Elevators and lifts have been in use for a long time now. After years of advancements and evolutions, today’s elevators and lifts are extremely modernized and innovative. You can see lift cars, freight, and passenger elevators by brands like Kone, Schindler, Otis, etc. in almost every commercial building and even in many homes. The use of lifts and elevators has greatly increased in the past few years. They reduce the time of travel and make movement effortless. The lift designs are lavish and functional. They are safe and meet the requirements of the passengers.
- 1 What is an elevator?
- 2 How does an elevator work?
- 3 Need for Smart lifts and elevators
- 4 Types of Elevators
- 5 How to select the right elevator?
- 6 Innovative elevators
- 7 Conclusion
What is an elevator?
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An elevator is an electric lift that transports goods and people vertically between floors in buildings using bins or silos. Generally, these remain powered by electrical motors that also drive counterweight system cables for drive transactions like a hoist, or pump hydraulic fluid to raise a cylindrical piston like a jack.
How does an elevator work?
An elevator or lift works on the same concept as a pulley system. You draw the water from the well using a pulley system. A bucket, a rope, and a wheel all remain used in this pulley system. A bucket is attached to a rope that runs the length of a wheel. This might make drawing water from the well a breeze.
Similarly, modern elevators operate on the same principle. However, the fundamental difference between the two remains that we manually operate the pulley system, whereas elevators use sophisticated mechanics to handle the elevator’s load.
An elevator is essentially a metal box of various designs that are attached to an extremely strong metal rope. In the engine room, the robust metal rope runs through a sheave on the elevator. A sheave acts as a wheel in a pulley system, tightly grasping the metal rope. A motor can be used to control this arrangement. The motor can be triggered when the elevator goes up and down or stops when the switch is switched on.
Need for Smart lifts and elevators
The changing times of today have given rise to newer demands and expectations from lift systems. Today’s lifts should be space-saving, energy-efficient, sustainable, time-efficient, low-maintenance, cost-friendly, safe, durable, and offer solid access control. Furthermore, rapid urbanization has led to an increase in the demand for the best commercial lifts and best home elevators. So, many buildings use a number of lifts.
Moreover, modern demands are not limited to space and cost-efficiency. Smart lifts have brought about a new wave of advancement in the world. Now, you don’t need to stand in line and wait for the lift to come only to find out that it will take several stops before reaching your desired destination. The smart systems guide you to the lift that will take you to your destination at the quickest time. These systems are incredible for high-traffic hours.
Sensors and Cloud connectivity make repair possible even before the actual damage happens. You can detect the initial breakdowns in the machinery before it can hamper the lift and you can repair it.
Smart lifts can even predict future problems and allow technicians to fix them.
Considering these demands, manufacturers have come up with many innovative and diverse types of lifts for homes and commercial buildings. These next-level innovations solely serve the purpose of meeting the latest challenges.
But before learning more about the innovations, let us read about the different types of lifts for homes and offices.
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This one has ropes that are attached to a motorized wheel above the shaft. These lifts travel faster than hydraulic lift designs. They are used in both mid-rise and high-rise buildings. The electronic motors eliminate the occupants’ weight by using the counterweight system. This makes the movement of the traction elevators easier.
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A commercial or home elevator consists of a cab or a car that is mounted on a platform in a lift shaft. In hydraulic lift designs, the cars are raised and lowered using hydraulic power.
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Installation of lifts consumes a lot of building space which is used for lift shafts. For an efficient lift system, it is important that it uses as little space as possible. Manufacturers from all over the globe have been working hard to harness the latest technologies to develop space-efficient lifts.
The machine-roomless or MRLs are basically hydraulic lift designs that do not require additional machine space. These lifts save a lot of space and energy.
The pneumatic lifts use a vacuum and a valve to move the home elevator car upwards and air to move it down. These are ideal for places where there are a limited number of passengers. The lift is designed for single-passenger capacity to three-passenger capacity. It is also designed in wheel-chair accessible mode. These are the best home elevators and are used in hospitals as well.
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These are heavy-duty commercial lifts designed to haul material. The freight elevator cars are engineered to lift more than 20,000 pounds of weight. They are hugely customizable to cater to the needs of the building.
All these lifts and elevators solve one or the other purpose successfully. However, today, the needs of buildings have changed exponentially. The world is moving at a very fast pace and so should our lifts and elevators. The growing urbanization and population have led to a massive space crunch.
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A dumbwaiter is a type of freight elevator that is small in size. It’s frequently used in restaurants to transport food. They can, however, be found in commercial, public, and private structures.
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Vacuum elevators, which were first introduced to the elevator industry in 2005, work without the usage of cables or pulley systems. The natural principles of physics govern the operation of these air-driven elevators. This lift system is just a tube in a sealed vacuum, made of polycarbonate and aluminum materials. Movement remains aided by the air beneath and above the elevator car. This sort of elevator works mainly in residential applications because it comes in three different models, ranging from a single passenger to a three-passenger wheelchair-accessible model.
