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Cold Hands Means Elevator Delays

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Cold gray skies in Canada would have stopped a stick built elevator. Not true with modular.

No one wants to work in cold conditions. Turning a wrench in sub-zero temperatures isn’t really a problem on it’s own, but it is a problem when the wrench slips and you find yourself busting your knuckles. Something about cold weather makes hitting your hands feel worse than if the slip occurs on sunny, warm days. So, no one should be blamed for not wanting to work in cold weather. For the major elevator companies, working with cold hands is more than just a thing they hate, it is a thing they won’t deal with at all. In the “Job Conditions” clause of most major elevator purchase contracts you will find language that restricts elevator installation to a comfortable minimum of 55°F (13°C).

If the temperature in the hoistway or machine-room dips below that magical number, expect lunch pails and tools to be packed up and for the elevator service van to be leaving the property posthaste. For the traditional elevator company to install the elevator, you as the building owner must maintain a minimum of 55° in the work area or they simply won’t do the installation. This has lead to the common notion among GCs, owners, and investors that elevator technicians don’t watch the clock, they watch the thermometer!

Now to be completely fair, not working with cold hands is just a perk of optimal machine room operation temperatures. And as the dinosaurs of vertical transportation require movement up and down of the elevator car to do the very basic portions of the installation no heat means no installation on cold days.

As a general contractor or building owner the reason for delays is not important, it just seems that fighting the cold weather is a no win situation. Mother Nature has chosen sides and you have been left out in the cold.  This is despite demanding construction timetables that require the elevator to sometimes be installed before the heating and cooling systems are ready to go or when big gaping holes are still in exterior walls where windows and doors should be. This makes elevator installation a headache that rarely goes smoothly or on time. The pain point is real especially considering the annual average temperature for the United States (excluding Hawaii and Alaska) is 52.7°F.

However, to understand the full impact, according to NOAA and the National Centers for Environmental Information, Milwaukee, Wisconsin only has five months of the year when the average temperature is over 55°F.  The average annual temperature is only 47.7° and the average low is only above 55°F in June, July and August. Good luck getting a job done on time. This means that in many locations the building has to be heated and sealed before the elevator folks can even look in the hoistway.

But, temperature is only the tip of the iceberg as far as job conditions are concerned. There is a laundry list of conditions that would rival a pop star’s dressing room demands. Not that elevator installers wouldn’t appreciate only green M&Ms and bottled water distilled from glacier ice, but the list has more to do with the outmoded way elevators are constructed and installed. The elevator technicians themselves are not usually prima donnas, but there are several requirements that need to be met for them to get the job done due to the very nature of installing an old-fashioned, stick-built elevator. To ready the building for the elevator, in most circumstances you must provide:

  • An unloading area within 25 feet of the hoistway, always available during the entirety of the installation process (weeks and usually months).
  • A dry, enclosed and secure storage area. If you don’t have this, warranties can be null and void.
  • Power must be available before installation begins.
  • Get out your brooms, because you have to make sure that all work areas, the pit and the machine room floor are cleaned up for the installer.
  • Lighting for all the work areas is required.
  • Barricades to prevent a falling hazard must be made available and put in place.
  • Garbage cans must be constantly and readily available.
  • The hoistway has to be finished before the installer shows up with its own laundry list of bells and whistles to be attended to.

The list goes on and on and can create delay upon delay. But, what if there was a high-quality commercial elevator at a competitive price that did away with the above list, including restrictions on temperature?

A modular elevator arrives on a flatbed truck or multiple trucks depending on travel distance with the hoistway, elevator car, rails, wiring, and some roping completely done and your responsibilities are restricted to a pit and a flat slab for a modular machine room, if needed. Picture an elevator that can be put into place in a new or retrofit construction project before, during or after the building were being built, on either the inside or exterior of the structure. Then consider this elevator has a track record that includes it being placed and in use in weather extreme locales such as northern Manitoba, Canada or earthquake and hurricane zones in all sorts of buildings from elementary schools to hotels. A high-quality, commercial, modular elevator is available and can meet all the needs of every building. Eight week lead time. One week installation.

