The Team that Solves Problems

I shouted out in our office, “What should be the topic be for our blog this month?” and immediately the response was to talk about the staff, their duties, and how much we enjoy working together and assisting our customers by providing great service while meeting their needs. Elevators can be very complex, so it takes a well-coordinated effort with lots of desire and teamwork to help with the myriad of issues that can arise with any elevator. At PME, we use our desire to help, along with teamwork, every day, and here is an introduction to those who work tirelessly behind the scenes to get you your elevator. There is a chain of events that comes with every elevator produced and Phoenix Modular Elevator employees are behind each of these steps that ultimately result in the fastest installing, commercial-quality elevator available being delivered to your job site.

1. When you call for a free quick quote or click the button on our website, you don’t go to an automated message and your email doesn’t just disappear into a black hole. After a pleasant greeting from Cindy or Chris, you get to personally talk to either John or Lynndi. If you submit a request for a quick quote, it is forwarded directly to them so there is no chance of the message being lost. John and Lynndi pride themselves on prompt response time while providing helpful information. They are not traditional salespeople but educators about elevators, and they solve problems, finding out what you need for your project.

John Hefner – Eastern US Sales Consultant and Lynndi Kesler – Sales Manager work to make sure that they get free quick and formal quotes out faster than any other elevator company.

2. Once the project is ready to go, you will become acquainted with Randy or Chris from our Accounting and Accounts Receivable departments. They gladly answer questions about billing, invoices and payment schedules. They love explaining any issues that may arise and will go the extra mile to get you what you need to move the project forward.

3. Next, Tim in Engineering gets the project. He checks and double checks every aspect of the job, getting each and every piece of the project worked out and ready to build. From pit details to final engineering, Tim and Pat we will help coordinate the project and answer any questions you may have. Tim loves being included in conversations about elevators early in the process so adjustments can be made before manufacturing has started.

4. When the project is an official go, Tonya in Purchasing starts pulling everything together by buying the various components. Keep in mind that every elevator is a little different and has literally hundreds of parts and components and each has to be shopped for best price and quality. The parts are non-proprietary and are all produced either here at PME or in the same factories as any other company. The only real difference is that we install them in a factory while the hoistway is horizontal, making our elevators faster to build and install and high quality.

Tonya in purchasing and Seth in inventory are constantly making sure we have everything we need and all the pieces to each elevator we make.

5. Quality is constant! Part of what makes our elevators better is that quality control checks can take place easily and often. Jason, our Quality Control Manager, simply walks the hoistway throughout the shift, checking welds, wiring, drywall, doors and frames and the cabs. He develops plans for continued improvement and sees the plans through for seamless and smooth production.

6. Last but certainly not least is logistics. Getting everything from point A to point B is a true test that we consistently pass with flying colors. Psyndy (pronounced Cindy) not only is responsible for all the components arriving to the job site just in time, but everything that has to ship out, too. This takes more than a postage stamp, working only with trusted trucking companies. Each shipped elevator leaves on time and arrives when wanted.

This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the employees that make sure you get a high-quality commercial elevator every time. There are many more employees, including our production team, working hard to ensure each elevator is exactly as the customer ordered. Teamwork and desire to solve problems for our customers is what we do. And our efforts do not go unnoticed! A property developer we built and installed an elevator for recognized the hard work and quality by commenting that, “The Phoenix Modular Elevator was the most painless experience we have ever had when it comes to elevators.” This has led us to be spec’d in several of their jobs in the future. Comments like those just drive us harder to provide even better customer service.


Wood Core Vs. Steel – Best Material for Elevator Cabs

Steel versus wood is a discussion that has been going on for a long time in the elevator world. Which material is better for an elevator cab?

For those of you not familiar with elevator cabs, they are the part of the elevator you ride in. The cab is attached to a sling and platform that is either pushed by hydraulic jacks or pulled by steel cable ropes. That is a bit of of an over simplification, but what it comes down to is the cab is the box that you ride in. As you will find with most things, opinion is usually the deciding factor led by who is doing the arguing or who benefits most. More on that later, but first, lets go over some important facts about cabs.

