Metals are an incredibly versatile material – they are both strong and flexible. However, if used improperly or in a potentially hazardous environment, they can become surprisingly fragile. When it comes to metals, saltwater locations are among the most unforgiving due to the inevitability of corrosion.
What causes corrosion? Corrosion occurs when metal atoms react with their environment. Rusting is a common form of corrosion, created when iron reacts with oxygen molecules to form iron oxide.
Salt water speeds this process by forming an electrolyte solution. Metal does not even have to be fully immersed for this process to take place, as increased humidity and salt spray can provide the necessary electrolyte contacts for corrosion. Even exposure to the air alone can be enough to corrode some metals, like steel. This is because in all but the very driest climates, there is enough moisture in the air to accelerate the process of corrosion.
What is the best method to prevent corrosion? In especially harsh environments, such as marine and other salt water areas, choosing the right metal for your machines is crucial.
For hose, cord, and cable reels, stainless steel offers varying levels of corrosion protection. Like all steel, stainless steel is mostly iron, but it also contains nickel and chromium. These are not just a protective coating, but are melted into the steel itself. The mixture must contain at least ten percent chromium, because it is the chromium that protects stainless steel from corrosion. As long as there is sufficient chromium present, the chromium oxide layer will continue to protect the stainless steel and prevent it from rusting.
Corrosion is a frustrating process that we have been fighting for as long as we have been using metals for machinery. By choosing the right type of stainless steel for your hose reel, you will have very little hassle maintaining your hose reels’ durability for years to come, especially near harsh salt water environments.
"Buy American!" might sound like nothing more than a slogan advanced by American manufacturers to sell products made in the USA, but the truth is that there are many reasons to consider buying American-made products:
SAFETY – Foreign labor standards are often subpar to American labor and safety laws. When you purchase foreign products, you could be indirectly supporting unsafe working conditions or possibly child laborers.
SUPPORTING THE US ECONOMY – Profit earned from orders shipped abroad rarely benefit the American economy. When you buy products made in the USA, you help keep the American economy going and growing by keeping your dollars here working for you!
ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION - US manufacturing processes are typically cleaner for the environment than some in other countries. Many products sold that are produced in other countries are manufactured using dangerous, heavily polluting processes and chemicals.
FAIR WAGES - Many countries have no minimum wage restrictions, or the minimum wage is outrageously low. The United States is one of the few countries with regulated wages.
FINANCIAL INDEPENDENCE - The huge US trade deficit leads to massive, unsustainable borrowing from other countries. When you purchase domestically made products, you are actively helping to reduce the US’s trade deficit!
HIGHER QUALITY – Many people specifically look to purchase overseas in order to obtain lower pricing. In order to provide these products at lower prices, many overseas suppliers use lower quality products.
SECURE FUTURE - It's not always just about finding the lowest price. It's about keeping jobs here in America and our ability to provide for ourselves and our families.
We all can help America’s economic problems is in our own backyard. The answer is: buy American.
The reel industry is established and well developed, with reels maintaining their fundamental design for over 60 years. As with any long-standing industry, trends cycle and response can be slow. For the last few years the major trends seen in the reel market have been a demand for quality and a drive toward increasingly specialized products.
With the ever increasing influx of imported products, the market saturation with lower quality goods is growing and people are noticing the difference. There is now a consistent trend of users who demand high quality, well designed and manufactured products. As a result, product development is trending more toward product improvement in terms of reliability and quality rather than the drive for cost reduction, as is the focus of many companies.
The other trend being seen in the marketplace is the desire for application-specific products. Where in the past it was common place for the customer to use a generic reel for most applications, we are finding more and more that customers desire small adaptations specific to their application. Customers are demanding personalization and customization as the line between consumer and creator continues to blur.
More than ever in the past, customers wish to have their individual needs and whishes considered in any business relationship, and converted into products and services that address those needs and whishes effectively. Recent customer trends in the reel industry are indicating that end users are willing to pay a little more for their reel in exchange for higher quality, often custom products. Overall, quality reel products are catching consumers’ attention now more so than ever. Understanding that the service provided to the customer will remain in the customer’s mind long after the product he’s purchased has run its course is key to success in the industry.
Brass as a construction material is an alloy primarily composed of copper and zinc. Brass hose fittings are in high demand because of many inherent properties which make them superior to other materials (for example: stainless steel).
