Company News

(l-r) Wittur’s expanded plant in Krupina, Slovakia; Wittur’s book includes impressive photographs of remarkable elevator installations.

Announcements from industry companies range from expansions to position appointments.

Wittur Announces Test Tower, Plant Expansion, Book

Wittur has announced a new test tower at its production facility in Zaragoza, Spain; completion of a plant expansion in Krupina, Slovakia; and publication of a book. 

Completion of the test tower was slated for March. The 30-m-tall, eight-stop tower will be able to house two complete 2500-kg elevators. It will be used to develop components and complete Wittur elevator systems. 

Expansion of Wittur’s production facility in Krupina, Slovakia, begun in late 2013, is now complete. It included a complete redesign of the interior and the addition of steel and paint production lines. The facility now covers 8,000 m2. Witter calls it “an important investment that offers Wittur increased production capability for its best-selling products.” 

Finally, Wittur has released a book celebrating and illustrating how elevators can be an integral part, or even the focal point, of a building’s design. LIFTISMORE: Histories of Lifts and Architects in a Vertical World may be viewed online at  

www.slideshare.net/kaiskhenine/lift-wittur-project. To order a hard copy, contact a local Wittur distributor.

Elevator World Software Upgrades, New Bookstore, Director and Magazine

Since January, Elevator World, Inc. has been working with its companywide software provider, Media Services Group (MSG), on upgrades that will provide significant benefits for both Elevator World employees and customers. Elevator World has worked within the MSG software since 2007 to integrate the various segments of its business, such as customer relationship management, advertising, circulation, accounting/financial and education. Since that time, MSG has made significant improvements and trained Elevator World staff on taking full advantage of them. 

In addition, Elevator World will launch a new online bookstore (www.elevatorbooks.com) intended to give its customers a better shopping experience. New additions include immediate email notifications with order number, automatic emails upon shipping that include tracking numbers, the ability to receive digital books within just a few minutes of purchase, and the ability to view order history and edit personal or company profiles at any time. International customers also now have the opportunity to choose additional faster shipping options when purchasing a subscription.

Both the software upgrade and online bookstore will go live in mid May.

The company has also added John Koshak, head and founder of Elevator Safety Solutions, LLC, to its board of directors.  Koshak reactivated Elevator Safety Solutions in September 2008. Prior to that time, he served as director of Codes and Standards for North America for ThyssenKrupp Elevator. He was formerly in research at ThyssenKrupp Research, Innovation and Design. Koshak got his start in the industry in 1980 with Westinghouse Elevator Co. and has worked for Dover Elevator, Amtech Elevator and Adams Elevator Equipment Co., where he was vice president of Technical Support. He was a National Elevator Industry Educational Program instructor from 1982 to 1991, designed the LifeJacket™ hydraulic-elevator safety and holds several patents for elevator-component designs. Koshak is a member of the ASME A17 Standards Committee and a regent of the Elevator Escalator Safety Foundation.

Upon accepting President and Chairman Ricia Sturgeon-Hendrick’s invitation to join the Elevator World board, Koshak stated:

“I will help in any capacity. . . . I consider this a pinnacle of praise and an invitation you have not made lightly, nor to many. I sincerely trust I will contribute usefully to you and, without a doubt, to the best of my ability.” 

Additionally, Elevator World is publishing its first issue of ELEVATOR WORLD Turkey in May. The magazine will be published bimonthly in both English and Turkish, and launches alongside an email newsletter and website (www.elevatorworld.com.tr). It is produced in an Elevator World branch office in Istanbul, from where local editorial and production staff work. Magazine subscriptions are available in both print and digital versions, including app formats for both Apple and Android devices. Its initial distribution exceeds 3,000 qualified industry professionals. 

T.Bruce MacKinnon, executive vice president of Elevator World, stated:

“There is a great need for an independent publication to highlight all suppliers, manufacturers, contractors and associations that play a vital role in growing the Turkish market. We see this as an opportunity for EW Turkey to represent this market as a whole. As an organization, we look forward to working and meeting with them all to better understand how we can help their business.”

