I don’t know about you, but I love classic cars. The 69 Dodge Daytona Charger stands as my all-time favorite! The 68 Oldsmobile 442 is a close second. But you know what I don’t like? Classic elevators!

Not all Classics are Collector’s Items

If you Google when elevators were invented, you can see they have been around a VERY long time. Unlike classic cars, they are not collector’s items. Elevator installations, modernizations, and repairs are covered by a set of codes written by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers or ASME. These codes are ever-changing and ever-evolving works, written with safety at the forefront. For instance, A17.1 1996 edition was just over 200 pages. The latest code released, A17.1 2019, is almost 600 pages. Given the detail of modern code, elevators installed prior to the early 1990s are missing numerous safety features such as door protection monitoring (DPM), fires service systems, and safety redundancy circuits.

The Modernization of Elevators  

Here is an example of old technology and how it has changed. When you walk into an elevator, there is a rubber nose on the inside car door. In older models, you must physically push the nose to make the doors reopen. Now, new technology uses infra-red detectors and 3D scanning. It eliminates the risk of injury when the doors are no longer slamming unexpectedly. Safety comes first, and these small changes make it happen. Safety, safety, safety!

Elevator Efficiency is Key

What about efficiency? Old technology means old performance. The algorithms that are now used to dispatch elevators have changed extensively. This enhanced performance has significantly decreased waiting times, making for happier customers! Think of it this way, since the late 80s, most elevators have had microprocessor (computer) controls. There is no comparison between the computers of the 80s and the ones we use today. Which elevator would you choose?

Can You Put a Price on Safety?

What about cost? The upfront cost may seem high, but can you put a price on safety? The efficiency of the new components, effective operations, and savings on maintenance and upkeep far exceed the cost of an average modernization. Hey, appreciating the classics doesn’t have to mean settling for outdated features. So, take that classic car for a spin, but let’s update those classic elevators.

Authored by Keith Gaut – Field Supervisor and Safety Manager for Bagby Elevator Company 

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