Sunday, August 26, 2018

GAL Chicago area office open!

On August 23rd the GAL Chicagoland office had its grand opening party.  GAL opened an office in Elk Grove Village, IL which is about 10 minutes from our location.  I walked in to see all the big swingers in attendance from GAL.  I’ve been fortunate to have the opportunity to meet a lot of these people through my term on NAEC Board of Directors, it was great to see old friends and meet the people I had not had the opportunity to meet yet that are new additional to the team.

GAL currently owns; GAL, Hollister Whitney, Courion Freight Doors, BoreMax and Elevator Controls.

[GAL's new Ehydro controller]

[GAL's traction controller]

[GAL's linear opeartor]

[GAL's new geared & gearless machine]

[Courion's freight door set up]

When GAL was acquired by Golden Gate Capital one of their market research items noted was “when I call GAL if I get someone on the phone the customer service is great! If I don’t get someone on the phone then I go into a black hole”.  The opening of the local offices in Chicago, Miami, Los Angeles and New York solves this issue for these markets.  We are really stoked about the new office that will be warehousing typical GAL operators, governors, buffers, arms, keys, rollers, etc.

Value added items – in addition to warehousing they will be having in house training and providing technical support, which is huge!  The local office has already assisted in a few items for us.  One of the other big items we are excited to see is the fabrication of power units from their recently acquired BoreMax which was historically a West Coast supplier which did not have a presence in our region.

[Boremax power unit]

For a guy who grew up in the mid 1990’s working in the shop taking deliveries of GAL, delivering GAL parts, taking a part old operators and later engineering and ordering from them this is a very interesting development to have them open an office in our back yard.  GAL/Hollister Whitney has been an institution in our industry for much longer than I have been around so their new evolution is exciting.

As always feel free to contact us at, email or call 630-766-7230.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Traction freight elevator modernization

This traction freight elevator modernization project took an entire team to complete; from the  building owner design team, general contractor, electrician, fire recall company, security company, sales people, engineering, 4 different major equipment suppliers, field support, IUEC elevator constructors.  2 years in the making the project is finally completed.   Many thanks to everyone involved especially the installers!

The background on this elevator is that it was a Montgomery Elevator installed in 1940’s sometime and it had manual door operation with bi parting freight doors on the front and swing doors on the dock.  The specification called for making it an automatic freight car with new everything except the rails.

Controller – MCE
Machine, sling, safeties, HW equipment – Hollister Whitney
Cab & doors – EMS
Fixtures – Innovation

Machine – Holliser Whitney – A geared application was specified on this project, it was identified that not only would it be a tight fit to get this machine in, it also needed additional structural supports as the small foot print of the Montgomery machine had different reaction points and requirements.  Adding the weight of the new sling, platform and automatic gates required more steel to be installed in the elevator room.

[Old small foot print Montgomery machine]

[Old small foot print Montgomery machine]

[New gearless HWEC machine]

Controller – MCE was chosen to do this project because they used one less electrical device/box for incoming power.  The machine room is very small so space was at a premium.  Some of the other manufacturers qualified for this specification had and additional device/box.

[New MCE & EMS controllers]

Hoistway doors – EMS – We had some significant challenges on this project as the hoistway was fire block and there wasn’t a lot of material to work with to attach the new doors to.  The team working on the project did a beautiful job working with the existing conditions to make it work.

[Old swing doors on dock side - Interior]

[Old swing doors on dock side - Exterior]

[New dock side bi parting automatic freight doors]

[Typical manual freight doors at each landing]

[New automatic freight doors at each landing]

Cab – EMS – New automatic gates replaced the manual wood gates.

[Old cab with manual wood gates]

[New cab with automatic gates]

Fixtures – Innovation – New fixtures installed.  When pictures where taken we were still doing a final clean down of finger prints.

[Old Montgomery fixtures]

[New Innovation fixtures]

Pit work – Hollister Whitney – The pit was discovered during engineering to need to be re-poured and re-enforced.  The pit was shallow to begin with so every inch counted with the excavation and re-pour.

[Old pit]

[New pit]

Safeties – Hollister Whitney – New safeties installed.