Whether wood or steel, cabs are built to be durable, reliable and safe, and every elevator cab produced today are all of those. Also, current elevator cars strictly follow the elevator code for the jurisdiction they are installed in. They are inspected and must pass the code to be placed into service. That is one way we know they are safe. So, when you are discussing elevator cabs, none of those points are important in arguing either way. Elevator cars are highly functional and safe. Therefore, it comes down to a few other factors that are still important, but not life and death. I have divided this analysis into three categories and most of the deciding factors between steel and wood fall into those. The first is the cost, the second is the quality of the ride (sound), and last but not least, the ease of installation.

Cost – When it comes to cost, steel is simply more expensive. In general terms, a steel elevator cab is twice as expensive as a wood core cab. We know this because we will place any type of cab into elevators here at Phoenix Modular Elevator, wood core and steel. We produce wood core cabs in the factory, but frequently buy steel cabs for customers when specs are specific and steel is required. But, the cost of purchase is just the beginning. There are lots of hidden costs that are not usually understood or discussed when it comes to steel versus wood core.

The most important factor that drives up the costs for elevators (besides gold inlaid, mahogany hand rails) is the weight. The heavier the load lifted, the more expensive to install and operate. For cars of similar measurements and the same capacity, the weight for a steel cab over a wood core can be up to 15% higher. That means increased power requirements. It can mean bigger jacks, motors and valves, different motors or sheaves requirements, as well as ropes. All of this can cost more money not just in the short term but in the long run. Check mark to wood core!

Quality of Ride or Sound – Hello, hellllo, hellllllllo. Sorry; just thinking of standing in a steel elevator cab makes me imagine I’m in a Ricola commercial. I just couldn’t resist. A metal cab is louder. It is not a myth that you can sound like you are in a tin can, because you are in a tin can. There are ways to reduce the noise transfer, but then cost becomes an issue again. Also, when there is noise in an elevator, that usually means there is vibration and that can cause connections to loosen, creating even more noise and, of course, the need for repairs. In the old days, there were some drawbacks regarding wood core and moisture absorption, but with technology, that has largely been alleviated, so you will never get the creeks and moans with wood core that you get in a steel cab.

There is something very solid feeling about a wood core cab. One of our installers, when they first toured our factory, went in a fully constructed cab and jumped up and down and loved how solid the wood core cab felt. Also, wood core is just as flexible when it comes to design. If you can imagine it, a wood core cab can be it. Check mark number two to wood core!

Ease of Installation – Finally, a win for steel. One of the primary reasons for the movement away from wood core is the ease of installation of a steel cab. They come in pieces that are an easy fit through hoistway doors to the hoistway where most cabs are assembled. This can also help when modernizing the cab. They come apart pretty easy (hence the rattling) and can be replaced quickly. The wood core cabs likewise come in pieces, albeit larger than the steel pieces, and are put together with simple draw bolts. They can be taken apart easily as well. Of course, all of this is a moot point for our elevators as we build the cab outside of the hoistway and then insert and wire it prior to shipping. This means that the cab, whether steel or wood core, get built faster and easier.

So this is the real nub of the whole discussion. When you say that steel is better, who is it better for? Is is better for the end user? The answer is no. Wood core and steel are really the same. Steel is a bit louder and can rattle more by transmitting more noise, but the safety and functionality are equal in all other respects. Is steel better for the building owner? Nope. They cost more money upfront and over time and are subject to more long-term maintenance. Is steel better for the big elevator companies? Finally, the reason they are sold. Elevator companies find them easier to install (because they are not built like our modular models) and so they have become the standard despite the shortcomings.

To sum things up, either option is fine and we install both. Just keep an open mind to cost savings in the short and long term. That should be the ultimate determining factor.

Back to School at World of Modular

By John Hefner

In December of 2004, I walked across an assembled stage at my alma mater, Eastern Illinois University, to receive an empty folder from a man I had never met and it was assumed (obviously by me) that it would unlock all the doors I had hoped to unlock in life. I was relieved that I had finally made it because I mistakenly thought that I was going out to conquer the “real world”. Fourteen years later and five jobs under my belt, I realize that you never stop learning and that school had very little to do with this “real world”. Most jobs either are not at the technological level we learned in school or don’t fit into the perfect world scenarios envisioned by the books, but I digress… My favorite teachers in school were the ones that were also doing what they taught in their own businesses. They were very quick to call out the writers when the books were delving into what you could politely say was a fictional scenario.

