Jobs and Joint Ventures

One World Trade Center, NYC; ©James Ewing

There’s a new player in Scandinavia; established players win major contracts in London and Mexico City.

Fermator/Hissmekano Joint Venture Struck

Fermator Group and Hissmekano AB have, in their words, “signed a letter of intent to create a new player in the Nordic countries” prompted by a strong increase in sales from the two companies.  The joint venture is called “Fermator Nordic AB” and includes the markets of Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark and Iceland. Operations will begin at Hissmekano’s existing Nordic facilities, from where initial employees will be recruited, but both location and staff are to soon be autonomous. Both companies will have members on the board. Fermator is an independent door manufacturer, and Hissmekano is a developer, seller and distributor of elevator components.

Big Contracts for AL in London

Amalgamated Lifts (AL) has been awarded a contract by the London borough of Islington to provide maintenance and repair services to its 400-lift portfolio following what AL called a “comprehensive and detailed tender process.” The contract includes all maintenance, callout and repair services on a comprehensive basis for which AL has created an experienced site team. Other objectives of the contract are to develop local employment opportunities, local supply chains and a working partnership that provides benefits and improvement in all aspects of lift performance throughout the borough.

Additionally, Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust selected AL to carry out reactive and preventative maintenance services to 31 lifts across The University Hospital Lewisham (also in London). The semi-comprehensive contract will require monthly planned maintenance visits to the passenger, goods and handicapped lifts. The contract designates an engineer to predominately carry out all servicing and callouts, and a designated “customer service adviser” to support the engineer and work with the Lewisham team.

Heis-Tek Wins Big Oilfield Elevator Order

Heis-Tek, the Norwegian arm of Alimak Group, has won a SEK164-million (US$19.7-million) order to supply Statoil’s Johan Sverdrup oilfield in the North Sea with elevators for its risers and living quarters. Delivery is planned by 2018. The order includes options for Statoil to acquire elevators for the following oilfields: Johan Castberg in the Barents Sea, Snorre 2040 in the Norwegian Sea and Peregrino off the Coast of Rio de Janeiro. Companies in the Hordaland region of Norway will supply the majority of manpower and goods. Tormod Gunleiksrud, CEO of Alimak, stated:

“The order confirms that our strategy to offer a broad range of vertical-access solutions to suit different application areas and industries has made Alimak an even more attractive and competitive supplier and business partner.”

Alimak acquired Heis-Teik in June 2014 (ELEVATOR WORLD, July 2014), which broadened its offerings from rack-and-pinion systems to include traction elevator solutions.

KONE Wins 95-Unit Order in Mexico City

KONE has won an order to provide 42 elevators, 25 escalators and 18 moving walks to Gran Patio Revolución, a mixed-use building being built in Mexico City. The equipment includes 16 double-deck MiniSpaceTM, two MiniSpace service and 24 MonoSpaceTM elevators; 17 TravelMasterTM escalators and 18 Autowalk moving walks. It also includes an array of KONE access- and destination-control solutions. Designed by Colonnier y Asociados, the building is scheduled for completion in 2017. 


ELA elects officers; Wittur hires an HR director

New Leadership at ELA

Jorge Ligüerre and Roberto Zappa were elected president and vice president, respectively, of the European Lift Association (ELA) on April 29 at the General Assembly of the ELA in Paris (ELEVATOR WORLD, July 2014). Ligüerre is to serve as president from 2015-2018, succeeding Philippe Lamalle.

A native of Zaragoza, Spain, Ligüerre has held numerous leadership positions with Schindler in Spain, Portugal, Austria, Switzerland and the Benelux. From 2011-2013, he was vice president and business manager of Existing Installations for Europe South. Since 2013, he has served as senior vice president of Corporate Technical Learning at Schindler headquarters in Switzerland. He holds an Industrial Engineering degree from Polytechnic University of Barcelona.

