T-Lock is the name of the new lift arm hook ends from Italian component supplier CBM. We give them a try.
Quick-release couplers on the tractor lift arms should be able to be locked and unlocked quickly and easily, but also securely hold the implement balls. CBM made a significant leap forward when it marketed the OptiLock latch hook (see profi 10/2015).
If you have the new T-Lock catch hook in front of you, it appears almost identical to the old design on the outside. The pawl and release differ only in detail. But when you release the hook, the difference becomes very clear. It is no longer held in place in a forward or rearward position; instead you twist it sideways.
Here’s the twist
Since both the left and right arm hooks are identical in their design, you have to turn the locking hook on one link arm inwards and the other outwards. This is not a problem per se, but it takes a bit of time to instinctively do it. CBM’s argument, that the risk of damaging the lever is lower if you forget to close them after uncoupling an implement, is limited. If a collision occurs from the ‘right’ side, with a trailer drawbar for instance, the hook actually closes and the lever is spared. We reckon that the lever is likely to break the same as other latch levers. In an ideal world the latches would be closed after removing an implement, as you don’t have to reopen the hooks when attaching the next machine.
Fewer parts, easier repair
Should a repair be needed, one of the main benefits of the new design is that it consists of fewer components. While the OptiLock, including the roll pins, has 13 parts, the new T-Lock only has six components. And last, but bot least, thanks to a small additional plastic pin that holds the parts in position, the job of re-assembly is also much easier.
So, while the introduction of the OptiLock hook ends was about making them much pleasanter to use, the T-Lock system is about reducing the number of components inside the hook. The new design will hit the market later this year.