Sunday, June 25, 2017

Obsolete elevator equipment – What does this mean?

From time to time we as elevator contractors run into older elevator equipment or not so old elevator equipment that is not supported nor sourced any longer.  One of the hard to swallow conversations for a building owner to hear is “your elevator equipment[part] is obsolete”.  What does this mean?  And how does effect you?

Definition of obsolete – Dictionary.com

1. no longer in general use; fallen into disuse:
an obsolete expression.
2. of a discarded or outmoded type; out of date:
an obsolete battleship.
3.(of a linguistic form) no longer in use, especially, out of use for at leastthe past century
Compare archaic.
4. effaced by wearing down or away.

How this pertains to elevator full maintenance agreements – An elevator full maintenance agreement should cover your elevator system in reasonable conditions.  This would mean if a door part failed in normal operation, the elevator contractor would replace it and wouldn’t charge you.  If a solid state control board failed in normal operation the elevator contractor would replace it and wouldn’t charge you.  The obsolesce issue comes in play when a direct replacement is not available from the original equipment manufacturer

For manufactures that are still around but stopped supplying replacement parts - i.e. a R4 regen drive is replaced with a R6 regen drive and wiring changes are required, or a MCE white box requires replacement with a different solid state board set that is not a direct replacement, Virginia Controls decides not to support their MH2000 product line. These are three examples of companies that are still around but discontinued their product. Or to make it more colorful, while some companies names are still on the parts, they have made financial arrangements for the warranty and technical support to be provided by a different entity.  The assumed life span of electronic parts & support should be 15-20 years. Please note to expect curve balls. 

For control manufacturers that are no longer around – Typically when a manufacturer “closes” its doors someone buy’s their assets.  This poses a difficult scenario where instead of a replacement of a board or drive, you may be required to replace the entire elevator controller.  In the Illinois area we had a contractor/manufacturer, Long Elevator, that was acquired by Kone.  Kone did not choose to support the Long product line for very long. Long Elevator installed many elevators in our area.  Now we are seeing board failures and replacement parts being unavailable. We typically first try to find a electronics company that can repair the solid state boards, if this is not successful or the board is not repairable the building is forced to replace their elevator controller.

 [A Long Elevator controller mounted on the elevator car top, these boards are not available nor supported, when a board goes out on this elevator it gets interesting, not a good interesting]

  [This is a very old ESCO controller, most of the parts are available with exception of the timers and relays which can be retrofitted]

 [A US Elevator with solid state boards, similar to the Long Elevator this gets interesting when a board needs to be replaced or repaired, as this was a more popular controller we have more outlets that are familiar with repairing boards, but there is no support nor has this been manufactured in many many years]

Hours of replacement - Please note that the replacement typical is covered during normal working hours unless you have a 24-hour maintenance agreement.

Why is the building responsible for paying for replacement for “obsolete” equipment – The simple answer is that is says this in your elevator maintenance contract.  The longer answer is as contractors, we have no way to predict the life cycle support for electronics or different product lines.  Contractors also do not have a way to predict what a future repair solution and cost would be if a product line is discontinued.  We know that a replacement of a power supply, microprocessor board, motor drive that is a direct replacement will have a parts cost of X and a labor cost of Y. At the end of the day while an elevator contractor does have a contractual responsibility to maintain the elevator equipment to the best of their ability, it is still owned by the building and the building does bear the final responsibility.

Planned obsolescence – Wikipedia

Planned obsolescence or built-in obsolescence in industrial design and economics is a policy of planning or designing a product with an artificially limited useful life, so it will become obsolete (that is, unfashionable or no longer functional) after a certain period of time.[1] The rationale behind the strategy is to generate long-term sales volume by reducing the time between repeat purchases (referred to as "shortening the replacement cycle").[2]
Producers that pursue this strategy believe that the additional sales revenue it creates more than offsets the additional costs of research and development and opportunity costs of existing product line cannibalization. In a competitive industry, this is a risky strategy because when consumers catch on to this, they may decide to buy from competitors instead.
Planned obsolescence tends to work best when a producer has at least an oligopoly.[3] Before introducing a planned obsolescence, the producer has to know that the consumer is at least somewhat likely to buy a replacement from them. In these cases of planned obsolescence, there is an information asymmetry between the producer – who knows how long the product was designed to last – and the consumer, who does not. When a market becomes more competitive, product lifespans tend to increase.[citation needed] For example, when Japanese vehicles with longer lifespans entered the American market in the 1960s and 1970s, American carmakers were forced to respond by building more durable products.[4] A counterexample is Moore's law, stating that the rather competitive electronic industry plans for double computer capacity every 18 months, and the software industry plan for new program versions that require double computer capacity every 18 months.[5]


Purpose of this post – The purpose of the post is to provide some additional clarity of the murky waters of “obsolesce”.  It is a word no one likes to hear, it is a word that screams expense, and it is a word we have spirited debates over.  A solution is to talk to your elevator contractor about this and have a plan of action, modernization, repair, etc in a worse case scenario.

