ASME A15.5-2019: Elevator Electrical Equipment

Up and down buttons of an elevator stay alight with ASME A15.5-2019 for electrical equipment.

ASME A17.5-2019, or CSA B44.1-2019, covers the electrical equipment found in elevators and escalators.

Elevators and Electricity

Once upon a time, elevators (or lifts, if you call them that), functioned without the use of electricity. For ages, when the names Thomas Edison or Nicola Tesla would induce little other than head scratches due to a lack of relevance, elevators used a different type of power. Archimedes is credited with inventing the elevator in 236 B.C., using hoisting ropes wound around a drum and connected to a capstan. Centuries later, elevators allowed ferocious beasts to seemingly rise from the ground in the Roman Coliseum. Both examples functioned off manpower.

In the 1800s, hydraulics was the source of energy behind elevators. A piston inside a cylinder used pressure from water or oil to raise or lower and elevator car. However, this type of lift was highly impractical, as it necessitated pits below the elevator shaft for the pistons to draw back completely—the higher the building, the deeper the pit.

Today, of course, electricity propels the lateral movement of over 7 billion elevator journeys each day. Long having permitted the expansion of skyscrapers and other tall buildings worldwide, due to swelling urban populations, the significance of elevators is only due to heighten in the years to come.

ASME A17.5/CSA B44.1-2019

To aid in these many elevator journeys, ASME A17.5/CSA B44.1-2019 covers the electrical components of elevators, escalators, moving walks, dumbwaiters, material lifts, and elevating devices. Specifically, it applies to the following electrical equipment: motor controllers, motion controllers, operation controllers, operating devices, and all other electrical equipment not listed/certified and labeled/marked in accordance with another product safety standard or code.

Ultimately purposed with reducing injury and property damage from fire and electrical shock, ASME A17.5-2019 (CSA B44.1-2019) covers electrical equipment connected to supply circuits at a nominal system voltage of 600 V or less, for internal voltages not more than 1500 V, for use in non-hazardous locations in accordance with applicable electrical codes, and for use in an ambient temperature no greater than 40 °C.

Changes to ASME A17.5-2019

This standard, which is issued jointly by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) and CSA Group, emerged from the need to have identical Canadian and U.S. requirements. These efforts culminated in the first publication of ASME A17.5 back in 1991.

ASME A17.5/CSA B44.1-2019 is the sixth edition of the elevator and escalator electrical equipment standard, and it revises the 2014 version. Notable changes to the current version include the addition of sections for tests for “electronic motor overload protection” and “short-circuit,” as well as the verification of the electronic motor overload protection test. There is also a new Annex on French marking translations.

Numerous other updates were made throughout this standard, including revised definitions and reference publications. All these changes are listed in the Preface of the ASME A17.5/CSA B44.1-2019 document.

Please note that ASME A17.5/CSA B44.1-2019 is intended to be used in conformity of applicable elevator and electrical codes. To learn more about these specific standards, please refer to our past posts on ASME A17.1-2016 – Safety Code for Elevators and Escalators, the 2018 Canadian Electrical Code, and NFPA 70: National Electrical Code (NEC).

Those who need the ASME elevator code and related standards should consider the ASME A17 Elevator and Escalator Safety Package, which bundles several documents together at a discount.

ASME A17.5/CSA B44.1-2019: Elevator And Escalator Electrical Equipment is available on the ANSI Webstore.

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