Author Archives: Nationwide Lifts

Trump Hotel Chicago Decorates Elevator for Christmas

Trump Hotel Chicago Gingerbread Express elevatorThe Trump Hotel Chicago gets into the Christmas spirit every year by transforming one of its elevators into the Gingerbread Express. Teams of pastry chefs and engineers work for months to bake gingerbread bricks and decorate the elevator that transports guests to the restaurant Sixteen.

The Gingerbread Express is made from 445 pounds of all-purpose flour, 5.5 pounds of cinnamon, 3.25 pounds of ground ginger, 230 pounds of dark corn syrup, 105 pounds of dark brown sugar, 90.5 pounds of molasses, 98 pounds of butter, 50 pounds of chocolate, and 46 pounds of fondant. Workers at the hotel begin baking gingerbread bricks in September. They finish making about 800 5” x 10” gingerbread bricks by November 1 and then decorate them with colored candy sugar, chocolate, and cocoa butter spray.

An engineering team builds a plywood wall inside the elevator to which the gingerbread bricks are glued. They install lights around the window, LED lights for the stained glass gingerbread bricks, and a toy train.

Two weeks before the Gingerbread Express opens, the team begins laying the gingerbread bricks using a method similar to the way bathroom tile is laid. Spacers are placed between the bricks and removed after they dry. Then the cavities are filled with frosting. After the workers have finished laying the gingerbread bricks inside the elevator, employees set to work on the outside of the elevator in the lobby.

It takes the hotel’s pastry team 450 hours to complete the Gingerbread Express. They do the work in addition to their normal duties.

The Gingerbread Express elevator delights both children and adults every holiday season. Visitors to the hotel can ride the elevator through the end of the year.

Riding the elevator is free. The Gingerbread Express is a way for the hotel to raise awareness and donations for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. The hotel and the Eric Trump Foundation support the hospital and accept donations at the front desk.

Where People Stand in Elevators

where people stand in elevatorsElevators can be awkward places where people tend to avoid eye contact and conversation. People choose where to stand in an elevator based on certain unwritten rules of status and etiquette.

When alone in an elevator, a person can stand anywhere. If there are two people, they tend to stand in opposite corners. If a third person enters the elevator, they form a triangle. With four people, passengers form a square. If a fifth person boards the elevator, that person stands in the middle of the square. If more people enter, they have to find an available place and tend to look down.

Rebekah Rousi, a PhD candidate in cognitive science, studied people’s behavior in elevators in two of the tallest buildings in Adelaide, Australia. She rode the elevators 30 times and found that people tended to stand in specific places based on their gender and age.

Senior men tended to stand at the back of the elevator. Younger men stood in front of them, and women of all ages stood closest to the doors.

Rousi also found differences in where people looked while riding elevators. Men watched monitors and looked in mirrors to see themselves and their fellow passengers. Women looked at monitors and avoided making eye contact. They only looked in the mirrors when they were with other women.

Rousi was unsure how to interpret her findings. She thought that perhaps shy people tended to stand in the front and bolder people stood in the back to look at others.

Professor Babette Renneberg of the Free University of Berlin believes people behave awkwardly in elevators because they do not have the same amount of personal space they are used to having in other situations. She said they want to act in a way that is not threatening or ambiguous and therefore stand as far apart as possible and avoid eye contact.

Family Receives Donated Elevator to Help Disabled Child

donated elevator Caleb HitchcockA family in Calgary, Alberta in Canada has received a donated elevator to help them care for their son at home.

Six-year-old Caleb Hitchcock was born with polymicrogyria, which is caused by an underdeveloped brain. He appeared to be healthy for several months, but he eventually began to have seizures. He was soon having as many as 100 per day.

Caleb has significant physical and mental developmental delays because of his condition. His parents transport him in a wheelchair, but it was difficult to move him from one floor to another in their house. They considered installing a porch or a stair lift, but both were too expensive.

Give a Kid a Lift, a partnership involving Easter Seals Alberta and Canwest Elevator and Lifts, provided the Hitchcocks with an elevator in their home to make it easier to transport Caleb. Before, they had to lift him themselves.

In order to install the elevator, the family’s gas fireplace was removed. The City of Calgary granted permits for the renovation, and Canwest Elevator and Lifts installed an elevator donated by Garaventa Lift. The cost of the elevator and installation was about $50,000.

Canwest holds a fundraiser every March to raise money to donate elevators to people in need. Suppliers donate elevators and parts, and installers donate their time.

The elevator can lift more than its 750-pound capacity. It has also lifted the Hitchcock family’s spirits. They say it will help even more as Caleb grows up. The Hitchcocks are the sixth family to receive a home elevator through the Give a Kid a Lift program.

Schindler Wins Elevator World 2016 Award

Schindler Elevator World Award Great Eagle CentreSchindler has received the Elevator World 2016 “Project of the Year” Award in the elevator modernization category for its work upgrading the elevator system at the Great Eagle Centre in Hong Kong.

The Elevator World awards are meant to honor outstanding achievements in design innovation and special applications of approaches to solve problems or overcome unique challenges. Projects are reviewed based on creativity, challenges they needed to overcome, installation methods and techniques, use of advanced technology, and quality of presentation.

