Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Lift design -no electricity supply?

  1. Feb 17, 2012 #1
    Elevator design -no electricity supply?

    I hope someone can help me.

    I'm designing a building for uni that requires several lifts (elevators) which transfer bicycles and pallets vertically.

    My tutor suggested to look at energy efficient lifts. He mentioned that he had seen a lift, which movement was controlled by a weight being placed on another lift forcing one lift down and one lift upward. A counterweight system, that relies upon weight rather than a guy pulling on a pulley.

    If anyone knows of such a lift please can you direct me. It would be ideal for my design which is for a cycle delivery hub, whereby cycles unload and then collect new packages.

    I am aware of magnets but just wish to see if my tutors approach exists!

    Thanks in advance.
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2012
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 17, 2012 #2


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Re: Elevator design -no electricity supply?

    What will supply the energy to move the lifts? Even if the weights are balanced between two lifts connected over a pulley, something still has to put in some energy to move the lifts.

    It seems straightforward to have a scale on the lift that you put the payload on, and then put an equivalent amount of weight on the other lift that is connected to it over the pulley at the top. You would hold the two lifts with latches while loading them up, then un-latch them and do whatever to move the payload to its destination floor.

    The downside is that if you have a net flow of material in one direction, you will have to have a way of returning counterweights to destinations where they are needed.
  4. Feb 17, 2012 #3
    Re: Elevator design -no electricity supply?

    Thank you for your reply.

    From what I understand the system to have been, if one wants to ascend a heavier weight is placed on the other lift and vice versa if one wants to descend.

    I'm sorry for being quite obscure, I'm just relaying the information relayed.
  5. Feb 17, 2012 #4


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Re: Elevator design -no electricity supply?

    You're not being obscure. The concept is pretty straightforward. Did you understand my comment about the problem that exists if there is a net movement of payload upwards overall? Somehow the counterweights have to get returned to upper floors in that case...
  6. Feb 17, 2012 #5
    Yes I did thank you, maybe if I explain a bit clearer what I'm trying to achieve and then we can see if I need to return to the drawing board!

    The design of the building is such that cycles transporting goods ride into the building at first floor level. The goods from the cycle trailer are then deposited in one lift and the cycle placed in the other lift. The weight of the deposited goods force the lift down to the ground floor, the lift is unloaded and the goods will be placed in ground floor storage. At the same time the empty cycle is taken up to the second floor, then the cycle is packed with new goods put back in the lift and descends back to the first floor and cycles out of the building.

    And if you pardon the pun... the delivery 'cycle' repeats

    Thanks again
  7. Feb 17, 2012 #6


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    You might also want to think about the internal movement of the good from your ground floor storage to where they will be used, and then consider why for hundreds of years most workshops and factories used the opposite workflow: incoming goods were delivered to the top floor of the building and stored there, and the outgoing goods were despatched from the bottom.
  8. Feb 18, 2012 #7
    A good point which I have considered. The building I'm designing connects to an existing railway station. Freight is transferred directly into the building from the train. The goods are then being delivered locally on the back of freight cycles.

    The train platform is raised to first floor level and this can't be altered. The concept of the facade of the building is to celebrate the delivery process and the sense of movement within a factory. Instead of the current trend of screens creating sheds on the landscape I wish to use similar principles to those demonstrated at the 'Transparent Factory' in Dresden.


    So passers walking by or using the train, witness this horizontal flow of cycles riding through the building on a vertical and horizontal plain. Couple with the vertical and horizontal flow of freight.

    Thanks for your input thus far, often when faced with a problem, the solution can be fairly simple... I just need a nudge in the right direction!
  9. Feb 18, 2012 #8
    This may give you some ideas -- Falkirk Wheel (boat lift)
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook