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Crompton elevators are lifted by ropes, which pass over a wheel attached to an electric motor above the elevator shaft. They are used for mid and high-rise applications and have much higher travel speeds than hydraulic elevators. A counter weight makes the elevators more efficient by offsetting the weight of the car and occupants so that the motor doesn't have to move as much weight.

Crompton Elevators have a gearbox that is attached to the motor, which drives the wheel that moves the ropes. Geared traction elevators are capable of travel speeds up to 500 feet per minute. The maximum travel distance for a geared traction elevator is around 250 feet.

Crompton Elevators have the wheel attached directly to the motor. Gear-less traction elevators are capable of speeds up to 2,000 feet per minute and they have a maximum travel distance of around 2,000 feet so they are the only choice for high-rise applications.

Traction elevators have height restrictions that are governed by the length and weight of the cables or ropes. New materials that are stronger and lighter, such as carbon fiber, will allow traction elevators to achieve new heights.