Are reel jack stands necessary?
Reel jack stands are the prevalent technology used for cable pulls, and for good reason. They’re relatively economical, easy enough to handle, and they usually get the job done. Electricians position stands beneath the reel, jack the reel hooks upward to clear the ground, and pull.
But in this era of technological revolution, is this system still the best? Is it the safest, the most efficient? Let’s examine the problems associated with reel jack stands before looking into solutions and alternative reel handling equipment that may someday render the jack stand obsolete.
Problems with Reel Jack Stands
A pair of jack stands can certainly support cable reels during pulls, but several things can go wrong during the process:
- To pull cable with a pair of reel jack stands, electrical contractors have to ensure the stands are facing the right direction. That requires a complex and potentially unsafe series of actions every time the cable pull changes directions. Users must lower the reel to the ground, rotate both jack stands, and re-jack the reel for clearance. This takes time and presents ergonomic hazards.
- Cable jack stands can become unstable on uneven ground. Given the great weight of fully loaded cable reels, any instability is a serious safety hazard.
- Jack stands lift cable reels from ground-level, requiring reel flanges to bear the weight of the load until they’re lifted. Particularly for wooden reels, this can cause damage, splinters, exposure to debris, and loose nails or staples. Damaged reels can catch at conductors during the pull, damaging them or stopping the pull in its tracks.
- In order to prevent lateral motion, reel spindles are designed with divots at the ends — but not all these divots fit into every reel jack stand. Many models require spindles that are built specifically to work with them, creating a potential safety hazard when electricians don’t have the right spindles on hand.
Despite these drawbacks, reel jack stands work most of the time. But what if there were a better way to handle cable reels at the job site?
Alternatives to Reel Jack Stands
Several technologies allow electricians to complete cable pulls without using jack stands, from smaller jobs to full-scale installations. These include:
- Reel roller platforms. Dyna Reel Platforms feature low-built steel rollers; place reels onto this reel roller platform for smooth, low-cost cable pulls.
- Reel roller forklift attachments. Fix a Dyna Reel Platform Attachment to lift truck forks for a totally portable, heavy-duty solution for handling cable reels and paying out cable in any direction.
- Parallel Reel Payout Wagons. Steel reels mounted on Parallel Reel Payout Wagons allow users to pay out cable in any direction, from any point in the job site. Fork pockets and heavy duty casters provide mobility.
- Parallel Reel Payout Trailers. For large-scale cable pulls, choose a Parallel Reel Payout Trailer. These trailers feature Parallel Reel Payouts on rotating bases, allowing electricians to drop off the trailer at the job site and pull cable of any type in any direction.
Regardless of which cable handling solution works for a given contractor, it’s always a good idea to reduce the number of removals of reels from stands as much as possible. Spool Winding Trolleys allow users to spool cable reels on existing stands or Parallel Reel Payout units.
With equipment that can handle reels on permanent, steel stands, there’s a better option than relying on reel jack stands alone.
DeVeau, Mark. “Breaking Down the Basics of Cable Pulling.” ECMWeb. Endeavor Business Media, LLC, 24 Jan. 2011.