Thursday, 4 February 2016

Elevators: What are Priority Controls?


In last week’s blog we discussed how the vertical transportation industry had introduced measures and technology to better prepare elevator systems in the event of an earthquake. To read about Seismic Switches for elevators click ‘here’. This week we will focus on a preventative measure available in the event of unauthorised persons gaining access to a building and attempting to gain control of its elevator systems. Fortunately this is an eventuality that has been considered by the industry and there are solutions available. One of these solutions is called Priority Controls.

What are Priority Controls?

Priority controls are one way to enhance security for elevators systems. Once priority controls have been installed operators can remotely dispatch and park all lifts away from the main building floor. Priority controls have also been referred to as ‘riot controls’.

How do Priority Controls Work?

When a remote switch or alarm control is activated by a building’s security team, the lifts will all go and park with doors open at a preset floor, away from the main building entry floor so that unauthorised persons cannot force entry into the building and use the elevators to disappear into the building.

What are the Benefits?

The primary benefit is enhanced security for the building and protection for elevator systems. Unauthorised persons will not be able to access other floors of the building subject to stairwells also being secure. Often priority controls are part of a building’s plans and are installed as one of a range of security measures to protect buildings. Priority controls have been installed in many buildings in central London and around the world.

Dunbar and Boardman is the lift, escalator and access equipment consultancy. Are you currently planning a project that will involve vertical transportation? Do you want to install priority controls? We would be happy to discuss with you. Give us a call on T +44 (0) 20 7739 5093 or send us an email via garyavis@dunbarboardman.com to start the conversation. We look forward to hearing from you.

Image credit: www.apexelevatordc.com

Thursday, 28 January 2016

Who Invented the Seismic Switch for Elevators?


What is a Seismic Switch?

One of the general public’s biggest fears, related to vertical transportation, is the prospect of being trapped inside an elevator during an earthquake. The industry has dedicated time and resource to reducing the likelihood of this happening. The earliest earthquake detection devices were called Seismoscopes and were invented in China during the second century, long before vertical transportation was an established industry. In the twentieth century earthquake detection became part of the vertical transportation industry in the form of a Seismic Switch. A Seismic Switch is a device that can disable or de-activate an elevator in the event of an earthquake. Seismic switches can enhance elevator passenger safety by the early detection of earthquakes.

How Do Seismic Switches Work?

A Seismic Switch works by monitoring seismic energy made up of Seismic Waves. Seismic Waves are waves of energy that travel through the earth’s layers and are the result of an earthquake, volcano or an explosion. When the device detects fluctuations above a certain level it returns the elevator to the nearest floor and the doors open allowing passengers to get out. The switches are triggered by the preliminary P-waves of an earthquake. P-waves arrive before the more dangerous S-waves arrive. Seismic switches are also known as seismic triggers.

Who Invented the Seismic Switch for Elevators?

Larry D Miller invented the Seismic Switch for elevators in 1975. His US patent filed in that year described his invention as a ‘Tuned ground motion detector utilizing principles of mechanical resonance.’ This was to become the vertical transportation industry standard, CHV -1. Larry was chief designer at Seismic Switch Inc., a company that has since installed over 10,000 devices. Other manufacturers within the vertical transportation industry including industry giant Otis have created and installed their own versions of Seismic Switches. Otis’ product is called a Seismic Sensor.

Since the 1970s Seismic Switches have become a mandatory requirement in earthquake prone countries for buildings with elevators. Most earthquake activity occurs in the following regions: West coasts of South and Central America and from the Northern USA to Alaska, the Aleutians, Japan, China, the Philippines, Indonesia and Australasia. Japan is possibly the most earthquake prone country in part due to its 110 active volcanoes and the fact that 4 of the world’s tectonic plates converge in Japan. Seismic Switches have become an integral part of elevator systems in all of the countries mentioned.

Dunbar and Boardman is the lift, escalator and access equipment consultancy. Are you currently planning a project that will involve vertical transportation? We would be happy to discuss with you. Give us a call on T +44 (0) 20 7739 5093 or send us an email via garyavis@dunbarboardman.com to start the conversation. We look forward to hearing from you.

Image credit: bit.ly/1QueuSc

Friday, 22 January 2016

How Does A Nickel Help Create the World’s Smoothest Elevator Rides?



The global size of the vertical transportation market is predicted to reach $111 Billion by 2017*. There has always been fierce competition among elevators manufacturers to secure the most prestigious projects and to deliver the world’s leading elevator systems. In recent years the race to build complex elevator systems for taller buildings has intensified but height is not the only specification that is important. Elevator speed and ride quality are also key considerations. It is no coincidence that the majority of the world’s fastest elevators are located in Asia. This prompts the question, what process do elevators manufacturers in Asia have that are not being used elsewhere?