The Great Eagle Centre is an iconic 33-story office and retail building located in the popular Wan Chai commercial district in Hong Kong. The building, which is adjacent to the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre, was completed in 1983.

The team from Schindler modernized 14 elevators that had previous generation Aconic controllers and motor-generator sets. They installed new controllers, gearless machines, high-efficiency regenerative gearless drives with Power Factor One (PF1) inverters, and PORT Technology, a modern intelligent transit management system that improves traffic efficiency and gives tenants a smooth riding experience.

The modernization project began in October 2013 and was finished in May 2015. The work caused minimal disruption to the building’s tenants. Schindler’s main challenge was to upgrade the elevators while not affecting overall elevator operations. The company accomplished this through precise planning and close coordination with the customer.

Schindler is honored that its work on the Great Eagle Centre was recognized for the Elevator World award. Jujudhan Jena, the chief executive of Jardine Schindler Group, said it is a testament to Schindler’s dedication to enhancing customer experience and providing premium service.

Common Misconceptions about Installing a Home Elevator

home elevator misconceptionsAt Nationwide Lifts, we have installed thousands of elevators in customers’ homes. Many people would love to have the convenience of a home elevator to improve mobility but are unsure if they have enough space. We have found that many homeowners have some common misconceptions, so we decided to take the time to clarify a few points.

One of the biggest sources of confusion is the amount of space required to install a home elevator. When people think of installing a typical elevator that is 36” wide and 48” deep, they often think that is all the space they will need. However, that is not the case. We also need space for rails, gates, and running clearances. The actual amount of space needed to install a 36” x 48” elevator is 52” wide and 54” deep.

There is one other important point to keep in mind. These 52” x 54” dimensions are for clear space in a finished shaft. If you are building new walls for the elevator, you will need to plan on framing and sheetrock. In most cases, these require an additional 5” per wall, which means that building a new elevator shaft will require a space 62” wide and 64” deep.

Many people look at these numbers and rule out the possibility of installing an elevator in their home. What they don’t realize, however, is that many home elevators require only a very small footprint. For example, the Vision 450 can fit in a space that is just 37” in diameter. It can fit nearly anywhere because of the integrated hoistway and compact cab design.

Seattle’s Space Needle May Upgrade Elevators and Other Features

Space Needle elevator upgradesSeattle’s iconic Space Needle may soon be getting a face-lift. The company that owns the site presented a plan on November 13 to Seattle’s Landmark Preservation Board that calls for changes to the elevators and observation deck.

The Space Needle has three elevators that weigh 14,000 pounds each. They have a capacity of 4,500 pounds or 25 people, and the counterweights weigh 40 percent more than the elevators weigh when fully loaded. Each elevator has seven cables, but a single cable is capable of supporting the entire weight of an elevator.

Two of the elevators can travel at speeds of 10 miles per hour, or 800 feet per minute. It takes 43 seconds to travel from ground level to the top-house. Under high wind conditions, the elevators travel at speeds of 5 miles per hour. The third elevator is used mostly for freight but is occasionally used to transport passengers.

The plans would improve wheelchair access and upgrade the elevators. Two double-stacked elevators would be added.

The company also proposes replacing the metal security cables on the observation deck enclosure with a glass barrier to improve 360-degree views of the city and eliminate the feeling of being caged in. It proposes installing floor-to-ceiling windows on the restaurant and observation deck levels with electrochromic glass that could be dimmed electronically to reduce glare and regulate temperatures. The revolving restaurant’s floor mechanism would be replaced, and glass would be placed in some parts of the restaurant’s floor to give patrons a view of Seattle Center beneath them.

The Space Needle needs to submit an application and respond to recommended changes. It will probably have to meet with the architectural review committee several times before it meets with the full board. The board must approve the changes because the Space Needle was designated a landmark in 1999.

The renovations would be paid for with private money. The company’s chief executive did not give an estimated cost but said it would probably exceed $20 million. If the plan is approved, it will be the largest reinvestment in the Space Needle since it was constructed in 1962.

Emergency Communications System Requirements for Elevators

elevator telephone ADAAn elevator phone in a building that was constructed or renovated after July 1994 must comply with all Americans with Disabilities Act requirements. Elevators may also need to comply with state, ASME, and IBC codes. An elevator communications system that does not meet these codes is not compliant.

Each elevator does not need to have its own dedicated phone line to be code-compliant. Line sharing can be effective and can reduce costs. If set up properly, the phones should party line together so that each elevator cab and the monitoring station can communicate. When each phone is activated, it should send a signal that identifies it so that an operator can locate the caller and call back into the elevator if necessary, as required by the ADA.

In order to test your elevators and make sure they are compliant, activate at least two telephones at or around the same time. Each phone should be able to carry on a two-way conversation with an emergency operator. The phones fail the test if only one or none of the calls goes through, one call connects but is disconnected when the second call is placed, the phones do not dial out, or the calls are completed but the parties are unable to hear each other.

