North Dakota Patent of the Month – April 2021

As technology advances, the small tasks associated with work and life are regularly improved and automated. Safe-T-Pull, Inc. started out with an innovative hitch and towing system that helped farmers pull trucks and tractors through tough conditions. Since then, they have continued to create unique designs to make life simpler and safer. Recently, they designed an efficient crop cart unloading system.

Crop carts are used to receive a crop from a harvester directly in the field during harvest. They are also useful for transporting seeds to a planter. Traditional styles are a trailer pulled by a tractor alongside the harvester. Once the crop cart is full it then goes to a truck and unloads the crops using a conveyor belt angled upwards to reach the truck. This usually results in the crop falling downward and becoming damaged.

Safe-T-Pull’s crop cart unloading system uses a dual conveyor system. The hopper has a movable floor conveyor. When unloading, this floor conveyor is positioned near the lower floor, moving the field crop in the hopper towards the unloading door.The unloading conveyor is positioned just outside of this door, so crops land on the next conveyor and get shuttled out to the truck. In the traditional crop carts, the conveyor is angled up to try and move the crops from the low cart to the tall truck. This new design allows the crop cart to lift the bed similarly to how a dump truck operates – but in reverse. The back end of the hopper is lifted with hydraulic pumps, allowing the crop cart and truck to be closer in level and the unloading conveyor to operate in a leveled horizontal orientation. This design improves the efficiency of unloading the crop cart and requires less hydraulic fluid to support the system.

Are you developing new technology for an existing application? Did you know your development work could be eligible for the R&D Tax Credit and you can receive up to 14% back on your expenses? Even if your development isn’t successful your work may still qualify for R&D credits (i.e. you don’t need to have a patent to qualify). To find out more, please contact a Swanson Reed R&D Specialist today or check out our free online eligibility test.

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