Your ultimate guide to the Heavy Hitch warehouse video tour, led by owner Terry Schell and Tim Marks of Tractor Time with Tim.
“THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THIS TOUR! You guys answered so many questions I’ve had trying to decide on what front weight bracket to use.” – Tour viewer
Our friends Tim and Christy from Tractor Time with Tim recently made the trek from their home in Indiana to the Heavy Hitch warehouse in Winona, Minnesota to see how we make tractor hitches and other tractor accessories. Owner Terry Schell, his wife Shannon, and their two youngest sons, led Tim and Christy on a tour of the warehouse to show them exactly how American-made tractor parts look during every step of the manufacturing process.
From steel production to powder coating, see how Heavy Hitch makes our products in the heartland, on the border between Minnesota and Wisconsin. Our team of highly skilled American steel workers, mechanical drafters, welders, and machine operators are close-knit. Terry’s dad, Bill Schell, even welds pieces a couple days a week!
“I love it… been doing it for fifty-some years.” – Bill Schell, veteran, Heavy Hitch welder, and father of owner Terry Schell
American-made quality begins with steel.
Heavy Hitch manufactures tractor attachments using McNeilius Steel. Founded over seventy years ago, McNeilius Steel, Inc., “is a family-owned, full-line steel distributor and processor.” The company employs 700 people at four warehouses located in Minnesota, North Dakota, Wisconsin, and Tennessee. McNeilius steel takes care of its people, both workers and customers alike. They prioritize the “health, safety, and wellbeing of our employees and their families,” as they work to “exceed customers’ expectations” in both quality and value.
McNeilius Steel is top-notch in both categories. With an ISO 9001 certification, the company adheres to internationally-recognized standards for Quality Management Systems (QMS). That means the raw material for every Heavy Hitch product is made with the highest quality control standards.
American steel is the reason some of our hitches bear the stamp, “MADE IN THE USA” right on the square tubing. Check out 0:47 in the video tour to see it!
Most products are made with standard A-36 soft steel. For certain components like the ripper and combo shank, snow plow blades, etc., Heavy Hitch uses superstrong abrasive resistant AR-400 and AR-500 steel. As Terry explains, “the higher the number, the harder the steel.” By using harder steel for the highest-impact components, Heavy Hitch products are designed to last three to four times longer than other products made only with standard steel.
To give Tim an idea of just how strong AR-500 steel can be, Terry mentions that bulletproof vehicles and ammo-resistant military gear are made out of the same material.
Machines that are tougher than steel.
As Tim and Terry walk through the warehouse, there are continual flashes of light and sparks flying while welders and machine operators create the building blocks of your favorite Heavy Hitch tractor attachments.
With super strong AR-400 and AR-500 steel, Terry says, “you cannot drill with a regular drill.” Luckily, Terry has a powerful waterjet cutting machine on site that can cut through up to six inches of steel. Terry shows Tim a pattern of triangular-shaped holes where he had recently cut cart corners out of 1.25 inch thick AR-500 steel.
“Six-inch thick steel, you can cut here!” – Tim Marks, Creator of Tractor Time with Tim
In addition to Heavy Hitch products, Terry utilizes his waterjet cutting machine for clients through Schell’s Precision Edge. Check out his website for more information on this powerful machine’s capabilities.
“Over here we have our milling machine,” Terry says to Tim. The Heavy Hitch team uses various attachments on the milling machine to file, cut, and drill through steel. By using the milling machine, operators advance the design of solid shanks, flats, and receiver tubes.
“This [milling machine] is running eight to ten hours a day, all day long.” – Terry Schell, Owner of Heavy Hitch
Once the raw materials are prepared, they are stacked neatly on racks for fabrication. If you like a well-organized warehouse, check out the video tour at 6:07.
Your Heavy Hitch products are welded by three primary welders in our warehouse. During extra busy production times, we have additional welding stations that can be used to keep on schedule.
Sparks fly in oranges and blues while Heavy Hitch welders grind and weld together parts into a whole. Terry’s dad, Bill, loves welding the receivers in particular. “He’s in his early seventies,” Terry explains, “and still loves coming to work.”
