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Test Rig For Testing Elevator Buffers

Oleo, world leaders in the design and manufacturing of elevator buffers has designed a range of buffers to meet the demand for ever higher elevators speeds in ultra-tall buildings emerging in places such as China and the Middle East.

These buffers will be positioned at the bottom of elevator shafts to provide a vital safety mechanism for elevators in some of the tallest skyscrapers all over the world.

China is currently leading the world when it comes to new high rise buildings and is now the world largest market for elevators. The designers of these buildings require faster elevators speeds to enable efficient movement of large numbers of people around these vast buildings. Elevators speeds of 25mph needed to be increased to 45mph to enable this requirement.

A buffer has been designed to do this but it needed to be tested. Steelway were commissioned with the structural design consultants to design a test rig (tower) to enable the physical testing of these buffers at speeds above 45mph. The structure needed to be designed to lift a 20 tonne weight to the top of the tower and then dropped to replicate the speed of the elevator (45mph) and impacting onto the buffer.

The tower needed to be 33 m in height and have a base plan 6m square due to space restrictions of the site location. A crane capable of lifting a 20 tonne weight was incorporated into the top of the tower with the necessary guide rails to guide the 20 tonne weight when dropped to impact onto the buffer. Access was required to all levels within the tower for access and test monitoring equipment. The tower needed to be water tight and be a standalone structure.

Fabrication of the tower structure commenced in September 2013 and completed with the installation during 2014. Due to the height of the tower specialist lifting equipment was required. The installation was further complicated by the closeness of the surrounding buildings and electricity pylons.

The tower was tested and commissioned by Oleo during 2014 and the structure has now become a land mark and is visible for those travelling on the M6 near junction 3 and the surrounding area.

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