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About phoenixmod

Phoenix Modular Elevator manufactures high quality, commercial elevators in a factory setting. This assures our customers a better product with a shorter lead and installation time at a lower cost.

A Blank Canvas – The Architect’s Dream

nypl.digitalcollections.b3afd5e1-27a1-4acf-e040-e00a180661f0.001.wArchitects often see setbacks worthy of quitting when trying to integrate the restrictions and requirements of GC’s into their artistic design.

One of history’s most important artists could have also let setbacks and failures crush him as a young painter. Giving up would have been more than understandable, as Paul Cézanne’s father saw no future in the world of art for his son and, ultimately, was instrumental in pushing his young son to study law and work in the bank he had founded instead of following his heart.

Further disappointment followed when Cézanne finally applied to enroll in the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris (one of the most prestigious schools) and he was rejected almost immediately. Likewise, in the various salons in Paris, time and again his work was refused. A lesser man’s dreams would have been extinguished and one could only imagine the pressure and anxiety that accompanied every stroke of the brush.

It’s no wonder he was quoted as saying, “It’s so fine and yet so terrible to stand in front of a blank canvas.”

The blank canvas to Cézanne was equally torture and pleasure, but none can dispute the energy he drew from it. It led to him being one of the most influential artists of his time. He was drawn to the blank canvas, simultaneously pushed and pursued by it.


In the “mother art” (architecture – according to Frank Lloyd Wright), architects too are drawn to the blank canvas,  but their medium is more than stretched linen over a wooden frame. Architects are the artists of concrete and steel, who give us the visual and textural quality of day to day life and expression.  Like Cézanne, they need the blank canvas to create and to dream. This physical “canvas” for them must be malleable for the outcomes they desire; it must be a surface that can be honed and shaped.  However, all too often architects, due to the history of the modular industry, are slow to see the components as a canvas.

They sometimes see modular as pre-stamped cookies falling off of the end of an assembly line devoid of flexibility and artistic expression. Yet, nothing could be further from the truth. The modular industry has changed significantly and now works hand in glove with architects to make inspirational creations. For instance, with our modular elevators, virtually any interior of the elevator car can be accomplished. We have produced glass elevator cars, cars made from reclaimed barn wood, cars with raised panels, and every manner of stainless steel or laminate you can imagine. We also have standard designs available for cost efficiency without losing a personal touch. The result is that the elevator is no longer a hindrance to the overall design but an enhancement to the overall project. Too often when walking through a building the elevator interrupts the integrity of the design, but that is no longer necessary when using a modular elevator in a construction project.

Likewise, if the hoistway or shaft is visible, our designs can carry the wishes of the architect beyond the first floor lobby. Modular elevators that are exposed to the exterior of the building can be fitted with any surface from stucco to rolled metal, fitting in perfectly with the concept of the overall structure. If the hoistway is part of the interior, it can be just plain drywall ready for finishing or decorative perforated metal. The possibilities are endless because the design is in the hands of the real artists–the architects that can make a construction project come alive.

In addition to the flexibility of design, the customization of the elevator car and hoistway, per the architects requirements, does not slow the manufacturing process and never impedes the installation time of less than a week in most cases.

So in every way, reconsider modular manufacturing and think of Phoenix Modular Elevator as your canvas ready for your artistic vision.

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Innovation the Key – Jefferson the Example

Monticello 1At the recent Elevator U conference, on the last day  we had the pleasure of leaving the final session, boarding buses and, as a group, visiting the historic home of Thomas Jefferson in Monticello. The Elevator U conference is an annual gathering of elevator and facility managers from colleges and universities across the country where participants learn more about vertical transportation, innovation in the industry, and make important contacts. We cannot give a higher recommendation for attendance to this annual event.

The visit to Monticello demonstrated the forward thinking of Thomas Jefferson, but also represented the forward thinking of Elevator U.

Monticello is a UNSECO World Heritage Site, as much because of the uniqueness and innovation as to the fame of its founder, architect, and owner Thomas Jefferson, the third president and writer of the first draft of the Declaration of Independence. The home displays dozens of innovations imagined by Jefferson and completed by expert artisan and joiner James Dinsmore. Some examples include, the great clock in the entry hall, dumbwaiters for wine and beer bottles tucked away in the sides of the dining room fireplace mantel, and triple pane windows in a bedroom often used by James and Dolly Madison that could double as exterior doors.

