This is a big investment. How do I know I am choosing the right incline tram company?
This is probably the single most important question because this is a very confusing industry. There are a dozen companies out there saying the same thing. Make sure you research the competition. Most are just hybrids of the same product; meaning they do not do their own manufacturing and are not being truthful about who does. They portray themselves as independent but they are anything but. Marine Innovations produces the ONLY ENGINEERED INCLINE ELEVATOR in the industry, it is professionally designed in house to meet your site, terrain, elevation etc. as well as your needs and desires. To get through all the fog make sure you ask:
- Where is the product manufactured? What if I need parts and service?
- Will it be designed specifically for my hillside?
- What do you use for a braking system? Is your brake specifically designed for your product? Is it used in other applications?
- Do you have a specification sheet so I can compare with other companies?
- How long have you been in business?
- What is your company’s mission statement?
- Do you have engineering capabilities?
- How do you handle permitting if needed?
- Do you carry full liability, workman’s comp. and other insurance?
- Who does the installation? Are they trained properly? Are they employees or independent laborers?
- Are you familiar with the National ASME codes for incline trams?
- What is your warranty?
- Do you have references and photos of recent installs?
Why are some company’s prices so different than another’s?
It is all in the materials and components used as well as companies that flip flop their pricing. And it’s a buyer beware situation. Make sure you study the specs carefully so you know what you are paying for. If you pay too little now, it may cost you a lot later. In most cases it is NOT an apples to apples comparison. The gauge of steel; the type of drive system; the safeties and braking system used; the electrical panel; the type of structure; how it is installed. All can be quite different from one company to another. And all influence the price and quality of the tram. We firmly believe you get what you pay for. We also believe in offering systems at different price points. It is a competitive marketplace but like anything else price should not be the deciding factor. Safety and quality should be foremost in the decision process as this is carrying human beings.
What type of footing and rail system do you have and why is it important?
The proper footing system is extremely important to guarantee a safe installation, which is why an onsite evaluation and using the proper material is crucial. Marine Innovations, Inc. recognizes the importance of understanding the soil conditions of your property. Our representatives will analyze your specific needs and then design the footing system for your incline elevator accordingly.
Marine Innovations, Inc. uses 2” galvanized SS30 or SS40 pipe for your footing system which is a high alloy steel and is the best in the industry. If working in sand, gravel or clay, the installation crew will drive your supports at least 7 to 10 feet down with a hydraulic pounder. Many companies use only powder-coated thin wall tubing for their footing system and hand dig or auger them a few feet into the ground. Using this type of material causes instability in the complete system and powder-coated pipe will rust from the inside out regardless of using tube caps. Our process of pounding the pipe into the ground has very little or no impact on your hill, landscaping or environment, yet still provides the most secure structure system.
In rocky conditions, we will drill directly into the rock per engineered standards and set the supports in anchoring cement. Lastly, if there is additional cross bracing needed for uneven terrain, we will clamp around the structure using grade 8 u-bolts which is preferred over drilling directly into the supports which may weaken the support system and allow corrosion to start.
Our hillside rail system is made of 2”x3” galvanized 11 gauge enclosed tubing. We do not use a c-channel rail system since it allows for debris to build up inside the track. Our rail system can be flexible to work with all types of hillsides and gives us the ability to contour to the gradient of the hill. Also the depth of our track system allows the cable to be suspended above the track and cross members to prevent cable wear.
What will happen if the cable breaks or the equipment fails?
Marine Innovations uses galvanized 5/16” aircraft cable that has a 9,800 lb. breaking strength on our traction drive hill lift. This type of cable is commercial grade and is used in the aircraft industry as well as for many other applications. It is virtually impossible for this type of cable to break in the application we are using it for.
In the 25 years that Marine Innovations has been building and installing outdoor hill elevators, we have never had a cable break or equipment failure. However, you will have peace of mind knowing that if an over-speed is detected for any given reason while traveling up or down, our carriage will immediately come to a smooth stop because of the over speed governor and spring dampeners we use to absorb all shock. Be careful for systems that drop an arm down into the tracks’ crossmembers. The Elevator Safety Code will not recognize that as a braking mechanism nor does it allow the carriage to come to an immediate or gentle stop.
What makes your system safe?
