A company has developed a portable reel dispenser that provides a simple solution to the task of getting an electric power cord to unwind and rewind in restrictive work areas. This has a constant-torque unwind and rewind mechanism, and whether the reel is oriented horizontally or vertically, the operator can use it safely without the cable tugging at the appliance in use.

The key challenge, however, was how to incorporate the constant-torque, rewind, spring mechanism into a low-cost assembly that required smooth running bearings able to accommodate assembly and material variables. In addition, the mechanism was to be made of a thin cross section of sheet steel where the side plates had to support the bearings; and the bearings still had to be secure and durable, and reliably drive the reel.

To meet requirements, the company selected the Spyraflo 8mm diameter self-clinching, self-aligning, SAE-840 bronze bearings (FSB-8M). Available from Micromech, these have a ±5° self-alignment and ensure a smooth pullout and retraction motion throughout the length of the 20m cable.