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Continuing Education: Inspection

Safety and Buffer Testing without Weights

by John Koshak

latest ballot. In order to see firsthand

Learning Objectives how one type of system works and
After reading this article, you should what the results are, a comparative
have learned that: test of the system was done at a
◆ The use of alternative testing major university on three duplex
systems have been in use for traction elevator groups. This article
two decades in Europe. presents the results of these tests for
◆ The equation F = ma, when m the reader’s analytical evaluation.
(mass) and a (acceleration) can Conventional A17.1/B44
be directly measured, can be Test Methods
used to accurately calculate F Category 5 tests require testing of
( f ). safety retardation forces[1], brake re-
◆ Accelerometers in common use tardation forces[2] and traction forces[3]
today are ridiculously sensitive using test weights. The Category 5
and accurate. With accurate safety test requires full load in the
data, near-absolute results can car, running the car at rated speed
be calculated and verified. and tripping the governor to prove
◆ The results from alternative the safety actuation, and recording
testing systems successfully the stopping force by measuring
challenge the notion that test slide marks on the rails. Acceptance
weights are necessary. testing requires full load in the car,
◆ The A17 committee has language running the car at governor over-
proposed that will allow this speed and measuring slide marks on
technology, assuming the pro- the rails. Value: 2 contact hours
posal passes the consensus The brake tests require overload- (0.2 CEU)
process. ing[4] the car to prove the brakes’
stopping and holding forces.
This article is part of ELEVATOR WORLD’s
The traction test requires placing
Continuing Education program. Elevator-industry
Introduction the empty car at the top floor and personnel required to obtain continuing-education
The use of alternative testing sys- running the counterweight onto the credits can receive two hours of credit by reading
tems of safeties and buffers has been buffer and continue to run up to the article and completing the assessment exami-
permitted and used outside North prove the car is not picked or the nation questions found on page 179.
America since the early 1990s and motor stalls due to too much trac- For this article and more continuing-education
provided acceptable results accord- tion, then placing the fully loaded car opportunities, visit www.elevatorbooks.com.
ing to inspection officials in Europe. at the bottom floor and running the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION

Approved by NAEC
After long success with alternative car down onto the buffer and contin- CERTIFIED

uing to run down and prove that


test systems, the A17/B44 [in the

years this was introduced, B44 and neither the counterweight is picked, Approved by NAESA
A17 were not together] community nor the motor stalls due to too much International
drafted allowance language in the traction. Too little traction is tested
Mechanical Design Committee, TR 95- during the course of testing by virtue Approved by QEI Services, Inc.
73 (later renumbered TN 02-2275), of the car not slipping traction; how-
which is currently at the Mechanical ever, there are no specific parameters
Design Committee for action on the for a test. Continued

September 2010 | ELEVATOR WORLD | 129

Continuing Education: Inspection Continued

These tests are necessary to en- freefall must be determined without Traction Tests
sure that degradation of components actually cutting all the suspension The disadvantage of the present
from the original design and installa- members, something that is not methods include lack of consistent
tion has not occurred and affected tested today and is only inferred by testing in jurisdictions where inspec-
system compliance. These tradi- test results with suspension means tions are not consistently done and
tional tests have been proven to be intact. The current method of finding the lack of detailed information of
an effective demonstration of code and measuring the slide marks is not traction reserve left in the system.
compliance and were the only possi- exact and therefore another disad- The parameters for the test are very
ble methods of ensuring continuing vantage. Finally, another disadvantage broad, and while this may indicate
code compliance throughout the life is the management and handling of reserve, they do not provide any
cycle of the elevator until instruments test weights themselves. This can be measurable verification of wear data
were developed to directly measure hazardous to handlers, and, if clearly to infer when the traction reserve
these effects such as the Henning shown to be unnecessary, allowance may disappear. Having a tool that
ELVI system. for testing without test weights will can provide a direct measure of this
Disadvantages of lead to fewer injuries and less dam- traction force for future reference is
Conventional Testing Methods age to property. invaluable for verification for code-
Safety Tests Brake Tests compliance and design purposes.
The disadvantages of full load/full The use of test weights to set If the disadvantages of present
speed safety tests are well known. brake adjustment requires adjusting testing methods can be overcome
The tests remove safety-shoe mate- and testing to be a time-consuming and provide equivalent test results,
rial in such quantities that ultimate task and, therefore, less likely to be safety is preserved. This is the most
replacement of the shoes is required or done. This is a disadvantage, as many important goal in ensuring that the
can cause unknown system response brake tests can be overlooked and elevator is in compliance.
during the next required actuation of left untested where AHJ inspections ELVI Test System
the safety. Longer duration retarda- are not witnessed or with less fre- The ELVI system is comprised of
tions with full load may possibly quency than suggested by A17.1/B44. three major components: a laptop
damage cab components and rails If the tests could be done without computer with software, rope-tension
and rail mounting systems. Another test weights and with high accuracy, measuring gauges with an output
disadvantage is that the safety is there would be more compliant into the laptop and an accelerometer
required to stop a freefalling car and, brakes based on the ease of brake- output into the laptop with precise
therefore, the system’s response to a force verification alone. synchronization between the two
subsystems. The counterweight is
weighed independently, recorded
into the laptop ELVI program, and
then the rope gauges are moved to
the car ropes where the car weight is
recorded and left for the duration of
the testing.
The first dynamic test is to run the
car at speed onto the safety with the
ELVI program running. It records the
rope force (as a function of rope ten-
sion) and the accelerometer output.
While still on safeties, the second test
is performed by running the car at
inspection speed in the down direc-
tion to record the changing rope ten-
sion, which is proportional to system
traction when the exact mass of the
car and counterweight are known.
The third test is to run the car up off
Figure 1: Safety test result screen the safety, run down to the bottom