Innovation was what drove Jefferson and that innovation can be seen throughout his life from the words of the Declaration of Independence to his world renowned research gardens and in the home in which he lived.

The visit to Monticello and the innovation it hosts was appropriate because innovation was on full display during the Elevator U conference as well and is a reality throughout the elevator industry as the continued improvements to the vertical transportation industry was often the topic of conversation.


At the conference, the point was made that too often large industries get stuck in a malaise where dominant forces slow innovation and do not experiment with new ways of thinking or provide new solutions to problems that arise. For instance, one of the well noted problems universal to the elevator industry, and the bane of the construction business, is regarding the timeline involved with elevator installation. Let’s be honest for a moment and just say it…traditional stick built elevators are simply not practical to install. Months can pass as a hoistway is built (dependent on weather, for instance), and then several more months can tick away as the elevator is installed vertically inside the cramped quarters of an elevator shaft.

At the conference, many elevator technicians were excited to see that modular elevators have the elevator rails pre-installed and are thereby safer.  Many injuries could be avoided as lifting rails and hanging them in a vertical shaft is no longer needed. Not so long ago, innovation was needed to reduce the timeline and make installation safer, and modular elevators were born. Not surprisingly, the vast majority of these new inventions were installed in schools. We at Phoenix Modular Elevator continue to be very supportive of Elevator U because they are committed to understanding advancements in technology and innovation.

With the help of our friends at Elevator U, the market and need for modular elevators continues to grow as they are a fast, quality solution with installation times of a week or less. They are safer to install and the same quality as their stick-built counterparts. Yet in some quarters, fear of innovation persists and hesitancy to change continues despite the overwhelming advantages.

A lesson from the Monticello trip is that those not willing to change should heed the words of Jefferson himself when he said:

“I am not myself apt to be alarmed at innovations recommended by reason. That dread belongs to those whose interests or prejudices shrink from the advance of truth and science.”

The time is not to shrink from advancements, but to embrace them. If Jefferson were alive today, his home of innovation would not have had a simple dumbwaiter for wine but a modular elevator to every floor of his mansion.


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Welcome Kelly Schloss as Sales Manager

Kelly HeadshotPhoenix Modular Elevator is pleased to announce that Kelly Schloss has joined our team as the Inside Sales Manager.  She will be managing quick quotes, formal quotes, and sales. She is ready and willing to deliver information to and assist architects, general contractors, elevator contractors, and modular builders looking for an easy, quality, vertical transportation solution. Her addition will ensure PME’s commitment to responsiveness and great customer service.

Kelly has undergone extensive training  in the world of modular elevators and is ready to field your calls, answer your questions, and deliver same-day quick quotes for any project you have in mind.  Her professional goal is to eliminate the pain points that installing an elevator can cause by delivering great customer service and a high quality product every time!

Feel to contact Kelly to welcome her to the Phoenix Modular Elevator team or to request information about placing a high-quality Phoenix Modular Elevator in your next project.


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Where Does it Hurt?

medical-563427_1920We have all been there. Sitting on a paper covered, padded vinyl table with nothing more on than a flimsy, backless gown that doesn’t fit quite right. As we awkwardly fidget back and forth, trying to get comfortable and avoid the cold spots on the table, we know there is something wrong and something that needs special attention from the doctor. We need to get rid of the pain we have been facing, but because we are stubborn, we tend to ignore the misery at first, just hoping it will go away. As the constant discomfort begins to needle us more and more, we finally have to breakdown and try to do something about it. So we arrive at the exam room and in what seems like an eternity of feeling a cold breeze blowing where it otherwise shouldn’t, the doctor finally strolls in and the first thing out of his mouth is, “Where does it hurt?”

It is a funny question because we have already told the receptionist where it hurts, the nurse, our significant other, and anyone else that would listen to us complain. But now we are speaking to someone that can actually get to the root of the problem and make the pain, hopefully, disappear–so we tell our tale of woe.

