News

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Week of 3/30/20

LATEST EVENT CANCELLATIONS, POSTPONEMENTS

The following industry events have recently been canceled or postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic:

  • ExpoElevador, the biennial tradeshow in São Paulo, Brazil, has been rescheduled to March 1-3, 2021. For more information, contact organizer Cardoso Almeida Eventos at phone: (55) 22-2648-9751 or email.
  • The European Lift Association (ELA) General Assembly and Annual Conference has been postponed to a yet-undetermined date in September as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The location, previously Brussels, Belgium, is also subject to change.
  • Ascen.tec, the second iteration of the industry expo that had been scheduled for May in Paiania, Greece, has been postponed until an undetermined time.
  • The European Lift Association (ELA) Annual Conference, which had been scheduled for May in Brussels, Belgium, has been postponed until, tentatively, September 17. It will still take place in Brussels.

MEASURES TAKEN AT INDIAN RAIL STATION TARGET CORONAVIRUS

Officials in Thrissur, India, have halted the use of elevators and escalators at the rail station, just one of several measures undertaken in an effort to check the spread of the coronavirus, The Hindu reports. Passengers arriving at the station are being screened using thermal-detection testing, and those who need wheelchairs are asked to seek help from licensed porters. The wheelchairs are being cleaned after every use. In addition, all passengers are being warned not to touch of foot-overbridge handrails.

DEVELOPER PLANS TWO-TOWER PROJECT IN KUALA LUMPUR

A developer is moving forward with a two-tower residential project in Kuala Lumpur's Tun Razak Exchange (TRX) international financial district, the New Straits Times reports. The project, to be known as TRX Residences, will consist of 53- and 57-story towers holding 443 and 453 serviced apartments, respectively. Developer LQ Residential, a joint venture between Lendlease and TRX City Sdn Bhd, entered into a MYR530-million (US$121-million) construction contract with IJM Construction Sdn Bhd for the project. The development will include a seven-level podium, elevated and basement parking facilities, a mezzanine floor and ground-floor commercial space. It is being designed to meet the Green Building Initiative Gold designation, as well as Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design accreditation. Construction is expected to be complete by May 2023.

NBSL ACQUIRES ITALIAN DOOR-MAKER PRISMA

NBSL M&E Technology Co., Ltd. of Shanghai has announced its acquisition of a majority stake in Prisma Spa. of Mezanni, Italy, a global manufacturer and supplier of automatic doors for elevators. The acquisition was conducted through NBSL's European holding company based in Bergamo, Italy. NBSL noted it has seen consistent revenue growth in both the Chinese and Indian markets. NBSL President Lu Feng said, "We are excited for the acquisition of Prisma, a company with a long history and formidable knowhow in the automatic door business," adding that the acquisition is "one of the pillars" of the NBSL's global strategy. Luciano Sorio, former major stakeholder, said he will remain president of Prisma's board of directors "to guarantee a smooth and effective transition."

OFFICE TOWER, RETAIL PLANNED FOR SYDNEY WATERFRONT

Danish architecture firm Henning Larsen has won a design competition for Cockle Bay Park, a development that will bring a high-rise office building and low-rise retail space to the waterfront in Sydney, Australia, Dezeen reports. The low-rise buildings will be near the harbor, creating a picturesque promenade on what the designers call the "village scale" portion of the development. The office tower, rising 183 m, is the "city scale" part. The tower will be set on elevated pillars and broken up by green spaces that give its blocks an asymmetrical, floating effect. The motivation for Cockle Bay Park's design was to create "a destination with a different sense of scale" while introducing a park area in the middle of the city, Henning Larsen partner Viggo Haremst said.

SMART ELEVATORS AMONG TECH FIGHTING CORONAVIRUS SPREAD

Chinese technology companies are developing products that can help slow the spread of the coronavirus, including a smart elevator system compatible with delivery robots, China.org.cn reports. Six smart elevators installed at the Zhongguancun Frontier Technology Innovation Center allow hands-free operation, with one of them using a voice-controlled system developed by SoundAI. Riders simply tell the elevator which floor they want. The elevators can also be operated by smartphone and can be used by delivery robots that bring food to staff working in the center. A robot in the building's lobby uses thermal scanning to test all visitors for elevated temperature, a possible symptom of coronavirus infection.

