A cable puller is a must-have tool for installing long lengths of cable quickly and safely, in particular underground cables. A technique currently used is known as “blowing-in”. The process consists of effectively floating the cable in air inside a protective casing to avoid any friction with the tunnel walls, thereby making it easier for the cable to move along smoothly. At the same time, the cable is pushed by a mechanical drive system. Compressed air is used to make the cable levitate inside the casing.
The drive system which enables the cable to move through the casing is often hydraulic. In this case, “the floating and pushing” is carried out by a single machine which is linked to the compressed air feeder tube and to the tubes of the oil hydraulic circuit. With this system, you therefore need to have both an air compressor and an oil compressor on site, which means the setting up process is fairly cumbersome and takes time.
As an air compressor is already being used for the blowing-in system, a pneumatic drive system could very easily replace the hydraulic drive system. There are numerous advantages, too, with this alternative solution: pneumatic motors are far less bulky than hydraulic systems and, being more compact, it means you can use a lighter, more malleable cable winch.
Another advantage is that air motors are less expensive to buy and maintain. Extremely robust, reliable and durable, the motor is constantly cooled by the extraction of the air feeding it, which prevents over-heating, even at very high speeds. In this way, the mechanics of a pneumatic motor are protected against high temperatures which, in turn, improves the lifespan of its parts.
Also, using a hydraulic motor requires putting a spill tray in place in case of leaks. With compressed air, this isn’t necessary.
And last but not least, with a pneumatic motor, there’s no problem regarding humidity, dust or heat, which greatly minimises any risks of danger. In short, it is ideal for exterior use – and cable pullers are generally used outside.
So, as you can see, pneumatic motors are an excellent alternative to hydraulic motors, as much for their ease of use and premium safety levels as for their strength and flexibility. Plus, you get all these advantages at an extremely competitive price!