When it comes to a multi-story building project there is pain as well. Just like the pain we feel when we have a doctor’s visit, we have told countless others about the constant throb that drives us to the brink of insanity.  The pain we feel is real and not unusual as it is universal to the construction industry, yet the solution to the problem seems to be unobtainable and outside of our grasp. This all-encompassing pain that afflicts construction projects is more often than not the elevator or vertical transportation system. In the whole of the construction industry, there is nothing that slows down a project more or creates more friction than the elevator. This is the source of all the pain.

Being an antidote to the pain, we hear the stories of woe and hurt. The list of pain points is exhausting: “We were promised a fully functioning elevator in three months,” “The cost is not what was promised,” “There were dozens of change-orders with no good explanation,” “I call and call and no one ever answers even basic questions,” “The bad weather delays the project,” “The elevator company has halted all other construction until they are done,” “Missing parts slows the project,” “Our arguments with subcontractors slows the project,” and more and more and more.

Each of these problems are typical and create issues that mean delays, cost over runs, and pain for all parties involved. Yet if you go to the right source, your pain can be relieved. The aggravation and headaches can be overcome with technology and forward thinking.

Modular elevators are the antidote to this particular cause of pain.

They are the best alternative for any building project between two and fifteen stories. A solution that provides responsive customer service, has an eight week lead time for most projects, and a one week installation. Weather or component availability never slows the build and the elevator installer is the only subcontractor. There is a solution that is safer, faster, and equal in quality to a stick built elevator without the hassle and headache. Instead of finding a way to “fix what hurts,” why not bypass the pain altogether?


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Construction Puzzle Elevator Modular

Piecing it all together

Puzzle FinalBy Russ Ward

My mother loved doing jigsaw puzzles. The more difficult the better, as far as she was concerned. These puzzles became family projects that we all worked on, especially in the winter while we were cooped up in the house on snowy days.

My mom was no novice of puzzle completion and had a strictly adhered to plan in putting them together that made a lot of sense: start with turning all of the pieces to the picture side and then find all of the corners. From there, the rest of the edge pieces were found and put into to place, making an outline of the picture. The rest of the puzzle, one piece at a time, would then follow.

Construction, especially with modular components, is its own kind of puzzle with an organized order to increase the productivity and speed of the project. Especially in today’s competitive real estate market, companies are searching for ways to increase their rate of return by shortening the construction schedule or to simply complete the puzzle faster. To help with this effort, many builders are now utilizing more offsite manufacturers than ever before in the hopes of increasing turnaround time on their projects. In other words, the quicker the building is occupant ready, the faster the owner or developer can start recouping their investment.

Modular elevators, as a piece of this construction puzzle, can help to get the process completed faster because they are so easy to install. Also, unlike several other elements of a building process that are reliant on each other, Phoenix Modular elevators can have flexibility in timing of placement. The alternative to modular elevators, a traditional stick-built, can cause the remainder of the building project to grind to a halt, leaving builders waiting for one, singular piece of the puzzle to be put into place before anything else can get done.  Then, the well rehearsed and thought out plan starts to fall apart. My mom would not be happy.

The common installation timeline for stick-built elevators is approximately one month for a simple, two-stop model. However, when figuring in the hoistway construction, lost or back ordered parts, and bad weather, that timeline is often increased to several months largely due to factors beyond the control of the general contractor. Ultimately, even the easiest elevator project for a stick-built has a usual timeline of six to eight months, if not more. According to Allison Allgaier, President of Phoenix Modular Elevator, it is not unusual for weeks to turn into months when a stick-built option is selected, especially for modular building projects: “We receive dozens of calls from general contractors or design build companies that wished they had called us for a job. It is especially true when the entire project is being held up for six months plus because of the elevator.”

The only solution is a quality, commercial modular elevator.

A prefabricated or modular elevator is a completed hoistway with the elevator car inserted, wired, and ready to be installed. It arrives at the job-site on a flatbed truck, gets craned into place, and, in less than a week, it is fully functional. With a modular elevator not slowing the process, a development can be completed and filled faster. In traditional construction, weather conditions, material availability, and coordinating with other trades on-site can negatively affect the elevator installation timeline. A modular elevator, however, is built inside a factory and is not affected by rain or snow. Also, cold temperatures often stop block-wall hoistways from completion, but this does not slow down the manufacturing process or installation of a modular elevator.

