Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Spotlight on Innovation: What is Switchable Glass?

http://www.beamingsuccess.com/images/diffused-glass-IMG.jpg

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 peterboardman@dunbarboardman.com 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 peterboardman@dunbarboardman.com to start the conversation. We look forward to hearing from you.




Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Innovation: What is special about the lifts at the QT hotel in Sydney?


At Dunbar and Boardman we keep a watching brief on innovation within the vertical transportation industry and bring it to your attention. In 2013 new technology was installed into the 5 Otis traction lifts at the QT hotel in Sydney located in the historic Gowings Building. The new technology created interactive installations and was the work of a company called Alchemy.This technology enables the lift to change music dependent upon who’s inside much to the amusement of passengers riding the lift. The interactive installations have cemented the hotel’s quirkiness and have been largely well received.

How Do the Interactive Installations Work?

The hotel’s lifts have heat sensors that detect how many people are in them. Fewer people will generate slower music and more people equals party music. Specifically if the lift senses that travelling alone, it plays songs like Elvis's "Are You Lonely Tonight?" or Eric Carmen's "All by Myself." Should another person hop on the lift, the music will adjust to different tunes, including "Just the Two of Us" by Bill Withers and "You've Got a Friend" by James Taylor. Get four people in the elevator and it's fiesta hour: everything from Prince's "1999" to Lady Gaga's "Just Dance" will get the party started. It is worth pointing out that interactive music installations can be muted. In addition to the music the lifts also feature the digital art installations of Daniel Boyd, which combine elements of indigenous Aboriginal art with the European artistic traditions.


What are the Benefits of these Interactive Installations?

The QT hotel has been able to generate a lot of publicity related to their unique lifts and anecdotal evidence indicates that some people are visiting specifically to ride in the lifts.

You can see the lifts in action ‘here’.


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 an interactive installation? 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.


Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Is the concept of lifts that move sideways a new idea?



At the end of November 2014 ThyssenKrupp announced that they had invented a new cable-free elevator system that can move cabins horizontally as well as vertically using magnetic force. This announcement generated a lot of mainstream press coverage at the time with lots of comparisons made with Willy Wonka ‘s lifts in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. ThyssenKrupp ‘s MULTI system makes it possible to have several elevator cabins in a single shaft, achieving a long-pursued dream of the ultimate in shaft efficiency and a rope-less elevator system. According to the company this could increase passenger capacity by up to 50%. Is this a new idea? Dunbar and Boardman have been working in the vertical transportation industry since 1981 and our consultants and engineers made the following observations during a discussion on sideways lifts.

“In 2010 the ThyssenKrupp Elevator twin system became accepted and now in 2015 the concept promoted by ThyssenKrupp to move elevators up and sideways and potentially horizontally through high rise conduits either at high level or buried within the ground; transferring lift cabins to other buildings, could become a practical reality in the not too distant future.

There are practical challenges as indicated by my colleagues’ comments below but nonetheless these challenges create opportunities for design teams.

As a final comment, it’s interesting that some of the resistance to these changes often come from the people employed within the specialist industries rather than the Client bodies or Client advisors who are often more willing to embrace the future." 

Peter Boardman, Dunbar and Boardman, Managing Director

“This isn't new.  Otis was doing this around 20 years ago with the Oddessy system.” Click ‘here’ to read an article describing a similar product announcement from Otis in 1997.

“A few years ago some of us (D&B staff) saw a lift installed by ThyssenKrupp that crossed a road in Germany above car traffic. The problem is that standing people fall off balance when moved sideways so travel speeds need to be very slow to maintain safety.”

Gary Avis, Dunbar and Boardman, Regional Director

“This idea has been around for many years with the aim being to enable taller buildings without the need for lifts with ropes or for architects to have a free hand in building designs. This could lead to more circular building designs.

The technology proposed to achieve sideways movement has been based on either electro-magnets or linear drives.

It was the introduction of The Paternoster, in the 1860s that the idea of sideways movement was given more consideration. Paternosters were very popular in the first half of the twentieth century.”

Paul Dodd, Dunbar and Boardman, Consultant Engineer

“There are several (sideways lifts) installed at Heathrow Airport at the container (baggage boxes) depot. We carried out a review and report on them around 5 or 6 years ago. If I recall correctly they are a German engineered product.”

John Carrington, Dunbar and Boardman, Consultant Engineer

Are you planning a vertical transportation project including sideways or vertical lifts? Dunbar and Boardman is the lift, escalator and access equipment consultancy. 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.

Image credit: http://cdni.wired.co.uk/1240x826/w_z/wonkavator.jpg

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

What is Dunbar and Boardman’s Expert Witness experience?