[Old safeties]

[New safeties]

This was a challenging project for everyone involved and it turned out great.  From the initial hiccups of having the need for more design work after the initial specifications could not be met with the existing conditions to the completion there was over 40 people who worked on this project; building owner design team, general contractor, electrician, fire recall company, security company, sales people, engineering, 4 different major equipment suppliers, field support, IUEC elevator constructors. Hats off to our IUEC constructors who made each challenge a reality and Hollister Whitney’s engineering for having patience and knowledge to find structural solutions to make this a reality.  

As always feel free to contact us at, email or call 630-766-7230.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Anatomy of a hydraulic elevator – cantilever hydraulic elevator

The third in this series of anatomy of hydraulic elevators is the cantilever design.  This only is used when you have adjacent openings and don't want to use corner post rails.  Otherwise it is not a very desirable application, it has its place but should not be used for a heavily used environment or where concentric loads are being used. 

Elevator controller – Most hydraulic elevator controllers will have the same functionality with slight differences based on if it is a borehole, single stage holeless, multi stage holeless or MRL.  See a picture of a basic hydraulic elevator controller.  

Motor starter – The motor starter is allows the elevator’s pump motor to run in the up direction.  There are a few different options.  In new installations you should have a solid state starter installed.

Elevator door operator – The door operator is what opens and closes the elevator car doors.  When the car door opens and closes it has a clutch that will pick up hatch door equipment and allow it the open and close.  If an automatic passenger elevator is not at the floor it is nearly impossible for the hatch doors to open by themselves.

Elevator power unit – The elevator power unit has a pump, motor, valve, muffler and hydraulic fluid.  There are two main types of power units;

Dry hydraulic power unit – Typically the pump motor and valve are under the tank.  Appropriate application is for higher capacity elevators, higher travel and anything above 40HP or where you have hydraulic noise concerns.

Submersible power unit – The pump and motor are submerged in oil and the valve is on top of the tank or in the tank above the oil. Appropriate application is for lower capacity elevators, lower travel and anything 40HP and below where you do not have hydraulic noise concerns.

Hole less hydraulic cylinder – A holeless hydraulic elevator cylinder became popular after we realized that lower rise buildings can install these without underground condition risks.

Installation of front, rear and adjacent openings w/o corner post rails
Pick on the elevator is not centered therefore loading wears on the components[piston & packing]

Take away – There is an application for the cantilever design; older buildings that have many different landings at different heights on different sides.  This application should only be used when absolutely necessary a borehole or dual holeless would be a more desireable application for 99% of installations. 

Credit - - Minnesota Elevator sells a full line of hydraulic elevator systems.

As always feel free to contact us at, email or call 630-766-7230.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Chicago Elevator Association Golf Outing – Quest for the Chicago Cup

[Colley's golfers - someone didn't get the memo on shirts]

Each year the Chicago Elevator Association [CEA], the longest running elevator association in America, has a golf outing. One of the high lights of the year next to the Holiday party!

[100% concentration]

This year was a shot gun start best ball for the quest for the Chicago Cup.  Colley sent their crack group of golfers to try and bring the cup to Bensenville, IL.  Well, we didn’t complete the mission as The Parts Specialist team scored a 60 on the 18 hole course.  

[Cut twice measure once]

On the course there are a lot of refreshments and booths scattered about.  The sponsors of the event provided a half-way house for lunch, cigars, give aways, beer carts, complimentary dinner drinks, prizes, etc.  Everywhere you turn there was something on the course.

[Looks good but not good enough to win the cup]

After the golfing is complete the 150 or so golfers and people attending only the dinner congregate in the banquet hall for fellowship and dinner.  Dinner was great!  Then comes the real deal!  The raffle!  I had never won much at this outing but decided it was time to double down on my efforts so I put down $40.00 to the 50/50 and the raffle for a signed sports jersey from Mark Grace, Frank Thomas, Bobby Hull or Dick Butkus.  It paid off, my ticket was the first to be called, I took the Butkus jersey.   About 80 raffle prizes came out and the 50/50, Mapin from Draka won the 50/50 the other 50% went to the EESF.  Mapin, did you give your 50/50 winnings back to the EESF?  Last year the guy you were sitting next to at dinner did, Mike Jennings[Virginia Controls].  Lets hear it for Mike!

[Dinner and raffle]

If you have never come, or haven’t been for a while, this is a good event and a lot of good people.  For all the travelers I didn’t get a chance to touch base with, I’ll see you in Atlantic City in 2 months!

[Back at the shop the wheels are still turning]

As always feel free to contact us at, email or call 630-766-7230.