News

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Week of 7/15/19

FAULTY ELEVATORS INSPIRE PROTESTS IN INDIA

In light of recent protests against poor maintenance of elevators in multistoried housing across India, a publication is urging residents to take a stand and seek damages. Hindustan Times reports that multiple rallies being held indicate that poor maintenance of elevators by the builders is becoming an endemic problem in India. Builders reportedly flout safety laws, neglect regular safety maintenance and don’t include automatic rescue devices. The news outlet encouraged residents to file complaints with the state enforcement agencies.

PARTNERS BRING NEW METAL-COATING OPTIONS TO GCC COUNTRIES

Dubai-based steel-fabrication outfit Hidayath and New Zealand-based metal coatings company Metalier have partnered to bring “a large range of metal colors, textures and patinas” to architects and designers in the Gulf Cooperation Council countries of the Middle East, Digital Journal reports. Metalier observes its largest project to date was coating a bank of escalators in the Harrods department store in London. This project involved removing the store’s roof to install the newly coated escalators. A protective metal coating offered by Metalier is “poised, in Hidayath’s hands, to transform the metal industry in the Middle East,” Hidayath states.

OTIS SINGAPORE RESPONDS TO LENGTHY SMRT WORK

The Straits Times recently ran Otis Singapore’s response to concerns that work on an escalator refurbishment project at 42 SMRT Corp. stations in Singapore on the North-South and East-West lines would take a very long time. Only about 25% of the work has been completed since it began in summer 2016 (ELENET 567, 658 and 787). Otis said that due to the complexity of the units, each need about four months for refurbishment: a process that requires the removal, inspection, installation and replacement of more than 1,000 parts and major components. It added that each escalator being refurbished usually has one fixed team of workers assigned to it, rather than multiple teams working on it 24 hours a day. This, it says, helps “ensure seamless continuity of work.” Some escalators may take even longer than four months to complete due to additional issues discovered only after dismantling. This is the first major refurbishment of SMRT escalators since 1987, most of which is to be completed by 2022.

TWO 40-STORY PPVC TOWERS COMPLETED IN SINGAPORE

Construction on two 40-story towers in Singapore has reached completion. The Clement Canopy complex will provide 505 luxury apartments in the city’s residential and Kent Ridge Education Belt districts, the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat reports. The 459-ft-tall towers are the first structures on the island to use an all-concrete version of the prefabricated prefinished volumetric construction (PPVC) system, meaning more than 60% of the superstructure was built offsite. The towers are made up of 1,899 modules, which include mechanicals, plumbing, plastering, painting and bathroom fixtures. The project was completed in 30 months, which was six months ahead of its original timeline.

TJEI LANDS LARGEST ORDER TO DATE

Toshiba Johnson Elevators (India) Pvt. Ltd. (TJEI) recently announced winning its largest order to date in India for 128 elevators with 12-car group control system in Surat Diamond Bourse (SDB). The scope of work entails the supply, installation and maintenance of the units. The SDB, with a total built-up area of 620,000 m2, will become the single largest office building in the world, with 4,500 offices. “For the 15-story world’s single largest office building, designed to complement the diamond industry of Surat, enabling safe and easy navigation for large volumes of people is of prime importance," Junichi Kyushima, managing director, TJEI said. All the elevators will come with Destination Control Systems for seamless traffic handling. An elevator monitoring system is also one of the premium features being supplied by TJEI, along with interface provisions for access control, live TV, closed-circuit TV and more.

GTBFT COMMITMENT SIGNED BY WORLDWIDE REPRESENTATIVES

The National Elevator Industry, Inc. (NEII) recently reported on the recommitment of the North American, European and Asia Pacific region elevator and escalator associations to achieve global technical barrier-free trade (GTBFT). The formal commitment to a common line of actions to achieve GTBFT is to promote and improve safety and to facilitate technological innovation and the free movement of goods worldwide. NEII joined the European Lift Association, European Elevator Association, China Elevator Association, Pacific Asia Lift and Escalator Association, European Federation for Elevator Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises, European Platform and Stairlift Association, European Lift Components Association, National Elevator & Escalator Association, Associacao Elevadores do Mercosul and (for the first time) the National Lift Union of Russia under the “World Elevator Federation” banner. “Worldwide acceptance of the International Organization for Standardization prescriptive standards is also part of the agreement that will lead to an efficient global approach for building transportation equipment that can be used by all manufacturers and installers,” NEII added.

Week of 7/8/19

NEW PRESIDENT OF SCHINDLER INDIA, SOUTH ASIA NAMED

Ashok Ramachandran has been named president of Schindler India and South Asia, filling the role most recently held by Uday Kulkarni, who is retiring. Ramachandran has been with Schindler for more than 10 years, starting in Australia in the Quality department and moving on to managing director (MD) of Schindler Vietnam in 2012, where he is credited with a "complete turnaround" of the business. In 2016, he became MD of Schindler Malaysia and was appointed CEO of Schindler India in 2019. Kulkarni will remain involved with the company, responsible for the Schindler University training facility. As president, Ramachandran will oversee sales, marketing and operations that include a factory and R&D. Headquartered in Mumbai, Schindler India serves 50 major cities through 13 branch offices.

