Elevator Modernization at MCE
by Clint Spencer and Emery Thran
“Elevator Modernization” is something most of us relate to and agree about its general meaning. But this simple term doesn’t begin to recognize the potential scope and range of applications and challenges a modernization project may entail. Elevator modernization can be as fundamental as replacing a controller or machine, or as significant as hollowing out or even demolishing one or more elevator hoistways and starting completely over.
With new construction, a vertical-transportation “standard package” can be easily integrated into an architect’s drawings. With modernization, the elevator contractor is working with an existing building with preexisting conditions that are not kind to “standard packages.” Independent elevator contractors have historically had limited access to suppliers who can meet the requirements of these wide-ranging projects.
At Motion Control Engineering (MCE), elevator modernization has traditionally been about providing new elevator controllers, dispatchers, monitoring, traction motors and door operators. We have had great success providing elevator controls and built a strong reputation. Over the years, we have worked with many elevator contractors and listened as they described the day-to-day difficulties encountered while trying to maneuver through the complexities of full modernization projects: Coordinating multiple suppliers, ensuring fit and function, and dealing with uneven quality and a lack of engineering collaboration, while struggling to meet hard deadlines and make a reasonable profit. All of these are stumbling blocks that increase complexity and contribute to stress, while siphoning cash from the bottom line.
MCE strove to redefine what “modernization” meant to the industry by assisting elevator contractors to achieve a consistent, efficient, repeatable installation process that not only contributes to the bottom line, but also grows MCE’s presence and profits at the same time. Building the knowledge base required researching best methods and practices, and creating the supplier partnerships necessary to be successful was a difficult process. Spreading the word that MCE now provides more than the elevator controls we were historically known for was no easier.
MCE has expanded its modernization product offering to include efficient AC permanent-magnet (ACPM) gearless hoist machines manufactured by MCE sister company Imperial Electric. Our engineering teams have worked in unison to engineer precise ACPM motor and brake control, and we have established a corporate division focused on engineering and manufacturing complete elevator packages.
Our complete Freedom™ machine-room-less, machine-room ACPM, and machine-room geared elevator packages were well received, but we saw that the market needed an easily accessible mechanical design partner, as well. MCE now offers controls, geared machines, gearless machines, standard or custom beam structures, machine-room layouts and reaction calculations. We designed and built isolated, modular, machine structures that allow installers to replace existing geared machines with new ACPM gearless machines. Our modular machine base structures allow an installation to be broken down to the smallest structural component and be reassembled in the machine room if needed.
For projects requiring complete removal or new designs for future hoistways, MCE offers complete traction-elevator packages designed and manufactured with computer numerically controlled precision in our 3D design facility. MCE’s installation instructions, prints and drawings are continuously refined through customer feedback. Our evolving process ensures that field personnel experience and knowledge are captured and integrated to improve installation and adjustment clarity.