The use of elevators is an essential part of modern building design, providing convenient and efficient transportation between floors. One type of elevator that has gained popularity in recent years is the Machine Room Less (MRL) elevator. MRL elevators offer several advantages over traditional elevators, including space-saving design, energy efficiency, and modernization options. In this guide, we will explore the concept of MRL elevators, their evolution, design considerations, functional aspects, advantages, and disadvantages, as well as noteworthy models to consider. Whether you're a building owner, architect, or simply interested in elevator technology, this guide will provide a comprehensive overview of MRL elevators.

Schindler 3300 Machine Room Less Elevator
Schindler 3300 Machine Room Less Elevator

Understanding the Concept of MRL Elevators

MRL elevators, also known as machine room less elevators, are a type of elevator that integrate the hoisting machine within the top of the elevator shaft. Unlike traditional elevators, MRL elevators eliminate the need for a dedicated machine room, making them ideal for buildings with limited space. By removing the need for a machine room, MRL elevators have a smaller footprint, allowing for greater building layout flexibility. The control room is typically placed on the top floor, further optimizing space utilization. Additionally, MRL elevators have a bottom floor layout, which affects the building layout and construction considerations.

Defining Machine Room Less Elevators

Machine room less elevators, often referred to as MRL elevators, are a type of elevator that combines the hoisting machine within the top of the elevator shaft, eliminating the need for a dedicated machine room. With the hoisting machine integrated into the elevator shaft, MRL elevators require less space compared to traditional elevators, making them suitable for buildings with space constraints or where the allocation of floor space is a priority. MRL elevators have a smaller footprint, which enhances the building layout flexibility, particularly in space-restricted environments.

Difference between traditional elevators and MRL elevators

MRL elevators differ from traditional elevators in several ways. One of the main differences is the integration of the hoisting machine and control system within the elevator shaft in MRL elevators, eliminating the need for a dedicated machine room. In contrast, traditional elevators require a separate machine room, which takes up valuable building space. This distinction in the configuration of the hoisting machine is what sets MRL elevators apart from traction elevators, which rely on a dedicated machine room.

In addition to space-saving benefits, MRL elevators also offer advantages such as less electricity consumption compared to traditional elevators due to their efficient gearless synchronous motors. Furthermore, the reduced presence of hydraulic machinery in MRL elevators minimizes the risk of fire hazards, making them a safer choice in buildings.

The Evolution of MRL Elevators

The development of MRL elevators can be traced back to the United States, where the need for less space in elevator shafts prompted the exploration of new technologies. Over time, MRL elevators have evolved and undergone advancements to meet the changing demands of the elevator industry. In particular, modernization plans in states like California have seen the integration of variable voltage, variable frequency (VVVF) technology, reducing electricity consumption and enhancing energy efficiency. These advancements have made MRL elevators a popular choice in modern building design.

Origin of MRL technology

The origin of MRL elevator technology can be traced back to the need for space-saving elevator solutions in the United States. Building designs were evolving, and traditional elevators with dedicated machine rooms occupied valuable floor space. The concept of integrating the hoisting machine within the top of the elevator shaft emerged as a solution, giving rise to the development of MRL elevators. This innovation revolutionized the elevator industry, allowing architects and engineers to maximize building space while still providing efficient vertical transportation.

In the early days, MRL elevators were primarily used in regions where space constraints were prevalent, such as urban areas with limited floor space availability. Over time, the benefits of MRL elevators became recognized, leading to their widespread adoption across various types of buildings, including residential, commercial, and institutional.

Evolution and advancements over time

Since their introduction, MRL elevators have undergone significant evolution and advancements to improve functionality and energy efficiency. Modernization plans and advancements in technology have played a key role in enhancing the performance of MRL elevators. In particular, the integration of gearless synchronous motors has revolutionized the elevator industry, providing smoother and more energy-efficient elevator rides.

