The Human Touch


A baby who is not picked up and held will fail to thrive. Humans need the touch of other humans to succeed as happy, rational people. Never has that been more apparent than now. After a year of “air hugs,” elbow bumps and working remotely where the virus has kept us apart, as a Southern girl used to hugging everyone, I feel the loss of touch deeply. What does this have to do with elevators? Let me count the ways.

Elevators have become more sophisticated than we could have imagined even five years ago. Data about their every move can be collected and analyzed. If the door on the second floor opens or closes slower than the door on other floors, that is something to be checked, along with the fact that an elevator sometimes doesn’t level on the 12th floor. You can monitor an elevator’s every move remotely, but it is still necessary to reach out and touch the equipment regularly. You can’t adjust, lubricate or test an elevator with a Zoom call. You have to go there and spend the time. The data collected may cut the technicians’ onsite time down considerably, and make their actions more effective and directed, but it can’t eliminate the visit. Each of these articles, focusing on Maintenance, emphasize just that:

  • Preventive Maintenance by Craig Zomchek: The rise of remote monitoring and mechanics servicing “super routes” ignores the need for human contact, testing and service that all equipment needs.
  • Cut Back the Callbacks by Matt Irvin: John Faure of Mitsubishi Electric U.S. tells us the key to maintenance is having a detailed preventive-maintenance program, including proactive parts replacement.
  • Escalator Fractal Behavior, Part 4 by Dr. Ali Albadri: The author concludes the series on data from Smart Step and establishes that an escalator with a defect can be quantified against an escalator without a mechanical defect.
  • How Elevators Should Be Maintained by Lee Freeland: In this interview, Donald Gelestino, CEO of Champion Elevator Corp., emphasizes the need for regular cleaning, lubricating and adjusting, and advises against overloading routes.
  • Going Remote submitted by Madden Elevator Co.: The company started using remote monitoring several years ago and went fully virtual in the pandemic. The article talks about the various software and equipment used.
  • Hoist Rope Longevity by Fartash Razmjoo: The author discusses the many ways ropes can be monitored to ensure their proper care, lubrication and tension to avoid failure.
  • Vertical Sliding Door Maintenance by Michael J. Ryan: The author notes that 80% of freight elevator breakdowns are of doors and gives a complete schedule of maintenance with instructions.
  • Technological Influence Over Sustainable Maintenance by Onur Artıkoğlu: The Remote Elevator Monitoring initiative, created by Otis, has collected data since the 1980s. Its use of this makes service transparent, predictive and proactive.

We have features this month that take you rom a KONE escalator modernization in St. Louis to the underground in Istanbul with vertical transportation by thyssenkrupp. Then, it’s on to an amazing inclined elevator that travels to a ring in the sky in China. There is also a new Continuing Education article by David Herres, an interview with a woman graduate of Durham College’s Elevating Devices Mechanic program and even a mechanic who builds elevators using 3D printers!

Until next time, we still have to stay 6 ft away from our friends, but you should reach out and touch your elevators regularly. Stay safe.

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Elevator World | February 2021 Cover