In the maritime and aviation industries, there are countless applications for hoses and lines that are used daily. The fuel, hydraulic, and electric lines that serve marine vessels and aircraft can vary in length and width, but they all share one feature: they must be stored safely. This blog will discuss the different types of hose reels which have long been used to safely and efficiently store hoses and cables.
Fuel and hydraulic tanks for aircraft are generally installed in remote locations and must be brought to a refueling station by transfer fuel lines. These fuel lines can be as long as 1000ft with their diameter varying depending on the application. Laid out on a taxiway, a hose of this size would be incredibly bulky and hard to maneuver . In addition, electrical lines and heavy ropes on a ship must be stowed away from the elements, but remain accessible. A hose reel is a cylindrical barrel that acts as a storage mechanism and a dispenser for these needs.
While the individual features of hose reels may vary, their function and parts are simple and universal. Since these reels are meant to act under an abundance of tension and pressure, they are usually affixed to the wall or ground with screws attached to the base plate. This base plate will attach to the base frame, connecting it with the rest of the reel. Next, the hose or line is wrapped around the spindle in the middle and enters and exits through a door called a hose guide. The hose guide is designed to ensure the cable does not get tangled or pulled drastically in one direction. Finally, a stopper is mounted on the line itself, which safeguards against the end of the line getting pulled into the reel.
Besides the capacity to store substantial amounts of line, aviation and marine hose reels have additional salient characteristics that set them apart from other applications. First, due to the length and weight of the hose, the reels are equipped with either spring or motor-driven retraction devices. These devices allow for quick retraction with no physical effort on the part of the operator. Depending on the flammability of the liquid being transmitted and the material of the line, motors will have different sources of energy. These sources could be electric, hydraulic, or pneumatic and will be unique to each application.
Furthermore, the reels must have the ability to be mounted in a number of locations, including trucks, walls, ship decks, etc. Another consideration that must be made is the burden of maintenance. A more robust hose reel will require more frequent maintenance to avoid failure in critical situations. Lastly, both aviation and maritime hose reels must be able to withstand harsh elements and operating conditions. They must be made out of corrosion, temperature, and impact-resistant materials while also being non-abrasive to the line as it moves quickly across the spindle.
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