Business News from around the World

Architectural firm Valode & Pistre’s design of Al Noor Tower is inspired by a wedding dress (image © Valode & Pistre/Iceberg).

Transition, forecasting and kudos mark buzzing activity.

Böhnke + Partner under New Management

Dipl.-Ing. Uwe Wiemer has become works manager of Böhnke + Partner Steuerungssysteme GmbH. Based in Bergisch Gladbach, Germany, the company is a subsidiary of the Schmersal Group, and develops, designs and produces components, controllers and remote diagnostics systems for the lift industry. Wiemer controls the operative management of the business and is responsible for its continued economic success. His predecessor, Joachim Ramrath, retired in December 2014.

Wiemer has been working in various management positions within Schmersal for approximately 15 years, including managing its Product Management, Export and Application Centre departments. In 2012, he took over the management of the “tec.nicum” training centre and was responsible for “knowledge management” within the group. At the same time, Wiemer also had responsibility for “Strategic Market Development” in the sales division.

Wiemer explained the company’s standing and trajectory:

“In recent years, Böhnke + Partner has developed into a leading manufacturer of lift systems with a good reputation in the market and excellent levels of customer acceptance. The aim is now to reinforce this position by pressing ahead with the integration of Böhnke + Partner into the Schmersal Group. We want to leverage synergies, partly by further expanding sales activities using Schmersal’s global sales network. We are targeting further growth, which is why I am looking forward to opening our new administration and production building in Obereschbach, Bergisch-Gladbach, in the near future. It covers the future demand for production space, provides room for long-term growth in employee numbers, and enables improvement in material flow and logistics processing.”

Otis: Spain Outlook Upbeat

Zardoya Otis SA, Otis’ Spanish arm, expects demand for new elevators to increase in 2015 and 2016 as the country’s real-estate industry recovers from a seven-year slump, Bloomberg reported. With an inordinately high number of elevators per capita thanks to fairly recent legislation to attract residents to high-rise apartment living, Spain has more than one million elevators, about a quarter of which were built and are serviced by Otis. Home sales in Spain are starting to creep up, and real-estate experts foresee strong demand for new homes, and, consequently, elevators, in cities such as Madrid and Barcelona where land is scarce.      

KONE Opens Malaysia Branch

KONE has opened a branch in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia, to better serve new and existing customers, including developers of KL118, a 118-story mixed-use tower for which KONE is providing 105 units. Lim Chong Hoe, managing director of Malaysia subsidiary KONE Elevators (M) Sdn Bhd., said, “With increasing foreign and domestic investments, development in East Malaysia is growing in tandem with other states.” KONE states it is among the fastest growing vertical-transportation companies in Malaysia.

Schindler Honored for Digital Innovation

Schindler has won the Digital Business Innovation Award 2015 for its digital business projects and initiatives. The Swiss OEM beat out companies including Airbus and Volkswagen being considered for the award, presented during a ceremony in Munich, Germany, to Schindler Chief Information Officer Michael Nilles by German business newspaper Handelsblatt, the University of St. Gallen and information-technology service provider Capgemini. Nilles said he hopes the honor brings recognition to the elevator industry for the digital strides it has made. At Schindler, 20,000 frontline employees utilize a “digital toolcase” installed on their Apple devices to help manage such things as technical data, service calls and parts ordering. Jury member Dr. Uwe Dumslaff of Capgemini noted that digitization is now “an integral part of Schindler’s DNA.”

African Elevator Company Expands Offerings

Nonproprietary elevator and escalator controls are now part of Zimbabwe-based Clovgate Elevator Co.’s elevator packages, thanks to a partnership with global provider Kinetek Elevator and Escalator Group, The Herald reported. The arrangement promises to enhance Clovgate’s ability to help more than 5,000 property owners and managers keep their units running. In February, Clovgate said it planned to establish an online store through which customers may purchase parts and equipment.

