Modular Elevator Innovation – There are a few inventions that become moments in history that change everything. The Wright brother’s first flight, Guttenberg’s printing press and Edison’s light bulb are at the top of the list. But one moment rarely considered is the time Elias Otis cut a rope on a suspended the elevator at the 1853 World’s Fair. On that fateful day when the cable was severed the elevator did not fall due to his unique braking system. The elevator became safe and the world was able to build up creating skyscrapers and a new city lifestyle beyond four-stories.
However, since that great leap ahead, the elevator has remained largely stagnant in how it is installed in a building.
Designers, architects and engineers have been trapped into placing a tower in the midst of the project and after nearly everything is finished, the project is turned over to the elevator mechanic. They come and go as they will and one piece at a time the elevator is built from scratch from crates of parts inside the hoistway.
That laborious, inefficient process is carried out anytime a multi-story project is built. This slows completion, wastes resources and can greatly expand the time that it takes to allow occupancy. But this building mess can be cleaned up through the use of a modular elevator. The modular elevator innovation changes everything.
This innovation is not new. After the passage of the Americans with Disability Act a group got together and thought through the conundrum of providing vertical transportation quickly at a cost that would allow more access. Their idea included building a steel hoistway that could be placed in hours with all of the elevator components already installed inside. The concept was perfect, but execution was lacking.
From an elevator installer’s perspective significant improvements could be made to reduce time, increase quality and diminishing inefficiencies even more. T.L Shield and Associates president, Tom Shield took up the challenge and the birth of the first true and practical modular elevator was developed. Modular Elevator Manufacturing (MEM) was founded and mass factory production of the MEM Elevator System began. Tom Shield said about the process, “We never set out to create an elevator revolution, we just wanted to solve problems to vertical transportation for builders and installers. We feel we have accomplished that goal.”
“We never set out to create an elevator revolution, we just wanted to solve problems…”Tom Shield – MEM President
As the market expanded additional innovation has been tested and accepted leading to the high-quality alternative to conventional elevators we have today. Shield said, “It has been a long road to market acceptance, but nationwide people are seeing the modular elevator as a solution to many of their problems and we continue to project significant growth.”
The stead increase in market share continues as architects, designers, project managers and building owners see the value in controlling their projects, cutting general construction costs and having occupancy faster than with old-fashioned traditional elevator installation.
As you can see Modular Elevator Innovation has led to an alternative that has been accepted and should be considered prior to any multilevel project. To reduce time, costs and headaches, we have a solution for your project woes regarding the elevator.
The modular elevator is not just a quick tip up for the outside of a building. It can be banked with other elevators and fitted with any design. Our commercial quality elevators can be used in retrofit or new construction just like traditional elevators, they just don’t come with the same baggage.
So if you would like to explore more, you can schedule a live virtual online tour and see first hand how we produce our modular elevators. You are also welcome to visit us in person as well. Just let us know when you are available.
Lastly, if you have a project in mind and would like to explore your total costs and benefits regarding our modular elevator complete a request for a Fast Track Quote. In about 24 hours, we will provide you with a thumbnail quote and get your project started. Just click one of the links below.
Modular Elevator Footprint – Often times when comparing the revolutionary MEM Modular Elevator System to traditional elevators the modular elevator footprint size comes up as an obstacle. This is especially true regarding interior placement. In this blog post we compare how much space is taken up in an apples to apples comparison.
There is a lot of confusion over exactly how much space the hoistway will ultimately require. To clear this up we went to our valued California partner TLShield for answers.
Senior Sales Executive, Craig Braund is a leader in the elevator and construction industry. He is known for using clear communication to solve problems for a variety of builders and architects. He took the time to examine the statement and question:
A modular elevator footprint takes up more space than a conventional elevator. Fact or fiction?
Coming to a conclusion on this question can be important. Especially to builders, architects and contractors when they consider switching to a modular elevator in the interior of a building. They like the fact that the modular elevator is off the critical path. It also saves time on the job and ultimately is a cost savings. However, switching from a conventional elevator, already designed in the project, to a modular elevator can be a hard decision to make. This is especially true when they are presented with the inside pit dimensions. This is because they believe they will have to totally redesign the building space for the elevator by a foot on each side to fit the MEM Modular Elevator System in.
But below, you can see that isn’t the case.
A typical 3500G (Gurney) conventional elevator has an inside pit / hoistway dimension of 6’-11” x 8’-6”
The MEM Modular Elevator System HW-2 3500G (Gurney) has an inside pit dimension of 7’-10 1/4” x 9’-6″
But is the required building space really larger? Here’s where it gets interesting.
The hoistway walls on a conventional elevator are typically between 7” and 8”. So the actual overall outside dimension (using 7” walls) of the elevator and hoistway is 8’-1” x 9’-8″.
