What is a Snatch Block?

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Lisa Mathews, US Cargo Control Sales & Service Specialist

A common question we hear is what is the difference between a snatch block and other types of blocks and pulleys?

All of the items we sell in the Snatch Blocks & Wire Rope Pulleys category can be called blocks or wire rope pulleys, but snatch block refers to a particular type of block. A snatch block has a side plate sometimes called a cheek plate, that can be opened for easy insertion of cable without having to remove the load or fittings from the end of the wire. The process of inserting a line into a block is called reeving.

Snatch blocks are often used in applications to move loads over short distances, as opposed to long lifts and continuous service.  They are called snatch blocks because they are often used in conjunction with a winch in a recovery application, and can improve the functionality of a winch by increasing its pull power. It also allows you to change the direction of your winch’s cable when the anchor point is offset.21009-4190-snatch-block-w-shackle-3-8-wire-x-3-sheave_1_375

With so many different styles and weight and size safety guidelines, it’s important to know what to look for when choosing a snatch block for the job. Important safety factors to keep in mind:

  • Check the Work Load Limit (WLL) of the snatch block as well as the wire rope. If the WLL of the wire is not compatible with the WLL of the pulley, it can be extremely dangerous should either fail.
  • Coordinate the size of the sheave in the snatch block to the diameter of the wire rope. If the wire rope is too large for the sheave, it can crack the block when under pressure. Generally, the wire rope-to-sheave size ratio should be 12:1 in order to hold the wire properly while under load.
  • Know your numbers. Because a snatch block can cut the direct pull load in half, choose a rigging pulley that has a rating of double the pull of the winch you’ll be using with it.

Choosing the right block and all the equipment to go along with it can be confusing. If you have any questions about using snatch blocks, choosing wire rope blocks, working load limits, etc., contact me or any one of our sales specialists at 800-660-3585. We’ll be happy to help.

-Lisa 

 

 

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