Proprietary or Non proprietary : LUSENET : Elevator Problem Discussion : One Thread

Dear all which type of elevator control is best? How will be the future? my friend telling only non proprietary will survive. your comments please...

-- (, March 02, 2005


Hi There, There has been a shift in the world of some elevator consultants to choose company OEM controls and get away from the old drum beat of non proprietary controls and for good reason. If the company controls are chosen there is no excuse when putting in a job that the other party control company was at fault with support or other reasons on job problems the buck stops with the company to fix the equipment. The other is cost, the so called non prporitary controls are roughly double of what the majors can supply.

The other is support is not what it used to be, the days of the free 800 number and ready solutions to problems is over. Now its the gocha attitude and what is the visa card number before thay can help you attitude is more common. You have to work it right and get all the job problems out when a jobs finished before the free tech suport warrenty expires otherwise it will cost you.

The best solution on most and larger jobs is the company OEM controls with an open arcitecture design with no secret service tools and hidden parts list information.

-- Jim (, March 02, 2005.

I can't argue with that for a very large job Jim, but what equipment fits into those terms?


-- Dan (, March 02, 2005.

Funny timing. I got a flyer today from Virginia Controls that says "No case numbers or call center. Personal Service from the engineer that designed the product, and it's free."

That's more like it.


-- Dan (, March 02, 2005.


Do you think you could offer us more information to this quote? Which OEM are you suggesting offers this?

"OEM controls with an open architecture design with no secret service tools and hidden parts list information".


I received the same flyer as you. And speaking from personal experience VA controls has always live up to their words.

Work safely,


-- Jon (, March 03, 2005.

There will come a day when all the big boys have taken all the bit part players (NO DISREPECT INTENDED TO ANYONE) out of circulation, by either takeover or price war, and then the only people left will be the component suppliers who will have no market to sell to. Or the other option is the big boys will take the component suppliers out of the picture, which will have the same effect on the bit part players who have no manufacturing capability. Either way the customer will bear the brunt of the lack of competion and shops/ hotels/ housing will all see a rise in their costs which the customer/ client / tenant will be hit with. We have already had romours of Kone taking TKE, TKE taking Schindler,Schindler taking etc.etc. so they are all looking to see who they can take next. You can bet your last pound euro dollar yen that if there are only the big 4 left you will find it increasingly hard to get promoted or even move from company to company, especially if you have really pissed one of them off. Work safe guys

-- geoff judge (, March 03, 2005.

I disagree that proprietary equipment is the way to go. On the contrary, there are a number of non-proprietary companies out there that make an excellent product that anyone can work on (without a special tool) and that provide excellent support. Someone mentioned Virginia Controls. Another excellent option is MCE. THey have great controllers and always an engineer on the phone to answer troubleshooting questions. And, the equipment is not that expensive and runs easily as well as the majority of their competitors.

Non proprietary is the way to go these days because as there are fewer and larger elevator companies, the prices are only going to go up. Non-proprietary equipment puts the power back in the customer's hands to be able to choose the company they want, not just the one who installed the equipment.

-- Jim B (, March 03, 2005.

If your an architect or a building owner, your crazy to even consider non-proprietary equipment... Why ? ZERO ACCOUNTABILITY !!!!

What happens when the "mom and pop" shop that installed your MCE or VA Controls gets their first "real" lawsuit, like a door knocking some lady down and she breaks her hip, your SOL...

And besides, who needs a middle man installing someone else's equipment...

Company's that manufacture and install THEIR own equipment are the only way to go, they are totally accountable in the end and you'll recieve the product you expected and paid for...

-- Will (, March 03, 2005.

That would be great if the big boys were ONLY intalling systems that they have built themselves. several of the above boys have been installing elevators and controllers that have benn manufactured for them and then rebadged to suit.

As a (working) director of one of the so called Mom and Pop companies, I have just paid many thousands of pounds for my annual insurance for employee and public liability. £10 million cover for each. we have not claimed in the past twenty years, and I hope never to have to claim, but it is there.

We are as accountable as Otis or Kone etc. We are accountable to our reporting body (British Standards), Health and Safety Executive, and to our professional body.

-- Richard (, March 03, 2005.


Well Said. My company has the added benifit of being able to show that we were there for all of the scheduled maintenance, yours probably does also.

As for proprietary being the only way to go as mentioned above, that's silly. Non proprietary equipment gives the customer freedom. If there is open architecture propreitary equipment, and the manufacturer will provide updates and fixes, fault information, etc., at a reasonable cost, then it should be considered also.


