10 Expos in 20 Years of Interlift


A recap of the 2011 Interlift held October 18-21 in Augsburg, Germany

The theme of the 2011 Interlift event held in Augsburg, Germany, on October 18-21 was “10 in 20.” This theme was adopted to celebrate the 20-year anniversary of the joint venture between German elevator association VFA-Interlift e.V. and German conference organizer AFAG Messen & Ausstellungen GmbH, during which this remarkable partnership produced 10 Interlift expositions. This event has grown through the years to become the largest elevator industry trade show in the world. Planning for the first one actually began when conversations and meetings between the two organizations commenced in 1986, and after five years of planning, the first actual Interlift event was held in 1991. During this first event, it was agreed that to effectively accommodate planning by the organizers and the rest of the international elevator industry of what was felt could become a huge biannual elevator trade show, subsequent events should be held in the same location and at the same time of year. This concept is what has been implemented and allowed Interlift to become the world’s largest elevator-industry event.

Opening Ceremony

The event started off with an opening ceremony, during which Heike Konicke of AFAG and Achim Hütter of VFA provided opening remarks expressing a warm welcome to the attendees and appreciation for the support provided by Interlift participants. Konicke also announced that the 2011 event marked a milestone for its organizers, as it was the 20th anniversary of the VFA/AFAG partnership and the 10th such event. Following a presentation of Interlift’s history that described its growth since it was conceived in 1986, the 2011 Interlift statistics were provided. It was reported that 499 exhibitors had been booked for the event, and, using the typical four-to-one attendee-to-exhibitor ratio that has historically been the case for Interlift, it was anticipated that the number of attendees could easily exceed the 2009 event’s attendance of just over 18,000 visitors.

Next on the agenda was a recognition ceremony for the AFAG and VFA staff members, who have worked diligently to organize Interlift. As the stage filled with smiling and appreciative people, the audience applauded the award recipients for their efforts on behalf of the international elevator industry as cameras clicked and flashed to record this monumental event.

Following brief appreciative remarks by representatives of ANICA (Italian elevator components association) and the European Federation for Elevator Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (EFESME), the final presentation of the opening event was made by well-known footballer Oliver Kahn, who has received three awards for being Europe’s best goalkeeper. Kahn pointed out similarities between the challenges taken by athletes and business executives and how they can and should be transformed into successful leadership skills and team-building characteristics. He provided examples of how to display leadership qualities that will gain respect from your colleagues by being a part of the team, acting with pride in your company and doing the most that you can to make your organization successful.


The major aspect of Interlift (which takes up most of the attendees’ time and attention)  is its exhibits. All of the Messe Augsburg fairground’s exhibit halls were full, and there were even some stands set up in the passageways between the main halls. Throughout the event, all of the exhibits were busy, and the aisles were often quite congested.

The Technical Forum presentations were consistently well attended with many of the presentations made to standing room only audiences. The association conferences and meetings held during the event were also very well attended, and at each of the press conferences (during which numerous companies announced the introduction of new products), not only were all of the elevator-industry magazines present, but also large numbers of the exhibitors’ existing and potentially new customers.


Another major aspect of Interlift is it provides an opportunity for companies and organizations to make important announcements about their activities and programs to the largest in-person gathering of international elevator-industry personnel. It also provides industry associations the opportunity to take advantage of the on-site gathering of their members to hold association meetings and conduct seminars. EFESME always takes advantage of this opportunity during Interlift, and this year was no exception, as the federation conducted two major events for its members and other Interlift attendees.

The EFESME Technical Conference, entitled “Standardization Package: The SMEs’ Role,” was held on October 20, during which a number of members made presentations that covered a wide range of topics. Moderated by Susan Mompalao de Piro, the conference included the following speakers:

  • Joachim Kalsdorf, AFAG project manager
  • Tajani, DG Industry and Entrepreneurship vice-president
  • J.C. Georges, EFESME president
  • K.Y. Tillmann, NORMAPME (European Office of Crafts, Trades and Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises for Standardization) secretary general
  • Benassi, UEAPME (European Association of Craft, Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises) secretary general
  • R. Weissenhorn, Unit C5 “Standardisation” European Commission head
  • J.P. Menard, ANPA expert for AFNOR (French Association for Standardization)
  • L. Faletto, EFESME expert for CEN (European Committee for Standardization)/International Organization for Standardization

Another significant EFESME event that took place during Interlift 2011 was the federation’s announcement of a recently completed agreement with POVESA (National Association of Small and Medium-Sized Regional Elevator Companies of Greece). During this celebratory event, it was stated that this expansion of EFESME brings its total membership to over 5,000 member companies and further enhances its ability to effectively deal with codes and standards, as well as the requirements set forth for elevator-industry companies doing business throughout the European Union. EFESME and POVESA officers and directors announced their satisfaction with this important arrangement and invited those in attendance at the EFESME exhibit stand to join in a celebratory Champagne toast, while enjoying some fine Italian hors d’oeuvres.