A HW-2 3500G MEM Elevator with a 2-hr fire rating has a overall outside dimension (outside steel plus 2 1/2”) of the elevator and hoistway of 7’-9” x 9’-4 3/4″.
So in reality, an interior MEM Elevator actually takes up less building space. When the hoistway walls are utilized as building walls as done typically. The good news? No major redesign is necessary at all.
Therefore the answer to the “fact or fiction” question is… fiction. The modular elevator footprint is actually smaller.
If you have been holding back on considering the MEM Modular Elevator System because you thought interior placement was a problem with the modular elevator footprint size, we hope you reconsider.
As you can see we are a great option. We can be your solution to taking the elevator off the critical path. Additionally we can provide you with time and cost savings. To explore more you can click the button below. Sign up for a LIVE VIRTUAL TOUR of our facility where we show you how we produce this revolutionary product. If you have a current project and would like to explore more with pricing click the Fast Track Quote button.
We would be glad to have a conversation and help you with a solution to your vertical transportation needs.
Elevator Forum Produces Results. For those of you who are new to Modular Elevator Manufacturing (MEM) we are an elevator manufacturer. But not your typical company. We are trying to foster a revolution in an old industry that has not changed in 150 years. To help in that effort, we have sponsored a poll about the elevator industry so people in the construction industry can let us know the challenges they face when an elevator is part of their project. You can still participate by clicking the button below. It is just five short questions.
We then take those results and further define the issues you face by holding an open forum and clarifying the issues. The next step is then to make an honest effort to reform an industry in desperate need for a revolution. We will make changes to how we do things but also publish important information that you can use across the industry regardless of who you choose for your vertical transportation needs.
One vertical industry at a time we will be offering these opportunities for change. Our first was a success with the parking garage industry. The results of the forum were not surprising, but interesting to say the least.
First, when we said we were having a free and open discussion, we expected people to strain to participate with a largely one-sided conversation. Nothing could be further from the truth. We went through each of the poll questions and listened. To our surprise there was a lot to hear.
For instance when we asked specifically about time of completion and the elevator’s impact we were shocked at the candor.
The elevator installation “Usually creates major delays” to “Usually creates some delays”.
This is a major pain-point for the builder and the elevator industry.
Discussing that single issue propelled a discussion that elevator manufacturers need to hear more about. It seems that the overriding thought from builders across the construction industry is that the elevator installer are actually looking for ways to leave the jobsite. That leaves timetables for completion unpredictable.
It turns out that elevator mechanics once they get on the site are often looking for ways to get back off the site as fast as they can. We know many of the major reasons that occurs. An emergency somewhere else is a good reason if true. But they become more difficult to swallow after that and seem more like excuses. Examples such as it is too hot or too cold in the hoistway or shaft has led to a running joke in the elevator business (especially in colder climates), the technician watches the thermometer more than the time clock. If it drops below 55 degrees, time to go home.
The elevator company will sometimes come clean with an acknowledgement they double booked or they are trying to finish up another job somewhere else.
You will hear that they don’t have all the parts they need.
But a new reason to abandon the jobsite from wayward elevator mechanics came to light as well. I had never heard this one before. It is too dusty in the shaft. That was a new one on me.
Overall, because of a lack of trust in the industry as a whole or lack of trust in an individual company, builders are just not buying it.
This discussion led to the most damning indictment of the whole conversation. The elevator company is just looking for reasons to leave the site and they are not team players.
“The elevator industry generally takes the opinion, too bad.”
The feeling of the group in the forum was that everyone in the construction trade from plumbers to electricians have failings; they double book, they fall short in deadlines and have cost overruns. But after its all said and done they do their best to finish the job on time as promised. The other trades think through the problem or through the difficulty and work with the rest of the team to pull it all together.
That may or may not be an accurate picture, but it is the perception. The elevator industry generally takes the opinion, too bad. That has to stop.
I always hate using football as an analogy, but it fits here. When I was playing I could miss a tackle or a block, miss a read or blow an assignment, but if I did everything I could for the team to be a success it was forgotten (usually after 100 down and ups). It is true that I might have to ride the pine, for a game or miss a first-half, but all was forgiven. I was welcomed back. No one was never endanger of being kick off the team for a mistake.
The elevator industry has a habit of acting like they can do what they want, when they want and there is nothing that can be done. Mistakes are common and often and little effort is made to make them right. If this keeps up they are going to find themselves kicked of the team.
But the time for change is coming. A revolution is starting. It may begin small, but we are hoping to detect the pain-point through the polling and forums and then lead to find solutions. It is going to take honest communication throughout the construction industry from architects to elevator maintenance companies, but change is on the way.
And this leads to the final point where we usually turn all this information into a pitch for our revolutionary product. Yes, you can click the links below for more information if you want, but that is not the purpose.