Advancements like variable voltage, variable frequency (VVVF) technology have further contributed to energy savings and improved elevator performance. By dynamically adjusting voltage and frequency, MRL elevators can achieve optimal motor efficiency, resulting in cost savings and reduced electricity consumption. These modernization plans and technology advancements have made MRL elevators a preferred choice for building owners looking to modernize their elevators while enhancing their energy efficiency.

Dive into the Design of MRL Elevators

MRL elevators feature a unique design that distinguishes them from traditional elevators. Understanding the key components and design considerations is essential for architects, building owners, and elevator professionals tasked with implementing MRL elevators. In the following sections, we will explore the key components of MRL elevators, the design considerations that need to be taken into account, and the factors that influence the selection of an MRL elevator for a particular building.

Key components of MRL Elevators

MRL elevators consist of several key components that work together to provide vertical transportation. These components include the traction system, hoisting machine, main controller, elevator shaft, control room, and elevator car. The traction system is responsible for transmitting the force to move the elevator car, while the hoisting machine provides the power necessary for the elevator's upward and downward movement. The main controller manages the elevator's operation, ensuring smooth and safe rides.

The elevator shaft acts as the vertical conduit for the elevator car, allowing it to travel between floors. Instead of a dedicated machine room, the control room is typically located either on the top floor or in a centralized location, providing easy access for maintenance personnel. The elevator car, equipped with landing doors, is where passengers and goods are transported, ensuring a safe and comfortable journey.

Design Considerations for MRL Elevators

When incorporating MRL elevators into building designs, several design considerations need to be taken into account. These considerations include the available building space, the layout of the elevator shaft, the elevator pit, and the bottom of the elevator shaft. Key design points to consider for MRL elevators include:

  • Building space: MRL elevators offer a space-saving design, but the available building space must still be assessed to ensure proper installation.

  • Layout of the elevator shaft: The design of the elevator shaft must accommodate the hoisting machine and other necessary components of the MRL elevator system.

  • Elevator pit: Proper dimensions and layout of the elevator pit are crucial to ensure the safe and efficient operation of the elevator.

  • Bottom of the elevator shaft: The layout of the bottom of the elevator shaft should provide adequate space for maintenance, repairs, and access to the elevator system.

  • Elevator door: The design and layout of the elevator door play a significant role in the functionality and aesthetics of the MRL elevator system.

Functional Aspects of MRL Elevators

Understanding the functional aspects of MRL elevators is essential to appreciate their working mechanism and safety features. In this section, we will delve into the working mechanism of MRL elevators, including the hoisting cables, gearless synchronous motors, sheave, and the Variable Voltage, Variable Frequency (VVVF) drives that control the elevator's operation. Additionally, we will explore the safety measures incorporated into MRL elevators to ensure the safe transportation of passengers and goods.

Working Mechanism of MRL Elevators

MRL elevators operate based on the interaction between several key components, including hoisting cables, gearless synchronous motors, sheave, and Variable Voltage, Variable Frequency (VVVF) drives. The hoisting cables are responsible for lifting and lowering the elevator car, supported by the sheave, a pulley-like system mounted on top of the elevator shaft. The gearless synchronous motors, located within the hoistway, provide the necessary power to move the elevator car.

The VVVF drives control the speed and direction of the elevator, ensuring smooth and efficient rides. By adjusting the voltage and frequency, the VVVF drives allow for precise control of the elevator's movements, contributing to a comfortable and safe transportation experience.

Safety Measures in MRL Elevators

Safety is of paramount importance in elevator design, and MRL elevators are no exception. These elevators incorporate a range of safety measures to safeguard passengers and minimize the risk of accidents. MRL elevators reduce the risk of fire hazards due to the absence of hydraulic machinery, which is a potential ignition source. Additionally, the elevator car is equipped with landing doors, preventing unauthorized access and ensuring the safety of passengers during travel. Furthermore, the main controller of the elevator system is often housed within a locked cabinet, preventing tampering and ensuring system integrity.

Advantages and Disadvantages of MRL Elevators

MRL elevators offer several advantages over traditional elevators, but there are also some considerations to keep in mind. In this section, we will explore the pros and cons of MRL elevators, covering important aspects such as energy consumption, building space, maintenance plans, hydraulic machinery, and cost.

