An air winch, also known as an air tugger, is a powerful, air-powered machine used for the pulling and tensioning of materials. In the oil and gas, construction, and maritime industries, air winches are frequently preferred to electric, diesel, and hydraulic winches because of their durability, versatility, and safety.
Winch vs Hoist: What’s The Difference?
The biggest difference between an air winch and hoist is the direction in which the load is being moved. Air winches are designed strictly for horizontal movement, pulling loads that have their mass supported by something else such as a floor, carriage, etc. Because air winches do not have a locking mechanism, they are not recommended for lifting horizontal loads.
Air hoists on the other hand are designed specifically for lifting loads vertically. They typically utilize chains instead of cables, and have locking mechanisms to allow for the securing of a suspended load. Hoists are commonly used on overhead cranes to move loads vertically and then traverse longitudinally to the desired location.
Overhead Crane Applications
Because of their versatility and exceptional load carrying capacity most air powered lifting equipment is used on overhead cranes. Some of these are pillar or wall mounted jib cranes with limited movement, while others are used on large scale gantry cranes that traverse large distances in manufacturing, industrial and shipping applications.
While incredibly useful, these cranes pose a significant risk for workers even with the latest in air hoist technology. The biggest risk to personnel is having loads accidently lowered or dropped on them from above, or having the load strike another object causing falling debris on workers. Recently, high powered crane safety lights have been implemented in a number of different overhead cranes, resulting in significant reductions in accidents.