What is a Winch? Different Types of Winches in Details

Hand winch vs. Electric winch- What Are The Differences?

A winch is a mechanical instrument which winds up or winds out a rope. The winch contains a rotating part that’s used in hauling or lifting heavy materials.

The rotating element is turned around by ropes or cables. It is a crank on a pulley system.

Usually, people use winch used for adjusting the tension of a rope or a wire or a cable. People over the world also use wrenches in different types of applications.

Ordinarily, it consists of an attached hand crank and a spool.

Features of Winches

The features of winches differ depending on its applications. In simple forms, it includes a spool or winch drum and hand crank.

For large applications winches work as diverse. They stand at the core of devices as diverse such as tow trucks, elevators, steam shovels.

Many winches have gears. They gain power from hydraulic, electric or internal combustion drives. To prevent the winch from unwinding, the makers include a solenoid brake or ratchet to the winch.

Applications of Winches

You can use a winch in a variety of applications. They can pull trucks or lifts materials into place. Also, they keep the rivers and lakes clean by supporting the cutter head winches for dredges.

They help to supply the gas we need to fuel our car or heat our houses. The winches can also move oil and gas equipment both offshore and onshore.

Besides you can use winches as the elements of backstage mechanics. In theatrical productions, they are used to move scenery. They can move large set pieces. So, people usually keep them on the stage floor.

A rope is stored on the winch usually. The crew members while trimming on a boat turn the winch handle. At the same time, they also pull on the loose tail end to avoid tension on the corners.

In order to maintain pressure, some winches have a stripper. Accordingly, they are known as “self-tailing” winches.

At present, winches have been built for snow sports and water sports. Recently winch makers are fabricating winches for sports such as wake-skating, snowboarding.

These new types of winches can pull riders swiftly over water or snow. At the same time, they can experience a ride usually provided by a boat or snowmobile.

Besides winches are also designed for construction work, drilling, fishing, and marine works. You can also use a winch for electric and utility purpose. Thus the applications of winches are broad in nature.

Types of Winches

There are different kinds of winches. They are distinct from each other depending on their use. The types of winches currently available are:

  • Lever winch
  • Snubbing Winch
  • Wakeskate winch
  • Glider Winch
  • Air Winch
  • Capstan winch
  • Mooring winch

What do all these mean? How do you know the one that’s right for you? Here is a quick guide:

1. Lever Winch

Lever winches are particular kinds of winches that do not use spools. Instead of a spool, they have Self-gripping jaws.

Therefore, they use Self-gripping jaws for moving cable or rope through the winch. One can move several tons of weight only by moving a handle back and forth by using a lever winch.

2. Snubbing Winch

Snubbing winch is a winch of a vertical spool. It has a ratchet mechanism like a conventional winch. But it has no crank handle or another type of drive as a standard winch.

The line can be reeled and tightened by pulling tail line. Once the pull stops, the winch takes the load with little tension. Snubbing Winch also allows a controlled release of pressure.

To control stress, it uses an operator around the ratcheted spool. Also, it controls pressure using the friction of the line.

You may use this winch on dinghies and small sailing boats. They can control sheets and other forms of lines.

Moreover, you can employ them to the high applications. People use them to relieve tension on the winch mechanisms.

3. Wake-skate Winch

Wakeskate winch using is growing widely among the watersports enthusiasts. It is a favorite pastime for them. It forms of a spool, engine, frame, handles, rope and other types of simple transmissions.

By this, a person swims or walks away from the winch. The winch can pull the rider usually between 24 to 40 kilometer per hour.

You may tie a wakeskate winch may to a tree as well as set in the ground by using skates. You can also mount them on the back of the transport.

4. Glider Winch

For launching a glider or plane, we use a particular type of winch. It is the glider winch. Usually, we fit them to a heavy vehicle or a trailer. This method is a cheaper alternative to aerotowing.

European gliding clubs widely use this method. In a glider winch, the engine is usually of petrol, diesel or LPG. You will also find winches having electric or hydraulic engines.

This winch can pull in a 1000 to 1600-meter cable attached to the glider. After a steep and short climb, you can release the cable at the height of 400 to 700 meters.

5. Air Winch

Air winch is also known as air tugger or air hoist. This winch is the air-powered version of a winch. It can lift the materials. You can also utilize them for the suspension of materials.

They are more durable, versatile and safer than hydraulic, diesel and electric winches. That’s why various companies often prefer to use air winches.

6. Capstan Winch

Capstan winch is a vertical-axle winch. It is a rotating device made for use on sailing ships. Sailors use this winch in sailing ships to apply force to the cables and ropes. The principal of the capstan winch is similar to the windlass.

7. Mooring Winch

Mooring winch is a mechanical device. It is used to secure a ship to the berth. It is a device with some barrels that pulls the cables or wires. To berth, the ship ashore mooring winch plays a significant role.

Final Thoughts on Winches

Not to mention a winch is a vital tool in our day to day life. In reality, it has a broad range of applications all over the world. They keep the environment clean on refuse trucks.

Moreover, they help to lift up materials into places.

Thus they contribute to building our cities and roads. Besides, winches keep the ponds, lakes, rivers clean. They dredge them by supporting cutter head and anchoring winches.

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