Tag Archives: elevator

Speed Does Not Mean Fast

1_thumbRecently, it was announced that the CTF Finance Center in Guangzhou, China broke records as the fastest elevator in the world to date. Believe it or not, it travels at an astounding 46.9 miles per hour straight up! Wow! An elevator in Shanghai, China (Shanghai Tower) finishes in second place with a speed of 42.8 mph and the fastest North American elevator clocks in at a paltry 22.7 mph in comparison. It is located at the Freedom Tower at 1 World Trade Center in New York. It is a bit slower but the show you get going up and down is worth it.

As it turns out, the elevator in your building is not breaking any world records, but, unless you are in the Willis Tower in Chicago or the Empire State Building in New York, you probably don’t need a three million dollar monstrosity that can hit highway speeds. Keep in mind that the world record holding building has a total of 95 elevators and only two are the super fast ones and they only go from the first floor to the 95th where the world’s highest hotel resides. As a matter of fact, the CTF Finance Center has 52 medium and low speed elevators, as well as the two speed-demons.

So, if you can build an elevator that goes that fast, why aren’t all elevators designed the same way? Let’s start with the turtle like speed of most elevators you will find; believe it or not, most elevators are designed to travel at a blazing 100 to 200 feet per minute or between 1.14 and 2.27 miles per hour for buildings 10 stories or less.  This means that if you’re traveling between two floors that are 10 feet apart at 2.27 mph, the trip would take 3 seconds, right? Well, not exactly.

You are missing an important part of the equation. When you push the button in any elevator, it doesn’t immediately blast off at 2.27 mph. If it did, most people would be knocked to the ground; the elevator has to ramp up to top speed. Acceleration and Jerk (rate of change of acceleration) are human comfort considerations that must be taken into account when looking at elevator speed. The practical limits (for math geeks) are 4 ft/sec^2 acceleration and 8 ft/sec^3 for jerk. If you are a math nerd, or you’re wanting to test out your math skills, this is a good place to start. Keep in mind, these formulas represent the the very top limits of elevator movement and are aggressive but acceptable. Anything beyond these levels and the car becomes a roller-coaster or the Tower of Terror. To ensure a real smooth ride, technicians use around 70% of these levels.

Just for general purposes for a comfortable ride, the ramp up will take around 3 seconds. You also have to consider a similar ramp down for another 3 seconds. In other words, if traveling ten feet, the maximum speed may never be achieved due to the ramp up and ramp down before you arrive at the next floor.

Whether the elevator can go 2 miles an hour or the speed of light, there must be an acceleration that is comfortable for the people riding in it. That means that in most applications, with elevators starting and stopping at several floors, up and down, the elevator car rarely tops out at the possible speed it can travel. This, then, explains why there are 52 elevators in the CTF Financial Center that are low or medium speed.

So to answer the question “Why aren’t all elevators made to go nearly 50 miles per hour?” It’s because in most applications, other than extremely high high-rises, the cost is absolutely out of proportion to the benefit and, in most examples of elevators, the top speed would never be realized anyway.

Keep Your Cool – Winning the Temperature Battle

Clean Machine RoomIn our office, there are a handful of dictators vying for power, and yes, they know who they are. They run roughshod over the whole office, seizing control, forming alliances and flexing more muscle than Mussolini in pre-war Italy. Because of the internal power struggle, there is more drama, intrigue and manipulation than in an episode of Game of Thrones as hopes are raised then dashed, and the struggle for control reaches a literal fever pitch.

What is the object of their desires? What do they wish to control beyond anything else? The office thermostat. Since the advent of modern history and the birth of Willis Carrier (of Carrier Air-conditioning fame), I feel I am safe by saying there is nothing that has affected more lives, created more tension and led to more divorces than the temperature control on a heating and air-conditioning unit. The problem is some like it hot and some like it cool, and they are willing to do anything to get their way.

