It’s worth investigating before you purchase an uncoiler
By Jim Austin, Targeted Content Inc., for Samco Machinery
TORONTO, July 29, 2015 – If you’ve got an in-house roll former, you’ve got an uncoiler, also known as a decoiler. You probably put a lot of time into researching the purchase of your roll former, making sure it does everything you need it to do. Samco Machinery recommends that same level of evaluation and consideration when purchasing an uncoiler, making sure it does everything you need it to do.
OK, no one is trying to convince you the uncoiler will be the sexy piece of equipment in your shop, but if it’s saving you money, it can certainly become a little more appealing.
“People don’t appreciate the uncoiler,” says Bob Repovs, CEO at Samco Machinery. “Anyone who has a roll former needs an uncoiler out front to feed coil into the roll former. A lot of times, they purchase a roll former and just get the least expensive uncoiler they can buy. Steel mills are now producing larger coils. Larger coils mean longer run times and ultimately, more production. More production is more profit.”
Can the right uncoiler actually pay for itself over time?
“Absolutely,” Repovs says.
Now does the uncoiler have your attention?
Samco Machinery is one of several North American manufacturers of uncoilers for the roll forming and stamping industries. Samco Machinery also produces uncoilers for other industries, including the tube mill industry, where coil is running off at speeds of 1,000 feet per minute. Roll formers for the steel stud industry can operate at 500 feet per minute.
The demands on an uncoiler running as fast as those for the tube mill industry obviously create the need for sturdier equipment with better braking capabilities. To increase run time, and therefore productivity, the coils for the tube mill industry are larger and heavier. These coils have a larger “outside diameter,” known as OD. Coils with a larger OD require a larger capacity uncoiler.
Repovs says Samco Machinery engineers and manufactures all of its uncoilers to withstand the toughest conditions. “We know how customers run equipment,” he says. “They can be very hard on machines. We build our uncoilers a little more robust than others, because of what we’ve learned in the tube mill industry.”
Increasing the operating speed is not the only way to gain productivity. When the coil runs out, the “changeover” time to get a new coil in place and threaded into the roll former can be a time-consuming process. The quicker the changeover, the less downtime.
“That’s why we have single-ended and double-ended uncoilers,” Repovs says. “While one mandrel (arm) is feeding into the roll former, the next coil can be safely loaded on another mandrel with a forklift, crane or coil car.”
Repovs says that even with larger coils, changeovers can be required every five or 10 minutes … so anywhere from 6-12 times an hour. When operating for a full eight-hour shift or running 24/7 in your plant, your under-appreciated uncoiler is working as hard as your roll former.
For wider coils, such as 48-inch panel lines, uncoilers generally operate a little slower and require a very large footprint to accommodate a double-ended uncoiler. In this case, a combination of single-ended decoiler with coil car combination may be more practical.
Repovs says the manufacturing of uncoilers takes into consideration two critical considerations: Safety and through-put.
“We make sure all of the safety requirements are in place,” Repovs says. “Uncoilers have large fast-moving parts. Operators must be trained and have an understanding of how the machine works and is set up correctly."
What are your considerations when purchasing an uncoiler?
- Weight of coil
- Width of coil
- ID and OD of coil
- Some may load multiple coils at once
- Available shop space
- Speed of line and coil changeover time
Uncoiler manufacturers will offer a variety of options, depending on the needs of the customer. Samco Machinery uncoilers can feature an adjustable mandrel to accommodate coils with varying inside diameters, as well as several size options for the coil back plate. Depending on your braking needs, uncoilers come with a variety of air brakes as well as water cooled brakes for lines running at faster speeds. Uncoilers can be manufactured to have hydraulic expansion and hydraulic rotation capabilities. Shock absorbers can be added to minimize uncoiler rotational abuse.
For fabrication shops running smaller orders, reducing changeover time is vital. After the coil is sheared at the front end of the roll former, the uncoiler has to be able to tightly rewind coil, requiring a hold down arm, hydraulic feed-up/rewind and the ability for the coil to be banded.
Every shop has different needs. That’s why Samco Machinery offers a variety of uncoilers with the ability to handle coil ranging from 2,500 to 40,000 pounds. Samco Machinery uncoilers are safer because they feature full-diameter back plates as opposed to plates with spokes.
“Again, down time is expensive,” Repovs says. “Changeovers need to be safe, first of all, and fast. If you roll form a partial coil or small order of product and then have to change coil to run a different color, width or gauge, you’re going to want a double-ended uncoiler to reduce changeover time.”
The roll forming line is only making money when it’s operating. The right uncoiler can keep a roll former operating more efficiently and safely.