News

February 27, 2015

THYSSENKRUPP ELEVATOR (CHINA) WINS HR AWARD

ThyssenKrupp Elevator (China) was presented with its second consecutive China Best Employers Award 2014 in January in Beijing, The Shanghai Elevator Trade Association (SETA) reported. The company was chosen for employer brand influence in campus recruitment in the talent market. Hosted by major Chinese social-network platform Da-Jie, the accolade involved a selection process of two months, during which more than 600,000 users voted. Voters included students, employees and human-resources (HR) businesspeople. Da-Jie has more than 24 million registered users and what SETA calls “deep influence on [the] white-collar and campus talent market.”

ELEVATOR UPGRADE STARTS AT BUSY BURNABY STATION

A CAD$55.5-million upgrade that includes three new elevators and three new escalators began on February 26 at the busy Metrotown SkyTrain station in Burnaby, Canada, Burnaby NewsLeader reports. The new elevators will replace a single elevator that had previously served the station. A trio of escalators will connect to three new station houses that will be built. Scheduled for completion in approximately two years, the project promises to ease congestion at the station, which handles 50,000 trips each day and is the system’s second busiest.

RITZ-CARLTON WAIKIKI BEACH TOWER GETS A TWIN

Ground was broken on February 24 on a second, 37-story Ritz-Carlton Residences tower on Waikiki Beach in Honolulu, Pacific Business News reports. Construction on the first tower is more than half complete, and it is slated to open in 2016. It has five elevators. The second tower is projected to be complete in 2017. Developers report sales have been brisk, with buyers from Asia snapping up most of the 570 units.

February 26, 2015

WASHINGTON PURSUING ELEVATOR/ESCALATOR INSPECTION FUND

The state of Washington is trying to establish a fund into which elevator/escalator inspection fees would go, The Olympian reports. The move comes in the wake of lagging inspections and several serious accidents in 2012 and 2013. In 2013, two-thirds of escalators went uninspected, and some units had not been inspected since 2010. Those who support laws working their way through the state legislature believe establishing a fund will help prevent the approximately US$18.5 million in Washington Department of Labor and Industries fees collected every two years from getting swept up into the general state budget. There has been no opposition to the proposal thus far.

ELEVATOR WORLD SOFTWARE UPGRADES, NEW BOOKSTORE

Since January, Elevator World, Inc. has been working with its companywide software provider, Media Services Group (MSG), on upgrades that will provide significant benefits for both Elevator World employees and customers. MSG has made significant improvements in recent years and recently trained Elevator World staff on taking full advantage of them. In addition, Elevator World is designing a new online bookstore (www.elevatorbooks.com) intended to give its customers a better shopping experience. New additions include immediate email notifications with order number, automatic emails upon shipping that include tracking numbers, the ability to receive digital books within just a few minutes of purchase, and the ability to view order history and edit personal or company profiles at any time. Both the software upgrade and online bookstore will be live in mid April.

BETHESDA ESCALATOR REPLACEMENT GETS UNDERWAY

Work to replace a trio of escalators at the entrance to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority’s Bethesda, Maryland, Metro Station kicked off on February 21, NBC Washington reports. The station was closed to customers over the weekend as work continued for 52 consecutive hours. Installation of the escalators, at 212 ft., the second longest in the Western Hemisphere, is expected to take approximately nine months each to complete. KONE is performing the installations.

February 25, 2015

ATIS CONTINUES GROWTH TRACK WITH LATEST ACQUISITION

ATIS Elevator Inspections, a wholly owned subsidiary of American Testing and Inspection Services of St. Louis, has acquired Vertical Assessment Associates, LLC (VAA) of Tallahassee, Florida. VAA has more than 20 employees who provide inspection and consulting services to clients in Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, South Carolina, Wisconsin, Nevada, Virginia, West Virginia and Texas. Its principals, Lee Rigby and Bill Strawn, are staying on with ATIS. The acquisition is ATIS’s fourth in the past nine months.

