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Advertisers Target Potential Customers in Elevators

elevator adsElevator advertising is popular for its ability to target a captive audience. Advertisers can appeal to a particular demographic and customize their ads based on gender, age, income, education level, weather, and time of day to get the most bang for their buck.

In addition to static signage and wrapped elevator doors and interiors, many elevators, particularly in office buildings, use internet connections to customize their advertising by location, time of day, and weather. For example, on a hot day, a coffee shop can advertise cold drinks, and on a cold day, it can advertise hot beverages.

Digital screens in office building elevators are typically divided into three sections. The bottom half is devoted to news headlines, the upper left is for live local weather information, and the upper right is for static, animated, or video ads. The screens can show content from a variety of licensed providers. They generally run 40 percent general news, 20 percent financial news, 20 percent work and lifestyle features, and 20 percent sports.

Advertising can be linked to news stories to make it more relevant. For example, an ad for an automaker might run in a corner of the screen along with a news story about recent American auto sales.

Elevator ads can include a call-to-action, such as encouraging a person to make a purchase. People riding elevators in office buildings often work online and have the ability to make online purchases.

elevator wrapElevators can also use more traditional forms of advertising, such as signage that is changed every month in smaller office and residential buildings. Elevator wraps are also popular in malls or at special events, such as trade shows or conferences. They can use the opening and closing of the elevator doors to create a memorable effect.

Companies in the airline, financial, auto, restaurant/fast food, coffee shop, travel, cell phone, and consumer electronics industries have experimented with elevator advertising.

Elevator Safety Features

elevator shaftElevators are built with several redundant safety features to protect riders.

Cable-driven elevators have multiple (four to eight) ropes to support the weight of the car and passengers. The cables consist of several lengths of steel material wound around each other. One cable is capable of supporting the weight of the elevator car and the counterweight. The extra ropes ensure that even if one cable snaps, the elevator will not free fall.

Even if all the ropes were to snap, or if the sheave system they were wound around released them, the elevator car would probably not free fall to the bottom of the shaft. Cable-driven elevators have safeties, a built-in braking system that grabs onto the rail if the elevator moves through the shaft too quickly. Safeties are activated by a governor, which is built around a sheave at the top of the elevator shaft. The governor rope loops around the governor sheave and another sheave at the bottom of the shaft. The rope is connected to the elevator car and moves when the car ascends or descends. When the car speeds up, so does the governor.

The sheave has two hooked flyweights, or weighted metal arms, that are held in place by a high-tension spring. If the elevator car falls too fast, the centrifugal force pushes the flyweights out and forces them to catch on ratchets, which stops the governor. A movable actuator arm attached to a lever linkage connects the governor ropes to the elevator car. If the governor sheave locks itself, the governor ropes jerk the actuator arm up, which moves the lever linkage, which then applies the brakes.

In other designs, a wedge-shaped safety sits in a stationary wedge guide. When the wedge moves up, the slanted surface of the guide pushes it into the guide rail, which applies the brakes.

Elevators have electromagnetic brakes that engage when the car stops and keep the brakes in the open position. If the elevator loses power, the brakes will clamp shut. Elevators also have automatic braking systems at both ends of the shaft that will engage if the car moves too far in either direction.

If all of these safety features fail and the elevator falls down the shaft, a heavy-duty shock absorber system, usually a piston mounted on an oil-filled cylinder, will act like a cushion to soften the landing.

Elevator Maintenance Requirements

elevatorsThe Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) have worked together to establish elevator maintenance requirements in order to ensure proper functioning and safety. Periodic elevator maintenance is required, and certain maintenance and records need to be maintained for an elevator to be certified by state governments.

OSHA and the ASME require periodic inspection of elevators as part of a preventive maintenance program. Inspection records must be reviewed by state inspectors before an elevator receives a permit to be operated. The elevator mechanic must clean, adjust, and lubricate the components that control the operation and speed of the elevator. Maintenance must be done at least every six months, but it may be done once a month for elevators that have heavy use.

