Air Hose Reels
Used as intended, air hose reels can rid the workshop or plant of having air hoses lying all over the floor. Air hoses which might be walked upon, driven over by cars, trucks and fork trucks, parked on by those same vehicles essentially blocking air flow, and perhaps damaging the air hose in the process.
While a well equipped home workshop might have a hose reel, or even two, the cost of these useful pieces of equipment is typically such that they are an item found most often in industrial work areas; garages, manufacturing plants, tire change outlets etc.
Air Hose Reel
What is an air hose reel?
Similar in concept to a garden hose reel, an air hose reel allows the user of the air line or air hose to strip as much length of hose as needed from the reel, use the air tool as and where required, and when the task is completed, the air hose winds back onto the reel, getting it off of the floor and out of the work space environment, until it is needed again.
Manual Or Automatic
When the job is done, a manual hose reel is rotated by hand using the integral crank on one side of the hose reel to wind the hose back onto the rotating reel.
Or, if the reel itself is fixed, the hose is wound onto the stationary reel one loop at a time by the user.
Spring Driven Hose Reels
In the spring-driven automatic version, after the air tool work is completed, a brief tug on the reel by pulling out on the hose will "unlatch" the reel, allowing it to wind the hose back up onto the reel automatically. This automatic rewinding of the hose must be guided by the operator holding the end of the hose and tool as it winds back up onto the reel. Else damage may occur.
There are also powered automatic hose reels on the market, often used with larger capacity reels to relieve operator fatigue and to increase safety in their use.
The hose reel you select will have a hose length and hose diameter capacity determined by the size of the reel itself.
The hose length capacity of a hose reel will reduce as the diameter of the hose increases. You will need to ensure that the hose reel you acquire has the hose length and diameter capacity required for your shop. Not much point in having a hose reel that can only handle a 25' air line when yours are 50' long.
The hose reel fittings and the hose that comes with it, will have a specific pressure rating. Make sure that the reel you select can handle the compressed air pressure of your applications.
Hose Reel Fittings
If you choose a hose reel without a hose, one that has a 3/8 female fitting on the spindle for example, it may not provide any benefit to install a 1/2" hose on that reel. The 3/8 hose-supply fitting will restrict the flow of air, making the larger hose almost useless. Ensure then that the fittings on the hose reel are the same size or larger than the hose you are planning to use.
It is also customary for hose reels to come with an air hose as part of the finished assembly. The air hose included in the assembly will normally be already attached to the female hose fitting on the reel itself.
You will have to bring an air supply to the rotary fitting on the outside of the hose reel. Make sure your air supply to the hose reel is, at least, the same size as the fitting on the reel. Better, as far as I'm concerned, to have the supply line to the reel one size larger, just to ensure that you can deliver the maximum capacity of compressed air through the reel.
Hose Free End
The free end of the hose will likely have a male thread fitting installed already, to which you will need to add a connector or coupler, depending on your application.
See the Couplers & Connectors section on the site map page if you would like more information about them.