Zappa is chairman of the Executive Board at Sematic Group, where, for many years, he was in charge of R&D. He has been a member of committees for the Italian Organization for Standardization, European Committee for Standardization and International Organization for Standardization, and has been involved in institutions and associations that work toward improving safety and product quality. Since last year, he has served as president of the Italian AssoAscensori and Metalworking Industry Group. He holds a master’s degree from Polytechnic University of Milan. 

Campbell Directing HR at Wittur

Wittur Group has hired Roger Campbell as corporate director of Human Resources, reporting directly to CEO Walter Rohregger. Prior to joining Wittur, Campbell was global HR director at GKN Land Systems. Previously, he held HR leadership positions at Danaher Group, Tektronix Inc., ACCO Brands Inc., Kidde Fire and Otis. He graduated from Manchester University with honors with a B.Sc. degree in European Studies. He resides in the U.K.

Global Trends

Opposite scenarios projected for Southeastern Asian neighbors.

OEMs Face Decline in China

BloombergBusiness reported in June that weakening orders for elevators in China may indicate that major manufacturers may “experience a similar plunge in local demand as the mining-equipment industry.” Bloomberg Intelligence said the Chinese market, the world’s largest for new elevators, grew the least since 2000 last year due to the country’s slowing real-estate sector. Newly built residential prices “have fallen at an accelerating rate in 2015 and are accompanied by declines in new floor space started,” the source noted.

The analysis said the weak demand may spur consolidation in the global elevator industry. It added that Schindler, KONE, ThyssenKrupp Elevator and Otis maintenance sales in China have also grown less than new equipment sales, partly because these services are mainly provided domestically. That obscures their long-term prospects and has decreased their average earnings before interest and taxes margin by 1.8% since 2010, to 13.7% last year. China accounted for approximately 70% of global elevator orders last year, and the major elevator producers have doubled Asia-Pacific sales on average since 2010.

UT Foresees Growth in Malaysia

Otis parent United Technologies Building & Industrial Systems (UT) foresees 14-16% growth in Malaysia in 2015, and factors such as urbanization and the need for modernization are the drivers, Bernama reported. UT Malaysia and Brunei Managing Director Charles Lim noted current government is pushing for continued economic development, which is expected to sustain momentum in the construction sector. UT has a new headquarters in Puchong, Malaysia, where it markets its various products — elevators, escalators, fire-security and air-conditioning systems — together under one roof. Otis has had a presence in Malaysia since 1920 and, to date, has supplied more than 2,000 units in Malaysia, including at the Petronas Towers, Kuala Lumpur Tower, Sunway Pyramid shopping mall, Petaling Jaya Trade Centre and The Intermark. Recent modernization projects include the vertical-transportation system in the Maybank Tower in Kuala Lumpur, where Otis first installed lifts 27 years ago.

Mitsubishi Electric Growth

Training center going up in Japan, second factory opens in Indonesia

Inazawa Works Factory Adding Training Facility

Mitsubishi Electric is building a three-story, 1,083-m2 training center at its Inazawa Works factory in Japan in its ongoing effort to amass “knowledge and skills that will be leveraged to expand and strengthen Mitsubishi Electric’s position as the world’s top brand for elevators and escalators.” Fittingly, the training center, scheduled to be operational by April 2016, will boast a spiral escalator at its entrance. The design includes a 240-person capacity training room, six 12-21-person capacity training rooms and six guest rooms. Outfitted with advanced Information Technology systems, the center will host new hires to top-level executives from both Japan and around the world.

Indonesian Factory to Capitalize on Growth

Mitsubishi Electric recently welcomed its second elevator factory in Indonesia, aiming to capitalize on rapid growth of office towers, malls and apartments in the Southeast Asian country, The Jakarta Globe reported. Located in Karawang, Indonesia, the 2,400-m2 plant is capable of producing 500 units annually, a 40% increase over the first plant’s capacity.

