Tag Archives: Phoenix Modular Elevator

Tough Love – Time for Elevator Biz to Grow Up

Button PushWe all have that moment when we need to hear the truth: to ignore it means growth will cease and improvements halt.  When it comes to elevators, that time for truth is now and so we need to dish out some tough love. Often times we associate “tough love” with teen angst and pimply, overwrought middle-school students, but as it applies to our industry as well as the elevator business, it is at a crossroad. As an industry, vertical transportation sits astride two differing paths and it is time for a sober conversation, not hyperbole and not blind to truth.

That crossroad is between the old fashioned stick-built method of elevators or the more modern modular elevators and whether modular ultimately makes sense for all low to mid-rise elevator applications. Should modular elevators be the first choice?

To make an assessment a few facts about elevators, modular and stick-built is in order.  So here is a list of truths that the industry needs to come to grips with:

  1. Modular is here to stay. Despite the best efforts of those in the weary old-guard elevator business, modular elevators are being placed in more and more locations around the US and Canada. Phoenix Modular Elevator had 40% growth last year and on pace for nearly that same growth this year.
  2. The elevator business is too busy. Maintenance and current installs are stacking up and delaying construction. To keep up with demand the growth for the occupation of elevator technician is 12%! That is just to keep up. One of the ways to lessen the time burden of installation is to go modular as an alternative. We just received a call from a frustrated general contractor that couldn’t even get thumbnail numbers and no promises for six-months. Depending on the location in Canada and the United States there is a big shortage of qualified technicians.
  3. Don’t waste your best assets. Our industry is too smart to be hanging rails. We have very busy and great elevator techs across the continent, but unfortunately too many are lugging rails and screwing together elevator cars instead of setting up elevators to run properly. When you have limited resources, you must use those resources wisely. With modular elevators the grunt work is already done leaving professionals to do the work that is needed.
  4. Safer. Speaking of grunt work, a report by the Center for Construction Research and Training found the major causes of lost-time injuries to elevator constructors were being struck by an object, overexertion (especially in lifting), falls, and being caught in/between (such as between the elevator shaft and the elevator) in that order. Too many elevator technicians strain themselves installing doors, lifting rails and building elevators cars in cramped spaces. Modular does away with all those risks. They are safer to install.
  5. Financial commonsense. With modular elevators many more units can be installed faster. This will generate more income quickly on lucrative maintenance contracts for growth minded businesses. The business that adopts the modular concept will be installing more units than competitors and win the race of picking up maintenance agreements. After all commercial quality modular hydraulic elevators take only a week to get up and running.
  6. Quality is the same or better. One of the biggest arguments against modular is quality. The argument is largely out of lack of knowledge as elevators are highly regulated with very specific standards, modular or not. Also, there are just a handful of companies that produce most of the components in any elevator. We use those standard, highly regulated parts! When it comes to the hoistway, ours are always plum and level and so are the rails. They are fixed in place by welds that are inspected closely for quality. Every hoistway is constantly measure and tested because of the production process. No stick-built elevator can compare.

So what is the outcome of the above truths? When we say faster, safer and smarter we are not just saying it. It is true and modular warrants consideration for most project.

With that said, the primary take-a-way is if you are operating an elevator company, contact us to find out how to start installing modular elevators today for all of your low and mid-rise projects. They are safer and more profitable. We can put you in touch with some of our installers and assist you with training. Most of the new installers we have are surprised at how fast and easy they are. Also if you have been contacted to install a modular, don’t be afraid of the product. They go in all the time in almost every jurisdiction in the United States from New York to Los Angeles.

The elevator biz is at a crossroad. Make the wise choice, go with modular.

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Awards Continue for Phoenix Modular Elevator

S-Figueroa-6Phoenix Modular Elevator was honored as an affiliate to the Award of Distinction with partner Silver Creek Industries at the annual World of Modular Conference held in Hollywood, Florida in March of this year. The World of Modular event is sponsored by the Modular Building Institute.

Awards of Distinction are the modular building industry’s premier awards program, recognizing design excellence in structures built using prefabricated systems. This is the second year in a row that Phoenix Modular Elevator has walked away with hardware as a recognition of the product and use.

