ELA: lifts & escalators in smart cities

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“The urban population in 2014 accounted for 54% of the total global population, up from 34% in 1960, and continues to grow. The urban population growth, in absolute numbers, is concentrated in the less developed regions of the world. It is estimated that by 2017, even in less developed countries, a majority of people will be living in urban areas. Trends: the global urban population is expected to grow approximately 1.84% per year between 2015 and 2020, 1.63% per year between 2020 and 2025, and 1.44% per year between 2025 and 2030”. These are the data provided by the Global Health Observatory (GHO) World Health Organisation (WHO).
These data are the starting point of the European Lift Association (ELA) conference “Lifts & escalators in smart cities”, held in Rome on April 18th 2016.
In his opening statement, Jorge Ligüerre, president of ELA said: “Smart cities: in this respect, it is a great pleasure to welcome you in the marvellous city of Rome which has been a “smart city” for millennia and in many respects still is”. He then highlighted some the very important megatrends happening: urbanisation (in 2050, around 67% of the world population will live in cities); demographics (300 million of this increase come from those aged 65 or more); consumption (2.5 billion entering into Middle class to increase lift density); Internet of Things (4 billion connected people accelerating market change due to technology). “All these trends are expected to have very relevant and positive impacts on our industry” declared Ligüerre.

As urbanization is a global trend, then cities are destined to grow taller and taller. And cities will have to become smarter and smarter.
This was the starting point chosen by Dario Trabucco (IUAV University of Venice /CTBUH Research Manager) the keynote speaker (The future of elevators in the smart city) of the Rome event. “Every day, in the world, a ‘new’ Manhattan is built he said and in the 2000-2015 period, China’s built assets grew of 33$ trillions”. Then he draw a parallel between the evolution of technology and the growth of cities and skyscrapers. “In the past, it was not the lack of construction technologies to prevent the buildings to grow higher. It was the lack of elevatoring technology. Then, in the early 1880s, the elevator meets the steel frame, able to support the newly discovered territories without itself taking up space. Through the mutual reinforcement of these two breakthroughs, any given site can now be multiplied at infinitum to produce the proliferation of floor space called skyscraper”.
Then Trabucco pointed out at the fact that new technologies such as the ropeless lifts might revolutionise the skyscraper concept: not only a vertical construction, but a number of building interconnected, far above the ground, to ease circulation, to provide new architectural solutions and possibilities and to develop a new era for tall crowded cities. Lifts maybe shall not move only vertically as they do now, but also horizontally. It also might be that they will be integrated within more complex systems of mixed public/private transport in any direction. As the urban population will increase, many lifts shall be faster and larger, although comfortable and probably some of them shall travel like trains do in a single well.
Nowadays, on the global population of 7.3 billion, about 50% live in the urban habitat and by 2050, 66% to 70% of them will probably live in cities. This means that some 2.5 billion people will be living in urban habitats in the next 35 years.
Today about 1,000 cities have a population of more than 500.000 people each; together they have about 2 billion inhabitants, that is to say 27% of global population and 55% of urban population. Moreover, the rate of growth of the population of large cities is even higher than the one of general urban population.
“75 cities already have more than 5 million inhabitants each, 500 have more than 1 million. The average urban density in the world is 4.400 people/km2, that is to say 1.66 million km2 are already covered by urban space” said Giuseppe Iotti, secretary general of EFESME European Federation for Elevator Small and Medium-sized Enterprises, opening his presentation entitled “Smart SMEs in the Smart Cities Smart Elevator Systems in Smart Buildings”.
“Modern tall buildings, of course, are served by lifts and now, it may be assumed that more than one million lifts are serving those 235.000 tall buildings (around 6.5/7% of the total number of lifts in service in the world). In large cities, the infrastructures for transporting people and goods have a huge impact and costs (in terms also of energy and environmental effects). In part this is due to the vertical transport system he continued Of course, lifts have always been a means of transport of people and/or goods, but in many cases, there is still a sensation, or a fact, that this means of transport is something just private, in single private buildings. In the future smart cities, the lifts shall be something like a common integrated system of private/public means of transportation”.
Then, in his opinion, the best, or maybe the only way to waste less energy and to reduce the environmental impact of large cities and to make them smart, is to share as much information as possible. The more we know about the users of the system, the less useless travels the lift shall make. The more we communicate to the users and to the technical teams, the more we may save in terms of energy, time and money, making the vertical transportation system effective and reliable. “Some technological cooperation between the lift companies shall be a must concluded Iotti Lifting systems shall be reliable, simple to maintain and repair, user-friendly, ready to work in every condition, including emergency, which is a serious problem when the architecture of the city is mostly vertical”.

