Dumbwaiter Dictionary


  • 2 phase vs 3 phase & what they are

    3 phase power has 3 sine waves of electric current – typically commercial power supply. 1 phase has one sine wave of current – typical residential power supply.


  • Automatic Load & Unload

    An operation where carts or tote boxes containing materials to transport are automatically loaded or unloaded on or off the dumbwaiter.

  • Automatic Call & Send

    Typical dumbwaiter operation with one pushbutton for each floor served by the dumbwaiter located at each floor.

  • ASME

    American Society of Mechanical Engineers

  • Approval Drawings

    Shop drawings submitted for approval to be manufactured

  • ANSI A17.1

    American National Standards Institute USA Elevator Code

  • Angle Towers

    A supporting angle skeleton inside hoistways to support dumbwaiter guide rails when rail brackets cannot be supported by the shaft walls.

  • Alarm Station

    A fixture station inside a material lift with a stop switch and alarm bell pushbutton

  • AIA

    American Institute of Architects. The leading architectural association for accrediting architects.

  • Adjacent Opening

    A dumbwaiter with hoistway doors at front and side locations.

  • Access Switch

    An electrical switch to shut off power when the access door is opened.

  • Access Door Switch

    An electrical switch to shut off power when the access door is opened.

  • Access Door

    A swing door mounted at the machine location in the shaft wall for service/maintenance of the hoist machine.


  • Budget Pricing

    A rough guess or a ballpark price instead of a firm price.

  • Broken Cable Safety Counterweight

    A device that locks the counterweight onto the guide rails if the hoist cables slacken or break.

  • Broken Cable Safety

    A device that locks the car enclosure onto the guide rails if the hoist cables slacken or break.

  • Brake motor

    A hoist motor that contains an elevator safety brake mounted internally.

  • Bracketing

    Attachment pieces that mount dumbwaiter guide rails to shaft walls.

  • Bolt Together

    Components which are held together by bolts or screws and not by welds.

  • BOL

    See the Bill of Lading above.

  • Bill of Lading

    A shipping document that allows common carriers to legally transport goods

  • Bi-Parting Door

    A vertical sliding hoistway door where half slides upward and half slides downward to open.

  • Bearings

    Inserts of sleeve inserts which allow sheaves or shafts to rotate freely without heat or friction

  • Bank

    A term for a group of operating pushbuttons at a dumbwaiter landing.

  • B44 Codes

    Canadian national elevator code

  • B.20.1 Code

    USA national conveyor code

  • B Labeled Door

    Underwriters Laboratories (UL) 90-minute fire rating for hoistway doors.


  • counterweights

    A weight mounted on guide rails and connected to the hoist cables that counterbalances the car enclosure and car capacity.

  • counterweight sling

    A steel frame which is suspended by the hoist cables and holds the counterweight weights.

  • counterweight broken cable device

    A device which locks the counterweight onto the guide rails if the hoist cables slacken or break.

  • counter height

    The term for a dumbwaiter door sill that is above the finished floor.

  • controller cabinet

    See control cabinet above.

  • controller

    An assembly of electrical components which operates the dumbwaiter.

  • control cabinet

    A cabinet, usually steel, and with a self closing lockable door, in which the electric system controller is located.

  • collapsible car gate

    A car gate that is open construction and closes horizontally in scissor fashion.

  • code

    A formal building regulation document.

  • CMU Masonry

    Cement Masonry Unit. A cement block wall type that can be used for dumbwaiter shaft construction.

  • Closed-Loop Feedback

    A sensing device that provides the lift controller with information regarding the car position and FPM speed.

  • Clear Overhead

    The distance from the finished floor at an upper landing to the underside of the shaft ceiling or lowest point of obstruction at the top of the shaft.

  • Clean Room

    An environment with restrictions regarding airborne particulate emissions

  • Circuit Breaker

    A device to break the electric current of a circuit.

  • Central Dispatch

    An operation where there is a single hall station with pushbuttons for the other landings and no send capability at the other landings.

