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Unique Plows Aid Cable Installation.

Two strange-looking machines working along the New York Thruway the past several months have attracted the attention of contractors and others interested in equipment.

Both units, Twin Tech Inc. Spider Plows, were installing duct for fiber optic cable during construction of the telecommunications network project completed recently by MFS Network Technologies, Omaha, NE.

The German-made Spider Plow represents a departure from familiar cable plow designs. Each of the machine's four wheels can be adjusted independently - both horizontally and vertically, it to straddle objects, work on slopes and uneven terrain, and operate in other difficult conditions. Company representatives say it also is effective in wet and muddy conditions and that installations have been made in shallow river bottoms without diverting water flow.

The plow can operate with only two wheels on the ground. The machine often is in configurations that, indeed, make it look like a large, mechanical spider.

The plow component is of static design for installing materials to depths six feet. The unit has two cable reels which can accommodate as many as three reels, depending on their sizes. During operation, the front of the plow blade clears a bed for the material being installed which feeds through a chute at the rear of the blade.

The plow component works in conjunction with a separate traction unit (in New York they were Mercedes-Benz Unimogs). The plow has its own diesel power source for loading and moving into position on jobs and to power hydraulics, but during plowing, it is pulled forward by a steel cable attached to a 140-ton hydrostatic-powered winch mounted on the traction vehicle. During plowing, the traction vehicle is stabilized by an anchor plate that is buried in the ground (rubber blocks are used on paved surfaces).

Published literature says the Spider Plow can install polyethylene pipe in diameters as large as 6% inches in diameter and, depending on size of material, simultaneously install 10 separate lengths of pipe or cable, two warning tapes and two lightning protectors to depths ranging to six feet.

Info #909
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Publication:Underground Construction
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Dec 1, 1997
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