Enter Anirban Basu at the recent World of Modular conference in Las Vegas. He is an economist who is self-aware enough to know that he is not in the most entertaining of fields. I had been told before the speech that he was going to be good, so I knew I was probably going to like him. All doubt left when the title for his speech and picture referenced the 1984 crossover hit, “To All the Girls I’ve Loved Before”, and used economics to show that there is nothing new under the sun.

He started with this quote by Janet Yellen: “There is always some chance of recession in any year, but the evidence suggests that expansions don’t die of old age. ” In other words, it’s true that economists are always shouting economic slowdown during a boom period, but no expansion has lasted forever. He pointed to the Baltic Dry Index, which he asserts is a solid predictor of an economic downturn. He brought up a chart on the global economic growth highlighting the softening markets overseas that are buying and selling to us. He discussed the Capacity Utilization Rate, which also predicts when an economic downturn is imminent. Not that they say we’re in a recession; more likely, it’s a “correction” from the white-hot economy we’ve had over the last few years.

One cool point he made was about the inequality of the jobs available to workers. He said that one major reason is males 21 to 34 are not entering the workforce to instead, stay home to play video games. Now I admit I indulge in a couple hour-long gaming sessions periodically, but I also have had a job since I was 10 when I first started mowing lawns and currently work over 40 hours a week at PME. But a major segment of our society has chosen to remain jobless or as they say, “in transition” for 15 years? You can check out this cool article about it here.

But in every rain cloud, there is a silver lining, or as Basu intimated, in every economist’s speech, there are hopeful statements so they will invite you back next year. The number one issue was the China trade deal, which is what took me back to school. I had an economics professor that talked about this China trade deal back in college. His big “wag of the finger” was a study he did on all the trade ambassadors to Japan and China, refusing to put any teeth in their negotiations going back to Nixon’s term and then after their ambassadorship, wind up with a “consultant” position for one of their companies. Obviously we aren’t going to compete with them in manufacturing, but agriculturally, we can provide grain, beef, etc. for much less. Also, he talked about the Federal Reserve keeping the prime rate low and he’s not the only one saying this.

It’s nice to find out that your education taught you something that is getting a lot of attention in the current market. It makes all those thousands spent seem like they may have meant something. It’s also great that maturity apparently came in those 14 years as I was awake during HIS WHOLE SPEECH! On a personal level, I think we can all realize that every boom comes with a bust and how important it is to make smart economic decisions like using a modular elevator to open your project faster and get in on the good economy while it lasts. If you want to learn how you can save time on your project, email me for a quote at I can get out most budget numbers in under 24 hours.

World of Modular Take-A-Ways

By John Hefner

Once again, I take the reigns of the most exciting, entertaining, and generally informative blog in the world (you’re welcome, Russ Ward!), the Phoenix Modular Elevator blog!! I was excited to attend the World of Modular convention from March 15-18 in fabulous Las Vegas!

I went out to represent our company, but learned a wealth of information about how modular is changing the industry. Did you know that modular is solving housing problems caused by expanding populations, natural disaster, or timeline crunches?Through a series of breakout sessions, we learned how people around the globe are using modular in crazy situations, such as in Alaska to house most of the population of a town. In Korea, where space is at a premium, it’s hard to build traditionally because it has to be done fast so the town can resume normal function. My personal favorite was an MRI facility that can be packed up and taken where needed while a facility is updating their MRI equipment.

Two of the big announcements made at the show came in the breakout sessions. One is that shipping containers are now going to be a part of the International Building Code, which will make passing inspections easier. The other was that Mariott International announced that they were going to give incentives for their owners of hotels to use modular components so that they can build hotels faster!

But the gem of the show is the awards banquet, where we all don our dress clothes, have a fancy dinner, and look at some of the best the industry has to offer. For a person just being exposed to the industry and, I’ll admit, previous misconceptions that modular means a glorified trailer, I was stunned by some of the buildings on display: houses that any family would be glad to call home; huge, movable complexes where pipeline and factory workers can rest between shifts when they are away from home; doctors offices and storefronts that were put up quickly so that they could start plying their wares and trade.

