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Columbia Helps Southern California Grow “Up” Part II: Emergency Exit Seismic Switch

Lou Blaiotta on Monday, February 5, 2018 at 12:00:00 am

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Columbia Elevator Seismic Lock

Seismic lock: Columbia has devised this special device for the emergency exit for elevator cabs running in seismic zones. Rather than resetting automatically when the emergency hatch is closed, this lock must be reset manually to turn the elevator back on. This is designed for extra safety, where, after a tremor a rescue worker has opened the hatch to allow passengers to escape, a secondary tremor occurs and accidentily causes a conventional lock to automatically turn back on, close the safety circuit and run the elevator.

Today’s advanced building construction techniques and emerging technologies – including those within our industry – have brought about a growth of

‘super-tall’ high-rise real estate in California. A prime example of elevator industry innovation is the car-top emergency exit seismic switch, a safety device developed to help protect passengers and equipment.

During an earthquake, it would not be unusual for an elevator to experience a loss of power and entrap passengers. A car-top emergency exit seismic switch, installed in the hatch door lock, protects passengers and their rescuers from injury resulting from unexpected movement caused by suddenly-restored power.

For Columbia Elevator cabs built for installation in seismic zones, we have devised a special ‘seismic lock’ for the emergency exit. Rather than resetting automatically when the emergency hatch door is closed, these locks must be reset manually. This is designed to avoid a potentially dangerous situation, such as after a rescue worker has opened the hatch to allow passengers to escape, a tremor can occur and accidently cause a conventional lock to automatically turn back on and close the safety circuit.

With the Columbia Elevator seismic lock, a human must take the considered, conscious, secondary action to physically/manually reset the switch to turn the elevator back on. This extra step is implemented only in seismic zones, both for high-rise and shorter buildings. In non-seismic zones, conventional locks that can automatically reset the safety circuit when the emergency hatch door is closed can be used.

I’m always proud when our team brings their problem-solving skills to the table to keep the riding public safe. That’s what makes me say that at Columbia Elevator, Innovation is a Standard!




Columbia Helps Southern California Grow “Up”

Lou Blaiotta on Monday, January 22, 2018 at 12:00:00 am

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Columbia Elevator Key ProductsWho would have ever thought that high-rise buildings of 1,000+ feet in height would proliferate in southern California! Once unimaginable, today, these structures – the largest of them known as “super-talls” – are dotting the West Coast landscape in increasing numbers and forming a more East Coast/Midwest-style urban skyline.

For most of the 20th century, seismic, financial, and other practical issues limited high-rise development in California. Most residents of Los Angeles, for instance, lived in houses or apartment buildings that were, at most, three stories tall. Considering concern about earthquakes, it was easier, if not prudent, to grow the city with “short” buildings that were safer. Developers could spread their risk across many smaller structures instead of fewer large ones. Smaller buildings did not involve the huge capital investment that is required by tall construction – not to mention the associated costs in money and time for engineers, drawings, approvals, and construction. Also, the population in the last century was insufficient in number and wealth to make tall buildings profitable.

Today, California is a changed place. The region is undergoing continuous, explosive growth with an accompanying need for the commercial and residential infrastructure to support it. Many of the factors that have driven high-rise construction in New York, Chicago, and other eastern and central United States business centers are now in play within minutes of the Pacific Ocean. The region is becoming increasingly more upscale. Land costs are high and climbing, making it advantageous to “go big” and to construct the tallest possible buildings on the smallest possible footprints.

We have been fortunate to work on several prestigious projects on the West Coast. Our customers have come to us to find solutions to various issues in this new urban skyline. Check back to learn more about our support in California’s newest structures.



Production Part Approval Process

Lou Blaiotta on Monday, January 8, 2018 at 12:00:00 am

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Happy New Year, and welcome to the fifth year of the Columbia Elevator Products Blog Lou’s Lessons!

Last time, I talked about how we use a Quality Management System. Staying on the topic of Quality, I want to share a system that we use when we work with customers in our niche of the elevator industry. Because we supply products that are unique to an architect’s or an OEM’s specification, we must be certain that our quality is always right on the mark.

When Columbia Elevator is entering a long-term contract to become a regular supplier to an OEM or elevator installation company, we must demonstrate that we can build and supply the product according to specifications. Before the contract can be finalized and accepted, we prove that we can build and supply the desired design accurately in our facilities. Demonstrating production mastery makes us a desirable supplier.

To do this, we engage in a Production Part Approval Process or PPAP.

PPAP is a standardized process that helps manufacturers and suppliers communicate and approve production designs and processes by promoting a clear understanding of the requirements of both the customer and the supplier, Columbia Elevator. It also ensures that the established techniques/procedures are used consistently in the manufacture of parts/products at agreed-upon production rates.

To put it simply, PPAP is a work plan that is a result of a negotiation between our customer and us. It is the result of much dialogue and discussion regarding the customer’s and Columbia Elevator’s individual plans/specifications for how the product is to be built and how we can make a PPAP that satisfies both parties. Once each element of the PAPP is agreed upon, Columbia can become a regular supplier of an entrance, door, cab, or other product.

Engaging in PPAP processes with regular customers results in these benefits:

  • Ensures better communication with the customer
  • Reduces revisions and change orders
  • Reduces waste and defect
  • Increases sales & improves revenue stream
  • Sustains our reputation for high quality products
  • Maintains our place as one of the top independent elevator suppliers in the U.S.A.

Columbia Elevator