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Lou Blaiotta on Monday, March 20, 2017 at 12:00:00 am
One of the best parts of working in the elevator industry is the opportunity to improve building access for all people no matter where they live or work. At Columbia Elevator, we are positively impacting everyday life for people across the U.S. and Canada. I’m proud of every employee at Columbia Elevator because their collective work contributes to making life accessible to all. Let me reminisce about some of our jobs:
In medical facilities, our products improve the transport of people in need, their families, and the medical personnel or research staff who make a difference in patients’ lives.
In residential high-rise buildings, Columbia products help people get home to their apartments or condos in the evening and out into the world in the morning.
Of course, there are the corporate structures where people appreciate elevators to move them from one floor to the next.
Mass transit, airports, and hotels take care of people in cities for work, play, and travel.
It is especially fun to see our products installed in culturally iconic buildings.
It never fails to make me proud to see our products in so many different types of structures truly making life easier for people every day.
Lou Blaiotta on Monday, March 6, 2017 at 12:00:00 am
We’ve spent a lot of time looking at the history, challenges, and need for a residential LU/LA elevator that can provide the same excellent appearance, safety, robustness, and convenience of a commercial level elevator. With that knowledge, you can understand why we at Columbia Elevator have developed the new Premium™, a next-generation product for the residential environment, designed to make the elevator to look smaller, to have a less commercial look, and to be less expensive to install.
Premium™ is a newly introduced operator, featuring Fermator’s all-European construction, designed to accomplish the same thing on the hatch side that Columbia was already delivering with the clutch on the car side: moving the doors within a few millimeters of the running clearance, i.e. in the gap between the cab sill and the hatch sill. Using Premium™, the doors are now closer to the running clearance, which allows the sliding doors that go behind the wall to be squeezed into a much smaller space, thereby eliminating the expense of installing an in-wall pocket door!
Even with the new product’s rising popularity, I believe that ALURE®, with its in-wall doors, continues to remain the ‘ultimate’ solution, because it still allows for the least amount of wasted space in the shaft. The benefit of Premium™ is that it is easier, faster, and less expensive to install, a compromise between saving space and saving money — a choice to be made by the residential customer.
Columbia is excited to be the first to introduce Premium™ to the American market as part of our continuing initiatives to develop new solutions for better serving today’s complex and evolving marketplace.
Lou Blaiotta on Monday, February 20, 2017 at 12:00:00 am
Creating practical commercial level elevators in a residential setting presented a number of challenges, mostly arising from the lack of available space and the desire to avoid installing a needlessly large, expensive commercial cab in the home. LU/LA elevators for the home needed, by definition, to be confined to the small size of a residential elevator, while still providing commercial-level functionality. Overcoming these shaft space challenges prompted an evolving series of attempts at minimizing the space required for the doors and operators, the only possible variable. New door designs all had an eye toward configuring and positioning these components for maximized interior cab space and access.
These issues created a drive to save space on the landing and car doors for LU/LA installations, especially for residential applications. Compared with full-blown commercial installations, residential LU/LA elevators, despite their slow speed and much less frequent use, needed to be as robust and safe as commercial applications. Columbia Elevator’s solution was a line of operators called Robusta, created in partnership with the Spain-based Fermator Group. The objective was to eliminate and replace the then-common harmonic operators that embodied large, space-consuming drive arms and extremely large, heavy motors on top of the car, affecting the car’s vertical and horizontal space requirements and balance.
Columbia Elevator’s partnership with Fermator sought to optimize the operator function for LU/LA, particularly in the residential field, to build lighter cars with smaller footprints that also required less shaft space. The first initiative was to get the door operator off the car top and “squeeze” it into the transom space directly above the doors, accomplished with the use of the Robusta linear door operator. This resulted in cars with reduced vertical height, which additionally served to satisfy landmark committees seeking to avoid changing the profiles of vintage buildings with unsightly and expansive upward projections on the roof. Further to this reduction of height, we sought ways to reduce the car’s depth and width. While the traditional solution was to use a swing door that fit inside the wall, Columbia engineers found that a significant improvement would be a sliding door that fit inside the wall. The solution was combining Robusta with an in-wall/pocket-door application, where we open the front hoistway wall wider than the door, place a fire-rated stationary panel on the landing, and let the sliding doors open behind it. To the riding public, this appears as a three-speed door, while, in actuality, there is one stationary panel with the other two doors opening behind it and a transom panel overhead to protect the sliding hatch door hanger and track mechanisms — a two-speed door with a stationary panel.
In commercial elevators, the sliding doors hang from a track, suspended from a header, which, in turn, has the interlock and track behind a fire-rated wall for protection in the event of fire in the corridor. The entire entrance then sits on a sill support which protrudes into the shaftway. Stationary panel and transom pocket-door arrangements eliminate this sill support protrusion by pushing the entire entrance assembly up onto the landing slab and into the space normally occupied by the fire-rated shaftway wall. In this arrangement, the hanger track and interlocks are mounted behind a fire-rated transom panel, while the doors slide behind the fire rated stationary panel thereby freeing up several inches of valuable shaft way space. Columbia placed the Robusta linear drive on the car, pushed the Robusta entrance out to the landing and placed the door in the wall.
This combination of changes helped a great deal all around with savings in the weight, height, width and depth of the car, as well as allowing for the abandonment of old-fashioned commercial equipment on residential platforms.