Although the cable puller is certainly a time- and back-saving invention, large cable pullers can be heavy and complicated to set up — a waste of a contractor's time and energy for a small or low-force cable pull. In the past few years, smaller, lighter-weight cable pullers, designed for single-person operation, have become quite popular. Given the fact that this new class of cable pullers is still in its infancy, tool manufacturer Greenlee saw room for improvement and took action.

The company spent two years on researching and designing the latest portable cable puller model, developing prototypes, visiting numerous job sites, allowing contractors to try out the units, and making modifications based on their feedback. This month, the company is introducing its Ultra Tugger 2 (UT2) — a small, mobile, versatile cable puller.

Capable of pulling up to a 2,000-pound load, the UT2 weighs only 67 pounds and is equipped with wheels for easy transport. Because the device is self-contained, set-up time is purported to be less than one minute. The puller can be attached to any conduit of 1-inch diameter and larger using the company's patent-pending quick latch system, which matches up to the threads of the conduit and holds securely when the clamp is tightened using a large locking knob.

The device includes its own internal drive motor, designed specifically for cable pulling applications, which can be plugged directly into a 15A circuit. According to Jim Eisele, product manager, the unit draws less current, runs cooler, and is likely to have much longer life than pullers that rely on an external motor source. As a safety feature, an internal circuit breaker is also included to stop the motor if it becomes overloaded.

Another safety feature is the UT2's right angle sheave, which keeps the operator out of the direct line with the pulling rope. “If something happens with the pulling rope or the connection between the rope and the cable, a lot of energy can be released,” Eisele explains. “And it's always in line with the pulling rope.”

The tugger features an elbow and extendable telescopic boom that can be adjusted to the required length and angle to fit the user's job needs. Because of this adjustable elbow, the device can perform an up, down, or side pull. The UT2 also features a dual diameter capstan, which allows for two pulling speeds. The high-speed capstan is for loads up to 1,000 pounds, and the low-speed capstan is designed for loads of up to 2,000 pounds.

The type and size of cable the UT2 can handle depend on the number of bends in the conduit, the type of bends, the type of jacket on the cable being pulled, and a variety of other variables. But generally speaking, the UT2 should be ideal for light industrial and commercial jobs that include relatively short pulls. For example, a commercial contractor in Monticello, Minn., used a UT2 prototype to wire an entire Wal-Mart store. “There were a lot of cable pulls on this project, but the conductor size was not particularly large, so they just moved from one pulling site to the next,” Eisele says. “Another contractor used it to pull cables in for a parking lot lighting project.”

Doug Kruse, materials manager at Wilson Electric in Rockford, Ill., recently tried the UT2 out on some light commercial and industrial jobs, such as in the office space of an industrial building, where he used it to pull four 3/0 cables 200 feet. Including set-up time, Kruse estimates that the UT2 reduced the time he spent on a cable pull by 25%. Responsible for testing and buying tools for his company, Kruse says he has used other cable pullers in the past. “The Greenlee [UT2] is probably the easier set up and more portable because it has wheels, and the set up time is shorter,” he says. The UT2 will retail for about $2,700.

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Weight: 67 lbs.
Pulling speeds:
(high-speed capstan)
500-lb. load 36 fpm
1,000-lb. load 22 fpm
(low-speed capstan)
1,000-lb. load 36 fpm
2,000-lb. load 22 fpm
Pulling rope: 5/8 in. low-stretch polyester (8,000 lb. minimum breaking strength)