What is a Coil Winder?

Mary McMahon

A coil winder is a device which is used to create tight, evenly wound coils. There are a number of applications for a coil winder, ranging from home electronics projects to commercial packaging of products typically sold in coils. Numerous companies manufacture coil winders of all shapes and sizes, including equipment with a number of accessory options, and electronics hobbyists sometimes build their own, as the mechanics of a coil winder are fairly simple.

The wire in an electromagnet is often made with a coil winder.
The wire in an electromagnet is often made with a coil winder.

Making a coil is actually rather hard work, which is why people tend to avoid doing it by hand if it is possible do so. For materials to coil properly, they need to be evenly distributed on a core, whether one layer of coiled material is being made or many, and the tension also must be even throughout the winding process. A coil winder is designed to maintain even distribution and tension as it creates coils so that they will be even.

Some coil winders produce only one coil at a time, while others can simultaneously wind an array of coils. The device may be standalone, as with a simple coil winder used to prepare electromagnetic coils which can be used as electromagnets or inductors, or it may be attached to a production line. For example, in a company which makes cable, coil winders are part of the production line so that the cable can be packaged for transit and sale as it is made.

There are a number of features available with industrial coil winders. Some have automatic splicing ability, ensuring that the same amount goes on to every coil without any wastage. Many others also cut automatically when they detect that a coil is the right size or weight. Additionally, a coil winder can interleave other materials into the coil. For example, some industrial coil winders can wind foil sheeting, interleaving with paper or a similar material to protect the sheeting during transit.

With a manual coil winder, the operator controls the coil winder with a hand crank, foot pump, or similar device. These devices are used for small projects, as a general rule, and it can take some practice to learn to handle the device properly. Automatic coil winders run with an engine which turns the coil winder, in which case the user activates the coil winder when it is needed. Industrial equipment usually has a safety stop function which turns the device off if there is a problem.

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