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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!

 

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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!

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A Special Thank You to Friends of Columbia Elevator

Louis "LJ" Blaiotta, Jr. on Monday, July 30, 2018 at 12:00:00 am

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Calvary Hospital Tree of Life Close Up

Calvary Hospital Tree of Life Close Up

Plaque is engraved with one of Mr. B’s famous sayings, “The harder I work, the luckier I get.”

Plaque is engraved with one of Mr. B’s famous sayings,
“The harder I work, the luckier I get.”

 LJ Blaiotta, Marie Blaiotta, and Margaret Gilhooley standing in front of Calvary Hospital’s Tree of Life.

LJ Blaiotta, Marie Blaiotta, and Margaret Gilhooley
standing in front of Calvary Hospital’s Tree of Life.

I’m posting a special blog today in memory of my father and Columbia Elevator founder, Lou Blaiotta. It’s been five months since Dad (“Mr. B.”) passed away, and the emotion and adjustment to life without him is still a process for all of us in the Blaiotta family.  I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve wanted to pick up the phone and tell Dad about a new job that’s running through the factory – or to share with him a funny story from the industry that I had just heard – or to ask him a question because if anyone would remember the details, it was always Mr. B.

In July, my mother Marie, my sister Margaret and her husband Paul, and my wife Laura and I all attended a special memorial service in Calvary Hospital’s auditorium. (Calvary Hospital was where Mr. B. received his final hospice care.) The service was dedicated in memory of patients like my father. It was a touching tribute to remembering the love that everyone in attendance had for someone they had lost.

After the service, our family was asked to visit the Fargione “Tree of Life” in the hospital’s atrium for an additional private ceremony in Dad’s honor. The “Tree” is a brass wall sculpture composed of mini-plaques which commemorate large donations made in memory of former patients. We watched in humbled silence as Mr. B.’s special ‘stone’ plaque was mounted on the wall because so many of our family and friends honored Dad’s memory with a donation to Calvary Hospital. The director of the program commented that Mr. B. must have been a very well-respected individual in his community and his industry to have elicited so many donations in his honor from all over the country.

Seeing the stone with Dad’s name posted made us all feel blessed because it reminded us that so many people cared deeply enough about Dad that they reached into their pockets to donate to this unique hospital. The stone also reminded us of Mr. B.’s resolute spirit because it was also engraved with one of his favorite quotes: “The harder I work, the luckier I get.” We spent a few hours in prayer to remember a loving husband and father; moreover, we prayed in thanks for the amazing Calvary Hospital doctors, nurses, technicians, aides, social workers, and support staff who all touched our lives and made Dad’s last few weeks as comfortable as possible.

My family is deeply grateful to those who donated to the hospital in memory of Mr. B. and making this special event a unique way for us to take a moment to honor the man and father whom we loved in life and we hold with love in our hearts forever.

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