How Does Winch Work?
For thousands of years, winches have been helping humans move objects. They’re so old, you’re likely to find them in ancient Greek history. Even back then, they were used to hoist bridges, lift heavy objects, and help in major architectural projects. Over the years, winches have evolved and now work better than ever. And because we’re still lifting heavy objects, winches will continue to be in use.
What makes up a winch?
Different components work together to form a winch. These components include cable wire, drum, motor, and a gear train.
- A cable wire. This is a wire made from steel or synthetic cable that is wrapped around a drum to prevent tangling. Most cables have a length ranging from 40 to 100 feet.
- A drum. This circular or cylindrical shape is what the cable wraps itself around. The winch has a spool that causes the drum to rotate, allowing the cable to wind in or out.
- A motor. The power is like the powerhouse of the winch. It helps power the drum to rotate, and the motion is what pulls or releases the wire. You must note that not all winches have motors; however, this component is the main feature of electric winches.
- A gear train. This is what converts the power from the motor into a pulling power; it is what gives the winch the ability to pull heavy loads.
Combined, all four components form a winch. To use a winch, you roll out the cable wire and secure it to the load you want to pull. After attaching the load, turn the motor on and the drum will rotate, allowing the cable to wind around it neatly. You are now pulling in the load.
There are different kinds of winches with maximum carrying capacity. You’ll need to determine what the winch is for, to choose the correct capacity.
How to Use Winch
How and where you will use a winch are the most important things to consider when shopping for a new winch. Below are several factors to keep in mind when looking for a winch;
- Electric versus hydraulic. An electric winch, as the name suggests, is powered by your vehicle’s electric system and battery. On the other hand, a hydraulic winch relies on the steering pump or the vehicle’s hydraulic system.
- Weight. The weight of the winch itself must be factored in. A heavy winch will cause an imbalance in the vehicle.
- Cable types. Both synthetic and steel cables are strong. However, synthetic cables wear out easily and are prone to damage. Steel cables are the more durable alternative, although they are dangerous if they snap. These cables are also heavier and add unnecessary weight. Synthetic cables are lighter, and are a safer option compared to steel ones, should they break.
- Gear train. Lastly, you’ll need to choose between a planetary and worm gear transmission. The former has multiple gears that increase line speed, but this causes heating. Worm gear transmission has only two gear options but offers more pulling power at cooler temperatures.