The most exciting part was when two projects that, up till that moment were a sheet on the project board, won awards! Congratulations Axis Construction who won Best of Show Permanent Facility over 10,000 sq. ft. with the Vanderbilt Family Health Clinic! It featured two of our elevators.

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Also recognized in the Relocatable Modular Education under 10,000 sq feet category was Aries Building Systems for their BelovED Community Charter School. P.S. Our elevator and machine room is front and center!

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Congratulations to all the winners representing the best of the modular industry and we look forward to working with you all in the future!! I know I’m looking forward to seeing even more of our projects next year!

Built in One Piece for Quality

One of the most common questions we get at Phoenix Modular Elevator is, “How high can you go?” The assumption is that modular elevators have limits; maybe two or three stops at the most. The answer, however, may surprise you. Currently, we have a project that has a total 15 floors and there are more mid-rise projects in the production pipeline.

But there are some limits to be considered, and that would be the total length of our production floor in our factory. Currently, that equates to a lot of elevator; we can produce a pre-installed elevator in a hoistway over 450 feet long or tall, depending on your perspective. This is because due to ever-increasing demand for mid-rise elevators, our factory floor was recently doubled in length.

It depends on your perspective because we build our hoistways horizontally and then pre-install all of the elevator equipment while it remains horizontal. When finished, it is even trucked horizontally in 50-55 foot sections to the job site and is finally vertical when craned into place and ready for a technician to set it up.

So I am sure you are wondering, if it is delivered in sections or towers, why does the total length of the factory floor make a difference?

The answer is, we pride ourselves on our quality. The hoistway and rails are always perfectly plumb, perfectly square and perfectly level in every job we complete, even when the job calls for four towers or more, and that helps ensure quality is strictly adhered to.

The only way to ensure perfection is to build the hoistway together in one long piece with the sections pinned and bolted together until the elevator is ready to be shipped. Once the elevator car, wiring and assembly is complete, we simply unbolt the sections, shrink wrap them individually and load them one at a time on the trucks. They are then shipped as you need them or all at one time, depending on your construction schedule.

When they arrive at the site, the first section goes into the pit and is properly set. Then, the subsequent towers are lowered into place and bolted together. They fit hand in glove because they were built that way, all connected.

So why does this matter? Because ultimately, a smooth-riding elevator needs to have perfection. The rails need to be in alignment, with no rough joints or bumps. I am sure you have been in an elevator that rattles, shakes or shimmies. Instead of a nice quiet cab ride, it sounds more like a freight train hitting a bump on the tracks. That is usually because the rails were not placed properly or they have slipped in the clips that hold them in place. You will never have a problem like that with our modular elevators because they are carefully put into place and welded in the factory. Perfect every time can mean a better ride over the life of the elevator.

So how high can we go? Almost any height with unsurpassed quality.

PME Philosophy from General Patton

By Russ Ward

The life and times of General George S. Patton is a bit of an obsession for me. I have read every book I can find about him and have seen the Academy Award winning film Patton more times than I can remember. The reason for my deep interest is that my grandfather was a lowly private in the European Theater of Operations during World War II in the 79th – Cross of Loraine Division and was under Patton’s command during some of his deployment. I still proudly have the shoulder sleeve insignia he wore on his uniform. The field of blue has faded with time and has smudges of dirt and grime but the silver Cross of Loraine is still clearly visible.

I am proud of my grandfathers service and so I seek out wisdom and all I can from one of the greatest leaders of his time that he served under. So what have I gleaned from General Patton? Plenty about innovation, leadership, management and business. Ironically the timeless principles he espoused can be seen daily at Phoenix Modular Elevator. How have we embraced and exemplified some of his more famous quotes? Read on to find out, but first, here are some of Old Blood and Guts’ more notable sayings:

  • “Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity.”
  • “If everybody is thinking alike, then somebody isn’t thinking.”
  • “Say what you mean and mean what you say.”

