Simply put, a winch is a device to wind a rope or cable to pull an object. Unless you’re the Hulk (and let’s face it, you’re probably not) a winch is essential for dealing with heavy payloads like vehicles, boats and construction materials.
Depending on what industry you work in will depend on which winch you opt for. Whether you need winch hire for a one-off personal use or have a unique job coming up within your construction company, a winch is an incredibly valuable asset. Efficient and safe, there are various options available. But before deciding on what type of winch you might need, it’s a good idea to think about your needs and answer some initial questions:
● What weight are you looking to pull or lift?
● What power sources are available at the location?
● What’s the condition of the location you’re working in?
● What is the size of the items you’re lifting?
The answers to these initial questions will help determine which winch is suitable, as different models are ideal for various jobs. Thinking about how much weight will be involved will also help identify the one for you, along with considering mobility and surface level.
Winch drums and sizes are rated by the maximum load. There is a simple formula to be able to work this out - calculate the gross weight of the heaviest object you plan on pulling, and then multiply it by 1.5 and this will be the one you need.
As well as the payload to think about, you need to think about power sources. Winch drums can be powered manually of course, but some require more complicated systems. For example, air, electricity and hydraulic power are commonly used in winch operation.
As you’ve probably realised, there are numerous variables and options when it comes to winch hire. So if you’re still trying to work out which winching service to hire, let’s explore some of the options available, the types of industries they’re used in and what power sources they may need to operate.
Also known as a hand winch, a manual winch consists of a rope or cable wound around a drum and is known to be the simplest form of winch because the only source of energy is the arm strength of a human.
There are two types of manual winches: crank and lever. A crank winch can pull weights between 500kg and 1t, whereas a lever winch can reach heavier payloads of about 2t. The winding capacity varies on each too: crank can rotate on ten metres and a lever allows only one metre to be wound.
Even those who don’t work in professions that require winches may own or hire a manual winch - they are able to hitch them to their cars to help pull others to safety during particularly bad and icy weather or to aid them when felling trees on their farm or garden. The former will usually be done by a manual crank winch, whereas the latter will usually be a lever winch that completes the job. A crank winch is also particularly useful for when pulling a boat onto a vehicle.
A manual winch will usually be found within the construction industry but is considered more ideal for smaller loads. However, manual winches owned or hired by individuals are useful anywhere due to reduced property damage and avoidance of hurting their backs or legs if they have to carry a heavy item themselves.
Air, hydraulic or electric winch
Whether using an air, hydraulic or electric winch, consider what industry you’re using it for and how much weight you need to lift. These three types are industrial winches commonly used in the construction, marine, automotive, renewables and engineering industries and can be used to tow and pull heavier items such as automobiles, boats and all manner of heavy equipment. Let’s explore the three main winches used within these industries: the air winch, hydraulic winch and electric winch.
Air winches are more commonly used in the construction and maritime industries because of their durability and safety. They have an incredibly strong pulling power, therefore, are capable of pulling boats, anchors and tonnes of metal. However, they do require more space as they are powered by an air receiver and compressor. They are also quite noisy when in use, so you may need ear defenders to add to your protective clothing.
Hydraulic winches are connected to a hydraulic circuit that powers the drum. The energy comes from a fluid power that utilises a hydraulic system and a motor pump that then operates the winch. However, to operate, the hydraulic system relies on 20-30% electricity to be able to be powered, as well as relying on a sufficient and continuous pressure and flow.
These winches are considered very heavy and expensive to use and can often be found used within the marine industry. As incredibly robust and powerful equipment, a hydraulic winch is capable of pulling immensely heavy loads. As well as this, a hydraulic winch is extremely durable and is able to last a very long time if properly maintained.
Electric winches are more convenient and are accessible for a number of jobs and industries. They are adaptable machines also - with a smooth start and stop mechanism and speeds that can be adjusted to fit all needs. However, if electricity poses a risk to the job at hand, this winch may not be suitable.
Hiring tips - which wire winch rope to opt for?
Wire winch rope often comes with the winch hire of course, but it’s a good idea to know what you’re dealing with as there are two types: synthetic and steel. Before hiring, get clued up on both. This can help you understand and ascertain which winch would be best for you. Plus, there will be no nasty surprises regarding maintenance also.
Steel cables, or carbon steel cables, are known to be resistant to friction and heat when being pulled. For a while, steel cables were the industry standard as it’s also incredibly durable and less likely to cause accidents overall. They can be interlocked and commonly thought to provide a better performance, particularly if working on tricky terrains such as mud, sand and rock. On the downside, steel cables can be sensitive to pinching and kinking as well as rust too. Always make sure to wear gloves when using steel cables too as it can damage your hands.
As an alternative to steel cables, synthetic cables are generally thought to be more cost-effective than the former. As well as this, they are also lighter to use and their manufacturing mimics synthetic rope used in the maritime industry (it also has the advantage of being able to float). It doesn’t store as much energy when taut, meaning it won’t be prone to dramatic snapping if it breaks. However, synthetic cables are susceptible to damage under heat, chemicals and friction and can wear easily against rocky or sandy terrains, water and oil.
There seems to be a divide on which ones are thought to be best for a winching job. As a general rule though, if you’re only looking to winch smaller and lighter objects, synthetic cables might the ones for you.
You may have to think about insurance and registering if you buy a winch, so let a winch hire service take on that pressure instead as they’ll already have insurance and legal requirements in place.
Atlas Winch & Hoist Services -
Whether you’re looking to hire professional winch equipment for your project or seeking advice regarding winching pulling and lifting equipment hire, Atlas Winch & Hoist Services cater to all of the UK. With branches in Essex and Scotland, we can offer new or second-hand winch and hoist equipment to all. Contact us today for more information.
Visit the Atlas Winch & Hoist Services Ltd website for more information on What type of winch hire do you require?