While it is true that competitors have tried to mimic the technology used on the CSW hydraulic rigs, they haven’t quite matched its success. Some have even gone as far as making a knock off version of this winch however, the most important details have been sorely overlooked. While other competitors sell their winches at a lower price, you can be sure that corners have been cut to make it happen. What makes the Cloud Street Winch so remarkable are the details that can’t be seen at first glance. No expense has been spared in the construction of this winch and only the highest quality components are used in the construction of this winch. This is inline with the design philosophy at Cloud Street Design.
The first thing people usually notice about our winch is the lack of a gigantic hydraulic reservoir. While we are familiar with the operation of many other winching systems, we have found a way to do it without the need for excessive amounts of fluid and weight. At first, many did not believe it was possible to operate a hydrualic payout winch without such a tank, but after 8 years of proven operation, we have proven differently. At the heart of the Cloud Street Winch lies a sprag type clutch which effectively disengages the hydraulic motor during rewind. This allows the hydraulic fluid in the system to deaerate, cool, and return to equilibrium during the rewind phase. This is one of the reasons we were able to achieve such a large reduction in the volume of oil needed in our winch.
The hydraulic components chosen for the Cloud Street Winch are also top quality. Only special ordered, Charr-lynn hydraulic motors are used. These motors are second to none. We special order every motor from the Charr-lynn factory with the tightest tolerances available. Other competitors use lesser quality as well as generic versions of the same motors because they are significantly cheaper. What is not told however is that the tolerances in these motors is significantly looser, which leads to quite a bit more heat build up in the hydraulic fluid due to internal leakage. Again, for the technically inclined, we use hydraulic fluid as the medium for transmitting and dissipating the energy being used to apply tension to the towline. Here is the break down of what happens: 1.) We put WORK or energy into the system by pressurizing the fluid via the turning of the spool with a given towline force 2.) We then take that pressurized fluid and reduce the pressure back to atmospheric conditions through means of a pressure reducing valve 3.) Instead of putting that energy to useful WORK, such as turning something else or moving something, all of the energy is relieved and effectively wasted, consequently all the wasted energy then turns directly into HEAT. This is where the majority of the heat in these hydraulic tow rigs is generated believe it or not. The rest of the heat being generated is within the hydraulic motor and peripherals. Using a loosely built cheap hydraulic motor allows for internal leakage=even more heat build up since you are pressurizing and depressurizing fluid multiple times which significantly increases heat build up within the fluid even before reaching the relief valve! The use of custom built hydraulic motors is yet another reason why we are able to use less hydraulic fluid in our system and still maintain reliability for the long run. Not cheap but well worth the benefits we have realized by choosing this path.
As for cooling the oil on our Superwinch, we incorporate a completely sealed, fan cooled, hydraulic radiator with a thermoswitch to automatically control the fan. On the CSW Boost, we incorporate a fin tube radiator. Both cooling methods work very well for their intended use with the Superwinch being overbuilt for heavy commercial use.
The rewind drive components also contribute to the reliability of the CSW. One significant factor of the smooth payout behavior of the CSW can be attributed to the fast and very tight rewind of the towline as well as the towline itself. We use a custom woven 1250 lb test Spectra on our winches where our competitors use 1000lb test. Not only does the 1250lb line last significantly longer, from experience we have found that it stacks better during rewind and feels much smoother upon payout. The high rewind tension also improves the payout behavior and can be attributed to the superb rewind system incorporated in the CSW.
Only industrial grade Honda motors are installed on the CSW. We have monkeyed with the all types of engines and determined that they are just not up to par with our principles. The Honda is hands down the best motor available and is THE most reliable engine available. More expensive? Yes…but reliable starts are priceless when the towline is dropping after the pilot has released and no one wants to deal with a motor that constantly floods, sputters, and hesitates at this moment let alone not be able to start for some random reason and end up with a mile of towline in the lake or desert.
It might also be noted that the CSW is built to hold up and provide worry free operation in a marine environment. All stainless steel fasteners prevent unsightly rusty bolts. The powder coating of the frame and related components go through a sand blasting, zinc base coating and a final coating. The zinc base coating is identical to the treatment for high end boat trailers to prevent rust from appearing underneath the powder coat after a year or two. Furthermore, the CSW frame allows ease of adaptation to a boat by providing a slightly wider platform for a larger distribution of stress to the flooring. Convenient mounting flanges are located at either end of the winch for easy hole placement where the customer might need. One of the major problems with mounting a winch in a boat can be that the flooring underneath is not that strong. The smaller the base of the winch, the harder it will be to reinforce and keep from pulling out of the fiberglass or worse yet, pull the flooring up out of the boat. Furthermore, on both the Superwinch and the Boost, the trailer hitch adapter is easily removed to allow easy placement in tight areas of boats. We have dimensioned footprint drawings for all of our winches if our customers have a need for fitting in tight spaces as well.
All these small details add up to a large package that is really unmatched.