Joint Venture to Focus on ASEAN, Middle East

EITA-Schneider and Shanghai STEP Electric Corp. have formed a joint venture to focus on the vertical-transportation market in Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the Middle East. The 50/50 partnership will manufacture, distribute and service elevator and escalator control systems and energy-efficiency equipment in Malaysia and beyond. Cai Liang, director of Shanghai STEP’s Technical Committee, stated: 

“[The partnership] brings us closer to our customers in designing and developing elevator-control systems that are more specific to their requirements, and this will help Shanghai STEP improve and innovate further. On top of this, we can leverage on EITA-Schneider’s soon-to-be-built test tower (in 2016), and this will certainly facilitate our collective R&D and innovation activities.” 

Marton Now President of Schindler’s Canadian Operations

Schindler has announced Patrick Marton as president of Canadian operations. Marton most recently managed Schindler’s Lausanne, Switzerland, branch and previously served as area service leader in Geneva, Switzerland. Prior to joining Schindler in 2009, Marton was Switzerland service manager for KONE. He holds a Mechanical Engineering degree and an MBA from Lausanne Business School. Schindler North America President Greg Ergenbright observed that Marton’s experience and background make him an ideal choice to guide the company’s continued growth in Canada. 

Nepal and India 

The growing Nepalese market is identified by OEMs; big contracts signed in India.

Nepal a Booming Market; OEMs Tap Distributors

Real-estate prices are rising, and infrastructure is being built in Nepal, making it a booming elevator/escalator market, the Nepali Times reported. Schindler and ThyssenKrupp Elevator are among the first to enter the market, tapping authorized dealers Techno Trade Pvt. Ltd. and Infratech, respectively. Bharat Vishnani, ThyssenKrupp Elevator (India)’s managing director for India, said he is optimistic about Nepal’s continued growth. As of March, ThyssenKrupp Elevator had already sold 20 units to housing projects and expected its market share to grow. High-rise buildings are multiplying in the capital city Kathmandu, which has few elevator-company representatives. Sumit Agrawal, Techno’s Business Development director, said he is optimistic Schindler products will be in high demand among Nepali customers.

Hitachi Outfitting Mumbai’s Crescent Bay with 58 Units

Hitachi Lift India has been hired to outfit the six-tower residential development Crescent Bay (ELEVATOR WORLD, May 2013) in Mumbai with 58 energy-efficient elevators. The towers range from approximately 40 to more than 50 stories. L&T Parel LLP placed the order, which consists of 47 passenger lifts: 35 4-mps, 1150-kg units and 12 1.5-mps, 630-kg units; and 11 4-mps, 1600-kg service lifts. The system will utilize destination control, and the units will feature etched stainless steel and mirrors. The elevators will have seismic-detection functionality, and they will travel quickly to the nearest floor to allow passengers to evacuate during an earthquake. 

Escalators, Elevators for Bengaluru Skywalks

Twenty-two of the 25 new skywalks planned in Bengaluru, India, will be outfitted with up escalators, with the remaining three outfitted with elevators, the New Indian Express reported. The Bangalore Development Authority solicited bids in the spring and planned to award work in early summer. Each unit will be built according to the height of the skywalk. The parts of the city where officials observed the most foot traffic are receiving skywalks. The work is expected to be finished in June 2016. 


Finland-based company lands deal in Singapore, acquires European companies.

Singapore Hospital Group Calls on KONE

KONE has been hired to provide the vertical-transportation system for Sengkang General and Community Hospitals, a 1,400-bed development being built in northeast Singapore. The number of units was not disclosed but includes MiniSpaceTM, MonoSpace® machine-room-less and TranSysTM elevators; TravelMasterTM escalators; and dumbwaiters from an outside source. The system will be remotely monitored by E-LinkTM, and some elevators will interface with automated guided vehicles to help ensure timely delivery of items such as meals and documents. 

KONE Acquires British Company Express Elevators

KONE has acquired Yorkshire, U.K.-based Express Elevators Ltd., a company with approximately 100 employees specializing in the maintenance, repair, modernization and installation of elevators with more than 2,000 units under contract. Express is located close to KONE’s regional offices in Keighley, U.K. The move promises to help KONE expand its presence in Yorkshire and the surrounding areas.  

