Grande Prairie farmer Vincent Pawluski likes to “keep it simple,” and his new farming innovation does just that.
The RCFarmArm is a simple to install and use unit that allows farmers to remotely start tractors, rev the engine, and start the power-takeoff (PTO) … all from outside the tractor's cab.
The device has begun to gain national attention; Pawluski’s invention earned him one of five winners in innovation at Canada’s Farm show last month’s virtual event.
Pawluski said that traditionally farmers have to go to their tractor, climb in the cab, start the engine, rev it up and engage the PTO. Then, the operator would have to get off the tractor to go to the farm implement to finish the task while the PTO is running.
His new device eliminates the unnecessary running around by having a wireless remote that allows the operator to do all the tasks from wherever they need to be.
"It's really hard to be in two places at once, obviously, and then when you get ice (in the winter) and stuff involved, and you're in a hurry, it's a safety issue," said Pawluski.
He has been operating the system on his equipment, and believes it is a safer way of doing things.
Pawluski said that often farmers have to run past a danger zones while making their way to their tractor to shut it all down. Along with long hours and poor weather, this can lead to unnecessary risks climbing in and out of the high cabs of tractors.
He recalls an incident of his own where he was cleaning out the auger. “The wheat was wet, and I got the shovel stuck and it just kept smoking the belt.
“I had to run out of the truck and down the truck length to shut it off.”
With the RCFarmArm, he could have simply shut it down in a matter of seconds by hitting the emergency stop on the remote.
The safety of the device was a factor taken into consideration when Pawluski built it. Two buttons must be pushed simultaneously on the remote to turn on the tractor or PTO, removing the possibility of accidentally turning anything on.
The device has an emergency stop on the unit in the cab and on the remote that will shut down the tractor and subsequently any other items running from the tractor.
Pawluski first saw interest from others in his idea after posting a video of his tractor being run from a remote on Twitter.
Viewers from as far as Australia have said they are interested in the device.
At first, Pawluski hardwired the options into his tractor and knew that many operators would not feel comfortable doing the same. He began working on a solution that would not require the unit to be hardwired.
The RCFarmArm would become the solution.
The device sits on the armrest of tractors and is attached by two screws that would previously hold the armrest cushion.
The unit mimics a hand at the controls; Pawluski 3D-designed pieces to match his fingers.
Trial and error lead to a bin of tossed-away prototypes but it seems he has now finetuned the product and is ready to begin production.
He has begun manufacturing his custom-designed parts using 3D printers and has now bought more printers as he begins to produce more RCFarmArms.
Pawluski said he has sold 10 units and is hopeful to have them to customers for this year's harvest.
As part of being a winner for the Farm Show’s Innovation award, Pawluski received support from Western Economic Diversification Canada in the form of creating a professional promotional video for his website.
Pawluski has also received support from the Grande Prairie Regional Innovation Network in helping him build his webpage and some funding to help get the first model made.
His children run his social media, giving the company a presence on Instagram and TikTok, as the farmer still keeps the whole family involved in the business.
People who want to know more information can do so at www.rcfarmarm.ca.
Jesse Boily, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Town & Country News