The award winning project, KIPP Academy, is a three-story, 27,429 square-foot structure which houses an entire charter school campus and related functional spaces. The building contains 18 classrooms, a kitchen, multipurpose space, administrative spaces, interior corridors, and an interior elevator provided by Phoenix Modular Elevator. The building exterior features plaster with a bright color palette and aluminum glazing systems. The finished building reflects the coordinated efforts of all team members to provide a design-focused experience. Due to the complexity and scope of the project, the ability to perform the work in a factory environment provided the opportunity for significant cost reductions and increased quality control measures.

Phoenix Modular Elevator continues to win awards and accolades for elevators.
Left to right: Russ Ward (Marketing Manager), Allison Allgaier (President), Lynndi Kesler (Sales Manager)

“We could not be happier with our second straight trophy and working with our friends at Silver Creek,”  said Allison Allgaier, President of Phoenix Modular Elevator. “Our whole crew works hard and this award is proof that all the effort pays off.”

This project is not the first time that Phoenix and Silver Creek have collaborated on highly successful projects. West Creek Academy and Sunnyslope Elementary School, both in California, were modular building projects completed in 2017. Phoenix Modular Elevator is located in Mount Vernon, Illinois, and has been building high-quality modular elevators for over a decade. They have been placed in new, retrofit, and modular applications all over the United States and Canada.
For more information regarding Phoenix Modular Elevator, go to our website, www.phoneixmodularelevator.com, or email info@phoenixmodularelevator.com.

 
If you have a project in mind click the link below.

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Superpsyched About Modular Elevators

russ-head-shot-2By Russ Ward
I recently ran a crossed a web page that was a breath of fresh air. It was a gentleman that was a self-proclaimed promoter, inventor and entrepreneur who was very excited about what he was doing. As a matter of fact, he was more than just plain old excited. He made the leap past “psyched” into the realm of “SUPERPSYCHED” (that’s right: all caps, all one word) about life and his life’s dream.
After a few chuckles and couple of outright guffaws, I wiped the tears of laughter from my eyes and asked myself a serious question: What superpsychs me? And when was the last time that my excitement level at work was so high that I used all caps to describe it? Sure, in my personal life I have been superpsyched a number of times. I was superpsyched about the birth of my children, my favorite ball team winning the World Series and most importantly, getting married to the absolutely perfect woman. But at work, it seems that excitement train has long left the station. This is especially true in the elevator business, as the daily grind can make excitement a stretch to say the least. Let’s face it: some days, work can be as stale as a three-day-old doughnut.
So, if I am going to be aiming a bit higher, I need to see if I can even reach that level. In boring fashion, I thought I would do a little investigating to see if I even had it in me to be superpsyched anymore. So I consulted the absolute best source for a checklist of attributes of what superpsychdome looks like: the Urban Dictionary.  What I found was absolutely fascinating and the definition included a list of what it looks like:
  • being “Psyched” to the point of excitement
  • mild insanity
  • increased heart rate
  • loss of focus
  • loss of appetite
  • staring into space
  • insomnia
  • bed-wetting

I figure that if I can put a check mark next to half of the items above, then I do have the capability to achieve the ever illusive superpsychdome. On the plus side of the ledger, I can get excited, have been accused of mild insanity, can demonstrate an increased heart rate and can lose focus on occasions (just ask that perfect wife of mine). That seals it and good thing, too, because I rarely lose appetite, have trouble sleeping or wet the bed. So I can achieve the near Narvanic (seeings how we are making up words) state of being superpsyched.  But, what at work can push me to capitalize all those letters? What about Phoenix Modular Elevator and our product can drive me to the point of over-excitement?

Consider this. When we sell a modular elevator, we are saving an elevator installer time, money, and an aching back from lifting rails; we are saving months off a general contractor’s timeline; we give project investors a fast return on the dollar; we are saving the environment because factory-built means more efficient material usage and less waste; we are giving architects a blank canvas for design inside and out, as well as simple drag and drop drawings; we are saving building owner’s money; we are making buildings wheelchair accessible; we are helping people to new heights; and we are providing a necessary product to millions of people. We do all that with a smile on our face and a helpful voice on the other end of the phone.

