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Get Maximum Safe Service From Synthetic Winch Line

B/A Products Synthetic Rope with Self-Locking Hook, 3/8" Dia. x 50'LB/A Products Synthetic Rope with Self-Locking Hook, 7/16" Dia. x 50'LB/A Products Synthetic Rope with Self-Locking Hook, 1/2" Dia. x 50'L

Advantages of Synthetic Winch Line

Synthetic winch lines are becoming increasingly popular as a replacement to steel rope because they offer many advantages. Some of the advantages over traditional steel rope include:

  • Lightweight: Easier to carry and maneuver
  • No memory: No flat spots or kinks
  • Easier to handle: The smooth surface has no burrs to cut your hands
  • Better in water: Synthetic rope floats
  • Flexible: Even bird-nesting of the winch won’t damage synthetic rope

For all these advantages, synthetic rope requires special care that’s different from steel winch lines. Be careful where the winch line could be pulled over edges or rough surfaces under tension. This could cut or damage fibers resulting in rope failure. Protect the line by routing it away from any edges, use a v-chain or use a wear pad to protect the line from damage.

If installing synthetic rope on a winch that had previously use a steel winch line, inspect all surfaces the steel line touched for burrs or sharp edges. This includes the winch drum, roller fairlead, tensioner, snatch blocks, side-pullers or even sheave wheel guides. If a burr or edge is found it must be removed with a grinder or steel brush. Once cleaned, attach the synthetic winch line according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

When using synthetic rope, there are a few differences to remember:

  • Synthetic winch lines require a minimum of seven wraps around the winch drum to maintain its grip on the winch drum
  • Avoid sparks or temperatures above 158°F that can burn or melt the line
  • Knots in the line will reduce its pulling capacity
  • Like steel cables, avoid shock loading the line

Inspecting Synthetic Winch Line

Just like steel cables, synthetic winch lines should be inspected prior to each use. When using synthetic winch line, be on the lookout for signs of damage or wear:

Regular Wear

Regular Wear: This is typical and has a slight fuzzy look or color fading caused by abrasion.
The rope can still be used: Watch closely for further, more serious, signs of wear.

Compression Damage

Compression Damage: This shows as a more visible sheen and stiffness than rest of the rope. This is often caused by setting the fiber around a winch drum or hook.
Can be corrected: Bend rope back and forth to remove compression.

Pulled Strand

Pulled Strand: A strand protruding from rest of rope.
Can be corrected: Work the strand back in the rope by pulling back and forth.

Chemical Degradation

Chemical Degradation: This shows as fused or bonded fibers, discoloration or brittleness.
Replace this rope immediately.

Heat Degradation

Heat Degradation: Fused or melted fibers that are very stiff and can’t be loosened by bending.
Replace this rope immediately.

Inconsistent Diameter

Inconsistent Diameter: Tight flat areas that look like strand or strands have been pulled tight. These are typically caused by a broken or pulled internal strand or shock loading.
Replace this rope immediately.

Volume Reduction/Cut Strands

Volume Reduction/Cut Strands: Reduced size of strands and/or rope diameter. These are broken strands caused by cuts, abrasion, sharp surfaces or fatigue. When any strand is completely or partially cut, the entire line is compromised.
Replace this rope immediately.

If you have damaged or worn synthetic winch rope, replace it immediately. AW Direct carries a complete line of synthetic winch rope. For more information, contact AW Direct’s Technical Service Specialists Monday through Friday at 1-800-243-3194.

Disclaimer: Before using any equipment described, be sure to read, understand and follow all manufacturer’s instructions and guidelines.

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