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Intermittent, means that in most circumstances you will not be able to just pull continuously until the task at hand is complete.
If you are pulling a light load for a small amount of time the winch motor will not build a lot of heat. A heavier load or a longer period of time will generate more heat.
If the motor is too hot to touch, or the winch is pulling hard but not actually pulling line in, (stalled) the motor will build heat quickly.
So a duty cycle is basically; how long can I pull without overheating the winch, and how long does it need to cool off before I can pull again.
So if it’s hot outside and you are pulling something heavy and the motor is getting hot after 40 seconds and it takes another 10 minutes to cool the motor off a bit, your duty cycle would be 40 seconds with a 10 minute rest.
Pulling the exact same load but the outside temperature is 30° cooler you may be able to pull for a full minute with an 8 minute rest. These numbers are just an example, but you get the idea.