130 | WWW.ELEVATOR-WORLD.COM | September 2010

and then run up at rated speed into Further data is provided such as Rope Tension Gauges
an emergency stop. This measures what load in the car would begin to The ability to provide this level of
the brake force. If an emergency cause loss of traction at 3,796 kg detail is a result of the use of rope
brake is present, a second brake test static and 3,296 kg dynamic loads. tension measuring gauges that have
of only the emergency brake is per- Based on the rated load of the car a 2.5% accuracy of weight measure-
formed the same way. Finally, the car input at the start of the test, the rated ment of the car and counterweight.
is run down again, then up again to load factor can be calculated and In terms of equivalent measurement,
record both the machine and emer- displayed. Finally, based on the T1 we would typically have to get an
gency brakes setting simultaneously. and T2 values measured with the appropriately sized scale, then pick
The results can then be printed for ELVI system, absolute counterweight the car or counterweight to measure
easy reading and recording into the balance is displayed. the weight. This is a time-consuming
Maintenance Control Program (MCP) Continued

and for AHJ submission. Sample

screenshots of the ELVI system re-
porting are shown in Figure 1. The
results are shown at the bottom of
the screenshot. This safety stopped
the empty car at 2.7 g(peak) and is
calculated to be capable of stopping
the elevator with suspension means
intact with:
◆ 100% load at 1.8 g(peak)
◆ 125% load at 1.7 g(peak)
◆ 150% load at 1.5 g(peak)
A significant benefit of the ELVI
system is the ability to calculate the
safety force directly and, therefore,
calculate the retardations without
suspension means attached, again
calculated above at 100% load to be
at 0.9 g(peak), with 125% load at 0.8
Figure 2: Brake testing result screen
g(peak) and 150% load at 0.7 g(peak).
The brake test results are shown
at the bottom of Figure 2. The tests
were all passed; they are individual
and reflect the normal or emergency
brake. When the tests are done, the
system needs to have the notation
for reference.
The traction force results are
shown at the bottom of Figure 3.
This value is calculated in both the
static and dynamic phases. The results
show that the static traction force is
2.13 times the code-required traction
force based on the exact T1 and T2
loading measured at the beginning
of the tests and resultant measured
coefficient of friction at the sheave
On this unit, the dynamic traction
force is 1.96 times the required force. Figure 3: Traction testing result screen

September 2010 | ELEVATOR WORLD | 131

Continuing Education: Inspection Continued

solution and one that is rarely done weight. Henning, other alternative This inaccuracy, in weight, illus-
unless specified on a new job and test system providers, and most con- trates several points. First, later ad-
even more rarely on an existing job. sultants, inspectors and owners justing that relies on the crosshead
The ELVI system then inserts the would agree that this data is rarely data plate accuracy and assumed
actual data values of these measure- correct. This inaccuracy is illustrated counterweighting will have a very
ments into the testing software and by the counterweighting differentials high likelihood of being incorrect.
calculates masses for later use in directly measured by the ELVI sys- When these weight balances are out-
calculating force and determining tem. Note that in only one in six jobs side the capacity of a Ward-Leonard
code compliance for the safety, brake was the counterweighting correct; system, for instance; it is difficult to
and traction tests. all were designed to be 40%. This maintain ride stability throughout
Table 1 is a breakdown of the inaccuracy was verified by using test the temperature and load range.
actual counterweight and car weights weights to balance the cars, and the With newer solid-state drive systems
of six cars tested at the university. It ELVI system proven to be accurate, such as all of the units tested at the
is critical to note that none of the car much to the surprise of university university, there is system compen-
data plates had an accurate car personnel. sation, which tends to cover these
inaccuracies up to the power capac-
ity of the solid-state drive system.
Second, any alternative testing sys-
tem that does not measure the
weights and assumes these to be
correct will not be accurate. Third, it
is Henning’s experience that these
inaccuracies are just as prevalent
in Europe and Asia, providing the
rationale for developing its system in
order to eliminate an unknown from
their test system results.
This is a key consideration for
allowing the use of alternative testing
systems in North America; the test-
ing at the university indicates that
the proposed code requirements
should require the masses to be
weighed. It is also important to note
Figure 4: Rope gauges installed on a car that assumed incorrect weights can
lead to improper code rulings of
weight changes made throughout
the life cycle of the elevator.
At the National Association of
Elevator Contractors’ educational
seminars in Orlando in September
Weight Balance Results: ELVI System Vs. Actual 2009 (ELEVATOR WORLD, December
ELVI System Actual 2009), a German testing agency with
Car ID Empty Counterweight Weight Empty Counterweight Weight another alternative test system, was
Car [kg] [kg] Balance Car [kg] [kg] Balance
asked about the weight inaccuracies.
A1 2109 2649 48%
The response was that it is only crit-
A2 1710 1941 20%
ical to measure the weights when
B1 2209 2654 40% UNKNOWN without physically weighing
the car or relying on crosshead data the safety slide marks on the rails are
B2 2241 2733 43% plate or paperwork near the extreme ends of code com-
C1 2318 2871 49%
pliance. This appears to miss the point
C2 2345 2880 47%
in a controlled environment where
Table 1 the weights are likely accurately

