News

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Week of 9/9/19

JOHNSON LIFTS PURSUING MORE INDIAN RAIL PROJECTS

Johnson Lifts, India's largest vertical-transportation company, plans to pursue more metro projects and modernizations of railway stations, The Economic Times reported in August. With the real estate sector slowing, Johnson Lifts has turned to government projects to maintain growth, winning INR2.5 billion (US$35 million) in orders for multiple phases of the Mumbai Metro and another INR1.2 billion (US$16.8 million) for modernizations at stations of the Western and Central Railways. Yohan K. John, director of Johnson Lifts, said, "Over the last couple of years, the builder segment in residential real estate has seen subdued demand with few takers for projects, but there has been significant growth in opportunities due to major urban infrastructure programs." He said the company expected to have billing revenue of INR20 billion (US$280 million) for the current fiscal year, up from INR18.5 billion (US$260 million) the previous year.

THYSSENKRUPP FORMALLY SEEKS ELEVATOR DIVISION BUYERS

By sending out letters requesting expressions of interest, thyssenkrupp has formally started the process of courting potential buyers of all or parts of its elevator division, various news outlets, including Reuters, report. KONE, Schindler, Otis and Hitachi received letters, as did private equity firms KKR, Bain, Advent, CVC, EQT, Blackstone, Partners Group and Apollo, unnamed sources said. One source said thyssenkrupp, which is bleeding money from its other divisions including steel, plant engineering and car parts, seeks to keep a 25% stake in elevators, which is valued at up to EUR17 billion (US$19 billion) and is, by far, its most profitable division. Responses to the letters are anticipated within two weeks. thyssenkrupp, which is also preparing for an initial public offering, is expected to sign a deal by the end of the year.

HONG KONG'S ANLEV REPORTS IMPROVED REVENUE, NEW MARKETS

Anlev Elex Elevator, Ltd., a subsidiary of Hong Kong-based Analogue Holdings, Ltd., had improved revenue of HKD123.5 million (US$15.8 million), according to an interim report for the six-month period that ended June 30, 2019, Yahoo Finance reports. Anlev, which designs, manufactures and installs elevators, escalators and moving walks, secured orders for the modernization of 43 elevators and completed 32 installations during the period. Among the projects was an escalator retrofit in a highly confined, limited-access space, a type of project for which the company is projecting a large global market. Also during the period, Anlev won its first orders in Mexico and Portugal, and entered into distributorship agreements in Eurasia and Eastern Europe. The report noted Anlev had held the highest rating in safety and quality performance under lift and escalator rating systems of the Hong Kong Electrical and Mechanical Services Department for 26 consecutive quarters.

SAFETY STOP-USE ORDER FOR SRLs

Honeywell Industrial Safety recently released a mandatory stop-use warning on potentially nonconforming brake components in certain models of Miller MightEvac and MightyLite Self-Retracting Lifelines (SRLs). The company noted that, while there have been no reported incidents due to this nonconformity, continued use of the product could result in serious injury or death. This document gives more details and affected model numbers. Honeywell added that no other Miller Fall Protection products are impacted and are safe to use.

PROJECT OF THE YEAR DEADLINE LESS THAN ONE MONTH AWAY

The deadline for submissions for the ELEVATOR WORLD Project of the Year Awards 2020 is September 30. The contest recognizes excellence in vertical, horizontal and inclined transportation. Winners in each of 11 categories will receive an award and be recognized in a feature story in the January 2020 issue. In addition to two new categories, “Elevators – Upgrades + Repairs” and “Escalators – Upgrades + Repairs,” entries can be made in “Elevators, New Construction”; “Elevators, Modernization”; “Escalators, New Construction”; “Escalators, Modernization”; “Moving Walks”; “Inclined Elevators”; “Platform Lifts & Stairway Chairlifts”; “Private-Residence Elevators”; and “Special-Purpose Lifts.” The contest is open for projects that have been completed within the past two years, and both text and photos must be submitted, along with a completed entry form, via electronic file sharing, or a mailed disc and/or flash drive. To download the form and obtain more information, visit website.

PLANS ANNOUNCED FOR MALAYSIAN MEGATALL

KLCC Holdings, the owner of Malaysia's tallest buildings, the Petronas Twin Towers, is set to lose its crown, but has revealed plans to reclaim it in the form of Tower M, a 700-m-tall building within the Kuala Lumpur City Centre development, The Edge Markets reported in July. Tower M, which is the working name of the planned megatall office building, will be one of three towers atop a retail podium on a 4-acre site. Construction is not planned to start until sometime after 2030. Estimates put the gross development value of the project somewhere between MYR3.7 billion (US$880 million) and MYR4.2 billion (US$999 million). The developer did not say how many stories Tower M would have, but the source said it would reportedly number 145 floors. The Petronas Twin Towers will be surpassed as the country’s tallest buildings later this year, when The Exchange 106 reaches its 492-m, 106-story height. The Exchange 106 is expected to, in turn, be overtaken by the 630-m-tall Menara PNB 118 in 2024.