Associations Make Transitions

Big news for IAEE, CTBUH in China

Lustig Takes Over for Inglis as IAEE President

Ami Lustig has been named International Association of Elevator Engineers (IAEE) president, taking over for John Inglis, who held the post for more than 16 years. Lustig has been CEO of ESL — Eng. S. Lustig Consulting Engineers Ltd. in Tel Aviv, Israel, for more than 42 years. He is a certified elevator inspector, an active member of the ISO/TC178 Plenary Committee on Lifts, Escalators and Moving Walks, several International Organization for Standardization (ISO) working groups and several Standards Institution of Israel Standard Committees, and chairman of the Intelligent Building International Steering Committee. He has published many papers and edited several books, many of which are the IAEE’s own Elevator Technology: Proceedings of Elevcon paper compilations. Lustig has been a member of the IAEE Board of Executives (Steering Committee) since 1987 and chairman of the Elevcon Congress since 2000.

A founding member of the association, Inglis has been appointed president emeritus of IAEE and remains its Worldwide Membership and Pacific Region coordinator. Inglis has been involved in all aspects of the lift industry for nearly 60 years. His membership to the Australian Elevator Association Technical Committee spans more than 30 years, and during that period, he has been a member of the Standards Australia ME/4 Committee for Lifts. He is chairman of several subcommittees for lift standards and represents Australia on the ISO TC 178 committee and WG-4 and WG-6. He has presented a paper at each Elevcon congress since 1988, and, in recent years, has concentrated on the evolution of the lift industry.

Safarik Leading CTBUH’s New China Office

Daniel Safarik, journal editor for Chicago-based Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH), has been tapped to lead CTBUH’s new Asia office at the College of Architecture and Urban Planning at Tongji University in Shanghai. He continues as journal editor. Having relocated from Chicago to Shanghai, Safarik is responsible for overseeing Chinese translation of all significant CTBUH publications, launching a China-focused awards series and facilitating research projects across a range of disciplines. An official launch of the new office was held on March 18. With a BS in Journalism from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, and an MA in Architecture from the University of Oregon in Portland, Oregon, Safarik has authored or co-authored numerous papers and books, and frequently serves as speaker or moderator at tall-building events. He has been with CTBUH since 2013. “I am very excited to take up this post,” he stated. “I think it will be a great experience.”

His email remains [email protected], and his new phone number is 86-21-65982972.

Important Chinese Projects

Unique structure nearly complete; long escalator stretch questioned.

ThyssenKrupp Elevator to Outfit Iconic Chinese Tower

ThyssenKrupp Elevator is providing 34 elevators and 16 escalators for Cube Tower in Foshan, China, a unique 143-m-tall building made of nine vertical cubes of varying sizes. Intended to be the new cultural center of the city, Cube Tower will house a theater, exposition hall, and leisure and conference areas. ThyssenKrupp Elevator intends to complete the project in July. The company states:

“The unusual shape and structure of the building presents numerous engineering challenges, which require ingenious solutions. As a testament to the company’s customer-centric focus, ThyssenKrupp will supply custom-designed cabs to suit the specific requirements of the tower, including two doors per cabin to allow evacuation of passengers via an elevator in an adjacent shaft, while still meeting all elevator safety codes.”

Hillside Escalators Draw Criticism in China

Escalators installed on a hillside in Chongquing, China, to ease residents’ trek back and forth from their hilltop condominium building and an underground transit station are drawing criticism from engineers, the Daily Mail reported. Wealthy residents of the condo had complained that stairs were too wearying, then local officials had escalators installed alongside the stairs. Officials maintain the complaints had nothing to do with their decision. Engineers contend the units are too exposed to the elements and, as a result, will be extremely difficult to maintain. 

Trio of Bulgarian Inspection Firms under Fire

Bulgaria’s State Agency for Metrology and Technical Surveillance early this year planned to revoke the licenses of at least three elevator inspection firms, Focus Information Agency reported. A firm in Velingrad was deemed among those responsible for failing to properly maintain 20 elevators in 2014. A pair of firms in Kardzhali was determined to have inadequate staff to properly perform work.

New Escalators, Elevators among Harbour Line Upgrades

Six elevators and 11 escalators are going in at railway stations along Mumbai Vikas Railway Corp.’s Harbour Line in Mumbai, the Mumbai Mirror reported. The first phase includes units at Dockyard Road, Chembur, Wadala, King’s Circle, Mankhurd and Reay Road. Scheduled for completion this year, the project is designed to encourage passengers to use foot overbridges, in turn easing station congestion. It is part of a larger project that includes 12 additional coach cars, which will increase capacity by 33%. Harbor Line trains transport approximately 1 million passengers daily.

