Columbia Elevator Cabs and Entrances


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Innovative Solution-Based Products for Columbia Elevator Customers: Products for Small Shaftways

Louis "LJ" Blaiotta, Jr. on Tuesday, September 4, 2018 at 12:00:00 am

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Drawing of Slim Line entrance

Drawing of Slim Line entrance Here we see a profile of Columbia’s Slim-Line entrance which helps pick up space inside a small shaftway. This entrance called Slim-Line enables the entrance and door-operating equipment to be sufficiently narrow and allow installation of a car with dimensions meeting ADA compliance standards.

Columbia Elevator is strategically innovating in response to the needs of and influences on today’s construction job site, rather than simply releasing a series of new products merely for the sake of it. We’re increasingly focusing on the ‘people’ side of the equation and helping our customers with modernizations.

In older buildings, we typically find small shaftways which are challenging for the accommodation of larger entrances and ADA-compliance issues. For ADA-compliance, a car interior needs to be a certain depth and width. Since there is no practical way to enlarge existing shaftways nor their corresponding platforms, an alternative method was needed to create more space inside the car. Columbia’s initial solution was to push the sliding door entrance inside the wall similar to swing doors. But in ‘virtual new construction’ – that is a modernization so comprehensive that the elevator is almost entirely new – the market needs fully-operational sliding doors and the elimination of the stationary panels and transoms that were necessary to an “in-wall” design. 

Columbia’s challenge was to make the entrance and door operating equipment as narrow as possible, to occupy the minimum possible amount of space in the shaftway. A new solution that replaces the classic-depth sill was needed to replace legacy harmonic operator installations. By switching to a linear door operator where we can eliminate the clutch and rollers from the back of the doors, the doors can be moved much closer to the running clearance edge of the sill, thereby simultaneously enlarging the platform and the corresponding cab interior space. 

For a single speed door, we were able to have a 2 1/4-in sill instead of a 4-in on both the hatch and platform. This allowed us to pick up 3 ½-in of shaft space while, for 2-speed, it was 3 ½-in instead of 5 ½, picking up an additional 4-in between the cab and landing sills.

Building upon our initial innovation, today we offer two types of entrances: one for traditional, standard depth described above for harmonic equipment, and one that is a slime-line hanger assembly that we are using with linear equipment. This allows the cab platform to be a couple of inches deeper to meet the ADA requirement without making the shaftway bigger, which allows our customers a choice of products.

Columbia’s innovative spirit is customer-centric. Bring your installation or other elevator challenge to us, and we will design a solution!



Innovative Solution-Based Products for Columbia Elevator Customers: Products for Fast-moving Doors on both Linear and Harmonic Operators

Louis "LJ" Blaiotta, Jr. on Monday, August 20, 2018 at 12:00:00 am

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Columbia’s single-skin door

Back of door Columbia’s single-skin door, with the back skin eliminated. This design has no welding on its face, is flatter, looks smoother, weighs less, and can move much faster without violating the rules of kinetic energy.

Columbia has recognized a marketplace demand for faster-moving doors. To address the laws of kinetic energy, which would require more - and in this case too much - force to open and close the heavy doors quicker, Columbia Elevator’s solution was to reduce the mass of the doors by eliminating their back skin.

In the past, when harmonic operators were the standard, the clutch and pickup rollers were attached to the back of the doors, and this required the back skin to be a mounting surface. But, with Columbia’s linear operator that relocates the clutch to the top of the door and the pickup rollers to the hanger assembly, the back skin can effectively be eliminated. 

This single-skin door has other benefits as well

  • is flatter,
  • with no welding on its face it looks much smoother,
  • weighs a lot less making it easier to install, and
  • can move a lot faster without violating any of the kinetic energy rules! 

While this lighter door on the linear operator has become very popular, there remains an ample amount of existing product in the field that still uses harmonic operators. That means that the Columbia needed to find a way to allow the clutch and the pickup rollers to still be mounted on the back of the door. We further adapted the single skin door by placing a small plate on its back – a plate just large enough to accommodate the mounting of the clutch. This market-driven Columbia innovation allows for lighter, faster-moving, harmonically operated doors.

Columbia’s innovative spirit is customer-centric. Bring your installation or other elevator challenge to us, and we will design a solution!



Innovative Solution-Based Products for Columbia Elevator Customers: Car-Side Interlock for Glass-Backed Elevators

Louis "LJ" Blaiotta, Jr. on Monday, August 6, 2018 at 12:00:00 am

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Robusta linear operator

Robusta photo with red box outline Columbia/Fermator’s Robusta linear operator, with the controller (outlined in red) in its traditional position, fix-mounted to its front face. For a two-story installation at Los Angeles Airport, with differing access issues on the two floors, Columbia developed a new approach that instead tethers the controller to the top of the car, enabling it to be turned into different positions for accessibility from multiple directions, and allowing for much easier, safer installation and maintenance of the system.

Some of our best innovations that resolve customer or marketplace needs come out of Columbia’s Customer-Centric approach. For example, a customer approached us with a challenge that they were experiencing on full glass cabs and doors at LAX. In the past, early designs of glass-backed elevators lacked that true 21st century minimalist feel and the client was hoping to improve upon the traditional technique where the doors needed to be “oversized” in height in order to provide a mounting location for the clutch and pick up rollers used in the traditional harmonic door operator arrangement. We first streamlined the door interface by switching to a linear door operator, and then we also developed the Columbia Elevator car-side interlock for the glass-backed cars that would lock passengers safely in the car so we could safely eliminate the conventional, unsightly fascia in the shaftway.

However, the introduction of linear operators required even further innovation for those elevators with a unique, two-floor arrangement – one with only one front opening and one rear opening. Since linear operators often have their control boxes mounted in a “front facing” arrangement, it would be very difficult to adjust the door speeds at the lower landing. With our partners at Spain-based Fermator, we designed an operator that had a movable control box with its own built-in programming tool to address this situation.

Because of differing access issues on the two floors, we relocated the car operator controller so that, instead of being fixed-mounted to the front of the operator only facing forward, it was now tethered at the top of the car door operator in a way that enabled it to be turned to different positions for accessibility from multiple directions.

In the past, to adjust the speed of the doors on a linear door operator job, a mechanic would have to disengage the car doors from the landing doors, then lower the cab down a few feet below the landing to gain access to the operator’s control box, all while standing on the landing. The mechanic would then go through an inefficient trial and error process set the door close speed in a way that maximizes floor to floor times without violating and code mandated kinetic energy requirements. However, the mechanic wouldn't know if he/she made the correct adjustment until the car doors were recouped with the hatch doors and the resulting pair of doors would operate together, at the same time.  The tethered door operator controls allow the mechanic to stay in a safe place on top of the car and adjust the open and close door times while the car and hatch doors are engaged. This is a breakthrough for a linear operator environment.

Columbia’s innovative spirit is customer-centric. Bring your installation or other elevator challenge to us, and we will design a solution!