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Tractel TU Series Tirfor Winches: Tension on the High Ropes

National Parks and councils often install canopy walks, canopy walkways, treetop walks/walkways or suspension bridges in forests or mountainous regions so the public can enjoy, as well as avoid damaging or impacting these pristine environments.

Often in the forest, the walkways consist of galvanised steel wire cables that hold platforms that are either connected to trees, are on rough terrain or mountain sides where holes are drilled into the rock in order to anchor the cables. These galvanised steel cables are high strength and capable of withstanding heavy loads. In peak times such as weekends or public holidays, the walkways or bridges may be required to hold significant loads. The bridges must also be long lasting, durable and resistant to extreme and changing weather environments. 

The main wires and cables contain numerous strands that must be tensioned and checked. Periodically they need to be tested and possibly re-tensioned to maintain their strength and durability.  In the final termination stage, due to the incremental tensioning capability of the TU Series Tirfor® winches from Tractel®, they are an ideal solution to complete the task.

This application required the Tractel Tirfor® winch model TU-32 to tighten and secure several wires at once for termination. The wires were in a precarious rocky position but due to the low weight of the Tirfor® winch, it allowed excellent control and stability. Electric and petrol winches were not suitable or practical for several reasons (weight, balance, power source and contamination – petrol).  

The TU Series are available in three sizes to cater to various task requirements. The TU-8 weighs only 8.4kg and has a WLL of 800kg; the TU-16 weighs only 20kg with a WLL of 1,600kg; and the TU-32 weighs only 27kg and has a WLL of 3,200kg. There is no limitation in terms of cable length which means the winches are capable of completing tasks from height and long pulling distances.

Most Tractel Tirfor® winches are fitted with a hook or anchor pin so that it can be secured quickly to any suitable anchor point. Each machine is supplied with a telescopic operating handle, and usually with a 20 m standard length of special Tirfor® wire rope fitted with a safety hook and wound onto a metal reel. Longer or shorter lengths of wire rope are available on request.

All Tirfor® machines incorporate a safety shear pin system. In case of overload, one or more pins (depending on the model), fitted to the forward operating lever, shear and prevent further forward or lifting operations. Reverse operation is still possible to enable the load to be lowered or the wire rope to be slackened. Models TU and T-500D are fitted with a “two-handed” rope release system which requires deliberate operation by the user to release the machine.

In this application the other items used but not shown but available from Specialised Force are:

  • Self-gripping clamps/comealong/pork chop grip (to hold the wire)
  • Swivel (so the bridge wire or cable doesn’t twist as it is uncoiled)
  • Dynamometer (real time monitoring of load)
  • Rope Tension Meter (final confirmation of tension)
  • Battery Swaging Tool and Swages (for smaller side support wires/cables of bridge – non-load holding)

Tractel Tirfor® is versatile, portable and multi-purpose, not only for pulling and lifting but also for lowering, tensioning, guying and numerous other configurations. They are an ideal reliable mechanical solution, or back up in case of petrol or electrical winch failure. 

Click Here to go to the TU Series Product Page.

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