Does Your Building Need a Package Lift?

A package lift is a miniature type of elevator designed specifically for transporting packages and equipment using your existing building stairway. Unlike passenger elevators that ascend and descend from one floor to another, a package lift doesn’t require an elevator shaft built into the building. It can be installed into factories and warehouses using its current infrastructure.

When deciding whether you need to install a package lift, you must determine whether you typically need to transport equipment, packages, or inventory quickly between floors. The weight you need to transport is also a factor.

What is a Package Lift?

A package lift is a lightweight, cost-effective alternative to freight elevators that require expensive renovations. Depending on the size of the loads you need to transport, a package lift may be the optimal choice for efficient stock transportation between departments or from the shop floor to an elevated storage location in your factory.

The dumbwaiter is another type of miniature freight elevator that became popular for transporting food orders to hotel guests on multiple floors. However, the dumbwaiter has its own vertical shaft. If you need packages or other goods transported from one floor to another or across multiple floors quickly, the dumbwaiter may be the optimal choice for your business.

Both types represent less expensive alternatives to traditional passenger and freight elevators, which require a high degree of regulator compliance and overhead.

Non-Industrial Applications

Although the package lift has numerous applications in an industrial or warehouse setting, this technology also has a place in the office and the home. For non-commercial uses, the elderly and those with physical disabilities can use package lifts to transport everything from heavy boxes and furniture to laundry from one floor to another without risking undue strain or injury. A package lift can also transport wheelchair-bound individuals up stairways.

Freight Elevators

The package lift and dumbwaiter are both lightweight alternatives to the traditional full-size freight elevator. Neither is suitable for transporting heavy-duty loads. If you need to transport several tons, a dedicated freight elevator with its own vertical shaft is necessary. The most you can expect a package lift to transport is approximately 500 lbs.

Different Types of Elevators

Package Lift

Package lifts and dumbwaiters contrast with traditional elevators typically associated with the vertical transport of passengers or freight in a residential lift or commercial building. However, elevators and lifts span a wide variety of designs and applications worth considering as alternatives. Some of the most common types include:

Hydraulic elevators

Suitable for low- to mid-rise buildings, hydraulic elevators don’t provide the same weight capacity as traction elevators but are simpler in design and less expensive to install. Driven by a piston located underneath the elevator, the hydraulic system doesn’t require heavy hoisting machinery overhead.

Traction elevators

One of the most versatile options, the traction elevator, is suitable for mid- to high-rise buildings. It provides a good balance of speed and weight capacity, using a geared or gearless drive and a series of cables, pulleys, and counterweights.

Machine room-less elevators

The machine room-less elevator is a type of gearless traction elevator that eliminates the need for a machine room located at the top of the hoistway. Less expensive and more energy-efficient, the machine room-less elevator also avoids the leakage problems that can occur with hydraulic systems.

The codes governing elevators and elevator modernization are set by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME). Besides being expensive to install, routine elevator maintenance is also necessary to avoid costly repairs and downtime later. Fortunately, package lifts are far less expensive to install and maintain.

What are the Downsides?

Package lifts can be noisy to operate, but engineers have been refining this quality to produce smooth, low-noise examples. Freight elevators must also meet some of the same building-code requirements as passenger elevators, limiting the viability of dumbwaiters for some businesses. However, package lifts don’t require costly elevator repairs.

Final Thoughts

At Shelving & Rack Systems, Inc., we’re in the business of determining the best shelving, storage, and supply chain management solutions for your warehouse, factory, or supply hub.

If you have a mezzanine storage area or administrative building, you can improve workplace ergonomics with the addition of a package lift. Whether you decide that the traditional dumbwaiter, stairway package lift, or materials handling option is what you need, call us at (800) 589-7225 for more information or request a quote for your facility.