In any commercial building, vertical transportation represents an important financial investment, as much as hundreds of thousands of dollars for just a medium-size building. With an asset this valuable, it is good business to have a well-defined program to ensure correct elevator maintenance. While this article focuses on maintenance of elevators, much of the general information applies to escalators as well.
An elevator is an extremely complex system with hundreds of parts that must be maintained. One function of maintenance is ensuring continued operation by preventing excessive wear and breakdown. In systems as complex as modern elevator systems, a more important aspect of maintenance is to ensure that the equipment continues to perform as it was originally designed. This can be accomplished only by qualified, trained technicians using the correct equipment and tools.
The components of an elevator system that require regular maintenance can be categorized by their location: in the machine room, the hoistway, or the car.
Elevator Machine Room
The elevator machine room is the heart of the elevator system. It contains the elevator hoisting machines, motor generator sets or solid-state power supply, and control equipment. The control equipment is an essential part of the total operating mechanism that accelerates, decelerates, and levels the car at each floor. Most of the routine maintenance takes place in the machine room. This includes routine servicing of motors, generators, switches, contacts, brakes, and controls
The hoistway contains the guide rails on which the elevator car and counterweight run; the corridor doors, hangers, door locks, and operating mechanisms; switches and other operating and safety devices; and space for cables and other equipment. Equipment within hoistways that requires maintenance includes buffers, corridor door hangers and locks, switches, and safety devices. Most maintenance of these components must be performed from inside the hoistway and outside the elevator car. The hoistway pit houses the car and counterweights buffers, cable pulley and tensioning devices, and limit switches. The overhead of the hoistway may contain the overspeed governor mechanism and limit switches with space for the safety of personnel on the top of the elevator car.
With few exceptions, elevator cars are fire-resistant, well-ventilated structures. Maintenance requirements for elevator cars include servicing door operating equipment and ventilation equipment at the top of the car and safety equipment at the bottom. This work must also be performed from within the hoistway.
Flooring in elevator cars requires daily cleaning and service, and must be replaced more often than other flooring because of the amount of traffic. When replacing the floor, use nonslip material and nonflammable solutions in refinishing or cleaning the cab. Flooring, along with care of car interior finishes, is usually the responsibility of the property owner.