If you want to be a part of the elevator revolution and improve the way the elevator is placed, designed, started up and maintained we invite you to be a part of the solution. You can start by taking the simple five question poll. It will only take a couple minutes. You can then contact us and ask to be included on future phone conferences. We will discuss the poll in its entirety and you can have a hand in influencing the future of the elevator industry.
If you want more information about the MEM Elevator System just click the link below.
New York elevator set over the holidays. While most businesses slow down between the last couple weeks of December and January 1, MEM’s schedule picks up. That slow period for most (especially schools) is the perfect time to install a complete elevator in less than four hours with the MEM system. Because they install so quickly there are minimal interruptions that you will find with traditional elevators.
A great example is a project we just set in New York. The Ateres Girls School was a perfect fit for us. The MEM system for the school is an above-ground hydraulic unit with a 25000lb. capacity and 16′ travel distance. It went in easily and smoothly.
That not only speaks to the product and our production team, but also the professionals at Nadler Modular that led the project. They made sure everything was ready and therefore the project went off without a hitch.
A modular project is not a requirement. Even with the elevator placed on the exterior of the building, that is not a always necessary for our elevators. MEM elevators can be placed in any type of construction project. And be placed on the exterior or interior. If you are looking for a vertical transportation solution for any low or mid-rise application we have what you need.
To make MEM a part of your next project just click the link to find out more or get a FAST TRACK QUOTE.
Elevator Winterization – Oh the weather outside is frightful…is your elevator ready to let it snow, let it snow, let it snow? As a chill fills the air in most of the US and Canada, it is a good question. Is your elevator ready for cold temps and inclement weather? This blog has always been about all things elevator including how to take care of them and keep them operating at peak performance. As a result, cold seasonal temps should be addressed. So consider giving your building the holiday gift of elevator winterization.
The holiday season is the perfect time to consider some of the following items. Some of the tips may be part of routine maintenance or you might be Florida, however these are things to consider regardless:
The above is just a short list you can talk over with your elevator maintenance company. If they are not responsive, give you grief or want to charge more for a simple winterization check up…you got the wrong company. Follow through on firing them as soon as you can.
You are responsible for the safe operation of your elevator and the above list will help, but you have to have a willing partner. It is always a good idea to line up maintenance now than dealing with someone stuck, especially when it is cold outside. Be proactive so your elevator can give you years of reliable service. Remember as long as you love your elevator so, you can say let it snow, let it snow, let it snow. Happy Holidays from Modular Elevator Manufacturing!
Not going to say much here, but lots of the above steps can be interrupted by purchasing an elevator that has proprietary parts and components or use proprietary tools. Never, let me repeat, never purchase an elevator with proprietary parts and tools. It is a scam and a rip off to increase your costs and the elevator company’s profits in the long run. Secondarily, never purchase a building with an elevator with proprietary parts. It is largely an unseen future expense that will drive up costs for maintenance agreements.
We at MEM never use proprietary parts and tools. Contact us to find out the reasons why. You can also get a Fast Track Quote by clicking the link below. Lastly, if you are interest in the least, set up a live virtual tour of our facility. You can ask any question you want and find out for your self how we are taking you higher with high-quality commercial elevators.
Elevator 101 is about the basics. See, being around elevators all the time can warp your perspective. You begin to think that everyone has a pretty high base knowledge of elevators and elevator lingo. We tend to forget that most people’s knowledge of elevators in the construction industry is limited to, “They are a pain in the rear end”. So, every once in a while it is a good idea to review what the basic terms mean. Reviewing this info is especially needed if you are going to be chatting with people in the elevator business about a specific project.
Overall there is too much jargon. Like talking to a doctor or lawyer, elevator people sometimes skip over things that are basic to them, but may confuse folks not immersed in the field. The intricacies of brain surgery or the meaning of habeas corpus (I think its a city in Texas), can easily pass us by and so can terms regarding elevators. We hope this will help.
So here is a list of basic terms that you should review, or bookmark before you talk with an elevator consultant, elevator sales person or even an elevator mechanic.
That above list is a good staring point. However, if you ever have a question feel free to call us whether you have the intention of buying a modular elevator or not. As geeky and weird as it sounds, we like talking about elevators.
Below is a handy diagram, a chart based on travel distance and some links.
Additionally if you want to know more about the modes of conveyance. Just click here for a full explanation. You can also click here for information on hydraulic units. You can also look at the dozens of articles we have available on our blog.
If you would like to know a bit about pricing for a project just click the button below to get a Fast Track Quote. But if you really want to know more about elevators, schedule a live, virtual tour of our factory. It is open to anyone with questions about elevators. We love showing off!
