A winch is a manual or powered device that pulls (or lets out) cable, wrapping it around a spool as the device operates. When used to move heavy loads, they usually have a single spool with rugged, thick cable. Winches are also used in research and science applications to deploy sensors or beacons. Sometimes the line itself is part of a device. A research winch that can be used at sea often has two spools with one made of tires to pull in the line. Unfortunately, the line can become slippery due to being submerged under water, causing the tires to slip or the line to tangle. Maintaining tension on the line can be problematic as most winch systems do not have a control feedback response system.
This innovation aims to resolve these issues by providing a unique guide combined with a two spool system. The guides keep the line from tangling, and the system is designed to maintain constant tension on the line when operating in both directions. Expected applications for this winch include marine or freshwater research, over water rescue, laying of ground lines, and operations in snow.
- This system does not damage the cable, prevents the line from tangling, and provides smooth retraction of the line without slippage
- US patent 8,517,345 available for license
- Potential for collaboration with Navy researchers