SINGAPORE’S SHAW TOWER TO BE REPLACED

The 44-year-old Shaw Tower in Singapore will be torn down to make room for a new, 35-story office and retail tower in 2023, Mothership reports. Current residents of the tower were served with a notice to leave the building in 2018 and have until June 2020 to do so. The new Shaw Tower will have 400,000 ft2 of office space instead of the 260,000 ft2 it currently has. It will also go from 100,000 ft2 of retail space to 30,000 ft2. The tower’s redevelopment is part of the Ophir-Rochor corridor rejuvenation project, which was unveiled in 2008.

TALLEST BUILDING IN JAPAN PLANNED FOR TOKYO

Mori Building Co. has unveiled plans for a redevelopment project in central Tokyo that includes what would become the tallest building in Japan, Kyodo News reports. The 330-m-tall skyscraper will include both office and residential space for the Azabudai-Toranomon district, and is set to be completed in March 2023. The full project that includes the tower is expected to cost JPY600 billion (US$5.6 billion) and also have a hotel and international school on an 8.1-ha site. Rival company Mitsubishi Estate Co. is planning to build a 390-m-tall building in Tokyo in 2027 that would then take the distinction of tallest building.

Week of 9/2/19

MORE THAN 500 ELEVATORS FOR AZERBAIJAN CAPITAL

The Lift Repair Production Association in Azerbaijan, a Middle Eastern country that borders Armenia, has signed a contract with German company Wittur Holding GmbH to fulfill an order to strengthen the material and technical bases of elevators in multi-apartment buildings in the capital city of Baku, Trend News Agency reports. More than 500 elevators will be supplied to Baku based on the contract. There were 63 supplied in July and the total number is currently at 145 elevators installed. The new elevators have been equipped with electronic and power backup systems. A unified dispatch system will also be created to manage all 542 elevators from one center.

PARTNERSHIP TO BOOST MIDEAST CONSTRUCTION ENTITIES

Officials with the Al-Futtaim Engineering and Technologies Facilities Management division say the U.A.E.-based company has signed on as a strategic corporate partner with the Middle East Facility Management Association (MEFMA), ME Construction News reports. Al-Futtaim describes itself as a total solutions provider for the building industry. It specializes in elevators and escalators, as well as a range of other building systems that includes air conditioning, building products, control and life safety, facility management, mechanical-electrical-plumbing and other solutions. An Al-Futtaim official said the partnership would “give us greater access to the MEFMA’s network, conferences and provide our team access to more in-depth training to further their expertise.”

EFFORT TO CHANGE ESCALATOR ETIQUETTE UNDERWAY IN JAPAN

An effort to change the ingrained custom of standing on one side of an escalator to allow others to pass is underway in Japan ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, The Japan News reports. Taking place at public-transit facilities across Japan, the campaigns urge people to stand side-by-side and hold both handrails. This, according to the campaigns, enhances both safety and efficiency, not to mention accessibility for elderly and handicapped passengers. The Japan Elevator Association says the number of escalator accidents caused by improper usage increased from 674 in 2008-2009 to more than 880 in 2013-2014. Masakazu Toki, a professor at Edogawa University, describes the custom of standing to one side as a “relic of years past” that started in England during World War II. The new approach, he says, “makes anyone feel they can ride escalators safely.”

ALIMAK CONTRACT INCREASED FOR SYDNEY HARBOUR BRIDGE

Australia's New South Wales government increased the scope of its building maintenance unit (BMU) contract for the Sydney Harbour Bridge with Alimak Group subsidiary Manntech by SEK80 million (US$8.28 million) to SEK250 million (US$25.8 million). The largest contract ever awarded to Alimak in 2017 includes the design, manufacture, installation and service of two large, motorized, complex gantries spanning the bridge and carrying BMUs to facilitate access to the iconic bridge for maintenance. Various structural and heritage challenges led to the increased scope. "It is an intricate construction, and our Manntech brand is up to the task, as it has a long history of innovation in delivering access solutions for the world's most complex architectural structures," Alimak Group CEO Tormod Gunsleiksrud said.