BOY’S FOOT INJURED IN ESCALATOR MISHAP AT MALL IN BORNEO

An 8-year-old boy was hospitalized after getting his foot caught in an escalator at a mall in Kuching on the Malaysian island of Borneo on July 4, the Borneo Post reports. An eyewitness said the boy was riding the escalator unsupervised with two friends. Fire and rescue personnel and mall management successfully freed his foot. He received first aid at the scene and was transported to a hospital via ambulance.

LOCATION, AMENITIES TO DISTINGUISH BANGKOK CONDO TOWER

Japanese-Thai joint venture Altitude Creed Talat Phlu Co., Ltd. aims to break ground in the third quarter of this year on the 34-story, 711-unit Altitude Unicorn Sathorn-Tha Phra condominium tower in the Talat Phlu area of Bangkok, Thailand Construction News reports. Part of what Creed Group described as "solid growth in Japan and other Asian countries," the tower will be connected by skywalk to a Skytrain station and will boast an impressive array of amenities. These include co-working space, an auditorium, a theater, an e-sports room, a Grand Canyon-inspired swimming pool and a fitness center with a rock-climbing wall. Completion is anticipated in late 2021.

EID ARCHITECTURE REVEALS OCT HEADQUARTERS DESIGN

EID Architecture reveled its design for Overseas Chinese Town Enterprises (OCT)’s second headquarters in Kunming, China, Arch Daily reports. The design scheme, which is one of three winning ideas, includes OCT headquarters, a 200-room hotel, an exhibition hall, a multi functional theater, serviced apartments and a retail program. The headquarters will be located at the top of the 200-m-tall tower, while the hotel and apartments will be in the lower portion. The design features cascading podium terraces meant to resemble local rice paddies. The development will include two parks and three ribbon-like terraces.

KONE MORE LIKELY TO TAKE OVER THYSSENKRUPP ELEVATOR

The Wall Street Journal recently reported on the “widely rumored” chances KONE will initiate a takeover of thyssenkrupp Elevator. It added that the segment could be sold to the Finnish manufacturer or another rival OEM such as Otis before its initial public offering announced in May (ELENET 787). As its EUR14-billion (US$15.8-billion) potential stock valuation is almost double that of the rest of the parent company, cost savings a merger could bring would be substantial, the source reports. In addition to KONE having long been interested in buying the segment, it is called “underrepresented in North America and strong in China, a weak spot for thysssenkrupp.” Regardless, the projection is that the valuation gap with KONE and Schindler should narrow.

JAPAN LEADER’S REMARK STIRS ACCESSIBILITY CONTROVERSY

The issue of historic preservation versus accessibility has been brought to the forefront by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe calling installation of elevators in the historic Osaka Castle a “big mistake,” Kyodo News reports. Abe made the remark during a June 28 dinner that was part of the Group of 20 world leader summit in Osaka, Japan. Disability-rights advocates and political foes blasted Abe’s remark, especially in light of Japan hosting the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics next year. Others defended it, pointing out elevators would be the only difference between the restored wooden landmark, constructed in 1583, and the original. The mayor of Nagoya, where the castle is situated, wants to restore the structure without elevators, but a local group representing handicapped people submitted roughly 13,600 signatures calling for a reversal of that plan.

Week of 7/1/19

FOB ESCALATORS INAUGURATED AT INDIAN RAIL STATION

Railway officials in Kolhapur, India, inaugurated escalators for the main foot-over-bridge (FOB) at Kolhapur rail station on June 21, the Times of India reports. The project, which was greenlit in 2017, has faced administrative challenges that delayed the opening of the escalators. The units will initially be operational about eight hours a day, but once arrangements are made for sufficient security personnel, the escalators will run 24/7, a station official said. The station’s elevator is scheduled for refurbishment next year.

VT TO ENHANCE ACCESS AT MAJOR MUMBAI METRO CORRIDORS

Four escalators between the underground Metro Line 3 station and a skywalk 8.4 m above ground level that connects directly to the concourse of Metro Line 2B are among vertical-transportation (VT) upgrades aimed at enhancing accessibility in what will be two of the longest Mumbai Metro Rail Corp. (MMRC) corridors at the Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC) in Mumbai, The Hindu reports. A lift for disabled persons is also planned at BKC, which MMRC describes as a "very important hub and key interchange." MMRC is configuring the upcoming 33.5-km-long Metro Line 3 and 23.6-km-long Line 2B to eliminate commuter hassles, such as having to scan luggage and pass through fare-collection gates twice.

FALL FROM MALL ESCALATOR FATAL FOR YOUNG TEEN IN INDIA

Managers of a mall in Ranchi, India, where a 13-year-old boy fell to his death from an escalator handrail on June 22, described the incident as “avoidable and unfortunate,” The Telegraph is among news outlets to report. Shopping with family members, who were not nearby at the time of the incident, the boy can be seen on security footage climbing onto the handrail and, seconds later, falling approximately 30 ft to the ground floor. He was pronounced dead on arrival at a local hospital. A mall manager says the escalators conform to global security standards. Security guards are instructed to watch people near escalators, but parents and guardians are urged to be more vigilant, the manager says. Police are investigating.

OTIS TO OUTFIT WTC CHENNAI WITH COMPREHENSIVE VT PACKAGE

Otis India will outfit World Trade Center (WTC) Chennai with a vertical-transportation system that includes 54 3.5 m/s SkyRise® elevators, four escalators and the CompassPlus® destination-dispatch system. The contract was awarded by Brigade Group, which is developing the four-tower, 11-acre project with Government of Singapore Investment Corp. Rising in an established information-technology hub in the Old Mahabalipuram Road District in Chennai, India, WTC Chennai will include the 27-story WTC building — the tallest office tower in the city — a 19-story office tower, a four-story hotel/conference building and a two-story restaurant. Otis India President Sebi Joseph said his team worked closely with partners including NYC-based architecture firm HOK to realize the project, which also includes multimedia elevator interiors, ReGen® energy-efficient drives and the PanoramaTM elevator-management system.

BOY’S FOOT FREED FROM ESCALATOR IN SINGAPORE INCIDENT

Singapore Civil Defence Force officers used drills and rescue tools to free a boy’s foot from the edge of an escalator on June 24 at Jewel Changi Airport, a retail/entertainment complex at Changi Airport on the eastern end of Singapore, Mothership is among news outlets to report. The child, whose age was not provided, was assessed by medical personnel onsite and treated at a local hospital. The source noted there have been previous incidents at Jewel Changi Airport, including one in which a 5-year-old boy got his shoe stuck in an escalator. “We advise all shoppers to stay vigilant at all times, especially with children, when riding on escalators,” a Jewel Changi Airport spokesperson told the source.

CONSTRUCTION BEGINS ON QUEEN’S WHARF IN BRISBANE

Construction on Queen’s Wharf in Brisbane, Australia kicked off when a tower crane was installed on the site after 2 1/2 years of demolition and excavation, The Urban Developer reports. The AUD3.6-billion(US$2.5-billion) project will include four new luxury hotels, more than 50 bars and restaurants and 2,000 residential apartments. The builder, Multiplex, is expected to have 10 tower cranes on the site over the next six months. The cranes will help build three resort towers and the first residential tower along with the podium level and sky deck. The project is being developed by Destination Brisbane Consortium.

Week of 6/24/19

GIRL BRIEFLY TRAPPED BETWEEN ESCALATOR HANDRAIL AND WALL

A girl riding an escalator at a shopping mall in Jiangxi, China, had her head briefly trapped between the moving handrail, World of Buzz reported on June 19. The incident, captured on video, shows the girl leaning over the rail, apparently oblivious to the wall she was approaching. When she reached the wall, her head got trapped, and she can be seen struggling to get loose. She breaks free as she nears the top of the escalator. She is seen in a still frame taken after the incident holding a blood-stained compress to her ear, but the extent of her injuries was not reported.

ESCALATOR COLLAPSES WHILE CARRYING PASSENGERS

Two men narrowly escaped injury when an escalator they were riding collapsed in a shopping mall in Guangxi, China, and was caught on surveillance video, Khaleej Times reports. The men were able to climb up the stairs safely when the escalator malfunctioned and caused the stairs to collapse. Another escalator malfunction at the same mall reportedly caused a child’s arm to get caught four years earlier.

THYSSENKRUPP SOLE PROVIDER FOR CHINA AIRPORT PROJECT

thyssenkrupp Elevator is set to provide 177 elevator and escalator units for the Beijing Daxing International Airport for China Southern Airlines. The airline is expanding to a two-hub base designed by Sir Norman Foster and Zaha Hadid Architects. thyssenkrupp Elevator is the sole elevator supplier for the airport base and will supply 155 elevators and 22 escalators for the project. Despite the large size of the airport, it will reportedly take less than 8 min to get from security to the farthest gate. The new airport, which will be 7.5 million ft2, will support 45 million passengers when it opens later this year.

REDEVELOPMENT OF MELBOURNE GERMAN CLUB APPROVED

Melbourne’s former German Club, located at 7-19 Alfred Place, will soon get a 23-story office tower addition. Site owner Seafirst Australia, which is owned by Rupert Murdoch’s sister Janet Calvert-Jones and her husband, proposed partial demolition of the existing building and construction of an 80-m-tall office tower designed by Chris Connell, The Urban Developer reports. The AUD24.5-million (US$16.9-million) project will add 19 stories above the original four stories. “What we’ve designed is sympathetic to its surroundings, and we were mindful of not overdeveloping the site,” Connell says of the project.