132 | WWW.ELEVATOR-WORLD.COM | September 2010

recorded. This may be acceptable, With conventional safety testing, display the actual retardation rate
although ripe for error. In North the slide marks on the rails provide into the hundreds of a second range.
America, where the requirement for an indication of a based on empirical This kind of fundamental measure-
data plates did not exist for many evidence and historically calculated ment is becoming standard in design
years, this requirement is a must to accelerations. However, since it only and testing in the industry.
ensure that the weight inaccuracy uses one data point (the length of the Accelerometer
not prejudice any alternative testing slide), it can only provide an average The ELVI system also uses an ac-
system simply because of an incor- retardation rate referred to in terms of celerometer to precisely record three
rect weight assumption. g force (the acceleration of gravity). axis(x, y, and z; front to back, side to
Slide measurements can also be As mentioned in the previous section side, and up and down) of accelera-
fraught with error, as the measure- on car weights, unless it is directly tion, with a sampling rate of 2 kHz.
ment of them tends to be inaccurate measured, “m” is assumed if only With this level of detail, it is possible
in combination with inaccurate using crosshead data plate informa- to see peak accelerations and the
weights. This can and likely does tion, making this assumption suspect. duration for which the accelerations
lead to inaccurate retardation results. The “m,” in all cases, is assumed by existed. This is important because
With the ability and relative ease of the tester and is not from a code- the visibility of high accelerations for
measuring the weights from all pres- required measurement. longer durations can be used to
ent alternative testing systems, this In North America, the code re- potentially design them out by safety
should be a requirement in allowance quires that the type B progressive designers, reducing potentially dan-
for the alternative testing systems, safety slide be within a minimum/ gerous stops. It can also be used to
given the inaccuracies measured at maximum slide range (indicating an assist in identifying what may have
the university and the presumption average retardation rate of greater caused excessive retardations after
that most elevators will either have than 0.35 g minimum and less than the fact. Using International Organi-
inaccurate weights on the data plate, 1.0 g with rated load. 1.0 g repre- zation of Standardization (ISO) filter-
weight that is not printed on the data sents acceleration due to gravity ing described in ISO 18738 and ISO
plates or no data plate at all. equaling 9.8 m/s2. (0.35 g would be 8041, a true average retardation can
Safety Force Measurement 9.8 m/s 2 x 0.35 = 3.43 m/s 2, for in- be seen, weighted to human response.
Current A17.1/B44 Category 5 stance.) Due to the loading differ- The accelerometer affixes to the
safety test pass/fail criterion for the ences from empty to full load in the crosshead near the roller guides to
type B progressive safety is a reading elevator, there are occasions when reduce the effects of crosshead oscil-
of slide marks left on the rails after a the same retarding force to stop a lation produced during the stopping
safety set with rated load at rated fully loaded elevator will result in of the elevator (Figure 5). The white
speed. The slide marks can only indi- excessive retardation rates when the device is a wireless transceiver that
cate an average retardation rate. The elevator is empty or lightly loaded, communicates to the rope-tension
Type B safeties, generally having one creating a greater-than-1 g average. sensor device when the ropes gauges
large average retarding force with It is also likely that when the safeties are mounted near the hitchplates on
retarding-force peaks, will produce do set due to an overspeed condi- 2-to-1 roped systems. The white
multiple retardation rates depending tion, it is when the elevator is lightly cord is a USB cable going to the lap-
on the mass it is stopping, its initial loaded. This is the case the vast ma- top computer and software system.
velocity, surface conditions of the rails jority of the time elevators are used.
and shoes, rail joints and temperature. In addition, embedded in the re-
This can vary results from one test to tardations are very high peak accel-
another. If more exact information erations of such duration that can be
were available, then variables might injurious to users as well. The use of
be accounted for, but gross unknowns slide marks giving an average “a”
could certainly be eliminated. cannot reveal this key information
In general terms, the retardation to assist in finding and potentially
rate of any stop is derived from the reducing these potentially dangerous
fundamental formula: accelerations by design. With the
F = ma (Equation 1) development of accelerometer record-
where F = force, m = mass and a = ing systems and high speed com- Figure 5: Accelerometer magnetically attached to
acceleration. puting interfaces, many systems can crosshead

September 2010 | ELEVATOR WORLD | 133

Continuing Education: Inspection Continued

The ELVI system waveform results The ELVI system calculates the fully engaged. Velocity reduction
of an empty car test and a full load average safety forces not over the prior to that should not be used
test of car 13349 are illustrated in whole stopping process. It looks for because it is different from safety to
Figures 6 and 7. An analysis of these the interval where the safety is fully safety. It doesn’t represent any spe-
two screenshots and how the data engaged when the deceleration is cific force, only the force as it is
is evaluated and put into Table 2 more or less constant. The rest of the being developed up to full force, and
for reference will explain how the stopping process is the safety begin- it is usually nonlinear and, therefore,
comparison of no load to full load ning to engage. While there is some unpredictable. The braking force
is made and how prediction is retardation, the full force is only during the full safety engagement is
possible. developed when the safety shoes are constant. (It does not change when
you change the load in the car.)
Figure 6 shows two waveforms:
one is the z axis through a 100-Hz
low-pass filter, and the second is
velocity change of the elevator from
1.25 m/s calculated through an inte-
gration of the z axis accelerometer
data during the retardation phase
over time (y axis). The z axis also
illustrates the peak acceleration seen
at time = 138.880 of approximately
18 m/s , 18/9.8 = 1.8 g(peak). The
average acceleration of the stop dur-
ing full engagement of the safety is a
ratio calculated by dividing change
in velocity (vi - v0) divided by change
in time (t2 - t1). In this case, the initial
velocity when the safety is fully
engaged is time = 138.925, velocity =
0.8 m/s until zero velocity at time =
Figure 6: Empty car safety actuation: 100-Hz waveform, car C2 139.055.
a = ∆v/∆t (Equation 2)
where ∆ = change, a = acceleration, v
= velocity and t = time.
The initial velocity was 0.8 mps,
and the stopping time was 0.13 sec-
onds, yielding an average accelera-
tion of 6.1 m/s 2.
g(avg) = a/g (Equation 3)
where g = 9.8 m/s 2. The g(avg) is,
then, a ratio of 6.1 m/s2 / 9.8 m/s2 =
0.6 g. This is the number we use to
describe code limitations, for instance.
In the full load test shown in
Figure 7 for the same car, the full
braking of the safety retardation
begins at time = 188.780 with a dura-
tion until velocity is zero of 0.160
seconds (188.940 – 188.780). With
the initial velocity at the point of full
safety engagement of 0.8 m/s and
Figure 7: Full load safety actuation: 100-Hz waveform, car C2 the stopping time of 0.160 seconds, it