  • CECA

    Canadian Elevator Contractors Association

  • CEA

    Chicago Elevator Association

  • Cart Guidance Rollers

    Plastic [usually] rollers mounted in hoistway door jambs which guide and assist the cart movement in and out of the car enclosure.

  • Cart coupler

    A latching device attached to the bottom of carts that couples with the car mounted transfer arm to load or unload the cart into or from the car enclosure.

  • Cart Call Sensing Switch

    Electronic sensing devices that detect when a cart is present at a landing and can call the lift to make a delivery

  • Cart Bumper Strips

    Nylon surface mounted strips attached to the car enclosure walls to prevent carts from scratching the car walls when pushing the carts onto the dumbwaiter.

  • Cart

    A wheeled container that carries material and can be pushed into a dumbwaiter for transport to another floor.

  • Carriage

    A type of platform which carries a car enclosure.

  • Card Reader

    A type of security device which restricts dumbwaiter users to authorized personnel only.

  • Car Top Sheaves

    Car top-mounted cable deflector pulleys under which the hoist cables pass.

  • Car Top Inspection Station

    A car top device which allows a service mechanic to run the car while riding atop the car for service, inspection and/or maintenance.

  • Car Top Alarm Bell

    An alarm warning bell mounted atop the car enclosure that sounds when any alarm button is pressed.

  • Car Top

    The top of the car enclosure

  • Car Sling

    A steel frame which is suspended by the hoist cables and holds the car enclosure.

  • Car Mounted Transfer Device

    The device or mechanism which automatically loads/unloads the cart or tote box into/out of the car enclosure.

  • Car Mounted Sensors

    Sensors which are provided with automatic load/unload lifts to determine if a cart or tote box is properly loaded inside the car enclosure.

  • Car Light

    A light that is mounted in the walls or top of the car enclosure.

  • Car Enclosure

    The cargo-carrying component of a dumbwaiter which travels up and down in the shaft.

  • Car

    The cargo-carrying component of a dumbwaiter which travels up and down in the shaft.

  • Capacity

    The maximum weight allowed to be carried on a dumbwaiter.

  • Cantilever

    Car guide rails on one side of the shaft only as opposed to guiding rails on 2 sides of the shaft.

  • CAD

    Computer-assisted drafting. 2-dimensional computer-generated shop drawing

  • Cable Shackles

    A device which is a means of connecting the hoist cables to a car sling, car enclosure or a counterweight.


  • dumbwaiter

    A lift system for hoisting material vertically within a building and has code-regulated width, depth and height size, and lifting capacity.

  • drum below

    A hoist machine that is below the car at the bottom landing.

  • drum above

    A hoist machine that is located above the car at the top landing.

  • drive

    An electrical component that regulates the speed of a dumbwaiter, the starting acceleration, stopping deceleration and the final stopping and leveling.

  • drip pan

    A pan that fits within a car enclosure to contail liquid spillage.

  • driectional switch

    Switches located inside the hoistway to stop the dumbwaiter at a selected landing.

  • drawbridge

    A device which is car mounted and falls into place over the running clearance when car gate opens to provide smooth entrance for wheeled carts.

  • double contact interlock vs single contact

    Single contact door lock ensures door is closed. Double contact door lock ensures door is both closed and locked using 2nd contact.

  • double cable drum

    A hoist machine that has 2 separate cable drums for winding 2 hoist cables.

  • door tracks

    The steel guides that contain and guide the door panels vertically as the doors are opened and shut.

  • door jamb

    The side pieces of a dumbwaiter door frame.

  • door emergency release

    A device mounted at landings to unlock the door interlock when the dumbwaiter car is not present at that landing.

  • door

    An entrance into the hoistway at a landing to access into the dumbwaiter upon arrival of the dumbwaiter at that landing.

  • dirty approval

    An approved for manufacturing shop drawing that has incomplete information and cannot be processed into manufacturing until shop drawing is corrected.

  • deflector sheave

    A sheave that deflects the hoist cables to a different position in the hoisway.


