Elevators are a type of transportation machine that uses cables to move people or objects on a vertical axis. This can be between different floors of buildings, levels of a structure or decks on a vessel. You can often find them in buildings that have four or more floors, where ascending multiple flights of stairs would be strenuous or inaccessibly for certain demographics, like elderly or disabled people. Read ahead for an in-depth look at the mechanics of this commonplace machine!
The clever thing about elevators is that the complicated mechanics are usually hidden. From an outside perspective, e.g., someone moving from one floor to another, usually the exterior is comprised of doors, and the inside simply a metal box with a panel of buttons to indicate the destination of the elevator.
The Internal Mechanics
The key parts of an elevator consist of the metal box itself (known as ‘cars’), that rise up and down. There can be several cars within an elevator, to carry multiple groups of people or goods between floors more efficiently. There is always a counterweight to balance the mass of these cars, and an electric motor which pulls the cars on a vertical axis. This electric motor system includes brakes to stop the cars at each floor. A system of cables and pulleys means the elevators move on a strict up and down motion, without sway or deviation. These cables are enormously strong to carry the cars and any additional weight of multiple people.
The Safety Measures
There are various systems in place to ensure the safety of passengers in case a cable breaks. However, it is important that any elevator in both commercial and residential buildings are serviced regularly. If they are not, they can be extremely dangerous and accidents can occur which result in severe injuries or even fatalities. If you manage a building, not having your elevator inspected is classed as gross negligence, which can leave you liable in the case of accidents. It is important to use trusted services like ATIS for your maintenance needs. ATIS elevator inspections are an example of a thorough and experienced business that carries out reliable repairs and maintenance.
The Control System
Usually, in larger buildings with many floors, an electronic control system will co-ordinate the movements of the cars to different floors. This is done not manually, but by an ‘elevator algorithm’ which uses technology and elegant math to make sure large quantities of people can move between floors in the most efficient manner. This prevents buildings like these from having a backlog of frustrated inhabitants, as using the stairs is not feasible. A lot of systems are programmed with the time of day in mind, to carry more people upwards in the morning and at the end of the work day when people tend to leave.
Hopefully this article has provided you with a brief but informed explanation of elevators, how they work and how they are maintained in their lifespan. Elevators are an overlooked but incredibly useful invention for the modern age and they are used everywhere to make life move faster and more efficiently.