Recent Blog Posts

Replacement Safety Devices

When it is time to replace the safety device on your rack & pinion elevator, you may want to explore your purchase options.  New OEM, Recertified OEM, and STROS are all viable, code compliant options offering a wide range in pricing.

OEM Replacements

Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) parts are made by the elevator manufacturer.   Typically new OEM replacement safety devices will have the highest price tag.  Cores from the expired safety device must be returned to the supplier.

Recertified OEM

There are a number of third party companies that have designed engineered solutions for rebuilding and recertifying used safety devices.  The recertified safety device is code compliant and is typically more cost effective than new OEM safeties.  Cores from the expired safety device must be returned to the supplier.


STROS is an OEM rack & pinion elevator manufacturer with over 50 years of experience.  STROS has designed safety devices that are compatible with most brands of rack & pinion elevators and are code compliant.  STROS safety devices typically are lower priced than other OEMs.  Cores from the expired safety device must be returned to the supplier.

McDonough Elevators offers OEM, Recertified, and STROS safety devices.  No matter which solution fits your needs, McDonough has vetted the vendor to insure that the parts are of high quality and will offer safe, reliable, and code compliant service in your elevator. Let us help you determine the best option to fit your needs and budget.  You have more than one choice when it comes to replacing your expired safety device!

McDonough sells and installs replacement safety devices and performs code compliant full load drop tests.

OEM versus Aftermarket – Spare Parts for Elevators

If you are having your rack and pinion elevator maintained by the original manufacturer, chances are you will receive Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) parts. Just like in other industries (automobile, appliances and others), aftermarket parts exist for elevators.  Is there anything wrong with aftermarket parts? Does a less expensive part mean a poorer quality part? And in what situations should you use only OEM parts?

To answer these questions, we’ve created a list of pros and cons to help you make a more informed decision when choosing parts for your rack and pinion elevator. In this way, you can determine your best strategy to balance cost effectiveness with the function and reliability of your elevator.

Aftermarket Parts

An aftermarket part is any part for an elevator that is not sourced from the elevator manufacturer. A number of companies make parts designed to function the same, or in some cases even better than the original.  Additionally some manufacturers use outside suppliers’ parts in the original manufacturing process and they are labeled as such.


  • Less expensive:Aftermarket parts are usually less expensive than OEM parts; how much you save varies by brand. At McDonough Elevators, we shop around to find the best price and we can give you an idea of how much that part usually costs. If the price of a part seems too good to be true, we ask detailed questions about its quality.
  • Quality can be equal to or greater than OEM:In some cases, you may end up with a better part than the original.  Also, in many cases, there are only aftermarket parts available. It is typical for the aftermarket companies to reverse-engineer parts to correct some of the original issues.
  • More variety:There are many companies that make aftermarket parts. Some specialize in specific parts, and other companies make almost any part you can think of. More variety means greater selection and a wider range of prices.
  • Better availability:Using aftermarket parts means that you have better availability.  This is important if you are in a remote location.


  • Quality varies greatly: Some aftermarket parts can be inferior because of the use of lower-quality materials. Stick with aftermarket brands you’re familiar with or are recommended by an elevator service company that you trust, even if these parts cost a bit more.
  • May not have a warranty:To keep costs down, some aftermarket parts do not have a warranty.

OEM Parts

OEM parts are made by the elevator’s manufacturer. These match the parts that came with your elevator when it was installed.


  • Easier to choose your part:There is usually a part number and only one type that will work. You don’t have to worry about assessing the quality of different brands and prices.
  • Greater assurance of quality:The OEM part should work exactly as the one you are replacing. It is the part that was manufactured for the elevator and provides a peace of mind in its familiarity and performance.
  • Comes with a warranty:Most elevator companies back up their OEM parts with a warranty.


  • More expensive:OEM parts will usually cost more than an aftermarket part, as much as 60% more.
  • Need to be bought from the manufacturer: This limits the number of places from where you can buy. You can request OEM parts from your local service provider, but it may take longer to get your elevator repaired since the parts must be ordered and sometimes, manufactured.
  • Quality may not be superior:You paid the extra money for an OEM part, hoping that it was vastly better than an aftermarket part. Perhaps the original manufacturer has even said that you must use OEM parts or you are in violation of U.S. code requirements.  However, most buyers know that is a scare tactic and not an accurate statement.  Many aftermarket parts are equal to or better than OEM parts. So you might be paying extra for no valid reason.

Which Is the Best Way To Go?

This is a matter of reliability and value for money.  Whether you choose to use only OEM or prefer the flexibility of aftermarket parts, McDonough Elevators can help guide you to a decision that is best for your business.  And, as always, if the part is purchased through McDonough we stand behind it 100% regardless of whether it is OEM or aftermarket. Put our experience to work for you in providing the best in both cost effectiveness as well as peace of mind knowing that you have the best part for the job.