This would make my mom proud, as a well-organized project and use of a prefabricated elevator can trim up to six months off the overall timeline of a multi-story project. There’s no doubt that eliminating six months of fixed costs and overhead from a project’s budget could translate into hefty savings and produce a faster return on investment.

Finding this corner piece and putting it in place is the best way to start.

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8 Weeks Means 8 Weeks

Red DevilsFootballHigh School football is a great place to learn life lessons. Just a few include: (1) teamwork and planning leads extraordinary success, (2) hard work pays off, (3) how to win with grace, (4) how to lose with dignity, and, lastly, punishment is capricious and arbitrary.

Once upon a time, while I was playing football in high school, we lost a big game to a cross county rival. I did my job just fine. I blocked as I should, pushing myself and my opponent the extra yard. Not once did the guy across the line of scrimmage from me take part in any tackle. He never laid a finger on the quarterback or running back, and I did this without landing a single penalty. However, when the time came to pay for the loss, we all took the hit.

At the time, we had a punishment that has since been banned in most high schools as it was both cruel and unusual and was certainly banned by the Geneva Convention: the dreaded belly-flop.  It was a torturous drill that involved chopping your feet as fast as you can, as you moved forward in increments of five yards and then hitting the ground – belly first (hence the name) on each five-yard line when the maniacal, spittle-spewing coach blew his whistle, only to spring back to our feet and continue on our perilous journey up and down the dirt covered practice field.  Regardless of my personal efforts and my on field successes, I too had to join in the cloud of dust churned up by the 20 guys on the team going goal line to goal line.

With the final chirp of the whistle, covered in dirt, mud caked sweat, and literal tears, we aimlessly staggered back to the locker room, dizzy in a state of complete exhaustion. From guys that didn’t even play in the game to teammates that played flawlessly, at least in my opinion, we all joined in the same fate as those that missed blocks, dropped passes, and whiffed on tackles all game long. Capricious and arbitrary indeed. It was a hard lesson to learn, that generalization and stereotyping of the group meant punishment for all. We were all wearing the same uniforms so we must be equally to blame. At least that was what the coach said.

This translates to the business world smoothly and seamlessly.  When I say “used car salesman,” how many picture the caricature instead of the individual?  When I say, “computer programmer,”  how many close their eyes and in their mind conjure up the image of an anti-social, bespectacled nerd? They are punished and scorned because of the pattern of the group. In the elevator industry and business, one stereotype keeps popping up that, no matter how wrong it may be, we all have to pay for. The label we have received is that we are slow to respond and hard to work with.

The generalization is so bad that one construction project manager confided with me that if an elevator installer says a job will take a certain amount of time, he multiplies that estimate by four and is ready for a steady stream of excuses. These excuses come in the form of bad weather, other trades getting in the way, a back order of parts, and poor planning from everyone on the project other than the elevator installer themselves.

As manufacturers of elevators, some of that stereotype rubs off and we have to sport the black eye just like the rest of the industry despite our best efforts to break from the mold of conventional thought. So we can understand the skepticism when we say that a high-quality commercial elevator can be built in just three weeks, have a lead time from drawing approvals to shipping of just eight weeks and be installed in one week or less. To many that know the industry from a consumer’s perspective, that seems unrealistic and quite frankly impossible.

But, it is true. When we at Phoenix Modular Elevator say eight weeks, we mean eight weeks. We have a fantastic process and crew that knows how to get the elevator completed for delivery on time, every time. We utilize one of the other life lessons I learned from high school football and this lesson has nothing to do with belly-flops. Instead, it’s that great teamwork and planning leads to extraordinary success.

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Snake Bit – Fear and the Elevator Business

curie_lab_photoby Russ Ward

“Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.” – Marie Curie

Fear is one of the most powerful emotions, as it can create anxiety, foster poor decision making and even immobilize the victim. I, for instance, suffer from ophidiophobia, or fear of snakes. It really is beyond just being scared of them or a simple dislike. It is a deep hatred, and when it comes to snakes, my judgement is indeed clouded.  For instance, I live in a rural area and so you hear tall tales of the scaly creatures ending up in everything, including toilets and car dashboards. When my mind drifts, it tends to drift towards a myriad of “What if’s?” What if a snake gets in the bathroom? What if a snake is in my car? What if I see one in my yard? This has led me to keep a garden hoe within arms reach of my front door, just in case.  I check my car thoroughly each morning before hopping in, and I tend to hover more than relax, if you know what I mean.

