Geared vs Gearless Traction Elevator; Which one to Choose!
Geared vs gearless traction elevator is a common comparison that builders try to figure at all projects. And the answer is unclear. Although one of them has distinct advantages compared to the latter, the best choice can always change according to the needs, abilities, adequateness, affordabilities and so many other variants. The best way to figure this is to make a pros and cons list about them and make the decision-making easier. In this article, we will try to make a good and detailed comparison between geared and gearless elevators in all aspects.
Geared vs Gearless Traction Elevators Comparison
Although the elevator (or lift) dates back to the era of Archimedes, the first known elevator of the modern world was designed by Elisha Otis and established in 1853 at Cooper Union Foundation building in New York. Although it was a kind of a hydraulic elevator that was powered by water pressure, different from today’s electrical ones, it was a simply geared elevator. As the technology improved, although there are some other and new types of elevators, the most common ones are still geared and gearless elevators. Some important comparisons about these two types are:
- The Standing of the Wheel
- The Need For The Machine Room
- Energy Consumption
- Capacity Issues
These are the main issues that needed to be compared to make a decision about them. Of course, there are so many other important things to consider. But in this article, we will try to define what these issues are:
The Standing of the Wheel
Both geared and gearless elevators are traction elevators which are the most common ones on which the cabins are pulled up by means of rolling steel ropes that pass over a wheel attached to an electric motor above the elevator shaft. The main difference between them is the standing of the wheel. On geared traction elevators, the wheel is placed at the machine room which is above the elevator shaft, while on gearless traction elevators the wheel is above the cabin and moves with the cabin.
The Need For The Machine Room
One of the most important differences between geared and gearless elevators is the machine room. On geared elevators, the wheel and the electric motor have to be placed in a machine room which is located above the elevator shaft. But because the wheel is directly attached to the motor and the cabin, there is no necessity for the machine room at the gearless elevators. That’s why gearless elevators are also called Machine-Room-Less (MRL) elevators.
Machine rooms are mostly placed above the elevator shaft and must be considered during the design of the building. The machine room needs to be well lighted and air-conditioned. The machine rooms have a considerable size and need to be planned at the architectural design of the building. So the machine rooms can be considered as a waste of place, and a big disadvantage of geared elevators.
Gearless elevator motors can be smaller than geared elevator motors because they don’t have gears. So gearless motors can be smaller up to ½ of a geared motor. This makes the gearless motors more efficient on electricity usage. By making the motor smaller, other components will be also smaller. This will help the efficiency issue and make gearless motors more desirable.
Gearless elevators have another advantage when compared to the geared ones about comfort during accelerating, decelerating, and moving. But the gearless traction elevators have an excellent ability on leveling with floors. Gearless motors make less noise, are smoother on moving and stopping, and make fewer vibrations on the cabin while moving. These make gearless elevators more comfortable than geared traction elevators.
Geared traction elevators can travel with up to 152 m per minute speed and a maximum of nearly 75 m height, while gearless traction elevators can speed up to 610 m per minute with max 600 m travel distance. But, both geared and gearless lifts have nearly the same load capacity which is enough for passenger travel. The necessities may differ according to the projects but it is obvious that gearless elevators are more advantageous than geared ones about the speed and travel distance capabilities.
One of the main issues is, of course, the maintenance of both motors. Geared traction elevators have bigger engine than gearless ones and that necessitates bigger combined instruments that makes maintenance harder. Also, the geared motors necessitate grease, which needs to be changed regularly, which makes the maintenance harder and more expensive. These maintenance issues make gearless traction elevators (the parts are smaller and there is no usage of oil in gearless ones) more advantageous and desirable than the geared elevators.
According to these comparisons, when the question “geared or gearless elevator” is asked, the answer is so clear that gearless elevator motors are more advantageous than geared ones. But the reality comes with the needs and the money. Gearless elevator motors are more expensive than geared ones and when the geared elevators are enough for the calculated requirements. It would be wiser to choose geared elevator motors to save money and fit the projected budget. So the biggest reality is the money efficiency that shapes our decisions. As ISF Elevator Company and our experienced personnel, we are ready to guide you according to your needs and help you make the best choice with the most efficient solutions.