Fleet angle; determining stall and line pull; winch rope selection

The importance of fleet angle

If a wire rope leads over a sheave and on to a drum on an air winch, the  rope will not remain in alignment with the sheave groove. Instead, it will deviate to either side depending upon the width of the drum and its distance from the fixed sheave, often called the lead sheave. The angle between the center line through the lead sheave and the centerline of the rope leading to the drum is called the fleet angle. Experience has shown that the best wire rope service is obtained when the maximum fleet angle is not more than 1 1⁄2° for smooth drums, and 2° for grooved drums. Fleet angles of 1 1⁄2° and 2° are the equivalents of approximately 38 feet and 29 feet, respectively, of lead
for each foot of drum width either side of the center line of the lead sheave.

Courtesy of Broderick & Bascom Rope Co.
Based on the above information, the correct distance (DLS) a lead sheave should be located from the winch drum may be derived by using the following formula: DLS for 1 1⁄2° fleet angle = DCF (in feet) x 38 DLS for 2° fleet angle = DCF (in feet) x 29  Example: For a winch with a smooth drum thus requiring a 1 1⁄2° fleet angle: If DCF = 20 inches (1.66 ft) then DLS = 1.66 x 38 = approximately 63 feet, the distance that the lead sheave should be positioned away from the drum.