Now I can tell you, as a relatively sane man (depending on who you ask), this makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.  These slithering creatures are a helpful and beneficial part of the ecosystem, keeping disease carrying rodents and insects in check. They are an all important element of the circle of life. However, I can tell you the happiest part of that circle for me was when I saw a snake snatched up from the ground by a Red Tail Hawk and carried off into the distance. As that glorious bird of prey slowly drifted towards the sunset, a tear literally formed in my eye as gratitude for that hawk’s actions swelled my heart. But nevertheless, my disdain for all thing snake is still irrational.

Another common fear, especially in business, is the fear of the unknown. This can sometimes be a great guard against poor choices and force a deeper look when one is needed, but it can also be a blind spot for business if rejecting something out of hand is the standard instead of the exception. Some folks in the elevator industry have exhibited this kind of fear when it comes to the modular industry.  The concept is rejected out-of-hand without proper research or deeper analysis. For instance, many elevator installers are unaware that the bulk of the work of installing a modular elevator is the very same work performed on every installation and that modular elevators are designed to make the installation go fast and as headache-free as possible.

They are also designed to be installed quickly, so with a modular elevator, you won’t have tons of man-hours tied up in hanging rails or building a cab. Both of those items are checked off the to-do list as they come pre-installed in a hoistway. A hoistway, by the way, that is designed to meet all the building codes, including those for earthquakes and hurricanes for every jurisdiction in the US and Canada. This means a faster installation that takes only days can be placed conveniently into an already busy schedule. And as we all know, more installations mean the more opportunities for maintenance contracts.

Getting past fear is a difficult chore, but the benefits outweigh the risks; of course, unless you are talking about snakes.

If you want to do a bit more research, here are a couple of short videos  and a personal testimony that demonstrate how easy the installation process is. The testimonial is a Phoenix Modular Elevator customer regarding their first-hand experience with the time and ease of the getting the elevator they wanted installed. If you would like to be considered to be an installer for projects, click here.  We install across the United States and Canada.

Marie Curie was right, “Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.”

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How to Buy an Elevator 101

Interior PhotoVolumes have been written about elevators. A simple search can tell you all you would ever need to know about their history, how they work and even more about components such as buttons and cabs. But one thing that seems to be lacking is solid advice on actually buying an elevator.

With this in mind, we have compiled information to keep in mind when thinking about purchasing any type of vertical transportation, whether it be a LU/LA, modular or stick-built elevator.  The first list is information that you should acquaint yourself with before starting the purchasing process, while the second list is a set of questions to consider when talking with an elevator company.

  1. Assess your needs. Why do you feel you need an elevator? One common reason we hear is to comply with current building codes, but beyond that, what are you hoping to accomplish with an elevator? You can meet codes easily enough, but is that all you are hoping to do?
  2. Think hard about use. Do you see the elevator being used for passenger traffic, freight or both? How often do you think it will be used and for what purpose? Is a gurney compliant elevator wanted or even required? Here’s a short story about what happens when you don’t think it through.
  3. Where will the elevator be placed? An elevator is no small item. In most cases, it is the largest moving object in any building and it takes up significant space. It is not just the shaft or hoistway; there also has to be some sort of machine room unless utilizing a machine roomless system. Elevators can be on the outside of the building or in an internal space. You should also prepare yourself for the bad news that it won’t work where you want it to go. Help from a consultant, architect or local elevator company may come in handy.
  4. Learn some basic terms. On the surface, elevators seem easy enough. You push a button and the door opens, you push another button and it takes you to your floor. However, there is a catalog of terms that apply specifically to the elevator industry. To have an initial conversation, you need to understand basic terms like travel distance, hoistway, car or cab, hall call and stops.
  5. Before you call, know how many stops the elevator will have and whether the doors are inline (all on the same side) or front and back.
  6. Consider overall timeline for completion. Sometimes it makes little difference, but for a stick-built elevator, you are talking months. With a modular elevator, the same elevator can be manufactures and installed in 10 weeks or less.
  7. Lastly, consider the design of the elevator. Stainless steel is common, but several design options are available. Here are a few samples.

