The Elevator: From Basics to Calculus

One need not necessarily be an expert to learn details of motor control, ropes and traction and traffic analysis.

Elevator World, Inc.’s latest book offering is The Elevator: From Basics to Calculus: Motor Control; Ropes and Traction; Traffic Analysis by Dr. Albert So. The 136-page book includes an introduction serving as an overview of elevator systems leading to three major sections: “Motor Drive and Control,” “Ropes and Traction” and “Traffic Analysis.” Each section contains four chapters, which gradually increase in depth. The material is mainly mathematical and mostly intended for technical undergraduate/postgraduate students and professionals. However, math knowledge beyond simple calculus (involving differential equations of the second order) is not required.

The impetus for writing the book germinated from So’s idea to create a university specialized in all areas of elevator engineering. He said that, first, undergraduate and postgraduate programs related to elevators have been rare. Yet, they are needed, as elevator engineering involves applications of different disciplines, including but not limited to structural, civil, mechanical, electrical, electronic, computer and artificial intelligence. He expounded:

“My grand idea is setting up an ‘Elevator World University’ to launch a BS in Elevator Engineering. We already have an MS at the University of Northampton in Northampton, U.K. But, for the time being, there is no such thing as a BS in Elevator Engineering. Besides the fundamental engineering modules such as physics, mathematics, programming, basic electrical and mechanical engineering, etc., a BS in Elevator Engineering usually needs at least 10 modules tightly related to elevator engineering. The three topics in my book can be extended to six modules. We need four more, and the BS can be implemented, provided that an accredited university expresses interest in it.”

So went on to explain that, while papers published in elevator journals, books, guides of professional bodies, professional magazines and conference proceedings are appropriately referenced by researchers and practicing engineers, they are often too difficult for laymen. The Elevator is written as a textbook targeted at students at the sophomore or junior levels of a standard four-year BS program in elevator engineering. Its success could serve as a template by which to determine the format and approach of other textbooks for such a purpose. Its title is gleaned from the fact that math is the most essential element in any engineering program.

So insists the book, a product of three years of collaboration between him and Elevator World, Inc., is not based on his own research. Rather, it consists of contributions from many experts around the world, and he digested and interpreted the sources referenced. It includes many graphics and equations throughout. An introduction precedes each chapter, and conclusions and 10 learning-reinforcement questions follow each chapter.

They focus on DC motors, AC induction motors (including their various forms of drive and control), hoist rope life, traction considerations and types, and the multifarious aspects of traffic analysis and control.

The book is now available in electronic format at

About the Author

Dr. Albert So is an executive board member and scientific advisor of the International Association of Elevator Engineers (IAEE) and a member of the technical committee for the International Elevator and Escalator Symposium. He is also the academic secretary for the IAEE HK-China Branch and honorary visiting professor of the University of Northampton in the U.K. He serves on the Technical Advisory Group of Elevator World, Inc., and is based in Seattle.

Elevator World Senior Associate Editor

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