3 Main Types Of Elevators –All You Need To Know

Elevators have become very popular over the last two decades. They were essentially used in commercial buildings and apartments but over the past few years, people have begun installing it in their homes. This entry of elevators in residential areas have made life easier, especially for the elderly and disabled people. If you are also planning to install an elevator in your home, you must know that there are different types of elevators that vary in terms of their lifting mechanisms. However, there are the main types of elevators that are most commonly used. These types include hydraulic elevators, traction with machine room, and traction without machine room. Each type is explained in detail below:
    1. Hydraulic Elevators Hydraulic elevators have a piston support at the bottom that pushes it up as electric motor forces hydraulic fluid in to the piston. The elevator starts moving as the fluid is released from the piston through the valve. Hydraulic elevators are usually used for low-rise buildings of 2-8 floors and their maximum travel speed is 200 ft. per minute.  The machine room of hydraulic elevators is located on the lower side next to the elevator shaft. These elevators come with a low initial cost and their maintenance costs are also lower as compared to other types of elevators. However, these elevators have high energy usage than other elevator types as its electric motors works against the gravity by forcing the oil into the piston. A major disadvantage of this type of hydraulic elevators is that their oil can sometimes leak, which can lead to serious environmental risk. The environmental hazard and high energy usage are the two major reasons why hydraulic elevators are not a popular choice these days.
      2. Geared & Gearless Traction Elevators (with machine room) Traction elevators’ lifting mechanism involves ropes that pass over a wheel which is attached to the electric motor of the elevator. This electric motor is located above the elevator shaft. These ropes are responsible for lifting the elevators. These elevators are commonly used for mid and high-rise buildings and have a high travel speed as compared to hydraulic elevators. A counter weight is present in these elevators that makes their operation more efficient by counterbalancing the car’s and occupant’s weight, so that the motor does not have to transport that much load. These elevators are further divided into two categories: Geared Traction Elevators & Gearless Traction Elevators.
        • Geared Traction Elevators These elevators have a gearbox attached to motor, which initiates the wheel spin that moves the ropes. Their maximum travel speed is up to 500 ft. per minute and they are capable of traveling to a distance of around 250 ft. Geared traction elevators have medium initial cost and ongoing maintenance costs. Also, they’re in the middle of the road when it comes to energy consumption.
          • Gearless Traction Elevators Their wheel is directly attached to the motor. Gearless traction elevators have a travel speed of up to 2000 ft. per minute and they are capable of traveling to a distance of up to 2000 ft. These features make gearless traction elevators the only choice for high-rise buildings. Gearless traction elevators have a high installation cost and medium maintenance costs. Also, they use energy more efficiently as compared to geared traction elevators.   Another thing to keep in mind before installing traction elevators is that they require regular checkup. You have to make sure that their ropes and sheaves are properly working because as they age, the traction between cables and sheave is reduced.  The slippage also becomes more regular leading to reduction in efficiency which can in turn lead to dangerous consequences if left unchecked.
            3. Machine-Room-Less Elevators These elevators are traction elevators without an attached machine room above the shaft. The machine is present in the override space and you can access it from the top of elevator cabin for repairs or maintenance. Machine-room-less elevators have a travel speed of up to 500 ft. per minute and their maximum distance of travel is up to 250 ft. These elevators can be compared to geared elevators in terms in terms of installation and maintenance costs. However, the energy consumption of machine-room-less elevators is relatively low as compared to geared traction elevators. These elevator are becoming increasingly popular in mid-rise applications because of their operation, reliability, and energy efficiency.