Although Ingersoll-Rand makes gear motors for some of its winches, the power output of these – topping out at a few kW – is a fraction of that of these models, which extend up to 50kW, according to project engineer Ajan De Winter.

Three standard models are currently on offer: the 3kW LG2, 12kW LG4 and 21kW LG6.

The gear motor works by the same principle as a vane motor: compressed air forces a wheel to turn. This wheel spins at about 5,000 revs/min, but at low torque. To convert its motion into a more useful driving force, it meshes with a gear 2.5 times bigger that turns the chain pocket wheel.

Emcé claims that its gear motor design has lower internal back pressure than piston motors, which increases its power and improves load control in lowering, when the machine works backwards. It says that its motor has fewer parts than a piston design, and requires maintenance half as frequently as piston motors.

“Since the development of the piston motors more than 30 years ago, no appreciable developments have occurred in the field of air-operated motors with capacities above 10 kW as all applications are principally found in a niche market,” the company said. “The Emcé gear motor is therefore a revolutionary design.”

Emcé began developing the model in 2003 in collaboration with an unnamed UK company, which has also made the winches until now.

The company is expecting to produce 100-200 of the motors per year. It makes between 3-4,000 winches per year.