Types Of Elevators

Different Types Of Elevators

There are many different types of elevators commonly used in commercial facilities, this post should help should help outline the most popular types are what they are used for!

There are a lot of different elevators in different buildings. Elevators will carry a person and even items to where it needs to go on different levels of a building, within a certain weight. During the 1850s, structures were being built much taller and then elevators became quite common. What made them so popular is that they had unique safety mechanisms that were made by Elisha Otis. Most modern buildings with multiple floors are required to have access to other floors than just stairs.

Different Types Of Elevators

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

  1. MRL Elevators
  2. Traction Elevators
  3. Pneumatic Elevators
  4. Hydraulic Elevators
  5. Climbing Elevators
  6. Industrial Elevators

No MRL or Machine Room Elevators

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.” [1]

Being able to have a maximum travel distance of 250 feet, a machine room less elevator will have speeds of 500 ft/min. The MRL and geared traction elevators will have similar start costs, and maintenance costs but the MRL will have a lower energy cost. Gearless traction elevators and MRL elevators are almost the same in energy efficiency. They take up less space, are reliable, but the MRL elevator will be the most popular and best for mid-rise buildings that have a distance of less than 250 feet.

A big reason that the United States has been slow to adopt MRL elevators is because building codes that have provisions about the motor being located in the hoist-way. Slowly the codes are being changed, but it is best if you check with local authorities about MRL elevators.

Gearless and Geared Traction Elevators with Machine Rooms

  • Gearless Elevators
  • Geared Elevators
  • MRL Elevators

Gearless and Geared elevators will use ropes to lift them. The ropes go over a wheel and then the wheel is attached to electric motors that will be located on top of the elevator shaft. These are used for high rise to mid-rise elevators and will often have fast travel times than your average elevator. This type of elevator will use counter weights which make the more efficient when running because of the offsets of the weight in the car which include passenger weight, which will make extra work for the elevator. An elevator that is using geared traction will have a gearbox that is attached on the motor. The gearbox will drive the wheel and then move the ropes. Elevators that are geared can move 500 ft./min. and the maximum travel distance is only 250 ft.

Elevators with gearless traction will have a wheel attached the motor. Gearless traction elevators can move 2000 ft./min. The maximum travel distance will be 2000 ft., which makes them the only ones that can be used in high rise buildings. Gearless traction elevators can be high cost, but the maintenance costs are average, and they are often more efficient than a geared elevator. Checking the ropes and sheaves for wear and tear regularly is important. These will wear traction between the sheave and ropes and cause slippage and it will continue to slip which causes the efficiency of the elevator to go down and makes it dangerous to use.

Elevators with traction will have a restriction on height, as it is decided by the rope length and weight. There are newer materials that can be used with traction elevators to make them stronger, but lighter and the material is carbon fiber which will let an elevator reach new heights.

Pneumatic Elevators

This elevator type is raised and lowered by air pressure. Using physics, the air pressure difference between the above and below areas of the cab will create a vacuum that transports the elevator using air. It will be the vacuum pumps or turbines to pull the elevator up and then release the air to allow it to go down. Pneumatic elevators are perfect for homes as they are compact. They don’t have noisy hoist-ways and you don’t have to excavate a pit.

Hydraulic Elevator

  • Roped Hydraulic Elevators use a combination of ropes and a piston to move the elevator.  Maximum travel distance is about 60 feet.” [2]
  • Non-telescoping elevator
  • Telescopic elevator
  • Hole-less elevator
  • Holed elevator

Hydraulic elevators will have a piston that can be found on the base of the elevator to support it. The piston shoves the elevator upwards while the motor moves hydraulic fluid or oil into the piston. While the elevator comes down, the fluid is released through a valve that is inside the piston. These elevator types are used in buildings that have less than 8 floors and it only travels 200 ft./min.

On the lowest level, right across from the elevator is going to be the machine room. Hydraulic elevators will have a sheave that extends under the elevator floor to the elevator pit and while it is coming down the pistons retract. There are several configurations that will use telescoping pistons that collapse which allow a shallow hole in the pit.

The maximum travel distance is around 60 ft. A hydraulic elevator that is hole-less will have the pistons on the side of the cab. For this configuration, the telescoping piston will be fixed in the pit, so it will not need a hole in the pit or a sheave. Telescoping pistons allow the elevator to travel 50 ft., where the non-telescoping piston can only go 20 ft. There is a combination of ropes with a roped hydraulic elevator where the piston will move the elevator when it travels 60 ft.

The starting cost for these elevator types is lower as well as the maintenance cost when compared to the cost of other elevators. Hydraulic elevators will use more energy than other elevators and it is because the motor is working against gravity while forcing oil into the piston. There is a drawback of this elevator type as sometimes there is a fluid leak which causes a hazardous environment. The main reason that a hydraulic elevator isn’t popular and that is because of environmental risks in the past that cause the energy use to be quite high.

Climbing Elevators

Climbing elevators will hold the power device and will be electric dive or combustion engine driven. These are often used in work or construction areas.

Industrial Elevators

  • Incline Elevator
  • Hoist Elevator

An industrial elevator was made to hoist a lot of weight. Industrial elevators are normally hoist, or incline elevators and they are mostly used in construction, shipyards and warehouses.

Cited Sources

  1. “Types Of Elevators | Commercial | Industrial – CES.” Colorado Elevator Solutions, 21 Sept. 2017, coloradoelevatorsolutions.com/types-of-elevators/.

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