-- Dan (, March 03, 2005.

Agreed, all current "proprietary" manufacturers are or will be offering their versions of non proprietary systems. On board diagnostics initially will still lack true capability for awhile, until customers become informed enough to specify those systems that are truly stand alone. The companies that evolve the quickest will earn the reputation of being "user friendly" and command a growing market share. The growing pains of today's non-prop. companies, MCE being the leader, are difficult to live with, long waits for support and a fee for the assistance, but they've got the right idea. At least that's my thoughts on what's ahead...

-- Cliff (, March 03, 2005.

I'd agree with Geoff here - in a globalised economy there will ultimately be a limited amout of corporate giants. We are already experiencing their financial power - they have been buying the smaller companies out for years; and eventually will try to buy each other out. The sad thing about this is the competition becomes less and therefore will begin to restrict the creative forces at work. Non Propriety is being phased out by the majors and eventually there will be no support for such products. I have worked for two of the big 4 and seen them phase out some good technology of competitors they've swallowed up. It's all about greed.

-- Ray (, March 04, 2005.

if you think motion is non proprietary you are wrong, they are the one you need to watch out for. i believe i read they have 10,000 or more units running out there? give them more time and see what it cost for a board or support, their books are also alittle misleading. i believe soon they will go into the service end in a few years, mark my words.

-- smokinjoe (, March 04, 2005.

I could be wrong. but the more the big 4 consolodate and buy up, the more market there will be for the small companies to take up the slack.

It's funny how disastisfied (pissed off)customers come our way. One month it'll be Otis, then Thyssen. This month it's schindler for some reason.


-- Dan (, March 04, 2005.


And if the truth were known, these disgruntled customers are trying to get out of paying a bill for a billable overtime callback or callbacks, and some mom and pop, fly by night, little guy elevator company that charges next to nothing, that doesn't have anywhere near the ability to maintain their equipment, is going to be their savior...

Been there, done that, got the t-shirt...

And guess what, after it's all over, these customers pay their bills and go back with the OEM...

Anything the little guy does is short term, doesn't matter the manufacturer...

-- Will (, March 04, 2005.


You'd be a troll no matter who you work for. Only took you a week to start crapping on everyone after your last beating.

Ever try being nice?


-- Dan (, March 04, 2005.


Bite my ass...

I only took time THIS time to digest the contrary tripe you added to this posted question...

YOUR biggest problem IS that I'm right, and your still a miniscule dickhead in the elevator business...

Move on asshole, you are in NO WAY ANY FUCKING COMPETITION FOR ME...

-- Will (, March 04, 2005.

Can some please shut this TKE Asshole up and shove his TAC 20 up his ass along with his useless OST tool.

Go back to fixing your little two stop hydros in the sticks and worry about what piece if crap your company is coming out with next.

-- Bob (, March 04, 2005.


Scroll up just a little, and you'll find where you said that the independant companies go out of business the first time they get sued. Pure BS as usual.

Scroll up and you'll find where you said that independants only get your non paying customers. Again Pure BS.

Scroll up and find your excellent advise that says that someone would be crazy to even consider non-proprietary equipment. Pure BS as usual (and really bad advise).

Scroll and you'll see where you said that companies that manufacture their own equipment are totally accountable. (Tell that to all the folks that bought the battery jobs 15 years ago). Pure BS

You either get your facts by using the PFA method, or from the suck up handbook.

The problem with letting you go unchecked is that someone outside the trade might read your crap, and actually think that your spew is credible.


-- Dan (, March 04, 2005.


Your statements,--- "And if the truth were known, these disgruntled customers are trying to get out of paying a bill for a billable overtime callback or callbacks, and some mom and pop, fly by night, little guy elevator company that charges next to nothing, that doesn't have anywhere near the ability to maintain their equipment, is going to be their savior...

Been there, done that, got the t-shirt...

And guess what, after it's all over, these customers pay their bills and go back with the OEM...

Anything the little guy does is short term, doesn't matter the manufacturer... "

I agree that many of the people are trying to get away from really extortionate charges for callouts and repairs. we had one last week who asked our opinion on a bill for £9579 (approx $17,000) for replacing a broken keway in a motor. The Major company took away the gear and motor for 2 weeks before returning it. It is a job that SHOULD have taken about 2 hours on site. total cost £100 incusive.

