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A rendering of Otis’ new test tower in Shanghai, which, upon completion, is expected to be the tallest in the world at 270 m

Schindler Acquiring FB Group, XJ Distributor

Schindler is expanding its presence in Germany and China. It is to fully acquire the FB Group, a Saxony, Germany-based elevator company. The medium-sized, family-owned business has a 20-year presence in the German elevator market. FB engages in the manufacturing, installation, modernization and maintenance of elevators and elevator components. The group has 225 employees and branch offices in Berlin, Dresden and Leipzig, all in Germany.

Schindler believes the acquisition will further strengthen its strategic direction in the country, particularly relating to the high-end lift segment of custom-made solutions, as well as in elevator retrofits. The closing of the transaction is subject to merger control clearance by antitrust authorities. Schindler and FB agreed to keep the details of the transaction confidential.

Schindler Singapore, a subsidiary of Jardine Schindler Group, has acquired 51% of XJ Elevator Private Ltd., the exclusive distributor of XJ elevator equipment in Singapore, Asia-Pacific and the Middle East. Schindler calls the move “a natural consequence of the acquisition by Schindler Holding of a majority stake in XJ (Xuchang) Elevator Co. Ltd., now named XJ-Schindler, in 2014.”

Schindler feels the acquisition brings strategic opportunities to operations in Singapore and throughout the region. Based in Henan Province, China, XJ-Schindler is an elevator and escalator company encompassing design, manufacturing, installation and maintenance operations. Both parties agreed to keep the details of the transaction confidential.

Otis Building Test Tower, R&D Center in Shanghai

Otis plans to build a 270-m-tall test tower and R&D facility in Shanghai and have them operational by the end of 2018, the company announced during the World Elevator & Escalator Expo in Shanghai in May. The tower is projected to be the tallest above-ground test tower in the world upon completion. Otis President Philippe Delpech observed the investment underscores Otis’ continued commitment to satisfy customers in China and beyond. The company stated:

“The test tower, along with the R&D facility, will support development of new technologies for use in elevators for versatile market segments, delivering higher efficiency and smaller footprints, as well as industry-leading safety, comfort and convenience for passengers. The innovative tower design uses a flexible configuration that can easily adapt to test new components and systems as they evolve.” 

Mitsubishi Electric India to Build Bengaluru Plant

Mitsubishi Electric India plans to build a 26,400-m2 plant, 41-m-tall test tower and training center on 89,000 m2 during the current fiscal year in Bengaluru, India, the Deccan Herald reported. India’s economic and elevator market outlooks are favorable compared with those of North America, Europe and Japan, Mitsubishi Electric Managing Director Makoto Kitai observed, which means now is a good time to increase Indian production. The new plant will have an annual production capacity of 5,000 units. Remarking India has the second-largest elevator market after China, Kitai observed annual demand rose to 47,000 units in India in 2015. The new plant, he said, will be focused on production of the NEXIEZ-LITE elevator model for low- to mid-rise buildings.

Oleo to Open India Facility

U.K.-based manufacturer Oleo International will open its first production facility in India near Bengaluru International Airport at the beginning of the year. Impetus for the construction on the 50,000-sq.-ft building is to meet an increase in demand for its elevator buffers. It will concentrate primarily on manufacturing buffers for the elevator market. Oleo already has a production facility in China, in addition to its main site in Coventry, U.K. It manufactures buffers for the global elevator, rail and industrial industries.

Oleo already exports 95% of its products overseas and has long identified India as a high-potential growth market. Oleo Elevator Division Managing Director Jamie Pratt said the move is a direct response to anticipated demand from the country for elevator buffers, elaborating:

“India is a country that still has an aging building infrastructure and is currently undergoing a nationwide rebuilding project to replace many of its older buildings with more modern structures. The majority of these will be built high rise and will require both elevators and elevator safety devices.”  

Oleo stated that, as India is not yet a major player in the global skyscraper market, its Indian factory will initially concentrate on the design and manufacture of modern, lower-speed buffers, with its U.K. site continuing to manufacture for the high-speed market. Three new 8-m-buffer testing towers solely to address buffer performance are being built at the new factory.

ELSCO Gets Canadian Presence with Wurtec

Effective October 1, Wurtec will represent ELSCO in Canada. Wurtec will offer ELSCO’s Canadian customers localized customer service and will stock ELSCO’s roller guides and accessories at its locations in Toronto and Vancouver.

ELSCO said of the partnership:

“This will result in shorter lead times, often with same-day pickup available for urgent needs. Additionally, with local service, ELSCO’s Canadian customers no longer need to arrange for international shipping, foreign currency transactions and cross-border formalities.”

3D Printer Enhances Sodimas’ Capabilities, Offerings

French elevator company Sodimas is using a 3D printer that has reduced turnaround time from 15 days to 2-3 hr., expanded prototype capacity and enhanced efficiency. After several years of using the Dimension 1200es 3D printer to manufacture small prototype parts, Sodimas decided to implement the Stratasys Fortus 450 mc printer. Sodimas notes that, in addition to drastically reducing turnaround time, the new printer has expanded its prototype capacity thanks to its large build tray and extensive range of advanced thermoplastic materials, including the high-strength ULTEM 9085 3D printing material.

Sodimas uses Stratasys 3D printers to design and produce parts used to assemble a lift’s ceilings, walls and floors simultaneously. “Once we’ve 3D printed each part, we’re able to quickly check the design and assembly for the correct fit before proceeding to manufacture the lift in aluminum,” stated Stéphane Réau, Sodimas deputy technical director.

Using the ULTEM materials, Sodimas has also produced up to 15 different custom manufacturing tools that it describes as “indispensable to our workflow.” The new 3D printer allows Sodimas to reduce its inventory and create unique, custom designs. Réau observed:

“We will continue to leave the standardized, long-run production to our competitors. Our goal is to continue to work with those architects and designers who, in some cases, envisage the lift as the signature feature of the large-scale projects on which they are working. Should these professionals wish to create, for example, an elaborate custom-made call button panel, then we can confidently say that we have the technology and advanced materials to bring their creative aspirations to reality.”

Otis Wins Order for Bangkok Mixed-Use Development

Otis has been selected to provide the vertical-transportation equipment for Langsuan Village, a mixed-use development taking shape on 20 acres in Bangkok. The 54 units include 11 high-speed, high-rise SkyRiseTM passenger, two FOVF freight and 33 energy-efficient elevators (which include 14 Gen2® elevators with ReGenTM drives), as well as eight XO-508 escalator systems. Siam Sindhorn Co. Ltd. is the developer of the project, which will include six towers containing 1,530 apartments and serviced apartments and aim for Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. Completion is anticipated in 2019.

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