What Matters Most?

A checklist for recommending the proper reel for welding operations

In large welding facilities, and in environments that house multiple welding stations, reels provide a safe and organized way to protect welding hoses and cables from damage and wear. In both arc welding and gas welding applications, reels are a necessary safety component due to the potentially dangerous exposure of materials if a hose or cable is flattened or damaged.

For each customer, it is imperative to recommend a welding reel that is most appropriate for each application. Once you have an understanding of the application, you are in a position to make a recommendation. Here are some points to consider.

The Function

Have the customer fully explain the welding operation and the materials involved. This determines the type of reel that can be used safely with materials within the hose as well as what type of lubrication must be used on the reel.

If it is a gas welding application, there are certain components of the reel that must be designed for various types of gas. In particular, the hose attached to the reel must specify that it is compatible with gases such as oxyacetylene, propane or M.A.P.P.

The type of reel lubrication is a factor in instances where the lubricant and gas have the potential for explosion, i.e., a gas welding reel for acetylene cannot be lubricated with petroleum-based grease.

Ask the customer about their expectation of the reel in terms of maximum amps and voltage that the reel cable is to withstand.

In welding applications, these are usually at significantly high levels. Therefore, it is important to take into account maximum current and voltage to ensure the rotary device will safely withstand them and operate properly.

Identify the actual size of the cable or hose, as its size subsequently determines the reel design. If a reel manufacturer does not offer a standard size reel that accommodates the size of the hose or cable, a customized design may be necessary for the application.

Determine the type of rewind mechanism.

Welding reels should offer a variety of rewind mechanisms, including manual, power or spring. Within these categories there are options such as electric, compressed air or hydraulic power. When investigating the entire operation, offer these various options, and, based on the specific application and the user’s preference, determine the type of rewind mechanism that is most appropriate.

The Environment

Identify the specific surroundings of a reel.

Welding environments often are overcrowded with equipment and may include potential hazards such as flammable or toxic chemicals as well as electrical shock dangers. For this reason, it is critical to have a detailed description of the environment to provide the customer with a reel that not only is safe, but also prevents injury to the user.

Fully understanding the environment also will give you a better idea of where the reels should be properly installed. To avoid welding operations from occurring directly on the shop floor, it is critical to place the reels near the workstation. Arc welding performed on a concrete floor can generate enough heat to cause steam build-up in the floor, which may create an explosion. Installing the reel near a proper workstation encourages the user to weld in a safe environment, thus preventing injury.

The reels may need to be restricted in size (narrower, shorter, etc.), or installed in a non-traditional method (wall-mounted) due to space restrictions. Finding a reel manufacturer that can customize reels is critical in order to provide a reel that safely meets the customer’s needs.

The Maintenance

Ensure ease of maintenance.

Welding and gas reels that require a minimal amount of upkeep are important to customers. Some simple elements to look for include whether the chain is tight and lubed, and if ball bearings are permanently sealed, thus extending the life of the reel.

This checklist provides you with questions to be answered by your customer prior to selecting a reel. After you have determined what product is most appropriate, express your needs to your reel manufacturer and have them verify that they can provide the product you need, and at a price your customer is willing to pay.

Gases and Welding Distributors Association
90a_guilzonsdave Meet the Author
David Guilzon is national sales manager for Hannay Reels, located in Westerlo, New York, and on the Web at www.hannay.com.