The building that currently has the world’s fastest elevators is Taipei 101 in Taiwan.  Taipei 101 is 508 metres high or 1,670 feet and is currently world’s eighth tallest building. Burj Khalifa is the world’s tallest at 828 metres or 2,717 feet.  When it comes to elevator speed Taipei has a considerable advantage over Burj Khalifa because its two high speed Toshiba elevators installed at a cost of $2million each travel at 3,313 feet/min, 37.7 mph. This is almost double that achieved by the Burj Khalifa’s elevators that travel at a rate of 1,968.5 feet/min, 22 mph.

How have Toshiba been able to produce elevators that can travel so fast while maintaining ride quality? One explanation for this technical superiority can be provided by a coin. Let me explain, a Nickel is a coin worth five cents in the United States. In Japan the major elevator manufacturers: Mitsubishi, Hitachi, Toshiba and Fujitec have their technicians conduct a ‘Nickel Test’ when then they are developing new elevators. This ‘Nickel Test’ consists of standing a nickel on its side inside an elevator car and then sending the car from top to the bottom. If the nickel is still standing at the bottom the elevators has passed the test. This ‘Nickel Test’ seems overly simplistic but it is part of a robust testing process. It is not the only test for new elevators.

The Japanese vertical transportation industry has historically placed a greater emphasis on ride quality than other countries because the Japanese population has greater cultural demands with regards to ride quality. Minimum requirements for ride quality were introduced in Japan in the 1980s. In 2003 a global standard for the measurement of lift ride quality was set out with the publication of an ISO Standard for: Lifts (elevators) ISO 18738. ISO 18738 defined how to measure ride quality but it did not define what is good. There is currently no international standard that defines what good ride quality is for elevators. After its introduction manufacturers in other countries followed the Japanese lead in giving ride quality greater consideration.

Dunbar and Boardman is the lift, escalator and access equipment consultancy. Are you currently planning a project that will involve vertical transportation? We would be happy to discuss with you. Give us a call on T +44 (0) 20 7739 5093 or send us an email via garyavis@dunbarboardman.com to start the conversation. We look forward to hearing from you.

Image credit:
bit.ly/1PsajTT
bit.ly/1ZGgJEx

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

What are the Tallest Buildings on Each Continent?


The world’s tallest buildings have long fascinated the general public as well as those employed in the vertical transportation industry. We have Elisha Otis to thank for the creation of our vertical transportation industry of course. You can read about his contribution 'here'. With this week’s post we have chosen to highlight the world’s tallest buildings on a continent-by-continent basis. Some of these buildings you will be familiar with, others less so.  Let us know how many of the seven tallest buildings you have visited in the comments section below.

Tallest Building on Each Continent

Asia - Burj Khalifa  

The tallest building in Asia is Burj Khalifa. Burj Khalifa was built in 2010 is located in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. It is the tallest artificial structure in the world and stands 828m or 2717 feet high and has 160 floors.  The building has 57 lifts and 8 escalators. The lift cabins have a capacity of 12 to 14 people. The lifts installed at Burj Khalifa are the world’s fastest Double-deck elevators equipped with LCD entertainment units. 

Europe – The Federation Tower

The tallest building in Europe is set to be the Federation Tower in Moscow. Its height is 374 metres or 1227 feet and it has 101 floors. It is a complex of two buildings built on one podium. One of the towers stands 97 floors high (Tower East) and the second tower (Tower West) stands 65 floors high. Construction originally started in 2003 but was halted and only resumed in 2011. The Tower is due to be finally completed towards the middle of 2016. There are 67 lifts at the Federation Tower. Twenty Two TWiN elevators have been installed with equipment from ThyssenKrupp (Germany) and Schindler (Switzerland).

North America - One World Trade Center

The tallest building in North America is New York City’s One World Trade Center completed in 2013. It has a height of 541.3 metres or 1776 feet and has 104 floors and is a symbol of renewal and hope. There are 73 lifts and 11 escalators at One World Trade Center, designed and installed by ThyssenKrupp. The five express elevators travel at over ten meters per second, which is close to record-breaking speed.

Oceania  - Q1 - Queensland Number One

The tallest building in Oceania is Q1 or Queensland Number One. The Skyscraper is located on the Gold Coast in Australia. The building is 322.5 metres in height or 1058 feet and has 78 floors. Q1 is the tallest all residential building in the world and was opened in 2005. It has 11 Kone lifts that travel at a speed of 9 metres per second.

