Cable Blowing

The internet may represent the single biggest change in the lives of people around the world in the last century.  Over half of the planet’s population is now online, and this relentless growth has led to a period of unparalleled innovation in the industries providing the related infrastructure.  Countless miles of fibre optic cable are laid every year to facilitate connectivity, and cable blowing equipment is one of the latest developments driving this industry forward.

The traditional way of laying fibre optic cable is by digging continuous trenches, installing a duct which is far from ideal as the process is expensive and causes disruption to the surrounding environment.  Then each time the cable needs to be replaced or augmented the whole process must be repeated.  The solution is to insert a sub duct inside the existing duct so that new and future cable can be inserted from the surface without all the related groundwork.  The longer the section of cable which can be replaced in this way, the fewer the number of access points which must be maintained and the greater the financial savings made.  But there are limitations to this process.  Fibre optic cabling is delicate, and the longer the section of cable, the more it weighs.  Eventually, a length of cable may snag on the side of a duct or break under its own weight.

Anyone who has ever struggled to insert the tent poles into the hem of a tent will understand the problem.

This is where cable blowing equipment come in.  These machines use air to float the cable, this allows you to vastly increase the length of cable which can be inserted into an underground conduit in a single operation.  A compressor adds the air at a consistent pressure to propel the cable through the duct.  At the same time, the powered caterpillar tracks feed the cable through the conduit at a pre-set speed.  This provides a consistent, uniform pushing force along the length of the cable.  It prevents the cable from snagging or twisting, and supports the cable along its length to prevent stresses from building up at any one point, causing breakage.

Think of it like an air hockey table; when the game is turned off, the movement of the puck is limited by friction with the table surface.  But when air is fed in, the friction is greatly reduced.  In the same way, a cable blowing machine can insert cabling much more efficiently than would be possible by hand.

Rotrex Winches have a 40 year history as the UK’s leading provider of winches and winch expertise, and supply an extensive range of products when it comes to cable handling equipment.  We now offer cable blowing and pushing equipment for hire and sales, offering our customers two of the most cost effective and reliable systems we’ve come across, including the Fibrecat and Tornado blowing Systems.

 

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