If you’re thinking about installing OTIS traction elevator belts, you’re probably wondering about the lifespan of the steel belt. OTIS elevator traction refers to a basic steel belt standard that has a 20-year design life, which is roughly two-to-three times longer than traditional steel wire rope. During its design life, a comprehensive appearance inspection should be conducted once per year. After twenty years of use, a comprehensive appearance inspection should be performed to assess if the belt is still functioning correctly.


The Otis traction elevator uses a flat leaf spring that was originally applied to the roof of a cart. The spring would then cause the shoes at either end to engage with notch-shaped guides on the elevator hoistway.

If the hoist was unbalanced, a safety brake would stop it abruptly. Otis engineers subsequently developed a new design that is still in use today.


The materials used for an Otis traction elevator belt are generally two-layers, namely the traction portion 36 and the inner portion 42. The traction portion generally made from a first material and the inner portion made from a second material, which is more fire resistant. The material layer thickness may vary. However, it is important to note that the traction portion 36 is thicker than the rest of the belt.


In an ongoing patent dispute, Otis and Schindler Elevator Corporation are battling for a patented traction-elevator belt design. Patent No. 6,739,433 claims a tension member that reduces the buckling force on an elevator’s belt. Claims for Otis traction elevator belt design have filed in federal court. The case heard in December 2009, and the Court considered written and oral arguments.


The Otis traction elevator uses a scrap basic standard steel belt with a lifespan of 20 years, or approximately two to three times longer than a steel wire rope. The steel belt is subject to a comprehensive appearance inspection once per year during its design life. If the belt breaks, it is possible for a technician to manually lower the car. In the event of an accident, the system’s safety features will ensure the elevator doesn’t collapse.

Gen2 Switch variants

There are two types of traction elevator belt systems, the standard and the Gen2 Switch. The regular type a geared machine that typically mounted on a rooftop. The Gen2 Switch uses a 230-volt single-phase battery. The Gen2 Switch allows the elevator to operate for 100 trips without the need for a power source. Gen2 Switch is ideal for low to mid-rise residential and commercial buildings. It is also compatible with existing buildings without elevators.


Otis began manufacturing traction elevators during the World War II. This allowed Otis to fill orders for elevators, rangefinders, tank components, and aircraft engines. It continued to expand overseas and had a strong presence during the Korean War. By the 1970s, 65 percent of Otis’s business came from overseas contracts. Today, Otis is a world-renowned manufacturer of elevators, escalators, and warehouse systems.