Making the Best Reels in the World for 100 Years – The Unwinding Story

Written by Robert Hoshowsky

In a world where businesses come and go, Coxreels came and stayed. In business since 1923, the Tempe, Arizona-based manufacturer of high-quality hose, cord, and cable reels is in its third generation of family ownership, and shows no sign of taking it easy.

Providing customers with durable Made in America products, Coxreels’ strategy is to exceed the requirements of customers in demanding industries where reliability is critical. From agriculture to aviation and petroleum to power transmission, the Coxreels name is well-known to clients in fire and safety, marine, military and government, construction, food and chemical, automotive, transportation, and a host of other sectors.

“Coxreels has been providing the industry with hose, cord and cable solutions for nearly 100 years,” says company President Brad Cox. “We have established ourselves as the quality leader, and for our centennial anniversary see ourselves holding the dominant market share of USA-made reels worldwide.”

One location, many products
Manufacturing the finest spring driven reels, EZ coil reels, hand-cranked and motorized reels, Coxreels products are used for air, fuel delivery, grease/hydraulics, chemical fluid transfer, welding gas, potable water, diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) dispensing, and too many other applications to list.

At its modern, 100 percent self-contained 120,000 square foot facility, Coxreels unleashes all the skills – and then some – required to manufacture its exceptional products, commercial and industrial. With a 150-strong team that covers sales, engineering, marketing and advertising, development, IT, customer service, sourcing, accounting, logistics and shipping, fabrication and assembly, the company’s diverse members make-up the Coxreels Production System.

Among the company’s unique processes are some unusual artisanal skills such as hand metal spinning, with Coxreels one of the few reel manufacturers making its own springs on custom-built spring-winding machines. All components are powder coated individually in-house with two full paint lines handling the company’s own signature blue and other colors as required by customers.

“Our skill sets range from manual fabrication to CNC and device programming, as we incorporate several robotic processes in our production,” says Cox. “We are always learning new skills with our relentless drive for production efficiency, as well as investing in new equipment and processes.”

Tradition and technology
Coxreel’s hose, cord, and cable reels are manufactured for heavy duty use, with the company bringing unique structural reel design to the industry – a design which has been imitated, but never quite duplicated. And by adhering to fundamental manufacturing principles developed and refined over almost 100 years, Coxreels has mastered affordable, low-volume production within a mass production environment.

Combining blending experience with advanced engineering, automation systems, robotic welding, and other state-of-the-art processes, Coxreels designs reeling-platform products and solutions able to withstand extensive and demanding field use. The use of steel as the primary structural material, precision welding frames, and the powder coating of all components results in a noticeably high quality end product.

This company-wide drive to excel – along with less obvious principles and standards of behavior like fostering family-like partnerships with vendors, dedication to employees, and debt-free stability – continues to earn Coxreels respect and repeat business.

“We remain beholden only to ourselves and our standards, not to shareholders or corporate boards,” says Cox. “Our customers can depend on us. We have been here working hard for 100 years, and we are dedicated to work even harder for the next 100.”

New products
Never standing still, Coxreels recently unveiled two unique new reel offerings: Hi-Vis Safety Hose Reels and the XTM Series Reel.

Statistics say that up to 15 percent of accidental workplace deaths happen as a result of slips and falls. To address this tragic and unnecessary waste, Coxreels created Hi-Vis. Made to be as visible as possible to help prevent hazards and boost safety, Hi-Vis hose is made in several sizes for different purposes. For added durability, Hi-Vis is a hybrid product made from a blend of strong polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and rubber. The result? A tough-as-nails hose that is not only easy to see, but one that is lightweight and long-lasting.

“[Our team] has increased hose flexibility and better low temperature behavior while maintaining strength and toughness,” says Cox. “With enhanced kink resistance and reduced coil memory, they lie flat for a reduced trip-hazard potential. Hybrid hoses also feature a less sticky jacket surface than PVC for better stacking performance and an improved non-marring quality. With a working pressure of 300PSI, this hose is perfect to be used in applications involving air and water.”

In response to customer demands, Coxreels also created the XTM Series Reel, one of the company’s strongest and most innovative products to date. Used in industries where failure is simply not an option, like mining and construction, XTM Duty Reels feature a spring-retractable reel, swivel-lock supports, and a strong, welded box frame for added durability.

Working for customers
At Coxreels, the company’s internal code of behavior has remained consistent for decades: be a pillar of reliability for customers and consumers across the globe, and build the highest quality, most reliable, durable reels in any industry.

