Sunday, July 31, 2016

Traction elevator motors – Foot vs Flange

One of the main questions we get asked when ordering controller systems when keeping existing machines is if it is a foot for flange mount motor.  When I first started ordering equipment I had no idea what the difference between them was and said “what’s the difference, put the order through and we will figure it out”.  Well there is a big difference, I learned this the hard way after many visits to a building getting the different pieces of information.  Nothing ground breaking here, just some information on the difference between the two traction motors.

Foot mounted motors - As the name describes, this motor has feet it sits on.  This motor is an interesting motor with what looks like a fan on top.

Flange mounted motors - This is mounted with a flange and sticks on the machine, there are no feet.

Flexible couplings - This is a huge time saver and will improve ride quality.  If you don't know what this is, check it out!  Electrical Motor Repair company has a pretty good product to help with the installation of new motors.

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

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Elevator preventative maintenance – City of Chicago

Over the last several weeks we have been to many buildings in the City of Chicago visiting older elevator equipment.   I was reviewing a portfolio of buildings that need pricing for maintenance agreements, violations and mandate work and when going through this on Saturday night I saw some interesting items.

As elevator professionals it is our job to do the best we can with the equipment we are maintaining.  As elevator companies we are to guide building owners to the correct decisions on a good maintenance program for the building and give mechanics time to complete maintenance.  As building owner you are responsible for contracting with the responsible vendor and take recommendations for equipment replacement and a good maintenance program.

I’m not sure where the ball dropped on these buildings but it is apparent someone fell asleep at the wheel.  Some of these situations do not happen over night it is years in the making.

[Pit full of water or oil]

Take away

Building owners – Hire a responsible elevator contractor, least expensive is not always the best.  Most expensive is not always best.

Elevator companies – Make sure the elevator mechanics have time to complete elevator maintenance at buildings.

Elevator professionals – If the company gives you time to do elevator maintenance, do something with the time. If you do not have time to do maintenance and want to do maintenance.  Find a company who will give you time to do maintenance.

While the three points above appear to be black and white, please note there are so many variables for each entity that throw a wrench in the simple formula.  Building owners had a good elevator company whose management changes[and it becomes a not so good company], elevator companies have personnel changes, elevator professionals get over burdened with broken elevators or encounter strange problems that occupy more time than anticipated to repair. 

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

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Anatomy of a hydraulic power unit

I found this in my email and it has some great information.  This is a repost from

Fixed Pump

The anatomy of a hydraulic power unit

A hydraulic tank with a submerged pump, valve and motor.When it comes to hydraulic elevators, there is a crucial piece of the system that often goes unnoticed. It gets little attention because on the outside, it looks like a big rectangular box.
Little do most people know that this box is actually filled with the components and the oil that make the elevator move. Without the tank and all of the parts inside, the jacks won’t go up or down and the elevator won’t move. So let’s peek inside the box and see what makes everything work.
The hydraulic tank consists of the following components:
  1. Tank
  2. Submersible Motor
  3. Pump
  4. Master Control Valve
  5. Negative Pressure Switch
  6. Integrated Ball Valve
  7. Vibration Damping Mount
  8. Dip Stick
  9. Oil Return
  10. Muffler
  11. Hydraulic Oil

Tank Final-01
A basic tank diagram.
Tank  – The tank has the primary purpose of holding the oil that raises the elevator, but it also houses the other important components. The size of the tank is dependent upon the number of floors and the components required, and Phoenix Modular Elevator has several sizes of hydraulic tanks to meet any need. In general terms, most two-stop elevator tanks hold approximately 80 gallons of oil.
Submersible Motor – One of the reasons that a tank seems so unremarkable is that the primary components all fit inside the tank, including a motor designed to remain submerged in hydraulic oil. The motor powers the pump that pushes the jack up, while gravity does the work coming down.
Pump – In a hydraulic elevator, the main function of the pump is to push the oil into the jack to lift the elevator. The pump is submersible and attached to the master control valve with a length of pipe called the pump/valve connection pipe. When powered by the motor, the pump pushes the oil through the valve and into the cylinder (jack) or hydraulic jack system.
Master Control Valve – This valve is where the motion profile is set, which is a fancy way of saying this component makes the elevator run smoothly, efficiently and safely when delivering its payload. Without properly setting this valve, the elevator would either run too fast or too slow without easing into starting and stopping. This would increase Dramamine sales but decrease the enjoyment and safety of the elevator ride.
Negative Pressure Switch – Part of the master control valve, this switch ensures there is always pressure in the system so the hydraulic elevator will not fall rapidly due to decreasing pressure. Keep in mind, failure of a hydraulic elevator is rare and this component makes it even less likely there will be any unexpected drops.
Integrated Ball Valve – This is a shutoff valve located in or just outside the tank between the master control valve and the pipe that leads to the hydraulic jack. The purpose is to give licensed elevator mechanics a way to conveniently and safely shut off the flow of oil when servicing the elevator or replacing parts.
Vibration Dampening Mount – With a motor and pump powerful enough to lift an elevator, there has to be a little bit of shakin’ goin’ on. To combat the bad vibes, everything is mounted on pieces of metal suspended by neoprene donuts that cushion the parts and reduce shaking.
Dipstick – Inserted in every tank is a dipstick that has markings to indicate the maximum and minimum oil levels required for safe operation.
Oil Return – When the elevator comes down, gravity does the work, but the oil has to get back to the tank. To do this, the oil returns to the tank in the same pipes it went out until it gets to the master control valve. Once there, the valve again regulates the speed of the descent by controlling the flow of oil back into the tank.
Muffler – The oil flows in pulses and can create vibrations and loud sounds. To combat this, a muffler is placed either in the tank or just outside the tank to quiet the flow pulses and minimize noise.
Hydraulic Oil – Hydraulic oil used to be petroleum based but now vegetable based oil is also available to ensure it is environmentally safe should a leak occur.
To function properly, the tank should be set level, be free from leaks, be set away from walls and be clean. Also, the tank should be in a climate-controlled machine room. The tank is the heart of the hydraulic elevator and needs to be cared for to ensure a long life of dependable service.
Repost from -
If you have any questions or would like information from Colley Elevator you can go to, email or call 630-766-7230.