ETA Melco in Tema Istanbul

ETA Melco has been supplying units for Tema Istanbul in the Atakent area of the city. The work includes 150 elevators and six escalators manufactured by ETA Melco’s parent company Mitsubishi Electric. The elevators include earthquake protection and accessibility features, and will serve approximately 11,000 people a day. Tema Istanbul is a 1.5-million-m2 development comprised of 3,531 houses. It is a venture of Mesa Cos. Community, Artas Group and Kantur-Akdas developed it following a master plan by Gensler.

Australia Activity

Office tower systems get upgrades and tall towers are eyed

KONE Handling Modernizations in Brisbane, Melbourne

KONE has been hired to modernize the elevator systems of the 146-m-tall Riverside Centre in Brisbane, Australia, and the 142-m-tall 360 Collins Street in Melbourne, Australia, both office buildings. Work at both buildings includes installation of EcoDisc® hoisting machines, regenerative drives and destination-control systems. Riverside Centre has 21 units, and 360 Collins has 16. The upgrades are designed to improve traffic flow and enhance energy efficiency.

Limits Brushed Aside for Parramatta Tower

Height limits have been overturned in an effort to gain a 306-m-tall, 90-story high rise in Parramatta, Australia’s second central business district. The Daily Telegraph reported in May that New South Wales Planning Minister Rob Stokes lifted the 300-m limit in response to a request from the city council. However, developer Aspire still needs approval from the federal aviation regulator before construction.

The tower would include 700 apartments, 150 hotel rooms and a retail precinct as the center of the 3-ha, AUD2-billion (US$1.52-billion) Parramatta Square urban-renewal project. It would also include the tallest public viewing platform in the southern hemisphere. “It will herald the creation of a modern architectural skyline, defining Parramatta’s role as Western Sydney’s capital,” Stokes said.

Tasmania May Get Iconic Observation Tower

An observation tower focusing on art, science and health could open in Hobart, Tasmania, by mid 2017, the Townsville Bulletin reported. At 117 m tall, the proposed Detached Art Tower would be taller than the city’s current tallest building, Wrest Point, offer panoramic views of the city and serve as “a new cultural icon.” Conceived by architect Robert Morris-Nunn and structural engineer Jim Gandy, the semi-transparent steel design includes a hydraulic “central lifting core” that would permit construction without a crane. In a nod to healthy living, its interior would house 1,300 stairs in a helix formation. The developer, nonprofit Detached Cultural Organisation, tells ELEVATOR WORLD the structure will have a central elevator, but that “the premise of Art Tower is the challenge of climbing the 650 stairs and then the 650 step descent.”

Proposed Tower Would Dwarf Q1

At 88 stories, one of a pair of Asia-inspired, mixed-use towers proposed in Southport, Australia’s Chinatown would dwarf Q1, the continent’s tallest building (ELEVATOR WORLD, April 2014), Gold Coast Bulletin reported. Earlier this summer, Australian developer Cienna Group began working with Southport city officials, who expressed enthusiasm for the project. Housing retail, commercial and an Asian culture center, the plan includes an approximately 40-story building.

Elevator, Escalators for Busy Indian Railway Stations

Busy railway stations in southern and northern India are set for major elevator/escalators upgrades, The Hindu and The Times of India reported. Delhi’s six busiest stations in northern India, which earlier this summer had only eight escalators, are getting an additional 18 escalators and 21 elevators by the end of 2015. In Southern India, meanwhile, 20 escalators and 16 lifts are planned at 11 stations in Kerala and Nagercoil, Tamil Nadu, in addition to approximately 30 that were recently installed or procured. 

Rules and Regulations

Safety situations highlight need for change in Japan, India.

Tokyo Regulations Could Have Wider Reach in Wake of Quake

The infrastructure ministry of Japan has been asked to come up with ways to ensure elevators are restored faster following an earthquake after “it emerged that tens of thousands of people were trapped in upper floors of skyscrapers and high-rise apartments” on the night of May 30, the Japan Times reported. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said service resumption “took too long” after an 8.1-magnitude temblor struck near Japan’s remote southern islands and reverberated across most of the country. Approximately 13,000 elevators, mainly in the Kanto region, stopped.

