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The Future of Moving Elevator Doors

Sunday, April 15, 2018

by Ralph M. Newman

Source: Elevator World

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It is often said about life that when one door closes, another opens. And so it goes with elevator door operators: as decades-old methodologies fade into obsolescence, today’s cutting-edge technologies – such as the “Internet of Things” – are opening new views into the design, installation, functionality and maintenance of the equipment that governs the movement of elevator doors.

The old-standby – dating back to the beginning of automatic operators and to some degree still in service today – has been the harmonic operator. In addition to the oft-noted issues concerning their weight and the space they consume atop cabs, harmonic operators are possessed of several inhibiting factors. They are comprised of many mechanical parts, by definition slow-moving and low in mechanical efficiency, with a high operating noise level.

Says LJ Blaiotta, CEO of Columbia Elevator Product Co.: “Performance of harmonic operators can be inconsistent from floor to floor. Their DC motors with open-loop or Variable Voltage, Variable Frequency (VVVF) control are inefficient, offer no protection against voltage fluctuations, and are more vulnerable to operational failure. But, from our point of view, a major issue we find with harmonic operator technology is that installation is a time-consuming, trial-and-error process, and often quite difficult. Ways to minimize installation time and maximize labor savings are such important factors in today’s super-competitive real estate environment.”

Conversely, linear door operators are based on simpler and more compact mechanical design. These perform with much higher efficiency, and, since they require no lubrication, provide the advantage of a relatively low maintenance requirement. The door drive is managed by a dedicated electronic board, which makes adjustment and fine-tuning much easier, with self-learning operating parameters set by a dedicated control pad. The power supply is managed by a switching device, in the range of 90 to 290V, that protects the operator from voltage fluctuations and helps avoid resulting problems.



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