In a recent completed project, we incorporated a hoistway swing door and a 3 speed side slide car gate. This is an example of the flexibility available to the end user that was rarely assailable just a few short years ago. There is an ever evolving world of products and technologies emerging in the elevator sector. To keep up with the demand, it is necessary to educate the end user of their options. Not only are the products changing to benefit the ease of use, but also to make the units safer and more attractive.
Let’s look at the options:
Standard – Manual folding or collapsible car gate and a standard manual swing hoistway door. This has been the industry standard since the inception of the residential elevator over 80 years ago. It is a system that incorporates a collapsible (scissor) or a folding (wood-fold) car gate that is electrically monitored to prevent the elevator from moving when the gate is in the open position. The hoistway doors are basic swing type doors usually with standard passage type door knob hardware. These doors are then equipped with an interlocking device interfaced with the elevator to monitor and lock the door when the elevator is not at that landing and to prevent it from being opened. The main issues with this option is if the user leaves the car gate or hoistway door open, the elevator cannot be called to another floor until that gate or door is closed. This is especially problematic in multi-story applications where the unit may be at the top and someone wishes to call the elevator to the bottom to use it. One must climb the stairs in search of the elevator to close the gate or door. Most of the time, spring hinges or auto closers are added to the hoistway doors but remembering to close the car gate upon exiting is still an issue.
Standard with Auto Gate – The implementation of automatic gate operators started with a simple device that released a spring loaded car gate to automatically close it. This eventually evolved into what is commonly used today. A device that automatically opens and closes the elevator car gate. This addition, along with hoistway doors containing spring hinges or auto closers, improves the operation of the elevator and eliminates the chance it will be non-operational due to a door or gate being accidentally left open. It is imperative that the auto operation have provisions to stop or reverse in the event they strike an obstruction. The common issue with this configuration is the inability to hold the hoistway door open for moving people or items in the elevator. This can be somewhat challenging for people with mobility issues.
Automatic Door/Gate Operation – This configuration adds the automatic operation of the swing hoistway door along with the auto car gate operator. When these automatic operators are correctly interfaced with the elevator controller, it makes the operation of the elevator much more convenient for the end user. Consideration of the location of the hall call station is critical as this is usually the triggering device for the hoistway swing door. For people with mobility issues, we want to avoid the door opening and striking the individual when the press the button.
Fully Automatic Sliding Doors and Gates – This configuration uses the same automatic sliding doors most commonly used on commercial elevators. The variation is most likely a 2 or 3 panel sliding door system used for the space limitation of residential elevators. For example, in order to cover a 36” opening, a single panel door would require more than double the width of the opening, or over 72” of width. With 2 panels (aka Two Speed Side Slide Doors), the same 36” opening can be covered by two panels half that width. So the same 36” opening would only require slightly larger than 54”. And, with 3 panels, only a little more than 48”. There are even 4 panel door systems available.
Combination Swing Door & Sliding Gate – This configuration is growing in popularity. This option combines the automatic side slide car gate with the standard swing door on the hoistway side. This is a popular look for people that don’t want their elevator to be so noticeable and eliminates the less popular collapsible gate. There is even the option to add an automatic swing door operation to make the elevator fully automatic.
As you can see, there are many options available. It is important to enlist the help of a company or individual that is knowledgeable of all the systems to help you decide which one is right for you. Call TL Shield & Assoc., Inc. & Inclinator Co. of Ca. for a free consultation at (800) 954-3887 or (800) 201-1212.