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European Lift Congress in Heilbronn

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The InterSport Redblue Centre

More than 110 delegates registered for this biannual event in Germany.

The European Lift Congress Heilbronn was held on October 9-10, 2012, near Heilbronn, Germany, and focused on safety, sustainability and technical innovations. More than 110 delegates registered for the two-day congress, with 98 in attendance on the first day and 96 on the second. The InterSport Redblue Centre was selected as the venue for the 5th congress, which is a biannual technical and elevator-industry event.

Open to all, the event has much potential to further examine system and component design and development. Taking place under the umbrella of the Technical Academy of Heilbronn, attendees always have the opportunity to visit another industrial/technology plant, which provides an additional educational element to the proceedings and gives delegates a chance to see what other industries are doing. This year, the visit was to a gripping and clamping specialist – Schunk GmbH & Co. KG.

As for the main congress, there were 15 presentations, ranging in topic from codes and standards to the development of new modular lift doors and a new approach to the lift-car brake. The presentations were informative and provided attendees with many insights.

Day One

Ian Jones, a respected liftman and convenor for CEN/TC10/WG1, provided a comprehensive overview of the European Norm (EN) code revisions. He explained the revisions to EN 81-20 and 81-50 were delayed and would be sent for the final vote in September. It is now expected EN 81-1 and 81-2 will coexist with EN 81-20 and 81-50 until June 2017, which will enable manufacturers to adapt their products to the new requirements. 

Christian de Mas Latrie, chairman of ISO TC 178 and a member of the European Lift Association Codes and Standards Committee explained the international side of Comité Européen de Normalisation (CEN) and International Organization for Standardization (ISO) work and indicated it was progressing well. In particular, ISO TC 178, which concerns the global harmonization of elevator safety standards, was progressing. This work is based on using safety requirements and conformity assessment procedures implemented by third parties. This will require additional time before it can be implemented around the world but is a project worth pursuing. When completed, it can:

  • Improve safety, quality, accessibility and sustainable development worldwide
  • Allow innovation under control from a safety point of view
  • Allow design, production and delivery of the same products everywhere
  • Allow the elevator industry and third parties to work the same way around the world
  • Avoid redundancy for testing and certification everywhere
  • Avoid de-standardization of EN 81 users who want to become partners

Kerem Kuleli, R&D supervisor of Wittur Turkey, gave an overview of designing, developing and producing a new elevator door system to comply with the new codes and the recast of Lift Directive 95/16/EC. A modular design was pursued to encompass the globalization of codes and standards. Kuleli explained that modular design can ensure compatibility with products from various door makers and allow different combinations of various components to be used in order to fit specific needs of new and existing installations. This was an interesting presentation, and delegates enjoyed seeing real elevator components and installations.

Lars Gustavsson, product-development manager for Orona, presented the Innovation City project, which is a major initiative by the company. This development is well underway and expected to be completed in 2014, marking the 50th anniversary of the company. The only incomplete aspect of the project involved the 11 elevators and five escalators throughout the complex. The project as a whole provides an example for future innovation in sustainable, self-sufficient and ecologically friendly urban living. From an elevator-system perspective, the Net0lift (ELEVATOR WORLD, April 2012) is a project and consortium of 12 companies led by Orona. This is a four-year project with a goal to produce a zero-energy elevator system.

Jean-Luc Detavernier, general delegate of the French Lift Association, presented an overview of the implementation of Safety Norms of Existing Lifts (SNEL) in France. The presentation revealed that the SNEL initiative and the application of the Safety of All Elevators law have improved the safety of existing elevators in France. Between 2006 and 2011, fatalities have decreased 70%, and over the last three years, there has only been one fatal incident.

Sefa Targit from AYSAD (Turkish elevator association) gave a presentation highlighting the difficulties in carrying out inspections and implementing SNEL. As the draft regulation was being prepared in Turkey, it was originally planned to have the inspections cited in the regulation performed separately from the yearly periodic inspection and have its completion supervision included in the yearly inspections. However, experience during implementation has shown that SNEL is necessary to perform periodic inspections on existing elevators, so there is now an inclination to have both inspections carried out simultaneously.

Anselme Cote heads R&D at RATP for new products and is convenor of CEN/TC10/WG9. Cote’s presentation was about inclined lifts. Achim Hütter was also available to provide a manufacturer’s perspective on the topic. The presentation covered the history, development and future of inclined systems, as well as the new codes for them. “The inclined lift takes its place on the market with suitable codes a century after its illustrious grandfather, the vertical lift,” Cote said.