134 | WWW.ELEVATOR-WORLD.COM | September 2010

yields an average acceleration of 5 not 1.1 g, as the measured slide Freefall Stopping Indication
m/s2. The g(avg) is, then, a ratio of 5 would lead one to believe. During the safety test, the ELVI
m/s2 / 9.8 m/s2 = 0.5 g. Relative to Predicted Safety Test Results system combines accurate rope-
an empty car in Figure 6, the fully The ability to predict the perform- tension measurement and recording,
loaded car in Figure 7 shows a ance with full load by only using an precisely synchronized (measuring
longer duration of stopping, as is empty car is based on several things: m, or mass) with the accelerometer
predictable given the higher mass. determining the force of the fully recording (measuring a) in order to
With a longer duration retardation, engaged safety, calculating the aver- calculate force (F) of the safety itself.
the predicted g(avg) in Table 2, column age accelerations and the ability to This rope-tension information is
4 is lower than the empty car accel- calculate the force with different used to determine the inertial jump
erations shown in Table 2, column 2. masses. With two knowns, m and a, of the counterweight and, therefore,
The differences between Table 2, F is a relatively simple calculation. F can be used to calculate the F of the
column 8 and column 10 illustrate can be calculated using an a = 6.4 safety with and without the counter-
why the inaccuracy of slide distance m/s2 and an m of the actual meas- weight connected in the system. This
measurement is critical in determin- ured mass of the system (Equation provides a much higher certainty
ing compliance and shows how this 1). With the actual force now known, than with using assumed values for
can lead to incorrect conclusions. F can be used to calculate the accel- a and m used by other systems. Fur-
The large variances may likely be a eration of any mass substituted into ther, it can provide peak and average
result of these cars being lower the formula F = ma to determine forces, which are again a useful
speed, only up to 1.25 m/s (250 fpm). what that acceleration would be measure of the retarding forces pro-
The error would be less at higher solving for a. vided by the safety.
speeds. The Table 2, column 9 slide a = F/m (Equation 4) There are other contributing
distance data, however, is clearly where F = force, m = mass and a = forces that must be considered in the
inaccurate, given the ELVI system’s acceleration. safety stop, such as rotational inertia
waveform measurements of the This value is output from the ELVI of sheaves, inertia of suspension
same stops at which the slides were system and populated into Table 2, member and traveling cable masses,
measured and the ability to record column 5 and. For Car C2, it is 0.7 and inertia of compensation system
the accelerations exactly. g(avg) (See Table 2, car B1, full load masses. However, we are only dis-
The ELVI system’s empty-car test (predicted) with ropes). Comparing cussing acceptance and periodic
predicted results are not directly this to the actual recorded full load testing, where the resultant contri-
comparable to the actual full load results of car 13349 in column 8 butions of these forces would be the
test results using slide marks left on (Table 2, car C2, full load with ropes same with or without a load and
the rail. The exact measurement of (actual), ELVI system result), the remain unchanged from test to test.
slide marks is not usually possible actual results clearly compare favor- Therefore, the effects recorded dur-
without applying dyes to the rails. ably to the predicted results. ing testing are both included and not
Contaminants, oxidation, rail surface Continued

finishing, and shoe surface can lead

Type B Safety Test Results: ELVI System Vs. Actual
to more or less scratching and,
ELVI System Results
therefore, inaccurate slide distances
Empty Car Full Load with
(Table 2). Looking at Figure 6 and (Actual) Full Load (Predicted) Ropes (Actual)
Figure 7, the g(avg) values are calcu- Car ID
lated on the actual waveform times With Ropes Without Ropes ELVI
and velocities, which are clearly evi- (gavg) (gpeak) System Slide Slide3
(gpeak) (gavg) (gpeak) (gavg) Result (mm) (gavg)
dent. In Table 2, the actual full load (gavg)
for car 13349 shows a value of 1.1
A1 0.9 2.3 1.2 0.5 0.9 0.3 0.7 152 0.7
g(avg), as opposed to the predicted A2 1.1 4.7 2.5 1.0 2.2 0.9 ---1 140 0.7
and verified value of 0.5 g(avg), illus- B1 0.8 1.4 0.7 0.4 0.2 0.1 0.3 197 0.5
trating the inaccuracy of using only B2 1.1 1.8 0.9 0.5 0.8 0.4 0.5 324 0.3
the slide marks to determine retar- C1 0.6 2.7 1.8 1.0 0.9 0.5 ---2 356 0.5
dations. The 1.1 is calculated with C2 0.6 1.8 1.2 0.7 0.3 0.2 0.5 152 1.1
the slide distance assumed to be Table 2: Note that during the recording of the full load test, the accelerometer moved; during the test, no
accurate. The acceleration curve was recording was made (user error); and that these values are calculated based on the slide distances measured

