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Interlift 2017

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The world’s biggest industry trade fair just keeps growing.

Interlift 2017, held at Messe Augsburg in surprisingly temperate Augsburg, Germany, on October 17-20, 2017, proved to be the international biennial trade fair’s biggest iteration yet. With a record 574 participating companies and 21,260 visitors, the fair’s 13th incarnation proved a far cry from its 1991 inaugural event, which showcased 155 exhibitors — roughly half from Germany — and drew approximately 9,200 visitors. The prestige of the fair and its international appeal have grown over time and for good reason, according to Heiko Könicke, managing director of event organizer AFAG Messen und Ausstellungen GmbH, who described Interlift as being, from its inception, a “high-tech show with big companies, but we are all good friends with good communication.” During Interlift 2017’s opening ceremony, he elaborated on the fair’s continued success:

“Interlift is the gateway to the international lift market, and the live situation is so important. We are here, offline, for four days at an event put on by professionals for professionals. The international press and international associations are here. There is a vital energy source here. With [Interlift’s] large selection of exhibits and the clear advantages of personal communication, it creates a sustainable added value for both exhibitors and visitors. . . . Interlift is enjoying a continuous boom with stable linear growth, as is seen from all the top results in all benchmarks.”

Indeed, Interlift 2017 reached a multitude of milestones, including welcoming exhibitors and visitors that were 60% foreign and from a total of 114 nations, new Interlift records. Following host-country Germany, the top countries represented were Italy (14%), Spain (8%), France (7%), Switzerland (6%), the Netherlands (5%), Sweden (5%), the U.K. (5%), Greece (4%), Poland (4%) and Austria (3%).

For Italian exhibitors, who have consistently made up the largest foreign exhibiting group at Interlift, the fair is crucial to their success, creating an all-important gateway to world markets. Interlift 2017 saw nearly 100 Italian elevator companies represented, as well as the Italian associations ANICA (Italian elevator components association) and ANACAM (Italian elevator association). According to ANICA General Manager Dr. Silvia Piccione, this year’s event stood out:

“Interlift 2017 was special. The organization was perfect; from the first to the last day, we had plenty of visitors who were all seriously interested in our products. Even the summery weather helped to spread the generally good atmosphere. We were particularly pleased with the VFA/ANICA event: it showed that Germany and Italy share the same market interests.”

Though the most represented countries were European, China continues to grow its visitor and exhibitor numbers, investing in large standalone booths, along with the country’s joint booths. According to Zhang Lexiang, general secretary of the Chinese Elevator Association, these investments are paying off:

“In my opinion, Interlift 2017 was a great success. The amount of exhibitors, exhibition area and professional visitors once again broke all records. The organization of the trade fair is highly professional. We will be back in Augsburg in 2019 with even more exhibitors and visitors, and hope that the Interlift will achieve even more success in two years’ time.”

Italian and Chinese representatives were not alone in their praise of this year’s fair. Surveys taken during the exposition by Gelszus Trade Fair Market Research Agency showed positive results, with visitors pleased by the surprisingly warm weather and the excellent exhibitor selection. Exhibitors were pleased with the caliber of visitors to Interlift, most of whom were decisionmakers at their companies. Of those in attendance, 48% belonged to the lift construction sector and 25% to the maintenance and repair sector. Ninety-eight percent of Interlift attendees said, overall, they were very satisfied with their visit.

In response to the impressive survey outcomes, Könicke said:

“Together with our partners, we are extremely pleased with the excellent trade fair results, in particular with deteriorating general conditions and protectionist tendencies in certain important markets. These are developments that are not exactly encouraging for international markets.”

Despite the lingering questions regarding possible changes to some countries’ trade practices, Interlift’s many new records may be more indicative of the larger trends confirmed by fairgoers; surveys found most Interlift attendees saw the future development of the international elevator sector even more positively than they did two years ago, with 71% expecting improvement in the market. In consideration of the worldwide trend to urbanization, this vision is by no means utopian, according to AFAG.

Over the fair’s four days, busy exhibitors promoted many new and updated products in their booths, including new versions of safety components, shaft and cabin doors, and controls and frequency converters. The question of saving energy has not been settled, and the topic of design was as open as ever, as was clear from the cabins displayed. Suppliers also displayed novelties such as fixtures, shaft cables, pulleys, wiring, guide shoes, oilers and spare parts. Companies with complete accessibility solutions showed a broad array of home and platform lifts, while emergency call-system providers demonstrated the latest options and capabilities of their products. According to the Gelszus survey, most visitors were interested in components, followed by elevator doors, controls and accessories. Monitoring and safety systems and elevator cabs were also of particular interest to attendees, as were hydraulic systems and gears.

In addition to the exhibition, Interlift offered four full days of education in the VFA-Interlift Forum. Topics ranged from lift market and technology trends, to safety and codes and standards. The forum’s wide variety of speakers encompassed longtime industry experts, German business authorities and young entrepreneurs, all sharing the latest industry information, with an eye to the future. According to Achim Hütter, president of VFA-Interlift e.V., technical sponsor of Interlift, the forum was well received, welcoming more than 2,200 visitors, another new record.

