Elevators are integral to the accessibility and convenience of many buildings. Although you may be familiar with elevator maintenance to ensure the comfort and safety of your guests, you may be unfamiliar with elevator construction.
Elevators are simple devices, and the fundamental lifting systems have changed little in the past fifty years. However, the control systems have been significantly modified to increase safety and operation speed. Elevators are designed for a particular structure, taking into account factors such as the building’s height, the number of people traveling to each floor, and the anticipated peak usage periods.
Understanding the fundamentals of elevator car construction will make you a more knowledgeable and well-equipped elevator owner, operator, and passenger.
Unless you suffer from claustrophobia, you are likely well-versed in using an elevator in numerous tall buildings. While most of us never give them a second thought, the manufacturing and installation process is actually quite fascinating.
Step 1: Fabricating the car’s panels
Obtaining metal sheeting is the initial step in the elevator-making process. Typically, these are purchased in bulk and stored in the factory’s warehouse until required.
The majority of elevator cars are constructed with a steel framework. Nevertheless, glass elevators are becoming more prevalent. This summary of the elevator car manufacturing process will emphasize the use of steel, as this remains the most prevalent material.
Using equipment such as forklifts, sheet metal stacks are then transported from the warehouse to the main factory floor. After delivery, the metal sheets are manually loaded onto a conveyor belt in preparation for the first stage of the process.
The metal sheets are then fed into a plasma-cutting machine, which burns a series of holes through the sheets in preparation for constructing the elevator car walls. Various pieces are produced in this manner based on the shape and function of the wall panel at hand.
Other necessary components, such as brackets, plates and lift spare parts are also cut to order from metal sheets using the plasma cutting machine.
Once finished, the panels are removed from the machine and stored in preparation for the subsequent manufacturing step. The panels are then placed in a specialized press machine that bends the metal sheets into the required angles.Typically, this is performed by humans.
Step 2: Car assembly
Now that the elevator car’s primary panels are complete, the next step is to begin assembling them. As required, panels are assembled using a variety of welding techniques and nuts and bolts.
In this instance, skilled human laborers who are proficient in this activity perform this task. Throughout the process, panels are inspected and measured to ensure they conform to the construction’s stringent specifications.
Any defects are either rejected or remedied on the fly. After the main panels are assembled, other components such as brackets, lighting, insulation, wiring, and cables are added, as needed. The panels are then transported by hand to the main construction area, where the lift cars are assembled in their entirety.
Typically, a number of individuals are required to carry, lift, and install the panels as needed. Once the main lift car is complete, the heavier elevator door is positioned and bolted/mounted to the main car as necessary.
Step 3: Construction continues
Then, lengths of tubular steel are measured and cut to size to create the lift car’s primary structural components. Other components for the main lift rails, etc., such as heavy-duty brackets, are also cut and bent as needed in preparation for installation on the lift cars.
As in the past, parts are then welded as necessary in preparation for installation on the main elevator cars.
When necessary, completed parts are hung from hooks and sprayed with detergent to remove any dirt and other contaminants from the metal. These are then allowed to dry before being sprayed with heavy-duty spray coatings.
This coating prevents the parts from rusting and degrading over time and use, extending their useful life. After the coating has hardened, the parts can be installed on the main elevator cars.
As before, this is accomplished with additional welding and nuts and bolts. Once construction on these components is complete, the lift will be ready for installation at its designated location.
Step 4: Elevator installation on-site
Once all components have been prepared in the factory, they are transported to the installation site and made ready for assembly. As required, the lift shaft is prepared, rails are installed, and lift motor machinery and cabling are also connected and mounted.
The main elevator car is now installed and connected, and the finishing touches can be applied. Internal decorative paneling, controls, lighting, etc. are wired and tested.
The elevator is now operational and ready for use by the building’s occupants.