Friday, 1 May 2015

Peter Boardman's May Update

We have welcomed Richard Booth to our Leeds team having recently joined from Schindler, we wish him well and look forward to his general contribution.

Ken Young is pinging back from retirement to help our Warrington team on a part time basis.  Ken retired 3 years ago and perhaps he is looking for another retirement party?

Grenville Brookfield and Jim Baynam have now retired and John Daniels will also retire at the end of May.  We are presently recruiting new people in London – so watch this space.

Recovering from the recession our business continues to grow year on year surpassing any pre-recession activity.  We are therefore confident about the future and look forward to continuing supporting our client base and team members.

- Peter Boardman

Thursday, 30 April 2015

What Does Destination Control look like in practice? 2 Examples

Regular readers of our blog will remember this post, What are the benefits of Destination Control? In this week’s post we have provided two examples of Destination Control one in the form of ‘before and after’ videos and the other in the form of a statistical comparison for a lift traffic simulation of a theoretical building with 10 floors above ground and served by a group of 5 lifts.

Please watch this video. The video is a great example of the impact a Destination Control system can have on passenger traffic.

Lift traffic analysis comparison of Destination Control with Conventional Collective Control.

The two sets of results on the PDF above are for a lift traffic simulation of a theoretical building with 10 floors above ground and served by a group of 5 lifts.

The first page of each set of results details the input data used and it can be seen that in both the values used are identical except for the passenger loading and unloading time.  These have been reduced in the Destination Control simulation to account for the fact that typically people waiting in the lobby will gather outside their assigned lift rather than waiting in the middle of the lobby with conventional control and when stopping on an upper floor a number of people will exit together.

The Passenger Demand graph shows the passenger demand profile and is the same as the classic office up-peak template described in CIBSE Guide D with a peak demand of 15%.

The key results graphs are the “Queue Length”, “Car Loading” and “Average Wait and Time to Destination".

The Queue Length graph shows that during the 5 minute period with peak passenger demand the queue length likely to be experienced with a Destination Control system would be significantly less than with a Conventional Collective Control system which is operating on the point of saturation.

The Car Loading graphs highlight that the Destination Control system manages the passengers in a more efficient manner thereby reducing the maximum number of people in each lift during the peak compared with the Conventional Collective Control where the lift cars fill to the maximum allowed.

The Average Wait and Time to Destination graphs show that for this example the use of Destination Control would result in an average wait and time to destination approximately half of that which could be achieved with Conventional Collective Control.

In summary, Destination Control lifts have the capacity to move more people in a given time period than those with Conventional Collective Control though in some situations the average waiting time may increase.

Dunbar and Boardman is the lift, escalator and access equipment consultancy. Are you currently planning a project that will involve Destination Control? 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 to start the conversation.

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Industry Pioneers: Professor Eric Laithwaite - The Father of Maglev

Eric Roberts Laithwaite was born in Atherton, Lancashire on 14 June 1921 and died in 1997. During the Second World War he served in the Royal Air Force and then afterwards studied electrical engineering at Manchester University. In 1964 he became professor of heavy electrical engineering at Imperial College, London and he retired from Imperial in 1986.  In 1990 he became visiting professor at Sussex University. During his career he authored many books and appeared on television many times.

What did he do? 

He was a British electrical engineer who went on create the first linear motor. He lodged his first patent for the design of the linear motor in 1956 and this was to become the major achievement of his career. A linear motor is a motor whose horizontal structure creates a magnetic field capable of propelling objects with friction free movement.  Friction free movement meant the potential for higher speed movement and lower maintenance costs albeit with high costs for the initial construction. He applied this to railway transportation and in the early 1970s, Laithwaite discovered a new arrangement of magnets, a Magnetic River that allowed a single linear motor to produce both lift and forward thrust. This meant that a magnetic levitation or ‘Maglev’ system could be built with a single set of magnets. The linear motor was perfectly suited for Maglev systems. You can watch a demonstration video from Eric Laithwaite here .

In the UK the first commercial Maglev people mover was simply called "Maglev” and officially opened in 1984 near Birmingham on an elevated 600-metre (2,000 ft) section of monorail track between Birmingham International Airport and Birmingham International railway station and travelled at speeds up to 26 mph.  

How does this relate to the Vertical Transportation industry?

Maglev became the basis of many high-speed train projects around the world most notably in Japan. Japan currently operates two independently developed maglev trains. One is HSST by Japan Airlines and the other is SCMaglev run by the Central Japan Railway Company.  Recently the vertical transportation industry has been considering how Maglev systems could be used to move elevators side to side in building as well as up and down as illustrated by the diagram of ThyssenKrupp’ s MULTI  elevator.

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 to start the conversation. We look forward to hearing from you.

Image credits:
Professor Eric Laithwaite – Imperial College, London
ThyssenKrupp’ s MULTI  - ThyssenKrupp

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Who built the world’s first underwater elevator?

