Machinery News

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Dont forget the harvest tool kit

With a few weeks until harvest, many farms are waking combines and balers from their winter hibernation for servicing

With a few weeks until harvest, many farms are waking combines and balers from their winter hibernation for servicing. Having the right tools available will minimise downtime during the coming months and Farmers Guide machinery editor David Williams met up with Ernest Doe parts sales specialist Marcus Taylor to find out what tools are proving popular with his customers. Marcus Taylor with some of the wide range of Sealey tools he recommends for farm toolboxes at this time of year.
Ernest Doe & Sons has 19 branches across east and south-east England, representing the New Holland and Case IH tractor and combine brands through its Ernest Doe and Doe Power dealer network. With 12 parts delivery vans on the road, supplying tools and sundries to hundreds of customers, the team is busy, particularly in the run-up to harvest. Several tool ranges are supplied and Sealey represents a significant part of this business, catering for professional and hobby users. Our customers like the Sealey brand, explains Marcus who looks after the south Essex area from the Ulting branch. The tools are competitively priced but good quality. Customers know they could buy cheaper, but Sealey products will withstand farm use. Obviously there are more expensive brands too, but many Sealey products are just as well made and more farm spanners and screwdrivers are lost in the field than break or wear out.
Spanner sets are a convenient means of making sure that all sizes are to hand and Sealey offers ranges to suit the required quality and price. The budget Siegen range is pictured (left) next to a set of higher quality Premier spanners. Both come with Sealeys Lifetime Guarantee, but Sealey says for the extra investment the Premier set will provide a lifetime of service. Marcus suggests to his customers that they put together a harvest toolkit, ready for use in the field; and for larger farms, one for each tractor and combine. Sealey offers comprehensive sets of screwdrivers, spanners and sockets, with sizes to meet most needs which work out much cheaper than buying individually. A further benefit is having the full range of sizes to hand rather than finding out when a breakdown occurs that the one needed is missing. A selection of pliers and wrenches should also be part of the tool kit. We supply a lot of steel toolboxes at this time of year, as they are a convenient means of keeping all the smaller tools together, and are also easily removed from the tractor at night, he adds.
Rechargeable battery-powered tools have improved considerably in recent years, in terms of the power available and the working time between charges. Sealey offers a great range of rechargeable products, including work lights, angle grinders, impact wrenches, drills and screwdrivers and we have powered grease guns now which make daily machine lubrication much easier and quicker, says Marcus.
Modern battery-powered angle grinders offer similar performance to mains-powered versions and are ideal for grinding off damaged bolt heads in the field when knife sections or plough metal needs changing.
Older rechargeable angle grinders used to give up as soon as they were subjected to any heavy grinding, but now there is little to choose between battery and mains powered in terms of performance, and the great thing is that they can be used anywhere. Having one available can save a trip back to the farm workshop when the bolts cant be undone on a broken plough point or a damaged combine knife section; and just one in-field repair could easily pay for the cost of the grinder. Battery powered work lights are good now, offering similar illumination to mains-powered lighting, making it easier to carry out repairs or maintenance at night. During the day, having decent lighting available when working inside a machine or under the covers can also be a big help, he adds.
In Ernest Does Ulting showroom, a range of Sealey battery chargers and portable power packs are stocked. Compressors available from Sealey include fully portable petrol engine-powered units, as well as those needing mains electric supply. Most customers purchase mains-powered compressors which can be moved around the workshop or used in the yard with 25 or 50 litres capacity and with a 2hp compressor motor which provides plenty of air flow for most jobs, says Marcus.  Another tool he recommends, popular with farmers and contractors, and which can prevent harvest hold-ups is a portable power-pack. Sealeys range includes models offering 12 and 24-volt, and providing current up to 6,000 amps, recommended for engines up to 600hp. Complete with jump leads and mounted on wheels, the power packs are basically portable batteries which are recharged from a mains supply when not in use.They can be used to supplement a flat or low vehicle battery, ideal for that morning during harvest when the combine wont start, miles from the nearest electrical supply or charger.
Left: With up to 335lb/ft of torque available, this lithium-ion battery-powered 26-volt cordless impact wrench is ideal for agricultural use. Right: This 51-piece fine-tooth ratchet screwdriver and accessory set is ideal for smaller repairs in the field.  Smaller versions are also available; one of the latest compact lithium-battery powered models is small enough to keep in the tractor cab but with enough power to start a 4-cylinder 2-litre diesel engine, according to Sealey. It also has USB outputs, suitable for powering a laptop or charging a mobile phone.  Its a great range of products, says Marcus. All the stock is held by Sealey in the UK, so if there is anything missing from our shelf we can usually get hold of it overnight. Ernest Doe has built its reputation on providing superb customer service and we are confident of the quality and back-up from Sealey. We rarely have any issues with its products but if they do occur, we know we can rely on the company to resolve the problem quickly. 
Having sets of punches and chisels to hand can help speed up repairs.  
Accurate tyre pressure gauges are essential to get the best performance and working life out of agricultural tyres

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