The design implications of Infrastructure, Mega Cities, Manufacturing, Retail, and Shipping needs the assistance of an application engineer or elevator consultant to define VT design and specifying. Part of the design process is to meet with the end user/tenant to understand the importance of their VT expectations. When the elevator is critical to the operation of the building, a high performance unit should be considered with special attention paid to components that cause shutdowns, specifically, the hoistway door system.
When a building owner or architect works with elevator professionals it’s important that they properly communicate the purpose of their proposed facility and its potential tenants. The elevator professionals will also conduct their own discovery, for example, who will visit, how often, for what purpose, the amount of potential elevator traffic as well as what materials are being stored, produced, transported, etc.
When materials are being transported it’s appropriate to assess their size, weight and quantity to determine the best VT recommendation. While most passenger elevators can serve a dual purpose as a service “freight” elevator for the occasional furniture delivery or UPS shipment, it is not an appropriate solution for high volume freights, or finished goods production, or storage and transport which could potential damage hoistway door panels.
There are many options to move freight in a building; Material Lifts, Service Elevators, and Freight Elevators.
Some Material Lifts are non-passenger and limited use passenger rated devices and therefore have a narrow market. They are either offered in a standard pre-engineered package or custom design, therefore the cost can vary, but typically not much less than a traditional Freight Elevator. They are ideally suited for an integrated conveyor systems, inventory retrieval, and mezzanine storage.
Service Elevators on the other hand offer passenger elevator features with a rugged interior for freight. They are pre-engineered by the manufacturer and are closer in cost to a traditional Freight Elevator verses a Material Lift. They are ideally suited for hotels, residences, office buildings, hospitals, etc. to transport lightweight materials, furniture, and service carts.
Freight Elevators are different from both Material Lifts and Service Elevators because they are heavy duty and rated for non-public use. They are application specific and are designed based on the building owner/tenant needs which were learned in the discovery process. There are limitless applications based on the build owner/tenant business; retail; grocery, factory, distribution and warehouse, garage, museum, government, convention center, power plant, and more. Freight Elevator are suited for any facility where material is transport by cart, hand-truck, pallet, lift truck, or vehicle.
Although there are a few different options to move freight, the most appropriate elevator to be specified should be based on the material being loading, rated class of the elevator, and the potential damage to the hoistway doors; some statistics indicate that 80% of shutdowns are related to hoistway doors. Proper attention to both the elevator and hoistway doors needs to be considered to ensure maximum service for the building owner/tenant.
Freight Elevators with Vertical Sliding Doors offer unique advantages over alternatives. One significant advantage is their efficient use of hoistway space, the maximum entrance width and height is provide with minimal return space needed (13” on both sides). Since Vertical sliding doors are not standard, their size accommodates the available space, they also utilizes space above and below the elevator car. Freight elevators offer efficient operation; Automatic Open and Close, Firefighter Service Capable, and Dual Light Curtain Obstruction Protection. Since most shutdowns are caused by damage to the hoistway doors they’ve been designed durable and rugged, with the following design features; Structural Impact Resistant Panels, Heavy Duty Guide Rails and Guides, No Jam-Prone Grooved Sills (Sills are Designed for Trucking), Structural Door Framing, Industrial Duty Operators and Interlocks, and Independent Operation (No Multi-Panel Overlaps or Complex Multi-Panel Interconnections).