South America - Gran Torre Santiago

The tallest building in South America is the Gran Torre Santiago located in Santiago, Chile. This skyscraper is 300 metres in height or 984 feet and has 64 floors and 6 floors below ground too. Although construction commenced in 2006 due to some delays the building was only completed in 2013. The building has 24 high speed lifts that travel at 6.6 metres per second. 

Africa – The Carlton Centre

The tallest building in Africa is the Carlton Centre located in Johannesburg, South Africa. Constructed in 1973 the Carlton Centre is 223 metres high or 732 feet and has 50 floors. The building houses offices and shops and has 46% of the floor area below ground level. The Carlton Centre has 18 lifts arranged in 3 banks of 6 serving different sections of the Tower. In addition there is one express lift serving the observation platform known locally as ‘The Top of Africa’. The lifts travel at a speed of 1400 feet per minute. 

Antartica - Long Duration Balloon (LDB) Payload Preparation Buildings
   
The tallest buildings in Antartica are the Long Duration Balloon (LDB) Payload
Preparation Buildings. The buildings are located at McMurdo Station on volcanic rock at the southern tip of Ross Island on the shore of McMurdo Shore, Antartica and form part of a United States research centre. Built in 2005 they are 15 metres in height or 49 feet and do not have any lifts. Given the climate it is no surprise that the Long Duration Balloon (LDB) Payload Preparation Buildings are the least visited buildings on our list. The climate is also the reason that the buildings need to be moveable – previous buildings were covered in snow during the winter and it took several weeks for them to be dug out and useable again. The Long Duration Balloon (LDB) Payload Preparation Buildings are a solution to that problem because they are movable buildings on skis that have been placed on a snow platform known as a berm.

Dunbar and Boardman is the lift, escalator and access equipment consultancy. Are you currently planning a project that will involve vertical transportation? We would be happy to discuss with you. Give us a call on T +44 (0) 20 7739 5093 or send us an email via garyavis@dunbarboardman.com to start the conversation. We look forward to hearing from you.


Image credit: bit.ly/1UO0EuT

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Who built the Medellín Escalator?




There are many amazing examples of vertical transportation around the world but few can claim to be as transformative as the Medellín escalator in Columbia’s second largest city. The large outdoor escalator is located in Medellin's tough Comuna 13 district and was officially opened in December 2011 by the mayor of Medellín, Alonso Salazar Jaramillo. The escalator was built at a cost $6.7 million and funded by the city. It is divided into 6 sections and is 384 metres (1260 feet) long. There is one escalator for Comuna 13’s twelve thousand residents to travel up the hillside and another to descend.  A journey that used to take 36 minutes on foot now takes just six minutes. 

Who Designed the Medellín Escalator?

If the city of Medellín sounds familiar it is probably because of the city’s most infamous inhabitant, a man known as Pablo Escobar. Escobar was a drug lord and during his regime many of the city’s inhabitants fled to the hillside areas including Comuna 13 even though the hillside areas lacked many amenities. Comuna 13 is essentially a shantytown similar to the favelas in Brazil. Comuna 13 was already one of the city’s poorest districts and drug gang violence made matters worse. 

The city council and mayor, Alonzo Salazar deserves a lot of credit. They recognised the problems Comuna 13 was having and decided to do something about it. The Medellín escalator was a manifestation of “social urbanism,” a project designed to integrate remote neighbourhoods with the city by the creation of public spaces and public buildings. The Medellín escalator was a manifestation of state presence.  At the time of the public inauguration of the escalator Mayor Alonzo Salazar Jaramillo said,

"This should be a symbol of city transformation and peace for Comuna 13."

Construction of the escalator was not a straightforward process. The city had to conquer territory from the gangs while building the escalator.

What Impact has the Medellín Escalator had?

The completion of the Medellín escalator was a tremendous achievement. It was the first such outdoor public escalator designed for use by residents of a poor area. The quality of life for residents was improved. Gangs were displaced and overall the environment was enhanced.  It is now easier for Comuna 13 residents to travel to the city for work; they are better connected with the city’s commercial centre.

Perhaps surprisingly the escalator has become an international tourist attraction. Visitors come to ride on the escalator that has become a symbol of inclusion, civic pride and dignity. The escalator has made Medellín a shining example of progressive urban planning ideas. In 2012 Medellín was named The World's Most Innovative City in a competition organised by the non-profit Urban Land Institute.

Dunbar and Boardman is the lift, escalator and access equipment consultancy. Are you currently planning a project that will involve vertical transportation? We would be happy to discuss with you. Give us a call on T +44 (0) 20 7739 5093 or send us an email via garyavis@dunbarboardman.com to start the conversation. We look forward to hearing from you. 