MELBOURNE OFFICIALS OK REVISED PLAN FOR OFFICE TOWER

City officials in Melbourne, Australia, have given their approval for a 26-story office tower that had been held up over concerns about the impact the structure would have on a heritage-listed house, The Urban Developer reports. The project, proposed by developer Dexus, was originally turned down after complaints were raised about the shadow the tower would cast over Melville House. The proposal was amended in February, and the city council approved it, subject to a number of conditions. While they found it an "exceptional designed building," they felt that "more work could be done around a faҫade strategy." And, despite their approval, they expressed worry that the building would overshadow Collins Place and have an impact on future developments. The AUD140-million (US$81-million) project would involve the partial demolition of a building known as ANU House at 52 Collins Street and the complete demolition of a 15-story office building at 60 Collins Street, which was built in 1965. Dexus must now win state approval for the Bates Smart-designed project. The company pledged to work with state officials to win final approval.

PERTH'S BROKEN-DOWN ESCALATORS FINALLY BACK ON TRACK

For 18 months, escalators at three Perth, Australia, train stations have been broken down, but one is back in service, and the other two are repaired and awaiting final approval to operate, the Stirling Times reported on March 19. The Stirling station escalator was reopened to the public earlier in the week, and a spokesman for the Public Transport Authority (PTA) indicated that units at the Warwick and Whitfords stations could begin operating soon. The escalators began having mechanical problems shortly after undergoing upgrades in 2016. The PTA told the supplier the refurbished escalators "have not performed to our expectations" and negotiated an agreement in which the supplier bore the cost to repair them. A service contract was also enacted. Escalators at three other stations are set to undergo upgrades, a project expected to be completed in the middle of next year.

Week of 3/23/20

EAST INDIA’S “FIRST” BIOPHILIC CORPORATE PARK CONCEIVED

Architect Salient has designed Biowonder, a pair of 20-story mixed-use buildings in Kolkata billed as the first biophilic corporate park in east India, Architect reports. Intended to reflect a “love for life or living systems,” the design features offsets that provide each office with a heavily landscaped terrace incorporating drought-resistant plants. Offices allow 80% daylight, and the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Gold-certified development includes rainwater harvesting and a structural system that minimizes use of raw materials. In addition to offices, Biowonder will house a 120-room hotel, food courts, a gym, a pharmacy, banquet facilities and meeting spaces. The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat says construction is underway.

HYDERABAD FOBS FINALLY A GO

The Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corp. has decreased the number of foot overbridges (FOBs) to be constructed in the Indian city based on a feasibility report, The Hindu reports. Instead of the previously proposed 52, the corporation now plans for 38 FOBs at various locations in the city. Sixteen will be equipped with escalators. Now government-approved, the project is set to cost INR830 million (US$11.2 million). The FOBs have been divided into four packages and given to four different agencies. The following zones will receive FOBs: Kukatpally and Serilingampally (12), Lal Bahadur Nagar (10), Charminar (seven), and Khairatabad and Secunderabad (nine). The revised decision was taken after a feasibility report from the University College of Engineering, which sent an expert to inspect all 52 proposed FOB locations. According to the source, construction has been "delayed enormously."

INDIA’S WESTERN RAILWAY HIRING WORKERS TO MONITOR VT

Western Railway (WR) is deploying semi-skilled personnel to oversee the functioning of escalators and elevators on its suburban Mumbai railway stations, Hindustan Times reports. WR said it made the decision after multiple reports of malfunctioning escalators and elevators came to light. It floated a tender to hire personnel for the management and operation of vertical-transportation (VT) equipment at every railway station beginning at the end of March and lasting 12 months. A spokesperson said the monitors would help ensure that the stations’ VT equipment remains operational. The report noted that WR was in the process of repairing 17 escalators.

CTBUH DESIGN COMPETITION ANNOUNCED

The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) has begun accepting submissions for its 9th International Student Tall Building Design Competition. The top-five finalists will present to a jury of judges on October 20–21 at the 2020 CTBUH Conference in Singapore, where winners will be announced. US$21,000 in prizes will be awarded to exceptional projects. Participants must register their participation by July 13, and submissions are due by July 20. The goal of the competition, which is open to all students currently enrolled at the university level, "is to shed new light on the meaning and value of tall buildings in modern society." More details can be found at website, and questions may be directed to email.

ELEVATOR WORLD ACCEPTING 2020 PEOPLE ISSUE NOMINATIONS

Know of someone in the elevator industry who is deserving of recognition? If so, now is the time to submit nominations for the ELEVATOR WORLD 2020 People Issue, to be published in June. The elevator industry is built on dedicated, hardworking people and their stories, ideas, opinions, contributions and successes. EW's goal is to provide readers with stories of a diverse array of professionals who make an impact on our industry through the work they do for their companies, their communities and the industry as a whole. To submit a nomination, visit the online form. Be sure to explain the nominee’s contributions to his or her company, community and the elevator industry, and/or their interesting story. The EW staff will review all submissions and respond by April 15 if your nominee is selected. Only a select number of submissions will be featured in the June magazine. Others selected will be highlighted online during that month. If you have any questions, contact us at email.