When it comes to your elevator machine room, there is also a temperature struggle, and the consequences of that brawl may be more significant than just a little discomfort or office politics. The challenge is keeping the temperature inside the machine room within the set standards. Elevators need consistent temps and therefore, the thermostat needs to be a priority. Some sources note that temps need to be between 60 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit and this is backed up by the National Institute of Standards and Technology in a report entitled “High Temperature Operation of Elevators.”

But is that rule of thumb always the best for optimal temps for elevator operations? If you get it wrong, setting the temp too high or too low, it can lead to inefficiency in operation or ultimately even complete shutdown.

For a more reliable source, we should turn to the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME). They literally wrote the safety code for elevators and machine rooms and is the most reliable source for elevator operation. Their code calls for there to be a natural or mechanical means to keep the air temperature and humidity within the guidelines of the manufacturer. So what do you do, as the required temperatures can vary depending on who produces the elevator equipment? The code still has the answer. It requires that inside the machine room, permanently posted, there must be a sign that shows the temperature and humidity range for that particular machine.

Especially with summer heat on the horizon, now is the time to make sure the machine room air-conditioning and heat is in proper order and the temp and humidity fall within the proper parameters. If you have any specific questions or concerns, make sure and consult your elevator technician.

As for the office thermostat…buy a lock box, set the temp the way you like it and swallow the key. Remember the hand that controls the temperature controls the office.

Grand Opening Success

Grand Opening 1The official grand opening for Phoenix Modular Elevator was a tremendous success! Nearly 100 of our friends and partners came out for a celebration that included a ribbon cutting, a few words from Mt. Vernon Mayor Mary Jane Chesley and Phoenix President Allison Allgaier and facility tour.

For the first time the public was able to see the new 25,000 square foot manufacturing plant that is now the largest modular elevator manufacturing facility in North America. The visitors got to witness production and hear from the team that assembles the modular elevators. With the new building the factory is more efficient and the team has more room for larger jobs and more elevators. Allison Allgaier, in her short speech indicated that, Grand Opening 4“With the new factory we are expecting production to double this year over last year’s numbers.”  Mayor Chesley said that it is, “Wonderful to see a plant thriving and growing in Mt. Vernon.”

Phoenix Modular Elevator is proud to be the first resident of the new industrial park and is appreciative of the assistance received from the city, Jefferson County Development Corporation and many others that helped make the new plant a reality.

The new manufacturing site has already shown great improvements to the process of producing the world’s fastest installing elevator. Due to the larger production area and the fact Grand Opening 2that the factory is now on a single level, the process is smoother and easier.  It allows assembly and manufacturing areas to be more organized and keep all inventory lineside.  Multiple overhead cranes have streamlined the moving of elevators through the shop.  Since moving into the new plant, three full time employees have been added and future growth is expected.

PME is an elevator manufacturer that produces high-quality, commercial modular elevators. A modular elevator is comprised of a steel hoistway with the elevator car and components completely pre-wired and installed inside. They are manufactured horizontally, Grand Opening 3trucked to jobsites, craned into place and installed in less than a week. This makes PME elevators the fastest installing elevators available. The units are found across the United States and Canada and used in schools, medical facilities, universities, hotels, stadiums, amusement parks, office buildings, government buildings and churches. Phoenix Modular Elevator has been constructing modular elevators since 1995.

Click here for more info and photos. 

This is an example of an elevaotr machine room that need signifcant cleaning it is against code and dangerous.

It’s a Machine Room, Not a Broom Closet

colley-elevator-photo-machine-room2There is an old joke that the long in the tooth elevator folks repeat to the new guys. If they happen to make the mistake by saying an elevator has just one stop, the rookie will inevitably hear, “It’s an elevator, not a broom closet.” The veteran will be quick to point out that every elevator has at least two stops or it simply will be a broom closet with expensive doors. Unfortunately, they don’t have a similar joke about the machine room with the punchline being “It’s a machine room – not a broom closet.” Ba dum tshh.

