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Mitsubishi Electric Enters Market

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Yoni Alter digitally edited this photo of Newcastle, England, escalators to show how his idea works (courtesy of www.yoniishapoy.com).

Brazil

 Mitsubishi Electric’s Elevator Division has acquired the shares of Brazilian manufacturer LGTECH Elevadores SA, located in Guaiba, Rio Grande do Sul State. Acquisition of the BRL50-million (US$21.94-million) business facilitates Mitsubishi Electric’s penetration into the Brazilian mar-ket. However, LGTECH’s founders are expected to keep shares and the company’s current management for at least 10 years. LGTECH was established in 2006 and has branches in six states. Covering all the activities of the elevator business, it ranks fourth in the country’s market share and is its major national manufacturer. The merger is planned to increase its participation in the high-speed commercial elevator market and open new business units in south-central Brazil. Reported by Carmen Maldacena, EW Correspondent.

China

Officials: Greater Maintenance Needed In Growing Market

 Citing a string of deadly accidents, Deputy Head of the General Administration of Quality Supervision Chen Gang said in an article in China Daily that more skilled mainte-nance technicians are needed to keep pace with the bur-geoning Chinese market. The market is growing by 20% annually and is expected to be first in the world. That has made thorough maintenance a challenge. He said China’s elevator accident rate in 2012 was akin to that of devel-oped countries, at 0.15 per 10,000 machines. Fan Kun, director of an equipment-testing institution for elevators and escalators in Beijing’s Chaoyang District, said main-tenance company employees’ workloads can be so heavy that they skip tests and file incorrect results. The district has more than 40,000 units and is increasing at a rate of 2,000 annually.

Kone To Supply 99 Units To Commercial Complex

 KONE is supplying 37 elevators and 62 escalators to the multipurpose Luneng Lingxiucheng complex consist-ing of a hotel, office building and commercial center near Jinan City, Shandong, scheduled for completion in late 2014. Units include two MonoSpace® and 11 MiniSpace™

elevators in a 140-m-tall office building; and 24 Mono-Space elevators, 60 TravelMaster™ 110 escalators and two TravelMaster 115 moving walks in a 250,000-m2 com-mercial podium. KONE’s E-Link™ will be used to enhance efficiency and manage traffic flow. “We are very pleased with this order, and to serve the growing urban popula-tion of Jinan City with our pioneering eco-efficient solu-tions,” William B. Johnson, executive vice president for KONE Greater China, stated.

Kone Lands 165-Unit Order For Mixed-Use Project

KONE has won a contract to supply 165 units to the Shanghai mixed-use project Dazhongli, scheduled for completion in phases starting in 2016. The units, which boast an array of energy-efficient features, include 58 MiniSpace™ elevators, 49 MonoSpace® elevators and one TranSys™ vehicle elevator, as well as 57 TravelMas-ter® escalators. A joint project of developers HKR Inter-national Ltd. and Swire Properties Ltd., Dazhongli is envi-sioned as having two office buildings, a shopping mall and three luxury hotels covering 323,000 m2. KONE noted the taller of the two office buildings will represent its high-est project in Puxi, Shanghai’s historic center. 

Symax Lands Contracts Totaling Us$5.3 Million

Toronto-based Symax Lift Co. Ltd. has won three con-tracts totaling CAD$5.5 million (US$5.3 million) to supply elevators to public and private housing projects in eastern and southwestern China. Symax manufactures elevators, escalators and chairlifts, and has a manufacturing facility in China. Contracts include sales of Symax’s Dingtai and Green elevator models. Delivery is expected by April 2014.

Europe

Kone, Schindler Ranked Among Top Innovators Worldwide

For the third year in a row, KONE and Schindler have made U.S. business magazine Forbes’ top 100-list of most innovative companies worldwide. In announcing the honor, Espoo, Finland-based KONE noted it was the first to introduce machine-room-less (MRL) elevators in 1996. Its latest innovation is UltraRope™ (ELEVATOR WORLD, August 2013), a hoisting technology designed to allow  elevators to travel as high as 1 km — twice as high as previously possible.

Headquartered in Ebikon, Switzerland, Schindler has garnered acclaim in the areas of sustainability and energy efficiency, such as by developing the Solar Elevator and PORT technology (EW, September 2013). KONE and Schindler’s rankings this year are 37 and 87, respectively.

France

Kone To Supply 33 Units To Cruise Ship

KONE has won a contract to supply 33 energy-efficient elevators and escalators to Royal Caribbean Internation-al’s Oasis 3 cruise ship, under construction in France. The order represents the third time KONE has supplied an Oasis-class vessel for Royal Caribbean. “Marine elevators are among the most demanding to design,” Ari Winter, head of Marine Business at KONE, stated. “Our experience of work-ing with [shipbuilder] STX Europe and providing solutions for the two older Oasis-class ships (ELEVATOR WORLD, April 2011) gave us the insight we needed to understand the customer’s needs and to find the best possible solutions for this extraordinary vessel.” With a 6,000-passenger capacity, Oasis 3 will be outfitted with 13 MonoSpace® elevators, 28 MiniSpace™ elevators (including 12 panoramic units) and two EcoMaster® escalators. Its maiden voyage is scheduled in 2016.

