How to Select Hydraulic Pullers Safely

Hydraulic Pullers – Choosing Safely

There are special safety considerations when using any type of mechanical equipment, and high powered hydraulic puller systems are no different. In addition, each piece of equipment, like High Pressure Hydraulic Pullers, have their own set of special considerations for keeping users safe. Knowing what these are ensures that you maximize output while avoiding injury, which is always the top priority.

High Pressure Hydraulic Pullers use controlled hydraulic power to remove and install shaft mounted parts from machinery, such as pulleys, bearings, wheels, sprockets and gears. The puller can be used to pull a part off of a shaft; push or pull a shaft off of something else; or pull something, like a bearing cup, oil seal or bushing out of a hole.

While manual pullers can be used on smaller jobs, High Pressure Hydraulic Pullers offer many advantages to the operator. First, they harness greater power, making them more effective and efficient to use. Using Hydraulic Pullers are especially useful for high resistance loads, when working with rusted parts, and for machines that require frequent repairs. Finally, they increase the gripping force by increasing pressure, and afford the user a firmer grip and a straight pull.

Always consider the safety features of a product before you make a purchase. One of the products we recommend is the Posi-Lock Hydraulic Puller. It allows for fast setup and comes with a Safety Cage® that guides jaws for solid contact and superior safety. The patented steel controls the jaws at all times, preventing slipping off or snapping back. Additionally, the T-handle locks jaws precisely where you set them, and opens and closes the jaw with ease, making the Puller a one-person tool.

Using a High Pressure Hydraulic Puller can provide a significant amount of force, so knowing how to select the right equipment for the job is extremely important. The following are some things to consider when selecting and operating High Pressure Hydraulic Pullers.

  1. Sizing the Puller – Selecting the correct Puller means knowing the Reach and the Spread Range of the Puller. You will also want to know dimensions of the width of the part that you are pulling.
    1. The Reach is the distance from the cage base to the pulling surface of the jaws. This distance decreases as the jaw spread increases. The Reach should always be equal to or greater than the part you are pulling.
      1. The Ratio of the Tonnage to Shaft Diameter is 10:1. This means that if you have a shaft diameter of 1.5”, you should us a 15 ton Puller.
      2. The Ratio of Shaft Diameter to the Center Bolt Diameter is 2:1. If you have a 1” shaft diameter, you should use a ½” center bolt.
    2. The Spread Range is twice the distance from the cylinder to the pulling surface of the jaw. Spread range will increase as the cage moves back and decrease as the cages moves forward.  Puller reach decreases as spread increases. The Spread should larger than the width of the part you are pulling.   For those extra long shafts, Posi Lock offers extra long jaws (XL) for their hydraulic pullers.
  2. Selecting the Pump – Knowing which pump is right for the job ensures that the user remains in control. When using a Hydraulic Puller, control is more important than speed.
    1. Use a Manual Hydraulic Hand Pump with the Puller to control gradual application of pressure to maintain maximum control during the job.  Make sure the capacity of usable fluid is adequate to fully extend the hydraulic cylinder.  At PowerX International, we have taken the guess work out of choosing the proper pump with our pump/cylinder matrix found on page 5 of our catalog.
    2. When using an Electric Hydraulic Pump with the Puller, select one with low enough flow to ensure the user can maintain control at all times. The PowerX PE28 series works well for 5 ton to 25 ton pullers, while the PE39 series is great for the 50 ton pullers.  PowerX’s PE59 series pumps are ideal for the 100 ton and 200 ton puller systems.
  1. Attachments – Using the right attachments for the job reduces damage to parts and ensures user safety. Make sure to replace any damaged parts before use.
  2. Securing the Equipment – Before starting the job, make certain that the workpiece and puller are both stable and secure so the components will not fall when they are released from the mount. The workpiece should be supported by something other than the puller. This will prevent damage and potential injury to the user as well as those around him or her.
  3. Puller Types – There are two types of Pullers, both with different features: Two-Jaw and Three-Jaw. Knowing which puller to use for the task is important for keeping the user safe and the equipment in top shape. In most cases, you will want to use a Three-Jaw Puller. This keeps a uniform force around the object you are pulling.  However, sometimes there just isn’t enough space for three jaws.  When this occurs, a Two-Jaw Puller will get the job done.

Before starting any job, you should inspect all of the equipment to ensure it is free from damage, and make sure you wear the proper protective gear and, if available, place a protective blanket over the workpiece while performing the operation. It is also important to handle and store equipment per the manufacturer’s recommendations. This will help prolong the life of the equipment and prevent injury.

If you are in need of a High Powered Hydraulic Puller or replacement parts for your High Powered Hydraulic System, PowerX can help. We specialize in 10,000 psi hydraulic systems, and are here to provide you with expert and personalized service. Give one of our application engineers a call at 1-414-988-6202 or visit us at

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