Brass is the best fitting option for hose reels for a multitude of reasons. Let’s examine a few of the most relevant examples:
· Brass offers excellent corrosion resistance from both water and heat and resists attacks from salt water, which is perfect for those reels used in close vicinity to salt water.
· The brass metal is relatively soft and the texture of the metal provides for a tight seal with every application and ease of installation upon first use.
· Copper fittings are an obvious competitor; however, brass fittings for your hose reels offer the very same advantages, only with a heavier wall for added strength and durability.
· Many hose reel users believe that brass fittings are best for uses strictly involved in water, commercial plumbing, and OEM applications, but it is also commonly used in oil, gas, and steam applications. Brass fittings are much more diverse than they are often given credit for.
· Many OEM’s are making the switch from traditional iron and galvanized fittings to brass due to the longevity, durability, and superior corrosion resistance.
Overall, brass hose reel fittings outlast others commonly used and do not gall when being screwed together or unscrewed. Brass fittings for your hose reel have proven to be amongst the most effective available for industrial use. Careful consideration should go into selecting the best and most reliable hose reel fittings. A proper fitting choice will not only enhance the efficiency of your hose reel, it will also undoubtedly extend the life of the device.
For getting large quantities of water to a fire, a fire hose reel is indispensable. Easily bridging large distances up to 30 meters can make the difference between minimal damage and bankruptcy. The saying, “do more with less” is most certainly not applicable when discussing safety and organization in our fire stations. When lives are at stake, the right apparatus can make all the difference.
Responding to a distress call within the community and accurately responding in a timely and organized manner is crucial to the success of our fire departments. Firefighters and the communities they serve will find comfort knowing that the fire department is equipped to deal with any kind of emergency at any time – the proper hose and cord reels are most certainly not an exception.
Hose reels are used for a multitude of different applications in the fire department, including but not limited to: power cord hose reels to charge the electronics on the fire rescue vehicles, air hose reels to fill the tire on rescue vehicles, and reels mounted to the walls to assist with wash down procedures inside and outside of the station.
Hose reels provide an invaluable measurement of safety in fire stations and rescue vehicles. Fire fighters are under massive amounts of pressure in emergency situations and the proper reels equipped on and off the trucks provide the necessary safety and organization required to reduce the stress level in an emergency situation. Ensuring firefighters have the latest quality reels enhancing safety and fire station organization is critical to the maintenance of fire apparatus.
One concern when purchasing industrial machinery is the safety of the equipment. No one wants to buy (or sell) a product that has the potential to malfunction and harm the operator or manufacturer. Because of this concern, various organizations have been created to ensure the safety of products. UL’s (Underwriters Laboratories) standards and certifications are universally recognized as important indicators of product safety and reliability. The vigorous tests conducted by UL Laboratories are essential to helping ensure public safety and confidence, reduce costs, and improve quality of market products and services. Millions of products and their components are tested to UL's rigorous safety standards with the result that consumers live in a safer environment than they would have otherwise.
Specifically discussing reels utilized for electrical purposes, safety is an utmost concern. It is extremely beneficial for any power cord reels to include a UL stamp of approval. UL Laboratories will test power cord reels for deficiencies such as fire and shock hazards, incorrect or missing markings, or misapplied components.
When a reel manufacturer sends their electrical products and accessories to be tested with Underwriters Laboratories, you can be certain that returning, approved products will meet necessary safety requirements. A UL listing also signifies a manufacturer’s commitment to the safety of users. The commitment to the customer should never end after the finalization of a product purchase.
Hose reels not only save wear and tear on hoses, extend hose life, but also save time in deployment and retracting. It is incredibly important to choose the correct reel for the application at hand, but it is also important to secure the best accessories to achieve maximum efficiency. Guide rollers are an increasingly sought upon option for manual and motorized hose reels.
The primary purpose of a hose guide is to help direct the hose both off and back on to the reel. A hose guide helps keep the hose on the spool during rewinding. There are several types of hose guides available. Some incorporate rollers, while others do not. A level wind feature actually guides the hose back onto the reel in a hands-free manner but is usually not used on manual rewind hose reels.
Spring driven reels often feature four-way guide rollers. Large frame reels do not usually ship with guide rollers, but they are available. The guide rollers greatly reduce friction and extend the life of the hose. They also soften the transition the hose makes in the event that it is pulled at a sharp angle. Hose guides serve additional purposes as well. They have also been known to turn into more of a grab handle for the user to hold onto while rolling the hose back onto the reel.
