Grove Machine in West Lafayette, Indiana CONTACT INFO: Toll Free: (800) 543 - 3740
    Local: (765) 423 - 4192
    Fax: (765) 423 - 1017

    However, farmers themselves or employees at local machine shops are most often the designers and fabricators of needed hand controls.

    When designing custom hand controls, the fabricator needs to consider (a) the physical abilities and limitations of the operator; (b) the location of the controls, ensuring that the placement does not block access to the operator's seat or limit the operator's ability to access other controls in the tractor; and (c) the impact the control placement may have on co-workers who use the same equipment. In an effort to reduce the potential of secondary injuries to the operator and others using the equipment, the following suggestions are offered to assist those who design, fabricate, and install hand controls on a tractor.

    Preventing Loss of Control of the Tractor
    An operator should be able to lock the clutch control into a disengaged position quickly. Clutch and brake controls that must be pulled toward the operator can place him or her at risk while he or she maneuvers the tractor. For example, stopping quickly in an emergency requires the operator to pull back on both the clutch and brake controls at the same time. Because the operator with a spinal cord injury may lack upper body stability, this movement results in his or her chest being pushed into the steering wheel. A chest strap and a disengaging locking mechanism for the clutch can make this task safer.
    Hand controls that are optimally positioned to the anthropometric need (body measurements) of the operator will improve function and safe operations. Controls that require the operator to reach too far to use them can result in loss of control of the tractor.
    Whenever possible the operator with a disability should have co-workers hitch the equipment to the tractor. Using hand controls restricts the operator's range of motion and thus his or her field of vision when backing up the tractor. In addition, "feathering" or "inching" is often required when hitching equipment. This feathering task requires the operator to have one hand on the clutch while ever so slightly while backing up the tractor to be within inches of the implement to be hitched to it. Once the tractor is in place, the operator must engage the brakes immediately to stop the tractor from moving any further. An operator can add extra mirrors and an automatic hitching system to the tractor to make hitching equipment an easier and safer task.
    Modify end row maneuvers or use headland traffic patterns to reduce the number of tasks the operator must do at the same time. For example, wide turns can be performed without having to apply one of the brakes but sharp turns require braking. Some fields have grass headlands so tillage implements are raised before turning on the headlands, which requires less brake use.
    Front-wheel-assist and four-wheel-drive tractors also require less breaking on turns. Tractors equipped with an electrically controlled power shift or hydrostatic transmission allows the operator to slow down the tractor without using the clutch or brakes.
    Hand controls should be designed and positioned so that the operator's elbow is slightly bent, not hyper-extended, when the hand control is in the position farthest from the operator.
    Hand controls should be securely fastened to the tractor pedals or pedal arms. Secured hand controls are critical to the operator's ability to maintain control of the tractor.
    Hand controls should be mounted on the tractor so that they do not interfere with foot placement or cause involuntary contact with the legs, hands, or arms of co-workers who may also operate the tractor.
    Hand controls for the brakes should not interfere with the operator's ability to lock the brakes together.
    If an over-center locking mechanism is used to lock the clutch in a disengaged position, the mechanism must be secured to keep it from becoming accidentally engaged. Loose linkage, improper design, or vibration could cause the clutch to slip from the disengaged position and the tractor could move unexpectedly.
    The maximum force required to activate a hand control should not exceed one third of the operator's maximum push/pull force. It is important to note that although the maximum force required for operators with full upper-body strength should not exceed 35 pounds, the maximum force for operators affected by spinal cord injuries may be significantly less depending upon the level of the spinal cord injury.
    Also important to note is the fact that substantial strength is required to operate a tractor that does not have a power shift or hydrostatic transmission. Therefore, if it an operator with limited strength should be driving such a tractor up or down a hill and it stalls the operator would be put in a potentially dangerous position. Several controls may need to be operated at the same time in order to move the tractor from the stalled position, which may be difficult for an operator with limited strength to do.

