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Expansions, outlooks and subsidies look to accelerate industry.

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An Invertek innovation team member testing an Optidrive VFD in the new anechoic chamber

Ziehl-Abegg Sees Plenty of Bright Spots Globally in 2018

Germany-based Ziehl-Abegg, manufacturer of elevator motors, drives and controls, entered 2018 with optimism as it reflected on record sales of EUR540 million (US$666 million) (ELEVATOR WORLD, February 2018) and positive order intake in the first few weeks of the year. CEO Peter Fenkl said sales expectations were “significantly exceeded” in Asia and the Americas, and that even politically unstable countries such as the Ukraine and Russia have seen double-digit sales percentage increases. In the Middle East, it has opened a Dubai location and noted sales, particularly of elevator motors, are growing in Iran.

While many factors cast a cloud over political and economic development, Ziehl-Abegg intends to continue to invest in its global production and service network. Fenkl said new products that will “set records in energy efficiency” will be introduced in 2018. In 2017, the company invested a record EUR43 million (US$53 million). This year, it increased its global workforce to an all-time high of 3,900, compared with 3,550 a year ago. 

Lerch Bates to Grow Global Workforce by 20% in 2018

Lerch Bates, Inc. plans to grow its global workforce by 20% in 2018, citing a global construction industry projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 4.2% from 2018-2023 as it reaches US$10.5 trillion. One focus is on Latin American regions. Lerch Bates opened a location in Santiago, Chile, in February in light of Chilean legislation requiring inspection and documentation for elevator equipment. The company told EW it has more than 250 employees globally and is considering 20-50 new hires in 2018-2019.

Describing its consultants as Lerch Bates’ greatest asset, President and CEO Bart Stephan said the company “continues to scale our services and broaden our expertise in ways that help our clients address an increasingly diverse set of challenges.” Its 2018 projects include elevator design for The Peninsula in London, audit and maintenance management for MGM’s U.S. portfolio and elevator modernization at the AT&T Tower in Nashville.

Invertek Adds Anechoic Chamber for R&D, Expands

Variable-frequency drive (VFD) designer and manufacturer Invertek Drives has taken delivery of an anechoic chamber as part of a continued investment into R&D. The company’s innovation team, based at its global headquarters and manufacturing facility in Welshpool, U.K., is using the chamber for design and validation.

Also known as an electromagnetic compatibility chamber, the room is radio-frequency shielded to allow in-house electromagnetic emissions, immunity and wireless testing. “The anechoic chamber is a further important addition to our measurement and test capability, enabling us to more effectively develop and validate new drive technologies,” said Dr. David Jones, Invertek innovation director.

Jones continued:

“The dimensions of the chamber, in conjunction with the electromagnetic-interference receiver, antenna and turntable, enable measurements to be carried out in accordance with international standards, a key requirement enabling us to certify our products for global sales. The end result is that the innovation team can now carry out in-house EMC emissions measurements at more regular stages during a product’s development cycle, reducing its time to market.”

Additionally, Invertek is building a 5,000-m2 production facility at its headquarters. To be completed at the end of 2018, it builds on the company’s existing 3,000-m2 production facility. Invertek expects the expansion to increase its production to more than 400,000 drives a year.

Chinese Governments Subsidizing Residential Elevators

Governments in Beijing and Hangzhou, China, are subsidizing installation of residential elevators to accommodate their growing elderly populations, The Beijinger and Shangai Daily reported, respectively. In Beijing, district governments plan to subsidize approximately 200 new units in nearly 30 neighborhoods in the Haidian District. These will join 214 elevators added in 2017 in Beijing’s northern jurisdiction. Approximately 100 elevators are planned in the Fengdai District. The Hangzhou government, meanwhile, is providing subsidies of approximately 40% for each elevator, estimated to cost US$76,994. The Hangzhou government hopes the Huajiachi community, which has more than 500 residents older than 80, will help kick off the effort to install more than 250 elevators throughout the city in 2018.

BGF Fuels Northern Escalator Installations’ U.K., Europe Growth

A GBP6.4-million (US$9-million) investment from U.K.’s Business Growth Fund (BGF) promises to fuel Halifax, U.K.-based Northern Escalator Installations’ further expansion in the U.K. and Europe, Business Quarter reported. The specialty engineering firm has 85 employees, and recent projects include installations at Anfield football stadium in Liverpool and London Paddington Station. Realizing revenue of more than GBP12 million (US$16.8 million) in 2017, Northern Escalator Installations now has offices in Germany and Sweden. As part of the investment, Stuart Black joins the company as non-executive chair and Gareth Judson as operations director of the board. Northern Escalator Installations founder Kevin Johnson said BGF’s investment “will allow us to press forward with our growth plans, while retaining control of the business.”

Wittur Brazil Moves Commercial Office

The Brazilian branch of the Wittur Group has moved its commercial department to a new office in São Paulo to better accommodate customers. Its 10,000-m2 manufacturing facility in Londrina remains unchanged. “The new venue features more comfortable and better space to meet the needs of Wittur’s growing business in Brazil,” said Wittur Brazil Commercial Manager Christiano Troise. The new address is Av. Dr. Chucri Saidan 1550, Sala n˚818, Edificio Capital Corporate Office, Chácara Santo António, CEP. 04583-110, São Paulo, and the phone number is (55) 11-5033-5800.

“Invest in Iraq” Draws Industry, International Attention

The Kuwait International Conference of Iraq Reconstruction and Development was held on February 13. Organized by the Kuwait Chamber of Commerce & Industry, National Investment Commission of the Republic of Iraq, World Bank (WB) and Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development, it included a conference titled “Invest in Iraq” attended by investors from all over the world.

Iraq presented feasibility studies and licenses for 60 key investment projects, the total amount of which exceeded US$85 billion, Kuwait Chamber announced. WB will support such projects by offering guarantees, compensation of first loss and markets exploration. The conference was the first of its kind to be supported by the WB. Businessmen from the elevator industry and U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson were in attendance.

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