IAEC Annual Forum

Some examples of the various equipment on display at the IAEC Annual Forum.

The 25th forum of the International Association of Elevator Consultants combines education, trips and an exhibition.

The International Association of Elevator Consultants (IAEC) held its annual forum and business meetings in Denver at the Downtown Sheraton Hotel during the week of April 21. In addition to its annual board-of-directors and membership meetings, two full days of educational sessions and an ongoing elevator equipment exhibition, a fine social event and field trips kept the attendees very busy and engaged in the activities the IAEC executive office, Denver hosts and forum sponsors pulled together. Additionally, an 8-hr. NAESA International QEI continuing-education class and QEI Upgrade Exam were held during the last two days of the week. It was a full week of engagement by the elevator-industry members in attendance and an event that will long be remembered as a great combination of work, essential elevator-industry education and networking opportunities.


The forum got off to a good start with an opening presentation by Sheila Swett, executive director of IAEC. Swett welcomed everyone to the forum and presented an overview of the upcoming day’s events. It was noted that this year’s event was the 25th IAEC Forum, with the first having occurred in 1993 in Richmond, Virginia. At this initial event, the National Association of Vertical-Transportation Professionals (NAVTP) and the New York Consultants Forum joined forces to form a national elevator-consultants association under the banner of NAVTP. Since then, the name of the association has been revised to IAEC to more accurately and clearly reflect the association’s purpose and what has, in recent years, become its international membership. This year, IAEC members came to the forum from throughout the U.S. and Canada, and as far away as Mumbai.

This year’s event was the 25th IAEC Forum, with the first having occurred in 1993 in Richmond, Virginia.

Following Swett’s welcoming remarks, the day’s first technical speaker began a vibrant presentation on nonproprietary machine-room-less (MRL) elevators. In his usual energetic and lively style, Mark Yako of GAL Manufacturing Corp. described the benefits and difficulties this relatively new MRL technology brings with it. The benefits were described as being the availability of traction-elevator performance for low- to medium-rise elevator installations heretofore serviced by hydraulic elevators. He, however, also cautioned about some of the shortcomings of MRL installations: reduced equipment longevity, proprietary servicing and being captive to OEMs’ layouts and configurations.

The next session, “Elevator Traffic Analysis — Achieving Common Ground,” consisted of presentations and a panel discussion chaired by your author and participated in by some of the elevator industry’s leading traffic-analysis experts. Following your author’s opening remarks on some of the basic concepts and processes used to perform elevator traffic calculations and elevator simulations, Theresa Muenkel Christy of Otis explained how elevator traffic-simulation studies are conducted and how she approaches the studies she performs for Otis clients. Christy emphasized the importance of numerous simulation runs to ensure an accurate reflection of passenger arrivals and ongoing elevator usage is included in the study and used as a basis for it.

This year, IAEC members came to the forum from throughout the U.S. and Canada, and as far away as Mumbai.

Jeff Blain of Schindler followed up on Christy’s caution relative to the importance of doing simulation studies comprised of numerous runs. Blain also clarified the performance criteria commonly discussed by traffic engineers and defined the terms “average time to destination”, “average waiting time” and “handling capacity” in regard to destination-dispatch (DD) systems. Practical examples, including actual elevator systems he has studied, were also presented to illustrate how this analytical process should be conducted.

Following Blain, Jim Fortune of Fortune Shepler Saling Inc. utilized his extensive experience in supertall-building elevator-system design to bring some enlightening ideas and concerns to the forefront of the discussion. Recognizing the challenges the industry is trying to overcome in truly understanding (and, even more so, verifying) the purported benefits of DD systems, he started off his presentation by giving the audience what he called “a reality check.” While in many cases (and, in particular, during up-peak traffic,) these systems are certainly capable of handling incoming traffic demands, they do little for interfloor and down-peak traffic. He advised that DD simulation studies be considered with caution, particularly for these two important traffic profiles.

Next on the agenda was a presentation entitled “Myths and Mystery of Elevator Door Operation” by elevator consultant Steve Carr. As he discussed and showed video clips of his experiences investigating elevator-door strike incidents, Carr cautioned the audience to be sure elevator door operations are set and maintained specifically for the facility in which they are installed. His particular emphasis was in regard to buildings in which senior citizens are expected to be prevalent, as they are the segment of the population most prone to being involved in door-strike mishaps.

Tim Ploughman of ThyssenKrupp Elevator then brought forum attendees up to date on his company’s latest DD system offering for modernization projects. The importance of keeping building occupants informed of the progress of an elevator modernization program and ensuring the elevator system is properly handling the existing building traffic during such a project were emphasized. Ploughman indicated the ThyssenKrupp Elevator modular DD upgrade accommodates the interface and group operating features between a legacy system and upgraded elevators, as they are integrated into the DD group operating control system.

Representing SnapCab, Evan Epstein next discussed the various elevator-cab interior finishes and decorative materials available from his company. Epstein described a full range of traditional metal-, plastic-laminate- and recently developed Corning Gorilla® Glass-covered wooden-veneer finishes. Samples of the latter were circulated among the attendees for them to view close up and test for durability. Epstein also showed a video of Corning’s expectation of the future use of Gorilla Glass in touchscreen and informational displays throughout every phase of our lives (included in this month’s Online Extras).