“You’re good at it. I can see that. Wow!” – Tim Marks, Creator of Tractor Time with Tim
Bill’s welding helmet is a tribute and daily reminder of his brother, who is a POW/MIA. “My oldest didn’t… I did. I was over there twice,” Bill explains. “Thank you for your service,” Tim replies.
See why Tim says “Wow!” when checking out Bill’s welding skills at 12:39 in the video tour.
Powder coating machine and oven
Before applying the powder coat, attachments are sand blasted with a primer to ensure an even application of powder on the surface. Attachments are hooked on a metal rack with an electrical charge that attracts the powdery coating to the surface. After applying a thick coating of paint, the racks are rolled into a huge oven that sets the powder coat with heat.
“Here’s the oven it goes into…anywhere from 15 minutes to a half hour,” Terry explains, “depending on the color, and what we’re doing, and how much goes in there.” The oven is set for 494 degrees, and the attachments themselves need to reach a certain temperature in order for the powder coat to set.
“One thing I notice about Terry and everything at Heavy Hitch is they are very picky about their paint…it’s some of the thickest, heaviest painting that I’ve ever seen.” – Tim Marks, Creator of Tractor Time With Tim
Once heated in the oven, the racks are removed and set aside to cool. “[In] wintertime, it cools off a little easier than summertime,” Terry jokes.
See Heavy Hitch’s long-lasting powder coat application process for yourself, beginning at 16:20.
A cheat sheet for your favorite attachments
During the video tour, Terry showed Tim several Heavy Hitch products at various stages in the manufacturing process. Want to skip ahead to the attachment you’re most interested in? See below for a summary of the attachments Terry and Tim reviewed, along product links and video placement, down to the second! You’ll be ripping, pulling, and plowing in no time.
HH1 Category 1, 3 point hitch. The standard 3 point hitch is made of 1/8” thick steel and has links on either end with a 2” receiver directly in the middle. The super-duty version is made of thicker 3/16” steel with a 3/8” chain hook welded to the top of the receiver. Learn more about this product at 0:57.
HH2PW Category 2 hitch receiver drawbar and bracket. This hitch is compatible with John Deere style 100 pound weights with a Category 2 hitch receiver drawbar. See an example during the video tour at 19:25.
HHBB2 Back blade. Our back blade is made with superstrong steel or UMHC polyethylene cutting edges for 3-4x the durability of standard soft-steel designs. The back blade can be used for a variety of projects year-round from gravel distribution to snow removal. Tim raves about the compact design of the back blade, made with a collapsable bar for easy storage when not in use. Learn more about this product at 17:57.
HHCCHD and HHCC2HD Heavy duty hitch and suitcase weight carts. Heavy Hitch makes carts for Category 1 and Category 2 hitches. The carts are made with 4×2 wheels with swivels and locks. The Category 2 model is built with additional bracing and can accept up to 1800 lbs in weight! See why Tim tried to sneak off with his own Category 2 cart beginning at 21:17.
HHFB Quick attach front suitcase weight bracket. These brackets are compatible with a variety of John Deere front quick attach systems, and can be sold separately as well as in the kit for a front weight bracket. Learn more about these products beginning at 25:17.
HHX8W Suitcase weight bracket for ClickNGo. This suitcase bracket adds more ballast to your tractor, with a 2” standard receiver and capacity to hold eight 70-lb suitcase weights. Learn more about this product beginning at 7:34.
“This is beautiful for snow removal because you need that weight on the rear end, especially if you have a snow blower.” Tim Marks, Creator of Tractor Time with Tim
HRA Ripper and combo shank. The standard ripper is made of superstrong steel with adjustable depth settings and a solid shank to accommodate your plowing needs. The combo shank is longer and comes with a replaceable ripper tooth and 11” furrower/ditcher/potato plow that can be directly bolted onto the tip. Learn more about this product at 19:32.
HXR2 Receiver hitch. This receiver hitch is mounted onto John Deere tractor rear hitch plates to provide a standard 2” receiver compatible with both Heavy Hitch and John Deere tractor tools and accessories. Tim is a fan of this product, explaining that it helps increase stability for pulling projects. Learn why Tim calls this product “helpful” beginning at 7:01.
SHA Sleeve hitch adapter. This adapter works with attachments that are designed with a single-point hookup: think lawn and garden attachments like those made by Brinly. Learn more about this product at 9:28.
