The Importance of Winch Maintenance
There are many types of winches that are designed for specific tasks, and they all have one thing in common, which is they all require regular maintenance. Whether you are winching up the load on a trailer, or using a series of winches for heavy lifting, the equipment needs to be in good shape, in order to avoid the risk of an accident.
Amy device that has moving parts will require a level of lubrication, and the interior gearing of a winch is no exception to that rule, and one must not forget to lubricate the cables, as these endure tremendous stresses, and without the right lubrication, the strands can become chaffed and damaged. Cable lubricants come in two types, which are penetrating or coating lubricants. The penetrating lubricant works by using a petroleum based solvent which carries the lubricant into the interior workings of the cable, after which the solvent evaporates, leaving the lubricant in place. The coating lubricant only penetrates slightly, before hardening and providing a seal on the exterior surface for better overall protection.
Steel cables are made by winding a number of small strands around a central core, and if the loads are heavy, the entire length of the cable should be inspected often. This can easily be done by having the winch operate slowly, giving you time to closely look at the entire length of the cable. Swivel links and connectors are also in need of regular checks, as are any other accessories you might be using.
Winches are often located in horrendous conditions, with dirt, dust and grime all present in abundance, so regular cleaning is recommended. Many people use abrasive blasting on larger units, as this is an effective way of removing unwanted dirt and grit, but always remember that this will also strip away lubricants, so always check after the cleaning process. Many large winches are powered by diesel engines and these also need to be kept clean and in good working order, with oil and air filters changed regularly, especially in dusty environments. All cabling accessories should also be kept clean and stored in a dry and secure location.
As with any machine, you should always follow the manufacturer’s recommendations, as this will ensure that the equipment will always be in good condition and ready to use. Many companies will rent a winch when need, and this eliminates the need for maintenance as the hire company would ultimately be responsible for all maintenance, and with wet hire, you would also have an experienced operator. There would more than likely be an owner’s manual and this would contain details about required maintenance, as well as the specifications and part numbers, which will be needed when ordering replacement parts. Typically, the operator would be responsible for maintenance, and if you have hired the winch, it will have already been serviced prior to delivery.
Winch maintenance is essential for the safety of all concerned, and as with any machinery that is designed to lift or pull heavy loads, there is an element of stress and strain on many of the parts.