While Eric admits there’s only so many ways to make a reel for an industry in which a “new” product could mean one that came out 20 years ago, the company continues to refine the reels it offers to companies throughout the world.
For our industry, the company has always offered an all-aluminum or 304-grade stainless steel fluid path core for its reels, and now offers the same non-ferrous options for the overall exterior construction of the reels as well. A combination bearing and swivel joint assembly eliminates a pipe thread connection, making the reel easier to service and less prone to developing a leak.
Perhaps the most noted advancements are grounding reels that prevent dangerous static electrical build-up in fueling operations.
A non-sparking ratchet, for example, reduces risk of combustion. If the cable is rewound quickly, this feature prevents sparks that can emanate from the rotating metal. Each reel features a declutching arbor that controls cable payout and rewind, ensuring maximum cable control and less time handling the cable. This mechanism automatically locks to hold the cable in place or loosens for rewind or longer payout.
One of the most obvious safety precautions ground support personnel must take can be made even easier through static grounding reels. Using a cable reel increases safety during operations by providing a quick, convenient connection to prevent the buildup of static electricity in volatile areas.
Also, the company has incorporated deadman emergency shutoff systems that prevent major fuel spills and leaks.
Finally, the single-wrap reels, lightweight despite their size, virtually eliminate a tangled hose.
“Speed means everything,” Eric says. “Consider how quickly Southwest Airlines wants to turn its planes. The last thing the airline wants is to spend time untangling a hose.”
The company continues to invest in its 200,000 sq. ft. campus that’s grown to 22 buildings over the years.
Just five years ago, on the heels of its Diamond Anniversary, the company expanded its headquarters by 44,000 sq. ft. to accommodate expanded fabrication, assembly and shipping departments. The shipping department has more tripled in size to 25,000 sq. ft., greatly improving efficiency and lead times.
Eric mentioned, for example, the company is selling more reels with the hose already installed at the factory. In order to do this before the recent expansion, the reels had to make a long journey between different buildings by forklift all of which greatly increased the chances of damage.
Now, Eric says, the reels can come right out the ovens and travel directly overhead to the hose installation work area, shaving up to 48 hours off delivery time of a reel requiring a hose.