German excavator attachment manufacture Lehnhoff has announced the Australian release of the Variolock quick-hitch system, a coupler that allows even hydraulic attachments to be changed automatically from the safety of the cabin.
The quick-hitch coupler will be available through Lehnhoff’s Australian supplier Premier Rock Machinery.
Quick-hitch couplers have traditionally focused on the rapid interchange of purely mechanical attachments. Over time, excavator attachments have become more complex and are often dependent on hydraulic power.
A traditional mechanical quick-hitch becomes less efficient in this situation, as only the mechanical parts can be changed automatically. An operator still needs to manually switch the hydraulic hoses, which causes delays as well as being a safety issue.
The Variolock system works by placing a hydraulic valve block on the coupler that is connected to the hydraulics of the excavator, and a valve block on the adapter of the connected attachment that is connected to the attachment’s hydraulics.
Lehnhoff claims the system allows hydraulic attachments to be changed safely from inside the cabin in less than 15 seconds. This means no risk of injury from constantly climbing in and out of the cabin or from handling heavy and extremely hot high-pressure hoses.
The reported 15-second change-over time also means less downtime and more efficiency on the job. After loading up a truck, an excavator can be quickly reconfigured for an entirely different task to perform while waiting for the truck to return. The quick-hitch can effectively turn an excavator into a multi-purpose heavy duty tool.
Lehnhoff says the Variolock will fit any attachment with Lehnhoff adapters, and retrofitting it to other attachments is a simple process requiring only slight modifications. The coupler can still be used with non-hydraulic attachments, with custom modifications protecting the valve block when it is not in use.
The system has been designed to be very robust and reliable, with Lehnhoff reporting the coupler operating without fault for over 2000 hours per year. The Variolock is available now for excavators ranging from 1.5 to 130 tonnes.
For more information call (07) 3711 2779 or visit www.premierrockmachinery.com.au
You can see the Lehnhoff Variolock in action here.