These words demonstrate a straight forward approach to army life but so much more. They speak to business and leadership outside of the military as well and so they apply daily to what we do at Phoenix Modular Elevator. We excel at innovative thinking, due to the freedom to experiment and improve processes and products. We recently saw this on our largest to date eight-story set of stairs for a project in New York. We worked as a team with many contributing ingenuity and fresh perspectives to accomplish the task on schedule and budget.

We see the benefits of outside of the box thinking, where problem solving is encouraged. Thinking differently is not frowned upon but seriously considered, tested and improved.

Our open philosophy of discourse allows for a free exchange of ideas and concepts at every level of the corporate structure. Constructive criticism and honesty is encouraged and exemplified from the president to the factory floor.

Through living out the quotes of Patton in today’s business environment, we have become the clear leader in the modular elevator movement with the largest and fastest growing modular elevator manufacturing plant in North America. We are on the upward path and continue to march forward to success.

Ultimately, if I were to dig a bit deeper into my psyche for the source of my desire to find out as much as I can about Patton, it is probably due to him being one of the war’s most renowned characters. There are volumes of histories and biographies that paint a clear and defining portrait of him, his escapades and his character. Yet my grandfather, who served honorably from Utah Beach to Bavaria has little to no similar marker to his gallantry or even a hint of his life from 1942 to mustering out in 1946. Just another in particle in the cloud of 2 million green clad American soldiers that fought in Europe for all the right reasons.

I search in vain on the internet and my eyes strain to closely examine old war footage on TV for fragments of information or for even a glimpse of a young “dog face” soldier from Southern Illinois. I am always disappointed. The memories that reside deep inside me of my grandfather are relegated to remain just wisps and flights; never tangible or more concrete. The result? The memory of one of the most influential men in my life is relegated to a box of combat ribbons, old patches, medals, some letters to back home and scattered newspaper clippings. It does not seem fitting so I replace him with a man who’s adventures are chronicled and recounted for all and for all times.

Thankfully, I have in my search for my grandfather and found the wisdom of his generation through Patton’s quotes and diary.

Funny thing. I don’t even know if my grandpa liked Patton or even saw him. Like many that participated in the WW2 he rarely spoke of his service. But I know, like Patton, Private First Class, Edward Earl Russell was tough, smart and a true leader. So I look to Patton and his words of wisdom to to fill in the blanks for my grandfather, because although he survived the war with the Germans, cancer would ultimately defeat him in 1974 before I got to know him well.

It seems that as the World War II generation fades further from our minds and the dust from old books replaces the dust of the battlefield, the principles they had can out last them. I am just glad that through the leaders of the Greatest Generation, we can still learn grow and innovate.

Limits to the MRL Hydro

By Russ Ward, PME Marketing & Tim House, PME Engineer

MRL hydraulic elevators are all the rage right now and for good reason. As the name implies, there is no additional machine room space needed, as it is built into the hoistway, so there is more square footage available for other things in the building, at least in theory. That point is debatable, as some will argue this claim! But with all the advantages of MRL hydro, there is a known limiting factor that should be recognized and accounted for at this time; hydraulic fluid viscosity.

The issue regarding viscosity is there could be significant fluid cooling problems with MRL hydros. Basically, as the elevator travels up and down, the oil heats up as it moves through the pipe due to friction, and when the hydraulic fluid or oil heats up, the life-blood of the system can fail. The oil just thins out when operated above required temperature levels, much like oil does when your car overheats and gets too thin, especially for a sustained period of time.

This breakdown, or altered viscosity, creates several real problems that can harm your elevator or negatively influence the way it operates. It can cause leaks in seals, the elevator can have difficulty leveling and even wear out major components faster than they should. In addition, the lifespan of the hydraulic fluid itself can be shortened, meaning it will need to be replaced more often, creating increased costs for operation.

The reason MRL hydraulic elevators can sometimes run with fluid at a higher temperature is due to several factors:

First, the main problem is that air flow is the primary way that the elevator hydraulic tank (normally in the machine room) is cooled down. The oil flows in when the elevator is not in use, especially if parked at a lower floor. As it sits there, the oil in the tank is cooled by the surrounding air and air flow. That is why there are significant rules and regulations regarding machine room temps and one of the reasons that objects must be kept clear of the tank.

