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Not like they used to
Cadman-LT   5/20/2012 9:04:01 PM
I would say they cut a corner there for costs. As the saying goes they don't make them like they used to. What is a bearing or bushing really cost anyway? I just hope you examined the new unit before using it to make sure it was built better! I don't think manufacturers actually realize that by skimping on one little part like that that they can tarnish their brand forever. Fools.

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Re: Missing bearing breaks opener
Contrarian   5/9/2012 11:52:43 AM
I have an identical pair of Liftmaster openers that open the two doors of my garage.  They were about 10 years old when one day the wife hit the button and the opener dropped the drive sprocket and a few other assorted parts onto the top of the car.  Not sure if this is the same brand as the one in the article but it was a similar failure mode.  Turns out there was an inexpensive rebuild kit available from a local garage door dealer so I installed the kits in both openers (repair for one, preemptive for the other), and both have been working fine for another 5 or so years now.  The kits are way cheaper than a new opener, are easy to install in-place, and once every 10 years seems like a useful service life to me even considering it probably shouldn't happen in the first place.

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Re: Design without bearings
JimT@Future-Product-Innovations   4/29/2012 10:19:46 PM
3DROB -- you and I are on the same page.  Yes, it USED to work well.  Stock-holders had inputs and CEOs listened.  Unfortunately, the entire NYSE and other major indices are running on corporate standards that were designed in the 1930's and even earlier. It just doesn't work well anymore -- to all of the points you've detailed -- because there is no accountability.  Another rotten system that long-ago had meaningful value is the concept of labor unions.  Once a method to protect hard working individuals, but today, are equally as corrupt as the very companies they oppose, and still with no sense of accountability.  These are GOD-sized issues I cannot begin to correct.

Charles Murray
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Re: Missing Bear Breaks Garage Door Opener
Charles Murray   4/27/2012 7:27:50 PM
Missing Bear Breaks Garage Door Opener? Sounds like we need a new Design News column: Designed by Grizzlies.

Nancy Golden
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Missing Bear Breaks Garage Door Opener
Nancy Golden   4/26/2012 6:56:42 PM

I don't have anything to add to what has already been observed, although nothing surprises me at what is done as cost reduction measures anymore. What I did find amusing was that what I first thought the article was about was a missing bear (presumably from the local zoo) that broke into someone's garage :)

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Re: Low Price over Quality
tekochip   4/26/2012 1:45:24 PM
Be careful with the quiet model. When my friend installed mine he said, "OK, I'll give you the quiet one, but you're going to hit it". Sure enough, about a year later my wife hit the door. She removed her sunglasses from the visor, flipped the visor back up, which closed the switch on the opener clipped to her visor. She started backing out and since the door made no sound at all, she hadn't noticed that it was moving and drove into the half closed door. My friend was delighted to fix the door and shower me with one "I told you so" after another.

Larry S.
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Low Price over Quality
Larry S.   4/26/2012 12:05:11 PM
Unfortunately, as with many consumer products, manufacturers focus on low prices as opposed to quality.  However, when offered a choice, many consumers would prefer a high-quality product rather than one designed to meet a 'competitive price point'.  I recently purchased a premium garage door and asked the installer to replace my 20-year-old opener at the same time.  He suggested a whisper-quiet, premium priced opener:  I agreed and am glad I did - guests are amazed at the quiet and quality of the new installation - about 30% higher than the 'cheap' model!

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OLD_CURMUDGEON   4/24/2012 10:34:34 AM
The author of this story should NOT have been bashful to name the company responsible for this pathetic design.  Naming the company will alert others AND will force some embarrasment to the company.  SALES are JOB #1 @ the HUMUNGOUS MANUFACTURING CO. INC of the WORLD!!!!  And, DON'T ever forget that!!!

I don't recall the author mentioning the type of garage doors that were affected.  One blogger mentioned that the doors are supposed to be "balanced", and that's IS certainly true for a professional installation.  However, IF the door (or doors) were manufactured from wood (which many are!), AND they have been installed for a long time, there are two likelihoods which no one considers.  First, wood is porous, and therfore soaks up moisture.  Depending on the environment, these doors may have become considerably heavier as they aged.  Also, it is conceivable that since they may have been wood construction, they were also painted or stained & varnished.  Again, several coats of paint over the lifetime of these doors could also add considerable weight that wasn't present when the doors were installed & balanced.

These factors, and more, could have easily changed the dynamic of the system, and therefore caused the motor to exert more torque moment to the system, thereby accelerating the wear of the shaft/"bearing" design.  While I am in no way supporting an substandard design, I bring these concepts to the fore ONLY to alert people that the "Law of Unintended Consequences" can rear its ugly head in a myriad of ways!




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Re: Design without bearings
3drob   4/24/2012 7:10:08 AM
JimT, I agree with your ranking of Emloyee's, Customers, and stock-holders.  However, this used to be a ranking that worked. 

In the old days, people owned stock, and if the CEO started over compensating themselves, they got booted (no one likes seeing their own money get pilfered into someone elses pockets).  At the same time, if you owned part of a company, you wanted it well run, so you were willing pay for good people.  So there was this balance between being well compensated and over compensated.

The problem happened when 401K's and funds started being the primary stock-holders.  That level of indirection made the fund runners the effective stock-holders (is proxy the term?).  Who runs the funds?  Other CEO's.  So they start feeding off of each other's greed and self absorption and now they are all over compensated (actually it's a "let them eat cake" level of compensation). 

What happens when a company doesn't do well?  The fund runner's dump the stock and the CEO's jump ship.  There is no feed back to the people that own the funds because the fund continues to do well.  The company, however, fails (usually under the next CEO's watch).  Everyone's horizon is no longer 5 or 20 years because they know that the investors (fund runners) only care about the extreme short term.

The sad thing is that American companies (that only care about profits in the next 6 months) can't compete in a world market (who's companies care about the next 6 years) because of this. 

Being an Engineering blog, is there a solution that can fix this?

User Rank
Re: Confirmed
jmiller   4/23/2012 8:58:29 PM
I think there's a lesson to be learned for all of us out there that have electric openers.  The opener is not supposed to have the push the door down really hard or pick up the door completely.  The  springs should hold the door about half way open.  Then the opener has to do just a little work to put it down or pick it up.  Might be worth going home and disconnecting the opener from the door to see where you're goes.  However, only do this if you have a clue of what you are doing.  Adjusting springs can be very dangerous.

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