Pulleys have a lot of importance and tend to find applications in a lot of machinery and mechanisms.
Pulley is basically a simple machine known for converting difficult tasks into simpler ones. A pulley is a simple machine made up of a rope and a grooved wheel. This is the reason why they have a wide range of applications in the real world.
This article will discuss the uses of pulleys in the real world. We will provide some examples of how pulley uses systems to simplify certain tasks. So, let’s dive into it and learn about some examples of pulleys
See our previous article on types of pulleys.
Pulley System Examples:
1. Drawing out water from a well:
This use of pulleys can be traced back hundreds of years. Back then there were no other viable options for drawing water from a well.
A fixed pulley was attached to the well’s rim, through which a rope was suspended. This rope was used to pull a bucket or container filled with water from the depths of the well.
Even today, we can see these mechanisms being used to draw water from wells in small villages all over the world.
2. Window blinds:
Windows are common and can be found in any concrete structure we build if their purpose is related to accommodation.
Well, I suppose ventilation is vital no matter where you are. But, it also lets sunlight pass through, which may not be nice at all times, which is why we have blinds.
High ceiling structures tend to have higher windows. To cover and uncover the windows with blinds as required is done by the pulley mechanism.
The person need not climb to change the position of blinds. He can complete this task with a small pull force while standing on the ground
See this video on How do window blinds work?
3. Building Lifts:
Almost every tall building in the world has a lift or elevator (depends on what you call it in your country). These lifts are powered by pulleys, cables, counterweights, and a motor.
The motor rotates the sheave (a pulley at the top). This makes the lift move up and down depending on which direction the motor rotates the pulley.
As a result, you save the physical energy that you would have expended by taking the staircase.
4. Sewing machine pulley:
Do you remember the old-fashioned sewing machines? These machines were used before the electric ones of today? This machine is a great example of a pulley being used.
The machine used to have a wheel in front that was rotated by hand. Apart from this more energy was delivered by using the person’s foot, which included a flywheel mechanism.
A belt drive mechanism connects the hand-turned wheel to a pulley, which is connected to the flywheel below.
The operation was based on converting the mechanical energy provided by the person to rotation energy through the use of friction as a medium.
5. Flag post:
Flag Posts are used to hoist flags and a flag pole is a good example of a fixed pulley. It can be the country’s flag, organization’s flag, or any different purpose flag. The taller the flag post, the more proud is the moment for the people supporting it. But how do you hoist a flag on such tall flag posts?
It is again pulleys that help us perform this task. However, if a rope and pulley mechanism is employed to do the work, it becomes simple and even straightforward. A user attaches the rope with the flag and pulls the rope to unfurl a flag on a flagpole using pulleys.
When the rope tied to the top of the pole is pulled using a pulley wheel, the flag rises. This takes the flag upwards and it is finally hoisted at the top of the flag post.
6. Towing Cars:
Towing vehicles which tow other vehicles whenever breakdown happens use pulleys in the process of towing. The snatch block pulley is used in this particular mechanism.
7. Construction Equipment:
There is a lot of heavy objects or construction material that need to be shifted from point A to point B in construction. It may be the cement bags, steel, sand, etc. These things can be transported to the construction site by trucks but how can they be further transferred when the construction is going on the 50th floor of the building?
They need to transfer the material upwards and trucks can’t go there. Here, enters the pulley mechanisms that ease this work of transferring the material up from beneath and vice-versa as per the requirements.
8. Fishing Rod:
Individual fishing which uses a fishing rod to suspend the bait for the fish has a pulley mechanism.
When a fish becomes entangled in the hook ahead, the person notices as the string begins to release, and the person can regain control of the string by using the pulley around which the string is wrapped.
Rotating it will pull the string out of the water eventually drawing out the fish with it too.
9. Anchor Mechanism of a Ship:
Big ships have anchors to basically park at a location in water and to prevent themselves from drifting away with the air current. This mechanism which involves anchoring and releasing the ship uses pulleys. The anchor is attached to a metal chain and is wrapped around a pulley.
The anchoring is done by releasing the anchor into the water. The weight of the anchor takes itself down. The anchor is released by using external force on the pulley on the ship to lift it up by rotating the pulley itself.
10 Bridge Cranes in Manufacturing units:
Industrial units deal with a lot of materials of various dimensions and mass. Therefore, it is not safe to move the heavier objects by the human force itself as it can be a life-taking risk if anything goes wrong. So, this thing is taken care of by the bridge cranes that are installed in the manufacturing unit.
It allows the workers to attach heavier objects to it and move to other locations easily and without much risk. These bridge cranes use pulleys with metal chains/cables to lift objects.
In this article, we have seen some examples of how pulleys can help with various tasks in our day-to-day life. We use pulleys in a wide range of applications like wells, heavy lifting, construction pulleys, theater systems, exercise machines, etc. There is various types of pulleys available for various types of applications. Some of the types of pulleys available are compound pulleys, movable pulleys.
Apart from pulleys we also have complex pulley systems that are frequently employed to move incredibly heavy loads, as long as they are securely fixed. In these cases, the magnitude of force required is lowered, despite the fact that the amount of force necessary is raised significantly.
There is no end to the use and benefits of pulleys and if we look closer, we will definitely find a lot of things in our daily life where these pulleys are used. These applications are never going to cease as pulleys always make our work easier and therefore, they are going nowhere.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are some types of pulley systems?
1. Fixed Pulley – It is attached to something that does not move.
2. Moveable Pulley – In this type of pulley end of the rope is fixed and the pulley wheel is free to move.
3. Block and tackle Pulley – It is a system of pulleys consisting of both fixed and moveable pulleys.