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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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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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