“I realized what we were doing when changing wheels on the sprayer was anything but safe,” said Clarence Sawatzke, while explaining the advantages of the CB Highlift jack at a display during Brandon’s Manitoba Ag Days. “It was dangerous,” he continued.
When Sawatzke and his partner, Barry Reimer, couldn’t find a suitable jack on the market that could lift a high-clearance sprayer the way they wanted, they ended up co-inventing the CB Highlift out of necessity.
“First, we looked at some of the products on the market and realized they were no different than what we were doing,” added Sawatzke. “So we set out to come up with our own unit that would work for us.”
A little unexpectedly, their neighbours immediately started asking Sawatzke and Reimer to build jacks for them.
“When we built the first prototype in November of 2012, Barry came into the shop and took a few pictures of it then went to the coffee shop,” Sawatzke explained. “A few minutes later he sent me a text asking if I could build two more. I said I can build as many as you can sell. Last year we built and sold over 100 of them.”
Today, the pair uses prairie farm shows to market their CB Highlift, which retails for $1,250. That includes a 20-ton hydraulic bottle jack, providing enough lift capacity for any sprayer currently on the market.
CB Highlift Design
The CB Highlift’s unique design allows it to lift a sprayer in multiple stages if necessary, enabling it to raise a machine higher than the stroke limit of its own hydraulic jack. If a sprayer needs to be lifted a long way, the CB Highlift can be pinned in place when the hydraulic jack reaches its limit. The CB Highlift’s frame then doubles as a jack stand, while the bottle jack is moved up and reset. Once the hydraulic jack takes the weight of the sprayer again, the pins can be removed and the CB Highlift continues to lift the sprayer. This process of lifting in stages can be repeated until the sprayer is at the desired height.
The desire to have a jack that could easily raise a sprayer a long distance arose out of Sawatzke and Reimer’s own on-farm experiences, and it was a key factor they wanted to build into the CB Highlift’s design.
“We worked on a sprayer with a flat tire, where one jack stroke height didn’t lift it enough,” Sawatzke said. “What we went through was a series of blocking and jacking. It was scary. So we incorporated the ability to lock-in the outer slides, making [the CB Highlift] a jack stand, allowing us to collapse the hydraulic jack and bring it up. So you can step jack it without losing contact with the sprayer.”
That process ensures the frame of the CB Highlift continues to hold the weight of the sprayer throughout the entire lifting process, and no blocking is required. The frame was also built to provide a large contact area under the lifting surface of the sprayer to minimize the risk of slipping, and it’s mounted on wheels, so it rolls easily.
“Most sprayers aren’t clean,” he notes. “So you have a (jacking) surface that could potentially slip out on you. When we set out to build a jack, first and foremost it had to be safe. Having a background in workplace health and safety, that was key for me. With safety in mind it had to be built heavy, but not so heavy we couldn’t use it. It had to stay functional.”
To see a YouTube video of it in action, enter CB Highlift into the site’s search function. For more information, call 204-215-0260 or email [email protected]