For many people the words underwater elevator will conjure up images of one of James Bond’s adversaries, Karl Stromberg in The Spy Who Loved Me. He had many elevators in his Atlantis structure and sent his enemies to certain death via a trap door that dispatched them into a pool of sharks. Sharks can also be seen at the world’s first underwater elevator at The Deep in Hull, United Kingdom The Deep, an education and conservation charity is home to over 3,500 fish and other marine life and is one of Hull’s most popular tourist attractions. The Deep opened in 2002. As part of a five elevator contract Otis Elevator Company provided the vertical transportation including a glass elevator that rises up through the aquarium. 

Who designed it?

The elevator system was designed and incorporated into The Deep building by award-winning English architect Sir Terry Farrell.  At the time of its opening Farrell said of the project,  "Otis engineers did a fine job of creating this unique transportation system and the elevator journey is now part of the overall experience of visiting the submarium," said Farrell.

Didier Michaud who was then managing director of Otis United Kingdom, provided the Otis perspective when he said, "We were presented with a challenging opportunity of designing, developing and installing a vertical transportation system that allows visitors to view life under water," said. "It was an unusual request for which our engineers found the perfect solution."

How long did it take to install?

The custom-designed panoramic elevator, with a curved acrylic wall and bubble top, was installed in 18 weeks.

What is the technical specification?

The elevators travel up through a transparent tube for a distance of 10 metres or 33 feet. The elevator pauses halfway through to allowing passengers a 360-degree view of marine life that includes the aforementioned sharks, stingrays, moray eels and thousands of other species of sea life. The system has a load capacity of 1,350 kilograms (2,970 pounds) and travels at a comfortable 1.0 meter per second (200 feet per minute). Tourists enter the cab at bottom, or ground level, of the aquarium. 

Are there any similar structures?

In 2004, two years after the opening of The Deep a new Aquarium with an elevator was opened in Berlin, Germany. It was named the AquaDom.  The AquaDom is a 25 metres high tall cylindrical acrylic glass aquarium.

Are you planning any showpiece elevators (underwater or otherwise) as part of projects that you are working on? We would be happy to discuss with you. Dunbar and Boardman is the lift, escalator and access equipment consultancy. Give us a call on T +44 (0)20 7739 5093 or send us an email via  to start the conversation. We look forward to hearing from you.

Image Credits:

Children image – Image Credit - The Deep

AquaDom image  -

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

What was our project in Stephen’s Green Shopping Centre, Dublin City?

On the 8th November in 1988 Stephen’s Green Shopping Centre was opened. It is one of the first large shopping centres to be opened in Dublin City and is managed by Jones Lang LaSalle .  The shopping centre is located in the heart of the city between the Gaiety Theatre to the North and St Stephen’s Green to the East. Dunbar and Boardman were commissioned to replace Kone escalators that had been installed in the 1980s.

What was the biggest project challenge?

The biggest project challenge we faced was the logistical issues and there were many. First of all The Luas tramline and tiny one-way streets meant that removal of the old escalators and then delivery and installation of 2 new escalators at 5.88m rise was far from straightforward. Secondly the escalators were located on the top floor of a five storey functioning shopping centre. We had to either go through the glass roof overhead or down five floors of car park.

What was our solution?

The existing Kone escalators were one of the few remaining examples manufactured in their French factory in the late 1980s.  Since the time of their installation light-weight materials and space saving solutions have become commonplace. Dunbar and Boardman were commissioned to seek competitive tenders for a major modernisation or complete replacement. The installation in February 2015 was the culmination of 18 months of planning and consultation to ensure that we reached the most cost effective solution for the client and least disruptive site works for the public.  We chose the car park ramps as a route for removal and replacement.  The clear height on the car park ramps is only 2.05m.  The removal was undertaken over 2 nights, with the units being split into 4 sections to ensure the correct clearance.  They were taken down through the car park using the ramps in four sections, one at a time.

The 2 new Kone Travel Master escalators were delivered on the week beginning 9th February 2015, each in 4 sections, over 2 nights on 40 foot trucks.  They were unloaded and brought up the car park ramps and then raised into position and reassembled.  The team on site were Mulder Montage who undertook the removal and installation work, for Kone.  Light Speed technology has been specified on the escalators making them safer, these were the first escalators in Ireland with this feature.  The new escalators included variable frequency drive systems which will provide a significant saving to the client in terms of power consumption.  The whole programme from removal to testing took ~7 weeks, with little inconvenience to the Centre or members of the public.

What were the results?

The installation was a success and the new Kone escalators have improved the vertical transportation capabilities of the Shopping Centre in terms of volumes of passengers, passenger safety and energy efficiency.

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  to start the conversation. We look forward to hearing from you.

Image Credits: Stephens Green Shopping Centre
"Dublin-StephensGreen1" by mattbuck (category) - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons -
Escalators Image Credits: Dunbar and Boardman

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Spotlight on Innovation: What is Switchable Glass?