September 2010 | ELEVATOR WORLD | 135

Continuing Education: Inspection Continued

necessary to detail. Since the result- differently, when the safety begins use in the elevator industry are no
ing output is absolute in terms of stopping the elevator, the counter- different.
accelerations and force, comparing weight continues up due to inertia, Present conventional testing veri-
one test to a later test is valid effectively eliminating any contri- fies the forces, ensuring a minimum
without other contributing elements, bution to the stopping force, and the level of force, but cannot reveal
since these contributions will not retardation at the beginning and at reserve brake force. This is a distinct
have changed. the end of the stop can be separated disadvantage, given that loss of
This is the first time force has into safety force alone providing the reserve brake force can lead to slip-
been able to be measured directly stopping. This allows a view into the page, should deterioration go unno-
and provides another clear indi- ability of the safety to stop an unsus- ticed. Having a tool that can meas-
cation of code compliance – one pended car and making a determina- ure actual brake force (including
that was not available outside test tion of the ability to protect against some reserve) and provide a clearer
towers. This is important, as job freefall. picture of total force is, therefore,
conditions vary from test-tower con- The results do not just give a pass/ much easier to maintain in code
ditions, and as age and use may fail indication, but a rich image of the compliance. Having a tool that can
change the safety components’ force inner workings of the entire safety also quantify exact forces illustrates
considerably. stop. The direct calculation of F by changes over time for determining
The rope tension is shown here as the ELVI system is a leap in technol- effective maintenance procedures.
a black line in the lower half of the ogy that allows many measurements A criticism of no-load testing is
chart in Figure 8. The rope tension is to be possible without destroying that test weights are necessary to
steady at approximately 1,700 kg at components, overstressing elements provide a higher inertial energy to
the beginning of the recording, then and disrupting building operation. retard, due to the higher masses
begins changing with the actuation Brake Force Measurement when test loads are on board the
of the safety at time = 105.117 and The driving-machine brake and elevator. This is not entirely correct.
goes to its lowest loading of approx- emergency brake have static and The brake is only stopping a differ-
imately 50 kg at time = 105.315. This dynamic stopping requirements in ential load; the difference between
reduction in tension, synchronized A17.1/B44[5] slightly different than counterweights is generally 40-50%
in time with the waveforms of the those of EN 81-1[6]. First, it must by design, and rarely is an elevator
safety acceleration and velocity, retard a moving car during an emer- at full load. An empty car test is
allows a mathematical result of the gency stop with dynamic frictional nearly a full-load differential in the
contribution of the attached counter- force. Generally, static friction force vast majority of load cases. There-
weight and, thus, allows the safety is higher than dynamic friction force; fore, this test is valid for essentially
force to be determined alone. Said the frictional materials in common all dynamic stopping cases. To pro-
vide test weights for the extreme dif-
ferential is the tradeoff for a testing
system that can measure the force
directly and predict how the system
will respond, illustrate the reserve
clearly and remove the need to have
test weights.
A second criticism is that the car
frame and platform are not exercised
to the real-world, full-load retardation.
This is offset by the inherent safety
factors required for these components.
The system undergoes acceleration
during stopping; the difference in mass
(lack of load) does not add significant
stress to consider a proof of contin-
Figure 8: Rope tension waveform ued design compliance. It is also not

136 | WWW.ELEVATOR-WORLD.COM | September 2010

considered in the pass/fail criterion the car on its safety (after the safety of traction reserve, which is unavail-
of conventional testing. It is valid to test), then operating the drive machine able today. This makes the ELVI sys-
assume the design at empty load in the down direction, with a rope tem a very useful tool for evaluating
retardations amply test the system, tension sensor on every rope. The traction over the life cycle of any
and that further loads and stresses change in total rope tension is pro- traction system.
are accounted for by code-required portional to the traction force devel- The distinction between static and
strength requirements. oped, while the traction sheave turns dynamic friction force is important to
With the ELVI system, the actual under the stationary ropes. This pro- note (Figure 9). When the elevator is
acceleration and distance the eleva- vides a direct measurement that is stopped, it takes more force to initi-
tor travels, along with the rope ten- quantifiable for later comparative ate rope slippage over the sheave
sion and the results, are given as a measurements. With a direct meas- than is required to keep the ropes
pass/fail indication. This ability to urement of the change in force, the slipping. It illustrates that the friction
measure the dynamic braking force reserve traction can be calculated and is higher statically than dynamically.
allows the predictability. Once the written into a report. When this test is These forces reflect code compliance
dynamic force is known, then any done today, the results can be com- for the two cases: static loading loss
mass can be substituted into F = ma. pared to future tests for examination of traction and dynamically during
Converted into the m = F/a formula of the system for degradation, if any. an emergency stop, which indicates
and with two knowns, F and a, it can The use of rope tension in this whether the car will be slowed by
be determined that a mass equaling fashion is a result of specific design the available traction.
125% will or will not be decelerated, changes to the rope-tension gauges In the “Traction Test” box, note
and therefore will pass or fail. Know- to make them accurate to within 2.5%. that the rope tension (black) wave-
ing the force allows for measurable This innovation allows the measure- form has a negative peak at approx-
results for later comparison to deter- ment of the ropes, from the car top, imately time = 103.120, then a steady
mine if brake force degradation is in a quick, dependable and easy pro- negative line reading left to right at
occurring. The pass or fail criteria cedure. Making it easy ensures that time = 104.890. The negative peak
are based on A17.1 values. the test will be done more readily represents the static traction force
Traction-Force Measurement and often. At any time, the traditional the system overcame to make the
Traction-force testing is critical to tests can also be done to compare sheave turn, then the dynamic trac-
demonstrate continued compliance results. This report is stored in an tion force required to continue to
to design and maintenance criterion electronic file and can be printed to spin the sheave as represented by
in the code. The loss of rope material be put into the MCP as a job record. the flat line prior to stopping motion
(crown wear), the loss of sheave The results do not just give a pass/ at time = 111.145. This test is done
material (incorrect rope tensioning), fail indication, but also a percentage with the car on safeties; therefore,
debris accumulation (dirt, grease and
rouge) and inconsistent rope lubrica-
tion are common failures that can
not only affect rope life, but equally
important, affect traction force. Hav-
ing a tool to measure the traction
force directly and then retesting more
frequently becomes a long-term
solution to observe any degradation
of the traction force – hopefully, prior
to loss of traction.
The ELVI system tests traction by
determining the change in the sus-
pension ropes’ tension during trac-
tion movement with the car station-
ary and calculating the traction force
directly. This test is performed with Figure 9: Safety and traction test waveform example