With Phoenix Modular Elevators temperatures don’t matter. They are built to exact specifications in a (temperature controlled) factory.  There is no need for hoistway barricades as the elevator arrives with the hoistway as part of the unit. Also the elevator is put into place in less than a day and the doors are already installed and locked until the unit is up and running. The bulk of the equipment comes installed, including rails and the elevator car. In most cases, everything else is packed in the hoistway, near where the final touches are to be installed, or in the modular machine room, if you need one. Lastly, modular is not restricted by design or distance of travel. Modular solves nearly every problem usually encountered by the old way of cobbling together an elevator.

If you are tired of all of the job conditions in your purchase agreement and long drawn out projects due to the elevator installation, contact us for a quick quote. We strive everyday to make elevators easy.

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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?”

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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Phoenix Modular Elevator Scores a Touchdown

centergroveCenter Grove High School in Greenwood, Indiana, wanted to make a big splash for their home opener. To do so, they planned to debut the Ray Skillman Stadium, a brand new, state of the art football and track facility that was to be a point of pride for the high school and community.

The problem? As kickoff loomed near for the Center Grove Trojans, one piece of the plan was still needed: the elevator. This was a crucial piece of the project, as the elevator was required for access to the two-story press box. A stick-built elevator was not a viable alternative, as building the hoistway from the ground up and installing the necessary elevator components would have takes months to complete. A faster solution was needed.

Phoenix Modular Elevator was that solution. The elevator was completed on time as an important part of a stunning project that included a new field, stands, additional buildings and a two-story press box. With less than a week before the opening kickoff, Phoenix Modular Elevator was able to ship the elevator, where it was quickly craned into place and installed in time for the big home opener.

The elevator installed at Center Grove had a 68′ hoistway with a modular machine room and an ADA and stretcher-compliant elevator car with 3500 lb capacity. The elevator also had three stops, one at ground level and one stop each for the two-story press box. Total travel was just under a total of 48′. The elevator was propelled by a two-stage in-ground hydraulic jack, chosen for its cost effectiveness and ability to move the unit smoothly and quickly to the top of the press box.

The key to the fast completion of this and other projects is the difference between a stick-built elevator and a Phoenix modular elevator. A stick-built elevator of equal height and distance of travel would have taken months to complete, as the hoistway would have to be built onsite and then the elevator components would have to be installed in the vertical hoistway. The Phoenix solution allows modular elevators to be manufactured horizontally in a factory, where onsite job conditions and weather aren’t a factor.

Phoenix Modular Elevator is used to a making elevators easy and quickly to meet the needs of clients in a time schedule pinch, and we are happy to report the Center Grove project was no exception.

The fastest installing elevator begins with a quick quote.
To get an elevator start here with a quick quote!

 

Bost Visits Modular Elevator Factory

Mike Bost AllisonMt. Vernon, IL/March 31, 2016 – US Rep. Mike Bost held an event to hear concerns of women business owners in Mt. Vernon on March 29, 2016, followed by a visit to a local female-owned manufacturing facility. The visit to Phoenix Modular Elevator, also in Mt. Vernon, included a factory tour, as well as a frank discussion on the current business climate with owner Allison Allgaier.

The facility manufactures high-quality, commercial modular elevators that are shipped and installed in buildings across the United States and Canada.  Phoenix is only one of two modular elevator manufacturers in the U.S.  What makes modular elevators unique is the manufacturing process: they are built horizontal, with the elevator car fully assembled inside the shaft.  They are then trucked to the job site and hoisted into place with a crane.  This process allows for a better product and faster installation than a conventional elevator.

Allison Bost ElevatorAs he toured the factory, Rep. Bost was clearly impressed with the operation. “As a woman owned business this is a shining example of how hard work and determination can produce a needed product from southern Illinois for use throughout North America. We are proud that our region has great female business leaders and a highly skilled work force.”

