4th Symposium on Lift and Escalator Technologies

25-26 September 2014

Take 106 delegates from all sectors of the industry and combine that with a superb conference hotel and 23 separate speakers and you get yet another brilliant Annual Lift & Escalator Symposium organised jointly by the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE) Lifts Group and the University of Northampton.

The 2014 event was the 4th year that this highly successful Symposium has been organised and bodes well for the already booked 2015 event.

Delegates from all around the globe, as far afield as the USA, Germany, Singapore, Netherlands, Spain, Italy, Malaysia, Switzerland, Finland, China, Malta, UAE and Australia topped up the extensive contingent from the UK.

John Sinclair, Dean of the School of Science and Technology at the University of Northampton opened the event and expressed his delight that the CIBSE/UoN partnership continued to work together to culminate in an internationally known event.

The first session on control systems was chaired by Adam Scott, past chairman of the CIBSE Lifts Group. Dr Lutfi Al-Sharif opened with a fascinating presentation about an algorithm for assessing the effectiveness of up peak control algorithms. He was followed by Stefan Gerstenmeyer who delivered a paper about reverse journeys and destination control. Debate followed this paper as to whether reverse journeys were permissible as they went against the rules of a previously published paper. The reality is that it is similar to sharing a taxi home with someone and going out of your way to drop someone off. The problem is how we convey the reason for a reverse journey to a passenger who may be confused by the concept. With the previous taxi analogy you, as a passenger, know what is going on (even after a few beers) and therefore it is OK! The session was closed by Len Halsey who spoke about hybrid lift control systems. Again much debate ensued as to the effectiveness of combining hall call destination with traditional full collective designs.

The delegates then retired for coffee before the second session chaired by Dr Rory Smith. This session focused on energy and the environment and four papers were presented. The first, by Rafal Kwiatkowski, was entitled The Development of a Low to Mid Rise Energy Efficient Green Lift System. The audience asked numerous questions about the possibility of a lift design with a variable mass counterweight and how this could be achieved. Dr Ana-Maria Lorente Lafuente followed with a paper entitled Environmental Impact of Lifts and covered the carbon footprint of a lift and how power drawn during use is just one component of the impact and other factors such as transport and manufacture are also of importance. Dr Ingo Pletschen followed with a paper about comparing the energy consumption of elevators with different drive technologies. The session was completed by Joerg Mueller who presented a paper about Lift Systems in High Rise Buildings: Handling Capacity and Energy Efficiency before the gathering retired for lunch.

After lunch the delegates returned to a session about the history of our industry. The session was chaired by Nick Mellor. The opening paper was presented by Dr Lee Gray who took the audience through books published about lifts between 1890 and 1940. The books included American and European publications and highlighted some flagrant plagiarism before the more modern rules for referencing came into force. The next speaker, David Cooper, looked at the four remaining water balance lifts in the UK including one, surprisingly, installed in 1992. Dr Gina Barney followed with a paper about the history of traffic control and took us through control systems from FAPB types to the current vogue of hall call allocation (destination control).

The coffee break gave delegates the opportunity to discuss the papers before returning for the fourth and final session of the day which was chaired by David Cooper. Standards and guidelines was the topic for the session and the first paper was presented by Adam Scott who looked at the 2014 BCO (British Council for Offices) new guide of specification which contains a specific section on vertical transportation. Adam was followed by Laura Smith. Laura is an Environmental Health Officer and has been researching the implications of LOLER (Lifting operations & lifting equipment regulations) in care homes. As suspected the sector does not have a full understanding of LOLER which is of great concern especially as the HSE have issued guidelines specifically for care homes. The closing paper of the day was presented by Nick Mellor who looked at EN81-50 and the calculations needed to support EN81-20. Fortunately the paper wasn’t heavily formula based and gave a good insight to the impending introduction of parts 20 and 50 which will, of course, affect us all.

The discussion continued in the hotel bar afterwards and then into the evening at the gala dinner.

Coffee was served before the start of the second day which I suspect was very much welcomed by some of the delegates – the coffee that is!

The first session of the day was chaired by Professor Stefan Kaczmarczyk and focused on engineering and design. The first paper, by Roger Howkins, looked at the lost art of modernisation and what he described as legalised vandalism of some older lifts. This paper seemed to resonate with the delegates and a number of questions followed before Roger handed over to Michael Bottomley who gave a paper on the modernisation of a paternoster. Unfortunately this is a task that most us will never get a chance of doing due to their limited number. Giuseppe De Francesco then presented a paper about the importance of selecting the right door for different applications. He gave us the incredible statistic that some doors in high rise applications have 900,000 cycles per annum.

Coffee again! No overrunning of the coffee break allowed as Dr Gina Barney was chairing the next session on traffic design. Four very interesting papers followed with Dr Lutfi Al-Sharif presenting his second paper of the symposium this time on the modelling of elevator traffic systems using queueing theory. Lutfi was followed by Juha-Matti Kuusinen who spoke about the effect of randomisation on constraint based estimation of elevator trip origin with destination matrices which showed how to map routes taken by passengers. Dr Rory Smith then presented a paper on under lifted buildings in the Middle East. A very interesting paper demonstrating how buildings are starting to suffer as the specification of the number of lifts was incorrect but the problem isn’t noted until you start to occupy the building. The final paper of the morning was presented by Janne Sorsa and looked at a very controversial subject namely the human body size in lift traffic design. This paper expanded on the work by Dr Fruin in the 1980’s and continues to be a topic of conversation in the industry.

The final session was chaired by Dr Richard Peters and looked at simulation. Dr Thomas Kuczera presented a paper on the calculation of stress distribution in big rope sheaves and used a very large boat lift as the demonstration focus. Professor Stefan Kaczmarczyk followed with a paper on vibration in lift car assemblies and how they can be simulated thus assisting in the design of an active tuned mass damper to overcome the problem. The final paper of the symposium was entitled Modelling and Simulation of a Non Stationary High Rise Elevator System to predict the dynamic interactions between components. The paper, presented by Rafael Sanchez Crespo brought the presentations to an end for another year.

The symposium was closed by Dr Jonathan Adams from the University of Northampton and Dr Richard Peters from the organising committee. Richard was able to announce the dates of the 2015 symposium as 23 - 24 September. 

Professor Stefan Kaczmarczyk, Chair of the Postgraduate Field of Lift Engineering, Department of Engineering and Technology, The University of Northampton, commented: The importance of technical issues that will be discussed during the conference proceedings cannot be overestimated. The symposium has become a leading international forum which stimulates impactful research and drives enterprise and innovation in lift and escalator technology.

Dr Richard Peters of the CIBSE Lifts Group and Visiting Professor in Lift Modelling and Simulation at the University commented: The range and quality of papers submitted for this year’s symposium demonstrates the breadth of lift and escalator technology research currently being undertaking.  This popularity of this annual event has far exceeded our expectations and we are delighted to be hosting this international forum on behalf of a major industry sector.

If you are interested in obtaining any of the papers from the four years of the Lift Symposium please visit the web site at www.liftsymposium.org.  For next year’s Symposium, authors are invited to submit abstracts by the end of April 2015, see www.liftsymposium.org for details.