JØDAHL NAMED NEW PRESIDENT, CEO OF ALIMAK GROUP

The Alimak Group has selected Ole Kristian Jødahl to become the company's president and CEO, the board announced on March 20. He will officially begin his duties with the Sweden-based manufacturer of industrial and construction lifts on June 1. VertiKal.net said Jødahl is coming to Alimak from Hultafors, a manufacturer of hand tools for which he has served as CEO since 2017. He previously served as an instructor with the Norwegian Army before studying business management at the Norwegian School of Economics. He spent 17 years at bearing-maker SKF before joining Hultafors in 2016. Jødahl will replace Alimak President and CEO Tormod Gunleiksrud, who announced his departure in January. The company said Gunleiksrud will stay on until Jødahl starts in the new position.

WEE EXPO IN CHINA POSTPONED UNTIL AUGUST

Organizers of the World Elevator & Escalator (WEE) Expo 2020 in Shanghai, citing the global spread of coronavirus, have postponed the event until August 18-21. The biennial event, to be held at the National Exhibition and Convention Center, will offer 130,000 m2 of floor space and an expected 1,100 exhibitors, according to a news release. The 2018 event drew about 121,000 visitors from more than 20 countries. The WEE Expo is organized by Langfang Conference & Exhibition Co., Ltd.

IAEE POSTPONES ELEVCON

The International Association of Elevator Engineers (IAEE) has announced the postponement of Elevcon 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. It will be rescheduled for a date in 2021, still in Prague at the Grandior Hotel.

Week of 3/16/20

TWO HIGH RISES OPEN IN MUMBAI’S BHENDI BAZAAR

Mumbai's Bhendi Bazaar saw 610 families move into two high rises completed under a "cluster redevelopment," The Hindu reports. The important business/residential district near Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus is now home to two new 36- and 41-story buildings, which also house 128 businesses. The program is funded by the Saifee Burhani Upliftment Trust and aims to continue construction on 11 more towers at the 16.5-acre site. The project also plans to add greenery, public spaces and shopping options to the 125-year-old market district. The two completed towers include recreational areas with gardens, a playground, prayer rooms, multipurpose halls, activity rooms and separate gymnasium rooms for women and men. The commercial spaces are on floors one through three.

THYSSENKRUPP DEBUTS SMART DATA WAREHOUSE IN INDIA

Following the February inauguration of its first Smart Data Technological Warehouse in Madrid, thyssenkrupp Elevator opened its first such warehouse in Chakan, India, the company announced on March 11. Catering to both domestic and regional markets, including Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka, the 10,000-ft2 warehouse supports field requirements, imports and inventory. It has the capacity to handle more than 10,000 orders annually, and will eventually be connected to MAX, installed in more than 120,000 elevators worldwide, to increase inventory planning accuracy. The aim is to ensure “total availability of all spare parts and optimize their logistics through analysis and processing of data collected in real time,” thyssenkrupp Elevator India CEO Manish Mehan said. The system, according to the company, results in a 10% reduction in number of trips by technicians, a 20% reduction in wait times and a reduction in environmental impact due to there being fewer greenhouse gas emissions from logistics activities.

CTBUH INCORPORATES CONFERENCE INTO OCTOBER EVENT

Due to the coronavirus outbreak, the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) has rescheduled its 2020 Tall + Urban Innovation Conference to take place during the CTBUH Conference on October 19-23. No longer in Chicago next month, the CTBUH Awards Program will now be incorporated into the October event at the Marina Bay Sands Hotel in Singapore. The presentation and judging of contending projects, as well as the awards ceremony and dinner, will take place there, in front of an anticipated 1,500-plus attendees. A “Regional City Program” during the CTBUH Conference will take place in Kuala Lumpur.

REFLECTING ON IEE EXPO 2020 IN MUMBAI

Attendees and organizers reflected on the eighth edition of the International Elevator & Escalator Expo (IEE) Expo 2020 on February 27-29 at the Bombay Exhibition Centre in Mumbai. Organizer Messe Frankfurt said more than 7,500 visitors attended the expo, at which components implementing modern technology took center stage. Representatives of major OEMs, government officials and the real estate industry — thanks to a partnership with the Confederation of Real Estate Developers’ Associations of India-Maharashtra Chamber of Housing Industry — were among attendees. Urbanization and infrastructure development are among VT business drivers in India, the world’s second-largest market after China. The show kicked off with component suppliers giving live demonstrations of technologies including a solar power generator for elevators, hydraulic passenger and goods lifts and smart control panels connected to the cloud. The next IEE Expo is planned for 2022.

