What Elevator Installers and Repairers Do
Mechanics check many parts, including the rails of an escalator.
Elevator installers and repairers install, fix, and maintain elevators, escalators, moving walkways, and other lifts.
Elevator installers and repairers typically do the following:
- Read blueprints to determine the equipment needed for installation or repair
- Install or repair elevator doors, steel frames and cables, motors, and control systems
- Locate malfunctions in brakes, motors, switches, and control systems
- Connect electrical wiring to control panels and electric motors
- Use test equipment, such as ammeters and voltmeters, to diagnose problems
- Adjust counterweights, door mechanisms, and safety controls
- Test newly installed equipment to ensure that it meets specifications
- Comply with safety regulations and building codes
- Keep service records of all maintenance and repair tasks
Elevator installers and repairers, also called elevator constructors or elevator mechanics, assemble, install, and replace elevators, escalators, chairlifts, moving walkways, and similar equipment in buildings. When the equipment is in service, they maintain and repair it.
Elevator installers and repairers usually specialize in installation, maintenance, or repair work. Maintenance and repair workers generally need greater knowledge of electronics, hydraulics, and electricity than do installers because a large part of maintenance and repair work is troubleshooting. In fact, most elevators today have computerized control systems, resulting in more complex systems and troubleshooting than in the past.
After an elevator is operating correctly, elevator installers and repairers must regularly maintain and service it to keep the elevator working. They generally do preventive maintenance, such as oiling and greasing moving parts, replacing worn parts, and adjusting equipment for optimal performance. They also troubleshoot and may be called to do emergency repairs. Unlike most elevator installers, people who specialize in elevator maintenance typically service many of the same elevators on multiple occasions over time.
A service crew usually handles major repairs—for example, replacing cables, elevator doors, or machine bearings. These tasks may require the use of cutting torches or rigging equipment—tools that an elevator repairer would not normally carry. Service crews also do major modernization and alteration work, such as replacing electrical motors, hydraulic pumps, and control panels.
The following are types of elevator installers and repairers:
Adjusters specialize in fine-tuning all the equipment after installation. They ensure that an elevator operates according to specifications and stops correctly at each floor within a specified time. Adjusters need a thorough knowledge of electronics, electricity, and computers to ensure that newly installed elevators operate properly.
Assistant mechanics have completed a 4-year apprenticeship program. Even after they are fully trained, assistant mechanics start with easier tasks and are assigned more difficult tasks, such as wiring and adjusting counterweights, as they gain work experience.