University National Oceanographic Laboratory System (UNOLS) Changes Winch Operation Safety Standards

LCI’s Redesigned LCI-90 Monitoring & Display System Will Exceed UNOLS Safe Working Load Standards As Defined in UNOLS Safety Standards Appendix A.

The standards committee for UNOLS has determined that to accurately determine line or cable tension for back deck operations, your line at the maximum Factor of Safety will need to be sampled 10 times per second (or 10Hz) for visual charting and up to 20 times per second (or 20 Hz) for long term data logging and alarm evaluation. Their goal is to ensure that peak line tension, which may come in spikes due to high sea states, vessel operations or winch operator activity doesn’t go untracked. Clearly, a line which gets loaded to 150% of its safe working load for .3 of a second could get missed in 1Hz or 2Hz (1x/sec. or 2x/sec.) sampling scenarios.


All UNOLS boats and other vessels which adhere to these safety standards will need to upgrade existing systems or purchase new equipment for monitoring cable tension and winches to these new standards. Many older winches which have never had monitoring installed may be unusable at lower Factors of Safety.

MTNW will release its new LCI-90 in October 2009. We have begun retrofitting selected UNOLS installations with a currently-available 5Hz model, and it is taking orders for the new 10Hz model prior to its release in Fall 2009.

The new LCI-90 will have a faster CPU, Ethernet connectivity, onboard CF disk for removable data logging and modern programmability for many alternative uses.


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Rugged Controls is an ISO 9001 certified manufacturer of rugged programmable controllers, sensors, instrumentation, controls and automation equipment used in industries ranging from oil & gas, industrial, oceanographic to mining to construction. Our brand of multivariable controllers is continually selected in mission-critical applications where rugged durability, viewability, accuracy and data acquisition is required.

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