FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions

You’ve got questions? We’ve got answers. If you have a question that you don’t see here, please contact us.  We will probably add your question and our answer to the FAQ list. We would be happy to talk about modular elevators anytime.

How long have you been in business?

Modular elevators have been made in Mt. Vernon, IL since they were invented and patented in
1995 by Infinite Access as a quick and effective response to the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Allison Allgaier bought the assets for Infinite Access and has been in business as Phoenix
Modular Elevator since 2009.

What kind of elevators do you manufacture?

We manufacture commercial elevators for several industries, including hospitality, education,
storage and medical. We manufacture hydraulic, traction, and roped hydraulic elevators. We
also provide hoistway-only solutions for projects where the hoistway has a long lead time.

Elevator Types

Whose elevator equipment do you use?

We use non-proprietary, industry-standard components, which means any certified elevator
maintenance company can service our elevators. This includes independent contractors, as well
as the “big guys,” including Otis, Kone, etc.

Suppliers

Is replacement equipment easy to find, if needed?

Yes. Because we use industry-standard, non-proprietary parts, replacement equipment could be
easily tracked down and purchased. Here is a list of reputable suppliers we use for both
hydraulic and traction elevators.

Can any elevator mechanic work on your elevators?

Yes. Like any other commercial-quality elevator, any licensed elevator mechanic would be able
to diagnose and acquire parts for repair.

What are the advantages to using a modular elevator?

There are several advantages to modular over traditional elevator construction. The first is shorter lead time.  Using the modular solution, elevators are built horizontally in a factory setting, with the hoistway, car, and machine room built simultaneously. The result is that a fully assembled, high-quality elevator can leave our plant in eight weeks after the drawings have been approved.  Additionally, this option eliminates onsite challenges of inclement weather or other construction delays.
Another benefit is faster installation.  Modular elevators are manufactured as a completely finished product. The design makes it easy to crane the elevator into place in stackable 50’ sections. When a modular elevator arrives, it is ready for installation. In approximately one week (for hydraulic models), a fully-functioning elevator can be installed, tested, and ready for inspection, minimizing job site disruption.
High quality is another valuable benefit. Factory-built modular elevators meet strict quality and tolerance standards. Each elevator is checked daily for proper welds and alignment; the inspection team can simply walk the horizontal hoistway for quality control.  All of the elevator parts are the same found in stick-built elevators but assembled differently to maximize efficiency and lower risk. Also, all of our components are non-proprietary, making servicing and maintenance easier and less expensive.
Modular elevators also allow for safer construction. Modular elevators are safer to build because all work is done in a horizontal shaft. There is no scaffolding to erect and no mechanics dangling from ropes.  The on-site portion of the installation is much shorter, and work in the now-vertical hoistway is done from the car top rather than from work platforms, making the process safer and more convenient.

Are your elevators weatherproof?

The densglass-gypsum exterior is weather resistant for up to a year.

What are your pit requirements?

Pit size is dependent on each individual project, but a typical hydraulic elevator pit is 4’ deep. Our tower’s legs are 3’-11” long, made to sit an inch off the pit floor, with grout underneath to allow for adjustment if pit floor isn’t perfect.

A too-deep tower is better than a too-shallow tower.

The pit should be out-to-out steel dimensions and 1” on all sides for clearance when sliding the tower into the pit.

Enclosure of the elevator shaft stops at the top of pit. If needed or wanted, for above-ground pits, this can be extended.

If a customer needs the elevator to access the basement, we need a 4’ pit below the basement. If no elevator access to the basement is needed, the pit can be placed in the basement.

How many elevators have you built?

We have built hundreds of elevators. You can find some of them here.

Can you adjust the openings (hatch entrances) on site?

A difference of ½” or less in either direction is easily bridged by sloping the flooring. More than that takes more work. We weld the entrances in place, to the precise dimensions you provide. The frame can usually be moved up 2” or so by removing it, re-attaching it, and repairing the drywall around it, a day or so of field work. More than that, or a need to lower it, entails cutting and moving beams. This is a good reason to make sure you have precise measurements. Over the decades we have only had to move an entrance once and drawings we are provided are almost always spot on.

How much adjustment can be done on site to the door (in relation to travel)?

None. The lobby approach or plate accessing the door sill would need to be ramped up or down to make up the difference.

What is your shaft made of? What is the size of your x bracing?

The shaft is made of 4×4 inch tube steel. X-bracing is typically bar 2×1/2 and bar 2×1/4

What would the FLA and starting amps be?

Until our engineer produces submittals, we can only provide estimated FLA and starting amps based off previous projects with similar details. You tell us what your 3-phase voltage will be, and we will provide an estimate.

What power to you require?

We require 3-phase power. The voltage is up to you; most commonly, we see 208 and 480.

What is the slope of your flat roof? Sloped roof?

There is NO slope to our flat roof, it is truly flat. The sloped roof has a ¼:2 pitch.

Are all of your elevators self-supporting?

Our elevators are self-supporting up to 50’ of height, which is approximately 30-35’ of travel. Anything over 50’ will be built in multiple towers that need to be braced by the building.

Can your elevators take gravity and shear loads?

Our elevators can take some gravity loads; however, they are not designed to take shear loads.

Are your shafts fire rated?

Our shafts are 1 or 2-hour fire-rated, depending on project requirements.

Do your modular elevators require a pit?

All elevators have to have an elevator pit. Our hydraulic elevators have a 4’ pit, while our hydraulic MRLs have a 5’ pit. Traction elevator pit depth is project specific depending on size and travel distance.

Where can your elevators be placed?

Our elevators can be placed interior or exterior to the building. A common misconception is modular elevators can only be used for retrofit projects when the elevator is being placed on the outside of a building. This is not true, as we have done several new construction projects where the elevator is placed interior.

Do your elevators require a modular machine room?

Our typical hydraulic elevators require a machine room, but we also offer hydraulic MRLs where the machine room is built into the hoistway. The hydraulic MRL can be used for projects up to 24’ of travel, and where the access door opens to the inside to meet electrical clearances.

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