Eliminate Reactive Maintenance to Increase Elevator Longevity

Maintenance can be the largest controllable operating cost for our customers.  It is a critical business function that impacts not only plant operations, but also safety and environmental performance.  For McDonough Elevators, we believe proper maintenance of an elevator is important for worker productivity, safety and longevity of the equipment.  When properly maintained an elevator can have a lifecycle of up to 30 years.

Run to Failure Maintenance vs Preventative Maintenance

Our customers generally take one of two approaches.  The first approach is letting elevator maintenance be reactive, or “run to failure”.  RTF is when an organization chooses to wait until an elevator breaks down before servicing it. At the time of failure, the elevator is repaired and put back in service only to wait until the next failure. This method can be extremely expensive and greatly reduces the reliability and life expectancy of the equipment. On the other hand, many customers use a predictive and preventative approach, where maintenance on the elevator is preplanned and performed at regular intervals (typically monthly or quarterly).

Dangers of Reactive (Breakdown) Maintenance

We view regularly scheduled maintenance as the key to getting the most years out of your elevator.  It is more effective if an elevator is properly maintained from the beginning of its lifecycle.  We have been called in to help customers where an elevator has been neglected for many years.  For these elevators it is more costly and challenging to bring them back to a level of reliability due to years of abuse.  In some cases, they are beyond an easy repair.  They require a major upgrade or need to be completely replaced.

Preventative Maintenance Programs

McDonough Elevators offers preventative maintenance programs based around the simple concept of keeping your elevator both safe and reliable to operate. The company’s programs provide data to help anticipate component failure and aid in planning the needed repair.  Parts and repairs can be budgeted and become more cost effective.

Planned Elevator Maintenance

McDonough provides preventative maintenance plans for all brands of rack and pinion elevators. The company is committed to ensuring the elevators under its maintenance plans are well maintained to prevent downtimes. The process is designed to be transparent, allowing McDonough’s customers to know the current and historical condition of their elevators at all times. Together, we can create the optimal plan for maintaining your elevators.

For more information, call (866) 497-3654.

Built To Outlast Them All

We like to brag about the strength and durability of our elevators. McDonough Elevators are built to perform in extreme, intense working conditions. What makes them strong enough to stand up to the harshest of environments? The thickness of our car walls and the bracing of our frames support all reaction loads so the frame and car do not twist or deform over time. Our steel support members are rolled to ensure rigidity. All components are manufactured in Europe or the United State to the toughest of standards. An elevator is a heavy duty piece of equipment and we believe it should be built to last longer than a lawn mower.

Do you know where your elevator was manufactured?

Many times we have been requested to provide the Country of Origin for our elevators. As the term was originally conceived, Country of Origin was supposed to be a single location which encapsulated the brand’s origin, the place of design, and the place of production. Globalization has challenged this concept, resulting in a growing differentiation between the Country of Origin of the brand, the place of design, and the place of production, which potentially creates more confusion.

When a product is wholly obtained and produced in a single country, it is relatively easy to determine its origin. Difficulties arise in determining origin for goods manufactured in, assembled in, or using materials originating in, more than one country.  McDonough Elevators is a proud partner of the Czech Republic rack and pinion elevator manufacturer, STROS. All of the components used in manufacturing a STROS elevator originate from European countries or the United States only. We find the easiest way to describe the origin of the equipment we sell is to list the components and countries from which they originate. For example, Brakes – France; Electrical Components – Germany; Steel – Italy. All STROS elevators are assembled in the Czech Republic. By providing this information, we feel we are completely transparent concerning the Country of Origin and the quality of the equipment we sell.

We believe full transparency is best because we consider safety as one of the primary factors associated with sourcing elevators. A key aspect of the safety of an elevator lies in the material used to create the components. For example, many of our customers will not accept steel sourced from certain countries. This is because some countries are known for producing inferior products, as diverse as steel, hot-rolled coil (used for grating), sulfurous drywall, and more. Stros and McDonough Elevators take these safety concerns seriously and prove it by providing our sourcing policies.

Therefore, if you would like to know more about our elevators and components, please let us know. We are happy to share our Country of Origin.

Replacement Elevator Parts Available for Immediate Shipment

McDonough Elevators has recently launched a new e-commerce quote cart to better service our clients’ immediate needs for spare elevator parts.

In order to meet the demand for replacement elevator parts, we have stock of key rack and pinion elevator, construction hoist, and industrial hoist rollers/bearings, overspeed safety devices, electrical equipment, brake parts, and mechanical parts for immediate shipment to ensure minimum equipment downtime.

