The Right Elevators at the Right Time
ThyssenKrupp Elevator’s synergy BLUE elevators debut in custom job for PIER 78.
ThyssenKrupp Elevator unveiled a pair of its environmentally friendly, stylish machine-room-less (MRL) synergy BLUE elevators amid much fanfare at an internal event at its headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany, in late 2011. Sales consultant Rolf Klinger said he knew immediately they were ideal for a client with whom he was working on a residential project in Essen’s new Green Centre district, PIER 78. There was a problem, however: 12 synergy elevators had already been ordered from the company’s factories in Madrid and Neuhausen, Germany (10 from Madrid and two from Neuhausen). Recalled Sales Consultant Rolf Klinger:
“The general contractor, Heine Bau AG, enabled us to present our new product line to the building contractor and subsequent operator — ALLBAU AG — in person. The complete package, consisting of bicolor design and state-of-the-art technology, completely won over the contractor. In addition, the various designs of the 12 cars were taken along, in order to match the color of the staircases in the underground car park.”
Using the results of a market survey, Paris-based interior designer and architect Eric Gizard developed the synergy BLUE design templates in spring 2010. He worked with ThyssenKrupp development departments in Angers and Neuhausen to come up with designs that would offer the most flexibility. This is in addition to the benefits already offered by traction-sheave MRL elevators, which both client and supplier had already decided were the best choice for PIER 78.
Klinger pointed out that since all elevator components (with the exception of a slimline control cabinet) are found in the shaft of an MRL, there is no need for additional space:
“The highly compact design of MRL elevator systems means the shaft dimensions are kept to an absolute minimum. PIER 78 is an architecturally attractive building complex completed to a high standard. It is located in the middle of a completely new, high-value area with parks and bodies of water, described as the ‘Green Middle Essen.’ Thanks to its attractive design, the synergy BLUE fits perfectly into this overall theme and contributes to both the visual and energy-friendly aspects of PIER 78.”
PIER 78 consists of 78 homes in low-rise, Bauhaus-reminiscent buildings on 7,500 m2 of landscaped grounds with trees and ponds. It was designed by architecture firm Koschany + Zimmer Architekten KZA in Essen. Once the housing units were complete, synergy BLUE elevator installation began in March 2012, with the last car going into service in April 2013. Klinger said, “We have received nothing but positive feedback — from the customer but also from many of the tenants. The high level of satisfaction is a testament to our hard work and the quality of the elevator design.” He added that several people commented that the installations look better in real life than they do in the glossy brochures, and that everyone has been impressed by their “excellent running performance and low noise levels.”
Boasting its aforementioned bicolor palette, indirect lighting and innovative operating panel, synergy BLUE has always aimed to stand out from the crowd. Gizard and the designers initially incorporated sweeping lines and rounded corners, a departure from the traditional, plain rectangle to which people have become accustomed. In addition, given the drab and dreary décor often seen in elevator cars, they also came up with a bright color scheme and surface and interesting trim finishes. They included colors such as “Green Apple,” “Red Cherry,” “Lime” and “Ink Blue,” and finishes including high-grade, ground stainless-steel material that imparts a linen/crazing effect, and special-effect finishes, such as:
- “Wave 2 Cloud” (white material crisscrossed with gray lines)
- “Camel Line” (noticeably textured surfaces)
- “Diamond Cut” (plastic-coated diamond plate)
- “Tulip Tree” (high-quality imitation wood)
All finishes are made of durable, recyclable materials that are LEED and German Sustainable Building Council-compliant.
ThyssenKrupp created three synergy BLUE lines, titled “Style,” “Chic” and “Elegant,” with the Chic and Elegant lines incorporating mood lighting via LED strips. Communications Project Manager Julia Urban elaborates:
“Mood lighting is a technology already employed in the interior of the Air France Airbus A280, but, for elevator installations in the PIER 78 residential quarter, it involved fitting a number of LED strips behind the plastic panels, the operating panels and the kickplates. The use of RGB LEDs means the colors of the light strips can be set individually and changed at any time via remote control, and it allows effects such as automatic color changing. The resulting indirect lighting created an entirely new lighting experience.”
The beauty of synergy BLUE is far from skin deep, Urban said. “Behind the ambitious car interiors lies a whole host of technological intricacies,” she said. For example, ThyssenKrupp’s E.COR elevator control unit automatically switches to high-speed mode during rush hours and ECO mode during slow hours, minimizing both wait times and energy consumption. “The parameters for speed, acceleration, deceleration and ‘dwell time’ can then be adjusted to suit specific usage patterns. As a result, the elevator installations are a perfect fit for the needs of the PIER 78 residential quarter,” she said.
The installations boast frequency-controller generation with energy recovery, with the energy generated by traveling elevators used by other devices. This means cost savings, Urban points out:
“During certain phases, the elevators therefore serve as an in-house power source that generates energy and supplies it to other live power consumers. For the operators of the PIER 78 residential quarter, this means a considerable reduction in building-services-related costs.”
A key safety feature, meanwhile, is precision car positioning at landing points. Accuracy within ± 1mm reduces instances of passengers stumbling when they get on or off an elevator. Each elevator travels at 1 mps, makes between five and six stops and travels to heights of 11.5-12.4 m.