KONE RESPONDS TO DUBAI APARTMENT TOWER FIRE

KONE reports it responded quickly to the February 21 fire at The Torch, a 1,082-ft.-tall apartment tower in Dubai. No one was seriously hurt in the fire, which officials believe started on approximately the 50th floor and was accidental. The elevator system incurred no fire damage, but water damaged some of the electrical equipment in the shaft, according to KONE, which reports: “Our service team was onsite immediately,  and during the morning after the fire, they managed to get the first elevator back in service.” On February 24, The National reported two low-zone and two high-zone lifts were working.

TOSHIBA’S INDUSTRIAL ENCODERS CERTIFIED SIL 3

Toshiba Corp. has announced that its “Unified Controller nv-safety Series type1s” industrial controller range has received IEC 61508 (2010) (SIL 3) certification for functional safety from German international certification organization TÜV SÜD. Toshiba’s new controllers support functional safety and shift user systems from operation mode to safety mode in the event of an accident, reducing the risk of danger. IEC 61508 is the basic international standard defining functional safety requirements for equipment and environments, including elevators. Its guidelines define three safety integrity levels (SILs) for evaluating product and safety functions, with SIL 3 as the highest for factory automation systems.

February 24, 2015

KONE ACQUIRES JANZHOFF AUFZÜGE

KONE has acquired Janzhoff Aufzüge, an elevator company based in Dortmund, Germany, that has approximately 100 employees and provides new installation, maintenance and modernization. Founded in 1945, Janzhoff Aufzüge has approximately 2,400 elevators in service. KONE Germany Managing Director Axel Berkling said the acquisition promises to strengthen KONE’s position in the region by providing new maintenance, modernization and installation opportunities.

QUEBEC CITY TO GET RECORD-HEIGHT TOWER

Plans for the CAD600-million (US$478.4-million) Le Phare de Québec were recently unveiled by Michel Dallaire, CEO of Groupe Dallaire Inc, Global News has reported. To include four towers with office, commercial, residential and hotel space in Quebec City, Canada, the 2-million-sq.-ft. project will be built on the former site of the Auberge des Gouverneurs, which was demolished last year. Groupe Dallaire, the company responsible for the project’s construction, plans to erect a 65-story edifice with three sister towers of 25-30 stories each. The former would be the tallest building east of Toronto. Construction is expected to start next year and take approximately 10 years to complete.

339 FIFTH AVENUE RESIDENCES PLANNED IN NYC

Pi Capital Partners is planning an approximately 24-story residential tower at 339 Fifth Avenue in New York City (NYC), New York YIMBY reports. It would rise at 33rd Street across from the Empire State Building, and current renderings look more like Art Deco-style 15 Central Park West than other nearby glassy residential towers. Plans are still evolving, so no timeframe was given.

February 23, 2015

SCHINDLER JOINS KONE AS SKYSCRAPER SUMMIT SPONSOR

Schindler has been announced as Diamond Sponsor of the second annual Smart Skyscrapers Summit, planned in Dubai on May 11-12. KONE was previously announced as Gold Sponsor. Elevator technology promises to be a big focus of the event, with Schindler’s Executive Managing Director Wassim Aboushaar scheduled to speak and a session on smart vertical transportation planned. Aboushaar plans to address the topic “Intelligent Transit in Modern High-Rise Buildings” in joining the list of speakers including KONE’s Head of Technology Johannes de Jong.

HITACHI OUTFITTING MUMBAI’S CRESCENT BAY WITH 58 UNITS

Hitachi Lift India has been hired to outfit the six-tower residential development Crescent Bay (ELENET 568) in Mumbai with 58 energy-efficient elevators. The towers range from approximately 40 to more than 50 stories. L&T Parel LLP placed the order, which consists of 47 passenger and 11 service lifts. The system will utilize destination control, and the units will feature etched stainless steel and mirrors. The elevators will have seismic-detection functionality, and they will travel quickly to the nearest floor to allow passengers to evacuate during an earthquake.