163 years experience in the lift trade in our small company, so we can fix MOST problems straight away. Our main problem is the new major manufacturer eqipment that we do not have software for. To be honest, we don't want it as we have plenty of work sorting out the lifts we get offered every week, so we can turn down those unfortuate people who have bought into the "Corporate Ideal" with Kone, Otis or TKE.

We don't need to be fly by night. We make a better profit margin than United Technologies on percentage of turnover, and we have our marketplace as do the big boys.

Occasionally a customer does go back to the OEM, but I will bet a pound to a penny that 90% of them will be back to US, complainig they have been overcharged by Otis again

-- Richard (, March 06, 2005.


Just how in the hell do you replace a "keyway" in a motor shaft ?

You replace the "key" in a few hours, you have to take a motor to a machine shop to cut a "keyway"...

Even though WE all know what you meant... smarten up...

-- Will (, March 06, 2005.

Ahhhh! You are quite correct, imperfections in thinking!

-- Richard (, March 07, 2005.

Seem's to me there is a place here in the industry for all of good aand bad can be said in favor of the big 4 and the small guys, however one thing I've noticed with the smaller companies when they can't fix it they tend to cut and run, and I'm not refering to Tac 50, Miconic TX R5 or 411's, I'm talking about some pretty simple stuff. For example grounds on a Westinghouse relay traction 12 call's in due to carbon build up and the customers told MOD with MCE or were out. A month later were on the job and fix it and the customers claim they are still getting bill's from the mom and pop shop it's comical really. Anyone who installs MCE as easy, user friendly and non propriety is kidding themselves, there are other control manufaturers like EC and Minnesota who are willing to give manuals, tech support with out any hassles. They jump through burning hoops to please you to get your work the next time. All in all think of it this way do you want a Ford or Chevy or do you want something designed in a garage, I believe you still better off with one of the big 4, and if I had to go with non propriety I'd choose anyone but MCE. Also to lend a little credit to they guy who said MCE would be doing installs and maint. soon, here in Florida they bought General Elevator Service Company, could be a big 5 soon enough. Stay safe guy's.

-- george (, March 07, 2005.

I for one have no problem with a Ford, but, it does annoy me a little when so many people think that just because you are not a multinational, that you could not possibly be capable of mending an elevator.

We carry about £5000 ($8500) worth of spares in our vans so that we can immediately repair/replace on the majority of our jobs and keep the elevator in service.

The big 4 or 5 carry a sheet so that they can order a part that (hopefully) will be here tomorrow.

In my area, most of the elevators are in hotels and nursing homes. They rely wholly on their elevator. Without it, even for one day, they are dead in the water. Who is providing the service here?

Now I know that this situation may not be the same everywhere, but that is how it is in the SW of the UK.

-- Richard (, March 07, 2005.


"Also to lend a little credit to they guy who said MCE would be doing installs and maint. soon, here in Florida they bought General Elevator Service Company, could be a big 5 soon enough."

I do appreciate the kind comments in the past through your various posts regarding General Elevator S & S, Inc. But I would ask that you understand the situation BEFORE you state misleading statements.

MCE did not buy General and neither did the Jupiter group as you asserted the other day. I thought that was cleared up already but if you would like to post a question regarding the true status of General I'm sure you will get the answer you desire.

Warm regards and due respect,


-- norm swan (, March 07, 2005.


I'm sure there are mom and pops who cut and run. You can find the worst in both worlds.


-- Dan (, March 07, 2005.

George, I was given 20 12 pulse MCE gearless awhile ago and have had some battles but the manuals provided have been instructive enough for me to not only keep the units going but to actually readjust them when required. My infrequent calls to MCE support are a hassle but anything I need, including software, I get right away. I feel alot more supported with these units than the miconics, tac50s, gammas and 411s I have to deal with. As those smaller non-prop. companies get as large as MCE I'm sure their quality of support will be similar as well.

-- Cliff (, March 07, 2005.

Norm, I no disrespect intended, if I got the General info wrong, also it was not my intenet to include General as a mom and pop shop, if anything I hold General up with Thyssen, Otis and Schindler as a tough competitor who provides great service. Your company puts others like Mowery, Abel, Power and Florida to shame. Again no disrespect.

-- george (, March 08, 2005.

I think it would be pretty easy to get a consensus that there are plusses and minuses to both big and small companies. Mom and Pop might "cut and run" from time to time, but i have seen this more with big companies. For a small company, every job is it's life blood. But i have seen my company dump contracts because we either couldn't fix it, or felt it wasn't worth it. Big companies treat customers like playing cards sometimes; "Don't need this one anymore." It isn't about service, but about money alone. Hell, i can't even get my supervisor to call my customers back about legitimate requests.