  • explosion proof rated

    See electrical classification above

  • explosion proof

    See electrical classification above

  • encoder

    See closed loop feedback above.

  • emergency release

    See door emergency release above.

  • elevator code

    The ANSI 17.1 National Elevator code in the USA that regulates Elevators, Dumbwaiters & Escalators

  • electrical classification
    (class 1,div. 1)

    One of the hazardous environment classifications of the NEC – National Electrical Code.

  • EESF

    Elevator Escalator Safety Foundation – an industry educational association.


  • fusible link

    See fusible link above.

  • fusible link

    A mechanical device that can close an open hoistway door if there is a fire in the vicinity of the dumbwaiter.

  • fused disconnect switch

    A circuit breaker where the electrical trades provide the power supply to the Dumbwaiter.

  • freight carrier

    The trucking company that is selected for carrying a shipment.

  • free standing tower

    A support tower that is not dependent on the building for support.

  • FPM

    Feet Per Minute – how fast is the speed of the dumbwaiter travelling when moving.

  • FOB

    Free On Board. A shipping term that states if shipping costs are included in the quoted price. FOB Matot plant would not include shipping cost.

  • floor to floor height

    See floor height above.

  • floor loading

    The term for a dumbwaiter that stops level with the landing floor.

  • floor height

    The distance from one floor to the next floor vertically.

  • flat sill

    A floor loading door sill that lies flat upon a finished floor as opposed to a door sill fit into a floor recess.

  • flat band structure

    The tie pieces that hold a supporting angle tower together

  • fixtures

    A term for pushbutton stations, hall position indicators and audio- visual signal fixtures.

  • fireproof filler in door

    A fire resistant filler that is inserted within a hollow metal door

  • fire-rated door & entrance

    See B labeled door above.

  • fire rated

    The rating of the shaft or entrance door relating to the amount of time of fire resistance during a fire.

  • finished floor

    The elevation at a landing of the complete floor including the underlayment and tile.


  • guide shoes

    Guide pieces or rollers attached to the car enclosure that fit around the guide rails.

  • guide shoes

    Guide pieces or rollers attached to the car enclosure that fit around the guide rails.

  • guide rails

    The structural steel members that extend the height of the hoistway to guide the car up and down the hoistway.

  • gearcase

    The hoist machine component that reduces the RPM speed of the hoist motor to the proper output speed required for the dumbwaiter.

  • gauges of steel

    Measurements of standard thicknesses of steel.

  • gate switch

    An electrical switch that will not allow the dumbwaiter to move unless the car gate is closed.

  • gate stack side

    The side of the car enclosure which receives the horizontally collapsible car gate when that type gate is provided.

  • gate

    A door that is bart of the car enclosure that must be closed when the dumbwaiter is moving.

  • gate

    A door that is bart of the car enclosure that must be closed when the dumbwaiter is moving.

  • gasketed access door

    A seal that is sometimes used on a machine access door to protect against water or smoke

  • gap closure

    Steel pieces used to minimize the running clearance gap between the hoistway door sill and the moving car enclosure.

  • GAL

    A very large elevator equipment manufacturer whose products include swing door interlocks. Recently acquired by Vantage


  • HP

    Abbreviation of horse power

  • horse power

    The measurement of the output capacity of a motor.

  • hoistway wall

    See hoistway above.

  • hoistway frame

    The frame is the trim of a hoistway door which fits the door into the hoistway shaft wall type.

  • hoistway door

    See door above.

  • hoistway access switch

    A switch which is used by a service technician to run the dumbwaiter away from a landing with a door open.

  • hoistway

    The name for the shaft in which a dumbwaiter moves up and down. Usually hoistways must be fire rated.

  • hoist ropes

    Another name for hoist cables which are steel cables and not ropes.

  • hoist motor and windings

    The motor windings are what makes the hoist motor output shaft rotate.

  • hoist brake

    A hoist machine component that clamps the motor shaft when the car stops at a landing.