Skytrain Elevators to Help Disabled in Bangkok

Thailand’s Supreme Administrative Court has ordered Bangkok Metropolitan Administration and Bangkok Mass Transit System Plc to install elevators at all 23 of its elevated Skytrain stations, marking a victory for disabled advocates who contend the stations are ill-equipped, the Bangkok Post reported. As of January, handicapped-accessible elevators were in place at only five of the stations. The decision overrules a 2009 lower-court ruling that failed to issue specific orders.

Summits, Shows and Symposiums

Important announcements on major industry events

KONE, Schindler among Dubai Skyscraper Summit Sponsors

KONE is returning as Gold Sponsor and Schindler has been announced as Diamond Sponsor of the second annual Smart Skyscrapers Summit, planned in Dubai on May 11-12. Elevator technology promises to be a big focus of the event, with leaders from both companies scheduled to speak and a session on smart vertical transportation planned. KONE’s Head of Technology Johannes de Jong, scheduled as a speaker, opined:

“Last year, we connected with players in the industry, and the results were very fruitful and beneficial for KONE. The topic of the Smart Skyscrapers Summit is extremely relevant for KONE as service provider for some of the most famous skyscrapers here in Dubai, such as the Princess Tower and Cayan Tower. We believe the summit will provide a wonderful opportunity for us to present our newest product range to the delegates.”

Schindler observed vertical transportation that facilitates efficient tall-building design, planning and accessibility is essential. Wassim Aboushaar, executive managing director of Schindler Middle East, who is scheduled to address the topic “Intelligent Transit in Modern High Rise Buildings,” stated, “Schindler is deeply committed to the Middle East market for partnering in the success of high-rise development by pioneering entities in the field of high-rise design and construction.”

Iran Liftex Moved to This Month

The next Iran Liftex (formerly “Lift Iran”) has been moved up several weeks to April 25-28. For more information on “The Fourth International Exhibition on Elevators, Escalators, Lift, Conveyors and Related Components and Equipment,” visit websites: and

Symposium Issues Second Call for Papers

The Fifth Lift & Escalator Symposium, being held on September 23-24 at Highgate House in Northampton, U.K., has issued a second call for papers, which will be presented following a peer review. Speakers will include industry experts, academics and postgraduate students. For more information or to submit an abstract, visit website:

Interlift’s Significance Continues to Grow

Organizers of Interlift, planned this year on October 13-16 in Augsburg, Germany, report the event continues to gain significance, particularly among companies from China, Turkey and Italy. Despite having major trade fairs in their own countries, Chinese and Turkish companies make it a point to attend Interlift, as do Italian companies, which regard it as a gateway to the global market. Italy is Europe’s largest manufacturer of elevator components. Ten months ahead of the event, nearly 90% of space — or 37,500 m2 of 42,500 m2 — had already been booked. In 2013, Interlift hosted a record number of visitors: 18,900, with one out of two from a foreign country. For more information, visit

LIFTECH EXPO Looks to Third Event in Cairo

Organizers of LIFTECH EXPO are looking forward to a third iteration of the event, planned on January 21-24, 2016, at the Cairo International Convention Center. LIFTECH EXPO 2013 drew more than 30 international buyers from the Middle East and North Africa, thousands of attendees and more than 60 exhibitors. Billed as the international trade fair for elevators, escalators and related technologies, the event is projected to again include exhibitors from Egypt, China, Turkey, Italy, South Korea, Finland, Germany, Greece, India, Japan, Spain, Sweden, Thailand, the U.K. and the U.S. About the last event, held in 2013, organizers stated:

“Through a magnificent opening ceremony, the second session of LIFTECH EXPO launched under a patronage of the Ministry of Industry and Foreign Trade and a presence of the deputy minister of housing, utilities and urban development, and the president of the Egyptian Federation for Construction and Building Contractors. LIFTECH EXPO proved once again that it’s the biggest regional trade fair for elevators and escalators, and a perfect business platform for the industry.”

For more information, contact Lead Trade Fairs at phone: (202) 2-505-2615 or (202) 2-505-2815, email: [email protected] or website:

African Activity

Developers look to grow vertically.

