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Hong Kong’s Anlev partnered with U.S. industry veteran Abell Elevator to successfully complete the Owensboro Convention Center job, as well as a condo project in Toronto.

The story of how Hong Kong-based Anlev was able to break into the North American market is a perfect example of how chance meetings at the National Association of Elevator Contractors (NAEC) convention can grow into lucrative business partnerships. Anlev Lifts and Escalators, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Analogue Group of Cos., had been selling escalators and moving walks to customers in Asia and Europe, as well as the Middle East and Australia, for approximately 12 years when its principals met representatives from Abell Elevator of Louisville, Kentucky, at the 2010 NAEC convention in Cincinnati, Ohio, explains Samuel Cheng, Anlev Sales manager. He said Anlev was very impressed with Abell, which has roots stretching back more than a century. Cheng states:

“Abell is one of the biggest independent and well-known lift companies in Kentucky. Because of [its] good reputation and experience, [it has] very close connections and strong relationships with consultants, contractors, developers and architects in that area. [At the NAEC convention], we found Abell to not only have a good sales network, but also excellent knowledge of installation and maintenance of escalators.”

Talks between Anlev and Abell led to their outfitting the new Owensboro Convention Center in Kentucky with its vertical-transportation system, with Anlev manufacturing and providing six escalators and Abell providing a trio of elevators as well as installation and maintenance for the Anlev escalators. The escalators are A2C commercial installed at a 30° angle. They are 1000 mm wide and travel at 0.5 mps. Three have a rise of 18 ft., and three have a rise of 22 ft.

Abell’s role was to install the units and provide ongoing maintenance, as well as install and maintain three Abell elevators: two machine-room-less units with capacities of 3500 and 5000 lb., and one hydraulic freight unit with a capacity of 10,000 lb. Part of the revitalization of downtown Owensboro, the convention center overlooks the Ohio River, and consists of 44,0000 sq. ft. of exhibition space and 48,000 sq. ft. of additional ballroom and meeting space. Its angular, modern design was conceived by Trahan Architects of New Orleans. Anlev and Abell’s client was venue-management company Global Spectrum. Installation took several months, with the venue opening to the public in February 2013.

Cheng notes that significant groundwork, including obtaining the proper certification, had to be laid before Anlev embarked on the project. Anlev has worked with huge clients such as Walmart in Europe, Network Rail in the U.K. and Milan Metro in Italy, so the company is no stranger to meeting stringent requirements, he said.

Prior to embarking on the Owensboro job, Cheng said, Anlev worked for approximately a year to obtain the proper certification marks for the North American market from The CSA Group, headquartered in Toronto. He elaborated on the process:

“All of the main components in our escalators needed to be Underwriters Laboratories/CSA marked, so we provided all of our design data, test data and supporting documentation to CSA. CSA then sent its professional engineer from Toronto to our factory to do full testing of our escalators and perform a thorough inspection of our factory. Every year, CSA will inspect our factory four times to make sure it continues to meet requirements. We also sent our engineer to the CSA lab in Toronto to make sure our control panel met the requirements.”

Through Abell, Anlev secured an additional North American job: supplying a pair of 6.8-m-rise escalators to Emerald Park, a pair of 42- and 33-story condo towers with retail and offices on the lower floors. Cheng said the escalators have been installed and are slated to open to the public at the end of 2014. The power of networking has certainly paid off for Anlev, putting it in a rare class in the U.S. market, Cheng said. “There are almost no Chinese brands of escalators and moving walks in the U.S.,” he said. “Although nearly 99% of the world’s escalators and moving walks are made in China, European and American companies are the dominant suppliers in the U.S.” Now, with all the required certification marks in hand, Anlev aims to bring its products to additional North American customers.

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