Imagine working in a 50 story building and your office is on the 47th floor. Now imagine, elevators don’t exist and you have to climb 47 flights of stairs every morning. Unthinkable right? Good thing elevators have been around for over 150 years. You can thank them later for saving you the treacherous trip. But how do elevators work, and how do they hold all that weight?
How an Elevator Works
We all know elevators move us up and down, but how exactly do they do that? Elevators have compartments that are attached to lifting systems. All you need is to tie a rope to a box and you’ve built a basic elevator.
Types of Ropes
The types of ropes elevators use depend on what the elevators are being used for. Elevator ropes are not single wire ropes. They are several strands of various sizes of rope wrapped together.
- Governor Ropes: these are safety ropes that you find in the overhead space above the elevator. If the elevator starts falling or rising too fast, the governor rope will set off the safety mounted on the elevator to stop the car. The governor rope forms a continuous loop while the elevator is moving up and down.
- Hoisting Ropes: multiple ropes are used to hoist the elevator up and then make it go up and down. These cables are also used as counterweights, and they counter the weight of the elevator when it is full so it will take less effort for the elevator to move up and down. High-strength ropes are used in high rises because the elevator needs to run at a certain speed. Some elevators run at 45mph and the grade of steel is dependent on not only the speed but the capacity.
- Compensating Ropes: all cables and elevator cars are super heavy. The standard one-inch elevator cable can weigh almost two pounds per foot. Compensating ropes will ‘compensate’ for the weight of the hoisting ropes on the car or counterweight side.
Elevator wire rope must be in good condition at all times. They are often inspected and checked for proper tension or any wear or rust. Traction elevators typically cost more in monthly maintenance fees because they need to be monitored more often.
These are the most popular elevator. It is hoisted and lowered by traction steel ropes. The ropes are connected to the elevator and loop around the sheave. A sheave is a pulley with grooves, the grooves grip the ropes so when you rotate the sheave the ropes will move.
Sheaves are then connected to electric motors and when the motor rotates one way the sheave commands the elevator to move with it. Roped elevators are very versatile and super efficient, they also have a lot more safety systems.
Silver State Wire Rope
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