Uses And Functions Of Different Types Of Elevators

Elevators or lifts, as they are commonly called, is a form of vertical transport used primarily to mover between multiple floors found in high-rises and skyscrapers. These are used to transport both people and goods from one floor to another. Elevators are also seen in large ships with multiple decks. In fact today elevators have become a necessary addition to high-rises and other large buildings to make it easier for people with mobility issues to negotiate those using wheelchairs.

Basic principle

The basic principle behind the functioning of an elevator is the synchronised movement of traction cables and a corresponding counterweight system in opposite directions. Thus when the traction cables move up, the counterweights such as a hoist etc., move in the opposite direction. This whole system is generally powered by either electric motors or a hydraulic fluid pump.

Elevator types

Most people are generally surprised to find that there are several types of elevators present in the market. But depending on the type of hoist mechanism used, elevators can be classified into 5 typed which are generally used to meet the requirements of the daily life. They are:

  • Traction elevators: These elevators are generally used in high-rises and other large establishments, both for transporting people and freights. These can further be classified into:

    • Geared traction elevators which use worm gears to facilitate and control the mechanical movement of the elevators and

    • Gearless traction elevators which use a drive sheave attached directly to one end of the motor and are generally low speed elevators.

  • Hydraulic elevators: These are less complex than the traction elevators and are hence ideal for low traffic or low-rise buildings and establishments. Using a hydraulic system, these elevators push the elevator car upwards against the gravity while the car descends under the pull of gravity. These are again classified into:

    • Conventional ones using an underground hydraulic cylinder to ferry passengers across 2 to 5 storey buildings,

    • Hole-less ones which use cylinders placed above the ground and are extremely suitable for cost or environmentally sensitive buildings and

    • Roped ones which use both cylinders placed above the ground and ropes thereby enabling the elevator to travel much farther than the piston are able to move.

  • Climbing elevators: These are self-ascending and use their own propulsion to ascend. This propulsion can either be achieved by a combustion or electric engine. These types of elevators are generally used in towers or guyed masts so as to facilitate the easy access for the maintenance of different parts of the constructed structure.

  • Pneumatic elevator: As the name suggests these elevators use a vacuum and a valve to move the car upwards and air in place of the vacuum to move it down. These are however, low capacity elevators wherein only about 3 passengers with a combined weight of 525pounds can get on it at the same time.

  • Electromagnetic propulsion elevators: These cable-free elevators use electromagnetic propulsion to move the car which can mover both horizontally and vertically. They are generally used in high-density high-rises.

The discovery of the elevator was of great advantage to mankind since it enabled movement of passengers and goods in between different levels of a building without incurring any physical strain. It still remains an extremely functional device till date.