What type of footing and rail system do you have and why is it important?
The proper footing system is extremely important to guarantee a safe installation, which is why an onsite evaluation and using the proper material is crucial. We recognize the importance of understanding the soil conditions of your property. Our representatives will analyze your specific needs and then design the footing system for your incline elevator accordingly.
Hillside Lifts uses 2″ galvanized SS30 or SS40 pipe for your footing system which is a high alloy steel and is the best in the industry. If working in sand, gravel or clay, the installation crew will drive your supports at least 7 to 10 feet down with a hydraulic pounder. Other companies use only powder-coated thin wall tubing for their footing system and hand dig or auger them a few feet into the ground. Using this type of material causes instability in the complete system and powder-coated pipe will rust from the inside out regardless of using tube caps. Our process of pounding the pipe into the ground has very little or no impact on your hill, landscaping or environment, yet still provides the most secure structure system.
In rocky conditions, we will drill directly into the rock per engineered standards and set the supports in anchoring cement. Lastly, if there is additional cross bracing needed for uneven terrain, we will clamp around the structure using grade 8 u-bolts which is preferred over drilling directly into the supports which may weaken the support system and allow corrosion to start.
Our hillside rail system is made of 2″x3″ galvanized 11 gauge enclosed tubing. We do not use a c-channel rail system since it allows for debris to build up inside the track. Our rail system can be flexible to work with all types of hillsides and gives us the ability to contour to the gradient of the hill. Also the depth of our track system allows the cable to be suspended above the track and cross-members to prevent cable wear.
What will happen if the cable breaks or the equipment fails?
Our traction drive hill lift uses galvanized 5/16″ aircraft cable that has a 9,800 lb. breaking strength. This type of cable is commercial grade and is used in the aircraft industry as well as for many other applications. It is virtually impossible for this type of cable to break in the application we are using it for.
In the 25 years that Marine Innovations has been manufacturing outdoor hill elevators, we have never had a cable break or equipment failure. However, you will have peace of mind knowing that if an over-speed is detected for any given reason while traveling up or down, our carriage will immediately come to a smooth stop because of the over speed governor and spring dampeners we use to absorb all shock. Be careful for systems that drop an arm down into the tracks’ cross-members. The Elevator Safety Code will not recognize that as a braking mechanism nor does it allow the carriage to come to an immediate or gentle stop.
What makes your system safe?
Our hill elevators meet or exceed the 2004 National Elevator Codes. Our systems include top and bottom landing controls which features an e-stop button.
Safety switches are included on our braking system which have endless advantages and are necessary for code compliancy. We also have a battery powered wireless technology and a supervised signal that is exclusive to our incline elevators and is a crucial component in the safety of your incline elevator. This means that your system will not operate if your carriage doors are open, which is an extra safety precaution, especially for small children.
Lastly, our incline elevators have multiple safeties which include a slack cable brake on the carriage and motor, electronic safety brake and the over speed governor safety.
Can my carriage fall off the track?
Our carriage is specifically designed our carriage to ride on top of the track. This design is superior to other manufacturers. First, the wheels are exactly formed to fit perfectly around both sides of the track for guidance. Next, solid track guides are mounted on the wheel housings and then around the track to keep the carriage in place. These two design elements absolutely will not allow for any horizontal or vertical movement off of the rail system. The wheels are also enclosed by wheel housings. This is beneficial so debris, branches, snow, etc. is unable to obstruct the carriage wheels and cause uneven wear. The reason why it is important for the wheels to ride on top of the rail is because it allows easy access to inspect, maintain and lubricate each one of the wheels during your annual safety inspections. When carriage wheels are mounted inside the rail system, it becomes very difficult to properly maintain them.
What is the difference between a Traction drive and Drum drive system?
We specialize in both traction drive and drum drive systems. Each is used in specific applications to increase efficiency. In a drum drive application, the cable is wound around a drum that winds and unwinds as the carriage travels up and down. Hillside Lifts, Inc. will go up to 130 feet with a drum drive system. With a track length over 130 feet, the drum diameter becomes big and bulky and a larger motor and gearbox is required to drive the system or a large cover or pit is necessary. This set up would not be efficient and would also allow the cable to lie in the track and cause wear.
In our traction drive system on hillsides over 130 feet, the cable is attached on the top and bottom sides of the trolley and the traction sheaves move the cable up and down. This system has no limits on length. In the winter where snow is present, the traction system will pull the carriage down towards the bottom of the hillside and will not rely on gravity to move it like the drum drive does. This option allows the mechanics to stay compact and proficient and includes our double roller assembly to support the cable to prevent cable wear.
What type of service does your company offer?
Service. Service. Service. Hillside Lifts, along with the manufacturer, offers a 1 year comprehensive warranty, 15 years on the structure and 3 years on the motor, gearbox, brakes on all of our residential hill elevators. Not only do we offer a great warranty, but we also employ a full-time service staff that is available for general questions about your system. Our certified service technician sets us apart from other tram companies by traveling April – September offering annual inspections and safety tests to make certain that your system is running smoothly and safely year after year. We will take care of you and your lift long after the sale is complete.
How can you guarantee that your company’s incline elevator will be right for my hillside?
The manufacturer has a lot invested in the design and engineering of their hillside lifts. We also have many years of experience on knowing how to complete an entire site evaluation and layout of your hillside as well as provide you with options and step-by-step details of our installation process. We will guarantee that you will be getting exactly what you are expecting and more which is why the site evaluation and layout is extremely important. The site is analyzed so we can decide which one of our incline elevator systems will meet the defined specifications of your hill. After the site visit, Hillside Lifts, Inc. will provide you with a firm quote for all materials and installation expenses that are needed for your installation so there will be no hidden costs. Our full-time engineering department is also available to assist you with specific design or permitting requirements along with meeting the precise specifications of your hillside.
Who will complete the installation of my incline elevator?
The installation process is equally important as the product itself which is why Hillside Lifts takes complete action in making sure every single installation is done just as it should be to keep you and your family safe. Your incline elevator will be installed by only factory trained and certified installation crews and not just by any hired general contractors.
How do I know if I need a permit?
Hillside Lifts will work with each customer individually on their specific state and local permit requirements. We know how permitting can get overwhelming for homeowners so we will assist with the application paperwork as well as provide the engineered drawings that are necessary for the permit approvals which makes this process worry free. Once the installation is complete, Hillside Lifts will arrange for the final inspections with state and/or local officials in order to close out the permit applications.