There is no question that trips, falls, and other workplace injuries are still common even in the most heavily regulated work environments. All different types of workplaces utilize hoses and cords for any number of applications, each one carrying potential safety risks. Fortunately, hose reels provide an invaluable opportunity to significantly minimize the workplace hazards created by unmaintained hoses and cords. A hose reel will most certainly be a positive addition to any workplace. However, there are vital features to look for when purchasing a hose reel and these features have the potential to significantly reduce the possibility of workplace injury and may even save a life. One of the most important factors in maintaining a hazard-free workplace is to ensure your reel is operating at a safe rewind speed.
Reels are designed to properly and effectively store and maintain hoses and cords in commercial industrial settings, as well as many types of service trucks and work trucks. Many users overlook the most important benefit hose reels have to offer: operator safety.
Traditionally when conventional spring driven hose reels are used in the workplace, there have always been instances where the operator will pull the hose from the hose reel, lock it off, use it and when finished retract it in an uncontrollable fashion not following safety practices. Unless carefully controlled by the user at all times, there is the tendency for hoses to retract at an unsafe speed, especially is the hose is under significant tension. In this situation, there is also the possibility of the hose whipping around and potentially damaging nearby equipment, the reel itself, or even injuring personnel.
If you are looking for the safest way to retract hoses at your workplace, always consider a reel with a built in safety system that ensures the reel retracts at a safe and steady pace. This feature acts as the ultimate control for hose, cord, and cable whip hazards and will increase productivity and safety in any conceivable application. After all, who isn’t in the market for a safer and more productive work environment?
Motor driven hose reels are the last of the three main types of reels available for the industrial market. Unlike the spring driven and hand crank reels, motor driven,also commonly referred to as automatic retraction, reels can be used for essentially all types of applications and hoses. The most distinguishing variation between different types of motorized hose reels is the power voltage. Power voltage in motorized hose reels can typically range from 12V to 230V.
The style, size, and composition of a hose reel depend on what you are using it for. Hose reels have various capacities. So it is essential to select one that can sufficiently hold the entire length of the hose. With motorized hose reels, there are very few limitations with hose lengths, other than the obvious: the hose must fit the reel. For example, if a hose is placed on a reel too small for the hose capacity, the hose will likely be damaged. Motor driven reels can be used for all applications providing there is a power source available.
Applications where you will frequently find motor-driven hose reels:
Water supply, wash-down, pressure washing, agricultural spraying, chemical fluid transfer, ground maintenance, farming, construction sites, general landscape/turf care, home gardening, restaurants, industrial plant and ground maintenance, pest and weed control, golf course maintenance, bulk liquid handling, aviation refueling, OEM systems, mining operations, maintenance/repair operations, plus many, many more!
Motor driven hose reels are known for being the most expensive of the three major categories of reels. An electric/motorized reel may seem like a pricey purchase; however, they are certainly the most hassle free of any reel investment.
Hose reels are a relatively simple piece of machinery, yet they serve a pivotal function in a variety of different industrial applications, providing safety and added efficiency to any business requiring the use of hose, cord, or cable. Because of the many different circumstances and features encompassed in the variety of reels on the market, it is imperative that you select the best one for your application. Let’s take a closer look at the spring-driven family of hose reels.
Spring driven hose reels, often referred to as spring rewind hose reels, will typically come standard with a locking ratchet and paw that allows the user to pull out the hose to desired length and lock it in place for ease of use. The hose can then be given a pull to release this lock for the reel to retract the hose.
Spring driven hose reels are particularly beneficial because they do not require a power source and can be used essentially anywhere. They also do not require regular maintenance.
Because spring driven hose reels require some strength and labor from the individual utilizing the hose, this may make spring driven reels unsuitable for those physically unable to pull out or properly retract the hose. The use of a motor rewind could be a safer alternative. For this reason, spring driven hose reels are not typically used for extremely long lengths of hose due to the manual labor required to retract the hose.
Applications where you will frequently find spring-driven hose reels:
Wash down, machine shops, service/mechanic/utility vehicles, lubrication, chemical fluid transfer, manufacturing plants and facilities, automotive and fleet service centers, mining, construction, railroad operations, aircraft maintenance, restaurants and commercial kitchens, marine and offshore, welding shops, fire rescue and apparatus, plus many, many more!There are many different aspects and factors to take into consideration when selecting the proper hose reel for your application. This blog serves to help guide you through the reel selection process. Our next blog will discuss hand crank hose reels.