Ya know what? I am SUPERPSYCHED about modular elevators!!!

If you want to be SUPERPSYCHED too, just click here for a quick quote.

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Tales of Elevators Past – Life Lessons for the Holidays

Kelly HeadshotBy Kelly Schloss 

For my family, Christmas and the holiday season is a time to share and recount days past. This year, I’d like to do that in the form of an old cautionary tale of magical doors and a secret room. It is about the thrill of Christmas shopping with mom: discovery, fear, separation, reunion, and my very first elevator ride (that I can remember, anyway).

It all begins in the parking lot of a busy shopping mall during the Christmas season and walking past bell ringers in bright red aprons and dodging icy puddles on a chilly day at  a Chicagoland mall. I was an over-exuberant 8 year old, already straining against holding my mom’s hand or latching on to the stroller of my younger sister. I had been enticed by the tale of shopping for Christmas gifts over Thanksgiving turkey, cranberry sauce (yuck!), and mac and cheese, but had never experienced it for myself. As we moved closer to the entrance, I licked my lips with anticipation and strained to wedge myself in the door first.

As the door swung open, I was not disappointed. A world of wonder, tinseled in silver and gold, unfolded before me as I nimbly pushed my way ahead of the stroller to take it all in. I stood agog as my mother grabbed my hand with a firm, yet gentle jerk and said, “Hold my hand or hold on to the stroller, those are the rules. I don’t want you to get lost.” The tug-of-war with my mom’s hand had officially begun. But, I let her win as almost immediately all of the feeling remaining in my slight paw disappeared as every sense gathered up a stimulation which had not been experienced before.

My ears heard the call of “Merry Christmas!”and “Ho, ho, ho!” as it echoed from Santa’s workshop. I saw with my own eyes real (animatronic) elves laboring on the same toy train over and over, wicker reindeer just like you find at the North Pole, and an enormous button-eyed Teddy bear spinning endlessly on an over-sized wooden block. A blanket of white, puffy, fake snow filled the main intersection with a gigantic, brightly painted rocking horse at the center. The smell of yuletide roasted nuts and General Tso’s chicken wafted through the great hall from the food court nearby and everything was festooned in red and green ribbons from the tallest ceilings to the floor and there were more blinking lights than my eight-year-old eyes had ever seen in one place. People pushed and shoved, stuffed in overcoats and with packages and bags of all shapes and sizes in bright paper and trimmed in ribbons. All the while, trance-inducing Christmas music droned softly on in the background. I had reached an eight-year-old’s version of paradise.

I scarcely could take in all that was attacking my senses. I was in the throes of this exhilaration when I caught my first glimpse of the bright, gleaming, stainless steel elevator doors, gliding open just a few short feet away. I could not control the urges in my feet as I, in a daze of sensory overload pulled my hand from the firm grasp of my mother and bolted toward the now fully open elevator. I instinctively leaped to the middle of the car and turned around just in time to see the ashen face of my mom framed in the large door.

After seeing the look on her face I was dizzied, realizing the colossal blunder I had made. Momentarily, I lost any awareness of my surroundings as the next thing I remember was the swoosh of doors as they magically glided again, this time closed. It was as if some hypnotic spell had pulled me to the car in the first place and away from my mom and now I snapped out of my stupor just in time to see her lunge towards me as the doors closed.  Now the reality, like those once magical doors, was closing in on the fantasy that I had been building. Those shiny hatchways became snarling jaws of entrapment separating me from my family.

As the elevator jerked and my knees buckled, questions began racing in my mind. “Where was I going?” “What had I done?”

There was no escape. I looked desperately around briefly for a friendly face, but there were no children at all and I only found the drawn faces of zombie-like shoppers that haunted the now ever-shrinking elevator. They too, I am sure, had once been lured to the siren’s song of Christmas shopping in their youth, but the shine was far off of that penny and now the drudgery of the event gave them an antidote to the thrill and euphoria I had been experiencing. The sight of Santa Claus, silver bells, and gold trim did not stir them in the slightest and the helpless, far off stare of an eight year old, verging on tears, didn’t either. I let loose with a loud wet sniffle (international language of distress for children) yet none of the weary passengers gave me a second look. I was on my own and separated from the warm hand of my mom. Where was she and how would I get back?

