Article
In another article, we discussed some simpler methods of pulling interior wiring into conduit. We looked at coil packs and drum feed methods. But when it comes to underground feeders and cabling, the struggle gets, well, "reel." When laying in conductors with underground or in-concrete installations, it's normally a two-step process, requiring a team at least three workers.

Entrance Conductor Wiring Made Simpler – The Reel Deal

Steve Maurer, IME
In another article, we discussed some simpler methods of pulling interior wiring into conduit. We looked at coil packs and drum feed methods.

But when it comes to underground feeders and cabling, the struggle gets, well, "reel." When laying in conductors with underground or in-concrete installations, it's normally a two-step process, requiring a team at least three workers.

What if you could make it a one-step process?

And what if you only needed two crew members to lay in the conduit and cables?

This could save money by shortening the installation time, maybe as much as one-half to one-fifth.
Let's take a look at the basic, common practice and see how it can be improved with a different method.

Doing the old two-step install
Once a trench is dug or formed, you're ready to install the conduit. There are two ways to do that: PVC underground rated conduit and flexible conduit.

With the PVC, you layout the conduit and then glue the sticks together. Of course, for runs with 45 or 90 degree angles, you need to glue in the appropriate sweeps, too.

Once the PVC cement it dry, you need to pull in a fish tape in most cases. Then make your cable attachment and jerk that son of a gun through the conduit. Sometimes you get hung up on a joint, adding time to the install as you work it loose and continue on.

Of course, using a flexible, empty conduit duct will cut down on the time. Just reel it out, feeding it easily around any curves and angles. Once laid in, you get your fish tape placed and pull the conductors through.

It's much faster and you won't be hanging up on any glued joints.

But … it's still a two-step process, using at least three team members.

How about cutting the time and manhours down even more?

Cable-in-conduit installs save even more time
Instead of buying reels of wire and reels of conduit, use the cable-in-conduit method. The cables are already in the flexible sheath, sometimes manufactured simultaneously at the factory.

Once the reel is set in place and jacked up for easy payoff, you just drag it down through the trench. The conduit/conductor combo glides around curves and angles easily.

Once your crewmate has reached the end, all that's left is skinning back the conduit to make attachments to enclosures and terminals.

In a side-by-side test case, a PVC conduit install took 41 minutes and three workers, while the cable-in-conduit was done in a little over six minutes … with two workers.

Even the sheath and pull method took three workers 16 minutes to finish.

Here's another reel deal
If you've ever pulled entrance cables or large feeders from a wooden reel, you'll appreciate this product.

Because the sides of the reel are rigidly connected, rolling them around tight corners is a challenge. And once you're at the pulling location, you need to get it lined up to pull, insert an arbor tube or conduit, hike it up onto heavy jack stands, and finally get it ready to pull.

But what about using a rotating flange set that attached easily to the reel, using a drills to hoist the heavy real into position? The flanges are designed to roll independently of each other, allowing you to navigate the reel around obstacles easily, with only one crew member rolling it along.

Once at the pull site, you simple roll it into position, clamp on some wheel chocks, and get ready to rock and roll.

Using something like the SIMpull™ Flange set can make it faster, easier, and safer to get heavy cable to the pull site and get the job done.
Photo courtesy of Southwire Company
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