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The observation tower will feature a pair of panoramic elevators (image courtesy of NITA).

Reorganization, partnerships, new facilities, awards and more take place around the world.

ThyssenKrupp Elevator Combines Business Units

ThyssenKrupp Elevator announced in the spring that it would be reducing its business units from four to three by combining the Southern Europe, Africa & Middle East and Central, Eastern & Northern Europe units. The Americas and Asia/Pacific units remain unchanged. Andreas Schierenbeck, CEO of Elevator Technology, said the move promises to reduce complexity and improve efficiency. Company spokesman Michael Ridder elaborated:

“This is an organizational adjustment to strengthen our business in Europe to become a stronger market player, not a headcount-reduction exercise. It is designed to improve our operations in Europe by harmonizing business processes and optimizing our customer service.”

Belarusian Outfit Embarks on Chinese Escalator Partnership

Mogilev, Belarus-based elevator company OAO Mogilevliftmash has partnered with Chinese entities to manufacture escalators, Belarusian News reported. By May, the partnership had produced its first unit using predominantly Chinese parts and reported it has mastered the production of metal frames and control boards. Mogilevliftmash aims to have its new manufacturing division commissioned by the end of 2015 and start production in earnest in 2016, eventually expanding from escalator assembly to production of components. The company announced it also signed an agreement of cooperation with elevator control-station manufacturer Shanghai STEP Electric Corp.

Mitsubishi Elevator Announces Bangalore Factory, Test Tower

Citing strong domestic demand of 47,000 units in 2014, Mitsubishi Elevator India Pvt. Ltd. in May announced plans to build a 25,400-m2 factory and 41-m-tall test tower in Bangalore. The factory, capable of producing 5,000 units annually, is expected to become operational in July 2016. The project builds on Mitsubishi Electric’s existing presence. The company began selling elevators in India through distributors in 1995, and established a company in Chennai in August 2012 to handle sales, installation and maintenance. In April 2014, it launched its NEXIEZ-LITE elevator model for low- to mid-rise buildings in India (ELEVATOR WORLD, June 2014). With a particular focus on NEXIEZ-LITE, Mitsubishi Electric aims to increase its competitiveness in terms of price and delivery time with the new factory, which will include an installation and maintenance field-training center.

EHC GLOBAL Partners with AKE in Turkey

Turkish company AKE has partnered with EHC GLOBAL as the Oshawa, Canada-headquartered escalator handrail manufacturer’s Turkish distributor. Like EHC’s other global partners, AKE will also license handrail-splicing technology from EHC. AKE also manufactures its own escalators and will begin installing EHC handrails on new ones in its factory.

EHC GLOBAL Director of Sales Patrick Bothwell commented: 

“Our business model sees EHC tie up with local partners in key markets to offer more timely deliveries by putting resources in the local market to complete final endless manufacturing of handrails. There are several profiles of handrail, but more challenging is that each escalator requires handrails of a different finished length. This means that final manufacturing can’t be completed until the order is received. Pushing the splicing/jointing work downstream into the local market means that we can reduce the need to ship endless product direct from our factories in Canada, Germany or Shanghai.

“Having local partners also means that we can offer field splicing — that is, completing the endless handrail joint on the escalator. This reduces the time and effort required on site to change our handrails. Handrails are bulky and expensive to ship, so there are logistical advantages to consolidating imports of products and finishing the manufacturing process locally on a just-in-time basis.”

Apex Lifts Hosts Apprentices

London’s Apex Lifts recently welcomed 10 lift apprentices from Training Centre Direct (TCD) to its Bexleyheath offices and Sidcup manufacturing facility to learn about potential careers and how Apex operates. The apprentices heard presentations from Service Manager John Roberts, Project Manager Peter Gruzinski and Service Supervisor Steve Minns. They watched in-depth lift-engineering videos and got an up-close look at how Apex handles health and safety issues, equipment, service and maintenance. Roberts deemed the event a success, stating:

“Overall, it was a tremendously successful morning, and we were delighted to provide our support to TCD. Our objective was to promote best practices in the lift industry. I hope all of the TCD students left feeling really motivated and encouraged to be part of the industry.”

Schindler Awards Spanish Students

Schindler has announced the winners of its 2015 Global Schindler Awards, which calls upon architecture and design students worldwide to present mobility designs for a preselected site in Shenzhen, China. Students from Escuela de Ingenieria y Aquitectura in Zaragoza, Spain, took first place during an awards ceremony on April 30 in Shenzhen. Teams from China and France took the remaining top spots, with a total of US$150,000 awarded, including US$50,000 to the winning team. This year’s contest was open, for the first time, to students from the U.S., and a group of students from the Master of Infrastructure Planning program at the New Jersey Institute of Technology in Newark, New Jersey, was among the 12 finalists chosen from a field of 200.

