Columbia Elevator Cabs and Entrances


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Columbia Elevator Celebrates its 53rd Anniversary

Louis "LJ" Blaiotta, Jr. on Monday, September 17, 2018 at 12:00:00 am

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Lou and Marie Blaiotta at Columbia Elevator Products 50th Anniversary celebration.

Lou and Marie Blaiotta at Columbia Elevator Products
50th Anniversary celebration.

LJ and Lou Blaiotta cutting the cake at Columbia’s
50th Anniversary celebration.

September 2018 is the 53rd anniversary of Columbia Elevator Products, and it is the first anniversary that our founder, my father, Lou Blaiotta is not here to celebrate with us. It has been a difficult few months since we lost Dad, but it has been inspiring for me, my mother, and the extended Blaiotta family to receive cards, phone calls, emails, and text messages from people who knew Mr. B.

What was most humbling were the stories we heard from people about how Mr. B extended a hand to others in the industry, even in the early years when he was struggling to get his own company off the ground. The messages I heard were often the same:

“Your dad helped me out when I was just starting out in business.”

“He extended me credit when no one else would.”

“He always gave us great advice, even though we were competitors.”

Those wise enough to listen to his advice came to realize that Mr. B’s intentions were pure; he wanted you to succeed in business as much as he wanted to build safe, aesthetically pleasing elevators in his own business.

We also heard from current and hundreds of past employees who appreciated Mr. B’s tough approach to business and saw that he wanted us to live by the characteristics most paramount to him: hard work and determination. He kept a Sam Goldwyn quote pinned up on his desk for inspiration, “The harder I work, the luckier I get.”  

When we hit the 50th anniversary, we at Columbia had a huge celebration, and, at the center, of it was Mr. B! Although he isn’t here today working alongside us as we move the company forward, we know that his spirit of innovation and enterprise will endure in us and in the memories of the people fortunate to have known him intimately or to have collaborated with him across the industry.

Happy Anniversary to Columbia Elevator Products – and thank you Lou Blaiotta for leaving a legacy of industry excellence. We are determined to work hard and keep you proud of the company you started in September 1965.



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!