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Elevator webinar brings together four heavyweights of the industry with almost 200 spectators.

by Undine Stricker-Berghoff

An elevator pitch is used to sell an idea to someone during a short ride in an elevator. The online forum series “Building Technology Experts” initiated by Frankfurt Fair and Builtworld is dedicated to the digitization of the building sector to provide insights into concrete technologies and establish contact with experts and users. On June 18, the second iteration, titled “Keeping Up With Elevator Technology? — Thinking Tomorrow’s Requirements From the Customer’s Point of View,” brought together four heavyweights of the industry with almost 200 spectators for 1 hr in a virtual room to create a new type of elevator pitch.

The stream was moderated by Wolfgang Moderegger, founder and CEO of Builtworld. Decisionmakers from major German operators, Bernd Hanke (head of facility management, Deutsche Bahn Station & Service), Andreas Wermelinger (strategic plant management, Swiss Federal Railways SBB) and Stephen Guhr (CEO Vonovia Engineering), spoke with representatives of the two major German and Swiss manufacturers, Hans Sacherer (head of sales high rise, thyssenkrupp Elevator Europe) and Sönke Mestemacher (chairman of the board, Schindler) on technological developments in the elevator industry.

The experts discussed how to achieve greater efficiency and availability in the face of increasing demands through, e.g., seamless travel routing in app services and barrier-free access and new technical possibilities such as real-time remote service, predictive maintenance via cloud solutions and the Internet of Things. The big manufacturers have experience with many elevators and escalators, as well as their integration into national mobility/transport network planning and integrated building services.

Participants either relied on service contracts and proprietary data solutions from a manufacturer with monitoring via the cloud or invested extensively in their own operating and data management. Either multiplies the operating data and their handling. Therefore, the goal in elevator technology, with respect to building services and the construction industry as a whole, must be an open data standard to ensure data access and transparency.

Guhr said he can already figure “which systems are prone to failure.”

Wermelinger demanded, “Standardized data exchange would be a great thing!”

Hanke stated, “Manufacturers are not ready yet. . . . The more we share knowledge from data, the better.”

In return, Mestemacher demanded, “What is the price for a failure that did not occur?”

Sacherer outlined the solution approach, “We sell availability.”

Questions were asked concerning who will be collecting the data, who will be owning them, who will be sharing them, who will be using them, and how they are still largely open. All those involved are willing to develop and build new, economically attractive business models in a spirit of trust. They must meet the criteria of availability and cybersecurity, among others.

Online voting on three questions and answers took place parallel to the exciting panel. Results were:

  • What are the greatest challenges in operating elevators?Availability and transparency
  • Which expectations do you have toward the elevator and its manufacturers? Reliability at the lowest possible cost
  • Is predictive maintenance feasible in elevator technology?Yes, it will be realized with a high certainty.

A video of the livestream (in German only) is available at bit.ly/38gGrMI. The online forum has virtually increased the expectations for E2 Forum Frankfurt, which has been postponed until June 30-July 1, 2021, organized by Frankfurt Fair and VDMA (German mechanical engineering association).

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Owner of ProEconomy, a Luebeck- Travemuende, Germany-based engineering office through which she works as a coach and consultant for management and marketing mainly in energy and building services. From 2008 until 2013, she was the managing director of VFA-Interlift e.V. in Hamburg, Germany. She studied Mechanical Engineering at Ruhr-University Bochum, Germany, and, immediately after graduation, worked as an energy consultant for ERPAG in Lugano, Switzerland, and Campione, Italy. Prior to joining VFA-Interlift, Stricker-Berghoff worked for VDI, the Association of German Engineers in Duesseldorf, Germany, as secretary for Building Services, and was in charge of the VDI-Standards department. She also served one term as director general for the Luebeck Chamber of Commerce and Industry. She has operated ProEconomy since 2005.

Elevator World | September 2020 Cover

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