LIFTECH EXPO LOOKS TO THIRD EVENT IN CAIRO

Organizers of LIFTECH EXPO look forward to a third iteration of the event, planned on January 21-24, 2016, at the Cairo International Convention Center. LIFTECH EXPO 2013 drew more than 30 international buyers from the Middle East and North Africa, thousands of attendees and more than 100 exhibitors. For more information about the next LIFTECH EXPO, contact Lead Trade Fairs at phone: (202) 2-505-2615 or 2-505-2815, email: ashokry@ltf-eg.com or website.

February 20, 2015

IN MEMORIAM: JOE STRZELEC

Joe Strzelec, an elevator professional whose career surpassed 35 years, passed away on February 12 at the age of 61. Before going to work for the California Department of Industrial Relations in the San Francisco District office in 1989, he was an elevator mechanic at University of California at Berkeley for nine years. He was promoted to senior elevator engineer in the department’s Oakland office in 1994 and transferred to San Bernardino to help establish that office in 2000. He was a member of NAESA International for more than 20 years. Strzelec is survived by his wife of 20 years, Carmen.

ELEVATOR UPGRADE FOR OSU

The Ohio State University (OSU) in Columbus, Ohio, is set to embark on a US$4.8-million, state-funded upgrade of up to 17 elevators within its 546-elevator campus, The Lantern reports. Schindler, the university’s elevator contractor since 2012, will handle the work. The project is set to start in June and be complete in January 2016. The university spends up to US$1.6 million each year to maintain the elevators, which includes an average of eight Schindler employees on hand each day to inspect and troubleshoot. Approximately US$25.5 million has been spent in the past decade on elevator work at the school.

ELEVATORS AT NC COURTHOUSE GETTING OVERHAUL

Four of the six aging elevators at the 12-story county courthouse in Raleigh, North Carolina (NC) are getting a US$2.1-million overhaul, the News & Observer reports. The last upgrade took place approximately 20 years ago. Set to be complete in 2016, the project includes car renovation and new power circuits, lighting and sump pumps. Officials had originally planned to overhaul all six elevators, but bids came in too high, and the project was scaled back.

February 19, 2015

BÖNKE + PARTNER UNDER NEW MANAGEMENT

Dipl.-Ing. Uwe Wiemer has become works manager of Böhnke + Partner Steuerungssysteme GmbH. Based in Bergisch Gladbach, Germany, the company is a subsidiary of the Schmersal Group, and develops, designs and produces components, controllers and remote diagnostics systems for the lift industry. Wiemer controls the operative management of the business and is responsible forits continued economic success. His predecessor, Joachim Ramrath, retired in December 2014. Wiemer has been working in various management positions within Schmersal for approximately 15 years, including managing its Product Management, Export and Application Centre departments; “tec.nicum” training centre; and knowledge management.

NEW RESIDENTIAL TOWER FOR NYC’S 57TH STREET CORRIDOR

A 715-ft.-tall, 65-story tower housing condominiums and apartments is coming out of the ground at the corner of 57th Street and Second Avenue in Manhattan, New York YIMBY reports. Skidmore, Owings & Merrill designed 252 East 57th Street with a glassy façade that has curved, expanding notches on each side. It is taking shape on a site where a school once stood and will form an eastern “bookend” for the emerging 57th Street skyscraper corridor. The targeted completion date is 2016.

ESCALATORS TO REPLACE FOOT OVERBRIDGE IN CHENNAI, INDIA

India’s Chennai Metro Rail Ltd. is replacing a steep foot overbridge connecting Park Station and Moore Market with escalators, The Hindu reports. The units are expected to be ready for use this week. Many people had been reluctant to use the steep bridge, leading to heavy foot traffic in the street and accidents. The escalators are expected to help that situation.