  • HEPA filter

    A type of filter that might be used to blow purified air into a dumbwaiter car for different types of sterility requirements.

  • heavy duty

    Large car – large capacity

  • head piece

    The top piece of a dumbwaiter door frame.

  • hall stations

    Another term for pushbutton stations at the landings for operating a dumbwaiter


  • invertor drive

    One type of drive used by Matot for low speed applications. See drive def.

  • interlock rollers

    The part of a door interlock that contacts a cam on the car enclosure when the car is present at that landing.

  • interlock

    A door locking device to keep hoistway doors closed and locked at a landing unless the car is present at that landing.

  • intercom system

    A means of vocal communication between 2 or more locations

  • inline opening

    Landing doors are all on a single side of the shaft

  • illuminated pushbuttons

    Pushbuttons which illuminate when activated.


  • keypads

    Security devices which can be utilized to restrict use of dumbwaiter to only authorized persons.

  • KAFKA door

    A dumbwaiter door manufactured by Kafka Manufacturing, Inc. A competitor of Matot.


  • low overhead door

    A hoistway door that has special design door tracks to reduce their length – see door tracks above.

  • liquid containment system

    See drip pan above.

  • limit switch

    See directional switch above.

  • lighted jewel

    See illuminated pushbuttons above.

  • light duty

    Small car, light capacity

  • leveling

    The stopping of a dumbwaiter at the same elevation level as is the door sill.

  • lateral loads

    Sideway loads – as opposed to vertical loads.

  • landing

    Floor of a building where there is a dumbwaiter door.


  • modernization

    The upgrading of a dumbwaiter to new components usually by replacement of old controls and machines.

  • mezzanine lift

    A vertical reciprocation conveyor that travels from a warehouse floor to the edge of a storage mezzanine above.

  • metal safety barrier exposures

    The open mesh hoistway of a vertical reciprocating conveyor.

  • material lift

    A lift that is larger than a dumbwaiter and defined by the elevator regarding size, capacity and where it can be installed.

  • Maritime vessels

    Ships and oil rigs

  • manually operated

    Doors and gates tat are operated by hand power rather than power operation.

  • magnetic clutch assembly

    A device that is mounted on the shaft side of a power hoisway door to couple with a magnetic gripper on the gate to open or close the door.

  • magnet gripper

    A device that is mounted on a motorized power gate that magnetically grips the hoistway door clutch plate to pull the door open or closed.

  • machine room

    A room that houses the machine and controllers.

  • machine base

    The structure that connects the hoist machine to the building or the guide rails.

  • machine access door switch

    See access door switch above.


  • nylatron

    An oil impregnated nylon material used for dumbwaiter guide shes.

  • NEMA rating

    The classification of requirements for electrical components in different envronments regarding moisture and explosive atmospheres.

  • NEMA 4 pushbutton

    A pushbutton station with water tight gasketing.

  • NAEC

    National Association of Elevator Contractors the main USA elevator organization.


  • overhead clearance

    See clear overhead above.

  • overhead application

    Machine located over the top of the car at the top of the shaft

  • OVDS

    Order Verification Data Sheet – a form sent by Matot to obtain shipping information for orders being shipped out.

  • opposite opening

    Dumbwaiters which have doors on both the front and rear of the hoistway.

  • openings

    See door above.

  • occupied space

    Space below a hoistway which may be occupiable by persons and must be protected.


  • PVC cart bumper strips

    See cart bumper strips above.

  • pushbuttons

    A button which is hand pressed to cause a dumbwaiter to come to that landing or be sent to another landing.

  • pushbutton fixture

    A group of operating pushbuttons and signals usually located in a wall mounted electrical box with a metallic faceplate.

  • pushbutton contact

    The electrical switch beneath a pushbutton swith to register a call when pressed

  • Programmable Logic Controller

    Device in controller which can change the operation if needed.

  • Program key switch

    Key [usually] switch in main pushbutton station to change system from cart dispatch program to return program or from auto loading / unloading to manual loading

  • production drawings

    See approval drawings above.