With each new Interlift growth record comes the need for additional space for exhibitors and visitors. The event has traditionally spanned Messe Augsburg halls 1-7, but in 2015, the Cube and the Pavilion were added to help handle the growing crowds and exhibitors. These additions remained for 2017, with Wittur again occupying the Cube, and many exhibitors finding a home in the Pavilion. For the first time, the location of the Exhibitor Evening moved from hall 6 to the business area of the nearby WWK Arena soccer stadium, which could accommodate up to 1,500 guests. More than 600 comfortably attended the popular Exhibitor Evening this year and enjoyed the additional space and good food and service.

Another change alleviated some of the fair’s parking congestion. AFAG ran three shuttle lines regularly between the WWK parking lot, Munich Airport and Augsburg Central Railway Station. And, a new, second fair entrance area constructed between halls 1 and 7 in 2015 further eased crowd flow with its digital admission system.

According to Hütter, “Using the shuttle service to the parking area at the WWK Arena meant that for the first time, we could target both trade fair entrances, which led to a very noticeable improvement in spreading out the trade fair visitors.”

Hütter also noted that the generally good economic situation around the world ensured that both visitors and exhibitors were in the best frame of mind during the fair. “The only problem perceived in talking with industry professionals is the persistent lack of qualified personnel, which slows the boom somewhat,” he said.

As AFAG and VFA look toward Interlift 2019, it is with a host of notes from 2017 and excited anticipation for how to top their biggest fair yet. Said AFAG Project Manager Joachim Kalsdorf:

“This Interlift 2017 was quite simply sensational. Once again, it impressively underlined its position as the worldwide leading trade fair for the sector. For our key players, their motto is ‘Interlift first,’ and we have already been discussing possible enlargements to their stands for the future.”

Preparations will begin soon for Interlift 2019, scheduled for October 15-18 in Augsburg. Check www.interlift.de for more information.

From ELEVATOR WORLD to “Beer World”

Longtime EW China correspondent shares memorable moments from his first Interlift.

The broad international features of Interlift 2017 drew your author to the event, as more than 60 exhibitors from the Chinese elevator industry showed up in the halls of Messe Augsburg in Augsburg, Germany. EW Executive Vice President T.Bruce MacKinnon encouraged me to talk to all of the Chinese exhibitors, and I did. And, in addition, I talked to many people from other parts of the world, and found them interesting and friendly, with fine exhibits.

Exhibitors from all continents of the planet gathered in the seven halls of Messe Augsburg, showcasing their up-to-date innovations, products, technologies and concepts, such as “Safety does not allow compromises” and “Say good-bye to downtime.” An amazing number of exhibitors came from Italy, Spain, France and China, as well as from Germany. Back in Beijing, I edited some of the pictures I took of people I talked to and things that caught my interest. However, my pictures couldn’t cover everyone and everything that now brings me good memories.  

During the show, I was fortunate enough to walk around with EW Editor and Publisher Ricia Sturgeon-Hendrick, who insisted on visiting EW’s old friends in their booths, including the senior GAL brothers from New York and a few long-term business partners from China. MacKinnon toured the halls every day with one of his global team members, Bülent Yılmaz, who manages both EW Turkey and EW Middle East magazines. Other EW team members remained busy inside and outside our booth all week, but we all enjoyed evenings away from the halls, thanks to kind invitations by Interlift organizers and others.

We were invited by Interlift organizers to a press dinner at Die Tafeldecker restaurant in the historic Fuggerei, where members of the international press enjoyed an evening together prior to the opening of the trade fair. Two evenings later, we attended the Exhibitor’s Evening at WWK Arena, where European jazz players performed and impressed all.

We also enjoyed attending Formula Systems’ cocktail party held at Steakmanufaktur restaurant and KLEEMANN’s dinner and beer-tasting event at Riegele’s Beer World; both companies have a strong business presence in China. In speeches and conversations between friends at these events, “China” was a key word heard again and again.

Interlift 2017 was a memorable experience from beginning to end: from the traffic jams that occurred from time to time during the morning rush hour and handled effectively by the traffic directors to the multinational flags and yellow-crowned trees swinging in the autumn wind along the busy road leading to the Interlift entrance; to the seven exhibition halls interlinked conveniently for visitors, who could go from Hall 1 through Hall 7, or switch to any halls in need at the halfway pavilions where coffee, snacks and drinks were made available; to the booths for media exhibitors that were equipped with everything we needed, from bookshelves to lockable cabinets and a lockable closet. Every detail of Interlift was prepared with German quality and functioned in an exhibitor-friendly way.

One of the most memorable times had to be at Riegele’s Beer World, where we went from the giant bronze yeasting jars on the top floor down to the cellar. The temperature dropped from 350C on the top floor to 00C in the cellar, where everyone took a taste of the fresh beer from a thin glass. It was really a treat to us. That evening, MacKinnon did something big by leading his global team from Elevator World into “Beer World.”