Dunbar & Boardman Engineers undertake Expert Witness, investigative and advisory assignments in a wide range of industry related areas including: Prosecution and Defence Expert in criminal prosecutions; Coroner’s Expert; Claimant, Defendant and Court Appointed Single Joint Expert in civil cases; Construction Contract Adjudication; Arbitration; Mediation; Expert Determination; and dispute resolution negotiations.

Particular areas of experience and expertise include:

• Equipment generated noise disputes
• Dilapidations and lease disputes under the Landlord & Tenant Act, Service Charge and maintenance contracts, including aspects of liability and quantum;
• Equipment design and regulatory, technical and Specification compliance assessment;

• Contract claims arising under Standard Forms of Contract and LEIA Terms of Contract;
• Lifts and Machinery Regulations compliance;
• Assessment of the suitability and sufficiency of risk assessments;
• Issues relating to the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations;
• LOLER and PUWER Regulations;
• Occupiers’ Liability Act.

Examples of recent appointments include:

Defence Expert, in a case described to be of national importance, relating to a fall from an escalator. The case involved the fall of a youth who was riding upon an escalator handrail. At first instance the Defendant was convicted of an alleged breach of the HSWA. The prosecution was dropped at retrial. The Dunbar & Boardman Engineer advised on matters relating to regulatory compliance under the Machinery Regulations, EN115 Standards, UK HSE Guidance and industry practice.

Defence Expert in a personal injury claim in the High Court. The case related to an alleged uncontrolled descent of a lift car which arose during emergency hand winding undertaken by the Defendant’s personnel. The Dunbar & Boardman Engineer established that the descent of the lift car did not arise as a result of the actions of the Defendant’s person el and that the speed of the descent was not excessive as was alleged. The claim was subsequently settled by way of negotiation. The Dunbar & Boardman Engineer advised on causation and equipment condition, together with matters of regulatory compliance, historical BS2655 Standards, LOLER and HSE Guidance.

Defendant Expert in a commercial case relating to a Retention of Title Clause and LEIA Terms and Conditions of Contract. The Defendant recovered a significant sum by way of counterclaim against a lift contractor. The Dunbar & Boardman Engineer advised on maintenance history, equipment condition and liability together with a detailed assessment of quantum and negotiations with the Claimant Expert.  

Court Appointed Single Joint Expert in a commercial dispute between a lift contractor and sub-contractor relating to fit out works to lift car interiors, including elements of liability at individual component level, and quantum. The Dunbar & Boardman Engineer provided advice in relation to compliance with the specifications and contracts, including component design and manufacture and a detailed assessment of quantum.

Client Expert in an investigation into an escalator step pile-up affecting a shopping centre escalator, which gave rise to significant damage and possible financial loss to the centre. The Dunbar & Boardman Engineer undertook a detailed inspection of the escalator equipment, an analysis of reports provided by other Experts, and advised on causation and equipment condition, together with matters of regulatory compliance.

Do you need Dunbar and Boardman to act as an Expert Witness? Dunbar and Boardman is the lift, escalator and access equipment consultancy. We would be happy to discuss any such requirements and how we may be able to assist with regard to Expert Witness. 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.


Photo credit: http://www.flac.uk.com

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

What was different about the HKSB building designed by Lord Foster?

The Hong Kong & Shanghai Banking Corporation building (HK) was completed in 1986, designed by the renowned architect, Lord Norman Foster of Foster and Partners based in Britain. It is the fourth HSBC building on the same site in Statue Square, Hong Kong. In many ways the Willis Faber and Dumas Headquarters in Ipswich completed in 1974 represented a dry run for Foster and the Hong Kong & Shanghai Banking Corporation building cemented Foster’s reputation for high tech architectural design.

There are many unusual aspects to the design and construction of this 47 floor skyscraper building, from following Feng Shui principles, the use of sunlight as the principle source of light, the use of seawater rather than fresh water in the air conditioning, the modular steel sections fabricated in the UK and shipped all the way to Hong Kong, and the use of escalators rather than elevators as the principle method of moving people around the building - the elevators only stop every few floors. Specifically the vertical transportation concept was to have elevators serving every eight floors skipping the intermediate floors with escalators linking the intermediate floors.

In fact, the deliberate use of escalators and elevators in this building gives a fascinating insight into the principles behind the design.

Firstly, the building has been planned as five distinct structural zones, stacked vertically. As well as being assembled as separate sections, these zones are functionally separate, housing subsets of the Bank’s operations. The twenty-three high speed elevators, located on the West of the building, deliver staff and members of the public to the double height truss, or structural transfer, levels. These double height levels incorporate reception areas, fire refuge terraces, dining and recreation areas as well as conference rooms for each bank area.

The decision was made that within each structural zone, clients and staff would circulate by escalators moving up and down between the floors. There are a total of sixty of these escalators in the building, planned to allow a more sociable method of moving around within the "social village" of each part of the Bank.


