The Reliance on Testing for Modernised Lifts

Matt Revitt

Thursday 29th September 2011

When a lift is nearing the end of its working life then it is usually time for a modernisation, this will encompass upgrading several major components of the lift system with newer and more efficient components than before. These are usually lighter in weight and smaller than previous equipment due to the technological advancements that have been made over the years, they are also easier to obtain. This is mainly due to the introduction of the Lifts Directive [1] and subsequent Lift regulations [2] that came into force July 1999; this opened the flood gates for all member states to be able to trade effectively and safely due to the conformance procedures and subsequent CE marking that can be enacted by law. This has further been reinforced by the latest Machinery Regulations [3] with its ‘intended use’ certificate of incorporation. Unfortunately, this system of compliance is not considered when using the modernisation model for lifts and subsequently a great deal of reliance is left down to the test procedures adopted, but do the test procedures cover all eventualities and leave the lift totally safe to use? Furthermore, which test procedure do we adopt? All of the components chosen for the modernisation have the appropriate CE mark but collectively when placed as a complete system do not afford the same seal of approval, this is due to there being no legislative requirements for the system calculations to be performed, furthermore the simple action of weighing the car and counterweight does not always take place. This research intends to highlight the issues by following three modernisations from start to finish with a view towards testing to see if there are any obvious frailties that come to light. If there is no car weight or it has been guessed then the knock on effects filter through to most of the major components, traction calculations, emergency braking decelerations and safety gear decelerations and sliding distances all of which are fundamental calculations carried out for a ‘new’ installation are affected, but none of these are recorded or asked for on a test sheet. Without the back up of conformity procedures for a modernisation the test procedure and recording should be such that these calculations must have been carried out before the test or it cannot be completed and placed back into service.

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