We have spare parts for all major elevator manufacturers including:

  • Stros
  • PEGA
  • Alimak

Additionally, if you don’t see your needed parts shown in our online database, we can stock inventory on your behalf that you can request on an “as-needed” basis. If this is the case, contact us today!


Without a doubt, everyone has heard of the Polar Vortex. The Polar Vortex is not new but it has gained attention because of its great name and the idea that colder weather is moving further south. This is important for rack and pinion elevators because weather can have many adverse effects on safe operation.  Be sure to prepare your rack and pinion elevator for the winter season.

Ensuring your pit sump is in good working order will prevent the possibilities of ice and snow build up in the pit.  Frozen trolleys and car frames can result from the accumulation of water.

The elevator should never be operated with a buildup of ice and snow on the tower.   This buildup can cause trolleys to freeze resulting in costly damage to the traveling cable.  Falling ice is another concern with great safety risks.

Call McDonough Elevators and we can advise you on how to winterize your equipment properly for your weather conditions.   We have a 51 point checklist that includes adjusting the temperature on the machine heater for the season.

Should I inventory Spare Parts for my Elevator?

Many customers request a capital and operating spare parts list when a new rack and pinion elevator is purchased.  Creating a spare parts list for older equipment can also be a productive exercise. The decision becomes the cost of inventorying a part for extended periods of time versus having spare parts readily available at the time of need.  A useful calculator to determine if you should keep parts in inventory or wait until failure is located at  Our team can help you determine the critical and high use parts which are essential for your elevator.

Preventative maintenance programs key to elevator reliability

Reliability means everything. A key part of reliability is maintenance. Reliability of an industrial elevator is an important factor in determining the overall success and profitability of a facility. Every day hundreds of thousands of personnel and tons of material are transported through elevators across the world. To have an elevator performing optimally is the heart of a facility’s reliability, and the key determining factor in long-term elevator reliability is preventative maintenance.

There is no good time for an elevator to break down. Reducing equipment downtime and associated costs is the strongest advantage for conducting planned preventative maintenance versus a run to failure (RTF) strategy. RTF is when an organization chooses to wait until an elevator breaks down before servicing it. At the time of failure, the elevator is repaired and put back in service only to wait until the next failure. This system can be extremely expensive and greatly reduces the life expectancy of your equipment.

Elevators are a major capital investment and a vital part of productivity and safety in an industrial facility. History has shown that without preventative maintenance breakdowns occur during the most inconvenient time. Often they occur at the most critical time of a project. The end result is lost revenue and loss of confidence through the halt in production or project delays. Breakdowns at critical times also have a cascading effect on the cost of repair through unplanned labor expenses, quick replacement part deliveries and parts availability.

McDonough Elevators offers many preventative maintenance programs based around the simple concept of keeping your elevator both safe and reliable to operate. Its programs allow McDonough to schedule the best time to perform maintenance based upon the customer’s needs. The company’s programs also allow it to predict many aspects of component failure and plan the needed repair. Through this planning, repairs can be budgeted and become cost effective.

McDonough provides preventative maintenance plans for all brands of rack and pinion elevators. The company is committed to ensuring the elevators under its maintenance plans are maintained to prevent downtimes. The company offers innovative and expert maintenance with more than 3 0 years of experience in the industry. Its knowledgeable and professionally trained technicians follow a 50-plus point preventative maintenance checklist on every elevator. Training, experience and documentation ensure a high quality standard of service. The process is designed to be transparent, allowing McDonough’s customers to know the current and historical condition of their elevators at all times.

“Preventative maintenance is the key to long-term reliability of equipment,” said Kevin Harrison, manager of operations for McDonough Elevators and a rack and pinion expert. “It ensures the machines are safe to operate as well as predictive in nature. Problems are identified and addressed prior to breakdowns at inopportune times.”

Elevator equipment needs to be reliable and perform consistently as it is intended. McDonough Elevators can help you devise the optimum plan for your facility.

For more information, call (866) 497-3654.

(Originally published in BIC Magazine, May 2014)

Can I install my elevator?

A common question while meeting with clients is, “Does the manufacturer or their representatives have to install the elevators or can it be installed by others?” This is a good question as there are many factors which should be considered and the owner ultimately know and understand before making their decision.  Let us start by saying an elevator is very difficult to install properly.  If done improperly, unsafe conditions may occur as well as the life expectancy of the elevator can be greatly reduced.

In an effort to save money, clients may explore this avenue only to find out it costs them more money in the long run.  Elevator manufacturers and their representatives are trained to install elevators correctly per the manufacturer’s recommendations and guidelines.  The result is an elevator installed efficiently to high quality standards.

We suggest that a good place to start is to get competitive quotes for equipment and installation.  Compare the installation cost and time to install.  If comparing against in-house labor, double the in-house labor hours to come up with an evaluation on overall cost.