Then, I realized that there was a big glass wall in the elevator. Try as I might I strained to look over the rail in hopes of seeing my mom. But, alas, my efforts were to no avail as I was just too short, even on tippy-toes and the window did not face the right direction. I was trapped with people I did not know, going to a place I had never been and hope was slowly draining from me. Also, in the back my mind I began to wonder about the reception I would receive if I ever did find my way back from the enchanted closet I had be drawn to. Would I be missed and welcomed with open arms? Or sent home and put in time out; the worst possible punishment for wayward children? As I was in deep contemplation (or as deep as an eight year old can be) a friendly bell rang out and the doors slid open again. People pushed out and more people pushed in as I stood stupefied by the process. Before I could even make a motion or utter a single word, the doors abruptly closed again and the elevator took off with a jerk, this time downward.

As it jolted to a stop and the doors opened wide and I could see my mom waiting. She lunged forward, grabbed my hand and pulled me out of the elevator and to her tightly. The feeling of relief was overwhelming and the warmth of her love overcame the fear of retribution or the magical, mesmerizing elixir of the surroundings of the mall center court. Even though I was still at Woodfield Mall, the magic dissipated as tangible reality of that hug hit home.

Don’t worry, we did finish the shopping trip, but I have no idea what we bought. My hand never left the stroller the rest of the day and I did get “time out” when we got home, but the adventure in the elevator has never left me to this day.

So what are the lessons of this tale of Christmas past? There are many: One is to not let the enticements and shininess of the world blind you to the reality of life, even in the holiday season. Another lesson: a mother’s hug has a higher value than all the Black Friday sales combined.  And, maybe, the lesson is to not feel silly about being mesmerized by an elevator as a child (they’re pretty wonder inspiring, even as an adult). Who knows? You might just end up working in the business one day.

Happy Holidays from everyone at Phoenix Modular Elevator.

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…Find out how modular can help with the puzzle of construction projects.

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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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New Location – Get an Invite to the Grand Opening and Tour

Usually, this blog is all about the application and use of modular elevators as a fast, easy solution for multi-story structures.  However, every once in awhile, you have to blow your own horn. So here we go! As of January 1, 2017, Phoenix Modular Elevator has a brand new location!

 

last-truck-leavingAs most of you that follow our Facebook page or Twitter account  know, we have been working over the past several months to upgrade our capabilities through an improved production facility, and it has finally taken place.

For nearly 20 years, we have been assembling modular elevators out of an old shoe factory in the middle of Mt. Vernon, Illinois. While historic, this building was far from ideal. It was a multi-story structure with various components of a completed quality elevator built in several locations throughout the building. It was old and drafty to say the least, and a real pain for those that delivered our elevators across the US and Canada. Backing into our depot from a narrow city street was more than an inconvenience, it was a struggle. Also, the old plant limited our volume because of the size of our factory floor.

Our new 25,000 square foot factory is twice as large as our old building, which not only gives us more room to work, but also provides a more efficient production layout. All production will take place on one floor, meaning no more shuffling of hoistways and elevator cabs up and down floors. Completing multi-tower elevators will be easier and will also allow us to mass produce elevators faster for customers that want a large quantity of elevators delivered at the same time.

 

eterior-new-plantThe new location is located in a recently opened industrial park at 4800 Phoenix Drive, still in Mt Vernon, Illinois. It is right at the crossroads of Interstates 57 and 64, making delivery to both coasts and Canada easier.

While we are already up and running, we will be hosting a grand opening and factory tour in the Spring when the weather is a bit better. During the tour, we will be demonstrating how we make modular elevators and what makes them safe and fast to install. We will have personnel available to answer any of your questions regarding elevators and what makes modular elevators the best solution for most building projects. We want you to come and celebrate with us. Click the link below to get your invitation.

Click Here!!!! if you want to get an invitation!

