The achievement of even winding on a smooth faced drum is closely related to the magnitude of the D/d ratio, the speed of rotation, load on the rope, and the fleet angle. Of all these factors, the one that exerts perhaps the greatest influence on winding characteristics is the fleet angle.

The schematic drawing (Fig. 39) shows an installation where the wire rope runs from a fixed sheave, over a floating sheave, and then on to the surface of a smooth drum. The fleet angle (Fig. 39) may be defined as the included angle between two lines; one line drawn through the middle of the fixed sheave and the drum – and perpendicular to the axis of the drum and a second line drawn from the flange of the drum to the base of the groove in the sheave. (The drum flange represents the farthest position to which the rope can travel across the drum.) There are left and right fleet angles, measured to the left or right of the center line of the sheave, respectively.

It is necessary to restrict the fleet angle on installations where wire rope passes over the lead or fixed sheave and onto a drum. For optimum efficiency and service characteristics, the angle here should not exceed 1 1/2º for a smooth drum, or 2º for a grooved drum. Fleet angles larger than these suggested limits can cause such problems as bad winding on smooth drums, and the rope rubbing against the flanges of the sheave grooves. Larger angles also create situations where there is excessive crushing and abrasion of the rope on the drum. Conversely, small fleet angles – less than 1/2º – should also be avoided since too small an angle will cause the rope to pile up.

Figure 39. This illustration of wire rope running from a fixed sheave, over a floating sheave, and then on to a smooth drum, graphically defines the fleet angle.