Tool Balancer Selection Guide

How to choose the tool balancer or retractor for your application

Types of Tool Balancers and Retractors

Retractor Tool Balancers Zero Gravity Tool Balancers Hose Reel Tool Balancers
TECNA INOX Rope Balancer | TECNA ATEX Balancer | TECNA Hose Balancer |

Retractor Tool Balancers

Retractor tool balancers use a spring mechanism to keep the tool hanging slightly below the balancer when in the rest position. To use the tool, the operator pulls down to unwind a cable. When the operator’s task is complete, the tool can again be safely returned to the rest position. While in use, the operator will feel a slight pull from the retractor, as the tool is under continuous pressure from a spring.

TECNA retractor tool balancer series 9346 – 9350 includes a ratchet stop device that prevents the rope from rewinding and retracting into the balancer. This allows the tool to remain in the working or hanging position until released by a “pull and release” action.

ZERO-Gravity Tool Balancers

ZERO-Gravity tool balancers use a conical drum to maintain the tool in the operator’s last position. The tension created using the drum and spring remains constant throughout the entire operation. This constant tension allows the operator to use less force to move the tool.  While in use, the operator will feel ZERO tension from the balancer. When the tool or equipment is released, it will stay in the same position.

ZERO-Gravity tool balancers have an optional chain control locking mechanism, allowing the operator to lock the load in a secure position. This feature can be useful for tool maintenance and optimal positioning to perform a task. Releasing the lock returns the balancer to free vertical movement.

Hose Reel Tool Balancers

Like retractor tool balancers, hose reel balancers use an internal spring mechanism to operate. Unlike retractors, hose reel balancers use a pneumatic air hose rather than a retractable cable. This configuration suspends pneumatic tools and supplies them with air. For longer strokes or heavier loads, a hose accessory can be added for the 9310 – 9313 series and 9320 – 9323 series hose reel balancers.

Tool Balancer Selection Guide

1: What is the weight of the tool or equipment being suspended?
The tool balancer’s maximum capacity should be close to the weight of the tool or equipment being suspended. If the tool being suspended is in a range between two balancer models, choose the model of balancer that will work closer to its maximum capacity.
2: What is the mounting height of the balancer or retractor?
Determine how high the balancer or retractor will be installed above the tool or workspace. With the balancer properly mounted, the stroke length parameter can be defined, and optional rope extension if needed.
3: What stroke length is needed to perform the task?
Stroke length is the travel distance required between the rest and the working positions of the tool/equipment. Using the mounting height parameter and the tool travel distance, the proper tool balancer or retractor stroke length can be determined. If the mounting height is longer than the required stroke length, rope extensions can be added as an alternative to longer balancer strokes. Always consult your TECNA representative with any questions.
4. What mounting requirements are needed for tool balancer installation?
Typically, balancers are hung using the installed load hook directly above the work area from stationary supports. This allows the rope or cable to be pulled out and retracted vertically. Not on an angle. TECNA balancers also include a safety cable designed to be installed through the body of the balancer and connected to a separate safety hanging point, as stated in the manual.
5: What is the operating position of the tool, cable, or hose?
To prevent excessive wear, the balancer cable must always exit straight from the balancer. If the cable runs through a pulley, diameter and groove must be considered to reduce additional strain.
6. Will the tool or equipment require movement along a rail?
In some installations, suspended tools or equipment are required to reach beyond the balancer’s fixed location or zero position. For these installations, a trolley and rail system or a jib crane can be used. This will allow left-right, and front-back movement in addition to the vertical up-down the tool balancer or retractor provides.
7. What facility or environmental regulations must be considered?
Explosion-resistant (ATEX-rated) tool balancers are available for installation in potentially hazardous environments. Most noteworthy are explosive areas containing flammable gases or combustible dust. Should you have critical environments, do not hesitate to contact your TECNA representative for support.
8. What cable type is required?
The cable type is selected based on the tool/equipment and the angle of the selected balancer or retractor. Stainless steel cable (INOX rope) is the most common. Synthetic rope (polypropylene wire or dyneema® rope) can also be used as an alternative for a particular movement, potential strain, or a working condition where the rope might rub on delicate parts or become worn.

Tool Balancer Selection Examples

TECNA Weld Gun

TECNA 3322 (scissor-type) weld gun has a weight of 114 lbs. or (52 kg). The TECNA 9367BR tool balancer with a weight capacity of 121 lbs. or (55 kg), and a stroke length of 70 in. or (2000 mm) would be ideal for this installation.

ATEX Air Tool

ATEX air tool has a weight of 13 lbs. (6 kg). For this application, the operator would be required to pull the air tool down and use it several times moving freely over the workbench and then releasing it. The optimal solution is the TECNA 9347AX tool balancer, ATEX certified, with a stop device (ratchet) and 75 in. (2500 mm) stroke.

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CONTACT, powered by Weld Systems Integrators, Inc. (WSI), is a stocking master distributor of TECNA spring tool balancers and tool retractors. We maintain an IN-STOCK inventory FOR SALE at our Warrensville Heights, OHIO location for quick shipment and delivery. To speak with a (WSI) team member, please give us a call at 844-44-TECNA or +1-216-475-5629.

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