Technical Blog

Sensors for elevators

The elevator industry

A common design feature of buildings and structures ranging from The Shard to residential, commercial, institutional and industrial environments including shopping centres, car parks, hospitals and railway stations, is lifts, or elevators as they are also commonly known. They make life easier for users of those buildings and ensure the upper floors are accessible by eliminating the need for stair climbing. They also provide an option for the transport of goods, as seen with loading bay lifts in warehouse settings.

According to the UK Elevators and Escalators Market Forecast Report 2022-2028, the UK elevators and escalators market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 4.7% during the forecast period, while the Global Smart Elevator Market Report predicts the market for smart elevators, those that are controlled or monitored via different forms of connectivity, will see significant growth. This presents huge opportunities for elevator manufacturers in the years ahead.

Sensors used in elevators

Whether the lift operates on a hydraulic, traction, machine-less or vacuum principle, the types of sensor that can be found in use is vast. It includes current, level, load, infra-red and hall-effect sensors, encoders and limit switches which together ensure the smooth operation of the machinery. For passenger elevators, safety, dependability and comfort is key. Gentle starts and braking is essential, and this has to be combined with the demands from elevator specifiers for higher speeds and shafts, smaller footprints and the ability to operate within the environmental conditions of an elevator shaft which can include concrete and dust. Here we look at the role played by encoders.

Encoders for elevators

Encoders, whether they are absolute, incremental or a motor feedback system, are a critical component in the elevator control system, providing reliable and accurate feedback to ensure they are working at optimum performance. They will feedback on the position and speed of the elevator so the speed can be adjusted as necessary. They tell the controller when the car has reached the correct floor and is level with it to ensure effortless disembarking of passengers or goods, and will monitor the automatic doors to ensure rapid yet safe opening and closing. We offer a comprehensive range of encoders from our trusted supplier Wachendorff, which can handle nearly every measurement task in an elevator. Our product portfolio features encoders with protection ratings from IP55 to IP67 and interface options including CANopen and SSI. We also offer magnetic-based technology solutions from our sister company Phoenix America.

Lift measuring systems

Complete measuring systems to measure the position of the elevator in the shaft with high precision can be installed quickly and easily in the shaft at point of installation or as a retrofit. We are able to offer a number of options from Wachendorff, including a compact system. Delivered as circumferential or guided belt systems, and with a special nubbed and tooth belt operating in conjunction with special wheels, they work extremely smoothly and quietly in the shaft at high speeds up to 4 m/s and heights up to 120m. Only one reference drive is necessary after installation in the shaft and the system is maintenance-free with a long operating life.

Contact us

If you are an elevator / lift manufacturer looking for a position and speed feedback solution for your product, please get in touch via our contact form, by calling 01327 351004 or emailing








Article published on: 11/07/2022