Training – The Long Road

I read recently in Engineering News Record that safety is often handled with “a microwave mentality when it is really a crock-pot problem.” In other words – it takes time to do it right. Education in our industry is the same sort of problem. It takes time to train people the right way. Unfortunately, we face a black hole called “recession-retirement” that many of our best technicians have fallen into, and there are many “newbies” coming in now who need years of training. This process won’t be hurried.

This month we focus on Education and Training and have a wide range of articles from the U.S., Europe and beyond. Louis Bialy has written Education in the Worldwide Elevator Industry and covers the best practices internationally. He notes that in Europe and Japan, much like the U.S., technicians have extensive training programs available. The Korean Lift College in South Korea and Northampton University in the U.K. provide engineering courses, while China, Japan and the U.S. have similar methods for training inspectors. Speaking for the National Elevator Industry Educational Program (NEIEP), my old friend John O’Donnell (we are both third-generation elevator industry) spoke with ELEVATOR WORLD on What’s Next for NEIEP. O’Donnell says that recent increases in hiring, from New York to California to Miami, have the program training more than 1,000 new hires with another 4,000 in the apprenticeship program. This, he noted, was the largest since the start of the recession. Dr. John White makes an interesting case for distance learning in A Traditional Classroom May Not Be Necessary. Distance learning, White says, goes back to the correspondence courses in the 1920s, and recent surveys show no difference in test scores of classroom learners. In fact, some studies suggest that one of the benefits of distance learning, in addition to lower costs for students and corporations, may be higher achievement. We also have contributions from Brett Ennals (Update from Europe) on new rulings from the European Court of Justice and from José María Compagni (Navigating the Winds of Change) on training managers how to treat each customer’s situation as unique.

Speaking of training, our Continuing Education article this month, Servicing of Hydraulic Elevators after Flooding by Parag Mehta, is timely, as many in the industry are dealing with floods, tornadoes and melting spring snow. Mehta offers step-by-step instructions for cleaning and notes which components might need to be replaced. He believes climate change will cause more flooding, with which our industry will have to deal.

Special training and clothing was needed to withstand the subzero temperature, high humidity, snow and wind on the jobsite at Mont Blanc in France. Schindler installed an elevator on Top of the World that thousands use to gain access to one of Europe’s top tourist attractions, “Step into the Void,” a glass box over a 3,842-m crevasse.

Our managing director for EW Turkey, Bülent Yılmaz, reported on LIFTECH EXPO 2016 in Cairo, where we debuted EW Middle East. With many projects on the drawing boards in the Middle East and North Africa, this expo drew an impressive crowd, with companies from Turkey and China leading the way.

“Big Data” – we are hearing that term more and more now, and I thought it just meant “too much information.” Dr. Rory Smith theorizes in Data-Driven Maintenance that the collection of massive amounts of data, combined with cloud computing and machine learning, may change the industry by predicting when maintenance will be needed.

On our cover is an escalator truss – in particular, the framework for amazing escalators in Hamburg, Germany. Our Senior Associate Editor Lee Freeland writes about the Arched Escalators at the Elbe Philharmonic Hall, the longest in western Europe. The very unusual equipment that carries riders through an 80-m-long tunnel for a 2.5-min. ride was specially designed by KONE. Passengers entering at the bottom can’t see the top because of the curve.

Periodically, we take the temperature of the construction industry to see how we are doing. Dodge released a report recently naming the New York City metropolitan area as both the largest and fastest-growing metro area for construction with US$35 billion in new starts in 2015 – a 66% increase over 2014. Other areas showing robust growth are Miami, Orlando and Kansas City. The increase highlights our industry’s need for training and ongoing continuing education.

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An Age of Wonder


A Traditional Classroom May Not Be Necessary


Modern Information Systems for Elevators


Top of the World


Servicing of Hydraulic Elevators after Flooding


Moving People




Education in the Worldwide Elevator Industry