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20% Off an Elevator! No, Really!

Sometimes things don’t go the way you plan them. We had a rush job for two of our high-quality commercial elevators and did our best to finish the entire project in less than eight weeks, per our typical hydraulic timeline. We succeeded, everything was ready to go on time, and then we got the phone call. The job we worked so hard on had hit significant financial struggles that had nothing to do with us and the project was canceled. To top it off, only part of the payment had cleared. We were just a bit disappointed.

Once the dust settled, we were granted complete ownership of two elevators, thus our foray into deeply discounted elevators has begun. Simply put, we want to move these along and clear up factory space so, if you meet the right criteria, you can have a high-quality commercial elevator for significantly less than what they usually cost.


These are not used elevators! They are brand new, ready to be shipped and are complete in every way, containing the car, all the wiring, the rails, hall calls, etc. They are what we call an SF and SLF models with a one-hour fire rating and have the capability to be duplexed should you need them both. Click here for drawings

They are both two stops with approximately 12 feet of travel. However, as they are still in the factory, the travel can be adjusted slightly. Both have a wheat colored laminate interior called Solar Oak from Wilsonart and silver handrails on the side and rear walls. They come with twin-holeless hydraulic jacks already installed and are completely ADA and 2013 elevator code compliant. 

The elevators were completed projects that were never installed and have been released from a property settlement that had nothing to do with the elevators in question.  So if this matches a need you have, contact us as soon as possible.

What is a Modular Elevator?

For those of you not completely familiar with modular elevators, it may be a good idea to check out the link below and do some research. Basically, a modular elevator is a hoistway with all of the elevator components already installed inside. They are trucked to the work-site, craned into place and completely installed in less than a week. Modular elevators are the fastest, smartest and safest way to install an elevator in any retrofit, modular or new building project.   

So if you have a project coming up or have always thought that an elevator would increase your property value or rent from a second story space and the total travel is around 12 feet, send us an email. But act soon; they will be first come, first serve.

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.

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!!!!

Congrats On Your Elevator Purchase – Next Steps

Rigging BottomCongratulations! Phoenix Modular Elevator is building your brand new elevator. However, there are a few things that we need you to do to get ready for the delivery. We understand that buying a commercial, quality, modular elevator is a big step and a big commitment for many, even if you are a design/build firm or investment group.

It is an investment of dollars and time, even if it is the fastest and easiest elevator to install. So, we will do everything we can to make the project go as smoothly as possible. Just keep in mind that there are some things on your end that still have to be done, before it is lowered into place. Here is a list of things that are on your plate regarding the building site as we go forward…Click for the list!!!

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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?”

Click here to find out about pain points.


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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. Click here for the list that will help you buy an elevator. 

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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. Find out why manufacturing is the best way to make an elevator. Click here.

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Phoenix Modular Elevator Wins Award of Distinction

Award PhotoPhoenix Modular Elevator (PME) has been recognized by the Modular Building Institute at the World of Modular Conference by being presented an Award of Distinction. The award-winning project features a modular elevator for Center Grove High School in Greenwood, IN, the site of the newly built Ray Skillman Stadium.

The purpose of the ADA- and gurney-compliant elevator was to access the two-story press box at the top of the bleachers, allowing both people and equipment to be moved more efficiently. The elevator has nearly 50 feet of travel with a 3500 lb. cab capacity and is finished in school colors. PME was tasked with ensuring the elevator would be ready for the start of football season, less than three months away when the project began. The total time for the completed functioning elevator to be designed, built and installed was only 78 days. In comparison, a similar sized stick-built elevator would have taken 8 months or more.

center-groveA total of three modules comprised the finished product. The elevator hoistway was broken in two sections for shipping purposes and a modular machine room that housed the hydraulic pump, motor and elevator controller made up the third.

PME president Allison Allgaier was honored by the recognition: “We supply a lot of elevators to the commercial modular building industry, so it’s gratifying to be recognized by our customers’ premiere trade association.”

The entries were judged by a prestigious panel of architects and experts in the modular field. They were scored on a number of criteria, including architectural excellence, technical innovation, cost effectiveness, energy efficiency, and calendar days to complete.

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, trucked to jobsites, craned into place and installed in less than a week. This makes PME elevators the fastest installing elevator 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.

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