Germany

Thyssenkrupp Elevator Acquires Eggert Companies

 ThyssenKrupp Elevator AG strengthened its position in its native country with acquisitions of Eggert Aufzüge GmbH in the Rhineland and EGGERT Lift-Technik GmbH in Berlin. Established more than 40 years ago, Eggert de-signs, engineers, manufactures, installs and services ele-vators for the residential and commercial markets. EGGERT Lift-Technik was established in 1990. ThyssenKrupp Ele-vator CEO Andreas Schierenbeck said the companies are “the ideal fit with our market position in Germany.”  ThyssenKrupp Elevator noted the move is “part of [the company’s] strategic development program and the sys-tematic expansion of its technology business,” which has been underway for several years. ThyssenKrupp Elevator said the purchase is its “most significant acquisition in Germany since Tepper Aüfzuge in 2003.”

Iran

Duast Establishes Master’s Program, Business Incubator

Damavand University of Applied Science and Technology (DUAST) in Damavand City will be accepting full-time students in its Elevator/Escalator Engineering Master’s program in January 2014. The 20-year-old school is joined by the U.K.’s University of Northampton to represent the only two universities that educate students from Associ-ate’s to Master’s degrees in this major. It is one of 22 ma-jors related to the elevator/escalator industry offered by DUAST. The Elevator Master’s course is composed of six theoretical courses (prerequisites), 14 specialized theo-retical courses, six group-project courses, two seminar courses and 10 specialized-project courses. Over their es-timated two-and-a-half years in the program, students will design, calculate, optimize and manufacture elevator safety components.

Dr. Ruzbeh Mirabdollah Yani, president of DUAST and manager of the recently established Business Incubator Center of Elevators and Escalators Cluster (BICEEC), com-mented on his school’s indebtedness to the University of Northampton and its professors:

“We are going to enter into a joint cooperation contract between our university and the University of Northamp-ton to be able to have student and professor exchange to make academic and research ties in order to promote [a high] academic level [for] professors at this university, then to upgrade our university, especially in postgraduate education. In our short-term planning, [DUAST] was ex-pected to hold the first international scientific conference on vertical transportation in the Middle East (ICVT); we will definitely invite professors from the University of Northampton to [be part of] the conference jury.” BICEEC, founded on the grounds of DUAST, now accepts professors, students, and Iranian and foreign ex-perts in the field by request. An administrative facility has been set up for the purpose, and accepted companies can use the university’s specialized workshop for modeling and limited manufacturing from its development center.

Israel

80-STORY TOWER PART OF TEL AVIV DEVELOPMENT

 The Tel Aviv Local Planning and Building commission has approved the Keren HaKirya plan for an 80-story mixed-use tower. It could be Israel’s tallest skyscraper and would be part of a four-tower development, including office, commercial and residential space. Two of the other towers in the project are to be 45 and 50 stories each. The complex is already nicknamed the “Toblerone Towers,” alluding to the chocolate bars’ triangular-prism shape. It will add 540 residential units and 100,000 m2 of office space to Tel Aviv and be located near three existing train stations, as well as the city’s future light-rail system.

“The site serves an important public purpose — em-bedding the light rail’s Green Line — and. . . will signifi-cantly contribute to growth in the supply of small housing units in the city in a central location,” explained Gili Tessler, an Israel Land Administration planner.

Kazakhstan

Nation To Produce Own Elevators

The nation plans to produce its own elevators through a partnership with China’s Shenyang Yuanda Enterprise Group (SYEG), Trend News Agency reports. Vice Minister of Industry and New Technologies Nurlan Sauranbayev said SYEG already manufacturers glass façades in Ka-zakhstan, so it has business ties in the area. He described the manufacturing project as “small,” valued at about US$60 million.

Latin America

New Wittur Managing Director

 Andreas Witte has joined the Wittur Group as Latin America Regional Managing Director. Witte is a Brazilian-German mechanical engineer specializing in production management. He is the former Project and Product man-ager for Freudenberg Latin America and Dorma Group for the Americas in Brazil. Here, he managed localization projects and multisite operations across the region.

Witte reports directly to Wittur’s Executive Vice-President of the Americas Javier Navamuel and is in charge of all the company’s Latin American organizations, including Argentina, Brazil and Colombia. His office is located at Wittur São Paulo in Brazil. Witte holds executive MBAs from the University of São Paulo and Boston’s Bentley College in Project Management. He has experi-ence in Lean manufacturing and the theory of constraints.