Part of a discussion with an elevator professional is you asking questions. This is the best way to get the information you need to help you in your decision making process. All of the questions below can be answered by an elevator professional. If the company you have contacted refuses to answer the questions below, start shopping for a new company.

  1. What type of drive system is recommended for my specific project based on floor travel? Options include holeless hydraulic, in-ground hydraulic, traction, machine roomless and roped hydraulic. Each type has a price and a length of travel they are usually recommended for. Avoid being pigeonholed by choosing a company that can’t provide all types of elevators. Also, any quality elevator consultant or elevator company should be able to help you determine the best option.
  2.  Are the various parts of the elevator proprietary? Proprietary parts can mean short-term savings but long-term headaches. It is best to avoid them if possible and purchase an elevator with non-proprietary parts. Even the National Association of Elevator Contractors is objecting to the use of proprietary parts because it drives up costs.
  3. Who will complete the installation and who will perform the maintenance once it is installed? When thinking about purchasing an elevator, a maintenance agreement has to be part of the thought process. Go over the contracts with a fine tooth comb and realize many have clauses that are five-year deals with automatic increases built in. Here is a series of articles on contracts that you should look at before you buy.
  4. What is the price of the elevator and what is the anticipated annual cost of maintaining the elevator? Depending on the type of conveyance for the elevator and usage, annual costs will vary.

We hope you find this list helpful, regardless of the choice you make. Feel free to contact us at any time to discuss your project or to ask general questions. Of course, we do hope you will consider a Phoenix Modular Elevator for your next project. If you have one in mind, click the button for a free quick quote.

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Manufactured Elevator Quality

Three Towers

by Russ Ward

It makes me chuckle when I hear people say there are several elevator manufactures. In reality, there are precious few that actually engage in manufacturing. The definition of manufacturing is the making of goods or wares by manual labor or by machinery, especially on a large scale. The rub is that the big four elevator companies do not make goods or wares.

Instead, what they actually do is produce some elevator parts. The rest of the parts are produced by subcontractors that supply several companies. When an order is placed and the elevator leaves the warehouse, it is not recognizable as an elevator at all, but several components that then need to be screwed, wired, bolted, hung and placed inside a pre-existing or stick-built vertical shaft.  The real elevator manufacturing takes place inside the vertical stick-built elevator shaft on the job site. Until it is assembled, it is not a ware or a good but a box full of parts.

It would be the same if you ordered a car from your local dealership and were handed the keys and a giant crate full of parts. In a few months, at their convenience, they would send a technician to trudge over to your driveway and put it all together. Of course, because the assembly takes place outside, the work would only be conducted when the weather was nice, and if the manufacturer forgot any of the pieces, work would halt until the part was found and shipped. No one would make the argument that the car was manufactured until the technician was finished putting the pieces together.

You may be thinking I am nitpicking or playing semantic games. Who really cares if the elevator was manufactured or just thrown together on the work site? You should care if you are considering a project that requires an elevator because true manufacturing creates a dynamic where price is lowered as efficiency and quality is increased.

Manufacturing increases efficiency by smoothing out the process of building an elevator into a seamless, step-by-step progression that creates a final product. Adjustments and improvement can be made during the manufacturing process so production time is shortened. Phoenix Modular Elevator’s lead time is only eight weeks for a standard model. Not only that, because it is a finished product, ready for installation, the time to get the elevator up and running on-site is measured in days, not weeks or months.  Also, the weather is never a factor in manufacturing an elevator. It is produced on an assembly line indoors with no delays due to rain, snow or sleet.

Also, having a manufacturing process is a way to decrease product cost. Logically, it follows that if it takes a shorter time to manufacture an elevator, fewer costs are incurred during manufacturing. Total man hours are reduced, and having all of the parts available line side means a smooth-running process that cuts costs. There are no charges for travel time to and from the job for the whole installation crew and there is rarely a time that the elevator is in the way of the rest of the construction taking place. Don’t believe me? Here is a video testimonial of an actual customer that was amazed at the process and the results.