I have been writing blogs forever. Not literally of course but, for a long, long time. And I have never gotten such an overwhelming response as I did writing the blog post Dirty Little Elevator Secrets. People that commented were upset with the old elevator industry and had their eyes open to the hidden agenda for the first time. They felt duped and manipulated in some cases. The result was I was asked to expand on the differences between a true manufactured elevator and what big elevator companies pass off as manufacturing.
So, that got me thinking, maybe I should expose more truths about a business that hides as best they can what they do and how they do it. And, if the audience demands it you roll out the sequel. I hope this will not be a Jaws 5 or Titanic 2 kind of effort. The goal is to be more of a Godfather-esque redux. Godfather 2 of course. Godfather 3 was a train wreck.
So, get your popcorn and super-sized drink. Here we go. Let me start by asking a simple question. When is an elevator manufacturer, not an elevator manufacturer? I know it sounds like the start of a children’s riddle, but the question is sincere.
The answer begins with telling you about what we do and who we are at Modular Elevator Manufacturing (MEM). We are a true elevator manufacturing company.
The process starts in our factory by building an elevator hoistway out of rugged steel tubing. It is engineered to be self-supporting and can meet any earthquake or hurricane standards. We then finish the shaft with mold resistant drywall inside and out. This gives it the fire protection required by the building code of the location it is going to. It also ensures the elevator can sit through the building process onsite.
The rails on which the elevator car will ride are then put placed inside. Always plumb and always level. The heavy lifting is relegated to machinery making the task easier and safer for employees. This entire time the hoistway is horizontally, whether for a low or mid-rise project. It remains that way throughout the process to assure perfect alignment and ease of inspection.
While the hoistway is being manufactured, the elevator cab is likewise being constructed. We use tough Galvanneal (stainless) steel and not flimsy wood core products that can easily mold, warp or crumble. It is built on a metal platform, with the sling. The cab is perfect in alignment, fit and finish as jigs and templates are used to assure all the manufacturing is within the strictest allowances.
The roof of the cab is completed with all the wiring and safety devises required by code. Then the interior of the cab is finished to meet the most demanding of specifications. Keep in mind that the cab is constructed on a factory floor with plenty of space to work around with easy access to every nook and cranny. The area is well lit and inspections can take place at anytime with easy access.
At the end of the two separate assembly processes, the hoistway and elevator cab are married together. The cab, platform and sling are simply inserted into the hoistway. The wiring to the hall calls is then completed. Keep in mind through the whole process inspections are done.
This is what a true manufactured elevator looks like. A hoistway with a completely finished commercial quality elevator installed inside. All that is needed is for the elevator to be set in place (a process that takes about four hours). And for it to be started up (a process that takes less than a week). The modular elevator usually goes in first in the building process and then completed when electricity is provided.
Now for what the old-fashioned, supposed elevator manufacturers do. They pull together boxes of components, parts and pieces from any number of companies and ship them to a job site. There they sit taking up space and getting in the way. Not only that, the construction team has to make space for the components as well as the mechanic’s tools and keep everything under lock and key by contract. If anything goes missing, it is not the elevator company’s fault but yours.
Finally, when the technician wants to get to your project they arrive. But don’t make the mistake in thinking they are going to start right in.
If it is a cold morning (under 55 degree in the shaft) they have to wait until it warms up. Because cold temperature can void the warranty they won’t lift a finger. The way they install the elevator requires that it is working in some fashion. Especially, in northern climates it is said that the elevator mechanic doesn’t watch the time clock, he watches the thermometer.
Then one piece at a time the maintenance person wanders back and forth from crate to shaft bringing in all the pieces, panels and paraphernalia. They then screw, cobble, coerce, bend and bolt all the parts together in the tight, cramped and poorly lit shaft. And you wonder why the elevator rattles like a teenagers jalopy when finished.
Elevator companies have little regard for the safety of workers because the technicians are required to do the lifting. Back-breaking labor is needed requiring the lugging around of heavy rails. No wonder that,
“The major causes of lost-time injuries to elevator installers and repairers were being struck by an object, overexertion (especially in lifting), falls, and being caught in/between, in that order.”eLCOSH – Deaths and Injuries Involving Elevators
That being hit by an object is either by a piece being raised with a hoist in the tight confines of the shaft or someone dropping a part or tool.
All this is crazy. If they were truly manufactured in a factory setting it could all be avoided and the finished product would be much better.
Keep in mind that this installation and all of the pitfalls takes place last in the building process. So one misplaced bolt, one fried circuit board, one miscalculation or one injury can potentially delay the building for weeks to months. The rest of the project may be ready for occupancy, but the elevator brings everything to a halt. Also, if you raise any concerns or comments, you are viewed as the problem.
As they already have you over a barrel, more often than not you complain to co-workers or peers, but not to the elevator company. Fear of reprisals or slow-walking work looms in the back of your mind. But voicing your concerns wouldn’t matter anyway. You are stuck.