KONE Acquires Janzhoff Aufzüge

KONE has acquired Janzhoff Aufzüge, an elevator company based in Dortmund, Germany, that has approximately 100 employees and provides new installation, maintenance and modernization. Founded in 1945, Janzhoff Aufzüge has approximately 2,400 elevators in service. KONE Germany Managing Director Axel Berkling stated: 

“We are happy to welcome Janzhoff Aufzüge and its skilled employees to our organization. With this acquisition, we expect to strengthen our position in the region. It brings a customer base, which offers new opportunities in maintenance, modernization and new installations.” 

Apex Lifts

London-based company lands big contract, hires bid manager.

Maintenance Contract with Shurgard

Apex Lifts of London has landed a service and maintenance contract with Shurgard, the largest developer, owner and operator of self-storage facilities in Europe. The yearlong contract covers 46 lifts at 22 locations in London and Thames Valley, U.K. The contract went into effect in January. Observing that full access is vital for both customers and employees, Shurgard Facilities Director Europe Hans Van Lierde stated:

“The Shurgard core values are service, security, reliability, convenience and cleanliness, so we’re pleased to have found a maintenance company who understands what we’re all about.” 

Montanaro Named Bid Manager

Apex Lifts has hired Rowena Montanaro as bid manager, in line with a push toward reinventing the company “through hiring staff with fresh and interesting ideas about the lift industry.” Her role at Apex includes writing and managing bids and tenders, winning business and developing marketing materials. Montanaro comes to Apex with nine years of experience as an urban design consultant at international engineering and environmental consultancy AMEC Foster Wheeler. She has a master’s degree in Urban Design from Oxford Brookes University. 

Several High Rises Possible for Prague

According to the Prague Post, several new skyscrapers are to be built in Prague, Czech Republic, if allowed by financial conditions and authorities. Plans include the 128- and 139-m-tall Prague Eye Towers, which would be the tallest buildings in the country. Office Star Five, part of PPF Group, plans to complete the two ellipsoidal high rises in the Chodov neighborhood near Prague’s D1 motorway in 2018 but was still waiting on a municipal zone-planning decision in February. Additionally, a 114-m-tall “V”-shaped apartment tower called “City Epoque” and a separate 108-m-tall residential building are planned for the Prague-Pankrác plain, though the source notes Mladá fronta Dnes reported that both projects are “accompanied by complicated talks with the authorities, as well as protests of the locals.” 

Online Elevator Data Access Proposed in Bulgaria

Bulgarian Minister of Economy Bozhidar Lukarski has proposed a law that would provide the public access to current elevator data online, such as a unit’s condition and location, FOCUS News Agency reported. Announced during a March press conference in Sofia, Bulgaria, the law would go into effect in October 2015. It is among continuing efforts to improve elevator performance and safety in Bulgaria, which has experienced several deadly accidents in the past several years. 

Quebec City To Get Record-Height Tower

Plans for the CAD600-million (US$478.4-million) Le Phare de Québec were unveiled by Michel Dallaire, CEO of Groupe Dallaire Inc., in February. To include four towers with office, commercial, residential and hotel space in Quebec City, Canada, the 2-million-sq.-ft. project will be built on the former site of the Auberge des Gouverneurs, which was demolished last year. Groupe Dallaire, the company responsible for the project’s construction, plans to erect a 65-story edifice with three sister towers of 25-30 stories each. The former would be the tallest building east of Toronto. Construction is expected to start next year and take approximately 10 years to complete.


OEMs, CTBUH active in world’s largest new-installations market.

ThyssenKrupp Elevator Wins Contract for 78 Units in Inner Mongolia, HR Award

ThyssenKrupp Elevator is supplying 78 units to Jinyu New World Complex, a mixed-use development in Hohhot, Inner Mongolia. The job is scheduled to be complete this month. Hohhot is among Chinese cities growing thanks to a rural-to-urban shift. It has a population of approximately 3 million, versus 700,000 in the 1980s. ThyssenKrupp Elevator observes: 

“Inner Mongolia, which occupies approximately 12% of the entire Chinese land mass, brings to mind vast grasslands, fierce horsemen warriors, grazing cattle and clear blue skies. But the region’s wealth of natural resources is bringing sweeping change to this formerly remote area. It recently got the nod for the development of four wind-energy schemes, and the Chinese government has invested more than CNY490 million (US$78 million) to construct a series of ‘model villages,’ bringing inhabitants here the convenience of central heating, piped water and improved sanitation.” 