  • pre-wired car top

    Factory wiring of the travel cable, car light and gate switch instead of wiring these items as part of the field installation.

  • powered outboard receiving tables

    Motorized conveyor tables that receive tote boxes or load tote boxes into an auto load unload dumbwaiter.

  • power supply

    The electric power that is available for a dumbwaiter.

  • power operator

    A motorized device that power opens a hoistway door or car gate

  • power gates

    A car gate that is motor operated rather than manually operated.

  • power gate operator

    See magnetic gripper above.

  • power door

    A hoistway door that is motor operated rather than manually operated.

  • position indicator

    A hall fixture which displays the floor location of the car and direction car is moving.

  • PLC

    Programmable Logic Controller – device in controller which can change the operation if needed.

  • platform

    The structure which supports the finished car floor.

  • pit stop switch

    A pit located switch to shut off lift while servicing the pit area.

  • pit shelter space protective device

    A non-removable means of suspending a material lift above the floor at the bottom landing for pit service access.

  • pit ladder

    A permanent ladder to provide service access to the pit – usually provided for passenger elevators

  • pit depth

    The distance from the finished floor, lowest landing to the bottom of the pit.

  • pit

    An extension of the hoistway beneath the finished floor at the lowest landing.


  • QIR

    Quality Improvement Report – A quality / defect report previously used at Matot.


  • running clearance

    The distance between the inside of the shaft and the surfaces of the moving car enclosure.

  • roped hydraulic

    A type of hydraulic lift utilizing an hydraulic lift and cables for hoisting and lowering.

  • roller guides

    See guide shoes above

  • restricted pit

    A shallow pit requiring the use of single panel slide up doors.

  • reinforced floor

    A heavy metal sub-floor of a floor loading dumbwaiter car enclosure.

  • rear panel

    The shaft side panel of a hollow metal door.

  • rated load

    See capacity above.

  • rails

    See guide rails above.

  • rail bracket

    See bracketing above.


  • swing door

    A side hinged entrance door which swings out from the shaft like a room door.

  • supporting tower

    See self supporting angle tower above.

  • submittal drawings

    See approval drawing above.

  • stops

    See door above.

  • stop & alarm station in car

    See alarm station above.

  • steel angle

    Steel shape used in dumbwaiter fabrication with 90 degree form – usually used for car frames or support towers.

  • stainless steel vs carbon steel

    Stainless steel used for food service, health car and appearance applications – Painted steel used more for back room, shop and warehouse applications

  • spring buffer

    Springs at the bottom of the hoistway to cushion the car to a stop if the car does not stop on reaching the normal and final travel limit switches.

  • speed govenors

    Devices which measure the traveling speed of a lift and cause the car or counterweight safety to lock the car to the guide rails if overspeed condition occurs

  • specifications

    A bid document that provides the description and requirements for a dumbwaiter.

  • special cable drum

    A custom cable drum which has a greater cable wrapping capacity than stock drums.

  • Spec

    See specification below.

  • slow down switch

    An electrical switch mounted in the hoistway to initiate slow down for stopping at a landing with a variable speed dumbwaiter.

  • slide-up gate

    A single panel car gate which slides completely upward when opening to satisfy shallow pit condition of a floor load dumbwaiter.

  • slide up door

    A single panel door which slides completely upward when opening to satisfy shallow pit condition of a floor load dumbwaiter.

  • slack cable switch

    An electrical – mechanical device on a drum dumbwaiter to shut off dumbwaiter if cable slackens.

  • skate wheel runoff table

    A tote lift unload table which has mechanical rollers and wheels outside of the dumbwaiter for unloading materials.

  • single speed

    A dumbwaiter having a one speed hoist motor which does not provide curved acceleration / deceleration when starting / stopping.

  • sill height

    See counter height above.

  • sill

    The bottom metal piece of a hoistway door frame.

  • shelves

    Shelves in car enclosure to carry multiple items – can be made to be at adjustable heights in car enclosure.

  • shelter space switches

    Switches at the top of the hoistway which stop the car to provide shelter space for service person riding car top using car top inspection station.

