Parlez-Vous Français?

Brush up on your high-school French — we’re off to Montreal in the Canadian province of Quebec for the once-every-four-years United. Montreal, next to Paris, has the second-largest French-speaking population in the world. I once spoke to the Canadian Elevator Contractors Association (CECA) convention and wanted to use a few words of French. Andre Belanger coached me for two days, and I struggled through, but the welcome was so warm because I tried. We have a special section in this issue that celebrates the United convention, the coming together of members of the National Association of Elevator Contractors, CECA and the International Association of Elevator Consultants, along with a full complement of visitors. The section includes a floor plan, exhibitors list and travel guide. Montreal is an exciting venue, and the convention promises to be well attended.

Our cover story is Crystal Clear Vision by Jan Steeger. Schindler’s beautiful elevators are in the LVM Insurance Co. headquarters in Münster, Germany. The building boasts three stylish glass-and-steel elevators with visible ropes and pulleys, using Schindler’s PORT system for traffic. There is also a panoramic elevator to the sky lobby.

We covered a number of events in the past month. Our Caleb Givens went to Elevator U in Quincy, Illinois, hosted by Hollister-Whitney and Illinois State University. With more than 172 attendees (many of them new), this proved to be a good venue for the extensive educational program. All enjoyed visits to both of the hosts. After Elevator U, Givens zipped over to the Building Owners and Managers Association International Convention near Washington, D.C. We attend this event only sporadically but found more elevator people than we had in the past. There were 10-12 elevator companies there, including all the OEMs. We appreciate SnapCab sharing its booth with us. Another event we seldom attend is the Hanover Fair in Germany, but Undine Stricker-Berghoff offered to attend for us, and she found quite a number of elevator component suppliers, as well as thyssenkrupp. President Barack Obama also attended and was greeted by German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Your editor was privileged to attend and cover Liftex 2016 in London. I had help from Bülent Yılmaz, Elevator World Turkey’s managing director, and my good friend Martha Hulgan. After three years in the making, this was the best-attended Liftex ever. A day of sightseeing gave us breathtaking views of the city that always seems to host a sea of cranes. London is a visual dichotomy with very ancient buildings standing side by side with very modern edifices.

Our Focus Topic this month is Safety and Inspection. First up is Why PESSRAL Is Not PESS by Tijmen Molema. This is an Elevcon paper that examines codes in Europe. Molema suggests that “cherry picking” between codes can lead to unsafe systems, and he urges using risk analyses. Two articles on new apps also piqued our interest. Breakthrough in Safe and Cost-Effective Elevator Hoistway Control by Stephan Rohr promotes the use of an absolute positioning system and iDiscovery supervisory unit to take over all safety functions in the hoistway. Another article, Speeding Up Elevator Inspections and Reporting by Sanjay Kamani introduces UpVate, a web-based mobile app that could reduce inspection time in a building by a significant amount and time in reporting even more. Speaking of inspectors, our Hanno van der Bijl profiles a longtime friend in Best Bureaucrat: Mike Chavez, chief elevator inspector of Miami-Dade County. Chavez started as an Otis mechanic but now battles condominium boards with one arm and elevator companies with the other. Your editor is always grateful to hear from Chavez, who likes to make sure ELEVATOR WORLD knows what is going on in (his territory).

Finally, under our Focus Topic is a Readers Platform from a second-generation union mechanic from the northeast. Something Has to Give by Justin Robert is a passionate plea for safety in a world of too many jobs and too little time or training. He has some great advice for those handling elevator maintenance contracts. We’ve never had an article quite like this — it bears witness from the field.

We have two excellent articles on hydraulic elevators. They seem to be making a comeback! The first is a Continuing Education article, Making Hydraulic Elevators Heat Resilient by Parag Mehta of Blain Hydraulics GmbH. The causes of heat generation are explored — too-small tanks, not enough ventilation and poor valve control, to name a few. Mehta suggests solutions and ways to optimize the system. The second article, Smart Hydraulics Guarantee Lowest Cost of Ownership, comes to us from Tony Aschwanden of Bucher Hydraulics AG. This article takes a different tack, discussing how decision-makers now are savvier about not just the up-front installation costs, but also the long-term operating and maintenance costs.

We hope you enjoy this issue before you get to Montreal, so when you get there, you can tell everyone you were warned about the “French thing,” and you are ready to let the good times roll — or, laissez les bons temps rouler.  

Elevator World Editor and Publisher

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