Sheaves – What Are They, Calculating Sheave Pitch, & More


A common sheave.

There is a lot of confusion in our building engineering and facility maintenance worlds when it comes to sheaves. Today, we are going to:

  • Define sheaves and what they are.
  • Cover fixed and adjustable sheaves.
  • How to figure out motor sheave pitch diameter.
  • Common sheave materials.
  • Learn how you can change fan speed with a sheave.

Sheaves can be confusing because some terms, like pulleys, are interchanged kind of depending on where you work or what you do. You might get told to go order a sheave but your supervisor really means a pulley. Or you may get asked if you adjusted the sheaves. Well if it’s a fixed diameter sheave you can’t adjust it like you could a variable one.

For our purposes, sheaves are going to drive belts or v-belts. If it uses rope or cable, we’ll call that a pulley for now. That may or may not be correct technically but for us, in our industries, we generally call belt driven pulleys, sheaves. Okay? Read more