Tag Archives: Building Elevators

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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Phoenix Modular Elevator Certified as a Woman Business Enterprise

Allison Allgaier
Allison Allgaier – Owner

January 13, 2016/Mount Vernon, IL – Phoenix Modular Elevator (PME) has now been certified as a business owned and operated by a woman by the National Women Business Owners Corporation. The purpose of the certification program is to increase the ability of PME to compete for more contracts on a national level.  The certification also means that PME is now an eligible Woman Owned Small Business (WOSB) for the WOSB Program through the Small Business Administration.

Due to the approval Phoenix will now get consideration in government building projects and building projects for private enterprises that seek out women owned businesses as contractors and subcontractors.

“This certification will provide PME with additional opportunities regarding potential customers and contracts in both the private sector and the government sector. That is what we find most important about the certification. It will help ensure continued growth for the business.” Says Allison Allgaier, PME President.

Phoenix Modular Elevator produces high quality, commercial elevators that are comprised of a steel hoistway with the elevator car and components installed inside and completely prewired. This makes Phoenix Modular Elevators the fastest installing elevators available.

The units are factory built and shipped across the United States and Canada for use 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, with hundreds installed throughout North America.

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

Ship in a Bottle

Ship in a BottleI had a great uncle on my father’s side of the family that lived on a big farm in relative seclusion. I would occasionally go for a family visit, and the one thing that I remember most was that he had a ship in a bottle. For the average ten year old, before the advent of video games and tablets, it was pretty exciting to see. One evening I was sitting near the fireplace, staring at the model stuck behind the green glass. I must have been concentrating pretty hard because my uncle came over and asked what was so interesting.

As a child, I only had one question. “How did they get the ship in the bottle?”   He went on to explain that the creator slowly crafted the model, folded down the masts and sails and then poked it all into the hole at the end of the neck. The person that made the model would then painstakingly take hours to erect the masts and trim the sails and get the clay ocean waters looking just right.

A couple of things immediately popped into my fertile, 10 year old mind. First, no wonder the ship was so crude and sails a bit eschew and secondly, why not just make a perfect model ship, cut the bottle in two, place the ship inside and then glue the bottle back together? It made perfect sense. It would be the same product only much faster and with higher quality.

The same can be said about the current way some companies go about installing an elevator. They make the bottle (the hoistway or elevator shaft) and then proceed to put parts in, all the while working is a tight, vertical space. That process comes with problems of alignment, safety and a much longer timeline for project completion. For higher quality and faster lead and installation time, doesn’t it make more sense to build the elevator horizontally in a factory setting where precise alignment can take place in a safe environment? Then the entire elevator can be taken to the job site and hoisted into place. And get this: even at a lower overall investment!

As I have grown up, I have come to understand the more romantic reasons for building a ship in a bottle. It shows that the builder appreciates old traditions and demonstrates patience and determination, but why should we build buildings as if we had all the time and money in the world? The better option is building quality more quickly with modular.

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

 

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/48077358@N02/4952091078″>i miss you grampa.</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;

Breaking Old Ways of Thinking

RoastA lecturer once told a familiar story about a young newlywed that was preparing a roast for her husband. It is a good lesson about breaking old ways of thinking so I will retell it here.

The husband was watching his new wife as she prepared a roast for their first meal together, before she put the roast in the pan she cut off the end. This made him curious so he asked, “Why did you cut the end off?” She replied, “I’m not sure it’s the way my mom always did it.” Now she was the one that was curious and called her mom and asked her why she always cut the end off the roast before cooking it. Her mom said she didn’t know why either, but it was the way her mom always cooked roast. Not satisfied and undeterred the newlywed called her grandmother and asked her the same question, “Why cut the end off the roast?”   Her grandmother simply replied, “I never had a pan large enough for the whole roast so I always cut a bit off so it would fit.”

Every day we take action, consciously and unconsciously making decisions that impact our business and those we work with. But how often do we truly consider why we take the actions we take. There is some justification for not overthinking everything we do. Some habits are healthy and even save our lives, like brushing our teeth and signaling before we change lanes. But when it comes to the day to day business actions we take when do we consider “Why do it this way?”

Most of our behaviors were formed years ago, as a youth or when we first started our practice and others more recently. But, many of our behaviors come out of circumstances that may no longer be relevant or are from another place and time.  Despite this we continue to repeat the same actions over again without a thought of why. We should question if our behavior is an anachronism that has outlived its usefulness.  We should consider what we should do differently and more effectively if not constrained by the ghosts of past behaviors. We must review our actions and make change where change is needed. This demonstrates leadership by understanding that change is not the enemy, but something that needs to be examined, considered and implemented if it truly is a better way.

When polling a group of architects about modular elevators I could see the “roast” popping up all around me. Each admitted they had not thought of quality modular elevators as an alternative because they just did things the way they always had done things before. Each had heard of the concept but had not explored the possibilities, as a result a modular elevator was not even a consideration.

However, once I described the factory process, high quality, standards, speed of construction, reduced installation time and lower cost they began to change their minds and thought of several commercial applications.

Whether you are considering modular elevators or not remember that leadership requires flexibility and creativity.  Change is a good thing and often it is necessary for both personal growth and the businesses we run.  Flexibility and change can be difficult hurdles for any business or organization, however if we are to keep things fresh and moving forward we need to consider options outside of the box we are currently in and we need to keep pressing against the edge.

Before you take your next action today truly think about why you do it and if there is a reason, or are you just cutting the end off the roast.

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

 

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/52066925@N00/8529802506″>Balsamic pork roast</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;

The Challenge – Basis School Brooklyn

When Basis Independent School was being built in Brooklyn, New York they considered everything from what curriculum to teach to the floor plan of the new building. But, when it came to assisting with mobility it was Phoenix Modular Elevator (PME) from southern Illinois that was the solution. The modular elevator has now been officially approved and is ready for use.

The challenge was to provide a durable elevator that was ecologically sound while minimizing the footprint for the seven story structure. The answer was a high quality, Phoenix Modular Elevator that had no bulky machine room that would normally take up more space. This specific type of elevator is called a machine roomless or MRL elevator. The machine that moves the elevator car resides at the top of the shaft or hoistway instead of in a complete room accessed from the rooftop. This is possible because the machine is smaller and more efficient than in a traditional traction elevator design.

Also, studies have found that MRL elevators consume less energy than traction elevators and they do not use hydraulic oil that can spill or leak.  A study from VTT, Technical Research Centre concluded that an MRL can consume approximately half the energy of a traction elevator and about one third of the energy of typical hydraulic machine.

Durability was not a challenge for PME. They have become school elevator experts with nearly 300 elevators installed in California schools alone. The result is a design that takes into consideration wear and tear that a school elevator will encounter.

The elevator consists of a prefabricated fire-rated shaft with all the elevator components installed and wired in the factory.  They are manufactured horizontally with greater quality controls, faster production and installation time and at a lower overall cost. The old way of building an elevator is to build the shaft on a job site vertically, then assemble the numerous components inside the vertical shaft in less than optimal conditions. This dated method is less safe and requires more time to build, slowing up construction and increasing costs.

A Phoenix Modular Elevator is built to exact specifications and then shipped on a truck and hoisted into place at the job site. Because Basis Independent was a seven stop elevator it was shipped on three trucks, in three sections and then each section was hoisted into place and bolted to the one below.

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