It all started with a vision a few years ago – a completely safe hydraulic quick coupler for excavators that is free of technical problems and “the human factor”. engcon presented a prototype of Q-Safe at last year's MaskinExpo. This year's expo will see the launch of the finished product.
“We've taken a firmer grip on safety awareness. Q-Safe is the safest quick coupler on the market as the operator is partially relieved of the responsibility for properly connecting the tool,” says Fredrik Jonsson, Design Manager at engcon.
Improper tool connection on excavators has long been a major problem. Every year, dropped tools cause injury and even death. And that doesn't count the near-misses.
A few years ago, engcon introduced the Non Accident Generation, NAG, to put greater focus on preventing and reducing the number of workplace accidents. These efforts have already produced results. For example, all engcon tiltrotators now have integrated load holding values and crane arms are no longer sold for excavators.
Now, the company is launching the Q-Safe quick coupler, which is expected to become the standard coupler for tiltrotators in the 6–25 ton volume segment, all with EC-Oil (engcon's automatic hydraulic and electrical coupling) available as an option.
Q-Safe provides threefold safety thanks to hydraulic locking with non-return valve, mechanical locking function and electronic monitoring. With Q-Safe, the operator simply cannot connect the tool incorrectly or release the bucket by mistake. This eliminates “the human factor” as a cause of accidents.
In practical terms, the tool cannot be detached unless it has contact with the ground. This prevents accidents related to the tool detaching mid-air. While the new tool is being connected to the rear axle, the hydraulic swinging function of the excavator is stopped until the tool is fully connected. And until the tool is fully connected in both axles, acoustic and light signals are used to warn the operator and workers in the vicinity. The dual mechanical locking functions lock the tool in place even if the hydraulics fail.
Another advantage is that Q-Safe fits all excavators and control systems on the market. Customers who have already invested in Q-Safe include Engströms Entreprenad in Örebro. Hans Nilsson, Technical Manager at Engströms, is convinced that safe quick couplers will quickly become a requirement from the major contractors.
"Safety goggles, hard hats and hi-vis clothing raise no eyebrows today, and reversing cameras on construction vehicles are a common requirement. I believe demands for safe quick coupler will soon be a fact, regardless of legislation. It's also quite natural to demand safe quick couplers now that they are available as a relatively inexpensive investment.”
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