Traction lifts are the oldest and most versatile type of lift. They basically consist of a lift car and a counterweight attached to separate ends of a cable which travel over a large pulley wheel called a Sheave at the top of the lift shaft.
Traction lifts generally require a machine room at the top of the lift shaft. This is typically higher than a standard room as the top of the lift shaft protrudes into the room, terminating in a platform about 1m higher than the floor of the room that houses the motor, gears, sheave, safety governor and floor selector. Lift machine rooms must be kept locked as unauthorised persons could interfere with the equipment or sabotage it or injure themselves. A lift motor room features fast moving parts and high voltage electricity. Machine rooms should be well ventilated and heated if there is a chance of cold weather damaging the equipment and they should also have a lifting beam attached to the ceiling and a hatch in the floor so that heavy machinery can be winched out and new machinery winched in. With lift machinery having a seemingly ever decreasing lifespan, it is important to ensure that all the equipment can be replaced easily. Machine rooms should ideally be accessible by stairs although many machine rooms are only accessible by a ladder. Machine rooms should not be used for any purposes other than housing the machinery required for the lift, when lift machinery is located in a general service penthouse, it should be located in a separate and locked room.
In some cases, the machine room is located below the lift shaft rather than above it, in this case, the lift cable is a complete chain with an un-powered sheave at the top of the haft and a powered sheave at the bottom, located in a machine room.
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