Tips and tricks : How to avoid marine elevator breakdowns

How to avoid marine elevator breakdowns?

Elevator problems aren’t always obvious, but being aware of common ones can help keep your marine elevator operational. Pay attention to maintenance: if there is a lack (or none) of maintenance performance of the marine elevator will go down and fatal errors will happen more often:

  • Increased operating cost (repairs after breakdown are more costly than just before)
  • Less availability
  • More complaints of users
  • Most importantly: safety will be compromised

Most Frequent Breakdowns

One of the most common symptoms of a system error is the door contacts, interlock contacts and door operator errors. As components wear and age, they more readily go out of adjustment, either shutting down the system or interfering with its operation.

This is particularly true with the landing door, car door and door operators. Door operators undergo tremendous wear and tear in daily operation. Each time the marine elevator stops, the door operators are activated at least two times, more frequently if occupants manually hold the doors open. Also because of vibration of the vessel an extra attention has to be made to the tightness and adjustment of the lading door locks and interlocks.

Fact: nearly 75% of the service calls are for malfunctioning door operators.

Doors aren’t the only source of frequent problem. It is important to track the frequency and costs of all problems by writing every error in a log book. That way our service technician can trace the problem much easier.

If the number of service calls is high or increasing, consider replacing or upgrading the door operators. Door operators are fairly easily replaced or upgraded, without requiring a significant amount of downtime.

Dust, dirt and debris accumulate in the door tracks and sills preventing elevator doors from opening smoothly. In the end it will block the elevator door from closing or fully opening. A simple and regular cleaning job will prevent downtime and save money.

One of the possible causes of excessive slippage of ropes on the sheave can be over-lubrication of the rope by greasing. The rope needs to have enough lubricant to eliminate friction in the wires and strands but not enough to cause slippage in the traction sheaves. It is advisable to use a special wire rope lubricant which will penetrate to the core. Note: Governor ropes should never be re-lubricated

Most elevators have oilers fitted to dispense the lubricant for the car and counter weight guide rails and spoons in the pit to collect the excess oil. Empty oilers will result in dry friction and wear of the guide shoes, and at times damaging the safety gears. It is a small task to top up the oilers which will reduce wear, downtime and servicing costs. Emptying the oil spoons / trays on time, greatly reduces the slip hazard in the pit.

The elevator manuals contain important information, drawings and the specifications. An elevator technician always refers to the manual before starting his work. With no manual available for reference, technicians have to spend extra time to understand the workings of specific and unique features of an elevator. Keeping the complete manual in the machine room will help the technicians to complete the service efficiently thereby saving money.

One extra advice

Consider vandalism as well: a marine elevator can suffer of vandalism or misuse even without you knowing it. In the example of the doors the following should be observed:

  • Use the door open button to reopen the door instead of holding the door by hand or foot
  • Do not keep the door open for a long period by blocking the safe guard
  • If there is a preference key switch in the cabin, use it
  • In case of hand moved hinged doors: adjust the door closer in a way that the door does not “slam” shut.