Marine Innovations hill elevators meet or exceed the 2007 National Elevator Codes. Our systems include top and bottom landing controls which features an e-stop button.
Safety switches are included on our braking system which have endless advantages and are necessary for code compliancy. Marine Innovations also has a battery powered wireless technology and a supervised signal that is exclusive to our incline elevators and is a crucial component in the safety of your incline elevator. This means that your system will not operate if your carriage doors are open, which is an extra safety precaution, especially for small children.
Lastly, Marine Innovations incline elevators have multiple safeties which include a slack cable brake on carriage and motor, electronic safety brake and the over speed governor safety.
How do your carriage wheels work and why is it important?
Marine Innovations has specifically designed our carriage to ride on top of the track. This design is superior to other manufacturers. First, the wheels are exactly formed to fit perfectly around both sides of the track for guidance. Next, solid track guides are mounted on the wheel housings and then around the track to keep the carriage in place. These two design elements absolutely will not allow for any horizontal or vertical movement off of the rail system. The wheels are also enclosed by wheel housings. This is beneficial so debris, branches, snow, etc. is unable to obstruct the carriage wheels and cause uneven wear. The reason why it is important for the wheels to ride on top of the rail is because it allows easy access to inspect, maintain and lubricate each one of the wheels during your annual safety inspections. When carriage wheels are mounted inside the rail system, it becomes very difficult to properly maintain them.
What is the difference between a Traction drive and Drum drive system?
Marine Innovations, Inc. specializes in both traction drive and drum drive systems. Each is used in specific applications to increase efficiency. In a drum drive application, the cable is wound around a drum that winds and unwinds as the carriage travels up and down. Marine Innovations goes up to 130 feet with a drum drive system. With a track length over 130 feet, the drum diameter becomes big and bulky and a larger motor and gearbox is required to drive the system or a large cover or pit is necessary. This set up would not be efficient and would also allow the cable to lie in the track and cause wear.
In our traction drive system on hillsides over 130 feet, the cable is attached on the top and bottom sides of the trolley and the traction sheaves move the cable up and down. This system has no limits on length. In the winter where snow is present, the traction system will pull the carriage down towards the bottom of the hillside and will not rely on gravity to move it like the drum drive does. This option allows the mechanics to stay compact and proficient and includes our double roller assembly to support the cable to prevent cable wear.
What type of warranty and service does your company offer?
Service. Service. Service. Marine Innovations, Inc. offers a 1 year comprehensive warranty on all electrical components, 15 years on the structure and 3 years on the motor, gearbox, and brakes on all of our residential hill elevators. Not only do we offer a great warranty, but we also have a network of local certified dealers in place from coast to coast to make sure that any necessary warranty or service work is done in an extremely timely manner.
As the manufacturer, we also employ a full-time service staff that is available for general questions about your system. We will work with you until you have the complete answers you need. A Marine Innovations, Inc. certified service technician travels across the country usually between the months of April and September offering annual inspections and safety tests to make certain that your system is running smoothly and safely year after year. We will take care of you and your hill lift long after the sale is complete.
How can you guarantee that your company’s incline elevator will be right for my hillside?
Marine Innovations, Inc. has a lot invested in the design and engineering of our hillside lifts. We have also worked very hard in finding the right dealers and certifying them on how to complete an entire site evaluation and layout of your hillside as well as provide you with options and step-by-step details of our installation process. As a manufacturer, we guarantee that you will be getting exactly what you are expecting and more which is why the site evaluation and layout is extremely important. The site is analyzed so we can decide which one of our incline elevator systems will meet the defined specifications of your hill. After the site visit, your dealer or local representative will provide you with a firm quote for all materials and installation expenses that are needed for your installation so there will be no hidden costs. Our full-time engineering department is also available to assist you with specific design or permitting requirements along with meeting the precise specifications of your hillside.
Who will complete the installation of my incline elevator?
The installation process is equally important as the product itself which is why Marine Innovations, Inc. takes complete action in making sure every single installation is done just as it should be to keep you and your family safe. Your incline elevator will be installed by only Marine Innovations factory trained and certified installation crews and not just by any hired general contractors. As a manufacturer, we travel across the United States and beyond to train, oversee and certify our dealers and their crews to make sure your worry-free installation is done properly and to the exact guidelines of your original layout discussed with your local sales manager.