Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Spotlight on Dubai


Dunbar & Boardman’s first project in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) was in the late 1990s. This was the Jumeirah Beach Hotel and we quickly built on that, increasing the number of projects we worked on not only in the UAE but also across the Gulf Region. Since the 1990s we have completed Vertical Transportation and Building Maintenance Unit projects in the UAE, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Kuwait. Many of our projects have been for internationally prestigious buildings.

Here are just two examples of prestigious buildings we have worked on and a brief project description:

The iconic Burj al Arab Dubai - The brief for Dunbar and Boardman was to assist with planning the space accommodation for the 18 elevators and 2 escalators. Our role included specification writing and contractor evaluation and the firm remained involved with the project from conception stage through to final commissioning.

The Bahrain World Trade Centre – Dunbar and Boardman were appointed to witness test and commission the work - Secalt fully powered BMU systems were specified by Atkins and these were to be installed in both towers. Following completion, we were awarded the contract to manage the site maintenance work.

Listed below are some more of the projects we have completed in the UAE and Gulf Region:

Jumeirah Beach Complex Dubai

Four Seasons Dubai

Damac Ocean Heights

Damac Signature Tower

Saraya Towers Abudhabi

Al Mafraq Hospital Abu Dhabi

Gate District Towers Abu Dhabi

King Abdullah Financial District, Riyadh

Al Madah Towers, Jeddah

Four Seasons Hotel, Bahrain

National Bank of Kuwait

Kuwait Investment Authority HQ
 

The full list of our projects in the region can be found here. Do you have a current or planned project in the UAE or other country in the Gulf Region? We would be happy to discuss any such requirements and how we may be able to assist. 

We are attending the ‘Fa├žades and Design Engineering - UAE Summit’ this week so this is a great opportunity for you to meet with us face to face if you are also attending the summit in Dubai. 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.



Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Curved escalators: Who made the first one?







Curved escalators exist now. They are still relatively rare and are often provoke wonder and awe when the general public first encounters them. Many are justifiably regarded as tourist attractions in their own right as they're often visually more appealing than linear escalators and perhaps more in keeping with the luxurious settings they often become part of. There are curved escalators in hotels, casinos and upscale shopping malls around the world. 

Curved escalators: How do they work? 


Curved or spiral escalators present new engineering challenges compared to linear escalators. They do take up less floor space but need to be assembled on site. Key challenges include the curvature of the steps and the returning steps back under escalator. One company has mastered this and refers to their pioneering technology but more on them shortly. 




Who built the first curved escalator?



In 1985 Mitsubishi Electric installed the world's first practical spiral escalator in Osaka, Japan and began building curved or spiral  escalators on a regular basis and it is they who dominate the curved  or spiral escalator market today however, it is not Mitsubishi who built the first curved escalator.



So who did? The first curved escalator was built by Jesse Wilford Reno in 1906 and installed briefly at Holloway Station on the London Underground.  Reno was the inventor of the escalator having built the first working escalator in New York’s Coney Island in 1891.  The curved escalator at Holloway Road was removed shortly after installation and never used by the public. The spiral escalator was not a successful experiment. The photograph below was taken before it was removed. 




From Reno until now.... 

There has been a lot of progress since Reno’s day and now curved escalators manufactured by Mitsubishi can be found 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 and The Forum Shops at Caesars in Las Vegas, Nevada.

In conclusion these machines can only be deployed it situations where money is no object as there are very costly when compared to conventional escalators in conjunction with ongoing maintenance and support over the life of the equipment.


What next?


In the UK, the Levytator was created in 2010 and launched with much publicity heralding it as the first free-form curved escalator. The Levytator is capable of following freeform curves, achieved by replacing the traditional rectangular steps with curved modules that also allows the modules to be placed in a continuous loop.

You can see a demonstration of the Levytator here.

Dunbar and Boardman is the lift, escalator and access equipment consultancy. Do you have a current or planned project that includes escalators? Curved or linear? We would be happy to discuss any such requirements and how we may be able to assist. 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.

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

What can we learn from the career of Elisha Otis?




The vertical transportation industry would not be what it is today without Elisha Graves Otis. Born in 1811 the youngest of six children to Stephen Otis and Phoebe Glynn in Halifax, Vermont. He is acknowledged as the creator of the industry because of his invention of the elevator ‘brake’ (safety gear) that prevented elevators from falling if the hoisting cable failed. This invention made high-rise buildings a practical reality and his sons, Charles and Norton, went on to build a company that became a global giant.

Early career
His career was very varied. He worked as a wagon driver, carpenter and owned a gristmill that he converted to a sawmill. He also worked as a builder of wagons and carriages and as a doll maker for Otis Tingely.

Persistence
Elisha was involved in many business ventures both as an employee and business owner and was dogged by uncertainty, financial insecurity and ill health and yet persisted with his inventions and tinkering.

Problems present opportunities
While working for Otis Tingely in Albany, New York he struggled to meet the daily quota of making twelve dolls per day. His response was to invent and patent a mechanical doll turner that enabled him to produce dolls four times faster - he could produce 50 per day. He was rewarded with a $500 bonus.

Failure was his best teacher
It was his failure at running his own sawmill due to an inability to attract enough customers that ultimately prepared him to capitalise on his greatest opportunity with the elevator brake. 

It’s never too late to make your mark
Elisha was 40 years old when he created the elevator brake while overseeing the conversion of a sawmill to a bedstead factory. He was clearing up debris by hand and wondering how to move debris to the upper levels of the factory. Hoisting platforms existed but were unreliable – is response was to invent the “safety elevator” with the elevator ‘brake’. He did not think enough of it to patent the invention initially. The elevator ‘brake’ was used successfully in the factory until the bedstead business failed.

Delight and amaze your customers
Many of the businesses that Elisha had been involved with had failed to attract enough customers. After the bedstead company failed he focused on his elevator brake invention and founded Union Elevator Works in 1852. There were no orders for his invention. His theatrical demonstration of the elevator brake at the 1854 New York World's Fair complete with axe man cutting the hoisting rope was a masterful act of showmanship. When the rope was cut the platform fell only a few inches because of the elevator brake / safety gear. This demonstration led to continuous orders from customers and laid the foundations for the vertical transportation industry.  After the World’s Fair Elisha changed the name of his company to The Otis Elevator Company.

Leave a legacy
Charles and Norton built on their father’s achievements after his death from diphtheria in 1861 and established the company as a global giant. They installed an elevator in Paris's Eiffel Tower in 1889 and another in the Washington Monument the following year. In 1913, the Otis Company installed an elevator inside the 60-storey Woolworth Building in New York City, at that time the world's tallest building.

What have we learned? With grit and determination driven by need we can succeed to break down social boundaries and perceptions.  

Dunbar and Boardman is the lift, escalator and access equipment consultancy. Do you have a current or planned project that includes elevators? We would be happy to discuss any such requirements and how we may be able to assist. 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.