Close the Door!
Remember when your mother used to say, “Close the door” (because you were letting flies in — or air-conditioning out). It is appropriate for the December editorial that we are closing the door on a year of extreme highs and lows — and stress. I am writting this on U.S. election day, and I can only imagine what the rest of the world thinks of us. Someone said recently this has been the year of “the good, the bad and the ugly, but it is just so hard to tell them apart.” Hope for a peaceful transition, in an election that has plumbed new depths daily, is faint but still alive in my heart.
Luckily, the good is easy to find in our industry. According to Engineering News Record, the construction market has come all the way back to prerecession levels without overheating. Domestic revenue from projects has risen almost 10%, while its international counterpart has fallen by twice that. The U.S. appears to be in a vertical construction boom.
So, as we close the door on one year and open it on another, it is appropriate that we focus this issue on Doors and Door Operators. We have a plethora of material, as the subject is essential to our product and non controversial (something we all want right now). We start with A History of Elevator Doors from Dr. Lee Gray. He reports on the first 75 years of elevator doors, with those in the 19th century being mostly utilitarian and becoming more creative going into the 20th century, featuring both car and entrance doors.
Vertical Variety by Lee Freeland is also a history of sorts. Niagara Belco, a Canadian company with a North American outlook, is traced from the original owner to the present day. Now, the company provides custom and standard doors for both OEMs and small companies. It produces many special applications like stage lifts, elevators for correctional facilities and 1920s replicas for high-rise elevators.
Ralph Newman brings us Compact Elevator Operators. He notes that as construction costs rise, the market continues to look to reducing space that is nonrentable. Columbia Elevator, in partnership with Fermator, has developed a door operator that saves 3 in. of shaft. The smart system moves doors (irrespective of their weight) exactly the same.
Some just go The Extra Mile, as reported by Carlo Ferrari and Tommaso Sala of Wittur/Sematic. They discuss the art of choosing doors for projects that demand high performance. Some of the door operators have a “rush hour option” to speed operation during morning and evening rushes. Door opening time is crucial to waiting time, particularly in high-rise applications.
Technology for the 21st Elevator Century by Beat De Coi is an Elevcon paper that seeks to explain time-of-flight technology and its origins in 1985. The author’s company, CEDES, began the work and then established another company, ESPRO, to perfect it. Now, a 3D TOF camera can replace light curtains to protect the full door. Whatever Happened to MAC Door Equipment? by Jerry Davis highlights the evolution of MAC (Moline Accessories Co.) to KONE Spares through the 1994 purchase of Montgomery and MAC by KONE.
Lastly, our Pop Culture columnist, Daniel Levinson Wilk, writes about The Quintessential Art Deco Object. He believes that the largest and most famous Art Deco objects in the world are the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building — from their crowns to their elevators. The Chrysler Building is my favorite and has been called “a celebration of industrial beauty and corporate power.” Wilk says if you can’t have a whole building as the quintessential Art Deco object, then the elevator lobby in the Chrysler Building is his pick.
If you don’t want to focus totally on doors (no pun intended), we have much more to offer. Our cover story, Between Earth and Sky, by Kaija Wilkinson reports on a unique Schindler lift linking Luxembourg’s upper and lower cities. The lift accommodates pedestrians and bicyclists to provide access to a city that counts its history back to 963. Near the bridge and lift are several UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Also, Angie Baldwin has provided more than 20 pages of coverage on United 2016, a gathering of three major North American associations.
Finally, I don’t want you to miss our Continuing Education offering this month: Ken Smith, a managing partner of eMCP, has written Thoughts on Escalator and Moving Walk Maintenance. Smith highlights the specific training needed for different units and discusses owner responsibilities. Escalators are often an “orphan” subject, so we are delighted to have Smith writing for us.
By the time you read this, we will have elected a new president and hopefully will be enjoying a peaceful transition of power. The holidays will be approaching, and my wish for you all is an outpouring of goodwill toward our fellow man (and woman). Let’s close the door now on last year and move into 2017 with a renewed spirit of harmony.