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Continuing Education: Inspection Continued

the car speed is zero. Looking at results clearly indicate that proper vices accounting for these previously
Table 3 below, the two traction fac- design and good maintenance of unseen retardations. Since the only
tors are the “Static” peak force when these elevators is the norm. new time spent using the ELVI sys-
the car is on safety. The “Dynamic at Advantages of the ELVI System tem is the adding of rope sensors,
Rated Speed” is based on the actual Safety there are little added minutes to
traction force measured during an The use of a measuring system using the system. In fact, the time
emergency stop. The use of a value that ensures equivalent results with- saved getting weights to the job and
can then be used as the comparative out the use of test weights eliminates moving them from car to car is elim-
value for future tests. The ELVI sys- the hazards associated with moving inated, thereby reducing the testing
tem provides outputs of pass or fail test weights, and the wear and tear time to that of speeding the car onto
based on A17.1 requirements. on the technicians, building and ele- the safety.
Table 4 illustrates that the CAR A1 vator system. By measuring directly Brakes
elevator has two times the necessary on elevator system components, the With the attachment of accurate
static traction force and 1.88 times ropes and the crosshead, infor- tension gauges on the ropes and per-
the necessary dynamic traction mation previously unobtainable is forming an emergency stop, accu-
force. It is not possible to reduce clearly evident in the results. The rate brake adjustment and testing no
traction to test the validity of the ELVI system provides a direct meas- longer require hours of coordination
system; however, in time, as seen urement of relevant elevator forces of test weight delivery and labor to
outside North America, elevators that have been previously only extra- get a close adjustment of brake
experiencing a loss of traction will polated from slide marks left on force. With the ELVI system, adjust-
be obvious when tested with the the rails. By using the ELVI system, ment is a 15-minute procedure pro-
ELVI system. Though it would have embedded retardations of high value viding a simple brake test method.
been illustrative to see low traction and duration can be identified with Traction
on one of the cars at the university relative ease and can begin the The ease of measurement of trac-
for the purpose of this report, these process of exact design of safety de- tion is new to North America with
the advent of the ELVI system. With
Brake Test Results: ELVI System with No Load Vs. Actual with 125% Load Downward
the precise measurement available,
ELVI System (Dynamic) Actual (Static)
the groove wear, rope wear, and
Machine Brake Emergency Brake Machine Brake Emergency Brake
effects of oil and rouge can easily be
Car ID Lower, Lower, Lower, Lower,
125% Stop and 125% Stop and 125% Stop and 125% Stop and recorded, and corrections can easily
Hold Hold Hold Hold be planned. Reserve traction is as
A1 Pass Pass - - Pass Pass - - easily seen as reading a voltmeter in
A2 Pass Pass - - Pass Pass - - an electric circuit. The ELVI system
C1 Pass Pass - - Pass Pass - - removes the mystery of potential
C2 Pass Pass - - Pass Pass - - slipping traction by directly record-
B1 Pass Pass Pass Pass Pass Pass Pass Pass ing traction forces. Problems can be
B2 Pass Pass Pass Pass Pass Pass Pass Pass eliminated before an incident occurs.
With a traction value, reserve traction
Table 3
is known, and historical degradation
(if any) can be plotted and used to
Traction Results: ELVI Vs. Actual
determine groove/rope relationships
ELVI Actual
when trying to troubleshoot traction
Static Dynamic at rated speed
Car ID Empty Car Up Full Load Down issues. This takes less than 5 minutes.
Max. Max.
Traction Capacity Traction Capacity Ride Quality
Factor [kg] Factor [kg] In addition to the test system,
A1 2.00 3178 1.87 2856 Pass Pass Pass Pass Henning developed the “LiftPC
A2 1.87 1920 1.77 1720 Pass Pass Pass Pass Mobile Diagnosis” for measurements
B1 1.93 3043 1.82 2736 Pass Pass Pass Pass according to ISO 18738, Ride Quality
B2 2.12 3411 1.98 3041 Pass Pass Pass Pass Standard using the same hardware
C1 2.13 3796 1.96 3296 Pass Pass Pass Pass components and another software
C2 2.09 3672 1.92 3192 Pass Pass Pass Pass system. Identifying causes of vibra-
Table 4: Traction test results tion can be difficult without tools