Dr. Gerhard Thumm, vice president of R&D for ThyssenKrupp Elevator (Central/Eastern/Northern Europe) and one of the driving forces for the company’s TWIN® elevator system, presented the closing paper of day, “10 Years TWIN Lifts.” The presentation was comprehensive and led delegates through the development processes, starting with the early mechanical system described in Scientific American in 1931. In 2003, new control technology and destination control, which allowed the original concept to become a commercial product, made the system practical. Thumm illustrated many of the refinements within the system, and, in closing, stressed the importance of working with the building’s design team to gain the maximum operational advantage from the TWIN system.

Day Two

Paolo Tattoli started the second day with his presentation on the new EN 81-77 code, covering the resistance and behavior of elevators during earthquakes. Tattoli concluded his discussion by explaining the importance of preparatory code work. He also explained that even though this new standard will not be introduced the same way in all European countries (because Europe is not a seismic-prone area), it will appear when harmonized and be part of the EN 81 series of standards.

Tadeusz Popielas, secretary general of PALM (Polish lift association), provided an overview of the education program for the elevator and escalator industry in Poland. Popielas discussed new opportunities and qualifications, as well as lift maintenance specialization, all of which have encouraged cooperation between the technical schools in Warsaw and the elevator industry.

Willem Kasteleijn from Liftinstituut covered practical experiences with uncontrolled car movement protection (UCMP) systems in certification and final inspection. Kasteleijn explained that inspections in Holland revealed most installers follow EN 81-1+A3 and 81-2+A3 and apply the UCMP systems correctly. Kasteleijn also claimed a large number of type certificates for UCMP systems have been issued in the past two years throughout the international market. Kasteleijn’s presentation also emphasized that the industry has the opportunity to provide input to the EN standards, including those pertaining to gearless elevator systems.

Karl Weinberger presented a new approach to the elevator-car brake. His presentation gave delegates much to think about, especially when he explained that major changes need to be made in order to be capable of moving a braking system from a machine to a lift car. However, Weinberger’s paper raised the question as to whether or not now is the right time to make the changes. He concluded his presentation by discussing the component and system benefits of a car brake.

Siegfried Melzer presented a Kai Kugler paper about energy efficiency of elevators and VDI Guideline 4707 Part 1. Melzer stated Kai Kugler was the expert and credit should be given to him. In recent years, the VDI 4707 Part 1 has helped promote innovations and technological developments in the elevator industry. Its application has been proven in practice. Possible opportunities for further clarifications are provided by a clear definition of connection points for the measurement devices of energy consumption. In addition, a stronger differentiation for the standby time makes sense. TÜV SÜD Industrie Service, Inc. supports elevator operators and manufacturers in their sustainability efforts by offering the “Energy-Efficient Lift Systems” certification per VDI 4707 Part 1, helping them uncover potential energy, cost and resource savings.

Dr. Holger König presented the penultimate presentation of the congress, which focused on VDI 4707 Part 2 – a catalyst for energy efficiency of elevators and escalators. At the beginning of Konig’s presentation, it became clear it is impossible to certify the energy efficiency of components because of the different combinations and usage levels. VDI 4707 Part 2 introduces the required operation modes, defines the component data for energy use and gives the calculation algorithm. It considers both hydraulic and electric elevators, different drive technologies, and energy recuperation and storing.

The final presentation was presented by Dr. Marja-Liisa Siikonen. Traffic in different building types and the effect of control systems were discussed. Siikonen also provided statistical information, which was illustrated in graphs. Siikonen concluded her presentation by explaining that the average travels per trip, as well as the average load, largely depend on people flow in the building. Average loads are smaller, and travel distances are longer in residential buildings, compared to those of hotels and office buildings. For accurate analysis, the direction of the elevator travel and distribution of travel lengths and loads should be taken into account. Daily traffic was simulated with different control systems. According to the simulation results, the travel energy was decreased by 15-30% with ECO and DC control systems, compared to that of conventional collective control. The simulation example also showed that an elevator group with DC control could handle the same passenger traffic with fewer cars than could the groups using a conventional control system. If elevator planning with DC systems was standardized, more energy could be saved in the building.

This concluded the congress, and delegates left having gained a great deal of knowledge about the art and science of moving people through architectural space.    

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