Those who enjoy the adventure in ships and boats or all-terrain trucks know they can´t take the risk of starting their journey without carrying winches. So, to make sure you can get the best of them, you must know what is a winch? And what are the type of winches? To get the answer to these questions, let´s break down a winch and some of its functionalities.
All types of winches are always working around us. However, they don´t still get our attention until a heavy-duty action is required. But they shouldn´t be underestimated. After all, they do what we surely can´t do by other means. Those who are behind the scene, in airports, ports, or construction businesses know it better.
What is a winch?
A winch is a mechanical device that can haul or lift vast amounts of weight. It consists of a cable or rope, a drum, a motor (for some types of winches), and a gear train.
How does the mechanism of a winch work?
The mechanism of a winch is effortless but powerful. It is only necessary to attach the cable or rope to the piece you pretend to lift, pull, or tow to make it work. Then, when you turn on the motor, the cables start winding through the spool to attract the object toward the vehicle.
What are winches used for?
Winches you can use for a variety of situations. What they all have in common is that they consist of pulling or lifting amounts of weight that a human being can´t do on its own. This strength you can leverage to adjust the tension of cables or ropes in certain circumstances. Also, as winches are a fundamental mechanism, they are used to complete tasks in the most creative ways. These are some of them.
- Take vehicles out of a stuck: this is one of the most popular functions for the winches. It is common for people who travel on off-road adventures or participate in rallies, use winches to cope with unstable terrains. They carry the winch along with the car and use it any time the vehicle loses traction or gets stuck.
- Construction: This is an essential mechanism for every construction. At some point, it will always be necessary to lift or pull heavy materials ant the winches are there to make their part. Thousands of years ago, it was the first use of winches.
- Landscaping: some people use winches to move around big stones or other materials to create the most amazing landscapes.
- Marine: marine winches are among the most widely used. They include those used by boats and ships of any size and control ropes, chains, and wires. One of the most important is the mooring winch, which allows them to get to berth safely. Also, there are sailing winches for different purposes. In the last years, watersports also started to modify some models to impulse some parts of the competitions.
Categories of Winches
Every type of winch machine belongs to a specific group according to the kind of mechanism it uses to work as follows:
Type of Control
Automatic: they automatically adjust the tension of the cable or breaks according to a previously set measure. One example is the mooring winch. It is used in boats and ships to tie the boat firmly to the port´s berth. They change the level of tension while the boat or ship is being loaded.
Manual: these include several types of hand winches because they always need an operator to control it. This person is in control of the cables, the position, and the breaks.
Steam: It is also known as steam-donkey. This type of winch gets power from steam. It was popular in the past. It required an operator who was in charge of it.
Hydraulic: these winches work with the power of a pressured fluid and had extensive use in the marine industry. They have significant pulling power and popularly used for industrial or commercial purposes.
Electric: This winch is powered by an electric motor that impulses a drum that spools a wire or rope. There are several types of electric winches, and they can handle different sizes of loads. And, they are the most common model for vehicles due to their versatility and lightweight. They can get energy from the car´s battery.
Mechanical: a mechanical winch has a cable or rope caught and released by using clamps. Also, some models obtain their force from a chainsaw motor. In any case, they are hand operated and can be portable too.
Air: compressed air is what drives the force for these winches. They are very robust and regularly used in lifting materials.
Gas: some new versions of winches gets power from gas. Many of them are portable versions.
Portable: These winches are usually small versions, and that is what makes them portable. Despite their smaller size, they still keep a considerable strength to pull and lift the weight. They come in electrical, hydraulic, and even gas-powered versions.
Non-portable: these winches must always remain on its site due mostly to their size. But that is not the only reason. For instance, some winches used in the marine industry are fixed equipment that their decks. So, it wouldn´t be practical to move them around.
These types of winches have classification according to the kind of application of brake they use and can be: Band, Disc, Mechanical screw, Sprig applied
All these categories of winches can also get combined to create hybrid winches. Every industry or person may create one according to their needs. Most of the winches combine several features of different categories.
In the last years, some sports have been adapting winches to their styles by adding or removing certain pieces. There are types of winches that are already developed and are widely used for specific purposes, as set below.
Types of Winches
These are primarily used by ships and boats to get secured to berth. There are several types of mooring winches according to the type of tension they use or the type of force that drives them. Different types of effects can drive them. It is a perfect example of hybrid winches.
This is the most conventional winch and perhaps the most familiar type for many people. They consist of a rope or cable that is pulled by the motor or engine of the vehicle, usually a 4×4 Jeep or SUV. The motor, engine, and/or battery impulses the drum, which allows that the cable wraps around the drum. Then, it pulls the object. They can be electric or hydraulic and get energy from different sources such as the battery or the engine. Other truck winches can be manually operated but wouldn´t be a strong as the others.
This is the smallest winch of a sailing boat. The main difference between this type of winch consists of the lack of crack handle. Also, it has the manual operation to control the tension of ropes. It needs to rotate in one direction and then ratchet-lock in the opposite way. This rotation starts by pulling the rope, and it obtains more rope from the contrary loaded end.
These are placed over heavy vehicles to impulse the launch of gliders. It has become an alternative to other more complicated methods.
This is popular for watersports or snow sports. It consists of a rope, handle, engine, spool, frame, and transmission. The person just moves away by swimming or skiing, and the rope gets elevation.
The mechanism of this winch includes a vertical axle that is in charge of applying the force to move the cable or rope. It helps sailors in sailing ships to increase their power when moving cables or ropes.
After checking this list, you must be clear that winches are flexible by nature and get easily adapted to almost every situation that may appear in the future. In other words, you can expect to see more types of winches soon. One example is sports disciplines because, as they evolve, they also require new methods. One example is the snowboard, which is including winches as part of their practices to pull and transport people.
In short, although winches are pretty rustic and straightforward devices, modern winches have evolved to be able to pull, lift, lower, and impulse all kinds of loads. When you get the answer to What is a winch? And What are the type of winches? You are surely finding the solution to the kind of winch you need. Also, you may discover that you may effortlessly perform some previously banned tasks.
Human force is limited to just some lightweight, and winches are a very successful creation. Whether you are a hard worker, an industrial manager, or just someone who enjoys life with off-road adventures, winches are the best alternative to handle heavy-duty tasks.