    Preventing Cuts, Scrapes, Burns and Bruises
    Hand controls should be easily removable in order to keep the pathway to the tractor seat clear while the operator with a disability transfers in or out of the seat or while co-workers use the machinery. Hand controls that are located in the path of tractor seat have caused scrapes and bruises. If the hand controls cannot be easily removed, either the hand controls or the operator should be properly padded to minimize potential bumps, bruises, or scrapes.
    Hand controls should not interfere with a co-worker's ability to operate the equipment safely. ASAE (American Society of Agricultural Engineers) Standards state that hand controls should be created in such a way to maintain the same logical function and direction as the original controls. However, these standards do not take into account the unique ergonomic needs of the operator with a disability. For example, although ASAE states that hand controls should be pulled in a rearward (toward the operator) direction, an operator with a spinal cord injury may prefer controls that push forward (away from the operator) so that he or she can use the back of the seat for additional leverage and support. As noted previously, clutch and brake controls that the require the operator with a spinal cord injury, to pull rearward, result in the operator's chest coming in contact with the steering wheel.
    Metal hand controls for the tractor should be padded or coated with a slip-resistant material to prevent the operator's' hands from sustaining cuts, scrapes, or burns. These materials include "Magic Wrap", Plastic-dip, bicycle grips, pipe insulation, and 3M self adhesive rubber grips. To increase optimum grip on the controls, the operator should consider wearing gloves.
    Hand controls constructed of flat bar stock should be avoided. Control handles should be round and 1.5" to 2" in diameter. Handles should be covered with slip resistant material. This material might include a bicycle grip, spray on rubberized material, or rubberized "Magic Wrap" tape.
    Sharp edges should be removed from the hand controls installed in the tractor.
    Tractor operators with spinal cord injuries frequently report that due to leg spasticity or general bouncing that occurs when operating the tractor on rough terrain, their legs inadvertently come into contact with the controls. Besides operating the tractor in a lower gear and padding the hand control lever extensions with pipe insulation may help to prevent the operator from sustaining bruises to their knees or legs. If the hand controls cannot be adequately padded, operators can wear kneepads to minimize potential bruising. A tie down strap for operators' legs can also be used to help prevent their legs from coming in contact with the hand controls during a leg spasm.
    Leg clearance should be sufficient between the operator and the controls to keep his or her knees, feet, and ankles from coming into contact with the controls when they are activated.

    Preventing Repetitive Stress Injuries (RSI)
    Use ergonomic guidelines (see references below) when designing hand controls for the tractor. These guidelines suggest that controls should be no more that 1.75" in diameter; that the forces required to operate the controls should be between 18 lbs. and 37 lbs., with a force of 18 lbs. being optimal; and that the handgrip is at least 3" long. Although these guidelines are a start, it is important to consider each person's unique needs, because most ergonomic guidelines were developed for the average operator who has no impairment. For example, the reaching distance a person who does not use a wheelchair is 20% greater than that of person who does use a wheelchair.
    Hand controls should be custom designed and constructed to meet the individual operator's needs. These designs must take into consideration the position of the tractor seat in relation to the controls, the operator's maximum and minimum reach zone, and the operator's maximum push/pull ability.
    Vibration is a leading cause of RSIs. Wrap controls in a visco-elastic material to absorb vibration.
    When using hand controls, the tractor operator should wear gloves that are padded with visco-elastic or other vibration-absorbing materials.
    Hand controls should be operated without excessive deviation (extension or flexion) of the wrist. The tractor operator should keep his or her wrist as straight as possible when engaging the hand controls.

    Anonymous. (1992). Operator controls on agricultural equipment. St Joseph, Michigan: American Society of Agricultural Engineers. p. 143.

    Adams, K., S., & Buchele, W. F. (1984). Human factors analysis of tractors and combines. American Society of Agricultural Engineers: Ames, Iowa: Iowa State University.

    Diffrient, N., Tilley, A. R., & Harman, D. (1981). Humanscale 7/8/9. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02142: The MIT Press.

    Diffrient, N., Tilley R. Alvin, & Harman, D. (1981). Humanscale 4/5/6. Massachusetts Institute of Technology: The MIT Press.

    Gaynor, R., Willkomm, T. M., & Field, W. E. (1985). Hand controls for agricultural equipment. Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN: Breaking New Ground.

    [This message was edited by birdeJ on October 28, 2001 at 11:23 AM.]

  5. #5

    I also found this farming article....

    Farming on Wheels
    March 20th 2000

    In 1991 an auto accident left Marshall partially paralyzed. While in therapy he decided to continue farming. He not only decided to keep on farming but to do as much of the work as possible. Which meant he would have to adapt tools and equipment to overcome his disability. Due to the hard work of all involved, and the public's rapid acceptance of the Herb Blossom Express product line his farm along with it's goal teach farming to the physically challenged is fast becoming a reality. Herb Blossom Express has recently been awarded non-profit status as a handicapped educational institution... Many thanks Marshall & Marilyn Loskot


    The Herb Blossom Express

    Farms and Gardens for the Handicapped Inc.