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

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Comprehensive elevator door restrictor wrap up

This is a comprehensive door restrictor wrap up. 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.

ADAMS HATCH LATCH - 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


GAL - 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

SEES - The SEES door restrictor is newer to our Chicago market.  Dover/Otis had been using a similar restrictor for years, I’m not sure why it took a while for it to hit the open market.  This restrictor if it can be installed is great, all mechanical, no failure points.

There will be 3 restrictors we discuss pros and cons for, the SEES mechanical door restrictor is a great restrictor our preferred for most of our projects.

[Car door restrictor vane - notice it is retractable]

[Flags placed on the hatch door to "restrict" the car door]

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

Cons


1.    Cannot be installed on all elevators


GAL CANADA/ECI - The GAL Canada/ECI door restrictor is fairly versatile and can be used on many applications.  I have seen it installed incorrectly causing doors to slam and there are more parts then some of the other door restrictors out there.  We have not installed any of these but the ones we have repaired have worked great and the support GAL Canada gave was incredible.



There will be 5 restrictors we discuss pros and cons for.  This one is GAL Canada or ECI’s mechanical door restrictor  

Pros
1.    Easy to install 
2.    Reliable
3.    No electronic parts
4.    Great customer service

Cons
1.    Cannot be installed on all elevators

2.    Can be installed wrong


ELECTRODYNE - The Electrodyne door restrictor is similar to the Adams door restrictor in its function.

There will be 5 restrictors we discuss pros and cons for.  This one is Electrodyne door restrictor

 [This is the locking mechanism of the door restrictor to keep the car door closed]

  [This is the car top control box]

                                [These are the flags it uses to identify hoistway location] 

Pros
1.    Easy to install 
2.    Versatile – can be installed on most elevators

Cons
1.    Can have failures due to Electrical and mechanical parts
2.    Louder than other door restrictors
3.    Not popular in the Chicago area – mechanics not as familiar with this device

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, June 11, 2017

Electrodyne electro mechanical door restrictor

This will be the final on elevator door restrictors, there will be a comprehensive wrap up after this.  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.

The Electrodyne door restrictor is similar to the Adams door restrictor in its function.

There will be 5 restrictors we discuss pros and cons for.  This one is Electrodyne door restrictor

 [This is the locking mechanism of the door restrictor to keep the car door closed]

  [This is the car top control box]

                                [These are the flags it uses to identify hoistway location] 

Pros
1.    Easy to install 
2.    Versatile – can be installed on most elevators

Cons
1.    Can have failures due to Electrical and mechanical parts
2.    Louder than other door restrictors
3.    Not popular in the Chicago area – mechanics not as familiar with this device

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, June 4, 2017

ECI GAL Canada mechanical elevator door restrictor

This will be the 4th 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.

The GAL Canada/ECI door restrictor is fairly versatile and can be used on many applications.  I have seen it installed incorrectly causing doors to slam and there are more parts then some of the other door restrictors out there.  We have not installed any of these but the ones we have repaired have worked great and the support GAL Canada gave was incredible.



There will be 5 restrictors we discuss pros and cons for.  This one is GAL Canada or ECI’s mechanical door restrictor  

Pros
1.    Easy to install 
2.    Reliable
3.    No electronic parts
4.    Great customer service

Cons
1.    Cannot be installed on all elevators
2.    Can be installed wrong

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[ECI/GAL Canada], GAL mechanical 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.

Monday, May 29, 2017

SEES mechanical elevator door restrictor

This will be the 3rd 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.

The SEES door restrictor is newer to our Chicago market.  Dover/Otis had been using a similar restrictor for years, I’m not sure why it took a while for it to hit the open market.  This restrictor if it can be installed is great, all mechanical, no failure points.

There will be 3 restrictors we discuss pros and cons for, the SEES mechanical door restrictor is a great restrictor our preferred for most of our projects.

[Car door restrictor vane - notice it is retractable]

[Flags placed on the hatch door to "restrict" the car door]

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

Cons
1.    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 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.