Elevator Components Explained

You might have approached a wide range of lift installation companies for advice on which practical solutions you should particularly consider for use in getting people or goods from one floor to another.

However, you could have found some of these companies going into a little too much technical detail about elevator components. While we at Sheridan Lifts are proud to offer a wide range of lift products and parts, we don’t want to confuse you with what we tell you.

This is why we have decided to use this article to fill you in on various elevator components and how they contribute to the day-to-day functionality of lifts in which they have been installed. These are all components we can use when fitting and repairing lifts on behalf of our customers.

Understanding Your Elevator Components and Lift Installations

Before we install a lift, we need to design it. We offer a vast range of lifts, and which lift solution you source from us will be a major factor in what components we use for it. The range of lift options available from the Sheridan Lifts team includes:

  • Passenger lifts 
  • Goods passenger lifts 
  • Dumbwaiter lifts 
  • Scenic lifts 
  • Glass lifts 
  • Car lifts 
  • Bespoke lifts 
  • Energy-saving lifts 
  • Service lifts 
  • Fire and evacuation lifts 
  • Access lifts 

You can pay upfront for your lift installation or opt for lift leasing, where you will have access to the same quality product range but be able to spread the cost over a longer duration.

Furthermore, the products we do use for installing lifts are open protocol. This basically means that the components can communicate with others from other manufacturers, meaning the lift does not have to be maintained by the same company that installed it. 

An ‘open protocol’ lift system can thus be appreciably easier and less expensive to keep in good working order compared to a ‘closed protocol’ alternative. The latter would leave you more limited in terms of what technologies you are able to add to the system.

By taking time when designing and planning lifts, we can ensure they will be fit for purpose. To this end, we can produce designs for lifts that will include the following features: 

  • Screens showing the next stop 
  • Audio cues indicating the current stop and when doors are opening and closing
  • Illuminated controls 
  • Lift buttons with braille 
  • Clearly marked emergency call buttons

Meanwhile, for a given lift project, we can choose from a wide range of materials — including: 

  • Metals
  • Marble 
  • Glass
  • Wood 
  • Tiles 

We can be trusted with incorporating features and materials in a bespoke way to create a lift that will fit the building in both practical and aesthetic respects.

Lift Shaft and Construction Work 

When installing a lift for you, we can help you to ensure that your new lift complies with the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998. These regulations are commonly referred to as LOLER, and cover lifts and their components as well as processes surrounding lift installation. 

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has provided LOLER guidance on how lifts should be positioned and installed. HSE warns: “The position of mobile lifting equipment or the location of fixed installations can have a dramatic effect on the risks involved in a lifting operation.” 

The government agency particularly underlines the risks of load drift — such as the load spinning or swinging — and of falling loads. For example, loads could fall freely or as a result of being released unintentionally. However, the following can be used for preventing falling loads: 

  • Multiple ropes or chains 
  • Hydraulic check valves 
  • Nets for palletised loads 

Often, when you order a lift, it will need a shaft. Therefore, on a range of lift installation projects, it is crucial that measures are taken for preventing people from falling down the shaft. Sheridan Lifts is a LOLER-certified company and so takes such measures as a matter of course.

If you want a lift for a pre-existing or listed building where major construction work would not be an option, rest assured that it is possible to order a lift without a shaft, as platform lifts are self-contained. For this reason, they can be installed almost anywhere in a building.

Different Types of Lifting Mechanisms

For your lift, you can choose from various operating mechanisms. Your choice can have implications for how the elevator brakes work — with most modern lifts using electromagnetic brakes, which can hold the lift car safely in place if the lift loses power.

Below, we detail just some popular types of lifting mechanisms currently on the market: 

Hydraulic — With a hydraulic lift, the cabin is affixed to a piston that, when pumped with fluid, climbs higher — taking the lift cabin with it. While hydraulic lifts are space-efficient and produce little noise pollution, they are fairly slow in lifting speed, so keep this in mind.

Traction — A traction elevator’s lift mechanism includes a motor situated on top of the elevator shaft, while a rope mechanism connects the elevator cage and a counterweight via a wheel connected to the motor. A traction lift can be suitable for a home or office.

Machine-room-less — This is actually a form of non-geared traction elevator. It omits the motor or machine room often located at the top of a traction elevator’s shaft, with a compact machine used instead. Meanwhile, control mechanisms are sat beside this shaft.

Vacuum lifts — These can otherwise be referred to as pneumatic elevators, as they are fitted in vacuum tubes, while the method of moving the cage up and down involves varying the elevator shaft’s air pressure. Vacuum lifts can be installed especially conveniently in compact spaces.

If you find yourself struggling to choose an operating mechanism for a new lift you want installing, feel free to get in touch with our elevator installation specialists for expert advice.

Lift Interiors

Here is a rundown of various features that go into the interior of a lift. If you are set to place an order for a new lift, remember that how its interior is designed can be highly influential on the lift’s safety, which you would be able to protect through a range of means.

Control panels — You can have the lift car control panels, the landing operating panels and the lift drive control unit replaced and updated as a result of a lift refurbishment or lift modernisation project carried out by members of the Sheridan Lifts team.

Lighting — Though fluorescent tubes and incandescent and halogen lights are traditionally used in lifts for illumination purposes, we offer eco-friendly lifts where low-energy LED bulbs are used instead. Meanwhile, emergency lighting can stay operable even if a power failure affects the lift.

Handrails — These have various purposes in a lift. These handrails can, for example, help vulnerable people — such as the elderly and the medically unfit — who could otherwise struggle to remain balanced when the lift is in motion. Handrails can also add to the lift’s visual appeal.

Electronics — This is undoubtedly a broad term, and can refer to electronic display panels used for indicating which floor the lift has reached and the floor this lift is set to move to next. The term can also cover any voiceover technology integrated with this elevator.

Additional accessibility features — We can make lifts large enough to cater for lift users with additional accessibility needs. We can also ensure that landing call buttons and internal lift controls will be easy for all users to reach.

As elevator components can inevitably incur wear and tear over time, it would be crucial for your new lift to be regularly serviced and maintained after being installed.

Learn More About Your Elevator Components with Sheridan Lifts

Before reading this article, you might have been naive about an array of elevator components, or at least how they make a meaningful difference to a lift’s visual and functional appeal.

Rather tragically, many companies using elevators might not have been familiar with many of the components until an incident where one of these elevators broke down, resulting in a lift repair technician turning up to inspect the unit and report back about what had happened.

In the following parts of the UK, we can carry out lift repairs on an emergency basis

  • Manchester 
  • Liverpool
  • Leeds 
  • Birmingham 
  • Leicester 
  • Derby
  • Nottingham 
  • Essex
  • Kent 
  • London 

Therefore, if you have an elevator in any of these geographic areas, you can rest easy knowing that should the worst happen and the lift breaks down, we will be able to help within just a few hours of your call. 

Still, as the saying goes, prevention is better than cure. For this reason, your first call to us will hopefully be to help yourself keep your elevator components in the best possible condition for longer. To contact our head office by phone, please call 0330 175 8749.

With Sheridan Lifts having been established as a company for more than 40 years, you can expect to receive a high standard of advice from our team — especially as we cover all aspects of lift provision.