In the above scenario one company is a manufacturer…the other is not. I could be a little more forgiving if they actually manufactured all their own pieces and parts, but guess what??? Not so. They just bundle parts from a myriad of companies and ship them. They often use the very same companies we do for components. There is no real difference in the components used or the quality.
So if they in real terms are not elevator manufacturers, what exactly is their business model? How do they make money if they don’t really make the product they claim to? As a matter of fact, often times they sell their bundles of elevator components for little or no profit at all. At first blush you would say that’s crazy…until of course you look at what they do sell and how they sell it.
Otis in a recent SEC filing said, “New Equipment and Service, which, for the year ended December 31, 2019, contributed 43 percent and 57 percent of our net sales, and 20 percent and 80 percent of our total segment operating profit, respectively.” Most the money they are making regarding operating profit is in the maintenance agreement.
That is why they will sell new units for practically nothing, with proprietary parts and tools required in the product. That locks the builder, building owner or any future owner into a never ending contract. Often times the deal has clauses that guarantee annual increases and only short windows of opportunities to get out of the deal. When the jig is finally up you are locked in. And get this, even if you get out of one contract with the elevator company, you still have to have a maintenance company affiliated with the same brand. Only they have the proprietary tools for that unit.
You may be switching service providers but you will never leave the grasp of the elevator company once you ink the deal. It reminds me of the quote, “Just when I though I was out, they keep pulling me back in.” Michael Corleone – The Godfather: Part 3.
The character of Michael Corleone was in too deep and his choices were limited by his circumstances and very early choices made by his role. Ultimately, he is a truly tragic cinematic figure. Don’t be him. Don’t get in bed with a manufacturer who is not really a manufacturer and then realize it is too late regarding quality, building delays and unfair maintenance contracts.
They may have an offer you feel you can’t refuse, but look for better alternatives with the best elevator manufacturer in the business. MEM – quality elevators taking you to higher level.
To find out about alternatives click Fast Track button.
Elevator secrets can mean more than you think. If you are in the process of buying an elevator for a building project watch out. Realize you need help! But despite pushing the help button often none is found. The reason is because there are dozens of dirty little elevator secrets the major elevator companies don’t want you to know about.
That should be no surprise. After all the elevator industry is more cloaked in darkness than the Illuminati or the New World Order. They tend to hide what they do and lurk in the fog regarding important items like: costs, timelines and motives. So, in this blog post I will shine some light on just two of the biggest elevator secrets. You will also be given tips on how to shed some much needed light yourself on an industry that desperately needs it.
But first, why do they hide the information? Let me tell you, it is not an evil plot devised by a cat stroking Bond villain. It is a more mundane motive. Money. If you, the consumer, are not given clear factual information, the likelihood is you will make poor decisions regarding vertical transportation. Also, you will become more reliant on the elevator company itself for the limited facts that are available. So your decisions will be made with few and skewed facts and that will ensure you bleed money and they get richer. The result is overall lifetime cost of an elevator becomes much higher than advertised. So let’s get started with just two elevator secrets.
The first elevator secrets is the real profit for the major elevator companies in maintenance. To make money they need to keep you under their thumb regarding the contract. Otis in a recent SEC filings said, “New Equipment and Service, which, for the year ended December 31, 2019, contributed 43 percent and 57 percent of our net sales, and 20 percent and 80 percent of our total segment operating profit, respectively.”
Did you get that? That means is that new equipment or elevator sales while important is no where near as profitable as the maintenance. And to keep the money rolling in, unknowing customers are being pushed into making decisions that increases the profit of the elevator company through the maintenance contract not the elevator itself. How do they do this?
The vast majority of people that ride in an elevator don’t give it a second thought. The doors opens, they walk in, push a button and go up. They do not care about the mechanical means of conveyance at all. But, selling up to a different type of elevator conveyance can make a bigger profit for elevator companies through the maintenance agreement. So…they push specific elevator types that increase the maintenance contract price. This is despite most riders or building owners not caring a wit about how they get from point A to point B.
So, when I personally speak to people that are being oversold on the type of conveyance it makes me a little steamed. Let me be blunt. If you are being sold a traction elevator (the kind with ropes) for a low-rise application you are most likely being oversold. You are more than likely being taken advantage of.
Why? Because the long-term maintenance contract for a 3-stop hydraulic elevator is around $200 per month (depending on where and other factors). For a 3-stop traction it can be $600 or more per month (depending on where and other factors). Need more convincing? Do the math. The lifespan of a typical elevator is 20 years (240 months). With hydraulic maintenance cost around $200 a month, that is $48,000 over the lifespan of the elevator. A traction elevator on the other hand, at $600 a month is approximately $144,000 over the lifetime.
