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If you manage or own a low-rise building – up to 5 floors - chances are you have a hydraulic elevator. While hydraulic elevators can be a practical choice, the problem is they often use petroleum-based fluid to operate. But luckily there is an alternative - enviromax  -  the industry’s first performance-improving vegetable-based hydraulic fluid. 

Hydraulic elevators operate by forcing pressurized fluid through a valve into a steel cylinder located above or below ground. The pressure forces a piston to rise, lifting the elevator platform and car. The fluid is stored in a tightly-sealed pump unit which is located at the bottom of the hoist way or underground. It is rare that fluid leaks, but if it does, clean-up costs to remediate contaminated soil and groundwater could be high.

An environmental alternative

Iin 2012, thyssenkrupp introduced enviromax. The company partnered with BioBlend Renewable Resources LLC to co-develop enviromax which is formulated from rapidly renewable, canola basestocks and designed specifically for use in elevators. It is a USDA biopreferred product with 96 percent biobased content. It is also 99 percent petroleum- free and 100 percent recyclable.

An ounce (or 7040 ounces) of prevention

Luckily, it is not necessary to replace your hydraulic elevator to replace the petroleum-based hydraulic fluid. You can just change the fluid. It’s an easy and clean process where elevator technicians drain the existing fluid from your unit - about 55 gallons or 7040 ounces - with a specially designed evacuation pump. Over 95 percent of existing fluid can be removed and in most cases it takes less than an hour.

It’s important to think in terms of prevention.  A hydraulic fluid leak could potentially dump gallons of oil in the elevator pit and leak into the ground.  Keep in mind that just one gallon of used motor oil can contaminate 1 million gallons of fresh water which is equal to a year’s supply of water for 50 people. enviromax, on the other hand, is readily biodegradable, 99 percent petroleum-free and 100 percent recyclable.  

 

Additional energy savings and improved performance

Just like the oil in your car, the condition and quality of hydraulic fluid in your elevator can affect performance. Ambient temperature affects the consistency of hydraulic fluid.  If the oil gets too thick because it gets too cold or too thin because it gets too warm, the results are the same – rough starts, bumpy rides, leveling problems and unnecessary strain on the equipment. Normally, oil temperature and consistency is controlled by either external heaters or by circulating fluid through the pump without moving the elevator car in order to keep the heat at a constant temperature, usually between 90˚F - 100˚F.

enviromax is formulated from high oleic base oils. This formula does not contain the additives that were in earlier forms of vegetable-based hydraulic fluid that sometimes resulted in an unpleasant odor. The high oleic base oils also help maintain consistency across a broader temperature range. So using enviromax may eliminate the need for temperature control devices. In some cases, an additional 30 percent energy savings can be realized when compared to a machine utilizing temperature control devices.

Now, building owners can save money by eliminating these devices that waste energy because they cycle on even when the elevator is not in operation. 


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