How To Select A Containment Boom Reel

Boom reels are devices for oil spill response and other applications that are used for the storage, deployment and recovery of floating barriers. They range in size and options, with some models built onto trailers, some are manually operated, and some feature a motorized drive system. Elastec’s team of oil spill equipment experts can help you find the right boom reel for your project. This article contains all the questions that we will ask so that we can provide the type of reel to best suit your needs.

Loaded boom reels
Elastec boom reels loaded with inflatable containment boom.

What type and size of containment boom do you want to store?

There are generally four types of containment boom in various sizes. They can be categorized as follows.

  1. Curtain Boom: Curtain booms are typically characterized as a boom containing a round, foam float with a fabric curtain that hangs underneath. They are typically constructed of PVC fabric. Examples of this type of boom is the Elastec Optimax or the Simplex.
  2. Fence Boom: Fence booms use a float and curtain, similarly to a curtain boom. The main difference is that it tends to be flatter than curtain boom. They may contain a foam float that runs the length of each boom section or they may use smaller floats attached to a more rigid curtain material. Examples of this type of boom are the MaxiMax, MiniMax, EconoMax, and PermaFence.
  3. Inflatable Boom: Inflatable boom contains air bladders that must be inflated prior to deployment. They require either a portable blower backpack or a high output diesel unit. Our high output air blower-inflator can also be offered in a boom reel control stand. Examples of this type of boom are AirMax and RubberMax.
  4. Auto Inflating: This type of boom does not require an external source for inflation. It contains an integrated coil structure and compartmented float sections. The boom stores flat on a reel and “self-inflates” as it is deployed. An example of this type of containment boom is the ReelPak.

What is the overall height?

The overall height of the boom from the top of its float to the bottom of its skirt should also be taken into consideration. Thickness and diameter of the float itself is also important. These factors will help determine the overall width of the boom reel that will be required.

Do you need a powered or manual boom reel?

Boom reels can be supplied as either powered or manual. For boom that has a higher weight, a powered boom reel may be required. Powered boom reels feature a type of power pack with controls that will allow you to retrieve or deploy the boom with the flick of a button. Smaller and lighter booms, or short lengths of boom may use a manual boom reel. These require people to use physical labor to deploy and retrieve the boom.

What total length of boom do you want to store?

The total length of boom you wish to store on the reel will affect the size of the reel just as much as the type. You can store longer sections of boom on a smaller reel with inflatable or auto-inflating boom vs. curtain boom or fence boom.

If powered: diesel or electric hydraulic?

If you need a powered boom reel, you have two choices. They are diesel or electric hydraulic.

  1. Diesel Powered Boom Reel: Requires readily available diesel fuel, adding operational costs and the need for refueling infrastructure. These may not be suitable for use in enclosed spaces and environmentally sensitive areas due to the production of exhaust. They also produce more noise and require regular maintenance. They are ideal for remote locations or areas where there is no easy access to electricity.
  2. Electric Hydraulic Powered Boom Reel: Relies on electricity, a potentially cleaner and more readily available source depending on the location. They do not produce emissions and are quieter than diesel units. They generally have simpler maintenance requirements. These units are ideal for area that may be located in enclosed spaces or areas where there is electricity readily available.

Ultimately, the choice between diesel and electric-hydraulic boom reels depends on your specific needs. We will consider factors like operating environment, noise restrictions, power availability, and budget when recommending a reel.

Do you need it to be stationary or mobile?

Boom reels can be on a skid, permanently installed or mounted on a trailer for added mobility. Trailer mounted boom reels are fitted with road lights, brakes, and stabilizers for deployment. Elastec’s equipment experts can help you find the right model for our application.

Do you need a painted frame or galvanized steel?

The boom reel frame can be either panted or galvanized steel depending on your needs. The galvanized steel option is best suited for environments where there is a high likelihood of corrosion.

Do you need special fork pockets?

We offer the addition of fork pockets for our boom reels. This aids in the ability to move the reel while utilizing a forklift or other pieces of heavy equipment. We also offer 4-way fork pockets that provide more options for lifting and transport. These aid in moving the reels to hard to reach locations.

Do you need ISO twist locks for securing?

Does your boom reel location require ISO twist locks? Twist locks are a standardized connector system for shipping containers that rotate to lock equipment into place and secure it.

Do you need a protective covering?

We can provide you with protective coverings for both the boom reel and any power units that may be used with it. All covers will be custom built for an exact fit of the equipment. Our covers are manufactured from high-quality, durable PVC fabric material. These covers are great for reducing the UV impact on your containment boom and helps extend its life.

If you have more questions, please contact Elastec and talk to one of our experts. We can answer your questions and guide you through the boom reel selection process.

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