Now you know why they upsell unwitting customers on traction when often it is not needed. They will even discount the initial sales price on traction units to make less upfront as a way to garner longer, more profitable returns. A real quick note, hydraulic elevators are not inferior just less expensive to maintain. Also, this is not a screed against traction units. Sometimes they are needed. We just honestly assess your project and make recommendations rather than selling you up to something you don’t need.
But that is not the end of the elevator secrets and profit motives. When the light bulb goes off and you realize you have been duped. And you are overpaying and try to get out of the contract so you can competitively shop it, you can’t. That is because part of that cheap up front price usually includes proprietary parts in the elevator system. In simple terms, proprietary parts makes it impossible for anyone to maintain it . Of course other than the elevator company you bought it from. You are stuck. The elevator with proprietary parts requires special tools programmed for your specific elevator. There is no advantage to these tools. They are just the keys to a prison you cannot escape from.
There are also lots of other contractual tricks of the trade to keep you locked in as well; like auto-renewals. Auto renewals are common place with almost everything now-a-days. Phone service to online entertainment auto-renews all the time. But elevator maintenance contracts often auto-renew with an annual increase built in. You miss the tiny renewal window, you can’t get out. The contracts are often multi-year (usually 5 years) and are very lopsided in exclusions and other factors.
The second of the dirty little elevator secrets is the major elevator companies don’t really manufacture elevators at all. Well, at least not in the way we generally think of manufacturing. They do produce some components, but in real terms they are bundlers of other companies parts and pieces. They crate them, ship them and screw them together on site. But the elevator is not manufactured at all, and the parts they actually make are limited. Believe it or not elevator companies have admitted that the real “manufacturing” takes place at the jobsite.
Think about it this way, if General Motors only crated up parts and dropped them off at your front door, you would not consider the car to be a manufacturer. That would be a preposterous notion. Then later in cold or heat, rain or snow it would be put together. A mechanic would meander to your house at their leisure and cobble all those parts together in a process that takes months in your driveway. You would laugh out loud if cars were “manufactured” that way. Yet that is what is done regarding elevators.
This truth reveals a couple of realities. The elevators they sell are screwed together with very little supervision, inspection or quality control. They are cobbled together in dark and cramped environs and in all sorts of challenging conditions. Also, the safety and quality of the elevators rests in a single inspection. At the end of the process they’re given a green light or a punch list of code violations to fix. If that one inspector, in one visit misses something, they just do. Also, the code inspector is not necessarily looking for fit and finish, just functionality and code compliance.
Because traditional elevator companies just really gather elevator components from others, then anyone can buy those components and provide a better, truly manufactured solution. That’s what happens with a modular elevator. We purchase the same or comparable parts, and actually manufacture an elevator in a factory. It is much faster, greener and safer.
Inside a modular unit you will find the same parts because there are precious few elevator component producers. Where different parts are used, due to the level of regulation in the elevator industry, they are all high-quality. All must pass muster of regulating agencies and the elevator code. We just produce the product in a much better and smarter way.
What ultimately makes the difference is that modular elevators are actually manufactured in an assembly process. They are not pieced together in less than optimal working conditions. Imagine that! They are inspected daily for fit and finish. They are always plumb and square because checking quality is as easy as walking the factory floor. The units are produced horizontally so inspections are routine and daily.
Also, because it is manufactured you decide when it arrives. It is then shipped and is placed on-site. This ends workplace interruptions and the elevator is no longer holding up other’s work. They free up work space and the elevator is off the project’s critical path.
The set is less than a half a day. The startup less than a week. And get this, the elevator can be used for construction in some cases! A better elevator because the process is better. Same quality components, manufactured smarter.
Below is an honest list of things to look out for on your next elevator purchase. However, it is a bit self-serving. We feel MEM is the best alternative for quality, safety and cost-effective vertical transportation. However, your decision must be made based on facts and below are some to consider. So, look over this info to avoid some of the dirty little elevator secrets. Feel free to challenge us with questions about our process and products:
Finally, consult, challenge and discuss. Biased? We are. But not regarding the conveyance type. We will be honest and fair. On our factory floor you will find hydraulic elevators and even roped hydraulic units as well to meet your needs. Our bias is based upon modular being a better way to produce elevators, not the elevator itself. We will recommend what you need and price anything else you want or have speced in.
If you are curious and would like more information just click the button below. In 24 hours we can produce a thumbnail price for any project. Remember with us there are no secrets! Just straight forward talk from people that care about you and your project. We are highly experienced in the elevator industry and hope you will join the elevator revolution.
Elevator installers and technicians need to know more than how to turn a wrench. As you all know, Modular Elevator Manufacturing (MEM) is now nationwide, so we are looking for the right kind of knowledgeable people with the desire for growth. We are lining up work across the United States and in Canada and it is opening up opportunities for businesses and individuals in the elevator industry.
