Formal presentations and a gala dinner proved both productive and enjoyable for attendees.
The European Lift Association (ELA) 2013 Congress convened in Istanbul at the Grand Hyatt Hotel on April 2-3, preceding the 13th Asansör Istanbul exhibition (ELEVATOR WORLD, June 2013). The congress was itself preceded by a gala dinner at the Ciragan Palace on the banks of the Bosporus with its famous decorated gate framing the strait and the eastern side of the city. The evening started with a reception in the waterside gardens accompanied by live music, which was enjoyed by ELA members and industry representatives alike. This time in the garden was a great opportunity for those attending to air different points of view regarding the many industry topics always in need of addressing. The real cost of certification, the time and financial pressures a company has to bare in undertaking work on different working groups, the difficulty in gathering meaningful statistics and how to attract quality people to work in the industry were just some of the topics being raised. However, the most important question in respect to the congress was, “What value do clients and owners really place on lift safety?”
As the light faded, the call to the gala dinner was given, where guests and members were welcomed by Sefa Targit, president of AYSAD (Turkish elevator association, a full member of ELA since 2008), who made everyone feel welcome. Targit informed guests that the association had increased its membership and been actively encouraging members and other Turkish lift companies to achieve higher quality levels in all aspects of the lift sector. Targit then stated that AYSAD fully and sincerely believes Turkey, with its continuously developing and growing economy, will bring a new and permanent dynamism to the European Union (EU) economy upon becoming a full EU member. New ELA President Philippe Lamalle then thanked Targit and the AYSAD association committee for its hard work and choice of venue for the gala reception and dinner.
Zuhtu Bakir, head of the Industry and Commerce Ministry, then gave the main address. Bakir thanked the ELA board for scheduling this congress and annual general meeting in Istanbul in coincidence with the Asansor Istanbul exhibition. He stressed it is well known that Turkey is pursuing membership of the EU, and, as a result, EU legislation has and is being incorporated into Turkish national legislation. Importantly, the ministry has also issued a “Lift Maintenance and Operations Regulation,” which will address the operation, maintenance and yearly control of the lift after commissioning for its entire life. In addition, the ministry is currently preparing and drafting a legislative text, setting down the procedures and principles for increasing the safety levels of around 200,000 existing lifts installed before Lift Regulation 95/16/EC and still in service. This new legislative instrument is planned to be issued and enacted during 2013. Bakir then wished the congress well and thought its topic, “Smooth and Safe Lift Rides for All!” was particularly timely.
The formal presentations were well received, and the gala dinner was productive and enjoyable, providing the opportunity to raise important lift-related topics with many of Working Group chairmen and key association officers. Also, the opportunity to find out more about what was happening in Turkey and the surrounding regions, especially in relationship to lift codes and standards, was informative and well taken by many members. Just before the end of the gala, a special presentation was made to ELA past president Michel Chartron, who had been so instrumental in promoting the Safety Norms for Existing Lifts (SNEL) initiative.
Lamalle greeted more than 100 delegates, who had gathered for the congress. He stressed the importance of SNEL and that one of the most significant elements for this year is a roadmap that sets out the association’s vision and key objectives for the near future. Lamalle explained the importance of implementation of the initiative and the many elements needed to ensure and realize its full value.
The first speaker was instrumental in implementing SNEL in France: Gilles de Robien, an ex-minister of France, who gave the congress insight into the French government’s standpoint. Robien’s presentation, “SNEL in France 10 Years After the Law: Implementation and Results,” discussed the situation regarding accidents and incidents in lifts before and after implementation of the law. He found it clear that good overall progress had been made in France, and that particular attention had been made in addressing the most hazardous elements. His statistics furthered his argument:
- 99% of maintenance contracts have been transformed to meet the requirements and include 24-hr. assistance for people trapped in lifts.
- 63% of the work required by the law has been completed, which has required great effort by the French lift industry and building owners.
- The conclusion of the initiative was clear, with a notable reduction of the number of accidents in and around lifts. Indeed, no fatalities to users or technicians were recorded in 2011-2012. However, upgrading will still be needed over the coming decades, as the French population is aging and more demands are placed on lift installations.
Robien stated that the most important element in achieving public recognition is the support of the press, at both local and national levels. This can lead to a constant pressure being applied on governments to create and implement legislation.
Philippe Casteleyn and Christian de Mas Latrie then presented “A New Departure for SNEL?” which looked at the SNEL white paper and relaunch of this initiative. The presentation focused on today’s status and first results both in Europe and worldwide, with added insight as to what will follow and how SNEL will proceed. One of the most important elements of this presentation was to show how SNEL (with five-, 10- and 15-year phases) is being introduced throughout the EU and at which stage the implementation plan is in each EU region. To this end, a color-coded progress map has been published and will be regularly updated. It is hoped these efforts will help publicize and show the wider public the full relevance of the initiative. de Mas Latrie also pointed out the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) position (“SNEL Goes ISO”), which gives the initiative a worldwide dimension.
Claudia Schmidt presented a paper on the importance of collecting accident statistics. She showed statistical evidence for the cause of reported accidents for both users and workers in 2008-2011 in Europe and demonstrated why the collection of this information is so important, as it helps to:
- Identify the causes for accidents, both for users and workers
- Analyze hotspots and take actions: e.g., provide new safety-norm proposals and influence Brussels and local governments for establishing new guides or regulations (for example, SNEL)
- Use identified top accidents by elevator companies to improve their elevator and escalator safety
- Support the elevator industry and associations to increase the awareness of owner/operators and users
To this end, ELA has introduced a new data-collection system, which is hoped will improve the reliability of the figures. Schmidt closed the presentation by stating, “Only true data can help, so please help us to do it right.”
Maciej Kucharczyk, managing director of AGE Platform Europe, then took center stage to present “Towards Age-Friendly Environments.” In it, he challenged the delegates to look at and support the campaign for a covenant on demographic change. Kucharczyk explained, “The covenant will seek to create the necessary political framework to bring together local and regional authorities across the EU who want to find smart and innovative solutions to support active and healthy aging and develop age-friendly environments.” He said a large group of stakeholders at the EU, national, regional and local levels (such as researchers, industries, services and civil society) are supporting the initiative in Europe.
Dr. C. Erdem Imrak, a well-known academic who has presented and written many papers on lift technology and other research projects, gave an in-depth overview of lift damage from seismic events. He also showed the geographical information of the region and illustrated the seismic regions and activity that could be expected, along with illustrations of damage that has been experienced in the region. Imrak also presented the actions recommended in prEN 81-77, which are designed to minimize the damage to lifts in the event of an earthquake and include:
- The use of seismic switches (for lifts running faster than 0.75 mps)
- Restraining of the counterweight
- Reinforcement of the guide rails and their structure
- Use of intermediate tie or box brackets, along with structural support frames
- Use of roller guides with restraining plates under their assembly
- Use of driving-rope sheave guards
In closing, Imrak suggested that anyone interested in the subject see his report “A Survey on the Effects of the 2011 Van, Turkey, Earthquakes on Elevators” (ELEVATOR WORLD, June 2012) or contact the ELA at website: www.ela-aisbl.org.
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