Switchable Glass is glass that can be turned from transparent to opaque at the flick of a switch. A company called Taliq founded in 1986 invented, patented and commercialised polymer dispersed liquid crystal (PDLC) window film technology. In 1988 this company changed its name to Citala Ltd. The company was founded by Ronen Lin in Tel Aviv. Ronen remains very much involved and is currently Chief Executive Officer and President. Citala Ltd is private company, headquartered in Israel with R&D and manufacturing in Sunnyvale, California and employs approximately 20 people. The company sells its products directly in North America, South America, Europe, Asia, and the Far East. Many companies around the world now produce switchable glass products.

How does Switchable Glass Work?

 Photo credit: Citala Ltd

In polymer dispersed liquid crystal devices (PDLCs), liquid crystals are dissolved or dispersed into a liquid polymer followed by solidification or curing of the polymer. Typically, the liquid mix of polymer and liquid crystals is placed between two layers of glass or plastic that include a thin layer of a transparent, conductive material followed by curing of the polymer, thereby forming the basic sandwich structure of the smart window. The smart window is then connected to electrodes and when a voltage is applied the window will change from opaque to transparent. The smart windows can also be created via other technologies – specifically Suspended Particle devices (SPDs), Electrochromic devices and Micro-blinds instead of PDLCs.

What are the Benefits of Switchable Glass?

- The benefits of switchable glass are as follows:

- Privacy control at the flick of a switch

- Smart glass can create climate adaptive building shells that can reduce costs for heating, air-conditioning and lighting

- No need for install and maintain light screens, curtains or blinds

- Smart glass blocks ultraviolet light (in most cases) and reduces fabric fading

How does this relate to the Vertical Transportation Industry?

Switchable glass can he applied to lifts, escalators or inclinators.  Technological advancements including self adhesive Smart Window Film means that it has become more affordable for both commercial and residential usage. Practical applications are for glass cars where a counterweight is passing at high speed or where passing through a dead zone or when travelling into the basement areas, again with glass cars.

Where has Switchable Glass be used?

Switchable glass has been used in the automotive, aircraft, marine and architectural industries. In architecture switchable glass technology has been applied to windows, skylights, doors and partitions.

Dunbar and Boardman keep a watching brief on technological advances within the vertical transportation industry to better serve our clients. Dunbar and Boardman is the lift, escalator and access equipment consultancy.

Do you have a current or planned project that would benefit from using Switchable Glass? 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 to start the conversation. We look forward to hearing from you.

Thursday, 5 March 2015

What was the biggest challenge with the Sowwah Square project in Abu Dhabi?

Sowwah Square, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates: Image credit: Viskotech 

Sowwah Square is the name of a recently constructed district in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates. The district is located in the centre of the island Sowwah, northeast of the current city centre of Abu Dhabi. This island is now known as Al Maryah Island. The Sowwah Square project, included four high-rise office towers (150 metres height) and also features the iconic new headquarters building (53 metres height) for the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange. The High Rise Towers are named Sowwah Square Tower 1, Tower 2, Tower 3 and Tower 4. Now that the area’s development is completed Sowwah Square comprises of 450,000 sqm office, retail and hotel space. Construction for Sowwah Square commenced in the summer of 2007 and completed in 2012.

What was the biggest project challenge?

When Dunbar and Boardman were commissioned to work on the project by Mubadala – Oger and the architects, Goettsch Partners we identified that the biggest challenge would be to hide the 10 Building Maintenance Units (BMU) necessary for the buildings. This was particularly challenging because of the lower parking area.  Additional challenges were presented by the restraint spacing for the towers’ adjustable cradles and the shutter door requirement over the Stock Exchange (low rise) building BMU.

What was the solution?

Dunbar and Boardman worked with XSPlatforms based in the Netherlands to deliver Façade Access and Maintenance (BMU) services that included the following stages:

Facade Access Concept Design Review
Facade Access Specifications Review
Tender Review and Analysis
Technical and Material Submittal Reviews
Shop drawings Reviews
Installation Reviews
Post  Construction Reviews

The technical solution comprised of ten fixed and movable telescopic roof cars supplied by XSPlatforms, Netherlands. The vertical telescopic machine base (for out-of-sight parking), 30-metre jib outreach, luffable jibs and telescopic cradles make this project special. For the headquarters building, there are two traversing telescopic roof cars with a reach of up to 38 metres.  All ten telescopic machines are provided with glass replacement units for lifting weights of up to 650 kg. Also, there are approximately 700 metres of monorail, including self hoisting suspended cradles and special trolleys, turntables to cover the internal side areas and the underside ceiling of the headquarters building.

What were the results?

BMU are performing efficiently and contributing to the positive impact the project has had as part of the urban framework plan, entitled Plan Abu Dhabi 2030.

Are you currently planning a project that will involve Façade Access and Maintenance? 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 to start the conversation. We look forward to hearing from you.