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What Are the Uses and Functions of Different Types of Elevators?

Elevators, or lifts, as some may call them, are a form of vertical transportation that allow people or objects to move between floors in large buildings. They may also be found in large vessels like ships that have multiple decks. Elevators are commonplace in most settings that necessitate vertical movement like shopping malls and skyscrapers. In this blog, we will provide a brief overview of the different types of elevators available today, their varying functions, and multiple uses.

The primary functioning principle behind elevators consists of a series of synchronized movements carried out by traction cables and a proportional counterweight system in the opposite direction. As the traction cables move up, the counterweights move in the opposite direction. The system is generally powered by either electric motors or a hydraulic fluid pump.

It may come as a surprise that there are different variations of elevators that are distinguished by the type of hoist mechanism employed. There are five basic types, each meeting different requirements of day-to-day life.

Traction Elevators

These elevators are usually found in high-rise buildings or other large structures that require the transportation of people and freight. These can be classified as either geared traction elevators or gearless traction elevators. Geared traction elevators utilize worm gears to both facilitate and control the mechanical movement of elevators. Gearless traction elevators use a drive sheave that is affixed to one end of the motor and are categorized as low speed elevators.

Hydraulic Elevators

Less complex than traction elevators, hydraulic elevators are ideal for low traffic, low-rise buildings and edifices. As their name suggests, they utilize a hydraulic system to push the elevator car upwards against gravity while the car descends under the pull of gravity. These elevators may be classified as either conventional, hole-less, or roped.

Conventional elevators use an underground hydraulic cylinder to transport passengers in buildings with a maximum of five stories. In contrast, hole-less elevators use above ground cylinders. Additionally, hole-less elevators are recognized for their cost-effectiveness and for being a suitable option for environmentally sensitive buildings. Roped elevators use above ground cylinders and ropes, allowing the elevator to ascend or descend farther than the pistons are able to.

Climbing Elevators

This type of elevator is self-ascending and uses its own propulsion to go up. The propulsion can be achieved with the use of a combustion or electric engine. You can find climbing elevators in towers or guyed masts, allowing operators to access different levels of a structure for maintenance.

Pneumatic Elevators

Pneumatic elevators use a vacuum and a valve to facilitate the movement of the car upwards while air is utilized to move the air down. Unfortunately, these are low-capacity elevators, allowing only about 3 passengers or minimal cargo to be transported at one time. 

Electromagnetic Propulsion Elevators

Commonly found in high-density, high-rise buildings, these cable-free elevators utilize electromagnetic propulsion to move the car in a horizontal and vertical direction. 


Due to the great advantages that elevators provide; they have remained extremely helpful devices for decades. Elevators, like other mechanical devices, necessitate routine checks and maintenance to ensure their functionality. In the case that you need replacement components or parts to repair your elevator, rely on ASAP Global Supplies. ASAP Global Supplies is a premier supplier of new, used, obsolete, and hard-to-find items, all of which have been vetted for quality assurance and authenticity. At ASAP Global Supplies, we are committed to providing customers with superior quality products with competitive pricing and rapid lead times. Kickoff the procurement process today and see how ASAP Global Supplies can fulfill all your operational needs with ease. Alternatively, you can call or email us at any time; we are available 24/7x365! 


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