How to Choose a Winch

Before you choose a winch, it is important to consider several key questions.

What type of operation will your winch be used for?

Current operations are the vertical elevation of a load or its traction on a horizontal plane. They are called lifting and hauling operations, respectively.  The risks are greater for lifting should the winch fail, therefore winches are dimensioned according to specific standards and regulations.

There are considerations relating to the operating times and frequencies, which can influence the selection of a winch. A winch that operates for two minutes per day, once a week, will be dimensioned differently than a winch that has to operate for ten hours per day, every day of the week.

What energy is available to operate your winch?

This energy can be electric, hydraulic, pneumatic or manual. Engines and control components using these different energies are all usable for hauling or lifting winches. The choice will often be guided by cost and necessary maintenance as well as power and size. There are no general rules in this area. You may also want to consider what other equipment is present nearby to optimise the overall operation.

What tasks does the winch need to perform?

To establish this, you should check the force required to move the load (hauling) or the weight of the load to be lifted (lifting), its speed and its travel distance. The greater any of these are, the greater the power needed to carry out the task and the greater size of the mechanics (engine and transmission).

This is the same for winches as for rope. If the displacement is large then more layers of rope will have to be wound on the drum, thereby increasing the torque required.

In what environment will your winch be used?

It is important to know if the operation of the winch takes place outside or inside. It will also be necessary to determine the lowest and highest possible temperatures. It may also be appropriate to consider the operating altitude or the type of atmosphere, for example, saline and / or explosive (ATEX zone). All of these environmental parameters have consequences in the choice of components and materials used in the winch.

The final choice of a winch may be very different from the initial specifications because not all theoretical solutions are easily available on the market and prices can vary greatly. The best approach is to contact a universal designer-builder (manufacturer of winches in all industrial sectors) who will be best-placed to guide you to a suitable choice for you in terms of safety, performance and cost.

Starter technologies has 48 years of experience in this field and can be your preferred contact for winch choice.

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