138 | WWW.ELEVATOR-WORLD.COM | September 2010

with which to record it, and the ELVI clusion of the ELVI system was line concept is by itself not neces-
system together with the optional proven. Another elevator showed sary. Given that the ELVI system pro-
“LiftPC Mobile Diagnosis” software the counterweighting to be 56%, an- vides pass/fail results, it is clear that
module can discriminate and help other large swing from the expected later periodic tests will also pass or
identify vibrations caused by a 40% that was later proven by testing fail based on system degradation
machine bearing, a roller guide, noise with actual weights. over time and these results can then
from a solid-state drive or gears. The simplicity of using the ELVI be compared.
Summary of Results system’s measurement tools and the This tool is still a new concept in
from the University Testing accuracy were evident by the last North America, and before it is solely
The Henning ELVI system was day of testing. The last elevator was relied upon, all elevators should un-
evaluated on three pairs of traction completely tested in 30 minutes, dergo both empty and full load test-
elevators within the rope-gauge load including the confirming use of test ing and again at the first five-year test
range of the ELVI system. All tests weights to verify the T1/T2 counter- to ensure accuracy in the long term.
included recording actual weight weighting and doing two tests – one Actual masses must be known,
measurements, including surprise with no load and one without load. and it should be required to have
confirmations of grossly inaccurate The ELVI system was easy to learn these documented in the MCP and in
counterweighting. In all cases, the and operate once the personnel any instrumentation used for alter-
predictions of the ELVI system tested were familiar with it. The rope test- native testing, given the weight inac-
with no load were confirmed when ing also includes an individual rope curacies observed in elevators less
compared to the full load test. tension comparator, which can be than 10 years old.
The inaccuracy of the reported used to adjust tension to within a Certification of calibration and
weight values on the layouts and the 2.5% tolerance, complying with the mandatory recalibration of these test
crosshead data plates was surpris- tensioning requirement in A17.1a- instruments should also be included
ing. After first becoming acclimated 2008, in the code requirements.
to the tools, the mechanics at the Recommendations Overall, this technology is exciting
university pushed and pulled test Based on the successful results of for elevator professionals because of
weights to discover that the tool the testing, the use of this methodol- the level of detail it provides. Until
was, in fact, reporting the correct ogy met Henning’s intended design now, these types of measuring sys-
values, though the data plate said performance of measuring an empty tems have been limited to research
otherwise. One car was counter- car and predicting performance with facilities and laboratories. Now, with
weighted at 20% (which the majority overloads. It has been suggested that a rugged design, the ELVI system has
of people present believed was the North American code require a brought precise tools to the field that
improbable), though after extensive baseline test in conjunction with an could revolutionize elevator testing
weight and balance tests, the con- acceptance test; however, the base- in the future. Continued