There are two ways you can be a part of the ever-growing field of modular elevators:
It starts with filling out this simple questionnaire. We just need to know you are a licensed elevator technician, the jurisdictions you work in and your contact information. From there we will speak to you about any future opportunities.
As an overview, we will provide you with information you need to setup and startup an MEM product. We will also help you with knowing your time commitment to any project you bid and give you in person support as needed. Note we do not say install the elevator, but setup and start up. This is due to the traditional elevator installation takes place in the factory. The hoistway is completely wired, with doors, rails and even the cab installed when it arrives. That means there is significantly less time invested in each project. For a quick look at how fast a set can go, click the button below. Generally a fully installed elevator can be set in a couple hours.
Most importantly know that we are looking for a long-term relationship that we can build on together. We have a solid, high-quality product, unlike other modular elevator companies. The result is we are looking for solid, high-quality people to join with us.
As you understand, there can be a significant lag time between the quote and getting the job. But you will won’t have the future opportunity if you don’t get start today.
Go to this page for more information and for general expectations. If you already know of a project that might be a good fit, let us know by clicking the Fast Track Button below. We will supply you with pricing in 24 hours so you can provide it to your potential customer. Otherwise click below and fill out the simple application today.
For years Modular Elevator Manufacturing has been educating the public on elevators in general and the benefits of hydraulic elevators specifically. Hydraulic elevators are often times the absolutely best option for vertical travel, especially when it comes to low-rise applications. However, we have not spent an inordinate amount of time discussing many of the drawbacks. That is because there are very few and generally well understood. However, it has come to our attention that some of these drawback have taken on a life of their own and now live on in near mythic proportions.
So in this short article we are going to address the ups and downs of the hydraulic elevator, dispel myths and shed some light. This is not a sales pitch! After all you can buy a high-quality, commercial hydraulic elevator from any number of companies. We look at this article as a help to those that are truly curious about the best elevator for their current or future elevator project.
To keep me organized and to keep from jumping all over the place, I will address each point listed below. These are the largest complaints that many have about hydraulic elevators:
Believe it or not, there is merit to some of the claims made above, but the explanations are often ignored and this has led to more than one exaggeration. That begs the question, why would one perpetuate a misleading claim? I hate to say it, but sales and profit motives are usually big factors. If more money can be made, why sweat the small things like the truth and developing a reputation over time. After all, the elevator industry has such a stellar reputation, why damage it for a few dollars? Just kidding on the reputation crack. One of the biggest battles we face as an elevator manufacturer is the overall reputation of the industry as a whole.
Ask nearly any general contractor, building owner or architect and they will affirm they dislike the elevator business. In my experience and when doing independent research I have personally heard elevator companies described as bullies, untruthful, unreliable, unresponsive and overpriced. Do any of those descriptive terms surprise you? Unfortunately, probably not. So let’s just say that profit motives are powerful and can lead to some generalizations and exaggerations. But more than that, in the late 1990’s a new product was introduced to the American market. The MRL (machine room-less) traction elevator was rolled out with tons of fanfare and major investment from big elevator companies.
Logically, for that investment to payoff significant downward pressure was applied to sell up MRLs. Incentives were created, promises were made and poor comparisons were projected. Those sometimes false comparisons still ruminate in the minds of many. This coupled with ignoring hydraulic elevator technological improvements leads to a misunderstanding of facts and benefits. But let’s get to the list.
The first common complaint is that hydraulic elevators cost too much. Not necessarily in the upfront investment in installation, but in the Life Cycle Cost or LCC. The initial cost of a hydraulic unit runs around 35% less that a traction MRL. Not only is that true of pricing at Modular Elevator Manufacturing, but across the board, but what about maintenance and electricity? How does hydraulic stack up against MRL traction?
This question was answered by a study from of all places Thyssenkrupp. They were so interested in this question that they commissioned a report and then published its findings in a blog. The answer may surprise you. They found the following:
“We conducted Life Cycle Costing (LCC) research on low-rise elevators to help customers understand their economic and environmental impacts. LCC looks at the costs involved with a product or service over its entire lifetime. The study showed that over 25 years, the cost to maintain three-stop traction MRL is $173k compared to the same hydraulic MRL which cost $91k.”Myths about Low-Rise Elevators Means Realistic Costs to Building Owners – Tetley-Scott 2014
Keep in mind that is the cost to maintain the elevator, not buying it and install it as well. That is a stunning admission. They are in basic terms saying that an MRL traction is, give or take, seven grand out of your pocket every year when a hydraulic is only three thousand-seven hundred. That is for the same travel distance and same number of stops. Cost wise hydraulic is the only logical choice. This is especially true when you add in the initial investment cost.
