Extrusion is a vast industry that engulfs multiple processes. A lot of machines are used in this process. As we all know, extrusion is a metal-forming operation. In this process, dies are used to change the shape of the metal piece. This is done with the help of external force which is compressive in nature. The helps in making any type of complex shape quite easily. Wire and cable manufacturing is a prominent field where extrusion is a vital process. In this article, we will understand the role of the capstans which is an important tool in the extrusion process.

What is a Capstan?

Capstans are vertical-axel rotating machines used on sailing ships to increase the pulling force of seamen pulling ropes, cables, and haulers. An axle at the bottom of the mechanism is similar to that of a windlass. If we consider the earlier times when the crafts were made up of wood and were light in size only iron and steel capstans were used. However, in today’s time, with the increase in the size and shape of ships, a more complex device, windlass, has been brought to use. Even though the windlasses are the modern-day capstan machine yet the capstans are in use. The reason lies behind the difference in usage of each with the corresponding capstan machine.

Factors to consider while selecting Capstans

When you are selecting capstans you need to consider the following steps.

  • Lateral berthing forces
  • The number of capstans to calculate the power per capstan to get the required line pulls of the capstan.
  • The required capstan power

Types of Capstans

Capstans come in different types and varieties. Some of the most commonly used capstans are

Belt wrap capstans

Whenever a particular type of capstan is needed that can run at a particular speed line, belt wrap capstans can be the right choice. Belt wrap capstans are driven by AC motors that control the frequency. Additionally, pneumatic cylinders provide the pressure required to open and close belts via their pressing force.

Dual Capstan

There are times when an additional capstan is needed in a ship for top-notch performance and quality. In spite of the movement of the capstan, dual capstans increase their speed. Due to its role in providing an additional advantage, dual-capstan suppliers must be carefully selected. Dual capstans are developed with great accuracy by professionals, keeping rust resistance and premium quality in mind. It is essential to verify that Dual capstan suppliers have prior approval of the industrial design and have precisely developed it.

Top Qualities of capstans available in the market

The capstans that are a part of the market today have multiple features. Some of them are listed below–

  • Low and easy maintenance
  • Enables multiple applications at the same time
  • Fully guarded machines for better performance
  • Multi-step gearboxes not a compulsion
  • Safety standards concrete and approved as per CE mark
  • Integration of new caterpillars in existing lines
  • Totally compatible with Industry 4.0 norms & IoT Enabled
  • Electromechanical switches are given for operator safety during running


It is still common to use capstans and windlasses interchangeably today. The types and uses of these devices have changed significantly over time. It is only a thin line that separates the two. Ropes are bound along different axes, which causes the disparity. Capstans wind cables along the vertical axis, whereas windlasses wind cables around the horizontal axis. There is also a difference in the parts each one is made up of, which can sometimes make windlasses preferable in terms of performance. Thus, one must look for their needs and wants and choose a capstan machine and windlasses accordingly.