Motorized Ball Winders
I often say, "once you have gone to a motorized unit, you will never go back to a hand crank."
Motorized ball winders are simply ball winders that are driven by a motor instead of a hand crank.
Some people get excited when they think about a motorized ball winder and others get nervous.
Why do they get nervous? Because some people think that the motorized unit will break their yarn when there is a snag, etc.
Let's face it, if a ball winder breaks your yarn in the middle of a ball, that is not a good thing.
Some early motorized ball winders apparently did have a reputation for breaking the yarn. One of those models was reportedly the Hague model from the UK. However, I have not tested the Hague model extensively and cannot verify that they currently have or previously had this particular problem. This unit does use belts and belts can slip when confronted with a restriction in the yarn path. Overall, belts on motorized units are a good feature as the belt can act like a shock absorber. Once again, check the Internet for more details from current and past owners of these units, or ask the manufacturer directly.
The Nancy's Knit Knacks' motorized ball winder has a passive slip mechanism in which the belt automatically slips whenever any drag is sensed by the system thus assuring the user that there will not be any breakage of their yarn. Since the belt and pulley are designed to slip at critical periods when there is a jam or other overload, these heavier belts also do not break.
Although I have not tested the Boye electric unit, I believe that a serious snag would actually hang this unit up (stall the motor) because it will probably not be able to overcome the drag caused by the snag. Therefore, it should probably not break your yarn even though it runs by a hybrid gearing system as opposed to a belt. NOTE: Boye has discontinued this model.
The beauty of motorized ball winders is that they save the user a lot of energy and can free them up to do other work. There definitely is a need for motorized ball winders in the commercial world.
Yarn shops that own electric ball winders quickly become spoiled by them and they have a hard time going back to manual winding.
Characteristics of motorized ball winders
They have a speed control which can alter the rate of the winding action
They have a method for stopping all motion (off or stop switch)
They have a way to tension the yarn
Their power source should meet all appropriate safety agency requirements
They save the user a lot of time and energy
Some motorized ball winders can be used as manual units in the event of a power failure or if their motor or electronics fail. This is a key feature.
A special feature of some motorized units is that they can be integrated with electronic yarn meters and allow the user to measure precise amounts of yarn and have the motorized ball winder turn off automatically. See "Systems" for more info.
Note: Nancy's Knit Knacks Motorized Ball Winder has been the leading electric ball winder solution for yarn shops and other fiber businesses around the World since 2008.