Columbia Elevator Cabs and Entrances


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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!




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!


The Critical Path Method in Construction How does Columbia Elevator support the Elevator Contractor in CPM?

Louis "LJ" Blaiotta, Jr. on Monday, June 11, 2018 at 12:00:00 am

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Blue Elevator Cab interior by Columbia Elevator

During the construction process and various phases of product shipment, approvals can now be two separate processes, first structural and, much later, aesthetic. Cabs can be run during construction as unadorned shells, and later finished with a virtually infinite selection of interiors ranging from simple (photo above) - to the ornate (photo below).

 Bronze Cab Interior by Columbia Elevator

Along the Critical Path of a building’s construction, the installing elevator contractors, our customers, never want to be the mechanical system in the building that causes a delay in its opening. That failure to meet deadline could expose the contractors to liability for liquidation damages, a slew of penalties, and a ding on their reputation.

Because it takes weeks to manufacture uniquely specified elevator products and to ship them to the building site, the solution would appear to be for the contractors to simply place their orders earlier. However, this is often not possible. The contractors get ‘squeezed’ in the middle because the building developers may not yet have given them the final direction and approvals for how they want the elevator to look. Consequently, with today’s modern construction techniques and buildings being topped-off more quickly than ever, elevator products – especially entrances, doors, transoms, and cabs – are needed in less than the minimum lead time that had been traditionally required for them to be fabricated and delivered.

This can be quite the conundrum until we at Columbia are able jump in to help the contractors. Of course, we cannot demand that our customers give us their orders earlier. They are already getting job specifications to us as soon as they can, but, as mentioned, construction is no longer conducting business within traditional lead times. The marketplace reality led us to rethink: how do we keep our contractor customers off the Critical Path, by not only manufacturing their orders more quickly, but also delivering them faster?

Columbia’s Account Representatives support our installing contractors with Columbia’s Sequentially Staging Deliveries. When we have contractor customers on Critical Path jobs – whether low or high rise - it makes sense for us to send them the roughs at the stage of putting up the rails. If the contractors run up against a hiccup with the rails, they can start putting in the roughs. Next, we ship the jambs with the cab shells, so they can hang the jambs, and start installation of the door operators in the cabs. Before you know it, the cars are running; they are being used as construction lifts, and the building is getting its Certificate of Occupancy or C.O. Later, we can build the interiors, using our XChangaCab® program. XChangaCab® was originally designed for modernizations, but now we’ve adapted it for use in new construction because it keeps the ‘pretty’ part of the cab well-protected and looking pristine until the end of the project. 

Our Sequentially Staged Deliveries approach has various benefits for our customers about which I’ll elaborate next time. But let me tell you - our tested model is becoming known in the industry. We now have customers calling upon Columbia’s Account Representatives to ask,

“Can we get staged delivery for this job?”

And the Account Representative responds,

“Of course! We at Columbia Elevator can deliver low-rise or high-rise, code-compliant, beautiful elevators using our successful Strategically Staged Delivery process to any building site in the United States or Canada. Tell me about your job’s needs, and I’ll help you make installing elevators easier and faster!”