Sunday, May 21, 2017

Elevator door restrictor - GAL mechanical

This will be the 2nd of a few posts on elevator door restrictors.  We get a lot of questions in our area about door restrictors when some of the restrictors begin failing.  Many in our area haven’t worked for years due to entrapments. We get asked; Why did it fail? What is the next step?  We say “replace it with XY or Z”.  But many building owners have no idea what a door restrictor is or the differences between the different types.

What is a door restrictor? – A door restrictor is a device that restricts the elevator car door from opening more than 4” when it is outside the landing zone.  The landing zone is typically 18” above or below the floor.   Essentially this device traps someone in the car so they cannot get out of the car and fall below the car down the hoistway.  An elevator person or emergency services should be called to get a person out safely.

Why did the door restrictor come about? – I know there are people out there that can explain or tell this more accurately than myself, but, from what I know there was a series of accidents within a short period of time with people getting out of an elevator that was out of the landing zone and they fell down the hoistway and got seriously injured or died.  I believe a few of these accidents occurred in Chicago in the 1990’s.

In the United States the GAL door operator is the most popular supplier of door equipment.  We as an independent contractor have been using GAL since the mid 1960’s.  When we install new GAL equipment or replace old GAL equipment with new we get a new clutch with a mechanical restrictor on it. 

This is the 2nd of  3 restrictors we discuss pros and cons for 

 [This particular elevator used a new clutch and changed the clutch release rollers on each floor to comply with the State of Illinois mandate requiring all passenger elevators to have door restrictors]

 [Older GAL door restrictor]

Pros
1.    Easy to install 
2.    Reliable
3.    No electronic parts

Cons
1.    Can be installed wrong and cause entrapments
2.    Wear points
3.    Cannot be installed on all elevators

Purpose of this information - We frequently see on elevator violations “Repair door restrictor” or we see entrapments due to malfunctioning door restrictors.   If a building has a door restrictor from the 1990’s, 2000’s there may be a better replacement such as a door clutch mechanical restrictor or a SEES style door restrictor or replace with a newer version of the Adam’s Hatch Latch.


As always feel free to contact us at www.colleyelevator.com, email Craigz@colleyelevator.com or call 630-766-7230.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Elevator door restrictor – Adams hatch latch

This will be the 1st of a few posts on elevator door restrictors.  We get a lot of questions in our area about door restrictors when the restrictors begin failing.  Many in our area haven’t worked for years due to entrapments and have never been repaired. We get asked; Why did it fail? What is the next step?  We say “replace it with X,Y or Z”.  But many building owners have no idea what a door restrictor is or the differences between the different types.

What is a door restrictor? – A door restrictor is a device that restricts the elevator car door from opening more than 4” when it is outside the landing zone.  The landing zone is typically 18” above or below the floor.   Essentially this device traps someone in the car so they cannot get out of the car and fall below the car down the hoistway.  An elevator person or emergency services should be called to get a person out safely.

Why did the door restrictor come about? – I know there are people out there that can explain or tell this more accurately than myself, but, from what I know there was a series of accidents within a short period of time with people getting out of an elevator that was out of the landing zone and they fell down the hoistway and got seriously injured or died.  I believe a few of these accidents occurred in Chicago in the 1990’s.

In the mid 1990’s the City of Chicago mandated this device to be installed on all elevators and other AHJ's followed in later years.  

There will be 3 restrictors we discuss pros and cons for, the Adams hatch latch will be the first. Many elevators in the Chicago have Adam’s Hatch Latch door restrictors.  There are a few other companies who produce a similar door restrictor but in our area they are not as popular. 

The Adam's Hatch Latch is an electrical mechanical device that incorporates 2 sensors one for position of the elevator and one for the position on the door, a solenoid that picks and drops to allow the car door to open and close and a microprocessor board that operates the system.  There is a new version that operates a bit different with the 2nd sensor eliminated and replaced with a magnet.


[This particular door restrictor doesn't appear to capture the door position with the 2nd sensor]

Pros
1.    Easy to install 
2.    Will work with most elevator door systems – very flexible

Cons
1.    Many failure points – If any of these items fail it may cause an entrapment
a.    Battery failure - may not cause entrapment
b.    Board failure
c.    Solenoid failure
d.    Sensor failure
2.    Some versions are obsolete
3.    Requires on going maintenance

Purpose of this information - We frequently see on elevator violations “Repair door restrictor” or we see entrapments due to malfunctioning door restrictors.   If a building has a door restrictor from the 1990’s, 2000’s there may be a better replacement such as a door clutch mechanical restrictor or a SEES style door restrictor or replace with a newer version of the Adam’s Hatch Latch.

