Article
There are any number of ways an electrical contractor’s job can be ergonomically challenging. Just think of all the tight corners you might have to reach around on a jobsite, or the awkward positions you might have to get into while making a final wiring connection.

How to Add Some Power to Jobsite Conduit Bending Efforts

Chuck Ross
There are any number of ways an electrical contractor’s job can be ergonomically challenging. Just think of all the tight corners you might have to reach around on a jobsite, or the awkward positions you might have to get into while making a final wiring connection. A lot of these situations just can’t be avoided, so it can be important to give your body a break when you can, by turning to tools made to make some of the more physically challenging chores a lot easier. Power benders are just such an option to consider when the task of bending rigid conduit is at hand.

Conduit bending at a jobsite is often done using hand benders. These tools get the job done, but as Lee Newson, product manager with Gardner Bender notes, they present some challenges.

“Bending conduit manually can be extremely tiring, especially when bending larger sizes, like 1-in. rigid conduit,” Newson says. “It’s even worse if you have to bend multiple pieces of conduit in succession – it can lead to sore arms and backs, which decreases productivity over time. It can also potentially lead to injury, which takes workers off of jobsites, completely. Additionally, bending by hand requires a clear, flat workspace in order to have enough room to get accurate bends and avoid clutter that can also cause injuries.”

Power benders have long been an alternative to manual units in electrical shops, and now new portable models are bringing that same assistance out into the field. These lighter-weight machines are often powered by standard pipe threaders, which makes them easier to carry around. And, Newson says, they save time as well as energy.

“Using a portable bender removes most of the manual labor required when bending by hand,” the product manager notes. “Rather than having to exert energy to complete a bend, the user just has to insert the conduit into the bender and hold a button to bend it. The bender also requires less space to operate, so it can be used in spaces that a user normally wouldn’t have enough room to safely and accurately bend in.”
Photo courtesy of Gardner Bender
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