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Elevator and Escalator Consulting Engineers

Generic Equipment

The term "generic" equipment is used in the elevator business to denote equipment that is not manufactured by an elevator company but rather by a supplier to the elevator industry.

At one time, as with the Ford motor company, elevator companies such as Otis made virtually all of the elevator components from raw materials. They had foundries, machine shops, motor shops and all of the necessary factories to produce each piece of the elevator.

With the passage of time, this approach proved incompatible with the realities of modern manufacturing and more and more items were purchased from equipment vendors.

As an example of this, the Otis factory in Hamilton, Canada could produce virtually every part of every type of elevator. This factory was originally, in the early part of the 20th century, owned by the Fensom elevator company - a Canadian company. This company was merged with Otis to create Otis-Fensom and then later just Otis. The Hamilton factory was closed in the eighties as part of a program of rationalization of production.

In recent years the elevator companies, rather than manufacturing, have been purchasing much of their equipment. This has led to the development of companies that market their products almost exclusively to the industry rather than directly to the final user.

One of the long established companies in this area is GAL of New York. They make door operators and door equipment which is generally considered to be the standard in the industry. In addition, GAL has a sister company Hollister-Whitney which manufactures geared machines and a good economical rope brake.

The German company Ziehl-Abegg has been supplying elevator motors for some years as has the French company Leroy-Somer.

In fixtures, the Canadian company Dupar has a good line of devices. Their US89 line of pushbuttons has gained wide acceptance with architects based on appearance and in the industry based on performance.

All of these products compete with and in some cases replace various "in-house" products offered by the elevator manufacturers. The net result is that the end user has a wider choice of good products.