As always feel free to contact us at www.colleyelevator.com, email Craigz@colleyelevator.com or call 630-766-7230.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Accidents in elevator hoist way – non elevator trades

This last week I learned about 2 newer accidents in the elevator world.  

1 x Miami, FL – A man working at MET Miami Project fell 4 stories down an elevator shaft.  He was a construction worker.  The person was taken to the hospital.

1 x Simi Valley, CA – Construction worker fell down a 4 story building’s elevator hoist way.  The person was taken to the hospital.

In the State of Illinois there is a notice put out by the State Fire Marshall about people entering hoist ways, it needs to be under the supervision of a licensed elevator contractor.  In our state we had a series of accidents from smoke detector companies accessing the elevator hoist way unattended.   The cost for a trained person to be onsite during hoist way work is much less expensive then an accident occurring at your building. 


The Miami and Simi Valley accidents may be from not protecting the elevator shaft.  Impossible to say without seeing the site.  But one thing we can say is maybe there could have been more we could have done to prevent the accidents.

We had a post about demo companies and open hoist ways back in 2015 which is worth a read.


Let’s be safe, lets identify unsafe conditions and bring it to the attention of the building owner or general contractor.  Someone’s complacency could be another person’s life ending.  Saying something could save someone’s life.  Lets go to work and come home safe.

There is an event coming up put on by NAESAI about elevator constructor’s safety and the protection of elevator people.  If you have time to go, it will be worth it.

https://www.naesai.org/sessions/739

Thank you to Tom Sybert for his elevator radio show which alerts us to these events so we can learn from them.  

www.elevatorradioshow.com


As always feel free to contact us at www.colleyelevator.com, email Craigz@colleyelevator.com or call 630-766-7230.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Hydraulic elevator noise - Isolation

We have a building who complained about the noise of their elevator system.  It is a 6 stop, 50’ +/- of travel hydraulic elevator.  It is hard to put a date on the elevator as the building could be from 1970 or 1990, it is a very non descript building that appears to have been modernized with a newer controller and a newer submersible hydraulic power unit.   About 4 years ago we replaced the elevator hydraulic cylinder.  And haven’t really had any noise or other structural complaints since.  It was interesting when I started to get complaints about the noise recently, nothing had changed on our end.

What we know

1.    It appears that at one time the oil line was run underground and it was replaced with an overhead line.  Pipes goes from 2” to 2 ½” with a lot of 90’s.  
2.    There is a transformer feeding the controller [assumed initial controller was ordered incorrectly.]
3.    The pit continually gets water in it
4.    It is a higher travel hydraulic system with a submersible system
5.    Nothing was done to this elevator in the last 4 years besides typical service call/maintenance issues

Our proposed solution

1.    Install an inflatable muffler inline – From MEI
2.    Install an isolation coupling inline – From Maxton Valve
3.    Isolate overhead oil line with more rubber
4.    Cut out some of the 90’s in the elevator machine room

 [MEI's hydaulic inflatable muffler]
                                  [Maxton valve's isolation coupling]

What we discovered during the installation

1.    Isolation between piston and platen plate was deteriorated most likely from the constant water and flooding in the pit which would give the elevator some added vibration.

Before versus after – We had a reduction of noise of 34% at floors 3, 4 & 5.  We did decibel readings before and after to quantify any changes.

  [Before]
                                                                            [After]

This was an interesting noise issue that I had never seen come up before at a building.  There was more work that could have completed at the building but it would have required more time, more work that was outside of the building’s budget at this time.  

For more information on the products

MEI - http://www.meielevatorsolutions.com/
Maxton Valve - www.Maxtonvalve.com


As always feel free to contact us at www.colleyelevator.com, email Craigz@colleyelevator.com or call 630-766-7230.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Hydraulic elevator overdue for elevator modernization – Now out of service

I went to a building that was built in 1967-1969 +/- the elevator had been shut down for a few weeks. 

I am fully aware no one wants to spend money on modernizing their elevator system but the elevator along with the roof, windows, carpet, hvac, fire alarms, tuck pointing, etc are all items that are very important to buildings.  In the elevator’s case building user’s mobility and resale value of the condominiums that are for sale in this building. 

This building was in a good part of Chicago, great location, great address but the elevator was out of service in need of major repairs.  Not much had been done to this elevator in the last 47-50 years.