How to select the right elevator?
You must understand the dynamics of your multi-story structure before installing an elevator. Is the structure residential or commercial? You should also be aware of the cost of the elevator required for your construction. Despite the fact that elevators are a costly investment, the convenience and ease of usage are typically compelling reasons to include one in your next construction. Here are some key points that you must keep in mind while buying a lift for your building:
Elevator size and carrying capacity
Many elevators are three feet by four feet in size. They also come in larger sizes. It’s crucial to evaluate if elevators can transport special equipment like wheelchairs, albeit this will necessitate a higher weight limit. The 1000 pound is sufficient to transfer heavy loads from one storey to another in buildings with little traffic.
Consider security risks
Adequate security measures are essential to decrease the danger of accidents. Installation of alarm systems, driving of indoor telephones, power failure backups, and relaxation chain brake systems all remain important security alternatives that one should not disregard.
Consider the layout
Every floor that an elevator serves will take up space. The elevator blends effortlessly into the home design by keeping space in mind when selecting a new elevator. If you have a small house, you must choose a compact elevator built for domestic use.
Know the types of lifts
In India, home lift firms offer customers to install an elevator that is equipped with the most up-to-date technologies in order to receive more benefits. To ensure high efficiency and performance, it is vital to obtain more thoughts about the right type of lift. Also, understand the essential requirements before purchasing a lift system to save unnecessary expenditure.
- The use of a cog-belt elevator allows homeowners to live without the use of a rope, piston, or rope.
- Gearless elevators are ideal for removing the requirement for a pot and other items, resulting in significant cost savings.
- Hydraulic elevators can help small and medium-sized apartments by reducing undesirable difficulties.
The smart lifts serve the following purposes effectively:
- Controlling load weighing capacity
- Regulating the number of trips and door cycles needed in rush hours and otherwise.
- Reducing the waiting time
- Analyzing and working according to the traffic trends of the building.
In addition to that, we are also running out of natural resources such as electricity and fuel. Therefore, we need a complete solution for all the problems.
Several innovations have been made in lifts and elevator systems to make them futuristic for homes and commercial buildings. Some of the leading elevator companies such as Otis lifts, Thyssenkrupp elevator, Johnson lifts, Schindler, Kone elevators, and many more have already come up with some amazingly innovative lifts and elevators.
MULTI is an ambitious lift system by Thyssenkrupp. MULTI elevators Thyssenkrupp elevator is the first cable-less elevator in the world to move both horizontally and vertically. The lift works on liner motor technology to reduce time and energy consumption.
With increasing urbanization, the buildings are becoming taller and wider with more complex structures. The traditional regular elevators cannot do justice to the aesthetics and demands of the buildings. Thus, architects and designers are looking to go beyond the normal.
This is where Thyssenkrupp elevators come into the scene. The lift shafts move vertically as well as sideways. It conveniently validates urban mobility needs.
Moreover, MULTI Thyssenkrupp elevators are used feasibly for mega-high-rise buildings. It uses very little lift shaft space. It increases the usable area of the building by up to 25%. The speed of the Thyssenkrupp elevator decreases the waiting time of the passengers.
MULTI does not use cables. On the contrary, the linear motors are energized to move the Thyssenkrupp elevator. You might wonder if it is unsafe to provide mobility to the elevator without the cables to hold on to. However, the elevator cars come with batteries to offer additional safety to the lift in case of energy breakdown. In addition to that, the multi-step braking system restricts the cabins from moving freely.
Thyssenkrupp is making several attempts to make MULTI more futuristic by introducing it to Artificial Intelligence and IoT technology.
Schindler Ahead for Schindler Lift
It is a complete digital solution for Schindler lifts, elevators, and escalators. It uses IoT technology to digitalize your regular Schindler lifts. The Ahead improves the service reliability, diagnostics, and durability of Schindler lifts. It connects the passengers, service technicians, customers, and equipment technicians in real-time.
Schindler Ahead is a revolutionary digital system that offers completely closed-loop maintenance, monitoring, interaction, and information system for lifts and escalators. The best part about Schindler Ahead is that it integrates easily with the existing Schindler lifts and the building infrastructure. Thus, architects are becoming great fans of the Schindler lift’s digital system.
Furthermore, Schindler Ahead connects the lifts and escalators with Schindler’s Cloud-Platform. It offers real-time data and insights, predictive analytics, and proactive two-way communication. The OTA (over-the-air) updates to ensure that this advanced technology remains advanced in the future also. The growing portfolio of Cube Apps unleashes new services so that the system never goes outdated.
