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Innovative Solution-Based Products for Columbia Elevator Customers: Tower Entrances and Slab Correction Angles

Louis "LJ" Blaiotta, Jr. on Monday, July 23, 2018 at 12:00:00 am

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TOWER-ASSEMBLY-C3-CO drawing Above is a detail of Columbia tower assembly equipped with a C3 Commercial angle.

TOWER-ASSEMBLY-C3-CO drawing - Above is a detail of Columbia tower assembly equipped with a C3 Commercial angle.

Technological and economic changes outside the elevator industry are strong influencers on our business, as is the growing societal emphasis on efficiency. There are increasingly more jobs being done with fewer people. Sometimes, especially in construction, this can lead to unintended consequences and new approaches are required to react to them.

One such technological advancement consequence is the high-speed pouring of concrete. While in one way a positive, it is causing the sacrifice of accuracy. In the past, a great deal of care was devoted to determining exactly where the elevator’s edge of the slab would be. For elevator contractors, this was critical because the angle that would support the elevator sill was mounted to that slab, and they relied on it to be absolutely level and straight. This made for easy and precise entrance installation, but that is no longer possible with the irregular slabs contractors are encountering because of current, rapid concrete pouring methods.

When we at Columbia Elevator Products heard about this problem from our customers, we determined it was time to innovate a solution. We developed a tower entrance or a self-supporting structure that does not at all rely on the accuracy of the slab on every floor; instead it carries the load from the pit to the openings. It’s like a series of rails that are, in effect, a ladder.

As a further innovative solution, we can supply a structural part called a ‘slab correction angle.’ The angle gets mounted on the edge of an imperfect slab and is adjustable so that it can close the gap between an imperfect slab and a perfectly aligned tower.

Instead of having to wait for the structural trades to build a perfect landing on which place to put our sill, we now are positioning our sill where it needs to be relative to the moving platform. No matter how inaccurate the slab, we can install a correction angle that has telescopic abilities to adapt to it to inaccurately poured landing slabs.

This provides flexibility to elevator installing contractors:

  • They no longer need to wait for another trade to keep the job moving along.
  • The angle eliminates the finesse previously needed to adjust the sill every floor.
  • The angle speeds up the erection of the tower.

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: QuikEnt 3 (QE3)

Louis "LJ" Blaiotta, Jr. on Monday, July 9, 2018 at 12:00:00 am

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Columbia’s CEO LJ Blaiotta, with the company’s new QuikEnt3 (QE3) entrance



Columbia’s CEO LJ Blaiotta, with the company’s new QuikEnt3 (QE3) entrance. QE3 features standard strut/sill support and hanger assemblies that work with any provider’s door operator and hanger equipment. Prior to QE3, it was necessary to supply a different entrance type for each specific installation. With QE3, the jamb, door, and strut are always the same. The only variables are the type of sill support and drilling pattern to mount the door tracks onto the header, allowing for expedited delivery and faster, easier installation.

A recent addition to the Columbia line that will help keep customers off the Critical Path is the QuikEnt 3 (QE3). Over the years, we have produced many versions of standard-sill depth entrances and narrow-sill entrances. Each type was designed to be compatible with one of the various available door operators. Now, with QE3, we have developed standard types of strut/sill support and hanger assemblies that can work with any style door operator and hanger equipment.

Traditionally, while the struts were standard on every type of entrance, a contractor still needed to select a specific type of entrance design depending upon the desired sill support angle. Further, that sill support angle selection was dependent on whether the installation was going into a haunch (concrete pocket),with a GC-provided structural sill support angle, a floating sill support angle, or a C3 commercial angle. The customer doesn’t have to make such decisions with the QE3 entrance because it can handle all those options.

Rather than offering different entrance types for different situations and changing the entire entrance every time, the jamb, door, and strut that we make as part of the Columbia QE3 are the same every time, regardless of the hanger and sill support angle. Based on job specifications, we simply change out the type of sill support and the drilling pattern to mount the door tracks onto the headers.

The QE3 also makes for quick work by the installers because they do not have to ‘learn’ a new entrance design every time they install one of our entrances. Instead, they simply customize the work depending on the type of track being provided and/or the loading requirement, which drives the type of sill support angle. The header mounting location is the same every time, but the shape of the header might be slightly different to accommodate non-proprietary and different OEMs’ hanger requirements.

QE3 was developed because our Account Representatives listened to the needs of our customers. This is what we do best at Columbia and how we drive our product development. We hear about problem or concern, and we innovate new products and services as solutions to a customers’ field or design challenges. Talk to one of our Account Representatives about a design or Critical Path issue you are experiencing and we will work to bring you a solution!

 

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The Critical Path Method in Construction How does Columbia Elevator Support the Installing Elevator Contractor? Part II

Louis "LJ" Blaiotta, Jr. on Monday, June 25, 2018 at 12:00:00 am

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Delivery Crates Stacked ready for delivery

Columbia’s Strategically Staged Delivery strategy allows for compressed delivery times and helps keep Columbia’s customers off the Critical Path.

Keeping with Columbia Elevator Products customer-centric and Sequentially Staged Delivery approaches, our customers are better able to meet the demands of building developers. In alignment with the various phases of product shipment, our process allows for approvals to be divided into two separate processes: first, the structural and second, the aesthetic. This allows the building developers to operate the elevators as shells throughout the course of construction without having to make decisions regarding the interiors until much later.

In the structural phase, approvals are for the size of the opening, the height, and the door speed. With this information in hand, we at Columbia can ship structural components, with the hangers and track, ready for assembly. Then, when the developers determine what the wall thicknesses are, we can send finished frames with the doors and the unadorned cab shells, including already built in LED lighting.

There are many labor and time saving nuances to this process that benefit the customer at the construction site. Because we know in advance that the hanging panels will be installed later, we can pre-punch the shells, with hanging louvers built into them, so that contractors do not need to apply hooks in the field to hang the panels. Later, when we ship the interior hanging panels, they interface seamlessly with the perforations already in the cab shells. Even if at this stage we do not yet know what the panels will look like, the louvered shells are, in effect, pre-templated with a perforation pattern that will work with a combination of hanging panels.

There are several benefits to this process:

  • no hole is greater than 3/8” to meet code and allow for a running elevator;
  • the job doesn’t get held up, the contractor has certainty that the cab interiors will fit; and
  • the risk of damage to the decorative panels during installation and tenant move-in is alleviated.

To further compress the timeframe and get the customer what is needed, Columbia Elevator Products now stocks pre-punched cab shell panels on our shelves, not only for standard 72”x84” wide platforms built to handle a 2,100 lb cab but also filler panels that in effect stretch the walls and canopy to cover a cab of any incremental size and weight up to 5,000 lbs. Additionally, the car fronts ship in separate crates, left- or right-hand as specified, with the door operators already mounted in the transom.

Since these items are standard and not subject to an approval process, we can send them practically immediately upon order. So, even if the architect is still in the process of approving the interiors, the contractor can begin installing the elevator system, including the cab enclosure, without having to wait.

Our Account Representatives oversee all of this because they are focused on giving Columbia’s contractor customers the best possible time and cost efficiency for their installations. One of our Account Reps likes to compare our process to purchasing a tailor-made suit. Part of the suit is mass-produced or bulk-fabricated to standard waist sizes, and part of the suit is customized when it is detailed to customer-preferences of sleeve length, pant length, and cuff style.

This tailored approach - guided by Account Reps for our customers - enables Columbia to build its product parts in bulk, rather than one elevator at a time. This is beneficial to the customer because it keeps costs down and provides a uniquely, customized elevator all with fast delivery!

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