 [Old Montgomery Elevator controller]

  [This elevator cylinder should have been replaced by 1/1/13 per City of Chicago hydraulic cylinder single bottom mandate]

  [Old MAC door operator - it has served the building well - time for retirement]

  [Non ADA car station - Not necessary but a great idea]

 [This is a vanilla pump and motor but what you cannot see is a very old Montgomery valve]

Take away – If you own a building[apartments or condo] or manage a building get information on all your major expenses i.e. reserve studies.  Yes, a reserve study does cost money but a building owner needs to be prepared.  This building owner is looking at over $100,000.00 in elevator repairs which I’m sure they were not expecting.  Make a call/email to your elevator company to get information on your elevator’s future expenses.  If you are in the Chicago area and your current contractor is too busy to get you this information, get in touch with us, we will make time for you.


As always feel free to contact us at www.colleyelevator.com, email Craigz@colleyelevator.com or call 630-766-7230.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Elevator maintenance records – Machine room

All elevators are subject to have maintenance information to be on site which include.  Please note that all items need to be current.

1.    Maintenance records
2.    Call back logs
3.    Maintenance Control Plan [MCP]
4.    Fireman’s recall exercising records
5.    Oil log
6.    Testing records





The debate of onsite versus accessible is a consistent discussion in code meetings and different association meetings.  My opinion of this is that if someone walks into a machine room and doesn’t find any records or information there needs to be a means access to this information immediately[I have not seen a good solution for this besides hard copies].  The people who are entitled to the information are elevator mechanics, elevator consultants, elevator inspectors and other elevator personnel[including sales people].

Does a sticker work?  - In my opinion the “1-800-Call-ABC elevator” phone line sticker does no work because #1 many times a MCP doesn’t exist, #2 they will not send maintenance and call back records immediate upon request[I have tried], #3 if a person has a non smartphone or there is no reception in the machine room they cannot get the information.

Does a CD work? – In my opinion a CD does not work because 99.9% of elevator personnel do not carry laptops with a CD rom drive with them into a machine room.

What works? – Hard copies of all the items listed meet code requirements.

Whose responsibility is this? – The building owner bears the responsibility for this requirement but they hire an elevator contractor to fulfill the responsibility.

How long do records need to be kept? – The elevator code says 5 years,  AHJ’s[Authority Having Jurisdiction] may require longer i.e. 7 to 10 years.

Take away – This requirement has been brushed off, pushed off and differed for many years because it will take a significant amount of resources to complete. If one contractor can complete this, every contractor can complete this task, it just takes time.  Make sure your elevator service provider is providing your building with the correct information in the machine room.


As always feel free to contact us at www.colleyelevator.com, email Craigz@colleyelevator.com or call 630-766-7230.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Traction elevator modernization – Chicago, IL

This is a continuation of the post from a few weeks ago.  This was a duplex traction project with Westinghouse equipment.  We retained the machines and replaced pretty much everything else on the elevator[electrically and mechanically].   As mentioned in the previous post there was involvement of 12 people on Colley’s side from the first call from the building owner to the final inspection.  When we reflect on the start and completion of jobs it is amazing that while someone sells the job and the installers install the equipment we forget all of the other people involved to make the project go smooth.  There is some credit for the building as well as they always have a scope of work to complete as well; electrical disconnects, fire system, security system. This was truly a team effort.  Thank you everyone!

Major components used
Controller – Smartrise
Motors – Imperial flange mount
Fixtures – Innovation Industries
Door operator – GAL
Safeties & governor – Hollister Whitney
Cables – Brugg via PSI

Control system

  [Old Westinghouse Controller w/generators]

 [Lots of relays, lots of failure points]

 [New Smartrise controls]

 Machines
 
  [Old machine room]

 [New machine room]

Fixtures

  [Old Westinhouse car station]

 [New Innovation car station with card reader]

 [Old Westinghouse first floor hall station]

 [New first floor hall station with digital position indicators]
  
Door equipment

  [Old Westinghouse belt driven door operator]

 [New GAL MOVFR II door operator]

  [Old Westinghouse car and door equipment]

 [New GAL car and door equipment]
  

Safeties 

  [Old Westinghouse safeties]

 [New Hollister Whitney safeties ]

There was also a building lobby fire panel installed for this project.

Every project has its own challenges when you are working with one manufacturers equipment and replacing it with a new manufacturers equipment with clearances and mounting.  At the end of the project everything fit, works well and turned out great!

As always feel free to contact us at www.colleyelevator.com, email Craigz@colleyelevator.com or call 630-766-7230.