Image credit: http://bit.ly/1O6Gbmo

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Where is the Highest Escalator in the World?

There are many impressive examples of vertical transportation all around the world. We have placed a spotlight on many of them with our blog posts. In this post we turn our attention to the highest escalator in the world.  The highest escalator in the world is actually one of a pair of escalators. The location of these escalators is as far removed from standard installations of linear escalators as you can imagine.

Where is it?

The highest escalator in the world is in Japan at the Sky Building located in the Umeda district of Kita-ku, Osaka, Japan. The Sky Building is Osaka’s seventh tallest building and got its name because of its height; the building consists of two 40 story towers rising 173 metres (568 ft) from the ground. A pair of escalators bisects a circular atrium piercing the roof and upper levels of the building. These two escalators are the highest escalators in the world.

Who built it?

The building was originally planned in 1988; it was to be the “City of Air” project and there were to be four interconnected towers. Costs for this project prohibitive and four buildings were subsequently scaled down to two. The scaled down building with two towers was designed by Hiroshi Hara and was constructed by the Takenaka Corporation. Construction was completed in 1993. The building has a rooftop observatory, a floating garden observatory and an underground market. At the bottom of the towers there is an urban garden with walking trails and water features.

Who owns it?

The Toshiba Corporation wholly owned the building until in July 2008 they sold a majority stake (65%) to Nomura Real Estate. They retained 35% ownership. Tenants of the Sky Building include Mazda, the Consulate General of Germany and Astra Zeneca. It is possible to pay a small fee of 700 yen to ride the glass elevator to the top of the Sky Building and then to experience the highest escalators in the world first hand.

Dunbar and Boardman is the lift, escalator and access equipment consultancy. Are you currently planning a project that will involve vertical transportation? We would be happy to discuss with you. Give us a call on T +44 (0) 20 7739 5093 or send us an email via garyavis@dunbarboardman.com to start the conversation. We look forward to hearing from you.


Photo credit: http://bit.ly/1HHqShB

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Who Built the Largest Spiral Escalator in the World?



When is an everyday object no longer an everyday object? We don’t normally start of our blog with a puzzle but this question applies to escalators. In the developed world linear escalators are now commonplace. We are used to seeing them in department stores, at airports and train stations. Turn that linear escalator into a spiral escalator and it is no longer commonplace. Spiral escalators are still quite rare and are a fascination not only for engineers but also for the general public wherever they appear around the world.

Where is it?
In March 2015 Mitsubishi completed the construction of the largest spiral escalator in the world in Shanghai, China. Twelve curved escalators form the spiral. It is not a continuous spiral but it is still a very impressive feat of engineering assembled at the New World Daimaru Department Store. The cost of the spiral escalators has not been made public but it is safe to say that spiral escalators are the Bugatti Veyron of the escalator world.

Who built it?
Mitsubishi Electric built the spiral escalators at the New World Diamaru Department Store. The company first developed the spiral escalator in 1985 and since then has remained the world’s only manufacturer of spiral escalators. There are earlier incarnations of curved escalators and you can read about the first one here. There are two clear reasons why other manufacturers have not followed them. First of all spiral escalators are difficult to construct and must be made up on site and secondly, they are very expensive and are not a mainstream product.

How many have been built?
Mitsubishi have built 103 spiral escalators in Japan and around the world. There is an example at Caesars Palace Forum Shops in Las Vegas. Spiral escalators are usually deployed in luxury environments and there are further examples at the following locations: San Francisco Centre, San Francisco, Canada’s River Rock Casino Resort, Wheelock Place in Singapore, Saudi Arabia’s Jeddah Hilton, The Landmark Tower in Japan, the Times Square shopping mall in Hong Kong, Lotte World in South Korea, The Venetian Hotel and Casino in Macau, Wynn Las Vegas.

What are the benefits of a spiral escalator?
Spiral escalators can take up less space than conventional escalators but this consideration must be weighed against the fact that they are more complicated to install and a lot more expensive.  From the point of view of the mall, hotel or casino having the spiral escalator installed; spiral escalators will put your venue on the map. The spiral escalator at the New World Daimaru Department Store has become a tourist attraction. Visitor numbers at the department store remain at very high levels largely because of the free publicity generated by the world’s largest spiral escalator.

Dunbar and Boardman is the lift, escalator and access equipment consultancy. Are you currently planning a project that will involve vertical transportation? We would be happy to discuss with you. Give us a call on T +44 (0) 20 7739 5093 or send us an email via peterboardman@dunbarboardman.com to start the conversation. We look forward to hearing from you.


Image credit: http://bit.ly/1Od8nkh