ESCALATORS, MOVING WALKS AND MORE FOR AUSTRALIA MALL

The Gungahlin Marketplace in Australia will get new escalators, a passenger elevator and moving walks in the next stage of renovations, The RiotACT reports. The plan will also provide a new retail floor and a pedestrian airbridge connecting the North and South malls. The North Mall will get new escalators, a new set of moving walks, a passenger lift, two goods lifts and a goods hoist. The escalators will be moved in the South Mall to align with the new pedestrian bridge.

Week of 8/26/19

NEW ESCALATORS PART OF INDIAN RAIL STATION MAKEOVER

Over the course of the next two years, the Chandigarh, India, railway station will undergo an “airport-like” makeover that will include such amenities as escalators, elevators, an air-conditioned elevated concourse, new roads, subways and a food plaza, The Tribune reports. The INR1.35-billion (US$18.9-million) project conceived by the Indian Railway Stations Development Corp. (IRSDC) will include two "end blocks" that will be connected by the concourse. “It will be something like you see at airports once you’ve checked in and are waiting to board a flight,” an IRSDC official said. The official said the concourse would be air-conditioned and will have a waiting area, washrooms, a food plaza and other commercial spaces. For passengers deboarding at the station, two subways will be constructed to enable a separate exit. The IRSDC will also construct 10 escalators and four lifts on the end blocks and the platforms.

INDIAN RAILWAY STATION GETTING VERTICAL TRANSPORTATION

The INR15.6-million (US$217,600) budget to install escalators and a lift at Mohali railway station in Sahibzada Ajit Singh Nagar, India, has cleared, The Times of India recently reported. Railway sources said the lift is likely to be installed near the ticket-booking and inquiry counters close to the station's entrance. An inspection by Northern Railway General Manager T.P. Singh was performed last year and focused on the need for improvements in security and public conveniences. Constructed in 2006, the station has seen gradual growth in both passengers and trains.

KALPATARU LAUNCHES LUXURY TOWER IN THANE, INDIA

Kalpataru, leading developer of premium and luxury real estate, announced it will be launching a new luxury tower called Camellia. It will be located on the 5.4-acre Kalpataru Paramount project, near Kapurbawdi, Thane, India, magicbricks reports. Camellia is the third tower to be launched in the project and will offer three configurations for two-bedroom luxury apartments across 33 floors. The towers will feature the “chamfered triangle” design, which is a triangle with flattened corners. This ensures each apartment has an independent view and does not look into another. Designed by Kiran Kapadia, the project will feature amenities including two clubhouses, an infinity pool, a toddler pool, a poolside cabana, a gym, a spa, a fitness center, multiple activity and game rooms, a children’s play area, a multipurpose court and a party hall.

ESCALATORS FIGURE BIG IN SHENZHEN FACILITY DESIGN

Escalators figure big in the design of the Yuehai Community and Sports Center that the architect URBANUS conceived for the Public Works Bureau of Nanshan District in Shenzhen, China, designboom reports. Launched in 2016, the 69.5-m-tall, 38,911-m2 structure adheres to a "new urban public building typology that departs from traditional social and architectural norms of the city." As such, sports and cultural areas blend together, and interactive space is integrated throughout via interconnected, landscaped platforms that form "elevated urban living rooms." Construction is ongoing.

WTC TOWER, PART OF LARGER REDEVELOPMENT, RISES IN TOKYO

The 39-story World Trade Center (WTC) South Building in front of Tokyo's Hamamatsucho Station is rising quickly, and another, 40-story tower, the WTC Main Building, is planned on the block, Bluestyle reports. They are part of a larger redevelopment project known as Hamamatsucho Station Square covering three blocks known as A, B and C. The WTC buildings cover block A; the nearly complete 29-story Nippon Life Hamamatsucho Clare Tower, B; and a 40-story condominium tower on which glass curtain-wall installation has started, C. An existing WTC building on the site is set to be demolished and replaced by a 200-m-tall tower. WTC South was designed by NIKKEN SEKKEI LTD.