SINGAPORE AMENDS REGULATORY FRAMEWORK FOR VT

A newly approved amendment to Singapore's building control law updates the regulatory framework for the country's elevators and escalators, The Straits Times reported in March. The change, enacted by the nation's Parliament, requires lift and escalator owners to hire specialist professional engineers to certify design plans, which must then be submitted to the Building and Construction Authority for approval. The submission must show that the elevator or escalator models and their safety components are approved by independent certification bodies. During debate over the rule, several members of Parliament asked if more could be done, such as creating incentives, to increase the number of vertical-transportation (VT) specialists in the country. Zaqy Mohamad, minister of state for National Development, noted that the country has recently seen fewer than 30 safety incidents per year involving the country's 70,000 elevators and 7,000 escalators. Acknowledging the sector's aging workforce, he said the law will allow for a progressive wage model to attract and retain Singaporean residents within the industry.

32-STORY RESIDENTIAL HIGH RISE UNDER CONSTRUCTION IN TOKYO

Itopia Hamarikyu, a 32-story, 119-m-tall high rise with 422 residences, is rising in Tokyo near the Tokyo Metropolitan Expressway, the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat reports, citing Bluestyle. Part of the Itopia Hamarikyu Reconstruction Project by Itopia Hamarikyu Management Association in partnership with Tokyo Tatemono, it necessitated demolition of an existing condominium building. Construction began in March and is scheduled for completion in summer 2023. Within walking distance of the Yurikamome Takshiba and JR Hamamatsucho stations, the high rise will join the under-construction Takeshiba Urban Redevelopment project that includes a 39-story office tower.

Week of 3/9/20

ELEVATOR MANUFACTURERS IN INDIA URGE NATIONAL STANDARDS

In light of increased lift accidents as elevators become more prevalent across India, major vertical-transportation (VT) manufacturers are lobbying for national, uniform standards for design, construction and installation of VT equipment, The Economic Times reports. Although the National Building Code provides elevator installation guidelines, these are only recommended, observed industry veteran TAK Mathews, who says there were at least 28 elevator-related fatalities in 2019. A handful of states, including Maharashtra and Karnataka, have lift acts, and only 10 issue lift licenses, according to KONE India Managing Director Amit Gossain. thyssenkrupp Elevator India CEO Manish Mehan says further complexities are presented by major companies employing subcontractors that lack training programs, the number of small players in the market and the use of manual doors. Some markets, including Delhi, have mandated safer — but more expensive — automatic doors, he adds.

THYSSENKRUPP BUYERS MULL EXPANSION WORTH "BILLIONS"

A consortium that won a bidding contest to acquire thyssenkrupp Elevator is poised to pour billions of euros into an expansion of “the world's fourth-largest lift manufacturer,” Reuters reported on March 1. "There is no shortage of money for a global expansion," Ranjan Sen, managing partner of private equity firm Advent, said in a quote in German business publication Handelsblatt. Advent, Cinven and RAG AG make up the consortium that presented a winning bid of EUR17.2 billion (US$18.96 billion) to buy thyssenkrupp Elevator, a deal announced on February 28. Sen said funding for expansion "could by all means amount to single-digit billions."

FOUR-TOWER PROJECT APPROVED IN GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA

The Gold Coast, Australia, City Council has approved a four-tower project for the Southport area, The Urban Developer reports. The project, by Sydney-based developer Aland, will bring 1,019 residential units, 137 short-term accommodation units, restaurants, retail, an event facility and a theater to the site at 91-101 Nerang Street and 22 Cougal Street. The project will be built in phases, starting with the shortest tower, an 18-story building with a podium. Phase two will see construction of a 50-story tower and basement parking structure, and the final two phases will comprise 62- and 71-story skyscrapers. Architect for the project is Tony Owen Partners. A construction timeline was not given.

ESCALATOR WORKER IN INDIA FALLS TO HIS DEATH

A 56-year-old worker carrying out work on an escalator installation at the concourse level at the Pattanagere Metro Station in Bengaluru, India, fell to his death on February 28, The New Indian Express reports. The man was pronounced dead a local hospital. An official with Bangalore Metro Rail Corp. tells the source it is not possible for contractors to have safety nets in place at all jobsites. In this case, the contractor filed an accident report with local police, who are investigating.