September 2010 | ELEVATOR WORLD | 139

Continuing Education: Inspection Continued

Additional Screenshots

Car A1 Car A2

140 | WWW.ELEVATOR-WORLD.COM | September 2010

Car B1 Car B2 Continued

September 2010 | ELEVATOR WORLD | 141

Continuing Education: Inspection Continued

Additional Screenshots

Car C1 Car C2

142 | WWW.ELEVATOR-WORLD.COM | September 2010

References [6] EN 81-1, 1998, 12.4.2 Electro-
[1] ASME A17.1a-2008/CSA B44.1-08, mechanical brake This brake
Learning-Reinforcement Questions Car and Counterweight on its own shall be capable of stopping
Safeties. Types A, B, and C car safeties, the machine when the car is travelling
Use the below learning-rein-
except those operating on wood guide downward at rated speed and with the
rails, and their governors, shall be tested rated load plus 25%. In these conditions forcement questions to study for
with rated load in the car. Counterweight the retardation of the car shall not exceed the Continuing Education Assess-
safety tests shall be made with no load in that resulting from operation of the safety
ment Exam available online at
the car. Tests shall be made by manually gear or stopping on the buffer. [All the
tripping the governor at the rated speed. mechanical components of the brake www.elevatorbooks.com or on
The following operational conditions which take part in the application of the page 179 of this issue.
shall be checked (Item (a) Type braking action on the drum or disk shall ◆ In North America, what do cur-
B safeties shall stop the car with the rted be installed in two sets. If one of the com-
load within the required range of stopping ponents is not working a sufficient brak- rent Category 1, 3 and 5 testing
distances for which the governor is ing effort to slow down the car, travelling of the safety, brake and trac-
tripped (Item downwards at rated speed and with rated tion provide?
[2] ASME A17.1a-2008/CSA B44.1-08, load shall continue to be exercised. Braking System. For all pas-
◆ What will a current code-required
senger elevators and all freight elevators, test verify?
the brake shall be tested for compliance ◆ Which body is currently debat-
with applicable requirements. Place the
John Koshak is head and ing the approval of using alter-
load as shown in Table in the
car and run it to the lowest landing by founder of Elevator Safety native testing for use?
normal operating means. The driving Solutions, Inc. Directly prior ◆ Globally, how many years has
machine shall safely lower, stop, and
to reactivating the com- the use of alternative testing
hold the car with this load. Also, see [and (Item] pany in September 2008, for inspections been done?
[3] ASME A17.1a-2008/CSA B44.1-08, Koshak served as director ◆ When is it valid to understand Emergency Stopping of Codes and Standards the first principles of any
Distance. Counterweight traction eleva-
tors shall be tested for traction drive lim-
for North America for method of testing?
its to ensure that (a) during an emergency ThyssenKrupp Elevator. He ◆ What is the basis of alternative
stop initiated by any of the electrical pro- was formerly in research at ThyssenKrupp Research, testing?
tective device(s) listed in 2.26.2 (except
Innovation and Design. Koshak got his start in the ◆ What does the ELVI system, except buffer switches for oil
buffers used with Type C car safeties at the industry in 1980 with Westinghouse Elevator Co. accurately measure?
rated speed in the down direction, with and has worked for Dover Elevator, Amtech ◆ When mass and acceleration
passenger elevators and freight elevators Elevator and Adams Elevator Equipment Co.,
carrying their rated load, cars shall stop are measured and known,
and safely hold the load. where he was vice president of Technical Support. what other factor is known?
(b) if either the car or the counterweight He was a National Elevator Industry Educational ◆ When force is calculated, why
bottoms on its buffers or becomes Program instructor from 1982 to 1991, designed
otherwise immovable can it be used in calculations
the LifeJacket™ hydraulic elevator safety and
(1) the ropes shall slip in the drive sheave with different loading condi-
and not allow the car or counterweight holds several patents for elevator-component
to be raised designs. Koshak is a member of the ASME A17
(2) the driving system shall stall and not
◆ Why are car and counter-
Standards Committee and a regent of the Elevator
allow the car or counterweight to be weight masses critical to know?
raised Escalator Safety Foundation.
[4] The overload is determined by the type of
use of the elevator – either passenger or
[5] ASME A17.1a-2008/CSA B44.1-08 Driving-Machine Brake. The
driving-machine brake, on its own, shall
be capable of
(a) holding the car at rest with its rated
load (see 2.16.8 and 2.26.8)
(b) holding the empty car at rest
(c) decelerating the empty car traveling in
the up direction from the speed at
which the governor overspeed switch
is set. Any decelerations not exceed-
ing 9.m/s2 (32.2 ft/s2) is acceptable
provided that all factors such as, but
not limited to, system heat dissipation
and allowable buffer striking speeds
are considered.

September 2010 | ELEVATOR WORLD | 143

Continuing Education: Inspection Continued

ELEVATOR WORLD Continuing Education

Assessment Examination Questions
◆ Read the article “Safety and Buffer Testing without Weights” (page 129) and
study the learning-reinforcement questions.
◆ To receive two hours (0.2 CEU) of continuing-education credit, answer the
assessment examination questions found below online at www.elevatorbooks.com
or fill out the ELEVATOR WORLD Continuing Education Reporting Form found
overleaf and submit by mail with payment.
◆ Approved for Continuing Education by NAEC for CET®, and NAESA International
and QEI Services, Inc. for QEI.

1. During which of the following are test weights required 8. Retarding force when the safety is fully engaged is:
for safety testing? a. declining.
a. Routine testing. b. constant.
b. Periodic testing. c. increasing.
c. Category 1 testing. d. zero.
9. Predicting performance of a retarding device with dif-
d. Category 5 testing.
ferent loads requires knowing:
2. When is freefall testing of a car-mounted safety required
a. acceleration and speed.
in A17/B44? b. force and speed.
a. Never required. c. mass and speed.
b. Periodic testing. d. mass and acceleration.
c. Category 1 testing. 10. Loss of traction force can result from:
d. Category 5 testing. a. high machinery-space humidity.
3. Moving the traction sheave down with the car on safety b. accumulation of debris on the rope.
will: c. changes in car loading.
a. increase the rope tension on the car side of the d. opening and closing of the doors.
11. What is the basis of alternative testing?
a. The assumption of certain factors.
b. have no affect on the tension of the rope at all.
b. The accurate calculation of speed and time.
c. decrease the tension of the rope on the counter- c. The accurate measurement of mass and acceleration.
weight side of the sheave. d. The assumption of reliable historical measurements.
d. decrease the rope tension on the car side of the 12. What does the ELVI system accurately measure?
sheave. a. The buffer spring constant and rate of compression.
4. ELVI system rope-tension gauges have an accuracy of: b. The safety spring force and shoe friction.
a. 1.0%. c. Acceleration and crosshead deflection.
b. 1.5%. d. Rope tension and acceleration.
c. 2.5%. 13. When mass and acceleration are measured and known,
what other factor can be known?
d. 3.5%.
a. Speed.
5. Actual accurate car weight data is:
b. Force.
a. generally unknown. c. Resistance.
b. always known. d. Current.
c. rarely known. 14. When force is known, it can be used in calculations
d. not important. with different loading conditions, because the force:
6. Slide marks after a safety set indicate the: a. is constant.
a. force of stopping in inches. b. varies predictably at different speeds.
b. average retardation rate. c. goes up at a known rate.
c. instantaneous retardation rate. d. goes down at a known rate.
15. Car and counterweight masses are critical to know
d. speed of the car.
7. With a Type B safety, the maximum allowed retardation
a. assuming the masses will yield unknown results.
is: b. the speed becomes a variant in the calculation.
a. based on speed. c. the acceleration of a system cannot be determined
b. not less than 0.5 g. accurately.
c. not greater than 0.75 g. d. the force cannot be calculated accurately, and calcu-
d. not greater than 1.0 g. lated results will not be accurate.

September 2010 | ELEVATOR WORLD | 179

Continuing Education: Inspection

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