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The tour group, together with representatives from MCE, Nidec, Imperial Electric and Canton Elevator, pose in front of MCE’s fully functional, nonproprietary machine-room-less elevator on the factory floor.

MCE proudly shows off its nonproprietary equipment at California factory.

Representatives from Motion Control Engineering (MCE) and the other Nidec elevator-industry companies played hosts to several attendees of the International Association of Elevator Consultants Forum 2019 (ELEVATOR WORLD, July 2019) on May 3. MCE’s Director — North America Elevator Sales & Regional Sales Manager Midwest USA Jeff Yeager coordinated the busy day, having a bus ready for us to leave Reno, Nevada, the day after the forum ended. The nearly three-hour-long trip to Rancho Cordova (in Sacramento County), California, went by quickly with the beautiful, varying scenery and great company.

Yeager explained that the 115,000-ft2 facility serves as MCE’s North American headquarters and manufacturing center. Much of that space is used for warehousing products and includes two testing towers of approximately 40 stories each (as tall as the nearby U.S. Air Force base would allow). Ninety-eight percent of its purpose is R&D/engineering, with the remainder being manufacturing.

Michael Poon of MCE presented on MCE’s parent company, Nidec, explaining that the Kyoto, Japan-based conglomerate is the largest electric motor company in the world. He said Nidec began buying elevator companies with Kinetek (including Imperial Electric) in 2012 and continued with acquisitions of MCE (2014) and Canton Elevator, Inc. (2016) to diversify into elevator motors and controllers within its Appliance, Commercial and Industrial Motors division. Poon put the wide range of the corporation into perspective when he said, “The average American has at least two Nidec products in their home.”

Yeager added that MCE, a global company in its own right, works to ensure “a lot of symmetry between controllers and AC gearless machines.” Established in 1983, it has more than 300 employees and serves both majors and independents with controls, motors, machines, door systems, traveling cables, monitoring systems and more as it works toward becoming a complete elevator package supplier. With 62 field-support employees, it boasts the “largest independent engineering and technical support teams in the industry” for its installed base of more than 225,000 controllers.

Yeager stressed that MCE’s philosophy revolves around nonproprietary equipment and support. He also said that a recent focus of the company is on destination-based dispatch (DBD). MCE is working on more than 50 DBD projects in the NYC region alone. It offers onsite training for its flagship iControl and site surveys/reports for DBD preinstallation work and due diligence.

Steve Rosnack of Canton Elevator then talked about the North Canton, Ohio-based company’s hydraulic and traction elevator packages and components. It shares a 125,000-ft2 facility with Canton Architectural Products (which makes elevator cabs and components), with both comprising 125 employees who have more than 1,300 years of combined elevator experience. Rosnack explained Canton Elevator has “positioned itself for one-stop shopping for the elevator industry” and is investing into machinery allowing it to get into the replacement jack market, standalone cabs and other replacement components. He also said the company assembles all cabs (many of which are custom) before crating and shipping.

Gary Ward and Dennis Rhodes of Imperial Electric then spoke on their company, the largest machine/motor provider in the elevator industry. Headquartered in Akron, Ohio, since it was founded in 1915, it has provided a full line of (also nonproprietary) elevator motors and machines throughout its history. The company can produce “Assembled in USA” products with only an approximately six- to 12-week lead time, despite many of its motors being made in China. Following Nidec’s decision to spend US$6 million to expand and update the Imperial Electric plant in Middleport, Ohio, in 2016, Ward and Rhodes added to the feeling that the parent company is a good steward of these U.S.-based businesses.

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