The fastest installing elevator begins with a quick quote.
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The Challenge – Retrofit

The Challenge

Retrofit elevator projects are common for Phoenix Modular Elevator. However, the challenge in this case was to build and install a durable retrofit custom elevator in the middle of an existing five-story building quickly.

Fixed Morthland Install
The purpose of the elevator was to increase accessibility for students, faculty, staff and visitors to Morthland College. It was very important for college that the project to be completed as fast as possible so there would be minimal interruption between semesters and at a reasonable cost.
Also, durability was a major concern. As the elevator would be open to the public, including to students it had to be tough. With full access granted to everyone use would be high during semesters so it had to be ready to take the rigors of a lot of use.

The Solution

The Phoenix Modular Elevator team met with the Morthland personnel and discussed the goals and needs of the project. They then went to work with the goals in mind to produce the solution they needed.

Fixed Morthland TurnLike most projects the Morthland elevator was created with a frame of durable 4×4 inch steel beams. Once the frame was welded, aligned, squared and plumbed, it was covered in fire-rated drywall. What makes Phoenix Modular Elevator so unique is that the elevator is constructed horizontally and the hoistway can be rotated so the entire project can be worked on safely.

The elevator doors and frames were then put in place and the internal workings of the elevator were installed and aligned. This means that the guide rails will be set up properly as they are easily accessed for inspection during the build. Unlike the out of date method of building a hoistway on a job site and then putting all the parts together from the inside vertically, we build ours to be easily rotated. One of the final steps is the insertion of the elevator car, final wiring, testing and inspection.

Of course prior to the final placement a pit area needed to be prepped. For this particular project a single in-ground hydraulic jack was used. When the pit floor was poured anchor Fixed Morthland Jackbars were placed in the corners for the completed elevator and hoistway and a hole was left in the middle of the pit for drilling the in-ground jack hole. The hole was drilled, lined and the jack was put into place. The lining of the hole is crucial as it protects against possible future leaks of hydraulic fluid. Once all the preparation was completed, the entire finished elevator was lowered down the hoistway through the roof into the pit.

This project was completed quickly as requested. From the time we received the approved plans the elevator was built in our factory in less than eight weeks, then transported to the main building on campus and install in less than one week.  Phoenix Modular Elevator has the shortest lead time of any commercial grade elevator. Also, the design was durable and we were able to complete the project under budget.

The fastest installing elevator begins with a quick quote.
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Groundbreaking Success

Groundbreaking 1

The groundbreaking was a tremendous success! We were joined by dignitaries from the Jefferson County Development Corporation, Wohltman Construction, Jefferson County Board, the city of Mt. Vernon, US Representative Mike Bost’s office and Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce. The heavy equipment is already moving dirt and we should be in our new location by mid December.

Phoenix Modular Elevator president Allison Allgaier said a few words about how modular elevators work and why they are the best alternative for new, modular and retrofit projects. She also thanked all those that have played a part in the new building.

Groundbreaking 9

Phoenix Modular Elevator is the first occupants of the new industrial park in Mt Vernon, Illinois and soon the field behind her will have a brand new manufacturing facility that will double the size of the current factory and be more efficient.

A big thank you to all those that made this project possible.

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

 

Phoenix Modular Ground Breaking Announced

New Facility 1

Phoenix Modular Elevator (PME) is set to break ground on their new production facility in Mt. Vernon, Illinois on August 24, 2016 at 11:30AM.  Phoenix Modular Elevator and dignitaries representing the city, Jefferson County Development Corporation and Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce will be on hand to officially begin the project. This means that the first tenant of the new industrial park is ready to begin construction.

The new 25,000 square foot manufacturing plant and ground breaking will be located in Mt. Vernon, south of Highway 15 and west of Interstate 64, at the end of a temporary road that has been constructed for the project off of Davidson Avenue to the west.

Phoenix Modular Elevator has outgrown their current location in an old shoe factory. The new manufacturing site will increase productivity and efficiency by being larger and keeping all of the production on one level. In the current location, manufacturing is in several separate areas and on two different floors. The new larger location and design of the plant will allow the assembly and manufacturing area to be more organized and to flow more smoothly.

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.

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