The secret to the Phoenix Modular Elevator manufacturing process is that our elevators are built horizontally. This makes it easier and faster to make, resulting in increased quality. More attention to detail can be accomplished in a horizontally-built unit in a factory setting, where strict tolerances are observed.

Lastly, manufacturing an elevator increases safety not only during the manufacturing phase, but also for the overall job site. Workers are not vertically assembling parts and pieces in less  than optimal weather conditions. Most fatal accidents in construction zones are due to falls from heights, and open elevator door hatches and a protruding elevator shaft only exacerbate this problem. Until the elevator contractor finishes the installation, accidents and injuries are an increased probability. With a factory-built elevator, the finished product rolls off the factory line onto a truck and is freighted to the job site, where it is craned into place. All the while, the doors for all of the floors are closed and locked. There are no open hatches to contend with, just a finished and set elevator. Reduced injuries and work hazards are always a benefit for the contractor and workers.

Manufacturing is the best option when the project requires an elevator. Just remember there are only two true manufacturers, and Phoenix Modular Elevator is one of them. We are ready to provide you with the best manufactured, quality elevator built to your specifications. For more information about what makes manufactured elevators a better option, visit

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Footprints on the Ceiling

142ofc_copyI remember a Classics Illustrated comic book from my youth telling the tales of Abraham Lincoln. One of the stories involved Lincoln gathering a group of younger boys and having them step in the mud with their bare feet. As a prank, Lincoln held each of them upside down and had them walk their feet across the kitchen ceiling, leaving muddy footprints as they went. When his stepmother, Sarah Lincoln, came home and saw the muddy footprints on her ceiling, she threatened to spank him.

Lincoln was 6 feet 4 inches tall at the time, and I can all but imagine seeing the future President bent over his stepmother’s knee, stovepipe hat and all. Also, his stepmother’s initial reaction to the unnatural site of footprints on her ceiling would have been priceless.

Sometimes when our elevators are craned vertically into place and the inspector or elevator technician is in the hoistway for the first time, they, too, have a reaction like Sarah Lincoln. They see footprints going up and down the hoistway walls, along guide rails and around hatchway door openings. Some have even asked our installation crew where the footprints came from and how they could be up and down the vertical hoistway. And no, we don’t hold people upside down.

That is one of the challenges we face when describing the Phoenix Modular Elevator process of manufacturing. In the mind of most elevator professionals, they think vertically when they enter a hoistway or elevator car. It only makes sense, as they have spent years, if not decades, inside a vertical shaft.  For them, it is hard to think of it any other way.

However, our elevator manufacturing process is born horizontally. The hoistway is not built on a work site, but out of tough 4×4 inch tube steel in our production facility. Once the frame is laid out, it is plumbed and squared to make sure the shaft is always perfectly square and straight. Phoenix Modular Elevator workers and inspectors are able to walk alongside the frame, inside and out, testing welds and checking quality. As the frame is constructed, it is placed on a machine that can literally spin the hoistway, so welding in 2×4 C-studs and placing fire-rated drywall takes hours, not weeks. When one side is done, the entire hoistway is rotated to the next side. The guide rails are then installed, leveled and inspected. We know when a hoistway leaves the factory, it is completely square and the guide rails are straight and level.

During this whole process, a great crew of quality inspectors, welders, drywallers and finishers stroll through the hoistway, leaving footprints. Mystery solved.

Simultaneously, the cab is completed to the customer’s specifications. Again, the cab is not inside the shaft; instead, it is built in a separate area of the factory and not in a cramped hoistway. This means building the car is safer, easier and faster. When the car and hoistway are complete, we simply insert the cab in the still-horizontal hoistway. All connections are made, the car and counterweights are roped if needed, and it is ready to be transported by truck to the work site.

So the magician has shown his trick. How did the footprints get up and down the hoistway walls? The hoistway is never vertical until it gets to the site where it is installed faster and easier than a site-built elevator.

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If you have a project in mind, you can make tracks to Phoenix Modular Elevator for a Free Quick Quote.