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Liftex 2019

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Triannual trade show boasts big numbers in its 31st iteration.

LIFTEX 2019, the triannual trade show run by the Lift & Escalator Industry Association (LEIA), took place May 15-16 at ExCeL London and welcomed its biggest crowd yet. In its 31st iteration, Liftex, the U.K.’s only dedicated exhibition for the lift, escalator and accessibility industry, saw a 24% increase in attendance from its 2016 show. This year’s event also saw more than 115 exhibitors, 13% more than in 2016, displaying thousands of products.

According to LIFTEX Show Director Oliver Greening, there were more international exhibitors than ever before, 30 of them exhibiting at LIFTEX for the first time. Exhibitors hailed from nearly 20 countries, including Italy, Germany, Switzerland, China, Greece, Poland, France, the Netherlands, Finland, Austria, Russia, Sweden, the U.S., Spain and Canada. Greening said the diversity of exhibitors allowed attendees to find everything they needed on the show floor, “from compact gearless motors and passenger lifts to escalators and home and portable lifts.” He said this year’s show had companies displaying products that had never been seen before at a U.K. event, adding:

“At a time of great uncertainty, it is fantastic to witness the buoyancy of the lift and industry marketplace. The footfall to the show demonstrates the strength of the industry in Europe, and we are delighted with the quality and quantity of visitors. The 2016 event broke records, but this year’s show has exceeded our expectations. This year’s event runs in the same year as a major competitor in Germany, so it was encouraging to see so many international visitors to LIFTEX — plotting it firmly on the map.”

ELEVATOR WORLD U.K. Toasts Supporters

ELEVATOR WORLD U.K. invited many of its advertisers, contributors and friends to a champagne celebration at the close of LIFTEX 2019’s first day. Held at the EW U.K. booth, the gathering allowed Elevator World, Inc. President and CEO T. Bruce MacKinnon and other EW staff in attendance, including ELEVATOR WORLD U.K. team members Editor David Cooper and Production/Design Manager Suzanne McCoy, an opportunity to thank supporters of the magazine and get to know them better. In some cases, people who’d worked together all year, or even longer, were meeting in person for the first time. It made for some exciting introductions and enthusiastic conversations. The celebration’s turnout was even better than expected, and the champagne flowed until the LIFTEX organizers all but shooed us out. Said MacKinnon:

“This is our first LIFTEX since purchasing Elevation a year ago and then rebranding it as ELEVATOR WORLD U.K. in 2019. We have had such great support from the U.K. industry throughout this time, and this is just a small way we can say, ‘Thank you, and we appreciate you.’”

“ Liftex 2019 was an overwhelming success for TVC. Our stand was busy with quality visitors from the doors opening until we began taking  down the stand.” — Thames Valley Controls (TVC)

During the two-day event, crowds were plentiful, and conversation and camaraderie were high. For your author, a first-time LIFTEX attendee, there were many new people to meet and booths to visit; for longtime LIFTEX attendees and exhibitors, there were old friends and colleagues to catch up with and business to discuss.

There were many highlights during the two days, including longtime LIFTEX exhibitor Jackson Lift Groups celebrating its 40th anniversary; International Lift Equipment showcasing its new ILE Trent machine-room-less lift and first-time LIFTEX exhibitor Metron, based in Greece, displaying the company’s full range of customized lift solutions. Global Lift Equipment showcased some of its flagship products, including Fermator doors, Montanari geared machines and SICOR gearless machines, while Sassi Lift Systems promoted its partnership with OCTE (France) to supply a mechanical lift package specifically designed for the U.K. market.

Feedback from those your author spoke with was overwhelmingly positive, with many marveling at the event’s high level of organization, big crowds and increased number of booths. According to exhibitor and LIFTEX staple Thames Valley Controls (TVC):

“Liftex 2019 was an overwhelming success for TVC. Our stand was busy with quality visitors from the doors opening until we began taking down the stand. It was a great opportunity to meet existing and new customers in one place and to demonstrate our clever solutions for people on the move.”

Seminar Program

A two-day seminar program also ran alongside the exhibition featuring information sessions from industry experts on a wide range of topics, from safety standards to connectivity to modernization. The program, which only spanned an hour and a half each day, is always free and always popular, according to Greening, with this year’s seeing an increased number of speakers from past LIFTEX shows and sizable, engaged audiences. According to Greening, “with uncertainty and changes in standards ahead, plus ongoing challenges with modernization,” the seminar program serves to equip attendees with the tools and knowledge they need to face the evolving industry.

Day one began with Dave Searle of the LEIA Technical Committee speaking on the “Revision of BS EN 81-80 Improving the Safety of Existing Lifts.” He was followed by John McSweeney of Terry Lifts, who discussed “Important Considerations When Specifying a Vertical Lifting Appliance for Your Home.” Len Halsey of Canary Wharf Contractors covered “Goods Lifts and the Secret Life of Buildings,” and the day’s seminars concluded with Matt Ryan of The Fire Surgery Ltd. discussing “Lifts for Evacuation Use: Key Considerations for Building Design and Modernization Planning.” The day’s program ended with all four speakers sitting for a question-and-answer session.

Day two of the seminar program commenced with David Cooper of LECS UK, who spoke on topics important to the safety of existing escalators in “Escalators Issues for Duty Holders.” Matthew Davies of Avire covered “Analogue to Fiber. . .Understanding the Options for Lift Emergency-Communication Phones,” and Nick Mellor of LEIA presented a “Survival Guide for Lift Managers and Duty Holders.” Ian Jones, chairman of British Standards Institution MHE/4, ended the program with his discussion on “The Future Development of British, European and International Standards in Our Industry.” Again, the day’s speakers sat for a question-and-answer session. Both days’ sessions resulted in vibrant discussions, covering everything from the consequences of a hard Brexit and safety matters to legal issues and evolving norms.

Though it will be three years until LIFTEX 2022, there was already buzz on the show floor about its possibilities. Would it be even bigger than LIFTEX 2019? Would more countries participate? Should the show become biannual? And, while it’s impossible to fully answer these questions right now, it is safe to assume that just by virtue of them being asked, the U.K. industry is feeling excited about its future and that of LIFTEX.

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Elevator World | August 2019 Cover