Lifts are an important part of designing a building – residential or commercial. But which type of lifts should you pick? In this post you will learn about the four main types. In addition, you will learn about the different dimensions to achieve their intended transport objectives.
Lifts have something in common with other vital but unflashy technologies in our lives: we take them for granted. But, much like the internet or the hot water in your house, when lifts don’t function properly, we are quickly annoyed.
As lifts are often the overlooked heroes of a building, you probably won’t receive high praise for good lift design. Still, it’s important to approach the design process carefully so all elements of the building work together like a well-drilled team.
A passenger lift is any lift intended for the transport of people through a building. These lifts can vary drastically in terms of size, speed and interior options depending on the use of the lift.
A service lift is found in many commercial buildings and is intended for the transport of goods through the buildings by employees, such as the housekeeping staff moving cleaning carts through a hotel. Service lifts are also used in hospitals for the transport of patients on hospital beds. To comply with code requirements, these lifts are typically more robust and deeper than standard passenger lifts, so they can navigate larger items through the building.
A freight lift is intended to move very heavy loads, such as cars or cargo in industrial buildings. These lifts are not intended for passenger transport and are designed to withstand tougher working conditions, which is why their interiors are focused on robust design, with heavy steel walls and floors, rather than more attractive interiors.
A dumbwaiter is a small freight lift. It is often used for the transport of food in restaurants. However, they can be found in both commercial, public and private buildings.
Another important way the type of building influences lift design is in selecting the best hoist system. Understanding the terminology between various types of lift hoist systems will help you determine which models or types of lifts may be the most appropriate for your building.
Common types of lift hoist systems include:
This type of hoist system is usually only used in low-rise buildings, typically up to six stories high or to transport extremely heavy loads. Hydraulic lifts are lifted by pistons from below. These lifts require more energy to operate than other lift models and, due to the introduction of machine-room-less lift with high-efficiency machine and drives, have largely been replaced in the lift market.
This type of lift operates via a pulley system, using steel ropes or belts and a counterweight to move the cabin up and down. There are two types of traction lifts: Gearless Traction and Geared Traction. Gearless traction lifts are the more advanced solution, with a wheel attached directly to the motor and counterweights are used to operate the hoisting system. Geared traction uses a gearbox to turn the hoisting sheave and lift the lift. These systems are typically slower than gearless systems. Overall, traction lifts are typically more energy efficient and provide a smoother and quieter ride for passengers.
Overall, traction lifts are typically more energy efficient and provide a smoother and quieter ride for passengers. Most modern lifts are typically gearless traction, which is considered the most energy and space efficient solution available.
With advancing technology, it is no longer mandatory to have a lift machine room to house the machine and drive components.
Machine room-less systems can be either traction or hydraulic. By incorporating more compact hoisting sheaves, they do not require a machine room to operate the lift and the machine is located directly in the lift hoistway. This provides the optimal use of space for the building design
Machine room systems can be either traction or hydraulic. In traction lifts, the machine room is typically located above the hoistway. However, the machine room can also be located at the bottom of the hoistway or in a room adjacent to the lift bank.
We know there are a lot of things to keep track of when designing a lift. To help, we created a resource site with a lot of information that will prepare you for your next lift or escalator project.
Or if you want to test your ideas, visit our Plan and Design tool and start creating!
Use our helpful guide to plan lift designs that meet standard or custom size requirements, fulfill functional and safety needs and offers a stunning range of interior options.