Category Archives: Commercial Elevators

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.

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.

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.

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.

Pink Elevators Raise Breast Cancer Awareness and Funding

pink elevator breast cancerOctober is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Metro Elevator Co. Inc. is raising money to support Susan G. Komen in Michigan in its fight to find a cure for breast cancer.

The company is raising funds through its fifth “Ride the Pink Elevator” campaign at 201 Michigan St. NW in Grand Rapids, which is the site of the Rowe Hotel that is currently undergoing renovations. The pink elevator was installed on the west side of the Rowe Hotel.

Triangle Associate Inc., the construction project management team, installed the pink elevator and expects it to remain in place through January 2016. Vice President of Business Development Jim Conner said breast cancer has touched his life and he believes more men need to be aware of the disease and take action to fight it.

The goal of the campaign is to raise money and awareness about breast cancer research and treatment. Komen Michigan’s Executive Director Jennifer Jurgens said the group is always looking for new and unique ways to raise awareness and money. Construction workers and companies that are involved in the project are encouraged to donate funds to support breast cancer research and awareness.

This is the third pink elevator to be set up in Michigan to support the foundation. The first was launched in Ann Arbor this year and raised more than $18,000 to support Komen Michigan. The second pink elevator at Central Michigan University raised over $8,000. The Pink Elevator project is expected to be expanded nationwide in the future.

National Association of Elevator Contractors Holds Conference in Boston

National Association of Elevator Contractors conferenceThe National Association of Elevator Contractors is holding its 66th annual conference at the Westin Boston Waterfront & Boston Convention & Exhibition Center from Monday, September 28 to Thursday, October 1, 2015. The event is billed as the largest vertical transportation show in the United States.

Visitors will have the opportunity to learn about elevators and many related subjects. Several topics will be covered in discussions and presentations at the conference this year. Some areas that will be addressed include controlling worker’s compensation costs, implementing an MCP program, machine room-less vs. overhead traction elevators, vertical wheelchair lifts and LULA elevators, the internet of things, and ways to improve customer service.

Attendees will be able to view product demonstrations, receive expert advice, expand their knowledge of the elevator industry, learn about emerging technologies, view over 200 industry exhibits, attend educational sessions, network with others in the industry, and gain an edge over their competitors.

Exhibits will feature the newest products and technology in the elevator industry from the United States and other countries. Attendees will have the opportunity to network with their peers in the industry from around the world.

The National Association of Elevator Contractors’ annual conference is an exciting opportunity for elevator manufacturers, technicians, installers, and others in the vertical lift industry to come together to share information and advice, broaden their knowledge, and expand their ability to succeed in the competitive international elevator market. This event has helped many companies and individuals in the industry expand their knowledge and grow and promote their businesses.

Artists Decorate Elevator at Miami Hotel

ELEVATE elevator art Casa Claridge's MiamiThe Faena Arts District in Miami, which is undergoing renovations, gave the public a taste of what is coming when it invited three artists to decorate an elevator at the historic Casa Claridge’s Hotel in a project called ELEVATE.

ELEVATE was inaugurated for Miami Beach Art Basel 2014. Three artists have been given free reign to decorate the elevator at Casa Claridge’s however they saw fit. Cristina Lei Rodriguez created a mine with gold, and Consuelo Castaneda created a Mexican baroque cathedral.

The current elevator design was created by Typoe, a Miami-based graffiti artist. He painted all of the surfaces inside the elevator an inky black and covered them with colorful stickers, bric-a-brak he found in local gift shops, and old-fashioned letter magnets popular with children. His work is entitled Getting Up (2015).

The piece is intended to be intimate and immersive and to make the experience of riding in an elevator fun. Typoe has witnessed visitors riding the elevator up and down through all five floors simply to have an opportunity to play with the letters on the walls. The experience seems to suspend time and allow people to shut out everything else while they take it in.

ELEVATE reflects the discrete nature of elevators as utilitarian spaces hidden from view. The color, texture, and spirit of Typoe’s work stands in stark contrast to site-specific works of art. He sought to create an immersive experience by encouraging people to touch and play with the letters.

ELEVATE has gotten people excited about visiting the Faena Arts District, which will open soon with several buildings, including two hotels, three residential buildings, and a cultural space that was designed by Rem Koolhaas’s architecture firm, OMA. The project stretches from 32rd to 36th Streets along Collins Avenue. The grand opening is set for November. The Faena Group, which is named after founder Alan Faena, had success with a similar project in a formerly blighted area of Buenos Aires.

Man’s Videos Inspire Elevator Enthusiasts and People with Autism

Andrew Reams elevator videosFor Andrew Reams, an elevator ride as a toddler sparked a lifelong passion. When he was shopping with his mother in the Famous Barr & Co. department store in St. Louis, Missouri in the early 1980s, she picked him up and told him to press an elevator button. The doors opened like a “magic wall,” and a lifelong love of elevators was born.

Reams has spent his entire life researching elevators. He especially enjoys historic lifts. An antique elevator has operated since before the 1950s, while a vintage lift has been operating since before 1980. He enjoys the glass roofs, ornate iron castings, art deco styling, and other decorative features of historic elevators. Riding in old elevators makes Reams feel connected to the past and to other people who have ridden them before him. He has made trips to visit historic elevators across the United States.

Reams began recording videos of his trips with a camcorder and started uploading them on YouTube in 2006 using the handle “DieselDucy.” He didn’t expect them to generate much interest, but it turned out that many people around the world were just as fascinated by elevators as he was.

Posts to his YouTube channel are often viewed tens of thousands of times. A video of an elevator at the Kansas City Marriott from 2013 has been viewed over 80,000 times.

Reams estimates that he has recorded videos of over 3,000 elevators. Fans comment on almost all of his videos. He has connected with elevator companies, and some have given him special tours or donated items to the elevator museum he runs from his home.

Reams appears in his videos and narrates from behind the camera. He films the elevators, as well as the exteriors of buildings, and often includes building employees. He sometimes has to get creative to get access to areas that are closed to the general public. He has encountered people who were suspicious about his filming but quickly warmed up when he told them his purpose.

Reams has made friends among other elevator enthusiasts. Jacob Batcha runs The Elevator Channel, which has more than 8,000 subscribers. He and Reams often appear in each other’s videos.

Reams is fascinated by elevators because of their machinery, history, and design. He also has Asperger’s Syndrome, a form of autism. People with the condition often become fixated on things. In addition, Reams enjoys having control of a multi-sensory environment and believes other people with autism enjoy his videos for the same reason. The purpose of his “elevaTOURS” is to reach out to other people with autism and elevator enthusiasts.

He dreams of traveling to other countries to see their different forms of elevators. For now, however, Reams is content to continue documenting elevators in the United States.

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