“How safe are you?”. This is the question asked by Carine Le Callonnec (convenor of the ELA Education & Training Working Group).
She provided a number of examples, deriving from worker’s bad behavior (in the installation phase or during maintenance) or human stupidity (such as kayaking down an escalator or riding on the top of as lift car). In both cases, she said that the solution depends on two different aspects. On one side there are European and national laws and standards (i.e. Lifts Directive, EN 81-20/50, SNELS, SNEE, EN 115 etc.). On the other side there are awareness (deriving from knowledge, routine information and understanding) and training (involving education, awards, and sanctions).
Le Callonec then presented what she defined the “holy book of safety”: a small guide, produced by ELA, describing the basic safety practices for lifts. The booklet is now available in Dutch, English, French, German, Polish and Swedish and will soon be available also in Czech, Italian, Norwegian, Portuguese and Turkish.
“From robust analysis and data derive safe practices. From safe practices derive appropriate regulations. From appropriate regulations derives safe behaviors”, she concluded.
Rafael Herrero Manrique (convenor of the ELA SNEE Working Group) gave a presentation on “Improving the safety on existing escalators”. His speech was based on the following key points: the information, the tool and the key. Information: is the starting point. Unfortunately, public registration are not always available, to answer the main questions about existing escalators: Who? Where? When? And what condition are they in?
The tool is the evolution of the safety norms for escalators: the new standard EN 115-2. It is aimed at checking the installations, to inform the owners and to inform the administration.The key is represented by the periodic inspections and by the role of the notified bodies and the administration. These two are in charge to register the lack of safety, to recommend improvements and to set a period of time to adapt to the norm.

Adrian Harris (general director, Orgalime) presented a paper on energy efficiency and environmental performance, seen as tomorrow’s challenge for the industry.
Orgalime is made up of 42 member associations, from 24 countries and representing €1,800 billion of annual output, and over 10.3 million people employed. The scope of the organization is to be the voice of the manufacturing industry at European level “to bring industry back to the forefront of policymaking”.
“There will be no future ecodesign measures without resource efficiency requirements (repairability, recyclability, ease of disassembly, recycled content, etc.). Orgalime’s view is that the Energy Efficiency Directive is a key tool for bringing ecodesign’s success to the systems levels in buildings, energy, transport and wider industry sector. A holistic approach is needed, linking this to market design reform and new renewable energy sources (RES) proposal he said The Directive on the energy performance of buildings, should probably undergo a full review to: strengthen renovation requirements of existing buildings and to introduce ‘smart readiness’ criteria. This will also be an opportunity to drive the “smart buildings” agenda and the “connected buildings” agenda (Internet of Things)”.
Dirk De Moor (member of the ELA Quality, Safety, Environment & Education Committee) gave a presentation on “The Lift industry and the EU energy efficiency legislation”. He said that the European energy efficiency legislation has different target groups and that it represents an opportunity for the lift industry. Regarding the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD 2010/31/EU) he said that: 1) the EU should develop harmonized calculation tools for products like lifts; 2) the guidance on nearly zero energy buildings should include information on lifts; 3) the energy efficiency improvement requested when changes to the lift are made to for example improve safety; 4) the minimum energy efficiency requirements for lifts in EU should be considered more often.
But in the end, he added that the Product Category Rules for lifts can support the EPBD process but are rather costly. About the Ecodesign Framework Directive (2009/125/EC), De Moor stated that possible advantages might derive from having similar requirements all over Europe for placing new lifts on the market and from having a clear cut-off point for less energy-efficient lifts, that cannot be sold anymore. He then briefly described EN ISO 25745-2 Energy performance of lifts, escalators and moving walks Part 2: Energy calculation and classification for lifts.
Martin Blumberg (vice president Sustainable Building and Construction Thinkstep AG) introduced the concept of “Life Cycle Analysis and environmental performance declarations for lifts”. He presented the “Product Environmental Platform (PEP) for lift project”. The idea is based on the growing interest for energy efficiency, health & safety and environmental impact of buildings. The scope is to empower the lift industry (lift manufacturers, component suppliers) to satisfy the increasing market demand for life cycle based energy and environmental product information.

