Ohio inventor wins a gold medal

COLUMBUS – Dennis Dick of East Sparta, Ohio, was sitting in the cab of his skid steer when he was struck with the idea for a new invention.

Tired of climbing in and out of the cab, he wondered how he could change attachments without leaving his seat. He started to research and before he knew it, he had built a coupler directly to his skid steer that would allow him to change attachments without leaving the cab.

Thinking that other operators would benefit from his invention, he worked to make the coupler universal to fit any skid loader. And that is when the “Quickchange 2000″ was born.

“I have had many ideas that I just didn’t do anything with. I would have guys coming up to me and asking me if I ever did anything with that one idea, and I never would,” said Dick. “I never gave them any real thought and then five years down the road someone else would come out with it. With the Quickchange, it was just something I wanted to pursue.”

Dick took his invention to the 2000 Inventors Congress in Minnesota where he received a gold medal in the agricultural implements category.

There were nine categories represented at the congress – agricultural implements, electronics, health care/medical, hobbies and crafts, household and personal, industrial equipment, sports and recreation, tools and transportation.

There were 81 exhibitors at the 2000 congress with 94 inventions. There were five entries in the agricultural implements category, but the inventions are not necessarily judged by category. Each invention is judged on its own merit. Judges look for novelty, uniqueness, whether the invention fits a need, etc.

Mike Tebben of Tebben Enterprises in Minnesota approached Dick at the congress about manufacturing the coupler. Tebben will release the coupler for sale in April. Decker and Co. of Lansing, Mich., will distribute the Quickchange 2000 to various implement dealerships and stores in Ohio.

“Just about everyone Walt Linder (Decker territory manager) has talked to wants to carry it,” said Dick. “I’m excited that it has taken off so well and been accepted.”

The Quickchange 2000 allows operators to couple and uncouple attachments without leaving the cab of the skid steer. It fits all skid steers that use a universal mounting bracket. It works off auxiliary hydraulics. It is a totally enclosed unit that is protected from dirt, debris and other elements with steel hydraulic lines; it has very few moving parts.

“About 97 percent of all accidents related to skidsteers happen getting in and out of the cab,” said Dick. “It is easy to use and should save the operator a lot of time and backache.”

Dick has been awarded a patent for the first coupler he created on the skid steer and is waiting on the patent for the Quickchange. He is working with a company to create a skid steer that would have a coupler attached on the assembly line.

Dick says changing careers from construction supervisor to inventor has already taught him a lot. He is currently working on two other inventions unrelated to machinery.

“This has been such a learning experience. It’s been a lot of hard work, but it will all pay off next month,” said Dick.

(Reporter Annie Santoro can be reached at 1-800-837-3419, ext. 22, or asantoro@farmanddairy.com.)

* * *

QUICKCHANGE 2000 SPECIFICATIONS

Cost – $1,195

Weight – 199 pounds

Total Length – 451/2 inches

Total Depth – 5 inches

Total Height – 181/2 inches

Cylinders – 2 (11/2″ bore by 21/8″ tall)

Electrical – 12 volts

* Down pressure springs assure a locked position. Flag indicators notify operator when in an unlocked position.

* Electric switch and hydraulic control are needed to unhook attachment.

* The hydraulic connector between the coupler gives use of hydraulic controlled attachments without unhooking the Quickchange 2000.

* It uses only 23/4 inches of space.

To learn more about Quickchange 2000 call Mike Tebben at Tebben Enterprises at 320-847-2200 or Decker & Co. at 800-800-6955.

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