  • sheave

    A grooved pulley which carries hoist cables within the grooves.

  • shaft

    See hoistway above – 2 terms for same item

  • Sequence of Operation

    A step by step list of sequential equipment operations to initiate and effect the delivery of a cart or tote box from one floor to another.

  • semi tower

    A support tower on only one side of the shaft – used for adjacent opening dumbwaiters.

  • self-closing emergency release

    An emergency release cover which is spring loaded and self closes – Also see emergency release

  • self supporting angle tower

    See angle tower above

  • seismic calculations

    Engineering calculations which encompass seismic reaction encountered by a lift of any type during an earthquake.

  • safety enclosure

    A term meaning the expanded metal hoistway material of a vertical reciprocating conveyor.

  • safeties

    See broken cable safety above.


  • truckable sill

    Door sills of floor loading dumbwaiters reinforced for bearing the load of wheeled carts.

  • truckable

    See truck floor above.

  • truck floor

    A floor loading dumbwaiter floor reinforced for bearing the load of wheeled carts.

  • tray slides

    Angles mounted on the left and right sides of the car enclosure to permit food trays to be inserted into the dumbwaiter for transport

  • travel speed

    The speed in feet per minute at which the car enclosure moves up and down.

  • travel cable

    An electrical cable inside the hoistway which attaches to the car top to supply power to the car electrical components such as gate switch and car light.

  • transom panel

    An extended portion of the door frame which can be removed for access to the car for service or easy replacement of car.

  • traction sheave

    A type of sheave with V grooves which do not allow hoist cables to slip as they pass over the sheave down to the car and counterweight.

  • traction machine

    A type of lift machine which has car at one end of hoist cables / counterweight at other end with hoist cables passing over a traction sheave turned by the machine.

  • tower

    See self supporting angle tower above.

  • tote box

    A tote box used to carry materials with an automatic load / unload dumbwaiter.

  • top solid stop

    A steel bumper located within the guide rail at the top of the hoistway to stop the car if it travels through the final limit switch.

  • terminal landing

    The bottom or top landing.

  • tee stabilizer

    An additional tee guide rail used in some guide rail set ups.

  • tee rail

    A structural guide rail type with the appearance of the letter T

  • tape selector head

    The car mounted device that reads the magnetic signals from the tape selector as car travel through the hoistway.

  • tape selector

    A stopping and slowing device inside the hoistway which is a full height of hoistway metallic tape with magnetic locators to inform controller of car location.


  • under slung design

    Design for drum dumbwaiters where car deflector sheaves usually on the top of the car are mounted on the bottom of the car.

  • under counter lights

    Car light in the side of the car enclosure when the car’s top is not able to be used for mounting the car light.

  • UL label

    See B labeled door above.


  • VVVF

    Variable Voltage Variable Frequency the formal term for the variable speed AC drive and control used by Matot.

  • VRC

    See vertical reciprocating conveyor above.

  • vortex

    A computer storage system used by Matot to store job files.

  • vibration isolation pds

    A type of neoprene vibration absorbing padding used to isolate guide rail brackets and machine beams from transmitting vibration to building structure.

  • Vertical reciprocating conveyor

    A type of vertical lift defined by the ASME B.20.1 Conveyor Code

  • vector drive

    A type of drive used for high speed applications – See drive.

  • variable speed AC

    A type of dumbwaiter with an electrical component [drive] that regulates the speed of the dumbwaiter – faster for travelling, slower for starting, stopping.


  • wiring material

    The electrical wiring material required to install a dumbwaiter and connect all the electrical componentry. Sometimes provided by Matot.

  • winding drum machine

    A type of dumbwaiter machine that turns a scored drum containing hoist cable on the groove – turns drum to wrap to raise dumbwaiter – unwraps to lower car.

  • wall thickness

    The finished dimensional thickness of shaft walls containing hoistway doors.


  • x-brace tower

    A self supporting tower with the tower section above the top floor standing without any building support needed.

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