Fortune advised that DD simulation studies be considered with caution.

Tom Hausenbauer of Minnesota Elevator, Inc. (MEI) followed, proceeding to inform the attendees of his company’s offerings and capabilities. It was pointed out that with the major elevator companies moving more and more toward standardization of products, they frequently turn to MEI to provide specialized and custom-designed elevator systems for their projects. A full range of hydraulic, large freight and MRL elevators are available from MEI. It was also noted that some MEI freight elevators have capacities as high as 80,000 lb.

Regenerative drives and the necessary surveys for elevator alterations was the next subject, which was thoroughly covered by Donald Vollrath of Magnetek. Environmental problems that might have detrimental effects on drives were explained, and solutions were offered. Of note was the lack of a proper level of moisture introduced through an elevator machine room’s air-handling system, which can prevent the proper and necessary buildup of film on a drive motor’s commutator. Proper sizing of MRL machines and drives to ensure an elevator car can be lifted off of its safety and/or properly re-level was also noted as essential. The necessity to specify the operation of elevators at reduced speed during standby power operation was also suggested to ensure continuing operation of elevators on emergency power.

Martin Rhiner of Brugg Lifting next discussed the effects of moisture intrusion into elevator hoistways on elevator ropes. The various rope configurations and how their cores react to moisture were described in detail. The need for steel-wire hoist ropes to be properly lubricated and re-lubricated was also thoroughly discussed. And, it was noted hoist ropes should be re-lubricated at least once per year, or after every 250,000 elevator trips.

The last speaker of the forum was Allan Lloyd of Hyundai Elevator. Lloyd introduced attendees to his company, its worldwide projects and its products. In 2013, Hyundai installed 20,200 units worldwide and had an annual turnover of US$980 million. It has installed or is working on projects in 72 nations and has more than 150,000 units in operation in South Korea.

Hyundai also has installed the world’s fastest elevator, which travels at 18 mps. Lloyd also pointed out the company manufactures all of its own major elevator components. He indicated his company is anxious to start producing elevator and escalator systems for installation in the U.S. and is currently working with a number of independent elevator contractors to get this underway. Hyundai is also in the process of establishing a full spare-parts inventory in existing Hyundai storage facilities located throughout the U.S., as well as within the storage facilities of its installation contractors.

Hyundai has installed the world’s fastest elevator, which travels at 18 mps, and is anxious to start producing elevator and escalator systems for installation in the U.S.

Board of Directors Meeting

During the IAEC Board Meeting, various committee reports were presented, and elevator-industry issues were discussed. It was reported that this year’s forum was a financial success, and the association was in good financial shape. Key issues discussed were ASME A17 code updates, and A17 and NEII Performance Committee work status.

Membership Meeting

During the IAEC Membership Meeting, a new slate of officers was elected, committee reports were presented to the IAEC members, and new officers were sworn into office. The 2014/15 officers are: James D. “Jim” Lawrence, president; your author, vice president; Paul Rosenberg, secretary; and John Donnelly, treasurer. Regional officers remaining in office are: Joseph Caracappa, Eastern Region; John Koshak, Southern Region; Richard Baxter, Central Region; Michael Fagan, Western Region; and TAK Mathews, International Region. At-large directors remaining in office are: Leo Fenili, Richard Blaska, Joseph Neto, John Rearick and Bob Dieter.

Field Trips

Otis and Schindler conducted field trips to a number of office buildings in downtown Denver to explain and display the operation of their latest DD elevator systems.

An Evening in the Rocky Mountain Foothills

Some very special guests were also in attendance at Wednesday evening’s cocktail hour and dinner event. While at the Fort Restaurant, nestled in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains outside Denver, attendees socialized with their friends and business colleagues while developing some up-close and personal relationships with two of the Rocky Mountain area’s permanent wildlife residents.


Also on Wednesday, the Elevator Escalator Safety Foundation Silent Auction raised US$3,160, which will purchase Safe-T Rider© program materials for 10,897 second graders. Auctioned items were donated by:

  • Canton Elevator, Inc.
  • CE Electronics
  • CEDES Corp. of America
  • Columbia Elevator
  • Courion
  • Draka Elevator Products
  • Elevator Controls Corp.
  • Elevator World, Inc.
  • EMS Group
  • Formula Systems
  • GAL Manufacturing Corp.
  • Imperial Electric
  • Innovation Industries Inc.
  • James Lawrence & Associates
  • MAD Elevator Fixtures
  • Magnetek
  • MEI
  • Precision Escalator
  • Qameleon Technology
  • Reynolds & Reynolds Electronics, Inc.
  • Ring Communications Inc
  • Smartrise
  • SnapCab Elevator Interior Systems
  • Swett & Associates
  • The Peelle Co.
  • ThyssenKrupp Elevator Denver
  • Virginia Controls Inc
  • VMI
  • Wurtec Inc.


As the 2014 IAEC Forum drew to a close, it was agreed by all in attendance that this year’s event was among the best. It was confirmed the next iteration will be held in Nashville, Tennessee, on May 16-20, 2015. For more information, visit website: www.iaec.org.

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