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Car Elevators

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Car Elevators or Automobile Elevators are required in many Urban residential and commercial Buildings as the Land in urban area is Scarce and expensive, Parking has become one of the top issues to be addressed during planning of a Building. Hence, many Commercial and residential Buildings now have Podium Parking. The access to the Podium is via a Ramp, Mechanized Parking or a Car Elevator.

Comparing the three alternatives, The ramp occupies a large space in the expensive Real Estate. The Mechanized Parking is good but has its own woes like breakdowns, high Maintenance Cost and high dependency. The Car Elevator is preferred by many construction companies due to its small footprint as compared to the ramp and also because of ease of use and lower maintenance costs compared to the Fully Mechanized Parking. Generally, the building will have two car elevators one for taking cars from the Entry floor level to the Parking Floor Level and the other one which will take the cars from the Parking Floor Level to Exit Floor Level. This also helps in redundancy. If one Elevator fails the other one can be used to service both incoming and outgoing traffic for time being until the breakdown is resolved.

Car Lifts will often have opposite opening so that the driver can enter and exit the vehicle without much maneuvering of the vehicle while driving out of the Car Elevator. Generally, Entry or Exit Floor will have opening on one side and parking Floor will have opening on the other side.

Types of Car Elevators

Car Elevators are mainly two types and we have classified the same based on the Main Unit that Drives the elevator. Accordingly, we would like to classify the Car Elevators as under

  • Hydraulic Car Elevator
  • Traction Car Elevator

Hydraulic Car Elevator

Hydraulic Car Elevators as the name suggests are powered using hydraulics. The Main Driving unit of the Hydraulic Car elevator is a hydraulic Power Pack containing Motor, Pump and valves all particularly manufactured for purpose of use in a Car Elevator. The output from the Power Pack, with the help of hydraulic Hose Pipes, is connected to two Pistons which are synchronized so that they move up and down together at synchronized speed and at the same level. The hydraulic pistons are arranged on the pit without putting the Pistons into the ground. This arrangement is called hole less arrangement or indirect roping arrangement.

In this Indirect Roping arrangement the elevator Travels two times the travel of the Pistons. This means if the total travel height of the elevator is 10 Meters the piston maximum travel will be 5 Meters. This arrangement is really useful as compared to the direct arrangement the pistons are placed above the ground so maintenance activity like replacement of oil seal is easier, also there is no need for hole in the ground to house the piston this also helps in better water proofing of the elevator pit. This arrangement also offers better speed as the lift moves two times of the speed of piston.

The Hydraulic car Elevators have their limitations especially with the travel height and the speed and hence not suitable for long travel heights. They are generally used for structures with travel heights less than 20 Meters. In General, the Speed offered for an hydraulic Elevator is between 0.30 Mps to 0.50 Mps and travel height between 3 Meters to 20 Meters.

Traction Car Elevator

Traction Car Elevators use Geared or Gearless Traction Machine placed in the machine room above the lift shaft. The Traction machine is connected with the Car and the counterweight frame with Wire Ropes and will use 2:1 or 4:1 Roping Style.

Traction Car Elevators are used in buildings which have higher travel height requirement and thereby also need higher speeds to meet the demand for the elevator. Generally, Car Elevators with Traction Machine offer Speeds upto 1.00 Mps and carrying capacity 3500 Kgs, the carrying capacity may be increased based on the individual requirement. The Traction Elevator also will have opposite openings so that the Car may enter and exit the elevator without requirement of much maneuvering of the car while doing so.

As compared to the hydraulic elevator, the traction elevators need a machine room on top of the lift shaft and hence may take up expensive real estate which might otherwise be salable. To save some Real Estate the Construction companies often request for the Machine Roomless car Elevator. However, considering the size of the Elevator and the weight of the individual components I think it is best to provide for a machine room which makes it much easier to install and maintain the elevator safely. With machine room the access to the elevator is much easier, this helps during preventive and breakdown maintenance and also for regular inspection of the various components of the elevator.

Considering the requirement of the car lifts in most urban settings, I am mentioning general specification for the same that can be used by the Construction company or the Owners of the building while contacting the Elevator supplier.

General Specification of the Car Elevator

Type of Car Elevator : Hydraulic / Traction (depending on individual/Site requirement)
Speed of Lift : 0.30 to 0.50 Mps (or upto 1.00 mps if the travel height exceeds 20 Meters)
Carrying Capacity : 2500 to 3500 Kgs ( Depending on Individual/Site Requirement)
Cabin Dimensions : 2700 X 6200 X 2400mm ( W X D X H ) (approx Clear Minimum Dimensions)(also depends on the lift shaft)
Door Opening Dimensions : 2500 X 2400mm ( W X H ) (approx Clear Minimum Dimensions) (also depends on the lift shaft)
Door Openings Side : Opposite Openings is preferred
Material Finish of the Car and Landing Doors : Stainless Steel Hairline Finish / Mild Steel Painted Finish
Control Panel : Simplex Full Collective with Weight Sensor to Check for occupancy in the Elevator (Preferred)
Displays at Floors : LED Dot Matrix Displays / LCD Displays

Note: The above Specifications are based on my understanding and experience gained while working on projects with car elevators. The above specification should act as nothing more than guideline for your project. Also, it is best and required that you consult your Project architect or designer and understand the requirements of the site and the requirements by the concerned authorities so that the project work moves on smoothly. Hence, we take no responsibility whatsoever for the above specifications.

Below is the Video of Hydraulic Car Elevator with Opposite Openings Manufactured and installed by Blue Star Elevators India Limited.

Car Elevator by Blue Star Elevators India Ltd.

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