The ADA requires that telephones in elevators be accessible to people with disabilities. People who are speech- or hearing-impaired may not be able to tell an operator their location. Telephones should therefore be equipped with voice location message recording or caller ID. The operator should be able to identify the caller’s location and cab number, as required by the ASME. If the operator cannot do so, the communications system fails the test.

Emergency responders should be able to call directly back to an elevator without an “intentional delay.” Routing through a switchboard or auto-attendant is not an option. Emergency responder phones are usually located at a guard station on the main egress level or in a fire control room. If the emergency responder phone cannot call back the elevator phone directly, the test is failed.

Nationwide Lifts Now Distributes Luxury DomusLifts

DomusLiftNationwide Lifts is pleased to announce a new partnership. We are now an official distributor of DomusLifts luxury elevators from IGV. The company, which is based in Milan, Italy, has done a tremendous amount of business around the world and is now expanding its reach into the United States. As of October, all Nationwide Lifts offices across the United States can sell, install, and maintain DomusLifts.

The DomusLift is unlike any other home elevator. This gearless traction elevator is commercial grade and offers homeowners the smoothest and quietest ride possible. The drive system is as good as it gets.

The DomusLift is the highest end elevator available for homes. The elevators can be customized with an amazing line of finish options. Homeowners have chosen to decorate their elevators with thousands of Swarovski crystals, mosaic design patterns, leather walls, and a variety of metallic finishes. IGV produces its own selection of sliding doors with metallic finishes, wood grains, and glass.

DomusLifts can be installed in both new and existing homes. The starting price for this line of luxury elevators is around $100,000. Choosing optional features can add to the cost. This is a very good value given the quality of the construction and the aesthetics.

IGV was founded by engineer Giovanni Volpe in 1966 and is now run by his son, Matteo. The company has been selling DomusLifts since 1998. Nationwide Lifts is very fortunate and proud to be able to represent IGV as it expands its operations into the United States.

How Would Thoth Technology’s Space Elevator Work?

ThothX TowerThoth Technology, a Canadian aerospace and defense firm, was granted a patent this summer for an elevator that could transport people and payloads into low earth orbit.

The ThothX Tower would have a hollow 20-kilometer shaft/core stacked with washers 300 meters in diameter. The washers would be made of polyethylene and Kevlar and filled with helium or hydrogen. The tower would be constructed one cell at a time and would stand upright. The pressure in the cells would enable it to stand up to external forces, such as wind currents. Heavy gyroscopic flywheels at the base would increase the angular momentum of the elevator’s core.

The tower would have a harmonics control strategy. Software would adjust the pressure in the washers and guide the center of gravity to enable the tower to stand up to even hurricane force winds.

Most of the cells would have a pressure of 100 atmospheres. If a cell needed to be repaired, it would be depressurized. If one cell got damaged and lost pressure, the tower would not collapse because of the modular nature of the cells.

The seams in the cells would be closed with the same technology used in rockets and sailing vessels. A weave would be applied over the surface of the seams and then heat-cured to bind it.

The elevator would be powered by electrical charge and frictional contact. The elevator cars would be attached to the tower by electrical attraction. A frictional wheel would grip the tower and guide the cars along a corkscrew path. Each time a car passed down the shaft, the tower would be recharged. Energy transfer might also occur when two cars passed each other.

The ThothX Tower would be able to lift up to 10,000 kilograms of parts. Spacecraft could launch from its platform in one stage and return to the top of the tower to refuel. This would use much less energy than what is required to launch a rocket from the Earth’s surface.

The tower could be used for tourism. It could also significantly reduce the amount of time required to travel around the world.

Thoth is planning to build a proof-of-concept demonstration tower 1.5 kilometers tall in the next three to five years at a cost of about $1 billion. The company hopes to build a 20-kilometer tower three to five years after that at a cost of $5 to $10 billion.

2016 Elevator Prices

2016 home elevator pricesFor a person with limited mobility, getting around at home can be a challenge. If it has become difficult for you or a family member to walk up and down stairs, installing an elevator can be the best solution to make all the rooms in your house accessible again.

Many people are hesitant to install an elevator in their homes because they believe the cost is prohibitive. However, as the prices for many things have been going up, the cost of home elevators has actually been declining in many ways.

A new, low-cost elevator design can make it easy and inexpensive to add an elevator to your house. A shaft-less elevator costs only around $17,500 for two stops. This cost includes both the equipment and installation. Prices vary by location.

A shaft-less elevator can significantly cut down on site preparation costs. When adding an elevator to an existing home, the cost of the required renovations often exceeds the price of the elevator itself. Carpentry and electrical costs often total $15,000 to $20,000. With a shaft-less elevator, on the other hand, the site preparation cost is typically less than $3,000.

If you are building a new house, adding an elevator shaft will not add much to your overall project costs. In that case, installing a traditional elevator with a shaft makes the most sense.

Home elevator prices have gone down a bit over the past several years. A typical two-stop home elevator costs about $20,000, and the price of a three-stop elevator is around $24,000. These are costs for both equipment and installation. Prices vary by location depending on the costs of labor, insurance, and licensing.

There is simply no other company that can offer you all of this.

If you are looking for a customized quote or just want to ask a question, get in touch with Nationwide Lifts today to start talking to a Home Elevator expert.