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The automatic coiler for plastic pipe

An automatic coiler is an industrial machine installed at the end of the plastic pipe extrusion cycle (PE, PVC, ALUPEX, PEX, PA, PP) and it automatically performs all operations necessary to form a coil: it couples the pipes, winds it into orderly coils, reaches the set length, and lastly, cuts, binds and ejects the coil.. Once the operator has loaded the pipe at the beginning of the process and has selected the desired coil size, the process continues continuously, in sync with the extrusion and without further human intervention. When some operations are performed by hand, such as the fastening or ejection of the coil, then it is more correct to refer to semi automatic coiler.

How an automatic coiler is made

An automatic coiler consists of one or two reels (the part on which the tubing is wound). FB Balzanelli coilers are almost always fitted with two opposing reels, called side by side. This is a construction choice that offers:

ability to support greater weightup to coils weighing 180 kg can be reached without burdening the reel structure;
higher rotation speedif the extrusion so allows, 300 meters a minute are reached with a lower number of vibrations and greater machine stability;
compactness of the machine longitudinally;
versatility: both a small 4-mm pipe and a larger 250-mm pipe in polyethylene can be wound with the same construction type;

smaller internal coil diameter: so that the final dimensions are smaller and smaller coils having the same length are created. Benefits in terms of lower storage and transportation costs and the resulting environmental impact of handling the goods are evident.

In addition to the spokes on which the pipe is wound, channels in which the binding strap runs are inside the reel. This is another important feature of FB Balzanelli coilers: all the channels are fixed on the machine, without mechanical opening and closing movements, and therefore more stable over time than other solutions.

Reel binding in an automatic coiler

The binder is the heart of every automatic coiler and is the most technological part of the machine.

It is a device that hurls the strap around the formed coil, recovers it, cuts it, and seals it with a heat-sealing process. The measurements of the strap – in polypropylene or better yet in polyester – can be of a width varying between 9 and 19 mm (based on the type of tubing to be wrapped).

FB Balzanelli and its research and production divisions count 25 years of experience and over 1000 coilers produced over the years. It has therefore reached the point of defining a patented solution that depicts the state of the art in the field of automatic coilers: a pneumatic binder with motor-driven hurling movement and strap recovery. The elimination of mechanical parts such as springs or cams, subject to wear over time, has ensured absolute reliability and less maintenance or breakage over the long term.

The binders that FB Balzanelli uses are produced inside the company and three versions are available, depending on the extrusion speed, packaging time, and type of pipe: the standard pneumatic binder V2, the motor-driven pneumatic binder Fast V3, and the new Extraspeed XS for very high-speed applications and coils of short lengths.

Another basic feature of FB Balzanelli coilers is the possibility to install two binders on the automatic coilers. This offers two benefits: packaging time reduced by almost 50% and higher productivity in the case of a fault or end of the strap. In fact, if one binder should malfunction or finish the strap, it is automatically switched off by the PLC and the machine continues to work with the second binder. At the same time, feedback is sent to the line control, which slightly lowers the extrusion speed, but does not interrupt production.

How an automatic coiler operates

There are several purposes of an automatic coiler. First of all, it always produces at top extrusion speed. Secondly, it reduces operator presence, who can devote themselves to other extrusion process functions. Lastly, aesthetically perfect, easy-to-stack coils are obtained, cutting transportation costs, and they are recognizable on the market as a quality product. The operator intervenes only to load the tubing through a tension control that is outside the machine or fitted on it. This device controls the coiling tension and ensures that the pipe is coiled correctly, reducing ovalization of the pipe or its marking. After the pipe is inserted, it is automatically terminated with a first cut and is coupled inside the reel. It is from this point that the coiling process begins in the set tubing length. Thanks to their opposing reel structure, the FB Balzanelli automatic coilers can also make intermediate bindings.This is a very interesting possibility for very long coils, for example, and it allows installers to uncoil only a part of the material, leaving the rest compact, well-coiled and storable once again.

When the coil has reached the desired length, the pipe is cut accurately and sharply. The binder or binders can begin the binding phase. In the meantime, the pipe guide arm transfers onto the second reel, where the pipe is automatically coupled again to begin a second coiling. With the double reels, the production process is never interrupted. After the binding phase is completed, the coil – coiled and bound with the strap – is ejected from the coiler.