As far as MCE is concerned, i agree with Dan that the support has been there when needed (software or otherwise). And, I am curious, not inferring here because i don't know, but does TKE, Otis, etc. offer training to other non-company personnel on their proprietary equipment like MCE does? They don't discriminate; they just want you to be able to fix their equipment.

-- Jim B (, March 08, 2005.


None taken.

Back on topic...

The consultants in my area as far as I see specify NON-P. More often lately, the spec reads MCE by name. Gets rid of the grey area some OEM’s try by saying their controllers are “generic” or “Anyone can work on this stuff” or “it’s only as proprietary as any other controller. “

The one consultant that did recommend OEM in the past changed his mind after getting heat from his customer when repeatedly the chosen OEM was non-responsive in repairs and maintenance. What good is the latest wing ding or any if the only group that fixes it has the attitude of I'll fix it when I'm ready if you ask real nice. He had his reputation to think of.


-- norm swan (, March 08, 2005.

I dunno maybe it's me. But when I buy an aircontioner for my home I bought a Carrier, when I bought a car I got an Expedition, when I bought a PC I bought a Dell, toilets american standard etc...l Right down to my Boxers Fruit of the Loom. I just think in the over all scheme of things your better off going with the name brands. Probably why I got pissed when my mom bought me tough skins and I wanted Levis LOL, I'm a believer in you get your money's worth when you buy quality, I don't see MCE as being sophisticated tech. wise as OTIS, Thyssen, Schindler or Kone. I do believe there is room enough for us all in this trade and the big 4 should be more forth comming with tech. data for others to maintain there equipment, to a limit, I mean you won't find Ford teaching GM tech.'s the finer points of a Mustang GT hence you shouldn't expect OTIS to teach Schindler guy's the same they should however give error codes etc... but if they did that this forum wouldn't exsist and I wouldn't have so much fun reading all the material as I do now, I'd be forced to pay attention to my wife, that would confuse the crap out of her, oh well 6 or so month's till football season.. Later..........>>

-- george (, March 08, 2005.

I'm not a big MCE fan, just because of their new attitude toward helping their customers (We use another brand), but their new stuff seems pretty sophisticated.

Having said that, there are many products out there that really don't need updated. The Otis 411 has been around for a while, and is a good running unit. I would say that they could pretty much update the unit to meet new code if they have to with just software changes unless something radically different makes it into the newest code. The only reasons to update it other than code is lack of parts availability, or to make it cheaper to build, but how much is saved?

How much more sophisticated do we need these things to be? I'd say dependable and safe is what we should be looking for.


-- Dan (, March 08, 2005.

george (,

thanks for putting this all in perspective, i agree with you 100 % all the way down the line, especially the part about the wife and football season ...

having lost a wife and having dated a ton of women makes you really appreciate football...

-- Will (, March 08, 2005.

George, I am curious if when you had your air conditioner put in, if you had it put in by carrier. Is it a specialized unit that Carrier will have to come out to fix if it breaks, or can you do it yourself. Also, i am not sure that you can compare your Levi's or boxers to an elevator because they don't require service by trained personnell to keep them going (aside from your wife's ability to wash them ;) ). And i agree that you won't find Otis giving training to Schindler or TKE guys. That was sort of my point. You wouldn't expect them to because the equipment is proprietary, and that is precisely the problem. Ford wouldn't train a GM guy, but GM could get every bit of information that Ford has, and so could you and I for that matter. Not so with a 411 and the like. Jim.

-- Jim B (, March 08, 2005.

Will, At last we agree, theres always a first, wait we also agreed the North Carolina area is a beautiful place to live :), Jim, Actually I did have carrier install my AC and no it's not a special unit, but I did the research I asked questions and spoke to AC repair guys in town and on job sites and Carrier had everything I desired smooth and quite and economical. The part in my post about levi's and boxers was for a laugh but you also got my point. As for the codes and what not I have no problem helping guy's here or in town as tech.'s we should for the betterment of our trade. I see as the same way my dad handed down info to me and his dad to him and so on, but until the courts step in you will never see TKE, Schindler or the big O give up the info willingly. I think that this site kinda helps a bit with that aspect though. Later..... God please make the NFL a 20 game season for me and Will can talk some more...LOL

-- George (, March 08, 2005.

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