Tool balancer features, uses and benefits
Learn about the applications and benefits of our tool balancers and tool refractors
Production line issues usually boil down to three categories: worker safety, line efficiency, and equipment maintenance. After long hours handling heavy tools, workers risk injuring themselves, slowing down production, or even damaging products and equipment. Tool balancers work to correct all of these issues by making your existing tools easier, safer, and more efficient to use.
What are tool balancers?
Tool balancers are suspension mechanisms that keep repetitive-use tools in a waiting position above your production line workstations between each use. This minimizes the distance each tool travels between uses, increasing productivity and efficiency. The spring-loaded retractor cord attached to the balancer automatically returns each tool to its starting position after use, significantly reducing wear and tear on your tools and operators.
Most importantly, tool balancers redistribute the weight of your tools, making them essentially weightless to operate. Lighter loads allow your workers to move more effectively with far less risk of injury—to themselves and your expensive equipment.
To handle the extensive variety of tools and their weights on any given production line, tool balancers come in many different styles. The four most common are:
- Retractor Style Balancers (stainless steel or Nylon rope)
- Zero Gravity Balancers
- Explosion-resistant (ATEX rated – both Retractors and Zero Gravity)
- Air hose Balancers
While the design of a balancer is very straightforward, different materials and protections make some better suited to specific production line needs than others.
Tool balancers are made of:
- A coiled tension spring mechanism
- A mounting hook
- A retractor cord
- A tool attachment
Every balancer model has a different maximum weight capacity. Depending on the number and type of tools in your rotation, you may need multiple balancers to safely suspend each tool. Additionally, certain balancer models are more ideal for certain types of products—especially in high-intensity or high-risk areas.
Different tool balancers and tool retractors also come with different options for retractor cord length and type. Retractor cord length (also called the stroke) is typically between 35.4 inches and 118 inches. There are four common retractor cord types:
- Stainless steel
- Polyurethane air hose (found only on air hose tool balancers)
Retractor cords are differentiated by the material they’re made out of and how they attach to the tool.
Tool balancers keep every aspect of your production line running smoothly and efficiently. They’re a simple addition to your arsenal, but they make a world of difference. Equipping your production line with the appropriate balancers allows you to:
- Reduce worker fatigue and injuries
- Increase production line productivity
- Keep tools accessible, but not in the way
- Improve the lifespan of your tools
- Maintain a safer work environment
- Better organize your tools
- Improve tool performance and accuracy
- Minimize damage to equipment
- Equalize tool weight so that all workers can use all tools
- Ultimately increase production, revenue, and worker efficiency
When you keep your tools organized, accessible, and easy to manage, you end up saving significant money on worker’s comp claims, tool repair, and damaged products.
Types of balancers and applications
Refractor Style Balancers
Retractor-style tool balancers have a coiled tension spring attached to a cord that retracts the tool upwards. These tool balancers are always under tension, with a cord constantly pulling upwards as the operator uses the tool. These work well for smaller instruments, like electric screwdrivers on an assembly line or a nail gun for pallet nailing
- Suspended essential tools
- Air Tools
- Power Tools
- Nail and staple guns
- Cable ties
- All basic assembly tools or workstation aids
Zero Gravity Balancers
Zero Gravity Balancers (or True Balancers) also use a spring tension-like retractor style. However, the balancer cable rides on a tapered drum allowing the tool to maintain a constant tension through the entire stroke. This tension allows the worker to set the true balancer so that the tool hangs freely in the position it is released until the worker manually raises it from the work area.
Explosion Resistant Tool Balancers
Explosion resistant tool balancers are designed for hazardous and high-risk environments. These balancers are ideal for any production lines dealing with flammable gasses or combustible dust or any potentially dangerous particles. All TECNA explosion resistant balancers are ATEX certified.
ATEX certification, beside other features, requires products to be entirely conductive, grounded and with spark-proof materials.
TECNA ATEX balancers, depending on the models, are compatible with most flammable fumes, gases including Propane, Ethylene, Acetylene and Hydrogen (IIC group), as well as flammable dust
Explosion resistance balancer line is perfect for Oil&Gas applications, oil plants and refineries, chemical plants, but also tank washers, as well as situations with flour or flammable powders in suspension.
Air Hose Tool Balancers
Air hose tool balancers look and operate like standard tool balancers, but their retractor cord is an attachable air hose rather than a cord with a hook attachment. These balancers are light-weight bearing (up to 11 lbs.) and work with air tools. These balancers also tend to have shorter cord lengths than other types to optimize airflow.
Tool balancer FAQs
How much do tool balancers cost?
The type of balancer, the length of the retractor cord, the material of the cord, and any specialized promotions for high-risk production determine the cost of the balancer. In general, they cost between $50 and $3500.
How much weight can a tool balancer hold?
Standard and explosion resistant balancers can hold up to 397 lbs.
What’s the difference between tool balancers and tool retractors?
Tool Retractors – use spring under tension to retract the tool. Tension builds up as you pull the tool away from the balancer, which will retract the tool back to the original position.
Tool Balancers also called Zero Gravity Balancers – Also use spring under tension, but the retractable cord is wrapped around tapered drum, which maintains constant tension. This means the tool is balanced in preset height. In other words, the tool stays where you leave it, and it is not retracted toward the balancer.
How do I choose the right tool balancer?
You’ll want to choose a balancer based on the weight of your tool, the distance from your workbench, and whether your production line works with any hazardous products.
Buy a TECNA balancer today
Tool Balancer USA works exclusively with TECNA spring tool balancers to ensure the highest quality and safety for your production line. With thorough testing and top industry standards, TECNA balancers are trusted to increase your productivity while protecting your tools and workers.
Order your balancer today or place a custom order with one of our representatives.
Full List of Applications:
HIGH PRESSURE FLOOR POLISHER / CLEANING EQUIPMENT
GUNS / AIRBRUSHES FOR SPRAY PAINT
TYING TOOLS FOR CABLES
MACHINES FOR CELLARS
SHEET WELDING MACHINES
PUSH-BUTTON PANELS FOR CRANES
EXHAUST GAS / COMBUSTION HOSES
ROBOT SUPPLY CABLES
X-RAY TOOLS & MEDICAL EQUIPMENT
ROBOT FOR DIMENSIONAL CONTROL
TOOLS FOR SLAUGHTERHOUSES
TOOLS FOR WORKING THE ROCKS
CONVEYOR BELTS AND RAILS
POWER SUPPLY BUSBARS
TOOLS FOR WORKING WOOD
SUBMERSIBLE PUMPS AND STIRRERS
INDUSTRIAL SEWING MACHINES
TOOLS FOR PACKING
CALLIPERS FOR HOLES AND MICROMETERS
CABLE HOLDER IN ELECTRIC CABINS
PIPES FOR PETROL PUMPS
HOSES FOR GAS PUMPS
FILLING MACHINES FOR THE FOOD INDUSTRY
SUSPENSION OF EQUIPMENT FOR LEATHER PROCESSING
ELECTRICAL AND PNEUMATIC STAPLERS
AIRBRUSHES AND GUNS FOR PAINTING