Elevator Breakdowns – Why They Happen & What You Can Do To Prevent Them

Posted by  On March 21, 2017
Vertical Transportation (Elevators & Escalators)

With the recent article published by CBC News regarding a new Ontario bill aiming to hold elevator contractors responsible for fixing outages, it is evident that broken elevators are reaching a crisis point in Canada. it is time for a closer look at what other possible factors are involved for why elevators even break down in the first place.

Being trapped in an elevator is a devastating experience no matter how you look at it. No one likes to be stuck in a confined space not knowing what is going on outside of walls surrounding them.

The golden rule in reducing and eliminating the possibility of premature and unexpected elevator breakdown simply comes down to regular scheduled preventive maintenance, inspection, and testing of elevators.

There are a number of factors that mandate the methods and intervals of maintenance on an elevator. Not all elevators are designed and manufactured equally. Yes, it is true that the quality of elevator engineering design, manufacturing, and field installations are major factors in initial stages of the elevator installation. It is also expected that an elevator after being installed operates safely and reliably for a long time. The only way that you can guaranty a reliable operation is just simply by regularly maintaining, inspecting and testing the equipment to assure all parts and functions of the elevators are as per OEM’s recommendations.

The age of an elevator is one of the factors that many elevator experts refer to when it comes down to the reason for elevator breakdown but, truly it is not the only factor. If an elevator has received proper care such as cleaning, lubricating and adjusting parts at regular intervals and repairing or replacing worn out or defective components when it needs, they will operate safely and reliably for a very long time.

Unfortunately, when an elevator demonstrates inherent problems and regular breakdowns right after the installation or within the first decade of its operation this is typically a sign of neglect. This is the time that special attention must be made to identify the root cause of the issues before it is too late.

This is the time that the Customer as an owner of the elevator, elevator Contractor as a service provider and Consultant as an independent elevator expert must meet to evaluate the situation and create a short-term and a long-term plan for a safe and reliable elevator operation for the building.

Planning is everything, it is inevitable that certain elevator components or devices of elevator system must be replaced or modernized over the years in order to maintain the highest level of safety and reliability in elevator operation. There are many components in an elevator system that need to be repaired or replaced due to wear and tear on regular intervals while other components simply require regular care and maintenance in order for them to last for a very long time.

— Mahyar Pedram, P.Eng., B.A.Sc., EDM-F / Senior Vice President of Vertical Transportation

Mahyar has over 22 years of experience as an electrical engineer in the vertical transportation industry. Prior to joining HITE Engineering Corporation, he served as Senior Vice President of Manufacturing for ThyssenKrupp Elevator Canada. Mahyar is a certified Elevator Inspector/Consultant and holds an EDM-F licence in Ontario. He is currently a voting member of the technical committee of CSA B44, Safety Code for Elevators and Escalators, ASME A17.7/CSA B44.7 Performance-Based Code, ASME A17.8/CSA B44.8 Standard for Wind Turbine Tower Elevators and Section 38 of CSA C22.1, Canadian Electrical Code.

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