KONE

New senior vice president appointed, large cruise ship order won and safety game for children unveiled.

Viehweg Assumes New Leadership Role

Dennis Viehweg has been appointed senior vice president of Modernization, Americas, effective June 1. Reporting to Executive Vice President of KONE Americas Larry Wash and based at KONE Americas’ Lisle, Illinois, headquarters, Viehweg will lead KONE’s modernization business in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. He began his career at KONE in 1988 in service sales and has held roles of increasing responsibility, most recently Western Canada district manager. He has helped manage the company’s finances and built teams credited with achieving impressive results. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Finance from Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois. 

Cruise Ship to Be Outfitted with 39 Units

Continuing its business relationship with STX France, KONE has been hired to outfit cruise ship MSC Meraviglia with 39 elevators and escalators. Boasting high-end features such as Italian marble elevator floors, the order consists of 17 MiniSpaceTM passenger, two MiniSpace scenic and 13 MonoSpace® service elevators; two MotalaTM 2000 platform lifts for passengers with limited mobility; a dumbwaiter; and four escalators. The E-LinkTM monitoring system is included. Being built in France, the 7,200-person-capacity ship is scheduled for completion in 2017.

Digital Game Teaches Elevator/Escalator Safety

As part of its recent Safety Week, KONE unveiled a digital game that teaches children about elevator/escalator safety at kone.com/childrenssafety The game stars KONE’s safety mascots, Max the mouse and Bob the elephant, who traverse a skyscraper using elevators and escalators. It is designed for children ages four to 10. The company stated:

“Safety is an integral part of KONE’s strategy and a cornerstone of its business. The company’s ultimate goal with regard to safety is zero accidents — to employees, end users and partners. The digital game contributes to KONE’s initiative to educate equipment users to act responsibly and safely when using elevators and escalators.”

Mandel Appointed Managing Director of Schmersal

Michael Mandel has been appointed managing director of Germany’s K.A. Schmersal GmbH & Co. KG. He is running the company alongside managing directors Heinz and Philip Schmersal, and remains head of the Technical Division. Mandel has worked for Elka Elektronic GmbH and Werner Turck GmbH & Co. KG, where he oversaw customer-specific development. He started his career at Schmersal in 2011 as head of R&D and, in 2014, became head of the Technical Division, where he was responsible for overall product development and project management in Germany, Brazil, China and India. Mandel stated:

“As one of the leading international system and solution providers for machine safety, Schmersal is already in a strong position. In my new role, I would like to make more of a contribution to improving this position. We will succeed if we continue to use our know-how and innovative strength to support our customers to take advantage of current changes in the industry, especially with regard to the new concept of the ‘Internet of Things.’”

Indian High-Rise Standard Considered

The Bureau of Indian Standards plans to make progress on a code for tall buildings this year, which may allay some experts’ concerns about the lack of an Indian building code for high rises. According to Sangeeta Waj, technical director at global design firm AECOM, most buildings in India use the minimum structural safety standards prescribed by the government, The Economic Times reported in April. “Our codes offer the lowest level of earthquake safety protection. We are designing for one-fifth the intensity that might hit a particular earthquake zone,” Waj said. The situation is considered more urgent in northern India, especially in the National Capital Region, which falls under Seismic Zone 4.

Getamber Anand, president of construction body Confederation of Real Estate Developers Association of India and managing director of ATS Infrastructure, a Noida, India-based real estate firm, countered:

“IS 1893 is the Indian code revised in 2002 after [the] Gujarat earthquake duly considering the structural failures witnessed. The present buildings are being designed based on IS 1893, and it provides design for even 30 stories and above.”

Pair of Panoramic Elevators to Be Part of Turkish Tower

A pair of panoramic elevators are to be part of Antalya Tower, an observation tower planned on Turkey’s southwest coast to coincide with the World Botanic Expo in April 2016, ArchDaily reported. Local architecture firm Nitelikli Tasarımlar Atölyesi (NITA) won a contest to design the tower, on which construction is expected to start sometime in 2015. Resembling a trio of pitcher plants and standing 100.7 m tall, the steel-façade design pays homage to the Hadrian’s Gate arches at the entrance to Antalya’s old town. Plans include three levels for visitors and three panoramic rooftop viewing decks. The elevators “will allow breathtaking views of the surrounding city,” which welcomes approximately 10 million visitors each year.

Plans, Progress in the U.K.

High rises proposed for London, Birmingham station escalators being fixed.