The elevator mechanic must test the elevator’s electrical equipment using equipment such as pressure gauges, multi-meters, amp-meters, and other devices. The mechanic must test the electrical wiring, control boxes, electrical circuits, and operating controls and record the findings. The elevator’s speed must also be checked, and the emergency telephone must be working properly.

All aspects of the elevator’s operation that can be hazardous to individuals, such as door operation, floor-to-floor travel, acceleration, deceleration, and emergency and safety equipment, must be evaluated. Any problems must be repaired immediately.

In addition to federal regulations, some states and cities have additional requirements related to elevator safety and maintenance standards. Some also require licensing or certification for elevator mechanics and repair technicians.

New Technology Creates Greener Elevators

elevatorsImprovements in elevator technology make it possible for buildings to use less energy to operate their systems, thereby reducing costs and helping the environment.

Many elevator companies offer retrofitting options to upgrade existing elevator technology. This generally involves replacing older motors and drives with newer versions that use less electricity and produce less heat, which reduces costs for cooling the hoistway machine room.

Regenerative drives in newer elevator systems feed energy back into the building. The braking action against the counterweight while the cab is ascending and against the loaded cab while the elevator is descending allows power to be used to run other systems in the building. Regenerative drives are most effective when ascending with light loads and descending with heavy loads.

Other drive systems can also reduce energy costs. Alternating-current variable-frequency drives use less energy and operate cleaner than traditional direct-current drives. Newer forms of direct-current inverter drives use less energy than older versions.

Businesses are also cutting costs by reducing energy use for lighting and fans in their elevators. Newer in-cab lighting systems use LED units, rather than traditional incandescent bulbs. Another system turns off lighting and fans when the elevator is not in use and restarts them when someone calls the elevator.

Hydraulic elevators can be made greener by using biodegradable vegetable-based oils. Replacing older drives with modern ones can also improve indoor air quality.

The elevators that are installed in newer buildings can come with many standard green features included. Machine-room-less elevators use less energy and require less ventilation than elevators that use machine rooms. New hoisting technologies can also cut energy costs. Regenerative drives come standard in many commercial elevators. Soft-start technology to power variable-frequency drives can reduce operating costs. Units controlled by microprocessors can be used instead of less energy-efficient mechanical relays.

Elevator technology is advancing rapidly, offering business owners the opportunity to cut their energy costs significantly, thus protecting the environment and helping their bottom line.

Elevator Motor to Go on Display at 9/11 Museum

from commons.wikimedia.orgWhen it opens, the National September 11 Museum‘s permanent exhibit will contain a 10,000-pound elevator motor that was used to transport thousands of people to and from offices in the World Trade Center up until the attacks on September 11, 2001.

The exhibit also tells the story of John Menville, who worked to install the elevators at the World Trade Center in 1969. After the 1993 bombing at the World Trade Center, he helped police evacuate people down the stairs and freed people trapped in the elevators. He then worked 12 hours a day, seven days a week, for six months to repair the elevators. Menville stayed to maintain the elevators until the buildings were destroyed on September 11.

The 8-foot-by-5-foot motors, or 339 machines, at the World Trade Center were the first to be used in North America and the biggest in the world. They had only been used previously in South African diamond mines. The elevators traveled at speeds of up to 1,600 feet per minute and had a capacity of 10,000 pounds, far exceeding the 3,500-pound weight limit of normal elevators. Each tower had 20 motors that provided power to a series of shuttle elevators that transported people from the ground floor to transfer points in the sky lobby. The motors were located in machine rooms near some of the lobbies.

When an airplane hit the North Tower on September 11, it blocked all the stairways, trapping people inside the building. However, the airplane that hit the South Tower became lodged in the elevator motor room, which protected a stairwell and allowed people to escape.

After the buildings collapsed on 9/11, artifacts such as the elevator motors were transported to Hangar 17 at John F. Kennedy Airport for storage. Workers who cleaned up the World Trade Center site were able to salvage about 15 of the elevator motors, making it possibly to display one, which was badly burned and had severed wires coming out the sides. The motor will sit in bedrock in the museum in a long corridor filled with other large objects, such as twisted steel and crushed emergency vehicles. Visitors can walk through the gallery to view the primary exhibit.

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