Sunday, February 21, 2016

Elevator hydraulic unit – HOT FLUID sensor 2010 elevator code

HOT FLUID/OIL sensor & shut down is an item that has been missed by some elevator personnel for new hydraulic elevator installations or modernization that is in the 2010 and 2013 elevator code.  This can be missed in engineering and ordering or it can be missed when installing the equipment due to the newer requirement and not being familiar with the new rule.  As inspectors we should be testing this feature as well during take ins. states

In the pump motor controller for electro hydraulic elevators, when the occurrence of a single ground or the failure of any single magnetically operated switch, contactors, or relay; or any single solid state device; or software-system failure causes the liquid in the hydraulic driving machine to rise in temperature above its maximum operating temperature, the following shall occur:

a.    Power shall be removed from the hydraulic driving-machine motor
b.    The hydraulic driving-machine motor shall not be permitted to restart
c.    When the doors are closed, the car shall automatically be brought to the lowest landing and then operate in conformance to and

City of Chicago – The City of Chicago is on the 2007 elevator code right now so this requirement is not applicable

Everywhere else in the State of Illinois – This has been required since the adoption of the 2010 code which was some time ago. The State of Illinois is on the 2013 code currently.

Reason for the requirement – It is to prevent the elevator from running while the oil is thin which will result in level issues and cause a potential trip and fall issue.  

What temperature should HOT FLUID be set at? You should look at the hydraulic fluid MSDS and find the correct temperature.   Many people use 135 degrees as a good starting point.  If you use an organic fluid it may be lower or higher, do research for whatever hydraulic fluid you are using so you can set the temperature properly.

If you have any questions or would like information from Colley Elevator you can go to, email or call 630-766-7230.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Finding the right elevator maintenance contractor & modernization planning – Chicago

I was at a Condo building on Friday to visit with a Condominium who had a ESCO Elevator from 1968.  The building had been having some issues with the elevator not opening the doors at the floor during the first few runs in the day. The information I got when I met with the building was sparse but they told me what the person who was fixing the elevator was doing to remedy the calls, something didn’t line up.  One of the issues was by the time the elevator technician got to the building the elevator was working properly. So I asked more questions.

They had been working with an independent company since 1968 which had been purchased by an intergalactic elevator company/OEM.  When the transition of the company integration took place they had the same maintenance technician that would come and talk with them before and after working on the elevator system. 

Recently they have a new technician who does not communicate with the building and they have on going issues, which means more call backs.  The person does not call before he gets there or let anyone know he is leaving. There are no maintenance records in the elevator room so the building has no idea what is going on. There is no communication so the building ends up leaving everyone at this intergalactic company many messages which may add to the confusion.

After asking a few more questions it seems that the person going to the building may not be familiar with the elevator equipment in their building and the elevator equipment is in need of replacement.  

We have discussed this topic in the past, it is very important for buildings to find a contractor that will meet their expectations.  If a building wants someone to the building once a month, find a contractor that will come once a month.  If a building wants to have maintenance records in the elevator machine room find a contractor that will provide records in the machine room.  Many companies have moved away from leaving any evidence they had been at the building, when they go to the building, what they did at the building.  The elevator code indicates that this information is required to be available to elevator personnel[elevator inspectors, mechanics & competitors] when they are in the elevator machine room. 

I recently audited four elevators for a larger organization and the maintenance service provider had been to the building for maintenance 2-4 times for the year.  The building was getting billed $20,000 to $30,000 a month for service calls.  Some buildings might be fine with this; the question is what is right for your building?  And what are you paying for?  And what do you want from your elevator maintenance company?  The building I assisted in the audit for was not very happy about only having 2-4 visits which they thought they were paying for monthly visits.  This particular building should have someone there twice a month because the building is rough on their elevators and the maintenance contractor can correct small issues before they become large issues.  The building will still get bills but with preventative maintenance we can help curb the large expenses.

Elevator modernization planning - Back to the Condo, we also spoke about the building replacing their elevator equipment.  Hiring a new company to take care of an older elevator may or may not resolve all of the issues but the reality is that the elevator equipment is almost 50 years old and the building should have a plan for replacement.  No one likes spending money but I got the building decision makers to understand that they need to address their elevator equipment and we will have a meeting very soon so I can show them what needs to be completed.  

Our trade is very important and can get expensive, we need to be able to communicate with decision makers and owners who may not fully understand elevators so they know what they are paying for and why they need to have elevator maintenance and plan for equipment replacement.  
Elevator radio show –

Chicago Elevator Association – Next meeting – 3/3/16 @ Tuscano’s – Schillder Park – Presenter – Vertitron Midwest

If you have any questions or would like information from Colley Elevator you can go to, email or call 630-766-7230.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Elevator Full Door Protection & 3D

Many of the buildings we maintain have replaced their safe edge door protection with door scans but we still stumble across a few that have not.  If you still have a safe edge, get it replaced!

What is a elevator safe edge?  An elevator safe edge is a “boot” that is on the leading edge of the elevator car door that will come into contact with an object and retract when it hits someone or something.   This piece of technology and equipment worked very well for many years.  The issue with this device is that it physically needs to hit something before it retracts and over the years the adjustment on the microswitch which is the component that tells the elevator door to reopen may be worn out.   As elevator door operators get older we lose the ability to adjust door speed to be reliable and safe.

What is a door scan/full door protection unit?  A door scan/full door protection unit is a device that works just like your device that prevents the garage door from hitting your car when it is going out of a garage.  The elevator door protection unit has beams that go up and down the length of the elevator car door.  If the device detects and obstruction in the elevator car doors path it will reopen the door before hitting the person or object.

Why replace the safe edge?  One of the most common “accidents” or cause of injury in elevators is the door hitting people.  This device can be replaced for a reasonable cost and it will reduce the possibility from someone getting hit by the door.

How long does a full door scan last?  We have been installing door scans for quite some time, some last 5 years and some last 20 years depending on how much use the elevator gets and what kind of use the elevator gets.  I would ball park that the average door scan will work 10-15 years.  The door scans are electronic and do get hit and jarred during the use of the elevators.

How much does a door scan cost?  Call your elevator maintenance provider, a door scan should cost anywhere between $1,500.00 to $3,000.00 to install.  This device is well worth the investment.

3D door protection – There are newer 3D devices that can provide additional protection.  The devices are not perfect but they do have some really good benefits.  The 3D door protection device is great for any building with slower moving people or children.

If you have any questions or would like information from Colley Elevator you can go to, email or call 630-766-7230.