SW Suitcase weights and shipping. Suitcase weights are the only product not made in our U.S.-based warehouse. Weights can be purchased in 41 lb, 70 lb, and 100 lb models. If you’re wondering why we don’t make suitcase weights in house, Tim says it best: “It’s just not practical.” For weighty orders up to 2500 pounds, we use Fastenal to save our customers money. The cost of shipments range anywhere from $60 to $210. Tim reports receiving a full pallet for a $100 shipment fee. Learn more about our suitcase weights at 23:25 and our shipping through Fastenal beginning at 23:47.
TB and TBHD Tooth bars. Both the bucket and heavy tooth bars come in bolt-on and clamp-on models with replaceable and interchangeable teeth. Clamp-on tooth bars are designed for universal compatibility, while bolt-on bars can fit custom drill patterns suited to your tractor. Tooth bars come in a variety of lengths between 46” and 73” with customization available. Learn how to choose the right length at 10:29.
“I absolutely love my Heavy Hitch tooth bar. I got two of ‘em!” – Tim Marks, Creator of Tractor Time with Tim
The Schells: an American family living the American Dream.
Heavy Hitch is truly the American dream for the Schell family. Beginning with founders Greg Parnow and his father-in-law, Jim Schell, Heavy Hitch grew from “horsing around one night over Christmas” to an industry leader with dozens of employees and thousands of sales every year.
Owner Terry Schell is Jim’s nephew, and began working with Greg at Heavy Hitch in the beginning of 2019, shortly after Jim passed away from cancer. As the son of a welder, Terry had been welding since childhood. “I’ve been around this my whole life,” he explains to Tim.
In mid-2019, Terry became Heavy Hitch’s new owner and carried his family’s company into its third decade with his wife, Shannon, and their three sons: Elliott, Isaac, and Easton. The Schells have a promising young mentee in their eldest son Elliott, who can often be found learning about manufacturing and shipping outside of school hours. Greg still drops in to help out from time to time, as well as Terry’s dad Bill.
“This is Americana. It’s just great to see stuff really being made here in America and American workers doing it. It’s awesome.” – Tim Marks, Creator of Tractor Time with Tim
Tim acknowledges that Greg “took a risk on us” when Tractor Time with Tim had just 1,000 subscribers. Like Heavy Hitch, Tim’s audience has grown a lot since those early days. He now has more than 150,000 subscribers to his YouTube channel. Hear Tim describe his positive experience from Heavy Hitch over the years, beginning at 15:18 on the video tour.
Finally: comments you’ll want to read.
We want to thank Tim and his wife Christy for making the drive to our warehouse, as well as viewers of Tractor Time with Tim. In a world where video comments can make us all cringe, your positivity, encouragement, and enthusiasm makes us feel more energized than ever. We are thankful for the chance to provide you with the highest-quality tractor attachments you’ve come to love and trust…made in America!
Come and visit us anytime. We’d love to see you and show you around the warehouse.
“A nice family working together to produce a superior product.” – Tour viewer
“This is exactly why buying ‘Made in the USA’ is so incredibly important.” – Tour viewer
“I will look at Heavy Hitch first when I need anything for my tractor. I want to support this company.” – Tour viewer and Heavy Hitch customer
“The only word I can think of is…WOW!!!” – Tour viewer
“Great folks making a great product line, the American dream.” – Tour viewer
“I love Heavy Hitch! They are an easy, beautiful 100-mile drive from my house in Wisconsin so I make the trip down there when I buy products.” – Tour viewer and Heavy Hitch customer
“I love Heavy Hitch! They are an easy, beautiful 100-mile drive from my house in Wisconsin so I make the trip down there when I buy products.” – Tour viewer
“Awesome quality. The paint is perfect. Very rare these days.” – Tour viewer
“I love how you get in-depth knowledge of what the product is and does. First thing I’m getting when I get my tractor is a Heavy Hitch tooth bar with code TTWT.” – Tour viewer
“The people at Heavy Hitch were the friendliest people to work with.” – Tour viewer
“I would feel like a kid in a candy store at Heavy Hitch.” – Tour viewer
Whether or not you take the trip to Winona to see us, please feel free to contact us for more information on anything you see in the video tour, including custom orders. You can also stay connected with us on Facebook and Tractor Time with Tim on Youtube.