EW PUBLISHER STURGEON-HENDRICK RECEIVES NAEC HONOR

Until now, only nine elevator-industry people had been named National Association of Elevator Contractors (NAEC) honorary lifetime members in the association’s 70-year history. We are proud to announce that Elevator World, Inc. Editor-at-Large/Publisher Ricia Sturgeon-Hendrick is now part of that elite group as the 10th honoree. She follows in the footsteps of her father, William C. Sturgeon (1955), Helen Faser (1988), Leonard G. LeVee (1989), Eric Fairhurst (1997), Marie McDonald (2004), Eugene Frohlinger (2006), Lou Blaiotta, Sr. (2015) and Herb and Walter Glaser (2018). The NAEC Board of Directors and committees bestow the honor — which is not given every year — when someone is deemed worthy, and Sturgeon-Hendrick, who grew up in the industry under her father and has worked for Elevator World for more than five decades, clearly fits that bill. In July, NAEC Executive Director Alesa McArthur, Deputy Director Teresa Witham and Doug Witham, representing NAEC as a past recipient of the William C. Sturgeon Distinguished Service Award, flew to Mobile, Alabama, where Elevator World is headquartered, to break the good news and treat Sturgeon-Hendrick to lunch. They were joined by her son, Elevator World President T.Bruce MacKinnon, and Elevator Escalator Safety Foundation Program Director Laurie Dueitt. Sturgeon-Hendrick will be formally honored at the NAEC 70th Annual Convention and Exposition in Grand Rapids, Michigan on September 16-19.

HONG KONG SYSTEM’S HANDRAIL GERMS REVEALED BY TEST

The amount of germs, including e. Coli and Staphylococcus, on the rubber handrails of the Mid-Level Escalator Link (MLEL) in Hong Kong is described as “worrisome” by Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress (DAB) lawmaker Horace Cheung Kwok Kwan, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports. MLEL — the longest outdoor covered escalator system in the world — is used by more than 70,000 people each day. DAB commissioned a lab test on nine of the system’s 19 sections that found 1,900 colony-forming units (CFUs) per square meter, the highest amount, on its eastbound section between Caine Road and Mosque Street. The least amount — 600 CPUs — was found on the section between Queen’s Road Central and Wellington Street. A person touching all 19 sections could be exposed to 1,300 CFUs. For comparison, a toilet seat or a mobile phone screen that hasn’t been cleaned in a year would have roughly 1,200 CFUs. City officials say handrail cleaning is performed every day by a contractor. The DAB suggested the government work with universities or startups to find a better solution.

ULTRA-SKINNY OFFICE TOWER GREENLIT FOR BRISBANE CBD

An application for what will be the narrowest commercial tower in Brisbane, Australia, was recently greenlit, paving the way for Sydney-based Lionmar Holdings to start construction in December, The Urban Developer reports. Designed by Hames Sharley with a four-elevator core on the side to allow for twisting and swaying different from that of a traditional tower, the structure will take shape atop the 140-year-old Grosvenor Hotel at George and Ann streets in the CBD. There will be 9,100 m2 of boutique office space, three levels of restaurants, two apartments and 17 parking spots. A rooftop bar will feature views across the Brisbane River.

Week of 8/19/19

MMRDA MARKS MILESTONE IN METRO ESCALATOR PROJECT

India's Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) marked a milestone when it installed the first of 82 escalators across 13 stations along Metro Line 7 at the Bandongri station, The Hindu reports. The station is the first along the Dahisar-Andheri corridor to be completed, and was scheduled to be inaugurated by the end of August. Most stations along the corridor will have six escalators. MMRDA is also installing 105 escalators on Metro Line 2A. Slated for completion by mid-2020, the corridors are expected to ease traffic along the Western Railway between Dahisar and Andheri. An MMRDA spokesman said all the new units conform to European norms and "present world-class safety features."

VT EQUIPMENT SUPPORTS STATIONS ALONG INDIAN METRO LINE

New vertical-transportation (VT) equipment supports stations along a new, 11-km expansion of the Nagpur Metro from Subhash Nagar to Sitabuldi in India, The Times of India reports. Trains carrying MahaMetro officials and journalists were scheduled for a trial run on August 15. Three stations — Lokmanya Nagar, Subhash Nagar and Institution of Engineers — are each outfitted with a lift, an escalator and a staircase from ground to concourse levels on one side, and an escalator and a staircase on the other. Two escalators and four staircases are situated from concourse to platform at each station. At the Sitabuldi station, there are six escalators and two lifts.

ESCALATORS, FoB FOR NORTHERN INDIA RAILWAY STATION

All seven platforms at Northern Railways' Bathinda Junction Railway Station in northern India are getting escalators, and a foot overbridge (FoB) will be built, Tribune News Service reports. Residents of nearby communities will have direct access to the station, which they have long demanded. A spokesman for a railway users group said that tenders for both escalators and the FoB have been awarded to a Bathinda-based company, and work is expected to be complete within about a year.

