Hydraulic cable cutters are a very versatile tool. They amplify relatively little manual power into a much greater hydraulic cutting force. Not only does this make the task easier, it has the benefit of making the operation safer and more precise.
Hydraulic cable cutters are a versatile tool, but the high pressures they operate under means they require careful handling and maintenance of the system.
However, hydraulic cable cutters operate under high hydraulic pressure. Accordingly, certain precautions before and during tool use are essential.
- Leaks – Leaks are dangerous precondition for tool failure and injury to the operator. Ensure that there are no fluid leaks in and around the equipment, suggesting hydraulic fluid has leaked out. Particularly for tools that rely on external plumbing, ensure that no hoses are leaking, are frayed or damaged in a way that could make them rupture under pressure.
- Staying within limits – Hydraulic cable cutters have a maximum cutting load. These depends on the blade, the handle and the hydraulic system. Hydraulic cable cutters must not be used in instances when the force required exceeds the cutter. It can damage internal components or even damage the tool.
- Improper operation – Configuring or using a hydraulic cable cutter in a manner or for a task it was not designed for can easily lead to unintended consequences. Even an unsteady foothold of the operator can be a safety hazard.
- Safety protocol - Hydraulic cable cutters operate under high pressure and exert great shearing forces on cable. Being mindful of that, it is essential that the operator use the equipment in adherence to any applicable safety protocol that is in force.
- Hydraulic system maintenance – This varies depending on the configuration of the hydraulic cable cutter. A manual, handheld cutter will have few, if any, parts to be maintained by the user. A high-power, cutter with an external pump and hydraulic piping will require far greater care and attention. Particularly, watch for leaks, damage or unusual work of the hydraulic cylinder.
- Incorrectly configured – In cases of hydraulic cable cutters that are tethered to an external pump and electrical assembly, proper installation of the equipment is essential. Also, safety mechanisms, such as pressure release valves, must not be tampered with.
- Cable tension – Finally, cables that are being cut by a hydraulic cable cutter can pose safety hazards if they are under tension or are unsecured. Operators should ensure that the cable does not react in an unexpected way that can cause injury to those nearby.