Nigeria

Elevator/Escalator Scofflaws Face Jail, Fine

 Elevator/escalator operators who shun regulations face one year in jail or an NGN500,000 (US$3,070) fine, the Daily Times reports. Minister of Labour and Productiv-ity Emeka Wogu cited an increasing number of accidents caused by faulty installations and maintenance as the reason for implementing the penalties. “The need to issue a regulation on lifts, escalators and conveyors arose from a noticeable gap in our effort to protect all Nigerians at work in places where lifts, escalators and conveyors are put to use,” Wogu said. “This gap has manifested in the form of increasing frequency of accidents, injuries and deaths associated with lifts, escalators and conveyors.”

North America

Formula Systems North America Promotes Walls

Elevator door systems provider Formula Systems North America Inc. has promoted Cornelius Walls to vice president, North American Opera-tions. The move follows the appoint-ment of Bruce Philipps to managing director, a position formerly held by his father, Peter Philipps. In announc-ing Walls’ new role, Bruce Philipps said, “This promotion is in recognition of Formula Systems’ strong performance to date and our ambitious future development plans.” A subsidiary of Formula Systems in the U.K., Formula Systems North America is based in Elk Grove, Illinois.

Oman

Techno Elevators Achieves Iso Certification

Techno Elevators, LLC, authorized Hyundai Elevator distributor, announced it has been awarded the Interna-tional Organization for Standardization (ISO) 9001:2008 certificate for successfully supplying, installing and main-taining its products. An emphasis on quality since the Oman-based company was founded in 1995 helped it achieve the recognition, company officials said. “We have been focusing on quality of installation and maintenance of elevators from the inception of the company, which has really paid off today, as more than 250 elevators are op-erational, with an additional 100 elevators under installa-tion,” Techno Chairman Shabbir Boriyawala stated.

Panama

Thyssenkrupp Supplying 14 Elevators To Panama Canal Project

 ThyssenKrupp Elevator is supplying 14 passenger ele-vators for the EUR4-billion (US$5.3-billion) Panama Canal expansion. The elevators, designed to withstand extreme weather conditions, will provide access to a pair of con-trol towers, where personnel control and monitor vessels’ passage through two new 1,200-m-long locks — one each on the Atlantic and Pacific sides.

“Installed at various points along the locks, the elevators descend to a depth of roughly 50 m and are then con-nected by tunnels known as ‘crossunders’ running be-neath the lock chambers, which hold millions of liters of water and are used by gigantic passenger and merchant ships,” ThyssenKrupp explained. The new set of locks — expected to be operational by late 2015 — will allow passage of ships up to 366 m long and 49 m wide. The project, meanwhile, is doubling the capacity of the canal, used by approximately 14,000 ships annually.

Russia

Stein Becomes Ctbuh Contributor

 In August, St. Petersburg-based Stein Ltd. became a contributor to the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH), the Chicago-headquartered nonprofit. Stein, provider of large-capacity, machine-room-less (MRL) and gearless panoramic lifts for the passenger and industrial markets, was dormant for more than 80 years after the Russian government ordered its factory closed with the advent of World War I in 1914. It was reestab-lished in 1997. In 1998, Stein formed a partnership with Schindler that resulted in production of a large-load-ca-pacity elevator (1800 lb.), variable-frequency-drive eleva-tors and MRL elevators. Stein, which became an indepen-dent company in 2001, has since become a leader in Russia’s MRL market and gained international recogni-tion. Its modernization of the lift in the circa-1870s Mertens Trade House building in St. Petersburg appears in the July 2009 issue of ELEVATOR WORLD.

Thailand

Mitsubishi Electric To Supply 38 Units To Bangkok Tower

 Mitsubishi Electric announced it will supply 38 eleva-tors and escalators to the mixed-use MahaNakhon project, which, when completed, will include Bangkok’s tallest building at 314 m. Seven elevators will travel at a speed of 8 mps, making them the fastest in the city. Two of the high-speed elevators will be shuttles in the taller of two towers, running nonstop from ground to observation floor in 1 min. Fifteen of the elevators promise to reduce energy consumption through an electricity regeneration function. Located in Bangkok’s central business district, MahaNakhon will have a lower tower housing commercial tenants. The higher, 77-story tower, which has a unique, “pixelated” design, will house retail, a hotel and apartments. The project is scheduled for completion in 2015.

U.K.

Work On One Blackfriars Underway

 Construction is progressing on One Blackfriars, a 52-story tower for London from developer St George. The Ian Simpson-designed building on the banks of the River Thames is intended to provide 274 luxury apartments, as well as accompanying retail, hotel and restaurant space. Its curved shape is intended to allow uninterrupted views of London’s skyline, including the financial district of  Canary Wharf and the Tower of London. A landscaped piazza is to feature soft landscaping and water features. The project is due for completion in 2018.

