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What is an Air Winch?

10/25/2013 9:31:46 AM | by Anonymous


An air winch also known as a power winch is powered by compressed air instead of electricity. Air pressure is fed from an air compressor to the motor drive of the air winch using an air line. Once it is activated, the drive motor or drive mechanism of the air winch will begin to power the cable drum and effectively raising or lowering the attached load. The common air powered winch helps create a lifting force through a series of gear reductions in the transmission case of the winch. This permits the air to power the drive mechanism at a high speed while the final drive gear ratio in turn creates a powerful albeit, slow-moving lifting and lowers the cable speed.

A winch is typically a mechanical device used to pull in or let out or adjusts the tension of a rope or wire. It consists of a spool and attached hand crank. In larger forms, winches stand at the heart of machines as diverse as elevators, steam shovels and tow trucks. The spool can also be known as the winch drum. Most elaborate designs have gear assemblies and are powered by pneumatic, hydraulic and electrical drivers. Some also include a solenoid brake or ratchet and pawl device that prevents it from unwinding unless the pawl is retracted.

It is commonly found in manufacturing facilities, the air winch is a relatively useful component in the assembly of heavy type manufacturing plants. They are used to raise and move large parts and assemblies from their work stations to other work stations as the assembly process warrants. An air winch also provides the required amount of lifting power without the use of excess electricity. The air power used in the process of the winch is typically compressed and provided by an air compressor system that is already in use for other tasks. However, one drawback of the use of an air powered winch over a similarly sized electric winch is the added noise that the air powered device produces through out the work place when it is activated.

The air powered version produces a very high pitched, whistle like noise whenever air passes through the drive mechanism of the winch motor unlike an electric winch. This produces condensation, plentiful in most compressed air systems that can cause water to drip onto objects beneath the winch. The control of this dripping condition can be aided by placing large water filters and traps in the air line leading to the air winch. Additionally, oil foggers are also required in the airline to prevent corrosion and rust from forming on the inside of the winch drive motor.

Typically, air winches can be used for smaller lifting tasks as well as heavier duties. The air winches are available in several sizes ranging from small to large. The largest overhead trolley winch systems to the small workstation units are used by a single employee to move smaller components along an assembly line. It is however not as convenient as the electric winch that most people use in their smaller home shop applications. The typical air winch is easily utilized by the larger manufacturing infrastructure. The air winch can cost no more use than a manual winch in many applications by taking advantage of the compressed air that is already in use through out the plant.

The application of air winch is that the rope is usually stored on the winch. However, a similar machine that does not store the rope is typically known as a capstan. When trimming a line on a sailboat, the member turns the winch handle with one hand and the other is used to maintain the tension on the turns. These are known as self tailing air winches.


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