The PEP lift project is based on four main points:

  • internet based access to a database for manufacturers of lifts and lift components, containing up-to-date life cycle inventory data for raw materials, intermediates and manufacturing processes, enabling cradle to grave life cycle analysis for any kind of lift products and lift components;
  • easy calculation of LCAs for complete lift models and/or individual lift components based on specific Bill of Materials (BOM) in compliance with relevant norms and standards (e.g. ISO 14040/44, PCR for Lifts) in a secure/confidential environment;
  • automatic generation of product specific LCA-reports as the basis for the development of Environmental Product Declarations (EPD) in compliance with ISO 14025, EN 15804;
  • Material Compliance Application (optional).
Product environmental platform (PEP) e ascensori
Legislazione UE sill’efficienza energetica e ascensori

Esfandiar Gharibaan (chairman CEN TC 10 Lifts, escalators and moving walks) made the point on the status of European standardization for lifts.
EN 81-20/50 has been published and made available by CEN on August 6th 2014. The withdrawal of EN 81-1/2 will be on August 31st 2017, and will no longer be harmonized and only EN 81-20/50 will remain harmonized.
The preparation for the first amendment of EN 81-20/50 is based on the comments received during the public enquiry, and the possible main amendment items are: review of well access procedures; alternative means of suspension, automatic rescue devices and vertical bi-parting doors. The designs based on EN 81-20/50:2014 will remain valid. The preliminary timetable is as follows: completion of the draft amendment September 2017; public enquiry to be launched June 2018; expected publication May 2020.
Gharibaan said that prEN 81-42 (Appliances for lifting persons, with speed 0,15m/s) is expected to be published by the end of 2017 and works on prEN 81-44 (Lifts in wind turbines) started in January this year.
He concluded announcing that ISO/TC 178 is in process of adopting EN 81-20/50 with the identical technical requirements and format, to become EN ISO in the future and to provide the global basis for harmonizing national standards around the world (expected adoption December 2017
EN ISO standards: December 2020).
Christian de Mas Latrie (chairman, ELA Codes & Standards Committee) presented a paper on the readiness to start implementing the Lifts Directive 2014/33/EU. “April 20th 2016 opens a new era for the lift industry” he declared.
But what is the transposition status in EU today? By April 18th 2016, twelve countries already transposed the New Lifts Directive into their local law (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Lithuania, Malta, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland and the Netherlands).
Some others started, or have the draft available or are circulating it (Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Latvia, Luxembourg, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Turkey and United Kingdom). No start or no information: Cyprus, Hungary, Norway and Romania.
“If the transposition is not published in your country, then the LD is probably not applicable. The national regulations remain applicable until the new transposition, but in the spirit of the new Directive for the essential safety requirements and safety components. Then which essential safety requirements (ESRs) should be met? The ones of the existing national regulations” said de Mas Latrie.

Il piano di lavoro del CEN/TC 10

The Rome congress conclusions were drawn by Roberto Zappa, vicepresident of ELA and president of AssoAscensori: “The lift sector is one of the most regulated in Italy. The first Italian legislation dates back to 1945. Still, Italy has not yet implemented the Recommendation
95/216/EC and has not adopted any legislation for the improvement of lift safety. Moreover, Italy has not implemented the LD yet. The Government was initially engaged in increasing safety of existing lifts, but a lobbying action and media campaign put the decree in stand-by. This in spite of the fact that we have some 700,000 lift installed before 1999”.
The ELA Award 2016 went to Italian AssoAscensori, in recognition of the cooperation agreements the association signed with two other lift industry organizations: ANACAM (Italian association of lift installation and maintenance companies) and ANICA (Italian association of lift component manufactures). Such agreements also led to a cooperation at European level with EFESME (European Federation of Small and Medium Enterprises).
“We are particularly proud for this award! said Zappa I would like to dedicate it to all our member companies facing the day-by-day struggle to provide lift safety and innovative products”.


By Fabio Liberali