Last week we finished up an order for Asolo Repertory Theatre in Florida. Part of that order was a refit of an SMI winch from 1992 that they wanted to use with the Creative Conners control system, so they sent it to us for some updating. The original plan was to add a brake and an encoder, put on the cable plugs to fit with our Stagehands and send it back. By the time we added up the costs, we realized we could simply replace the existing DC motor and gearbox with a brand new SEW Eurodrive gearmotor with integrated encoder and brake for not a whole lot more.
Asolo Rep ended up with a quiter machine. The new motor is AC, which runs quieter than the DC, and the brake on that gearmotor is almost silent. In addition, since Asolo Rep was also buying a second Stagehand and winch, both Stagehands could be AC, so they can be interchanged.
The moral of this story is that there’s still life in those old machines. If you’ve got a winch that isn’t up to spec, don’t throw it out- for about half the price of a new winch you can have a machine that works like it’s brand new! If you want to find out what it takes to update your equipment, let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll put a quote together for you.