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thyssenkrupp’s MULTI was named one of the “25 Best Inventions of 2017” by TIME magazine.

Mitsubishi Electric Building New Training Center in Japan

Mitsubishi Electric is significantly ramping up training for installation technicians by building a new, 2,182-m2 training center at its main factory in Inazawa, Japan. The company is investing approximately US$8.67 million in the facility, which will have 11 shafts and eight elevators for hands-on training, as well as a hazard simulator. Citing increasing global demand for elevators and escalators, the company aims to increase the number of new installation technicians in Japan to 1,000 and installation supervisors outside of Japan to 350 by March 2020. The center is expected to start operation in October.

thyssenkrupp: Award, Partnership, Fine

thyssenkrupp’s MULTI ropeless and sideways-moving elevator system (ELEVATOR WORLD, September 2017) was named one of TIME magazine’s “25 Best Inventions of 2017,” a prestigious annual honor that extends from space stations to children’s toys. The list identifies the year’s inventions with the greatest potential to “make the world better, smarter and/or more enjoyable.” In announcing the honor, thyssenkrupp noted that MULTI’s cable-free technology requires fewer and smaller shafts than conventional systems and can increase a building’s usable area by up to 25%, reduce passenger waiting times, increase transport capacity by up to 50% and utilize up to 60% less peak power than traditional systems. thyssenkrupp Elevator CEO Andreas Schierenbeck called MULTI a “game changer that will truly transform the way people move, work and live in our built environment.”

Additionally, the company is collaborating with SOS Children’s Villages, the world’s largest non-government organization focused on supporting at-risk children, on Project SEED, based on thyssenkrupp’s own “seed campus” job-training network. SEED stands for “support, educate, elevate and develop,” with volunteers from thyssenkrupp working with hundreds of children in Brazil, Colombia and India to help SOS improve job prospects for young people with little or no parental care.

In Phase One of Project SEED, 60 youths in Colombia, 100 in Brazil and 130 in India will receive assistance from thyssenkrupp on soft and basic skills job training, career guidance, entrepreneurship and real-world work experience. Schierenbeck participated in a kickoff workshop in Bogotá, Colombia, on November 15. He said:

“I was eager to attend the first session to emphasize the importance of learning, talent nurturing and the engagement of employees in effective social responsibility activities for our company. Our business is the design, manufacture, delivery and servicing of advanced urban mobility solutions that contribute to making cities the best possible places to live. Naturally, that also means supporting equitable social balance and quality of life.”

Finally, thyssenkrupp has been fined CAD500,000 (US$390,365) by the Technical Standards and Safety Authority (TSSA) in Ontario, Canada, for several violations of the Technical Standards and Safety Act, various news outlets, including The Canadian Press, reported. The authority said thyssenkrupp allowed an unsafe elevator to operate in a condominium in Toronto and failed to perform required maintenance and tests at a condominium in Mississauga. TSSA Director Roger Neate said the move sends a strong message to the elevator industry about the importance of following the law regarding safety tests, maintenance and procedures.

Avire Expands Product Range With Microkey Acquisition

Avire has acquired SETCO S.A., a Barcelona-based company that specializes in emergency telephones, GSM wireless transmission and monitoring systems for elevators under the Microkey brand. Avire Managing Director Rob Lewis said the move adds R&D resources that will lead to new products and technologies. In announcing the acquisition, Avire observed:

“The combination of machine-to-machine and cloud technologies is beneficial to Avire customers, allowing lift controllers to provide status information and to be remotely updated and maintained. As Microkey has predominantly been focused on the Iberian peninsula, this acquisition offers exciting new growth opportunities via Avire’s global sales and support channels.”

KONE Teaming With Startup for Interconnectivity

KONE is partnering with Estonian startup Indoor Ninja, a developer of cloud-based visitor-management services, to improve and automate check-in for office building visitors. When entering a lobby, a visitor is prompted to look at a tablet that lists all the companies and employees in the building. The visitor selects the desired host, who receives a video call on his or her smartphone, which allows the host to identify the visitor. Then, the host can send an elevator to pick the guest up from the lobby. Office occupants can also use the associated app to call elevators in advance for themselves. Retrofitting the system to older buildings with KONE elevators is also possible.

The solution is being tested by a pilot group of customers in Finland, the Baltics, the U.K. and Israel, with plans to expand to new countries from the beginning of 2018. Jukka Salmikuukka, head of KONE’s Ecosystem Business, explained:

“It has been a learning journey for both parties: we have learned a lot on how startups operate, and I believe, also, Indoor Ninja has learned a lot about how a global company operates and what it takes to bring new solutions into the market in this type of context.”

Philippines Otis, Toshiba Supplier Changes Name to Alstra

Concepcion Building and Industrial Solutions, a major supplier of vertical-transportation (VT) equipment in the Philippines, has changed its name to Alstra, the Manila Standard reported in October. Rajan Komarasu, Alstra director, said the company began a process of internal examination about three years ago, and realized it needed to expand its business offerings by looking toward “sophisticated solutions that will be the trend of the future.” With an eye on meeting requirements of a business-to-business industry, Komarasu said the company sought to change its internal culture so it could market itself as a “building solutions expert in the Philippines.”

Alstra will continue to provide VT equipment from Otis and Toshiba, and cooling equipment, but with the name change is expanding its business to offer fire and security equipment, lighting, controls and automation and connection solutions through the Internet of Things. The company provides other solutions as well, including cooling equipment. It will remain under the umbrella of Concepcion Industrial Corp.

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