Elevator 101

Elevators 101

If you are a building owner or manager, and have elevators in your building, it’s a good idea to know a few things about your elevators! Even if you do not have an elevator, maybe you have been curious about some of the terminology associated. As always, Pride and Service is here to help! Check out the list below for the essential features of an elevator, and what those terms mean!

Automatic Gate Operator – An electro-mechanical device that opens and closes the car gate automatically.

Backup Battery – An emergency power source that will allow you to lower the elevator to the next lower level in the event of a power failure.

“Calling the Elevator” or Call Button – Pressing the call button in the hallway will “call the elevator” to you, if the elevator is not in use and/or is located on a different level.

Car – The elevator car transports passengers from one floor to another.

C.O.P. – The Car Operating Panel (C.O.P.) is the control panel inside the elevator that houses the floor buttons, the light switch, the alarm button, the emergency stop switch and optional key lock.

Controller – The controller houses the electrical control circuits of the elevator.

Drive System –The drive system is the power and strength behind lifting the elevator car and its passenger(s).

Dumbwaiter – Is a self contained car that is lowered and raised on a vertical path. A dumbwaiter carries objects instead of people. Things like: firewood, laundry, dishes, groceries, etc…

Electro-mechanical Interlock – Often referred to as EMI, is an electro-mechanical safety lock that prevents the hoistway door (hall door) from opening if the elevator is not at that landing.

Gate – The gate is a door that attaches to the outer edge of the elevator or dumbwaiter car. It prevents objects inside the car from coming into contact with objects outside of the car during travel. Gate styles include: accordion or scissors gates for elevators and bi-part, roll top, or slide up for dumbwaiters.

Hall Station – The Hall Station refers to the panel located outside the elevator doorway in the hallway that houses the call button.

Hoistway & Hoistway Doors – The hoistway is the enclosed space in which the elevator travels. The hoistway door allows access to the hoistway and is prevented from opening unless the elevator is stopped and waiting at that particular landing.

Hydraulic (Roped) – This drive system utilizes a hydraulic jack and a wire rope to raise and lower the passenger car.

Jack – The Jack utilizes hydraulic power to lift or lower the passenger car.

Landing – A term used to describe each floor on which the elevator will open.

Machine Room – The machine room is a small adjacent room that houses the drive system and electrical controls.

Machine Room-less –  The control box is located nearby but does not require a separate room.

Muntz – Muntz is the name given to the bronze tone finish on the hall stations and car operating panel.

Pit – The pit provides clearance for the support components that are below the floor of the elevator car allowing the elevator floor to level with the lowest landing floor.

Rail – The rail is the steel track that guides the elevator when it travels up and down the hoistway. Depending on the model there may be one or two rails.

Service Disconnect – Located near the controller in the machine room, the service disconnect is the main power switch to the elevator.

Sheave – Elevator term for a pulley.

Sling – The sling is an L-shaped steel support that holds the elevator car and is attached to the rail system.

Weight Capacity – Is the total amount of weight that can be added to the elevator. For safety purposes, never exceed the elevator cars weight capacity.

Winding Drum Elevator – This drive system utilizes wire ropes that wind onto a rotating drum.


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