Pros of MRL Elevators

  • Energy-efficient: MRL elevators utilize gearless synchronous motors and VVVF drives, resulting in lower electricity consumption compared to traditional elevators.

  • Space-saving design: MRL elevators eliminate the need for a dedicated machine room, freeing up valuable building space for other purposes.

  • Higher maximum speed: MRL elevators can offer higher maximum speeds, providing faster transportation between floors.

  • Modernization options: MRL elevators can be upgraded with the latest technology, allowing for system enhancements and compliance with modern specifications.

  • Reduced environmental impact: By reducing energy consumption, MRL elevators contribute to a more sustainable and environmentally friendly building design.

Cons of MRL Elevators

  • Maintenance plans: MRL elevators may require specialized maintenance plans due to the integrated hoisting machine and control system, which can result in higher maintenance costs.

  • Hydraulic machinery limitations: Some MRL elevators still utilize hydraulic machinery, which may have limitations in terms of maximum lbs the elevator can hold, restrict building layout, and impact cost.

  • Layout considerations: The design of the building must consider the space required for the elevator system, including the hoistway and control room, which can limit building space utilization.

  • Cost: MRL elevators may have a higher upfront cost compared to traditional elevators, primarily due to the specialized design and integrated components. However, the energy savings and modernization options can offset this cost over the long term.

Noteworthy Models of MRL Elevators

When choosing an MRL elevator, several factors should be considered, including the specifications, manufacturer, and the specific model that meets the building's requirements. Various elevator manufacturers, such as Otis, Schindler, and Mitsubishi, offer a range of MRL elevator models. These models can cater to different building types, capacity requirements, and design preferences. Additionally, special features, such as smartphone apps for mobility and control, are available with certain MRL elevator models. It is important to evaluate the specifications, performance, and maintenance plans offered by different manufacturers before making a decision.

What factors should be considered when choosing an MRL elevator?

When selecting an MRL elevator, several factors should be considered to ensure a well-suited system for the building's needs. These factors include:

  • Specifications: Evaluate the elevator's specifications, such as capacity, speed, and dimensions, to ensure it meets the building's requirements.

  • Manufacturer: Research reputable elevator manufacturers, such as Otis, Schindler, Mitsubishi, and their respective models, to find a reliable and quality MRL elevator.

  • Maintenance plans: Assess the manufacturer's maintenance plans and support services to ensure a comprehensive and responsive service package.

  • Modernization options: Consider the availability of modernization options, allowing the elevator system to adapt to future requirements and technological advancements.

  • Hydraulic vs. machine room less: Assess the pros and cons of hydraulic elevators versus MRL elevators, determining which type is better suited to the building's layout, maintenance considerations, and energy efficiency requirements.


In conclusion, machine room-less (MRL) elevators have revolutionized the elevator industry with their compact and efficient design. Unlike traditional elevators, MRL elevators eliminate the need for a separate machine room, making them a space-saving solution for both new and existing buildings. With advancements in technology, MRL elevators have become more reliable and have enhanced safety features. They offer various advantages such as energy efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and smooth operation. However, it is important to consider factors like load capacity, speed, and maintenance requirements when choosing an MRL elevator for your building. If you have any further questions or need assistance in selecting the right MRL elevator, feel free to get in touch with our experts.


What is an MRL elevator?

A Machine Room-Less (MRL) elevator is a type of traction elevator that eliminates the need for a separate machine room. The machinery is integrated into the elevator hoistway, allowing for more flexibility in design and space utilization.

What are the disadvantages of MRL elevator?

Disadvantages of Machine Room-Less (MRL) elevators include potential limitations in the available space for machinery, which might impact design flexibility. Additionally, MRL elevators can have higher upfront costs compared to traditional elevators.

Which is better, hydraulic lift, or MRL lift?

Hydraulic lifts are suitable for low to mid-rise buildings, offering reliability and cost-effectiveness. MRL lifts, on the other hand, are ideal for mid to high-rise buildings, providing a space-saving design and energy efficiency.

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