Statue of Liberty rescue elevator project information

Grand reopening: Superstorm Sandy damage to the base has been repaired, and the Statue of Liberty reopens July 4. It was closed since November 2012. The Statue of Liberty rescue elevator project, part of a $30 million renovation, included the following project participants and product components.


For emergency personnel and maintenance activity only, the Statue of Liberty rescue elevator is the only elevator inside the statue, traveling from the top of the pedestal to the crown. It was custom designed specifically for this application and locationAn integral component of the Statue of Liberty rescue elevator is a 25 hp ABB ACS800 Variable Frequency Drive (drive), featuring ABB Direct Torque Control (DTC), a patented motor control technology. The drive controls the two 10 hp SEW-Eurodrive motors that move the elevator, and collaborates with a Siemens Safety PLC in controlling the overall elevator system. (See related application article, linked below with more photos.)

“The ABB Drive is the heart and soul of the drive system,” said Brian Trapani, the lead project engineer for TESI on the project. “It controls the two motors simultaneously and makes sure the elevator rides smoothly.”

“The ABB ACS800 is a very advanced drive. It can run with open-loop control with no issues, and the control structure is very tight,” said Trapani.

Todd Grovatt, TESI president, said, “We switched to ABB a few years ago because they have advanced technology that other drives don’t feature. We now have four or five systems in place with ACS800s. It is a real workhorse.”

Project participants

  • Customer – National Park Service for the Statue of Liberty
  • General Contractor - Joseph A. Natoli Construction Corporation; Pine Brook, N.J.
  • Vertical Transportation Sub-contract -  Liberty Elevator Corporation; Patterson, N.J
  • Rescue Elevator: Design and Manufacture - Tower Elevator Systems Inc. (TESI); Austin, Texas

Rescue elevator specifications

  • Goes from the top of the pedestal (6p) to four elevated landings (4s, 5s, 6s, 7s); 12 to 20 ft apart along the 80 ft rise
  • 2 ft wide x 3.5 ft long platform
  • 150 ft/min. speed
  • Capacity: 3 people, with a fold-out seat

Drive, motors, programmable logic controller (PLC)

- One ABB ACS 800, 25 hp drive, a variable frequency drive (VFD)

- Two 10 hp SEW-Eurodrive gear motors

- One Siemens Simatic ET200S Safety PLC

- Information provided by ABB and Tower Elevator Systems; edited by Mark T. Hoske, content manager, CFE Media, Control Engineering, Plant Engineering, and Consulting-Specifying Engineer,

Motion control: Statue of Liberty rescue elevator 

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