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Of Piton-Fix and drawbars

The different transport infrastructures around the globe have an impact on the way goods are transported. This also affects the national regulations for transport. In most regions of Switzerland, one finds predominantly "small-structured agriculture" with hardly any contiguous double-digit hectares. However, there are also larger farms here and there with correspondingly larger plots.

In principle, the legal regulations, such as the permissible total weight of an agricultural team or the permitted drawbar loads, are the same for all road users in public road traffic, regardless of how much and how far goods are transported.

Large agricultural countries such as France, the USA and Russia with huge contiguous areas of cultivated land, mostly directly around the actual farm premises, have different conditions as far as agricultural transport is concerned. There, it can happen that agricultural teams hardly ever travel on public roads and therefore the requirements for connecting equipment are lower compared to the transport requirements on highly frequented public roads in Switzerland. Many legal requirements for connecting devices relate to public road traffic. These are often speed-dependent: the higher the speed, the lower the drawbar load, for example. Since agricultural machines in the field usually move at single-digit speeds, the dynamic loads are also lower than in road traffic. The demands on the connecting devices in road traffic are significantly greater than in the field.


The Piton-Fix system (widely used in France and the Benelux countries) basically consists of a basic drawbar body with a conical pin with a diameter of 47 - 50 mm. The pulling device on the equipment side is an annular towing eye according to DIN 9678 or ISO 20 019. This system is simple, without great comfort, an inexpensive alternative to the classic drawbar. It can transmit drawbar loads of up to 3000 kg. With this type of hitch, rigid drawbar trailers or slurry tankers, for example, can also be coupled.


The drawbar is a device for towing implements that often have low drawbar load requirements. Otherwise the drawbar would be called a "support pendulum". So draw stands for pulling and pendulum for the fact that it can also be positioned asymmetrically in the drawbar mount on the tractor in order to work off-track. One advantage of this is that the tractive force is transferred to the rear axle by means of a heart bolt, which gives the tractor traction on the front axle when pulling. The further the pick-up point of the pendulum moves forward in the direction of travel, the greater the traction on the front axle. Walterscheid offers almost backlash-free combinations in the drawbar range. Here, the pin of the drawbar is inserted through a spherical plain bearing drawbar eye, similar to the attachment of the lower link arms on the transmission of the tractor. The spherical bearing drawbar eyes considerably improve the comfort of the classic drawbar hitch.

Zugpendel am Heck eines John Deere Traktors.
Drawbar at the rear of a John Deere tractor.
Zugpendel mit doppelt schwenkbarer Gelenklagerzugöse.
Drawbar with double swivel joint drawbar eye.

Agricultural structures

Whereas in Switzerland a tractor is used for both field work and transport, tractors in the USA, Russia or Canada are used almost exclusively for field work. In these countries, different requirements are placed on the connection equipment, for example, there is often only a drawbar equipment in addition to the classic three-point.


There are dealers specialising in re-imports who contribute to the spread of "atypical" connecting devices, which were actually designed for other markets, in Germany. This often leads to coordination problems with existing drawbar eyes. There would be a few more examples of different regulations in individual countries at this point. Manufacturers of connecting devices must already take these different regulations into account during product development in order to obtain approval for these products in other countries.


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