Some MRL elevators, with the elevator tank in the wall of the hoistway, will have a grate covering the area where the tank is sitting so when the elevator goes swooshing up and down, the air flow created will cool the oil. But not all are designed that way and sometimes codes prohibit the open area.

The second issue is that the motor placement inside the tank can be problematic. Again, in a normal hydraulic elevator tank, you find a submersible motor, pump valves and pipes. The key object and one that generates significant heat is the submersible motor. In the standard configuration, it rests near the bottom fully covered in hydraulic fluid.

In some of the MRL models, to save room, the tank is not horizontal but vertical and, as a result, as the jack goes up and fluid leaves the tank, the motor can be exposed to air without the benefit of being fully submerged. This can cause additional heat in the system. As a result, some companies restrict the total travel distance in MRL hydros. To combat this, others have put the hydraulic tank in the floor of the pit, but that has its own set of difficulties. Air flow can be restricted, depending on where it is placed, and if the elevator breaks down with the car at the bottom of the pit, it may be hard to get to a potential problem area.

Another problem spot to be considered is that the limited space in the hoistway or pit can lead to cutting down the power unit. This can especially be trouble for units with a total rise beyond 20 feet or more. By trying to save space, the power unit can be too small, creating more work and more heat generation.

All of these issues are magnified when the total travel distance is increased and when the elevator is in high use for very lengthy periods of time. A good example of this is a hotel that has very specific high traffic periods, especially if the hotel is four or more stories. With all the ups and downs, the oil is constantly moving and staying too warm for operation; the precious life-blood (hydraulic fluid) never really gets to sit in the tank and cool down. Also, because the hydraulic fluid is going up so high (in a four stop elevator), most of the oil can be in the jacks, possibly exposing the motor; so, over a long period of time, motor failure or jack seals may be compromised.

Because of the above, until there is a proven track record regarding MRL hydraulic units use at peak periods, we recommend caution when buying an MRL hydro beyond 24′ of total travel. Make sure you ask your elevator representative very specific questions to ensure a long elevator life.

Businesses have always been lectured about the importance of being on the cutting edge of technology, and MRL hydraulic units for longer total travel distances with high levels of peak use are just that. Just be cautious and don’t find yourself on the bleeding edge instead of the cutting edge!

Labor Crunch – Modular Solution

The labor market is getting tighter and tighter, especially with a 3.9% unemployment rate, and actual jobs are now more plentiful than those seeking them, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The Bureau is an arm of the United States Department of Labor and they track and report all things labor in the US. According to the official statistics, simply put, we have more job openings than people to fill them. This labor crunch is clearly evidenced by the most recent numbers of people filing for unemployment. It is the lowest rate since 1969 and many say it is due to employers holding on to employees because they fear not being able to find replacements. This trend is also demonstrated in a recent phone call we received at Phoenix Modular Elevator.

The phone call was from a manager of a regional elevator company that has new installations as a large part of their book of business. For the first time ever, he called us to get details on our modular solution that he had seen at a recent trade show. But strangely, it was not due to our fast installations (less than a week with standard hydraulic models), nor was it due to the price, which is usually very competitive. It was due to the fact that he was having significant difficulties in filling elevator technician positions with qualified employees in his company. That was leading to the unusual problem of people wanting elevators, the company wanting to provide them, but having no way to get them installed in any reasonable time.

As the manager started looking for solutions, he remembered us and modular quickly became the best way to provide elevators to a customer base that needed them.

But his questions were not all about installing more elevators faster. He dug deep during our conversation about quality and safety. He was not going to install anything that was substandard or less safe than what he could provide through traditional, old-fashioned elevator installation. To his surprise, he found that our high-quality commercial elevators have parts that are from solid, tried and true elevator supply companies and are always non-proprietary. This means that his crews could trust our product and get them up and running with little problem because everything from door openers (that come pre-installed) to controllers were from companies they were familiar with and liked to work with.

He also loved the fact that a modular machine room was available that comes largely finished with a tank, pump and motor already installed and ready to go once power is available. It seemed too good to be true, so he began to question safety.

