Traction assist winches provide an important means of assistance in the operation of forest machinery on slopes. They increase the limits of traction between tyres and the ground.
Possibilities for improvement in power transmission between tyres and ground arise where there is little soil stability and the power is near its limit. Cables and winch systems offer alternatives. It can be assumed that on gradients which correspond closely with the limit of traction there will already be a great deal of slippage, which can lead to considerable damage to the ground. The chief task of a traction assist winch begins when the slippage starts to increase severely close to the limit of traction. Furthermore, it makes it possible to overcome varying localities with poor traction (e.g. wet areas) or short stretches of steep gradient.
Traction assist winches should not only pull a given vehicle, but also decelerate it. The winches must be capable of being set up along with the traction and braking operation (synchronous operation). The winches must normally be capable of manual spooling in and out.
The most important type of traction winches are systems in which the winch is integrated within the frame of a forwarder. These systems have the advantage that the cable works as a permanent cable, so that there is slightly less need to pay attention to the cable guidance.
Interchangeable compact systems offer a slightly more flexible variation. These contain the complete traction assist winch, but can be removed from the machine and used in other places. Such a system is operated as a rule from the drive of the machine on which it is installed.
Lately, traction assist winches have been offered which are set up independently from the vehicle and can work with their own autonomous energy supply. These systems have the advantage that the winch does not increase the weight of the vehicle.

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