Allgaier is glad that Rep. Bost took the time to tour the plant and speak to her about future growth. “He was impressed with the elevators we make, and happy to hear that we are moving to a larger and more efficient facility in Mt. Vernon. Our goal has always been growth and now we have outgrown our current facility.” The move to the new manufacturing site is scheduled for later this year.

Phoenix Modular Elevator produces high-quality, commercial modular elevators that are comprised of a steel hoistway with the elevator car and components installed inside and completely pre-wired. This makes Phoenix Modular Elevators the fastest installing elevators available. The units are used in schools, universities, hotels, stadiums, amusement parks, office buildings, government buildings and churches. Phoenix Modular Elevator is a Mount Vernon, Illinois, business and has been constructing modular elevators since 1995.

The fastest installing elevator begins with a quick quote.
To get an elevator start here with a quick quote!

Factory Quality with Design Versatility

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In 1913, when Henry Ford rolled out the first Model-T from a factory in Highland Park, MI, the manufacturing process was forever changed. Seventeen million cars later, this moving assembly line increased the quality and speed of manufactured goods while simultaneously lowering prices.

Exact tolerances could be obtained in the factory environment that were not achievable before large-line production became commonplace, resulting in improved quality.  Due to ever increasing efficiency of the assembly line, speed of production also increased. The first Model-T’s took over 12 hours to build, but by 1927, the factory cut production time dramatically, spitting out an impressive 9,000-10,000 cars per day. Assembly line production also allowed the price to plummet. In 1925, the price of a touring car version of the Model T was just $290, $560 less than the initial price in 1909.

This new, improved quality and efficiency, plus the drop in price, was unique thanks to the production system,  where prices for the product diminished as better cars were manufactured. We have seen similar improvements in almost every industry where mass production is employed. For instance, many credit a lesser known Ford employee, William “Pa” Klann, with the innovative manufacturing process after observing a slaughterhouse in Chicago. What works with meat, works with cars and even works with elevators and modular building overall.

In the construction industry, assembly line production of various components in a commercial building is now commonplace. Just like the Model-T, quality and speed of production increases while prices drop. It is now realized that quality can be increased when efficiency is introduced in a factory setting, even when building the various parts of a commercial structure.

The downside to Henry Ford’s assembly line dream of an affordable car for the masses and the argument of some detractors of a manufacturing process, is that choice is restricted. As proof of the lack of flexibility, it is pointed out that Henry Ford famously equipped, “Any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants, so long as it is black.” Although the earliest Model-T’s came in several colors, by 1914, there was precious little versatility in the “Tin Lizzy.”  It turns out that black paint was less expensive and it had a shorter drying time, so color was sacrificed for efficiency.

The image of the all black Model-T led many to incorrectly assume that something manufactured in a factory setting will always result in less choice. While some segments of manufacturing have limited choice, this is not true for all. For example, when a modular manufactured elevator is produced and installed, the interior designers and architects have complete control over the look of the cab design, as well as the size of the elevator, number of stops and the type of propulsion (hydraulic, traction or machine roomless), just like the stick-built version. The elevators can be constructed to match any interior and exterior design.

The only difference between an old-fashioned, stick-built elevator and a modular is the construction layout. Modular elevators are constructed horizontally on a factory floor to ensure stringent standards are met, resulting in increased quality while also allowing for faster construction and fewer job site delays. It also means that the elevator will be competitively priced and take less time to install. A modular elevator has approximately eight weeks of lead time and a one week installation time, while a stick-built elevator can take between six months to a year or more from start to finish.

Current modular elevators are high quality and built with exacting standards, and unless you know you are in a factory-built elevator, you would never know the difference. And unlike the Model-T, they come in more colors than black.

The fastest installing elevator begins with a quick quote.
To get an elevator start here with a quick quote!