Over the years, he had seen plenty of good elevator technicians forced to leave the business due to injuries usually associated with lugging around heavy rails and being forced into tight working conditions in very cramped elevator hoistways. Anyone in the elevator business can tell you it is not very kind to the back, and Tylenol is often gobbled up more often than M&M’s. He was extremely relieved to find a company that cares enough about elevator technicians to do most of the heavy lifting for them. No more rails to be installed in a vertical shaft and the car is assembled separately from the hoistway and inserted with all the wiring before it is shipped.

With all of these huge benefits, not only was he instantly sold, but he wanted to start selling them himself. We were able to provide the perfect solution to the problem of lack of qualified labor, and he found a quality solution that was not only faster to install, but safer for his employees.

If you want to become a qualified installer of Phoenix Modular Elevators, just go to this website and answer a few questions. We want to help you make elevators easy! If you have a project in mind, click the button below.

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Click for a free quick quote.

Adding on to the Phoenix Modular Elevator Legacy

The calendar has lost its final page and now it is 2019. As is the nature of humanity, we cannot resist the temptation to look back at 2018 and take a peak at the near future for Phoenix Modular Elevator; it was an undeniable success. Demand was way up and production continued to steadily climb. One trend that we identified was the growing market demand for taller modular elevators. As familiarity and acceptance continues to grow among architects, developers and builders, we continue to grow across the continent. The result is that hoistways that were once considered out of reach for us are now the largest requests we receive. We are certainly a far cry from where we were when we started some 20 years ago in an old shoe factory.

In that old factory, when Phoenix Modular Elevator first opened its doors, it was the best two and three stop elevator solution available to bring a building up to code for the Americans with Disabilities Act. The elevators were easily manufactured and swung into place faster than any conventional elevator could be, making the upgrade in accessibility easy and fast. Hence our slogan, “We make elevators easy!” But soon, it was discovered that new traditional construction, modular construction and large retrofit projects were a great fit as well. As a result, ever increasing floor travels became a larger part of the business.

Soon it was four to seven story buildings that were in our wheelhouse. Sure, we still produced lots of commercial-quality two-story models faster and safer than conventional elevators, but the mid-rise elevators we produced kept getting taller and taller. And that was when we knew a new home with more breathing room would be needed. In 2017, planing and construction began and by 2018, the factory was complete. We moved into  the brand new manufacturing center, still centrally located for all of North America in Mt. Vernon, Illinois. Turns out, when you ship elevators from the Alaska Ice Road to Prince Edward Island, Florida to California and all points in between, being on two major interstate highways is a good idea.  

The new digs allowed for a less crowded factory floor to easily accommodate those larger hoistways; because in our world, when we say taller and taller, we really mean longer and longer, as our elevators are built horizontally. Any shaft that is over 50+ feet will mean multiple, stackable towers as our process entails building the hoistways with all the elevator components already inside. These stackable hoistways are a point of pride for us because they are always level, square and plumb to perfection due to our process and high-skilled laborers. So, when we have multi-piece elevator hoistways, the pieces are produced all lined up and connected so they are perfect every time. This meant more floor space was needed, especially when you get to four or more towers for one project.

Ultimately, due to the ever-increasing requests for seven to 22 floor elevators, we had to expand again. Fortunately, we planned for the future with a site and factory that was easily increased in size and our success permitted us to double our factory floor with an addition that will be ready by March 1, 2019. We are continuing to build and to grow but not just physically. Our capacity has also increased with additional professional staff in engineering, sales and logistics. This allows for more volume with the same customer service. We can continue to help you choose the best elevator for your application, produce drawings quickly and make sure it is shipped on time as requested.  Phoenix Modular Elevator experienced a fantastic 2018 and we are positioned to expand even more for a prosperous 2019.  

Retro Fit Testimonial

View the testimonial here!

When considering an elevator for a retro fit project the best place to start is at We have heard the stories time and time again about the elevator project slowing construction and running up costs, but they don’t have to. In the video a superintendent of a school receiving a modular solution talks about all the ways that modular helped out in a retro fit project. It also shows how the elevator was installed and why it was so crucial that the school get a much needed upgrade.

The testimonial reveals the value that modular has, the acceptance it received from architects and how easy it was for the school to have an elevator installed. This video is a must see if your building needs an elevator!!!!