Regarding electricity, the same blog post points out, “In fact, a 2,500 lb. elevator, traveling a single floor (12 feet) at 100 fpm (feet per minute) and operates 100 runs a day, does not even use $600 worth of energy in an entire year. So assuming the hydraulic uses more energy than traction, you could have a differential of perhaps just $150 a year in energy cost.” In other words, in the whole picture, although a hydraulic elevator may use more electricity in a year, it is negligible to say the least.
It is an old canard that hydraulic elevators use significantly more energy than a traction. If it were true, we would produce counter-weighted hydraulic systems. It would be easy enough to do, but who on earth would pay so much up front and then have a more additional maintenance costs of weights and ropes? They make no sense because the electric cost is so low and going down every year as efficiency in hydraulic pumps and motors increase.
This is no old myth. When hydraulic elevator were first installed there were a couple of factors that made them less green than their traction counterparts. The hydraulic fluid used was not bio-degradable and the oil was in a jack underground where leaking could not be effectively monitored. It was a time bomb of sorts as rust and corrosion slowly wore away at the hole lining, jack and bulkhead. The seals were more prone to failure and the drips turned into steady streams of lost fluid.
There are still hundreds of these old systems in place today. And they are either, by some miracle leak free, they are not being routinely checked for oil loss or the person paying the bills would rather buy a five-gallon bucket of oil every quarter than have the jack pulled and replaced.
But things have changed. In many applications you can use above ground jacks and better materials are available when an in ground jack is needed. Generally, PVC filled with sand is in the hole and then the jack is inside the PVC. If installed properly there should be no leaking at all.
Also, the elevator code has recognized the need for improved environmental awareness. If the code is followed, environmental issues should be non-existent to rare. If there are any problems or accidents of an environmental nature it is more than likely due to unqualified installers. Current technology affords jack leak monitoring systems and all the jack components are better than in years past. This coupled with good maintenance and record keeping should significantly reduce any hydraulic fluid escaping into the ground.
But what if it does? Good question. The last line of defense are interceptors for spilled oil that separate the oil from water protecting the environment against leakage. And also you now have the choice of many bio-degradable hydraulic fluids formulated for elevators. Oil replacement and additional testing is necessary so the elevator technician needs to know of this choice. But there is no real need to worry about leaks if you don’t want to with improved rules and technology.
Okay hydraulic elevators are slower. But does that matter? I really could write an entire article on this subject…as a matter of fact I already have. You can check it out here. You can read it if you are really interested, but for everyone else let me cut the the chase. Speed is really needed if you are going over six or seven stories for sure and maybe a wanted convenience you would like going over four or five stories. But for anything below that you are not getting your money’s worth.
The reason is due to limits of the human body and how fast an elevator can get to top speed and still be a comfortable ride. If you are traveling just 30 or so feet you would just barely get to top speed before starting to slow down again for the next stop. Top speed is rarely to never hit in a typical three stop elevator. Think about it, you would be thrown to the floor or pasted to the ceiling if you traveled to top speed any faster. So yes, hydraulic elevators are slower, but for low-rise applications it is not that important at all. Yet everyday we send out Fast Track budget numbers to people that are convinced they need a jet pack for 10′ to 20′ feet of travel. The need for that much speed does not exist.
To increase speed at a lower cost a roped hydraulic is a great option if you are going over three or four stories. It combines a hydraulic system with a pulley wheel at the top of the jack. This speeds up the elevator and increases the total height of travel.
Although limited, hydraulic elevators may go higher than you thought. Two or three stops are just the beginning. I have seen hydraulic elevators installed up to six stops. That is with over 60′ of travel! The chart below shows a comparison of what MEM can provide and associated travel. Keep in mind these are only general numbers.
The important thing is to weigh all the options available and not make any snap decisions without some research. For building owners and managers, that may mean asking some hard questions of your team and comparing costs to benefits. For the architect it may mean thinking outside of the elevator cab. Look for a better technology, before you drop in the same footprint. For the GC you might need to call and ask questions about how other alternatives can make your job easier, not harder when it comes to the elevator installation.
It is important that, when looking at the elevator alternatives, you do not just listen to sales pitches. Doing so will cost you significantly more in both the short and long term. I hope this article makes clear that traction elevators are not a proper alternative for two and three stop projects accept under certain circumstances. Also, hydraulic elevators up to five stories need to be considered. Based on cost and use you may find a hydraulic as the best alternative. Just take a look at the facts, determine your needs, and choose wisely.
You will be keeping your elevator for a long time so seek independent voices. MEM can be a great resource or a qualified elevator consultant. We won’t say one is better than the rest just for a sale. Just find the proper and most applicable mode-of-conveyance for the right application.
If you have a project in mind, or questions about this article or our line of manufactured elevators feel free to contact us for Fast Track budget numbers. Our knowledgeable team will happily advise you on the most effective and beneficial mode-of-conveyance for you and your project. We can provide budgetary numbers in 24 hours.
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