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Types Of Elevators

If you are looking for the different types of elevators installed in commercial facilities, this post should help!

There are various types of elevators for various building types. Elevators will carry people and other items that need to be taken to various levels of a building, within a certain weight capacity. During the 1850s, the structural frames were being built using a taller structure to them and then elevators became a very common thing. What made elevators so popular was the unique safety mechanism made by Elisha Otis. Nearly all of the modern buildings that have more than a single floor are required to have access to the other floors by means of more than just the average stair.

Types Of Elevators

The 6 type of elevators that are used the most. Each of the types will have differing variations:

Geared & Gear-less Traction Elevators W/ Machine Rooms

  • Geared Elevators
  • Gearless Elevators
  • MRL Elevators

Geared elevators and gearless traction will use ropes to lift them. The ropes will pass over a wheel and the wheel is attached to an electric motor that is located on the top of the elevator shaft. These are often used for mid-rise to high rise elevators and will have faster travel times than your hydraulic elevators. These elevators will use a counter weight which will make them more efficient to run du to the offsets of the weight within the car elevator which include the passenger weight, which takes extra work from the elevator. Elevators that are using geared traction will use a gearbox that is attached to the motor. The gearbox is what will drive the wheel and move the ropes. Elevators that have this geared traction will have the ability to move up to 500 feet per minute. The maximum travel distance for geared traction elevators are only around 250 feet.

Elevators that have gearless traction will have a wheel that is directly attached to the motor. Elevators that have gearless traction will have the ability to move up to 2000 feet per minute. The maximum travel distance is 2000 feet which actually make them the only ones that can be used in high rise buildings. The elevators that have gearless traction are a bit high when it comes to the initial cost, while maintenance costs stay at a steady medium, and they are often more efficient that geared traction elevators. Checking the traction for the elevators sheaves and ropes for wear and tear regularly is vital. These will wear the traction between the cables and sheave will reduce which causes slippage and it will continue to slip more which reduces the efficiency of the elevator and makes it more dangerous to use.

Elevators that have traction will have restriction on height, as they are decided by the elevator cable/rope length and weight. There are newer materials that may be used for traction elevators which make them stronger but lighter and the material is carbon fiber which will let the elevators reach newer heights.

No Machine Room Elevators or MRL

A MRL or No Machine Room Elevator is just another way to say traction elevator that doesn’t have a machine room over the elevator shaft. It is located in the override space. Whenever it needs repairs, it will have to be accessed through the cab of the elevator which is at the top of the elevator. The control boxes are in the control room and this is located at the highest landing which is about 150 feet from the elevator across from the elevator shaft.

Having a maximum travel distance of 250 feet, a machine roomless elevator will have speeds of up to 500 feet per minute. The MRL as well as geared traction elevators will have similar start up costs, and maintenance costs, but the MRL elevator will have a lower energy cost than the geared elevator. Gearless traction elevators and MRL elevators are almost equal in energy efficiency, they are reliable and take up less space, but the MRL elevators are best and more popular for mid-rise buildings that have a travel distance of 250 feet or less.

One of the biggest reasons that the US has been slow to adopt MRL elevators is because of building codes that have provisions about the motor being located within the hoist way of the elevator. These codes are being slowly changed, but it is in your best interest to consult local authorities about certain MRL elevators.

Hydraulic Elevators:

  • Holed Elevators
  • Hole-less Elevators
  • Telescopic Elevators
  • Non-Telescoping Elevators
  • Roped Elevators

A hydraulic elevator has a piston that is found at the base of the elevator to support it. The piston will then shove the elevator upwards while the motor moves an oil or hydraulic fluid into the piston. While the elevator descends the fluid is released trough a valve inside of the piston. These elevators are normally used in buildings that have no more than 8 floors and it only travels at 200 feet per minute.

On the lowest level, across from the elevator will be the machine room. This type of hydraulic elevator will have a sheave that extends under the floor of the elevator to the pit of the elevator, and while it is descending, the sheave will accept while pistons retract. Several configurations will have a telescoping piston that will collapse which requires a shallow hole under the pit.

The maximum travel distance is about 60 feet. The hydraulic elevator that is holeless may have the piston on either side of the cab. For this particular configuration, the telescoping piston has been fixed in the pit, so it won’t need a sheave or a hole in the pit. Telescoping pistons will let the elevator travel 50 feet, where the non-telescoping piston will go up to 20 feet. There will be a combination of ropes with a rope hydraulic elevator where the piston moves the elevator which has a travel distance of only 60 feet.

The initial cost for this elevator will be lower as well as the maintenance costs when you compare it to the costs of other elevators. The hydraulic elevator will also use more energy than other elevators and that is because the electric motor is working against gravity while forcing hydraulic fluid into the piston. There is a drawback of having the fluids sometimes leak which can cause a hazard for the environment. The main reason that hydraulic elevators are not popular is because of past environmental risks that were involved with the energy use being really high.

Pneumatic Elevator

These types of elevators are lowered and raised by air pressure. By physics, the air pressure difference between the below area and the above area of the elevator cab creates a vacuum that will transport the elevator by air. It is the turbines or vacuum pumps that pull the elevator up and release the air to let the elevator go down. Pnuematic elevators are great for homes as they are designed compact. They do not noise a hoist way and you don’t need to excavate a pit.

Climbing Elevator

A climbing elevator holds its own power device, most are combustion engine or electric driven. These types of elevator are mostly used in construction or work areas.

Industrial Elevators

  • Hoist Elevators
  • Incline Elevators

Industrial elevators are designed to hoist large amount of weight. Industrial elevators are usually incline and hoist elevators. These types of elevators are mostly used in shipyards, warehouses and construction.

We hope that you enjoyed “Different Types of Elevators”, so stay tuned in for more from our Elevator Experts here at Colorado Elevator Solutions.

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