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Traction MRLs Replace Coastal Site’s Aging Hydraulics

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An exterior view of the building

KONE’s EcoDisc technology helps modernize upscale office complex’s VT system.

When bids came in for modernization of aging hydraulic elevators at Shippan Landing, an upscale office complex in Stamford, Connecticut, most vendors recommended a traditional hydraulic modernization program. Knowing that the coastal site presented significant challenges, KONE instead recommended a full-replacement, machine-room-less (MRL) traction elevator solution for the existing buildings.

The innovative solution took hydraulic elevators out of the equation and replaced them with energy-efficient, MRL traction units that fit inside existing hoistways of the four Class-A office buildings. By retaining existing entrances, tenant disruption during installation was minimized. The KONE solution also eliminated another major challenge: the existing structures at Shippan Landing had been built on fill not far from corrosive salt water, which was creating significant underground issues. This meant some of the hydraulic elevators’ cylinders were subject to failure, particularly during replacement. Re-drilling for new cylinders would likely add months to the work schedule and hundreds of thousands of dollars to the project cost. Instead, through use of KONE’s EcoDisc® MRL technology, disruption to tenant operations was minimized. By employing professional project management, KONE was able to meet tenant needs. Hydraulic elevator demolition and removal were undertaken, which allowed the work to avoid tenants’ peak operation periods. Individual crews were assigned to each building simultaneously, enhancing labor efficiency and accelerating the project schedule.

The EcoDisc motor provides a level of energy efficiency that qualifies the building owner for rebates while allowing them to offer tenants improved ride quality and faster floor-to-floor speeds in the 16 modernized elevators.

Introduction

Overlooking Stamford Harbor and surrounded by water on three sides, the upscale Shippan Landing office complex offers stunning views and premier office space with all-new finishes and facilities. Home to major tenants since the early 1980s, the 17-acre, six-building campus has been completely redesigned to meet today’s discerning business needs. With its prime amenities and a convenient location near mass transportation centers and nearby interstate highways, Shippan Landing offers an elegant, tranquil professional setting.

As part of the comprehensive property renovation, 16 aging hydraulic elevators were targeted for modernization. Most vertical-transportation (VT) vendors recommended a traditional hydraulic modernization program. Under this scenario, cylinders in 11 of the 16 units targeted would be replaced as part of the modernization. KONE took a different route, however, and, based on previous involvement in similar projects, decided that the EcoDisc technology would be well-equipped to meet the challenge.

Challenges

When the project was put out for bids, specifications called for a traditional hydraulic modernization. KONE had maintained the existing hydraulic equipment there, so its engineers were familiar with the challenging site. Because of the site’s fill, however, the company knew the existing structures were situated very close to corrosive salt water, creating problematic underground issues. The hydraulic elevators’ underground cylinders were subject to failure, particularly during replacement. In addition, re-drilling for new cylinders could add months to the schedule and hundreds of thousands of dollars to the project cost. Conservative estimates suggested at least six of the 11 cylinders targeted for replacement would require re-drilling.

To solve this problem, KONE offered the option of retaining existing entrances, reducing construction and minimizing disruption. Each Shippan Landing building is fitted with elevators that cover either five or six stops. Teams working simultaneously were assigned to each building, and the crews maintained communication with building management to ensure minimal disruption to tenants. The workers even had scheduled “quiet times” to perform tasks within acceptable noise levels.

Since the project’s completion in September 2020, the elevators have delivered a smoother, quieter ride with no trace of hydraulic oil odor.

Advantages

Energy efficiency is a top priority at Shippan Landing, and in January 2020, the property was recognized by the Business Council of Fairfield County for significant reductions in energy use throughout 2019. EcoDisc technology has further helped the property qualify for energy rebates based on savings of up to 60% while eliminating environmental concerns surrounding use of hydraulic oil. Andrew Sufian, senior property manager for Rubenstein Partners/Shippan Landing, noted the company’s commitment to these issues:

“We’ve made energy efficiency a high priority and key operational strategy at Shippan Landing. The KONE solution has become a meaningful component of our strategy to reduce energy . . . and have a positive environmental impact for the Stamford community.”

The elevator modernizations also resulted in improved ride quality and, compared to the hydraulic elevators the MRLs replaced, these gearless traction elevators have faster floor-to-floor speeds.

With the energy-efficient traction EcoDisc motor, Shippan Landing moved from hydraulic to gearless MRL technology. The KONE EcoDisc motor is so compact it can be located in the hoistway, saving valuable space. There is no need for a control room, as control and logic components fit inside the wall of the top elevator landing.

Summary

Shippan Landing promises a unique work environment that reflects the Stamford area’s natural environment. The energy-efficient elevator modernization delivered a sustainable alternative to what might have been a costly, time-consuming hydraulic modernization.

Since the project’s completion in September 2020, the elevators have delivered a smoother, quieter ride with no trace of hydraulic oil odor. Reliability and dependability are improved, energy efficiency is enhanced and the risk associated with cylinder replacement has been eliminated.

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Elise King is the senior marketing and communications specialist at KONE Americas. She focuses on internal and external digital communications, overseeing marketing efforts for elevator and escalator new construction, modernization and service business areas.

Elevator World | October 2021 Cover

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