Platform Lifts and Passenger Lifts: What’s the difference?

You may feel that there can’t be that much different between passenger lifts and platform lifts. And we know the difference can be confusing – they simply take people from one floor to another, don’t they?

That’s true, in part. Lifts are there to circulate people between floors in public buildings. They aid the transporting of people between multiple floors and are used in buildings where people with impaired mobility need to travel between two or more floors.

Knowing the difference can help you understand which lift you require for your building. Lifts themselves fall into two categories; passenger lifts or platform lifts. So how do you know which type your business requires?

Passenger Lift

They come in all shapes and sizes, but all have similar characteristics. Passenger lifts fall under the Lifts Directive, so travel faster than 0.15m/s. Eight-person lifts are the most common but can range between 3 people all the way up to 33 people lifts.

You find these most commonly in buildings where a large number of people travel between floors each and every day. This is mainly in larger buildings, where travelling by stairs will be time consuming and exhausting. These lifts are best suited to new buildings where it is easier to construct a lift shaft.

Platform Lift

Falling under the Machinery Directive rather than the Lifts Directive means that platform lifts must travel less than 0.15m/s. Because of the low speed, these lifts are generally used in buildings ranging between two and four floors. They range in size from single person/wheelchair user up to five people.

There are variants in the platform lifts industry, including cabin lifts, low speed passenger lifts and wheelchair lifts.

Best suited for people with impaired mobility issues in buildings where most people would use the staircases to travel between floors. Platform lifts are also suited to buildings where a passenger lift would not be cost effective.


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