Elevators 101

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An elevator, or lift, is a vertical transport that moves people and goods between floors of buildings. This video explains how an elevator service operates so you understand a crucial part of building design.

Elevators are operated through cable systems powered by electrical motors. Hydraulic lifts use electronic pumps that transmit hydraulic fluid to a jack. The pressure in the jack powers a piston that gives the elevator its lifting power.

Traction elevators utilize ropes, sheaves, and counterweights to move the lift up and down. Traction elevators are the most widely used elevators around the world. Both hydraulic and traction elevators offer different pros and cons.

The shaft is a space in which one or more elevator operates. The shafts are insulated with fireproof walls to prevent catastrophic damage to the building should the elevator malfunction.

Headroom is the space between the top of the elevator and the ceiling of the shaft when the elevator is positioned at its highest point. Travel height is the length of the cabin’s travel from the highest and lowest stop.

The key components of the elevator are located in the machine room. This is where elevator servicemen go to fix problems and perform inspections. To learn more, check out the video above.


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