Machine rooms don’t start out being a catch-all, but the open space is a tempting sight for everyone in a crowded building. The result is that some building owners or managers see lots of real estate in a machine room that is going unused, and they lick their chops with envy and desire to fill that void with all kinds of stuff. Just as often, it is well-meaning employees seeking a place to dump items they want to get out of their way. Lastly, the machine room can become a hiding place and lounge for refuge-seeking smokers on winter days and those looking for a quiet place to take a coffee break.

As a result, machine rooms often become a repository for cleaning materials, flammable liquids, brooms, buckets, mops, ladders, boxes piled to the ceiling, files and filing cabinets, banker boxes, rags, light bulbs, chairs, Christmas ornaments, newspapers, cigarette butts, books, magazines and old candy wrappers. You get the point.

clean-machine-roomBut the machine room is not a break room, storage area or broom closet, and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) code for elevators makes it clear that the space needs to be left open and safe.

ASME is the American National Standard for elevators, or the Bible as far as elevator requirements are concerned. The current national standard states there must be a minimum of 18 inches to access the tank, or power unit, and 36″ clear in front of electrical components.  Furthermore, nothing is allowed in the machine room that is not elevator-related.

Simply put, buckets and mops don’t help the elevator run smoothly any more than flammable materials like paint and industrial strength cleaning fluids affect the elevator speed. So they aren’t allowed in the machine room.

The machine room door must also be self-closing and self-locking. This ensures that only properly trained elevator mechanics will enter it, and it won’t be a break room for employees hiding from the boss or the boss hiding from the employees.

Why so picky? For good reason. Untrained people could inadvertently damage equipment, or come into contact with high voltage.  Flammable materials could combust and start a fire, damaging the equipment. So the machine room needs to be emptied of all the extraneous items that might have found their way into the room, and non-elevator people need to stay out.

Lastly, each state may have additional requirements, which may exceed the national code. Massachusetts, for instance, requires 24 inches on two sides of the power unit in the machine room. Michigan requires that the machine room door be within 10 feet of the hoistway.  But none of them permit storing furniture and janitorial supplies.

You may be losing a broom closet, but you will be gaining peace of mind knowing that your machine room and all of its components are safe and sound!

(photo credit to Colley Elevator – Chicago, Illinois)

 

New Location – Get an Invite to the Grand Opening and Tour

Usually, this blog is all about elevators, and we go to great pains to keep Phoenix Modular Elevator out of most of the posts written. We like to focus on educating people that have elevators and utilize elevator maintenance and repair services, but every once in awhile, you have to blow your own horn. So here we go! Starting in 2017, Phoenix Modular Elevator has a brand new location!

last-truck-leaving

As most of you that follow our blog or Facebook page know, we are actually two businesses in one. One is as a regional provider of elevator service and maintenance, while the other is as a manufacturer of modular elevators. For 20 years, we have been assembling modular elevators out of an old factory in the middle of Mt. Vernon, Illinois. The old building is historic but far from ideal. It is a multi-story structure with the various components of a completed quality elevator built in several locations. It was old and drafty to say the least, and a real pain for those that delivered our elevators across the US and Canada. Backing into our depot from a narrow city street was a struggle.

eterior-new-plant

The new location is located in a recently opened industrial park at 4800 Phoenix Drive, still in Mt Vernon, Illinois. It is right at the crossroads of Interstates 57 and 64, making delivery to both coasts and Canada easy. Also, the new plant will be bigger and operate on one level, so no more shuffling hoistways and elevator cabs around. This new layout will increase productivity and overall efficiency.

The new 25,000 square foot factory is twice as large as our old building, so completing multi-tower elevators will be easier and will also allow us to mass produce elevators faster for customers that want a large quantity of elevators delivered at the same time. For the service customer, it puts us closer to the interstate and will improve response times. The service department will also have more space.

Although we are now up and running, we are having a grand opening and factory tour sometime in the Spring when the weather is a bit better. During the tour, we will be demonstrating how we make modular elevators and will have personnel available to answer any of your questions regarding elevators, including service and maintenance.

Click Here!!!! if you want to get an invitation!