Another interesting design aspect is the visibility of the elevators and escalators. We are now familiar with glass elevator shafts, but Norman Foster, who also designed the Hearst Tower in New York City and the Millennium Bridge in London, went one step further in his design for this building. Not only are the elevator shafts glass, so that you can see the movement of the elevators through the building, but even the floor has been removed from the elevator core, so that you can stand beneath and view the lifts rising and dropping through the building. In addition, the undercarriage of each escalator is glass, revealing the intricacies of the machinery within to those working beneath.

It was said that the elevators represented Chinese lanterns when illuminated at night.

On the ground floor a large public plaza sits almost empty. Eight steel masts are visible, carrying the entire weight and wind-load of the superstructure down through the four basement levels to the bedrock. The only other interruption in the expanse of the plaza is the presence of two angled escalators leading up into the curved ceiling and to the banking floor above. These escalators, and this expanse of plaza are all located and positioned according to the underlying principles of Feng Shui, a discipline that is clearly evident throughout the design of this building, even including the importance of an uninterrupted view to Hong Kong Harbour and concrete canons to deflect bad energy from other buildings.

Dunbar and Boardman conducted a peer review of the HKSB building with Pell Frischmann in 1983.

Are you planning a vertical transportation project? Dunbar and Boardman is the lift, escalator and access equipment consultancy. 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.
Photo credit - http://www.fosterandpartners.com/projects/hongkong-and-shanghai-bank-headquarters/


Thursday, 15 January 2015

Five of the world’s most Impressive Escalators

The vertical transportation industry has changed massively since the 1850s, as you would expect. Here at Dunbar and Boardman we are sure that both Elisha Otis and Nathan Ames would be genuinely amazed at the type of elevators and escalators that exist today. To read more about Elisha Otis click here. The name of Nathan Ames is not as well known as Elisha Otis. It was Ames who invented something he called Revolving Stairs and who has become enshrined in history with his US patent number 25,076 – generally acknowledged as the world's first escalator. Following our last post devoted to amazing elevators this time we have chosen to focus on five of the world’s most impressive escalators.

We would love to hear about your personal favourites, please feel free to comment at the bottom of this post or tweet us your thoughts via https://twitter.com/DunbarBoardman

1.  CNN Center's atrium escalator in Atlanta, Georgia



















CNN Center's atrium in Atlanta Georgia (USA) has the longest freestanding escalator in the world. It travels the distance of 62 meters equivalent to 8 stories. This escalator is supported only at both ends. Originally built for a theme park, it now transports visitors for CNN studio tours.

2. Central Mid Levels Escalator, Hong Kong

























The longest covered outdoor escalator system in the world is in Hong Kong where the 800 metres long escalator rises 135 metres. It takes 20 minutes to ride the entire length of this escalator, but travellers can stop off at places like the traditional Hong Kong Central Market. Another stop offers a visit to antique shops. This system is comprised of 20 escalators and 3 moving walkways with footbridges 14 entrances and exits. This escalator is known as the Central-Mid-Level escalator system and it is located in one of Hong Kong's trendiest residential areas. 

3. Outdoor escalator in Medellin, Columbia


















A huge outdoor escalator has been built in one of the poorest areas of Columbia's second largest city. The escalator replaces hundreds of steps equivalent to climbing a 28 story building. This escalator is over 1,200 feet long with several stops where people living on the hillside have access to it. This giant escalator reduced the journey from 35 minutes to 6 minutes and saved a lot of energy and stress. This is a marvellous enhancement for the lives of the poor people that use this system.

4. The Haulien Farglory Ocean Park, Taiwan



















The Haulien Farglory ocean park in Taiwan has an amazing escalator. This escalator travels through the main aquarium on an undulating escalator that is airtight while sharks and other creatures of the sea swim nearby. This escalator is staggered so that passengers can go to the bottom of the aquarium on stairs and climb back up to the escalator.

5.  Saint Petersburg Metro - Moscow, Russia


















The longest individual escalators in the world are in the underground stations of the Saint Petersburg Metro. Three stations: Ploshchad Lenina, Chernyshevskaya, and Admiralteyskaya have escalators up to 137 metres long and 68.5 metres high.

If you have enjoyed this post you might also like Curved escalators: Who made the first one?

Are you planning a vertical transportation project including escalators?  Dunbar and Boardman is the lift, escalator and access equipment consultancy. 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.
Photo credit - http://19cities.blogspot.co.uk/2010/12/atlanta-visiting-city-center.html
Photo credit: http://www.nbcnews.com/news/latin-america/medellins-comuna-13-shows-murals-ahead-world-urban-forum-n69986 
Photo credit: http://www.tripadvisor.com/LocationPhotoDirectLink-g297907-d1815413-i41536484-Farglory_Ocean_Park-Hualien.html
Photo credit: http://www.saint-petersburg.com/images/transport/metro/metro5-in-st-petersburg.jpg