What Does an Elevator Technician Do?

Amy Rodriguez

An elevator technician performs a number of duties, including initial installation, preventative maintenance, and repairs. In addition to elevators, most technicians work on other people-moving machines, like escalators. A successful elevator technician will ensure that each machine performs efficiently and safely by applying the knowledge he has acquired through several years of apprenticing under an experienced worker.

An elevator technician might focus on installing new elevators in a building.
An elevator technician might focus on installing new elevators in a building.

Installing an elevator requires knowledge of hand and power tools, as well as electrical theory. The technician must run long, supportive cabling up through the elevator's shaft, attach side railings, and strategically place electrical wiring away from moving parts. In addition, the elevator's main motor must be installed correctly for reliable elevator movement.

Elevator technicians work on escalators as well as elevators.
Elevator technicians work on escalators as well as elevators.

The installation procedure also involves programming the elevator's microprocessor system. A technician must be able to guide the elevator to a specific floor without any dangerous gaps between the elevator and floor's opening walkway. Parameters must be programmed into the elevator's computer microprocessor so that the machine defaults to a safe floor, such as a lobby area, in case of an emergency.

Preventative maintenance is another key duty of an elevator technician. Gears must be lubricated to prevent friction and mechanical failure. Supportive cables may need adjustment over time from stretching and normal wear. Small defects, like a faded floor number on a elevator push button, should be repaired to prevent passenger confusion.

The elevator technician should be well-versed in troubleshooting parameters for unexpected repair requests. Typical repairs can be mechanical, electrical, or computer related; the technician must analyze a failure and decide on the most rapid and thorough repair possible. For example, an elevator that does not stop perfectly at each floor may have a mechanical or computer related problem. It is common to investigate the simplest repair first; in the example mentioned, a small glitch in the programming may be quicker and easier to fix than an issue with the elevator's mechanical system.

Escalators are other machines that an elevator technician must troubleshoot and repair. The mechanical movement of an escalator is similar to an elevator's design, and technicians will have greater job security since they can fix multiple machines that one business may have, such as a department store that uses a mixture of escalators and elevators. The elevator technician will also install, perform preventative maintenance, and repair escalators when needed.

This technical profession normally requires an apprenticeship for a few years. The apprentice technician will receive hands-on experience on many different repair and installation projects. As a result, the technician will be able to work independently and safely on future elevator repairs and installations.

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