Otis Double-deck Lifts
The elevator company Otis has installed the world’s longest double-deck elevator in Korea. The Otis elevator runs more than 450 meters. It carries 54 passengers in one minute using a single hoistway. Also, the advanced technology used by Otis elevators has changed the future of lifts and elevators entirely.
The lift brand has added several additions to its range of futuristic lifts and elevators such as Otis Skyway and Otis Gen2 Dynamic elevators. These Otis elevators come with seismic sensors that detect potential earthquakes and movement from strong wind. They come with escape routes to move passengers to safety in an event of an emergency.
The double-deck system offers the comfort of assigning the cabs to the odd or even floors during rush hours. This cuts the number of stops and reduces the waiting time of the passengers. Additionally, some double-deck lift designs are such that instead of transporting two groups of passengers in the double elevator cars, one carries the passenger and the other carries the goods.
Furthermore, Otis service for lifts and elevators offers instant, real-time performance, maintenance, and other detailed analysis.
Johnson lift- Contactless Elevators
Owing to the shift in the world’s dynamics due to the ongoing pandemic COVID-19, it has become essential that we limit physical contact up to a great extent. Therefore, to match with the new normal of the world, Johnson lifts has come up with an interesting, useful, and futuristic elevator operating system. This innovation allows passengers to operate the Johnson lifts without touching the buttons or the screen.
The mobile app EyeRIS makes it possible for the passengers to select the Present Floor and the Destination Floor after scanning the Johnson lift’s QR code. This unique solution has proved to be a great boon for commercial and residential buildings where a diverse crowd meets and travels every day. In India, this smart elevator system’s use has already begun at places like the Chennai Metro Office.
Toshiba’s Outdoor Elevators
If the interior structure of the building is such that it does not have space to accommodate an elevator system, you can install it on the outside. You might wonder if it will hamper the front elevation design of the building or make it look ugly. However, Toshiba made it possible to maintain your building’s aesthetics along with increasing its space efficiency and functionality.
This incredible lift brand has designed flawless outdoor elevators for home and commercial buildings and pushed the limits of technology. Moreover, the high-speed outdoor lift design can run at a speed of more than 350m/min. There is no hoistway wall and it has a solid preventive system for the passengers’ protection from any mishap.
Today, almost all the best elevator companies develop green elevators for sustainable development. The MRL elevators use a high-efficiency PM Gearless motor system that greatly reduces energy consumption by more than 50% compared to the geared systems. Also, the use of lightweight, lubrication-free, PU-coated steel belts in lifts and elevators instead of steel wire ropes further increases energy efficiency. The use of roller guides instead of lubricants improves sustainability.
Green lifts are not just about the reduction of energy consumption but also about energy recovery. Also, the use of AI in lifts such as the KONE destination signalization system manages the traffic in the Kone elevators. Note that lifts consume the least energy when they remain loaded with only 50% of their total capacity. Therefore, these smart destination control systems make energy-saving possible. Green elevators reduce the overall carbon footprint from the time of their manufacture to installation.
In the wake of innovating the lifts and elevators, we cannot sideline their repair and maintenance. What is the use of a technologically advanced super-speed lift if its repair takes hours and hours of hard work and mind-drilling? To get away with the issue of mega-high-rise lift repairs, Microsoft has come up with a wonderful, futuristic gadget called the HoloLens. Moreover, it enables a mechanic to look around the elevator and its components without climbing tens of floors.
The HoloLens looks like a pair of heavy ski goggles with a ratcheted knob to tighten the straps against your scalp. So, when a lift mechanic puts it on, he can see and touch the components of the lift and use hand motions to explore them individually. After finding out the fault area, the mechanic can go fully prepared and fix it.
The innovations in technology and mechanics by brands such as Otis, Schindler, etc. have redefined the face of lift and elevator systems. The future of these systems will be more energy-efficient and safe.
Technologies like IoT allow predictive maintenance of the lifts. It can predict the lift’s need for maintenance services before it breakdowns. Moreover, the faults can happen for multiple reasons, from heat and friction to abuse by passengers. But the smart elevators from brands like Otis, Schindler, etc. can detect and predict every issue. These remote diagnostic and troubleshooting properties of smart lifts save a lot of time and cost. Also, with VR, the technicians don’t even have to go to the site for testing the problem. Proactive repair makes the lifts extremely time-efficient.
The intelligent home and office elevators of today are becoming smarter for tomorrow with every passing day. Furthermore, previously the lifts that moved only in upwards and downwards directions are now moving horizontally as well. Smart destination systems have reduced the waiting time and improved energy efficiency.
From the aesthetics of the commercial and home elevator cars to the durability and sustainability of the elevator systems, everything is evolving and getting better. Therefore, we can expect smart lifts and elevators to become more popular in the near future.
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