Tuesday 25 August 2015

Unusual Lifts: What are Vacuum lifts?

The pneumatic vacuum lift is a type of lift that works without a pre-construction shaft, pit, or a machine room and can be installed in as little as two days. Even if a lift was not originally planned for a building one can be fitted without problems. This makes it an ideal solution for residential homes where the occupants find they are having difficulties ascending and descending stairs. There are a number of sizes of pneumatic vacuum lift, some of which can accommodate wheelchairs. This type of lift is particularly popular in New Zealand and the USA where vacuum lifts are often installed in self-build homes. Indeed, New Zealand has a higher proportion of self build homes than the UK, approximately 40% compared with 12% here according to the National Custom and Self Build Association.

How do vacuum lifts work?

The lift is able to move due to air pressure and is contained in a cylinder.  The difference in air pressure above and beneath the vacuum elevator cab literally transports you up – you are travelling by air. It is the vacuum pumps or turbines that pull you up to the next floor and the slow release of air pressure via a valve regulating inflow of air in the upper part of the shaft that floats you down.

Vacuum lifts are fitted an alarm system, emergency ventilation, and door safety switches.

What are the benefits of vacuum lifts?

* Expense - Compared to a convecause it d
ntional lift that requires a lift shaft and machine room a vacuum lift is very cost effective beoes not require these elements.

* The fact that the power source for vertical transportation is air pressure means that it is a very energy efficient solution and environmentally friendly. Turbines power ascent in the lifts and air pressure achieves the descent.

* Installation – In addition to the expense the installation of a conventional lift in a residential home requires a lot of space. Often space requirements or the expense prevent installation. Vacuum lifts can be easily installed with only minimal construction work and do not require as much space as conventional lifts.

* They also need very little maintenance (once every 5 years or 15,000 hoisting movements).

* A vacuum lift can offer a 360 degree panoramic view.

What are the limitations?

* Vacuum lifts can only travel a maximum of 35 feet or 10 metres. However, they can serve any number of floors within this height limitation.

* The ease of installation and lack of a centralised compliance authority after 1991 has meant in some instances non-compliant lifts are in use. The responsibility for compliance is now with regional authorities in New Zealand and unfortunately there have been a number of accidents with vacuum lifts.  We recommend that any lift should comply with international standards and are limited to domestic premises.

* Vacuum lifts have a load capacity of two 3 people or 230 Kgs and are not to be for commercial/industrial usage.

Are you considering vertical transportation for a project that you are working on? Dunbar and Boardman is the lift, escalator and access equipment consultancy. We would be happy to discuss with you. Give us a call on T +44 (0) 20 7739 5093 or send us an email via peterboardman@dunbarboardman.com to start the conversation.

Image credit: http://bit.ly/1NyiKRC


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