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Columbia Elevator’s XChangaCAB Responds to Current Environment

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The company shifts its focus to answer the growing demand for cab modernizations.

Find a need and fill it, as the saying goes. In the case of Columbia Elevator’s cab division, it was the reverse. The need found the company, which, with capabilities already in place, it was immediately prepared to serve. Specifically, a market downturn suppressed the conventional interest in new equipment, while creating growing demand for cab modernizations. In the current economy, the trend among building owners has been to freshen their lobbies and elevators – the “first impression” items – and delay more complete renovations until a better time.

According to Columbia’s President Louis Blaiotta, Jr.:

“This is a natural spinoff of our core competency. We’ve always routinely done interiors as part of cab jobs, but, now, to address the current market need, we’ve evolved it into a focused, freestanding service and given it a name, XChangaCAB. These interior packages are a very cost- and time-efficient way to upgrade the aesthetics of a building lobby, with minimal downtime and no compromise in safety and code compliance. We’ve always offered United Laboratories, Inc.-rated cabs, and, with this program, we continue to do so, making sure that each of our panels meets all U.S. and Canadian flame-spread and smoke development codes.”

Blaiotta also says it is easy to price by completing an online form and submitting it to a local Columbia representative, or by going to its website (www.columbia-elevator.com) and clicking on Online Quotes for an immediate price. Cab and ceiling installation can be completed in about 12 team hours. Design options include ability to select any standard materials such as Wilsonart®, Pionite®, Formica® Laminate, Rigidized® Metals and real-wood veneers, with available glass etching and laser-cut patterns. Verticals are true panels, not simulated with curfs on horizontal panels, and mullions are not required for the handrail, frieze and base. Since Columbia provides individual panels, customers can choose to have them faced and edged in laminate. Handrails come with a 10-ga. reinforcement plate, not pre-installed, since pre-installation can weaken the panel, risking panel breakage if the handrail breaks. Corners are coved, facilitating installation on older, out-of-square cabs. In addition, Columbia can help with weight restrictions and work with many lightweight materials.

Interest in the XchangaCAB program has been brisk. “I’ve been approached by so many modernization and service sales representatives looking for a quick upgrade,” Grace Y. Greco, Columbia’s Northeast account executive and marketing manager, said. “Most of the time, the end customer is looking to impress guests, and the easiest, most economical way is to change the interior of the cab, the panels, handrails and ceiling.” Columbia offers many different materials, providing various solutions. “When sales representatives walk into their customers’ offices and get requests to make their cabs brighter, colorful, classy, we have several solutions to choose from,” Greco said.

Columbia can help customers acquire Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design® points by using low-volatile organic compounds, finishes, adhesives and substrates. To save energy, Columbia offers low-voltage, long-life LED lighting. “So it all adds up to savings in time, upgrade expenses and energy costs,” Blaiotta, Jr. said.

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Ralph M. Newman, a freelance writer with extensive experience in the elevator industry, has written for ELEVATOR WORLD over the years. Newman is a partner in Dott Communications, an internet development company and advertising agency with several clients in the field.

Elevator World | September 2012 Cover

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