With sustainability becoming a prerequisite for successful urbanisation, the industry is optimistic about the long-term growth of green elevators and escalators in India.
According to World Urbanization Prospects 2014 Revision, a report by the UN´s Population Division, the largest global urban growth will take place in India, China and Nigeria. About 10 million people are moving to Indian cities every year, and urban areas are expected to contribute 70-75 per cent to the nation´s GDP by 2025. Along with real estate, infrastructure projects constitute another prominent area of development. However, the market for elevators and escalators is mainly driven by the residential segment and activities in Tier-II and Tier-III cities.
´It is likely to get even stronger with the focus on initiatives like´Housing for All´ and smart cities,´ says Antony Parokaran, CEO, Schindler India. Schindler has been a partner in several prestigious ventures such as the new Mumbai International Airport T2 terminal, Chennai and Kolkata airports, and Mumbai and Bengaluru metros. ´India is the second-largest elevator market after China, with more than 52,000 elevators being sold every year,´ he adds. ´The current growth rate of the elevator and escalator market is up to 10 per cent.´
Elevators: In demand
In recent times, the elevator has evolved from being a luxury product for the elite, to a more efficient means of moving the general public. As Rajnish Ramu, Vice President-Marketing, thyssenkrupp Elevator (India) Pvt Ltd, says, ´Safety and energy-efficiency have taken centre-stage. There is a growing demand for high-speed, high-capacity elevators that can carry many passengers at once, safely and comfortably, particularly in high-rise office buildings, commercial complexes, and other large-scale facilities.´ Agreeing that urban growth will fuel smart and efficient technologies, Sebi Joseph, President, Otis Elevator Company, shares, ´Otis´ flagship technology, the Gen2™, caters to the need for sustainable and smart vertical transportation.´
Schindler India´s offerings range from cost-effective solutions for low-rise residential buildings to sophisticated access and transport management concepts for multifunctional high-rise buildings. Parokaran tells us that manual door elevators, once a major part of India´s elevator market, are on the decline, thanks to growing awareness about the safety and energy-efficiency of auto-door elevators. ´Schindler is playing a major role in this shift by offering its range of auto-door elevators, where safety features such as infra-red door protection, automatic rescue device and two-hour, fire-rated landing doors are standard,´ he says. ´Customers increasingly prefer gearless and machine-room-less elevators. This offers them more flexibility to design the building, and save the time and cost required to build the machine room.´ One more trend is to install a destination dispatch control system for smart and efficient people movement.
With super-high-rise buildings in cities, demand for ultra-high-speed lifts is increasing. ´Travelling more than 500 m, or 100-odd floors in a continuous elevator trip is challenging,´ says Amit Gossain, Managing Director, KONE India. KONE UltraRope enables travel all the way from the ground floor to the penthouse in a kilometre-high building, in one continuous journey.
Meanwhile, Parokaran updates that Schindler is associated with the tallest residential building in the world - The World Towers in Mumbai - that will be equipped with its high-speed elevators (S7000), some running at a speed of 8 m per sec, the fastest in India.
An independent traffic study based on estimated building population is required to determine elevator speed.
Amit Maitra, Managing Director, Lerch Bates, explains: ´In this computerised analysis or simulation, the quality of service (lift speed) and quantity of service (handling capacity) are determined, based on traffic patterns and laid-down design criteria. Both parameters are reviewed to determine the appropriate number of lifts for a particular type of building, including the lift car capacity and appropriate lift speed. Indian standards also give general guidelines on suggested lift speeds.´
The escalating market
The current estimated market for escalators is between 2,500-3,000 units per year and is expected to grow further. As per market estimates, the demand for escalators is growing at a faster pace. Reasons for the growth, according to Ramu, are ´Increased migration to urban areas, the rise in aged population and disposable income, and increase in commercial space such as office, retail, and hospitality´. And Maitra says, ´Expansion and development of airports across India, development of metro rail and other infrastructure-related projects and new shopping malls and multiplexes are among the key drivers for growth in the escalator market.´ Gossain adds mixed-use development to the list, highlighting Delhi Metro Rail Corporation as a notable project won by the company.
Sustainable development is becoming a prerequisite for successful urbanisation. ´We order lifts that have gearless permanent magnet motors, known to be energy-efficient,´ says Shabbir Kanchwala, Senior Vice President, K Raheja Corp. And, Sudarshana Gangulee, Sr General Manager-Marketing, Mani Group, says, ´Modern elevators come with regenerative and VVVF drives that are more energy-efficient while travelling at no load condition.´
´Buildings consume 40 per cent of the world´s energy, and elevators can account for up to 10 per cent of a building´s energy needs,´ says Gossain. ´Hence, selecting an energy-efficient elevator or escalator makes a difference.´ KONE has reduced the energy consumption of its volume elevators over 70 per cent from 2008 to 2012 and is the first company to receive A-class certification. He adds, ´Our people-flow intelligence solutions and destination control systems can be adapted to changing needs to enable efficient building management.´
Otis´ Gen2 range is geared towards efficiency while providing sustainability. As Joseph shares, ´The coated steel belt, ReGen™ drive, permanent magnet machine and Otis´ PULSE™ system, when combined, increase the life, efficiency, safety and reliability of the elevator.´ The company has sold nearly 500,000 Gen2 elevators worldwide since its launch, and the company´s Gen™ Equipment and ReGen™ Drive technology support green buildings.
Schindler is a pioneer in applying sustainable technologies to mobility solutions. ´The company uses materials with lower environmental impact that can be disposed in an ecologically sound manner. The development of lighter components has resulted in further energy savings,´ says Parokaran. The company´s machine-room-less and gearless elevators - Schindler 3100IN and Schindler 3300IN - offer greater design flexibility and save costs and time. The recently launched Schindler 5500 combines performance, flexibility and design to fulfil the needs of commercial, mid and high-end residential buildings.
