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Quick Hitch is a marriage of convenience; INVENTOR'S TRAILER GADGET ATTRACTS INTEREST.

By ANDREW FORGRAVE Rural Affairs Editor farming@dailypost.co.uk A SERIAL farm inventor has struck a chord with his latest gadget - a device for tow bars that makes coupling up a trailer both quicker and easier.

The Quick Hitch was designed by Anglesey entrepreneur Ifor Williams, whose simple solution to trailer travails has won plenty of admirers.

Getting a tow bar and trailer lined up can be frustrating but the Quick Hitch makes it much less of a hit-and-miss affair.

When bolted to a tow bar, its flared steel back plate ensures the trailer couple is captured much more easily.

"Essentially it widens the target area from two inches to around 10 inches - a five-fold increase," said Ifor, 62.

"It makes reversing on to a trailer much more straightforward, especially in the dark or over uneven ground.

"In on-farm trials we found the whole process, from reversing to lowering the drawbar and connecting the lighting cable, took just 30 seconds or less."

Ifor Williams is, of course, a name is synonymous with livestock trailers.

However this particular version was born two years after the iconic trailer brand first went into production at Cynwyd 60 years ago. That his latest invention was produced with trailers in mind was entirely coincidental - though a happy one.

"I often get asked if there's a connection when I take the Quick Hitch to shows," he said. "It's a good ice breaker!" The son of an Anglesey council farmer, Ifor's inventing career has been marked by clever devices that never quite took off.

After launching himself as a forestry contractor, he designed a timber harvester that was "superior" to equivalents at twice the price.

However tumbling timber prices put paid to the business and Ifor found himself instead repairing bin lorries for an Anglesey Council contractor.

In time he designed his own food waste recycling vehicle which, he said, generated plenty of interest - until the council replaced its entire fleet of refuge lorries.

All the while he repaired trucks and offered fabrication services from his Anglesey workshop.

"Farmers' sons usually turn out one of two ways - they either like working with animals or they like making things," said Ifor.

"I always wanted to find a solution to a problem - I can't stand using a machine that I know can be improved."

Four years ago his older brother Huw called at Ifor's workshop on a Sunday afternoon looking for a particular solution.

Huw runs a successful business training commercial drivers - but at the time trailer course was not going well.

Too many drivers were | A damaging his vehicles after struggling to reverse accurately. "Within two hours of him arriving at the workshop I had designed a prototype Quick Hitch," said Ifor.

"The next day I asked the Driving Standards Agency if it was legal for trailer testing and it said it had no objection.

"When we saw how useful it was in practice, I realised it was something I could commercialise."

After a number of refinements, the first Quick Hitch was launched 20 months ago. The Llanerchymedd-based business now has a range of five models with bolt-on or pin balls of different sizes, and with fixed, slot-in or fold-down guide plates.

So far just 1,000 have been sold but distributors are now picking it up and there is interest from Scandinavia too.

Farm distributor Spaldings was impressed by the latest folding variant.

"This version allows you to open van doors or a pick-up tailgate on vehicles where there is little clearance above the hitch," said Paul Denton, Spaldings product development manager.

"When folded down, the guide plate also provides a more secure footing for climbing into the vehicle - certainly better than standing on a ball hitch or a slippery plastic step."

As well as making life easier, all Quick Hitch versions reduce the chances of vehicles being damaged by trailer drawbars. When reversing with the trailer, the guide plates also prevent the trailer jackknifing.

| Quick Hitches cost from PS90. For product details, visit www.quickhitchtowing.co.uk.
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Publication:Daily Post (Conwy, Wales)
Date:Sep 20, 2018
Words:672
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