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What Is Synthetic Winch Line?

Lori Kilchermann
Lori Kilchermann

Synthetic winch line is used on all types of winches in place of steel wire cable. Made of several strands of synthetic materials, such as Dyneema® SK-75 fiber, the synthetic winch line offers many safety advantages as compared to the traditional steel wire cable typically used on winches. Some of the advantages offered by the synthetic winch line are 30 to 45 percent increases in strength, reduced weight as compared to steel cable, and extreme flexibility. The tendency of synthetic cable to avoid storing energy makes the product much safer in the event of a broken winch cable.

Winches have been used on job sites, construction sites and off-road vehicles for decades with great success. The downside to this usage, however, are the number of injuries that are directly related or caused by the steel wire cable that is commonly found on every type of winching apparatus in use around the world. The injuries caused by a wire winch cable can range from deep cuts and punctures from broken cable strands to death resulting from a cable snapping. The synthetic winch line was designed to reduce or completely eliminate these types of injuries and make the operation of winches safer.

Woman holding a book
Woman holding a book

One of the most dangerous aspects of a steel wire cable as compared to synthetic winch line is that it stores energy when tightened. This energy is released in a violent snap back or whipping action in the event of a broken cable. It is not uncommon for a winch cable to break, and the broken end of the cable may snap back and sever the winch operator's legs and arms or even kill the operator. These injuries are also applicable to any bystanders in the immediate vicinity of the winching operation. The main cause of the extreme amount of injuries caused by the cable snapping is the lack of warning prior to it breaking.

The synthetic winch line does not store energy like this, and a broken synthetic line often results in the line falling limp to the ground rather than snapping back. Another benefit when using the synthetic winch line in an off-road or rescue application is that the synthetic line floats in water. The floating tendency of the synthetic winch line makes it superior in water rescues and the low-stretch qualities of the line also aid in pulling and towing situations where the winch line is pushed close to its limits. Superior abrasion resistance and high fatigue resistance also help to make the synthetic winch line a very safe and reliable component when installed on any type of winch.

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