Stretch Reel: Replacing metal with plastic to reduce costs and provide product improvement.
A company that produces mobile radio masts, chose us to design, develop, test, tool and supply a complete guy reel including cleat.
Originally, they used a sand casting to produce an aluminium reel, fitted with a standard cleat, to tension guy lines on a new mast. Whilst the sand cast tooling was low cost the part price was high. As their original product became established, and sales grew, they wanted to improve appearance and reduce part cost and so decided to look at a plastic part.
The basic design of the alloy cast part worked well. However, the design alteration needed to consider the properties of plastic and selection of the correct screw to hold the cleat onto plastic rather than aluminium.
Due to the arctic conditions in which the masts are used by the military, material selection was crucial. We worked closely with suppliers to select a material that combined excellent mechanical and thermal properties, with an acceptable cost.
We were able to contribute significantly to the design specification using our experience of manufacturing rope holding devices for the marine industry. Tensile, impact and environmental tests were carried out on sample mouldings, which showed that some sections needed increasing in thickness. This resulted in a very strong, long-lasting part at an acceptable weight.
We produce the finished parts at our UK factory, using screws from a selected supplier. A competitive price has been achieved through selective purchasing and single piece flow in production. Our design and production expertise allows us to continue to supply export markets with these reels.