Elevator doors come in a variety of styles, backed by their own sets of safety requirements depending on type. From large elevator lobby doors to small residential ones, you will come across a variety of styles as you go about life. Here’s a look at elevator doors, their vast styles, and their safety requirements.
Overall, single slide doors are the most common, which involve one section that opens one way or the other to allow passengers into the car. Let’s break the elevator door types down:
- Single slide right hand: One panel slides open from the left, from your perspective within the elevator.
- Single slide left hand: One panel slides open from the right, from your perspective within the elevator.
- Single slide center opening: Panels on each side come together in the center to close and push away from each other to open.
- Two-speed center opening: Two sections of panels on each side come together in the center to close and push away from each other to open.
- Two-speed left hand and right hand: Two sections of panels slide open from the right, from your perspective within the elevator. Opposite for right.
- Three-speed left hand and right hand: Same as above but with three panels, used for wide access for freight elevators.
Center opening elevator doors are very common, and you’ll see them in high rises of all kinds. Two-speed doors are usually used in service and freight elevators, but can be seen in small passenger elevators where space is limited. When inside the walls, they are tucked behind one another, but when they close, they straighten out in line with one another.
Occasionally, you’ll see 2 or 3-speed center opening doors, which are rare but are used in heavy-duty freight and vehicle elevators. These can have up to six door panels! Another type commonly seen in freight elevators is the vertical bi-parting style where the doors go up instead of side to side, sort of like a garage door. This type can also feature two or more panels just like the standard ones.
In the case of a swing hoist-way door, you may see a door style that folds in and out to close, like a pantry closet. This type is desired in small areas where space is at a premium.
When it comes to safety, each type has varying degrees of safety. Manual or fold-able types of elevator doors will understandably be more risky to operate than modern automatic ones. However, all elevators in the United States must undergo regular inspections by a certified inspector, usually at least once per year.
Elevator doors and cabs are extremely complex. However, when it comes to the doors themselves, two fail safes are in place in modern elevators: the doors will only open when the car door clutch and the hatch door pickup rollers line up, when the car has come to a full stop at a floor, AND manual opening of elevator doors between floors is prevented through door restricters. This can be tempting to do, especially if you start panicking because the elevator stopped while you were on it. However, don’t assume the elevator has gotten stuck at a floor. It could be between floors. Always call for help and wait.
To learn more about the elevator door types we sell and install, call Mowrey Elevator at 800-441-4449.