Frances Craughwell owned a trailer servicing business where he worked as a mechanic when he came up with the idea of Tow-M8 – a towing safety tool designed to allow people to check hitches and tyres for wear damage.
After encountering many trailers that had become detached from their tow vehicle, he discovered that it was excessive wear on the ball-hitches that was causing the problem.
“I realised that there was no simple way of checking the wear of a typical 50ml ball, so I just came up with the Tow-M8 gauge,” said Francis.
He brought his prototype to Rynn's in Galway to manufacture and managed to secure a spot in the Innovation Arena at the 2017 National Ploughing Championships where it was received with great interest.
Last year, Tow-M8 was in the top five AgriTech start-ups in the country at the National start-up awards.
"We’re still at the development stage; we’re waiting on the final packaging before an official launch” – explaining that Brexit has put a delay on exports from the UK.
What happens if a ball-hitch is worn?
The danger of a worn ball hitch means that the trailer is not secure and can become detached.
Every trailer is fitted with a break-away cable that will trigger the brakes before snapping, leaving the stopped trailer on the road when it becomes detached.
When the ball hitch is worn, the break-away cable fails to work, leaving the detached trailer in motion and is a serious hazard to the public.
- Checks the ball hitch on the tow vehicle
- Checks the ball cup on the trailer
- There is a 1.6ml measuring tab to check tread depth in tyres