A winding drum design was one of the earliest ways to get an elevator cab to move. This particular hoisting system involved a drum located in the basement of a building and moved by a small engine. A rope was attached to the cab and the drum, which caused the elevator to lift.
In modern times, a winding drum system is still used for many home elevators. Today's Winding Drum Elevators utilize a motor and gearbox located at the top of the hoistway. The car is attached to the cables which are spooled off grooved drums which are attached to the gearbox. The motor/gearbox is responsible for lifting the weight of the car and the passengers. This requires a larger motor/gearbox than the traction elevators. The motor typically utilizes a variable frequency drive which allows the motor to ramp up and down smoothly, similar to hydraulic operation. The controller may be incorporated into the hoistway, making this a machine roomless design.
The benefits include machine roomless design, smooth start/stop. The machine roomless option saves space in your floor layout and cost in materials.
The negative points include some noise from above. Since the motor is located in the hoistway, you can hear the humming of the motor as it runs. It is not loud, but you are aware of it.