Some experts believe the government needs to ease regulations on licensed engineers so that more can be qualified to help inspect elevators and restore service quickly. One possibility is nationally implementing Tokyo regulations allowing engineers to initially reboot one elevator per building so people can evacuate.

According to The Guardian, a meeting between officials from the infrastructure ministry and elevator industry are looking into providing toilets and a supply of drinking water for entrapped passengers. Some toilets considered are collapsible cardboard structures with a waterproof bag or absorbent material inside. Where small seating areas already exist (a recent addition for Japan’s growing elderly population), facilities may be installed under the seats.

Around 20% of Japan’s approximately 620,000 elevators in public or commercial buildings are in Tokyo. The country sits at the junction of four tectonic plates and is regularly hit by powerful earthquakes.

Chennai Accident Highlights Escalator Safety Needs

A June accident in which a child lost three fingers as a result of his hand becoming stuck in a shopping mall escalator in Chennai, India, highlights the need for better regulation of and safety precautions for escalators and moving walks, The Hindu reported. Vertical-transportation experts noted the Tamil Nadu Lifts Rules Act of 1997 does not include rules for escalators and moving walks. For that reason, questions regarding liability and compensation resulting from such accidents remain unanswered. Suggestions include requiring property owners who install escalators to have their equipment inspected and licensed regularly, and restricting elderly citizens and children from riding.


Best tall buildings, FEEDA and Schindler honored

CTBUH Unveils 2015 Best Tall Buildings Winners, Finalists

The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) has announced winners and finalists from four regions in the world in its 2015 Best Tall Buildings Awards contest. Panelists observed that winning designs fit remarkably into their environments, with several boasting forward-thinking, environmentally conscious features such as vegetation-covered façades. An overall winner will be announced during CTBUH’s 14th Annual Awards Symposium and gala dinner on November 12 in Chicago. Regional winners and finalists are:

  • Americas: Winner, One World Trade Center, New York City (NYC); finalists: Baccarat Hotel & Residences, NYC; Torres Virreyes, Mexico
  • Asia and Australasia: Winner, CapitaGreen, Singapore; finalists: Phoenix, Melbourne, Australia; Siamese Ratchakru, Bangkok; SkyTerrace @ Dawson, Singapore; Sunrise Kempinsky Hotel, Beijing; Swanston Square Apartment Tower, Melbourne
  • Europe: Winner, Bosco Verticale, Milan, Italy; finalists: Evolution Tower, Moscow; Leadenhall, London; Malmö Live, Malmö, Sweden; Police Headquarters & Charleroi Danses, Charleroi, Belgium
  • Middle East & Africa: Winner, Burj Mohammed Bin Rashid Tower, Abu Dhabi; finalists: Al Hilal Bank Tower, Abu Dhabi; B.S.R. Towers, Tel Aviv, Israel

Spanish Association Earns ELA Honor

The European Lift Association (ELA) honored Federación Empresarial Española de Ascensores (FEEDA) with the ELA 2015 Best Performing Member Association award. In making the selection, ELA considered that FEEDA sends participants to ELA committees and working groups, contributes reliable statistics, utilizes ELA deliverables and organizes successful local and national initiatives. ELA noted:

“The Spanish association has set up a spectacular reorganization program with new statues, a new board of directors and four new permanent commissions, which have been quite active during the past year. It has developed good teamwork with national and regional authorities, yielding positive results for the national lift sector.”

MIT Touts Schindler for Digitization

Schindler’s innovative digital business solutions have earned it the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) CIO Leadership Award for 2015. Described by MIT as a “frontrunner in its industry” in digital business, Schindler globally harmonized its information-technology systems and business processes over the last several years. Schindler stated: “Based on a new digital platform, elevators and escalators are integrated over the Internet of Things into the entire value chain. Processed and analyzed data are provided in a closed-loop process to customer call centers, as well as to field service technicians through iPhone-based apps. Customers have, at all times, access to relevant data through a customer portal and/or the mySchindler app.”  

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Elevator World | August 2015 Cover