Country’s Tallest Residential Tower

Berkeley Group is planning to build what will be the tallest residential building in the U.K. — a 68-story, 220-m-tall tower that is part of a two-tower development that also includes a 36-story tower in London Docklands, Construction Enquirer reported. Designed by Foster + Partners, the glittery towers will replace a cluster of 1980s buildings. Construction on phase one, the taller tower, is set to start in July 2016 and be complete in approximately five years. Construction on phase two, the shorter tower, is scheduled to start in April 2018. The buildings are set to contain close to 900 residences, nearly 200 of which will be “affordable.” 

Prussian Blue Tower

Prussian Blue, a 40-story “stacked block” building designed by architecture firm Wilkinson Eyre, has been proposed adjacent to the Leadenhall Building in London, the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat reported. It would replace a 1975 office block and could be finished as early as 2018. Backers include Mitsubishi Estate Co., which is upbeat about “the city of London’s long-term growth prospects as a world financial center and its attractiveness for blue-chip companies.”

All 52 Escalators at New Street Station under Repair

A faulty part necessitated the repair of all 52 escalators at Network Rail’s New Street Station in Birmingham, U.K., five months before the GBP600-million (US$927-million) facility was scheduled to open, the Birmingham Mail reported. The part in question — a chain running the length of the unit that pulls stairs up or down — caused several units to break down, and Network Rail is replacing all of them as a precaution. The manufacturer is paying for the repairs.

44-, 48-Story Towers for Downtown Toronto

Shanghai-based developer Greenland Group broke ground on 44- and 48-story hotel/residential towers at the Westinghouse site in Toronto in May. “King Blue by Greenland” is to include a new 10,000-sq.-ft. home for Theatre Museum Canada in the downtown locale. The towers will feature architecture and interiors from Toronto-based IBI Group Architects/Page + Steele, B+ H Architects and Munge Leung. Occupancy is set for 2018.

Market Watch reports the developer is building four of the top-10 tallest buildings in the world and has 23 “ultra high-rise buildings currently built or in construction.” The source notes Greenland recognizes “Canada’s potential as a growing, highly stable market.” It owns more than 70 luxury hotels globally.

57-Story Chinese Skyscraper Takes Shape in 19 Days

Implementing modular construction, a 57-story glass and steel skyscraper in Changsha, China, was built in a total of 19 days, The Guardian reported. Chinese firm Broad Sustainable Building built the mixed-use Mini Sky City in two spurts — completing the first 20 floors last year and the remaining floors in early 2015 after it sped its pace from two to three floors per day. Broad now hopes to build the tallest building in the world, 220-story Sky City in Changsha, using the same technique. Critics contend such construction lends itself to bland architecture, while companies such as Broad tout its efficiency and safety. A company official told Wired in 2012 that safety attributes extend to the elevator industry: Bases, rails and machine rooms are built at the modular factory, which eliminates the risk of a technician falling down a shaft, with finished cars dropped into the shaft by crane. Broad tells ELEVATOR WORLD that Mini Sky City has 16 elevators.

Association Activity in Eurasia

CIBSE Lifts Group, IAEE, CTBUH and VFA hold, plan important events.

CIBSE Guide D Seminar, Lift Symposium Abstracts

The CIBSE Guide D: Transportation Systems in Buildings 2015 seminar and official launch of the fifth edition of the vertical-transportation reference will be held on September 22 at Highgate House in Northampton, U.K. Authors will provide an overview of each chapter and highlight new material. Registration for the seminar can be made at www.cibseliftsgroup.org. It is being held a day before and at the same location as the 5th Symposium on Lift & Escalator Technologies. The CIBSE Lifts Group and University of Northampton have released a list of abstracts for the latter event, set for September 23-24. Presentations include:

