In the United States, there are over 1.1 million elevators in service. This number is only expected to grow as more homeowners install elevators to support users with disabilities. With many different applications, there are quite a few different types of elevators.
In general, you can group elevators two ways, by their use or lifting mechanisms. Asking the question of how do elevators work can help give you a solid basis of a way to learn about the main kinds of elevators. Let’s take a look at the most common types of elevators.
Why Types of Elevators Matter
Many people group elevators by their purpose. This means types of elevators include passenger elevators, freight elevators, boat lifts, dumbwaiters, and a few other types. It’s important to match the type of elevator you choose with how you will use it.
However, elevators can also be differentiated based on their lifting mechanisms and elevator technology. The three main types are hydraulic elevators, traction with machine room, and traction without machine room elevators.
These different lifting mechanisms work better or worse depending on where they are installed. You need to make sure the lifting mechanism will work for the building and use you intend for it. Some types of elevators might work for multiple applications.
In this case, you can also compare different kinds based on elevator prices or elevator maintenance. It might also be helpful to consider an elevator maintenance contract such as one from auditmate.com/what-is-safe/safe-maintenance/.
A hydraulic elevator has an electric motor that forces hydraulic fluid into the piston. The piston support then pushes the elevator up while the hydraulic fluid releases from the piston. The machine room is usually located next to the elevator shaft on the lower side.
These types of elevators are most common in low-rise buildings that have two to eight floors. They can only travel up to 200 feet per minute. While they have a low initial cost and low maintenance cost, they do have a relatively high energy usage.
Traction with Machine Room Elevators
Traction with machine room elevators have an electric motor above the elevator shaft. This motor is attached to a wheel that ropes pass over to move the elevator. They also have a counterweight to lessen the load on the motor.
There are two sub-types of elevators to note, geared traction elevators and gearless traction elevators. The wheel in a gearless traction elevator is directly attached to the motor. However, a gearbox is attached to the motor in a geared traction elevator.
Geared traction elevators have mid-range initial costs, maintenance costs, and energy consumption. Gearless traction elevators have a high installation cost but are more energy-efficient than geared traction elevators. They have medium-level maintenance costs.
Traction without Machine Room Elevators
Traction without machine room elevators are just what they sound like. They are traction elevators, however, they don’t have a machine room above the shaft. Instead, the machine is in the override space and is accessed from the top of the elevator cabin.
Their cost is similar to geared elevators, however, they use less energy. This has led to them becoming more popular in mid-rise buildings.
Choose the Best Type of Elevator
There are three main types of elevators including hydraulic elevators, traction with machine room, and traction without machine room elevators. If you are choosing an elevator, it’s important to choose the right type for your specific application.
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