7th Symposium on Lift & Escalator Technologies

DateNovember-December, 2017 Dave Cooper Print

The seventh Symposium on Lift & Escalator Technologies in Northamptonshire, United Kingdom, was held on September 20-21, 2017. Over 125 participants from 16 different countries participated in the symposium.

I opened my report into the 2016 Symposium with “I know I sound like a cracked record but this event just gets better year by year!” You won’t be disappointed to hear that 2017 hit the mark in every way yet again. There were more delegates, a greater international presence and even more of a buzz in the air. This event now has to be regarded as the best educational symposium for the lift and escalator industry globally and it is so good to see it doing so well. I think the two key factors to its success are that it is incredibly good value and the quality of the papers is so high.

Delegates came from all around the globe with 16 different countries represented and over 125 in the audience. The Symposium is also supported by a small exhibition from the industry including components suppliers, control panel manufacturers and the University of Northampton itself.

John Sinclair, Associate Dean from the Faculty of Arts, Science and Technology (FAST) at the University of Northampton opened the event with Nick Mellor (Managing Director of LEIA). John expressed his delight that the CIBSE/UoN/LEIA partnership continued to work together to culminate in an internationally known event. Nick made a compelling introduction and referred to the possible impact that the Grenfell Tower fire might have on our industry going forward.

The first session was on Standards and was chaired by Dave Cooper. Rory Smith opened the session with a paper about EN81-77 and lifts subject to seismic conditions. This was followed by Dennis Major talking about EN81-20 and 50 being a key driver for the next innovation in the next generation of lifts. Adam Scott then entertained us with a very interesting talk about the new EN81-70 and the changes to the standard which will affect us all. In the future this is a paper that will need to be expanded as there is so much to cover. A change to the planned programme then followed with Roger Howkins very kindly stepping in to talk about lift modernisation challenges. In all the years I have known Roger he has always held a belief that standards and industry publications do not do the art of modernisation sufficient justice. (You can read the article of Roger Howkins in the Focus on Topic at page 82.)

As usual, the first session provided sufficient discussion points for a much-needed break! The delegates retired for coffee and conversation before the second session chaired by Adam Scott, Past Chairman of the CIBSE Lifts Group. Adam lost his record of opening the first session this year! Tradition was maintained though with the second session focused on Traffic. Four papers were presented covering departure delays, lift planning and selection graphs, creating passenger batches for simulation and the passenger transfer efficiency coefficient (PTEC) for double deck elevators. Four very good speakers in Stefan Gerstenmeyer, Mirko Ruokoski, Prof Lutfi Al-Sharif and Richard Peters. You may have noticed that I snuck a Prof in front of Lutfi’s name. Deliberate action on my part as he has been made a Visiting Professor at The University of Northampton and gave his inaugural lecture the evening before the Symposium. A very well-deserved appointment and I am sure we all congratulate Lutfi on this. He has, for many years, been one of the most entertaining speakers at our Symposiums.

Lunchtime! However, a far more important task before I could tuck into the excellent food provided by the Highgate House and probably the most stressful part of the Symposium for me. I was given the unenviable task of ensuring that Dr Barney turned up for the group photo! I am sure that others reading this report will realise that a Wandering Barney is quite a challenging situation to deal with.

After lunch the delegates returned to a session about Technology and Equipment. The session was chaired by Phil Hofer. Phil is based in the far east and is playing a vital role in our Hong Kong Symposium which is being held next May. Get it in your diary! Adrian Godwin opened the session with a paper on the future of vertical transportation for tall buildings. Adrian presented an early stage design of a possible solution which appeared to be based on a paternoster. Aleksey Gorilovsky followed with a paper entitled analysis of new lift topology with visual stimulation of passengers. We were then entertained by the most pragmatic paper of the whole event presented by Julia Munday. It could have been entitled “say it as you see it” but it wouldn’t have got past the scrutineers so “some thoughts on rope life” was a completely appropriate title!

After coffee we returned to the room for a session on seismic engineering. Completely appropriate given that within the preceding 24 hours earthquakes had been experienced in both Mexico and New Zealand. The session was chaired by Dr Barney and contained three fascinating papers by Asami Ishii, Stefan Kaczmarczyk and Hiroya Tanaka. We are truly fortunate that we do not experience the problems caused by earthquakes in the UK.

The final session of the day was chaired by Len Halsey and entitled “History”. Dave Cooper opened with a paper entitled the history of the safety gear from 1851 to the present day and posed some serious questions. Lee Gray then presented a paper on the history of lift traffic analysis 1890 to 1960. Lee had collaborated with the final speaker of the day, Gina Barney, who followed on with a history of traffic analysis from 1960. Gina ended her paper with a long list of acknowledgements backed by a song and dance video.

The room was then cleared to make way for the conference dinner. One of the reasons we keep going back to the same venue is the excellent food and service; and this year’s dinner did not disappoint. Then it was only a few steps to the bar, where the networking continued!

I think I can safely say that the first day was a huge success and that everyone went to the bar looking forward to day two!

The first of three sessions for the second day was chaired by Lutfi Al-Sharif and covered Energy & Engineering. This was a five-speaker session which included Jonas Missler covering control of actuators for cabin vibration damping of a rope free passenger transportation system. This was followed by Benjamin Watson who delivered a paper entitled “Lift Energy Efficiency Standards and Motor Efficiency”. Gabriela Roivainen followed with a very interesting paper about in car noise computation for a high-rise lift and Nishant Singh presented on an analysis of airflow effects in lift systems deployed in the modern built environment. The final paper of the session was entitled “Energy Saving Through the Application of Variable Speed Technology” and was delivered by Stephane Reau.

Coffee was, once again, gratefully received after which Benedikt Meier chaired a session on Education, Research and Learning. Thomas Ehrl presented a paper about the improvement of the learning environment in an international multicultural company and was followed by Undine Stricker-Berghoff who presented her paper entitled “Women in the Lift Industry in Europe”. The final presentation of the session was a workshop led by Rory Smith and Stefan Kaczmarczyk looking at a systems engineering approach to bridging the gap between the theory and industrial practice.

The final session of the two days was chaired by Lee Gray and was entitled “Safety”. This was a four-paper session which included a fascinating paper on buffer performance by Osamu Furuya. Michael Bottomley followed with a paper about the movement of hazardous substances in lifts which proved most useful. He was followed by Keisuke Minagawa with a paper about a health monitoring system for ropes an area where, in my opinion, our industry practices lag behind many other industries. This session also included a paper brought forward from the first day about why PESSRAL is not PESS presented by Tijmen Molema.

All in all another fantastic symposium which was well attended and well organised.

The 9th Symposium on Lift and Escalator Technologies will be held on 19th & 20th September 2018 at Highgate House and will be preceded by the 8th Symposium in Hong Kong on 15th May 2018 which will supplement the usual September event in Northampton. There are already a number of papers proposed!

If you would like to offer a paper for either of the 2018 events, please visit www.liftsymposium.org for more information. If you are interested in obtaining any of the papers from the past years of the Symposium, please also visit www.liftsymposium.org where they may be downloaded without charge. 🌐