What You Should Know about Elevator and Lift

Date:2016-06-14

You call it a lift if you live in the UK, or an elevator if you live in America, but how much time do you spend really wondering what they are all about? The lift is an amazing invention, saving us countless trips up and down dozens of flights of stairs. Because of wheelchair access laws, lifts are often a legal requirement in buildings, and they are much more practical than ramps. A lift can carry several people several stories up to the top of a building and then down again in a matter of minutes. It can accommodate a great amount of weight and moves at a very high speed.

As a matter of fact, human beings have been using elevators since the 3rd century BC. These of course were not electrical, but moved via human, animal or water wheel power. From the mid 19th century, lifts were powered by steam and were used in warehouses, factories, and mines to transport materials. And it wasn’t until the end of the 19th century that electric lifts began to come into use.

When you step into a lift and the door closes, you are actually standing inside a box which is inside a vertical passageway. This passageway is called the lift shaft, and it is raised and lowered by six to eight motor-driven wire ropes that are attached to the top of the car at one end, then go through two sheaves, and then are attached to a heavy steel weight called a counterweight at the other end. When the car goes up, the counter weight goes down, and when the car goes down the counterweight goes up.

The weight of the counterweight is equal to the weight of the lift car plus approximately half of its maximum passenger load. So, the lift really only needs enough power to lift the weight of the extra passengers, the rest is balanced by the counterweight. The counterweight adds accelerating force when the car is ascending, and slows the car as it is going down, which reduces the amount of motor horsepower that is required. So that it does not shift or twist as it moves up and down, the car runs along on rollers on guide rails that go along the length of the shaft.

In practice, lifts can be used for many different functions, for example, a passenger lift is used to move people between the floors of a building. Sometimes there might be an express elevator that does not serve all floors, rather it skips all in-between floors and goes straight from the ground floor to a sky lobby for example. There are also lifts that are designed to carry goods, and this is called a Freight Elevator . Vehicles, boats, and aircraft also have different kinds of elevators designed to move them about.

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