Tallest Building Proposed

A 540-m-tall tower has been proposed by Dubai-based company Middle East Development LLC. According to Arabian Business, it would have 114 stories and cost US$1 billion. Located in Casablanca, Morocco, it would achieve the title of Africa’s tallest building, dwarfing the 223-m-tall Carlton Centre in Johannesburg, South Africa. Tentatively named “Al Noor Tower” (“Tower of Light” in Arabic), the moniker is expected to be changed to honor Mohamed VI, king of Morocco.

Overt symbolism plays a big part in the design: the height of 540 m comes from Africa’s 54 countries, the 114 floors corresponds to the number of chapters in the Koran, and the pattern adorning the façade will represent Africa’s 1,000 languages. The building will include a seven-star hotel, a business center and a shopping mall. Work on the edifice is to begin in June and be complete in June 2018.

Nigeria’s UNILAG To Build High Rises in Expansion

The University of Lagos (UNILAG) intends to begin building “skyscrapers” in the coming years as part of its efforts to mitigate the effect of land shortages, the Nigerian Tribune reported. Five buildings have been scheduled for construction, with the first being a 10-story library block to be underway this year.

Located in Nigeria’s most populous city, the institution feels it needs to maximize the use of its available land while expanding. UNILAG Vice Chancellor Dr. Rahamon A. Bello explained:

“Being a city school and being already closed in by development, we don’t really have anywhere else to expand to. And, quite a large portion of the land that was acquired for the University of Lagos (up to 40%) is marshy and cannot easily be developed. . . . So, we are going to begin to grow vertically. Most of the buildings you will be seeing in the coming years will be vertical buildings; our major buildings will henceforth be high-rise buildings.”

EW Photo Contest Deadline Nears

The third ELEVATOR WORLD Photo Contest is accepting entries through April 30. Last year, more than 250 submissions from 15 countries were received. Both companies and amateur photo enthusiasts have competed in each previous iteration for cash and the chance to be published in EW. Due to overwhelming response in the “Elevators (in any capacity)” category last year, the category has been separated into two: “Elevators (Commercial)” and “Elevators (Private Residence).”

A panel of judges will choose up to 20 finalists from each category, which will be presented online during the month of May, where our readers will vote to decide category winners and runners-up. These will be featured in the August issue of ELEVATOR WORLD and highlighted online. In addition, all qualified submissions will be posted in a special photo contest gallery at To submit photos, visit website:

Dubai WTC Tower Modernizations

The Dubai World Trade Centre (WTC) embarked on the first phase of its elevator modernization project in January. Work is being done in the WTC’s Sheikh Rashid Tower and Dubai Trade Centre Hotel Apartments, located on Sheikh Zayed Road in Dubai. The 33-story office tower and 15-story apartment tower were built in 1979. The project includes replacing two elevators in the office building and three elevators in block C of the apartment building. Dubai WTC is managing the job, which went to KONE, and VTME Vertical Transportation Consultants of Dubai is providing supervision services for the elevator modernizations. The project is scheduled to be completed in the fourth quarter of the year.

AMEC Building US$20-Million Thailand Facilities

Mitsubishi Elevator Asia Co. Ltd. (AMEC) is investing US$20 million in a new production facility and test tower in Chonburi Province, Thailand, to increase annual production capacity there by more than 50% to 20,000. The three-story, 4,800-m2 facility and 59-m-tall test tower are scheduled to be operational by May 2016 and December 2016, respectively. AMEC Managing Director Yoshikatsu Hayashi stated:

“Together with our new R&D center, which we established in October 2014 to develop and evaluate elevator and escalator parts, the new factory and test tower will enable us to increase our procurement of parts in the local Thai market for enhanced cost competitiveness and reduced manufacturing lead times.”

Fourth Consecutive Oasis Cruise Ship Order for KONE

KONE has been hired to outfit the Oasis 4 Royal Caribbean cruise ship with an array of equipment, including 28 MiniSpaceTM elevators, 12 of them panoramic, and 14 MonoSpace® service elevators. All elevators will have regenerative drives to transmit energy back into the ship’s power grid. The order also includes a pair of TravelMaster® escalators for the gangway and a trio of MotalaTM MC 2000 platform lifts for passengers with limited mobility. A special gangway elevator button will automatically direct passengers to the correct level to disembark, regardless of port. Part of the largest class of cruise ships in the world, Oasis 4 is being built by STX France in St. Nazaire, France.

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