VFA Forum

October 17

  • “The Chinese Lift Market” by Zhang Lexiang, China Elevator Association
  • “Industry 4.0 — Implications for the Lift Industry” by Wolfram Vogel, Sachverständigenbüro für Aufzug-, Seil- und Hebetechnik
  • “Static, Cyclic, and Acoustic Experimental Investigations” by Mazen Ayoubi, JORDAHL
  • “Personnel Qualification Is a Guarantee of Safety” by Alexey Zakharov, National Lift Union, Moscow
  • “IoT and Elevator Monitoring” by Kyle Hendren, Draka Elevator Products
  • “IT Security Management in Small and Medium Enterprises” by Axel Mandt, orderbase consulting
  • “Vestner Privataufzug — German Homelift Solution” by Laura Pitter, Vestner Aufzüge

October 18

  • “Mega Cities” by Michael Ryan and José Vilchez, The Peelle Co.
  • “The Italian Lift Market: Home Lifts” by Fabio Liberali, IGV
  • “Ventilation of Elevator Shafts — Just a Gentle Breeze?” by Kurt Seifert, BTR Brandschutztechnik
  • “Hydraulic Elevators Are Eco-friendly and Future-oriented” by José Guiot, Bucher Hydraulics
  • “To Be in the Know” by Henry Wuttke, SafeSolutions
  • “Type-Examination Tested Lift Systems with Components Available in the Market” by Volker Lenzner, LiftEquip
  • “How the Amended Industrial Safety Regulation 2016 Affects Lifts Inspections” by Werner Rau, Gomaringen
  • “The Impact of Brexit on the Lift Industry” by David A. Cooper, LECS (UK) Ltd.
  • “Lift 4.0 — Böhnke Advanced Technology” by Michael Muller, Böhnke + Partner
  • “Major Changes in the New European Standards for Lifts EN 81-20 and Their Significance in Practice” by Eva Adam, TÜV SÜD Industrie Service
  • “DC versus AC: The War of Current Is Not Over and How It Impacts the Elevator” by Dr. Pilar Molina-Goudo, epic power
  • “The Modern Hospital Elevator” by Daniel Kappl, Vestner Aufzüge
  • “Safety First: No More Infections by Handrails” by Katharina Obladen and Tanja Nickel, UVIS UV-Innovative Solutions

October 19

  • “125th Anniversary of Escalators — Fit for Future With New Brake Systems!” by Alexander Hutler, Mayr
  • “Building Sway Considerations in Elevator Design for Mega Tall Buildings” by Jaakko Kalliomäki, KONE
  • “National Regulatory Applications and Their Impact on the Market” by Klaus-Peter Kapp and Jan König, VFA
  • “Occupational Safety: Highlighted by the VFA Academy” by Reiner Dummert, VFA
  • “European Lift Markets – Current Developments in EU Policies and Regulation” by Robert Wright, ELA
  • “Asia and its Megacities: Innovative Elevator Technology in the Urbanisation Process” by Karl-Otto Schöllkopf, thyssenkrupp Elevator
  • “Lifting Elevators into the Cloud — Predictive Maintenance” by Tim Ebeling, Henning
  • “New Residential Lift for Shafts with Reduced Pit and Headroom — New Online Tool” by Lazaros Asvestopoulos, KLEEMANN
  • “Schmersal Safety Device Acc. to EN 81-20/-50” by Andreas Hunscher, SCHMERSAL
  • “Experiences with Suspensions for Gearless Elevator Machines” by Dieter Rieger, Ziehl-Abegg
  • “Collecting Information and Data on Elevator Operation to Improve Maintenance Activities” by Valentina Pinelli, Wittur
  • “The Egyptian Lift Market” by Hassan Azzouz, HAUSLIFT
  • “Predictive Maintenance — Smart Services Enabled by Advanced Analytics” by Rami Aro, Weidmüller
  • “Optamid® Green Pulley — New Design to Reduce the Ecologic Footprint” by Jawk Meijer and Lothar Sieber, Schwartz Technical Plastics
  • “Sound Insulation in Elevator Construction — Causes and Effects: Preview of the VFA Training” by Ulrich Nees, Systeme + Beratung

October 20

  • “HALFEN Fastening Technology for Elevator Constructions in the International Market” by Dirk Borgstede, Halfen
  • “Safety First! — How to Work Safely on Lifts” by Wolfgang Rösch, Berufsgenossenschaft Holz und Metall
  • “Elevator as an Element of Style for any Building” by Erdinc Özcitak, Wittur
  • “Common Mistakes in Electronic Safety Systems” by Tijmen Molema, Liftinstituut
  • “Ageing at Home Pays” by Daniel Nyman, Hissforbundet
  • “New Products and Solutions for the Lift of the Future” by Stefano Galzignato, Digicom
  • “GSM 2G, 3G, 4G — A Glance at the History and Into the Future of Mobile Communications” by Bodo Adamus, Bosch Service Solutions
  • “Smart Elevator 4.0: Security and Safety” by Martin Zeh, TÜV Nord Systems
  • “The Future of Elevator & Escalator Industry” by José Maria Compagni, Docensas

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