Sea Discovery

SOSI’s New Expanded ECO WINCH Line offers New Features and Improved Performance

Image: SOSI Original ECO winches were designed for profiling relatively small instrument packages aboard small vessels for shallow water (<600 m) estuarine and coastal oceanography (ECO and large lake and reservoir monitoring. A relatively small drum can hold a lot of small diameter cable (2.5 to 5 mm), making small economical winches feasible. However, the working life of small cable is vulnerable to potentially severe wear from uneven spooling, so a good levelwind is essential. Traditional diamond screws need to be precisely designed (pitch and length) for the intended cable diameter and drum width. Even then, dynamic operating conditions can cause repeated small spooling errors that accumulate beyond the mechanical ability of the levelwind to spool properly, and force operator intervention to avoid cable damage. Diamond screws also prevent changing to a different cable diameter without also changing the diamond screw and/or the sprockets driving the screw. Nonetheless, sales of diamond screw ECO winches grew because they are mechanically simple, relatively inexpensive, and until now, a cost-effective alternative was unavailable.

Many ECO winch inquiries revealed capacity or performance requirements that were outside the design capability of the original 1 & 2 HP models. Small boat operators often require modest pulling power with shorter lengths of larger diameter cables, and are faced with using unnecessarily large winches, buying expensive custom winches, or postponing their work. SOSI has responded with a more modular design approach centered on new modular electronics technology, and modular mechanical design elements that are more readily scalable and configurable without additional engineering.

The electrical system design is the same for every ECO winch up to 10 HP (.75kW – 7.5 kW) and includes regenerative load braking, computer controlled, high-precision acme screw levelwind, non-contacting drum rotation and levelwind position sensors, and accurate cable payout and line speed display. Available options include oceanographic quality slip rings, a wireless remote control and a dual speed range option that adds application versatility. To correct dynamically induced spooling errors, “jog” buttons give operators the ability to manually adjust the levelwind position without stopping the winch. Levelwind control parameters are user programmable. When changing to a different cable diameter, users simply ‘dial in” the new cable diameter and re-zero the drum and levelwind position.

The new ECO Winch family consists of 1 and 2 HP ECO-ELW winches (ELW signifies electronic levelwind to distinguish from earlier models), a 3 HP ECO Magnum, and a 7.5 HP ECO OceanPro. The ECO Magnum and OceanPro winches can be configured with different drum sizes and levelwind sheaves, guide shoes or rollers to suit a wide range of rope, cable or umbilicals, and the OceanPro can also be configured with a 3, 5, or 7.5 HP motor. An optional derrick, turntable, pedestal and ECO Sheave can be combined with the 1 or 2 HP ECO-ELW, to create a simple, manually operated instrument handling system.
New product brochures will be posted to the SOSI web site as they are completed. Please contact SOSI to discuss which of the many possible ECO configurations could be the right one for your application.

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