  • “Extracting the Value of the Round Trip Time Under Up Peak Traffic Conditions from Simulation” by Dr. Lutfi Al-Sharif, Ghazi Al Sukkar, Mahmoud Mansour, Mohammad Gharbieh, Esraa Farraj, Rawan Jarrah and Rasha Milekh
  • “Optimum Design of Traction Electrical Machines in Lift Installations” by Xabier Arrasate, Alex McCloskey and Xabier Hernández
  • “Experimental Study of Stress and Displacement Analysis under Static Load Lift Guide Rail Fasteners” by Suhan Atay, Mehmet Altuntas, Ozlem Salman and Cevat Erdem Imrak
  • “The Trouble with Mobility Scooters” by Michael Bottomley
  • “Impact of Design Methods and Maintenance Policies on the Dynamic Behaviour of Escalators” by Helene Buet and David Courteille
  • “Boat Lifts through the Ages in the UK” and “Fault Diagnosis Methodology” by David Cooper
  • “Key Dynamic Parameters That Influence Ride Quality of Passenger Transportation Systems” by Thomas Ehrl, Dr. Stefan Kaczmarczyk and Dr. Rory Smith
  • “Lifts without Ropes: How Many Shafts and Cars Are Needed?” by Stefan Gerstenmeyer and Dr. Richard Peters
  • “Selling Lifts in the Late 19th and Early 20th Century” by Dr. Lee Gray
  • “Modernize Your Lift and Save the World” by Kjell Johansson
  • “Modelling and Computer Simulation of Aerodynamic Interactions in High-Rise Lift Systems” by Kaczmarczyk, Seyed Mirhadizadeh, Peter Feldhusen and Keith Anderson
  • “Knowledge Transfer Partnership Project as an Example of Best Practices for innovation in the UK Lift Industry” by Rafal Kwiatkowski, Kaczmarczyk, Nick Mellor, Charles Salter and Laurel Mulhern
  • “The Use of Recent Innovation in Information Technology in Meeting Standards Related to Design, Construction, Installation and Maintenance of New and Existing Lifts” by Kwiatkowski, Kaczmarczyk and Mellor
  • “Optimisation of the Running Speed of Escalators on the London Underground” by Ben Langham
  • “Methodology to Identify Noise and Vibrations Problems for Ride Quality Improvements” by Raúl Monge and Alfredo Gómez
  • “Challenges of Low-Voltage Energy Storage for Lifts” by Estanis Oyarbide, Pilar Molina, Carlos Bernal, Luis Ángel Jiménez and Rubén Gálvez
  • “How to Further Improve Energy Efficiency. A Novel Approach” by Vicente Pacheco, Molina and Estanislao Oyarbide
  • “A Systematic Methodology for the Generation of Lift Passengers under a Poisson Batch Arrival Process” by Peters, Al-Sharif, Ahmad Hammoudeh, Eslam Alniemi and Ahmad Salman
  • “Escalator Accidents Analysis” by Elena González Ruibal, Isabel González Mieres, Ignasi Oliver González, Cooper and José Durán Batalla
  • “Service Life of Steel Wire Suspension Ropes” by Pat Ryan
  • “Evacuating a High Rise Office Building by Lift” by Peter Sumner

Complete abstracts are available on the symposium’s website: liftsymposium.org.

Elevcon 2016

Elevcon 2016, the 21st world congress of the International Association of Elevator Engineers (IAEE), will take place in Madrid on May 10-12, 2016. A program full of presentations by leading industry experts from around the world is planned. An “exhibition of industry innovations” is also planned, all at the Hilton Madrid. Information on the event’s call for papers, accommodation reservation and exhibition registration can be found at www.elevcon.com.

New CTBUH Research Explores Japan’s Tall Buildings

The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) has released Tall Building in Numbers — Japan: A History of Tall Innovations, the latest in a research series that includes interactive graphics boasting a wealth of data. The Japan study includes a rich history of tall-building construction and innovations driven by the island nation’s densely populated metropolises and propensity for earthquakes. For further information, visit www.ctbuh.org.

VFA Members’ Meeting Held in April

The membership and Standards Working Group (WG) of VFA Interlift E.V. met in mid April in Esslingen, Germany. More than 190 participants from VFA’s 180 member companies participated in the general program and Members’ Meeting. Highlights include Dr. Jürgen Dispan presenting “Developmental Trends in the Lift and Escalator Sector in Germany,” an activities report by board of directors Chair Achim Hütter, and Standards Officer Jan König and Standards WG Chair Klaus-Peter Kapp talking about imminent changes to European and national standards and the current state of implementation.

Additionally, board member Andreas Hönnige presented the comprehensive range of courses offered by the VFA Academy: 48 were held in 2014, and they are now classified in 12 categories. The academy also organizes the VFA Forum expert presentations at Interlift. Michael Gubisch is responsible for this, and at the meeting, he reported on its Interlift 2015 preparations and looked back at VFA’s involvement in various foreign trade fairs. Klaus Sautter, the board member with responsibility for public relations (PR), provided an overview of the VFA’s “Lift of the Month” initiative and other recent PR work the organization has carried out in specialist magazines.

Kapp welcomed more than 50 members to the Standards WG session. Then, Wolfgang Adldinger provided an overview of current standards changes. His presentation focused on changes resulting from the new Lifts Directive (2014/33/EU) and the EN 81 series of standards. Twenty-three European standards will be revised to a greater or lesser extent over the next two years to align them with EN 81-20/50. Kapp then spoke on the new Occupational Safety Ordinance, which has since come into force. He provided additional details and background information. This was followed by a report from Horst Schickor from the Lift Technology Expert Committee. Following this, Manfred Kock spoke about current developments from the DAfA (German Lifts Committee), where the new Occupational Safety Ordinance is also an issue. Speakers Martin Blumberg and Volker Lenzner rounded out the session.

The next meeting of the Standards WG is scheduled for December 11, in Dortmund, Germany. The next VFA Members’ Meeting will take place on April 21-22, 2016, in Düsseldorf, Germany.

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