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Smooth Operators: Part III The Evolution of Moving Elevator Doors

Louis "LJ" Blaiotta, Jr. on Monday, January 7, 2019 at 12:00:00 am

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Columbia Elevator’s patented (#7424935) ALURE® car operator and entrance system utilizes world-class technology to meet the demands of the most discriminating customer.

Columbia Elevator’s patented (#7424935) ALURE® car operator and entrance system utilizes world-class technology to meet the demands of the most discriminating customer.

Happy New Year to all our Lou’s Lessons Readers! It’s a new year and I am excited to continue the tradition of sharing information about the elevator industry with all of you.

With the next generation of intelligent door operators arrives the addition of a new term to the elevator operator lexicon: door and landing mechanism “modularity.” This allows economies and efficiencies to be optimized on a landing-by-landing basis, freeing the elevator system designer from needing to apply a single door/operator configuration to all landings of a building. Instead, the designer may now specify the appropriate door and landing mechanism for each landing’s unique requirements.

For example, consider a common application that would call for heavy-duty, more-durable door panels at the main egress floors that will bear the most traffic. Here the openings will use larger track and roller sizes for smooth and quiet operation, with an operator sufficiently robust to effectively drive such doors. In that same shaftway, there also might be entrances that open to a lower-level parking structure. Here, due to the aggregate demand of the upper floors, only a medium-duty service is needed to support that landing’s lesser traffic levels. Often such landings may be exposed to the elements, compelling the system designer to employ medium-weight door panes equipped with gasketing and corrosion-resistant track. To optimize floor-to-floor travel times, that same car door operator driving the egress floor openings must now adjust its torque to minimize door-closing times without exceeding code-mandated kinetic energy restrictions.

Additionally, because of the much lower traffic demands at the upper floor landings, light-weight doors of single-skin construction can be utilized with smaller-sized rollers and/or hanger assemblies to enable faster door closings and minimized floor-to-floor travel times. To address such varying exposures, these ‘intelligent’ car-door operators automatically adjust their performance to move the vastly different masses at each floor in a way that minimizes the door-close cycle without violating limits specified by code. For this ‘mix-and-match’ technology to properly function, the interface between the landing mechanisms and the car door operator is located in precisely the same location at each landing, regardless of the door type and door equipment deployed. This need for such mechanical flexibility at each floor defines the concept of modularity.

To conclude my focus on ‘smooth operators’ and how elevator technology forges ahead unabated, in 2019 it is less about allaying safety concerns than it is about vastly improving the experience of the people who design and build the elevators and improving the experience for the public that rides them. The intricacies of ‘flexibility’ and ‘modularity’ are not directly visible to the public, but riders do appreciate when elevator cars run more smoothly, quietly, and arrive more quickly at their floor when called.

Among designers, our friends the installers of the elevators, and the owners/managers of the buildings that house them, these concepts are recognized and welcomed!

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