From this point the entire automatic coil palletizing process can commence, a process in which FB Balzanelli is becoming specialized.

Single or double reel?

At FB Balzanelli, we also offer coilers with just one reel which is a good option in the case of low-speed extrusion, as in the fabrication of very large, corrugated pipe that runs at 6-7 meters a minute, or if there is a small workspace since the machine is half as wide as that with a double reel. In this case, it is a good idea to have two binders to reduce packaging time.

The advantages of the automatic coiler

There are many differences between automatic and semi-automatic coilers in terms of speed and coiling perfection.

Higher coiling speed.

For example, we can coil up to 150 meters a minute of an irrigation pipe, which is unthinkable with a semi-automatic coiler, where the presence of the operator is required for binding and discharging the coil.

More coils in the same time unit.

When production demands shorter coils, it is not necessary to lower the coiling speed and skeins of different lengths can be packaged while leaving the meter/time ratio unchanged and keeping as high a line speed as possible.

Ability to have almost perfect coils.

Automation guarantees a perfectly synchronous repetitive movement between the rotation axis of the reel and the axis of a linear arrangement of the pipe guide. Integrating a drawing device that pushes the pipe to reduce ovalization risks is also possible.

Possibility to get a very small internal diameter of the reel.

It is no longer necessary to have enough space at the center of the coil to allow the operator to put his hand inside and perform the bindings.

Total safety of the coiling process.

The worker's contact with the moving parts, such as the spokes of the reel and cutter, is eliminated. FB Balzanelli has equipped all of its machinery with a very high level of safety. The guards have RFid-coded key locks, which therefore cannot be bypassed, and the machine stops as soon as the door is opened.

Criticalities in coiling extruded pipes

The three most important factors to avoid in forming coils are: The first, too much ovalization of the pipe when coiling. The second problem is too much tension during coiling, which creates signs or markings on the pipe, making the final product unsaleable. The third problem is the non-repeatability of the coils. All coils produced must be perfectly the same, by having the foresight to always have the end tail of the coil short both for aesthetic and for storage and transportation reasons. Lastly, good coiling prevents overlapping, that is, the creation of twisted coils in the tubing arrangement. These issues have for some time been overcome in all FB Balzanelli automatic coilers through design and planning that has evolved and become perfected over the last 25 years. Today, FB Balzanelli coilers produce perfect coils from the very first moment and allow companies to focus on their performance or automation requirements.

What companies can use automatic coilers

The quantity of pipe necessary in modern plant engineering is vast. In homes, for example, different types of pipes are used for:

  • electrical systems
  • Internet and network cabling
  • floor heating
  • water and gas systems
  • solar heating systems
  • air conditioning
  • irrigation systems.

Every type of pipe needs a specific coiler. Models of automatic coilers specific for all applications and all pipe types have been developed at FB Balzanelli. They allow coils with or without a reel to be obtained, tailstocks able to support 170-180 kg in weight, and coiling speeds up to 300 meters a minute. Together with the arrangement without coils and the possibility of intermediate bindings, these coilers can really be used for the most specific requirements, such as pipes for the passage of optical fiber, which demand absolute congruency in size in every section.

3 automatic coiler lines for different types of pipes and production

FB Balzanelli offers 3 product lines to meet the different production requirements:

Smart: simple to use and outstanding performance. The internal diameter, width, and paddle position adjustments are made manually using shims or by positioning accessories. These models are appreciated for their quality-to-price ratio and their reliability and stability over the years and are designed for companies that do not need to change their type of production often.

Premium: the internal diameter and width adjustments are made with worm screws. It is a highly appreciated range because it cuts time when changing formats, even if at a still moderate machine cost.

Excellence: all adjustments are made from the control panel and the process never stops. It is a perfect type for productions that have many format changes. FB Balzanelli offers a service called Playlist: the production data are sent directly to the coiler from the main production server; the line continues to run non-stop through all format changes without any operator intervention.

FB Balzanelli partners with companies to support their production needs and to customize or develop new solutions for automatic coilers.

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