A pioneer in the industry, the company takes the extra steps in the design and production of every reel that others won’t, ensuring that Coxreels’ products outperform the competition under the rigors of any application.

Following market research of current and prospective customers across the United States and Canada, the company launched its shipping program, Coxreels Ship Ready, in February 2019. Created in response to client needs for immediate access to Coxreels high-quality family of products, the program is a game-changer.

“[We] can now offer [our] customers an industry-leading, highly engineered, high quality, American-made reel with the fastest speed to market,” says Cox. “It has led to increased sales opportunities for our customers throughout North America and increased opportunities for Coxreels.

“The 2019 launch was an exciting time and an important milestone in the continuing growth and success of our organization. Our desire and commitment to provide our customers with the highest level of reel quality is paramount, and just as important, it’s our ultimate goal to deliver the reels to our customers in the time frame they require to be successful.”

Through the program, Coxreels is able to stock its top selling reels and parts in-house, and meet the same-day shipping needs of customers.

Customer service, selection, and quality are some of the reasons buyers keep coming back to Coxreels. One example is the company’s renowned V-100 series vacuum reels. Incorporating an O-ring – a type of mechanical gasket often used for gas or fluid applications – key swivel components of the V-100 are zinc-coated, creating a corrosion-resistant barrier. Made to last, Coxreels’ V-100 series is perfect for commercial cleaning jobs, garages, and similar applications.

Coxreels Pavement Reels offer ideal hose-reel solutions for the pavement industry. Heavy-duty industrial-grade spring-driven pavement reels are specifically built for enhanced performance and usability in harsh outdoor environments.

“Plumb Coxreels pavement reel to either diesel or citrus washdown tanks and discharge the asphalt release agent of your choice to clean paving equipment,” says Cox of the pavement reels. These also come in space-saving sizes, have flexible mounting configurations, and are available in various designs that best suit the pavement industry.

Reel versatility, 1600 series
With the most versatile symmetric reel design on the market today, the 1600 Series product line is a modular design targeting original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and other specific-need customers. With the 1600 Series, the user can piece together features and accessories as needed for their specific application. With three different size discs to couple with drum width from 8” to 33”, the reel can also be ordered to fit the shape and aspect ratio desired.

“The 1600 series stands out with option advancements in reel technology such as idler gearing, patented 3-way pin locks, electro-magnetic brakes, and universal directional payout with multiple roller options,” says Cox.

Another customer-favorite feature of the 1600 is its versatile fluid path with multiple thread options; supplied zinc plated as standard, it can be affordably upgraded to various grades of stainless steel, including 316.

“The customization available in this standard, off-the-shelf product continues to attract new market segments such as sewer jetting and specialty applications including high pressure firefighting. Our engineering team is continuously working to expand options to grow the applications of this product line. We anticipate rapid growth in the market areas serviced by the 1600 Series reels.”

Fast and flexible robotics
Continuing to adapt to the needs of the market, Coxreels keeps investing in technological advancement including plant wide-bar coding and scanning systems coupled with script-driven systems automation. New flexible robotics, laser processing equipment, and rapid multi-operation setup processing have increased responsiveness and JIT capabilities.

These innovative efforts will allow Coxreels to continue its growth, as well as develop an expanding product mix with on-time delivery of finished goods.

Through efficient delivery systems, and customization of its material requirements planning (MRP) system, combined with automated label processing software, improving shipping logistics, targeting solutions and others, Coxreels continues to process customer orders quickly and efficiently.

“We have new software on the customer management side, as well as the production/MRP system side,” says Cox. “We are continually improving our customers’ experience with the goal of superior customer service and communication.

“We offer a fully interactive website, along with a library of technical training videos and bulletins, CAD models, and technical specs that can highly benefit our distributors. We also offer a web enhancement platform to help provide our distributors with the most up-to-date images and descriptions that will assist them in building their online presence.”

Reassurance in reels
For Coxreels, the way a reel is designed and built matters. It matters to professionals using the reels, and it matters to Coxreels. A leading manufacturer of 100 percent American-made reels for nearly a century, the company has learned many things in that time. Every Coxreels reel is built using the experience and know-how that have made the company industry experts.

“We build the very best, and they hold up under the rigors and abuse reels take in any condition,” says Cox. “We don’t want the operator to ever worry about whether his/her reel will work when and how they need it to. There is a difference in reels. Let us put our experience and expertise to work for you.”



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