Online Campaign Launched For Escalator Traffic-Control Idea

A London-based designer has turned to the Internet to drum up support for an escalator traffic-control concept that received a tepid response from Transport for London, the city’s public transportation authority, www.theatlantic cities.com reported in September. Yoni Alter proposed a series of foot-shaped decals for London Tube escalator steps to signal where people should stand and walk, re-spectively. He told the online publication that authority officials dismissed his idea, instead telling him they would increase signage and announcements about standing on the right and walking on the left — an escalator rule com-mon in many places in the world, except in Australia, where it is the opposite. Alter is using the online platform Thunderclap, which triggers mass Facebook posts and Tweets if enough people pledge support. By mid Septem-ber, with just over a week left in the campaign, Alter said he had 91% of the votes he needed.

Industry Veterans Launch New Business

Peter Collins and John Curzon, teammates at elevator door systems provider Formula Systems since 1992, have formed a new international business venture. In-corporated on September 4, Ensota Ltd. provides the ele-vator industry with “solutions to enhance passenger comfort, minimize risk, improve efficiencies and satisfy contemporary legislative requirements.” Ensota is head-quartered in the U.K. but has resource centers in Europe, North America and Asia in order to offer customized commercial and technical solutions in compliance with regional codes.

Avire Contest Promotes Emergency Phone

This May at LIFTEX in London (ELEVATOR WORLD, August 2013), Avire staged a contest to promote its Mem-com emergency elevator phone, which Avire said is easier to program than previous models. Orona Ltd. Technical Support Manager Trevor Biggs took 1 min., 23 s. to program Memcom to complete an alarm call, giving Biggs the fast-est time and winning him a 43-in. plasma TV. Avire said Memcom is the first emergency phone on the market that can be programmed without using codes, instead relying on a tick-box and drop-down menu system. Avire said that during product development, it was found that the most common cause of autodialer returns is incorrect programming, and that Memcom’s backlit LCD display decreases the likelihood of that happening, even when engineers are working in dimly lit shafts.

Vietnam

Mitsubishi Electric Strengthens Foothold In Growing Market

Mitsubishi Electric has converted joint venture Melco Elevator Vietnam Co., Ltd. to subsidiary Mitsubishi Eleva-tor Vietnam Co., Ltd., with the purchase of additional Melco shares. The move allows Mitsubishi Electric to fur-ther expand in the growing Vietnam market. Having done business in the country since 1973, Mitsubishi Electric has provided elevators and escalators to the Sheraton Saigon Hotel & Towers and the Tan Son Nhat International Air-port in Ho Chi Minh City, among others. In conjunction with Toan Tam Engineering Co., Ltd., in 2008, it estab-lished Melco to engage in sales, installation and mainte-nance, and has a distributorship agreement with Thang Long TLE Group. Mitsubishi Electric estimates it holds ap-proximately 20% of the market. “In recent years, demand for elevators and escalators in Vietnam has exceeded 4,000 units annually and is expected to continue rising,” Mitsubishi Electric said.

Worldwide

Emporis Awards “Best New Skyscraper”

The Emporis Sky-scraper Award for 2012 was presented to the Absolute World Towers in Mississauga, Canada, in September. An international jury of experts selected the two towers from more than 300 skyscrapers at least 100 m tall completed last year. This year marked the 13th time international provider of building data Emporis presented the award. Absolute World Towers form part of a five-building complex and were designed by architects MAD and Burka Architects (ELEVATOR WORLD, October 2011). Their “unmistakable design” was noted as a tipping point in the contest, with the judging panel re-marking, “The way the two structures twist organically by up to 8° per floor is not just a superb technical achieve-ment, but also a refreshing change to the set forms of high-rise routine.”

The second-place proj-ect is Al Bahar Towers in Abu Dhabi, designed by Aedas Architects. An innovative rotating façade that leads to a substantial reduction in thermal energy in-side the buildings stood out to the judges. Burj Qatar, a 46-story sky-scraper in Doha, Qatar, was voted into third place. Again, judges noted an exceptional façade in the Ateliers Jean Nouvel-designed struc-ture. It is also intended to contribute to protection from the sun, revealing a complex pattern at close range.

Kone Appoints Pihkala To Global Leadership Position

KONE has appointed Tomio Pihkala to executive vice president over Installation, Quality and Safety, reporting to KONE CEO and President Matti Alahuhta. Pihkala holds a Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering, most recently leading KONE’s R&D Center in Hyvinkää, Finland. His other former positions with KONE include manager of the Toshiba alli-ance in Japan, director of Product Strategy and Marketing in China and director of Service Business in China. Ala-huhta said, “[Pihkala’s] strong technological competence

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