Technical Forum

A hallmark of each Interlift event has always been the Technical Forum, which is ongoing throughout the event. The forum conducted at the 2011 event was no exception. As in years past, the forum was organized and moderated by VFA Educational Director Werner Boehme. The roster of speakers included technical experts, educators and business executives from various elevator-industry organizations, as well as academic institutions. An extensive schedule of presentations was provided throughout the four-day event, covering a vast variety of topics that included elevator equipment design and maintenance, new technology, the application of environmentally sensitive and energy-efficient technology, elevator performance monitoring, emergency operations, and information on the current and future state of the elevator industry throughout the world. The full listing of the presentations delivered is shown in the accompanying sidebar; presentation material is available for download at website: vfa-interlift.com.


The attendance and participation statistics for Interlift 2011 are staggering. In addition to the aforementioned 499 exhibit stands, 18,781 visitors from 54 nations were present. During the Technical Forum, 56 speakers made excellent presentations to approximately 1,500 attendees.

As it has always been, Interlift in 2011 was another great success for its organizers, visitors and exhibitors. It turned out to be the largest and best-attended elevator-industry exposition of the year, and this will, in all likelihood, be the case for the next Interlift, as well. Mark your calendar for October 15-18, 2013. 

Technical Forum Sessions

Tuesday, October 18

  • Energy Management in Companies – Consulting Service for VFA Members
  • Going Green: How the Lift Industry Can Save 250 TWh/a
  • The Scandinavian Lift Market            
  • Independent Testing – Its Prospects for the Future?
  • Use of Frequency Inverters in Elevator Applications
  • Product Lifecycle Management
  • Smart Lift Modernization: Best United Kingdom Practises
  • Amendment of the German Directive for Safety of Installations
  • Energy Efficiency, New Technology and Products in the Lift Lighting

Wednesday, October 19

  • Generation Change – Corporate Succession – Consulting Service for VFA Members
  • Refurbishing of Lifts or Drafting and Realization of National, European, and International Technical Rules and Regulations
  • MDS 1: A New Modular Door System
  • Lasting Advantage Because of Professional Modernization Concepts
  • The South American Elevator Market – An Update
  • The Italian Lift Industry: Structure and Market Trends
  • Elevator Cable Solutions for the Global Market
  • Global Harmonization of Codes and Standards
  • Saving Opportunities by Modern Elevator Drives
  • Wireless Monitoring of Elevators via UMTS (3G) Network – 2N® EasyRoute
  • Resource Efficiency – an Issue for the Elevator Industry?
  • Life Cycle Management for Lifts
  • Elevator Goes Automation Technology – Industrial PC Based Lift Controller with Ethernet Based Fieldbus
  • New Telecom Network Might Be Mayhem for Lift Emergency Telephones
  • KLEEMANN Towards Energy-Efficient Lifts
  • Energy Efficient Selection of Elevator Components
  • Practical Experience in the Testing of Components as per EN 81-1/2 A3

Thursday, October 20

  • Public Funding on R&D Projects for SMEs in Germany and Europe – Consulting Service for VFA Members
  • Modernization Kit for Existing Hydraulic Elevators to Increase the Energy Efficiency and the Safety Level to Actual Requirements (A3)
  • Training Elevator Engineers
  • Presentation of the Guideline VDI 2168: Lifts, Personnel Qualification
  • Innovative Digital Elevator Landing System
  • VDI Guidelines for Lifts – Acknowledged Rules of Technology Help in Living up to One’s Responsibilities
  • Relation Analysis between Elevator Rope Slipping out from Sheave Groove and Rope Wire or Strand Breaking
  • Intelligent Shaft Ventilation
  • Digitally Transparent Elevators
  • Impact of European Climate Change Protective Policy on the Building Sector
  • The Rope Brake Solution for UCM and ACO
  • Quo Vadis Standardization Policy
  • A Reliable Forecast of the Lift System Wear
  • Regulations for Installation and Operation of Lifts – Are Minimal Requirements Sufficient?
  • Application of the Amendment 3: Fiction and Truth
  • Barrier-Free Living – Mobility in the House
  • The Effect of Codes on the Pacific Market

Friday, October 21

  • Intellectual Property – Consulting Service for VFA Members
  • Safety and Reliability of Rope Terminations in Traction Lifts
  • Periodic Inspections for Electric Safety of Lifts
  • The Polish Lift Market
  • CANopen-Lift Profile Extensions for Energy-Savings
  • Evacuation and Staircase Pressurization in High Rise Towers
  • Increase in Value and Comfort of Existing Buildings: New Perspectives for the Retrofitting with Lifts
  • The Evolution of Hydraulic Valves: Simple Controls Were Yesterday, Intelligent Hydraulic Management is Today’s Technology
  • UCM Solutions
  • The Elevator in the Focus of Codes and Standards
  • In the Jungle of Legislation: WHG/VUmwS
  • Experience Gathered since the Introduction of the Guideline VDI 4707 Part 1
  • Service Engineer for Lifts
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Elevator World | January 2012 Cover