HYUNDAI ELEVATOR: NEW HQ, FACTORY IN SOUTH KOREA

Hyundai Elevator will be relocating its headquarters and production factory in South Korea, the manufacturer recently announced. A new smart factory will be built on 150,614 m2 in Chungju's Fifth Industrial Complex in North Chungcheong Province. Applying Internet of Things and Big Data technologies, it is expected to produce 25,000 units. It will also include the OEM's logistics center, which will be moved from Cheonan. The company says its current headquarters in Incheon, which has underpinned its history since the company's founding in 1984, will be sold. It adds that it is now the seventh-largest global manufacturer and installed its 700,000th elevator in South Korea this year.

ELEVCON 2020 ANNOUNCED, CALLS FOR PAPERS

The International Association of Elevator Engineers (IAEE) has issued the first announcement and call for papers for Elevcon 2020, the association’s 23rd international congress. Taking place at the Grandior Hotel Prague in Prague, Czech Republic, on June 16-18, 2020, the event will feature presentations in English from vertical-transportation (VT) experts from all over the world. Papers should be original and can be on any topic relevant to VT. Abstracts should be no longer than 100 words, with a 10 word-maximum title, and include topic classification, and author name(s), company(ies), address(es), email(s) and phone number(s). Proposals for workshops that discuss topics involving the audience (rather than being mini sessions) are also welcomed. The deadline for abstract and workshop proposals is November 1, and they should be sent to IAEE President and Elevcon 2020 Chairman & Programme Manager Ami Lustig. The written papers will be included in the Elevator Technology 23: Proceedings of Elevcon 2020 book.

CHILD’S ARM SUCKED INTO AN ESCALATOR AT MALL IN CHINA

A 5-year-old girl shopping with her mother at a mall in Hanchuan, China, got her arm sucked underneath an escalator handrail, various news outlets, including The World News, report. A video of the August 12 incident shows the child holding tight to the handrail and her arm getting sucked underneath as she and her mother arrive on an upper floor. Responders quickly dismantled the equipment to free the child’s arm, and she is shown later wearing a bandage.

ONE BANGKOK TO BOAST ONE OF REGION’S TALLEST TOWERS

Developers TCC and Frasers Property are bringing a massive, multitower mixed-use development to a prime spot in the heart of Bangkok that will boast one of the tallest buildings in Southeast Asia at 430 m, Thailand Construction News reports. With a design team led by Skidmore Owings & Merrill, the multibillion-dollar One Bangkok will include five office towers, three residential buildings, five hotels, four shopping complexes and numerous public areas, supported by new infrastructure being built by the Thai government. The development is expected to partially open in 2023, with full completion anticipated in 2026. Approximately 50,000 office workers, along with international tourists, are expected to flock to One Bangkok.

MELBOURNE TOWER WITH SCHINDLER VT SYSTEM TOPS OUT

80 Collins Street, a 41-story office tower in Melbourne, Australia, that incorporates an innovative Schindler elevator system, has topped out, the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat reports. Multiplex is constructing the building, which is owned by Dexus and was designed by Woods Bagot with collaboration from Dutch firm UNStudio. Woods Bagot tells ELEVATOR WORLD that Schindler's double-deck lift system with destination dispatch is being used. "Internal connectivity was a significant consideration in the building's design, where the use of lifting technology allowed the design team to condense the core,” Woods Bagot Principal and project design leader Hazel Porter said. The vertical-transportation (VT) system includes 16 lift cars in eight shafts, in two main rises — mid and high.

CHINESE TECH COMPANY INVESTS IN ELEVATOR AD PROVIDER

Chinese tech giant JD.com has invested the equivalent of US$141 million in Chengdu, China-based elevator ad provider Xinchao Media Group as it looks to the "underexploited" residential advertising market, WARC reports. The move follows a US$300-million investment last year in Xinchao, which has approximately 700,000 elevators in roughly 100 Chinese cities, by another tech company, Baidu. Xinchao competes with market-leader Focus Media, which controlled 2.75 million elevators in the first quarter of 2019. Focus has traditionally focused on elevator ads in office buildings, but the opportunity for it and JD.com is significant in the residential sector. The source observed JD.com's investment will allow Xinchao to reach customers in middle-class homes in second- and third-tier cities. In China, food-industry advertising is primarily outdoors, followed by in elevators.

LUXURY SKYSCRAPER MAKES RECORD SALES IN THAILAND

MUNIQ Langsuan, a freehold high-rise luxury condominium project in Bangkok, made record sales of 90% on the first day of reservation, Khaosod English reports. The tower is located in midtown Langsuan, which is reportedly referred to as “the Beverly Hills” of Thailand. Condominium units, which are designed with “classic aesthetics and New York flair,” start at THB25.4 million (US$823,448) for a two-bedroom. Construction of the project is set to be complete by the first quarter of 2022.