    During the last 5 years our founder, Mr. Loskot, has developed special tools, inexpensive raised beds, handicapped equipped tractors and a 15 foot counter balanced farm gate system that enables a person in a wheelchair to opened and closed gates with just one hand. So, that each handicapped or elderly person doesn't have to re-invent these devices he decide open his farm to the public. The demonstration farm makes these and more designs available to the elderly and handicapped. All of the devices are working models and can be seen on prearranged tours at the farm. New devices are being developed as funds and time permits. One of our recent tours hosted a group physical therapist from war torn El Salvador. They wish to teach their war ravaged handicapped patients how to grow their own food from a wheelchair etc. We also work with Breaking New Ground. Breaking New Ground is a farm oriented handicap enabling program at Purdue University 1-800-825-4264. We have obtained copies of their designs and resources. This information is also available to our clients and visitors upon request.

    We decided to share our gardening program with the public because of the mental depression a severely injured person experiences when they wake up in the hospital and must rehabilitate themselves. I know about this depression because I have experienced it first hand. I was involved in a truck accident that tore the aorta from my heart. When I woke up in ICU I had double vision, no feeling below the chest, spastic vocal cords and a right arm so atrophied that I couldn't squeeze a 1/2 pound of pressure between my thumb and fingers. I was so depressed that I had wondered why the hospital spent a half million dollars to save me. I spent days in the hospital thinking about all the things in my life I could no longer enjoy. The goals I could no longer achieve. The burden I would be placing on my wife and family. I believed that death might be preferable to a life as a cripple. But I found a new life growing in my garden. I felt happy and useful producing food and flowers for our home. I became excited about the new possibilities and established new goals. Gardening opened my life up and pushed depression away.

    Our garden has now become a small specialty crop demonstration farm. We have a farm product line called The Herb Blossom Express. The farm produces Asian pears, Bartlett pears, Rome apples, Timber bamboo, German Red Garlic and culinary herb blossoms. The last two items are sold in limited amounts fresh but we have developed a larger market for them as organically grown culinary herb blends. The mail order demand for these blends (Cajun, Italian, Mayan Barboca and American herb blends) has been so tremendous that we sell out every year.

    If you want to see smiles and happy people just watch a group of gardeners trade recipes and gardening information. Successful gardening is happiness worth sharing. Just try it and see.

    Farms and Gardens for the Handicapped Inc. has just received its letter of determination from the IRS. This letter gives us the qualifications necessary to submit proposals for grant funding and to solicit tax deductible donations of money, construction materials and skilled labor from businesses and the general public as a charitable, educational, non-profit organization.

    During the next few months we hope identify and contact funding resources through the Grant Resource Center in Redding California. I intend to give speeches about the needs of our organization at the local Chamber of Commerce and other civic organizations. I hope to put together a paid staff (commissioned) with business backgrounds to help write our grant proposals. This type of staff is necessary to submit detailed business proposals for our programs to resource organizations that have goals of funding handicapped, education projects. I have already identified about 200 organizations with these goals. Grant funds will be used initally as start up money to run a small office that will be used to submit grant proposals, obtain labor, construction materials and commitments to build our proposed garden projects. The funds will also help finance fundraising events that will generate money to fund continuing educational garden therapy programs and gardens. We have a small volunteer staff at the present time but feel a need to reach out into the community and share information and resources with the elderly and handicapped. Our goal is to teach gardening programs in raised beds built at senior centers and rehabilitation facilities. Then, as labor, materials and funds permit, we want to build raised garden beds at the homes of our handicapped and elderly clients. We will also supply additional information and a marketing outlet as necessary, to expand the gardens into a small specialty crop farm business. Most people with disabilities could use a little extra income. The California Department of Rehabilitation has refused to help the disabled become farmers unless the new farm will be completely self supporting within one year (salaries, land payments, adaptive equipment, farm machinery, medical insurance, taxes, permits, seed stock etc.. That a pretty tall order for any new farm or business. Our information is design to enable a person to gradually build a small farm as he or she learns and adapts to a completely new way of life.

    If you want to purchase some of these exciting herb blends please contact us at the below addresses. We are now processing our current garlic and herb harvest in a unique farm built solar dehydrator. The new crop of blends should be available by the time you read this article. The sales of these blend and other farm products has been the only source of funding for the demonstration farm during the last 4 years of development. We hope the IRS determination letter will enable us to expand our operation with more payed staff and volunteers here and in other cities. Several reliable sources of funding, construction materials and labor will be needed to build our projected home gardens and garden therapy programs.

    Want to help? Want more Information?

    Contact: Mr. & Mrs. Loskot
    C/O Farms and Gardens for the Handicapped
    P.O. Box 1
    Platina, CA. 96076
    9:30 to 4:30 PST
    Send E-mail

    The Herb Blossom Express Web page

  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    To all that answered my question--Thanks...

  7. #7

    I think for the older equipment hand conrols would have to be custom made for that particular piece of equipment. Cat makes the Hystat series of dozers that allows the operator to perform all functions by hand. Most excavators can be operated by hand with the exception of travel, which could easily be done with a wooden dowel or stick.

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