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A winch is a mechanical equipment to move or even lift heavy and bulky items. Winches can be used in many different applications, such as loading or unloading trucks, lifting people with mobility issues, towing vehicles or boats, removing debris or even backstage in the movie industry.
Winches are often called hoists.To be accurate, a hoist is the device that can lift a load, and a winch is the device that can pull a load, or in some cases vehicles such as cars, boats and trailers. In this article, we are not going to emphasize the terminology, but we are going to use the both names: hoist and winch as commonly used in the Australian market today.
The right type of winch you need will vary according to the application. There are many different types of whinces, but the main ones are manual and electrical winches. Each type works best in different situations.
Usually manual winches (often called hand which) can lift between 200kg and 5000kg. They are operated by manually turning the ratcheting lever to lift a load. They can also be used to pull, such as stuck vehicles, boats, etc.
The principle of a manual winch could not be simpler, wind the cable on the drum to lift the load and unwind it to lower the item. Hand winches are easy to operate and require very low maintenance. One advantage of a manual winch is the fact it is portable and easy to be moved around. After all, it does not need a motor, since the only power it needs to be operated is manual power.
Manual winches are often used in 4WD, as a safety device (in case the car gets stuck in the mud), or in trailers to pull boats. However, manual winches are also very capable of lifting loads. Winches designed for lifting must come with a braking system for safety, as usually non-brake drums are used for pulling only, not lifting. Imagine lifting a load with a winch without a braking system. If a problem occurs, the lever will rapidly spin causing the load to freefall onto the ground. It is a severe safety hazard and also a risk of damage to the load and the location it is.
An electric winch (or hoist) has an eletrical motor and can be used to move loads, lift or even pull. In commercial application, it can be mounted to the ceiling of a warehouse, or even to cars or 4WDs to assist the vehicle if it gets stuck in the sand or mud. It can also be used to pull boats onto trailers. So this device can be used anywhere a heavy load needs to be moved around.
The capacity varies according to the mode of the winch. Usually, electrical hoists are used to lift heavier loads compared to the manual version. Entry level winches to small warehouses can be rated between 125Kg to 1,000Kg.
However, more than the weight capacity itself, one of the main advantages of an electrical winch is the easy and effortless operation. Even though it is possible to lift or pull 1,000kg on a manual winch, it is a hard, long and tiring job. With an electrical winch, it can be done by pushing a button.
What type of rope is the best for your application? Well, this is a decision that usually you do not get to make. Most of the time, if not all, when you purchase a winch or hoist, regardless if it is manual or electrical, the cable will be included.
Winches are simple devices, but they still need maintenance. You should follow the manufacturer’s guidelines to get the longest life out of the winch.
Both products are very similar. The main difference between them is the braking system. Winches are normally manufactured with dynamic brakes. This system uses the gearbox of the winch to create resistance. This system can be unstable for lifting. So if you expect to suspend loads, it is recommended that you use a proper hoist.
A proper hoist is designed with a mechanical braking system. It is a physical brake that locks the load, regardless if it is suspended or not. Hoists are, by far, the safest alternative for application in which loads have to be lifted and lowered.
Tecnotools is an Australian supplier of many different specialized tools and equipment, such as tool cart trolley, storage bin racks, and many more. We keep stock in all major capital cities in Australia and offer click & collect on selected items.
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