ThyssenKrupp Elevator (China) was presented with its second consecutive China Best Employers Award 2014 in January in Beijing, The Shanghai Elevator Trade Association (SETA) reported. The company was chosen for employer brand influence in campus recruitment in the talent market. Hosted by major Chinese social-network platform Da-Jie, the accolade involved a selection process of two months, during which more than 600,000 users voted. Voters included students, employees and human-resources (HR) businesspeople. Da-Jie has more than 24 million registered users and what SETA calls “deep influence on [the] white-collar and campus talent market.” It considers Da-Jie’s social-networking-service model a new trend in recruitment.

Unique Spiral Escalators Part of Mitsubishi Electric Order

Mitsubishi Electric has delivered a 51-unit order to Shanghai New World Daimaru Department Store, a new 12-story mall scheduled to open in May. The order includes panoramic elevators and 12 of Mitsubishi Electric’s proprietary spiral escalators located in the central atrium and serving six floors. It is the largest spiral-elevator order for a single project the company has ever received. Additionally, according to Mirror Online, a length of spiral escalator made of two sets of 10 units will make up the longest of its type in the world.

Developed in 1985, the spiral escalators’ “highly sophisticated design and wide perspective give passengers the astonishing feeling of gliding through the air in graceful arcs.” Mitsubishi Electric opines: 

“The challenge to building a curved escalator is that horizontal speed decreases as it moves along the slope, making circular designs impractical. Mitsubishi Electric’s engineers overcame this dilemma by inventing the Center Shift Method, shifting the center of the circle around which the escalator rotates in response to the degree of gradient, realizing smooth rotational movement in perfect harmony with vertical movement.”

CTBUH 2014 Shanghai Report Now Available

The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) has published a report on its four-day conference held in Shanghai, “Future Cities: Sustainable Vertical Urbanism.” In addition to the 84-page, full-color document, the report contains a CD with digital copies of conference proceedings, PDFs of all PowerPoint presentations given during the event and a trio of books: Ping An Tower, Shanghai Tower and Zhongnan Tower. For more information, visit website: https://store.ctbuh.org/c-37-conference-publications.aspx.

New Jeddah Station Boasts Region’s Longest Escalators

Among the 308 escalators in Haramain Railway’s new Jeddah station are 70, 32-m-long units connecting platforms and a passenger lounge area that project Director Zohdi Al-Owaiwini said are the longest of their kind in the region, the Saudi Gazette reported. The station is part of the 450-km-long high-speed Haramain Railway, which will provide faster travel between the holy cities of Mecca and Medina, Saudi Arabia. It is expected to eventually carry three million passengers each year and is set to open in phases starting in 2015. 

Report Explores Japanese Elevator Market

Technavio (www.technavio.com) has announced a new report on the Japanese elevator market through 2018 that includes information such as projected growth, market drivers and vendors’ market share. Buoyed by demand for energy-efficient and high-speed elevators, the Japanese market is expected to grow at an annual rate of 4.73% through 2018. Maintenance and repair accounted for approximately 45% of the total Japanese elevator/escalator revenue in 2013. 

Unique Residential Tower Nearing Completion in Singapore

Moshe Safdie, the architecture firm behind the Stonehenge-like trio of resort towers Marina Bay Sands in Singapore (ELEVATOR WORLD, December 2013), has designed another remarkable structure, a pair of residential towers called Sky Habitat, which is nearing completion in the Singapore suburbs, designboom reported. Sky Habitat’s 38-story towers are connected by three bridges. The uppermost bridge houses a swimming pool that provides stunning views. The high-density tower also features plants, trees and many private balconies. It is scheduled for completion later in 2015. 

IFE Opens Sri Lankan Subsidiary

China’s IFE Elevators Co. Ltd. opened IFE Elevators Lanka Pvt. Ltd. in Colombo, Sri Lanka, in March, stating it is optimistic about business prospects in Sri Lanka despite a new government, the Sunday Times reported. IFE has been exporting to Sri Lanka since 2012 and notes its elevators are in OZO and Jetwing hotels and the General Sir John Kotelawala Defence University in Rathmalana, Sri Lanka. New trade routes are opening between Sri Lanka and other regions, and the island country is enjoying economic and gross domestic product growth. IFE hopes these factors override any potential resistance from the new government.   🌐

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Elevator World | May 2015 Cover