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Semi-automatic coiler? When to choose one.

The assumption that an automatic coiler is always better than a semi-automatic coiler is a paradigm to be debunked. In fact, there are production situations in which an automatic coiler is indispensable and others in which a semi-automatic coiler might be more practical for the company’s needs, the type of industrial line, or the requirements and limitations of the budget.

It is necessary to make broad and well-organized observations on the characteristics and production needs by analyzing the type of extruded pipes made, the speed of the line and, last but not least, to account for the established investment plans and the advantages gained in terms of payback. It is also important to consider the impact of the workforce cost on the two types of processes and choose the one that offers greater benefits. Lastly, there are other factors that may influence the choice, such as optimization of stowage and transportation, the requirements of the end customer, the market’s demands in terms of flexibility, and the assortment of pipes produced.

If we look at the machining processes, the automatic coiler is able to entirely form the coils on its own, so it couples the pipe, coils it, cuts it, ties it or packages it with stretch film, and finally ejects the reel. Except for the initial insertion of the pipe, every one of these operations is performed automatically without any manual intervention.

Instead, the semi automatic coiler requires that a few steps be performed by hand by the operator, such as the termination or cutting of the pipe, the coupling phase, or the fastening and ejection.

What should be analyzed to choose a semi automatic or automatic coiler?

Since it cannot be determined beforehand that an automatic coiler is always better than a semi-automatic coiler, it is important to get the support of experts who thoroughly know the extrusion industry and its requirements. FB Balzanelli has partnered with companies in making the best choice for over 25 years. Backed by its experience in the coilers sector worldwide, it can guide all companies in making the most appropriate investment choice. Moreover, its in-house production and design and development division follow the customer every step of the way, from engineering the initial plan to installing machine inside the production cycle.

And the choice to be made is not only between applications in which it would be best to have an automatic coiler or others where a semi-automatic coiler would solve the production needs in an excellent manner. In some cases, it is useful to have a combination of an automatic coiler with a semi automatic coiler. It is obvious that only a thorough analysis of the company’s requirements can lead to determining the proper project.

Speed and type of pipes produced

Extrusion speed and production volume are the first parameters to be analyzed. In the case of a corrugated PVC pipe extrusion line that runs at 60 meters a minute with the need to create coils ranging from 25 to 50 meters, an automatic coiler is absolutely necessary.

Otherwise, installing a semi automatic coiler in a slow or prototype line may turn out to be the most ideal choice, while it would certainly represent a loss in time in terms of efficiency and profitability for a standard high production line.

That is the case of the low production pilot productions of about 10-15 meters a minute with the need to make 25 to 50-meters coils. In this type of process, it may be expedient to install a semi automatic coiler, perhaps with automatic transfer from one reel to the other, and have the rest of the packaging be carried out manually by an operator. This solution curbs the investment cost because the price of a semi-automatic coiler is lower than that of an automatic coiler, and requires less personnel training and less maintenance. The total operating costs are therefore lower.

A semi-automatic coiler can also be adopted by companies that have highly differentiated production lines, with pipes that may vary from a diameter of 16 millimeters up to 110 millimeters. In this case it is neither possible nor convenient to have a single automatic coiler able to create coils with such a wide range of measurements. The solution might be to install two coilers: one automatic for measurements from 16 mm up to 40 mm that optimizesthe extrusion capacity of the standard small diameter line to the utmost, while it might be possible to use a semi automatic coiler on the larger products.


Analyzing the implicit risks in a type of extrusion is another fundamental factor. In fact, above all with large pipes, an automatic coiler makes work safer than when using a semi automatic coiler. FB Balzanelli has recently developed a totally automatic coiler for polyethylene pipes for gas and water systems having diameters from 40 to 110 mm. In this type of process, safety is an essential element because should the worker be struck by a large pipe, the chance of serious incidents would be high. This machine, which provides cutting, coupling, coiling, and ejection of the coil in complete autonomy without operator intervention, guarantees an interruption-free production even at high speeds and therefore offers optimum, programmable productivity that respects the delivery timetable.

The right coiler for a rational investment

Not always does starting off with a highly advanced and expensive machine prove to be appropriate for the expenditure capacity and investment programs that a company may and must have to ensure itself correct production volumes and strength over the years. A semi-automatic coiler might be highly advantageous for those organizations thinking about improving their line quality and efficiency. In this way, the size of the initial investment is reduced but the expenditure payback phase is facilitated and accelerated. Afterwards, a totally automatic model can be added with a resulting savings in time and labor. In fact, it is necessary to consider that in terms of final costs, the automatic coiler is of better value because a semi-automatic coiler requires the almost never-ending presence of an operator, which affects the final costs of the product. The manual labor steps are reduced in an automatic coiler, and the work time can be optimized with the possibility to schedule the concealed time frame.

These are all reflections to take into account when purchasing to get a comprehensive plan of advantages and final costs that entails turning to an automatic coiler or to a semi automatic coiler.

The advantages of the automatic coiler

However, there are objective factors that certainly make the automatic coiler a machine superior to the semi automatic one. There are differences that are to be taken into consideration and assessed because they impact other costs – such as transport – or the intrinsic quality of the coils and therefore the final product in terms of material perfection and ease of use.

An automatic coiler is faster and arrives at even 300 meters a minute, offering high production rates. It is also possible to leave the coiling time unvaried for producing other measurements of coils as well, something that is impossible in a semi-automatic coiler where the manual binding time influences the quantity of coils made.

The automation offers greater control in forming the coils and so coiling is always perfect and uniform, without ovalizations and markings.

FB Balzanelli machines also offer the possibility to have a very small reel diameter. This implies that a coil of the same length will have a smaller diameter. It becomes possible to maximize storage space and transport space, in this way saving on costs and environmental sustainability.

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

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