´Energy-saving features are now becoming a must for lifts in all buildings,´ says Maitra. He highlights key features such as variable voltage frequency drives, often with regeneration feature for high-speed lifts, permanent magnet motors in drive machines; use of LED signals in the car and landing fixtures, etc. As for escalators, you have the stop-start feature where they run at a slower speed when there is no traffic and go back to normal contract speed once a user steps onto them.
With the escalators and elevators market slated to grow; vendors are gearing up. ´Incremental value-adds, modifications, material usage and use of new technology can create a lot of benefit to the customer,´ says Gossain. ´We were the pioneers for gearless technology and launched the KONE MonoSpace, 20 years ago.´ These elevators with the KONE EcoDisc hoisting machine consume 50-70 per cent less energy than a traditional hydraulic elevator. Also, the KONE InnoTrack™ autowalk is so flat that it can be installed at floor level.
And, the KONE Polaris Destination Control System registers additional information such as the desired destination floors. While the KONE JumpLift System was developed to improve efficiency and safety of building construction, KONE Ultrarope and people-flow intelligence solutions have been new technology additions. Otis has expanded its Bengaluru manufacturing facility by tripling the size of its footprint and doubling manufacturing capacity. ´We recently launched Gen2 Infinity, built on Otis´ flagship Gen2 technology platform,´ says Joseph.
thyssenkrupp Elevator offers tailored solutions for developing urban areas. ´We are focused on localising our products and services, and have proven experience in India,´ says Ramu. The company´s upcoming multipurpose facility in Chakan, Pune, is another step to this end. It will house a factory, training academy and product development centre with an initial capacity of 6,000 units per year, which shall be scaled-up to 10,000. Also, thyssenkrupp has introduced innovations such as MULTI and TWIN. Of this, MULTI is the world´s first rope-free elevator system; the first unit will be in tests by 2016.
For his part, Parokaran affirms, ´Schindler will continue to develop highly innovative and user-friendly mobility solutions to move India, safely and reliably, in the future.´ That confidence is shared by major players in a market that is sure to rise rapidly.
When the consultant steps in!
Amit Maitra, Managing Director, Lerch Bates, elaborates on the increasing role of vertical transportation (VT) consultants in helping developers make the right decision. As buildings get taller, they tend to become more complex in terms of both design and end usage. Ultimately, it is in the end-user´s best interests to engage an vertical transportation (VT) consultant right at the concept stage, so the elevator system is user-friendly and cost-effective. The role of a VT consultant is to offer advice in an open, fair and transparent manner to add value at every stage of the building development such as:
Designing and recommending the best lift system in terms of space requirements and costs, which will lead to significant savings overall later. Consultants also provide a non-biased professional opinion as against a vendor´s´push´.
Providing technical specifications that enable a transparent process allowing the maximum number of bidders. The consultant´s experience and expertise can leverage and obtain the requisite specifications at the best possible price.
Rendering project management skills in the execution phase, which ensures timely installation using the correct tools and work processes, along with ongoing in-process installation audits, thereby eliminating poor quality workmanship and non-compliant equipment used in the project.
The services of VT consultants have also been used to upgrade lifts in older buildings. Their expertise can bring up front, a major performance improvement in VT systems, clearly highlighting the differences and expectations from an upgrade to an existing system, or replacing it fully with a newer technology product, often at a cheaper cost. They can play a major role in monitoring the quality of maintenance services provided to users. They can educate users and be part of´code committees´ to raise the bar on existing codes, primarily for safety aspects. They also play a stellar role in making the market more competitive by assisting new VT vendors to establish operations in the country.
VT vendors maintain close contact with consultants and periodically update them on new product developments and features.
Indeed, the fees of VT consultants can be recovered many times over through the cost savings and value additions imparted in a project. Ultimately, a professional VT consultant works at raising the bar in terms of product and service standards to benefit developers, architects, the industry and end-users.
Elevator: Buyers´ choice
When it comes to selecting from this competitive market, buyers know exactly what they want!
Shabbir Kanchwala, Senior Vice President, K Raheja Corp, shares, ´For commercial projects with a higher passenger volume, our elevators are heavy duty of 1,350 kg and above. These elevators are high speed and fitted with the latest modern safety features along with good interiors and cabin finishes.´
´We look at specific features in the elevator that are commensurate with luxury buildings,´ says Sudarshana Gangulee, Sr General Manager-Marketing, Mani Group, which offers projects in the high-end luxury towers segments such as Vivara and The 42. ´These include optimal speed, energy-efficiency, adequate capacity, soothing interiors, access control features, WiFi connectivity, CCTV surveillance hook-up, braille provision and BGM.´
Servicing with complete support
Leadership through customer service is the cornerstone of Schindler India´s growth strategy. As Antony Parokaran, CEO, Schindler India, puts it, ´The company has achieved its objective by understanding the needs of customers and being responsive to them. We do our best to ensure effective project management and delivery on time. Our three training centres, in Noida, Bengaluru and Mumbai respectively, ensure that every Schindler fitter and service technician is trained and certified to work on our equipment.´
Schindler is the first in the industry to fully integrate its service tools into one seamless SAP platform. With this, the company makes dynamic, real-time adjustments, resulting in improved consistency, reliability and response time. Parokaran adds, ´Our service technicians are equipped with iPhones, which act as hand-held,´field-link´ devices, and enable them to identify and prioritise the service needs of our customers, and resolve them promptly.´
- SHRIYAL SETHUMADHAVAN
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