Elevators (or lifts) are mechanically operated machines that transport the movement of passengers and goods. Elevators should be inspected and maintained regularly to provide reliable service and to ensure they are safe to operate. Elevators form a critical component of a property and it is imperative that they are evaluated as part of the due diligence process. Failure of any elevator(s) typically has significant business impacts that can often result in extended downtime. An evaluation of the elevator(s) allows property owners or potential purchasers to make informed decisions based upon the age, condition and visible deficiencies of the associated systems.
Elevators are typically divided into two (2) main categories:
- Push = Hydraulic.
- Pull = Traction.
Essentially a hydraulic elevator is pushed from below via a piston and a traction elevator is pulled from above by wire hoist ropes. Electric motors are used in both installations to either power the hydraulic pump(s) or power overhead traction machinery.
Basic elevator components consist of:
- The car (or cab) which is used as an enclosure or platform to transport passenger or goods.
- The hoistway (or elevator shaft) which is the enclosed space where the elevator travels between the various floor levels. Typically consisting of a fireproof enclosure.
- The machine/drive which is the part of the system that physically moves the elevator.
- The control system which is the brains/computer behind the operation of the elevator.
- The safety systems such as door protection systems, governors and emergency communication, etc.
As elevator technology continues to advance, new creative ways have been developed to save space (machine room-less elevators), reduce overall weight and energy consumption, increase speed and capacity, and improve safety and performance.