BOB BEECH LOOKS INTO THE EVER-INCREASING CHOICE OF WINCHES AVAILABLE IN THE UK AND ADVISES ON THE BEST WAY TO ACQUIRE, INSTALL AND SAFELY USE THE RIGHT TOOL FOR THE JOB.
The ability to both pull a load onto a vehicle and control the unloading process safely has been part of specialist transport almost since time began, and for most operators this requires the use of a winch. They come in all shapes and sizes, generally driven by either electrical or hydraulic power, although gearbox-driven winches were long considered an essential piece of equipment on large heavy haulage tractors. The pulling power available from a multi-speed Garwood, mounted on a World War Two Diamond T heavy tractor, is rarely equalled by modern equipment, even 75 years after they first went into service. As ever, a decent winch in the right hands is an essential piece of equipment, but lethal if used by untrained and reckless individuals.
Most trailer manufacturers report an increase in the number of operators including a winch of some kind in the specification of their trailers. This is generally with step-frames for loading over the rear beaver tail, but there are applications where a winch of some kind is required for a particular application with a low-loader trailer. Also, a winch is almost an essential piece of equipment on a rigid vehicle with a beaver tail or sloping platform body when transporting wheeled plant and agricultural equipment, motor vehicles, caravans, mobile homes and a great deal more.