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The Good, the Bad and the Reality

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“Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away.”
— Philip K. Dick

I’m a pretty upbeat person, but I’m unable to will COVID-19 away. ELEVATOR WORLD India Consulting Editor Vijay Pandya echoed my worst thoughts when he wrote, “The virus is like an unexpected, undesirable houseguest who has overstayed their welcome and shows no sign of leaving.” On the other hand, I was inspired by reading the article by Amy Blankenbiller, the new executive director of the National Elevator Industry, Inc. (NEII). She said, “In a year clouded by tragedy and fear. . . the nimbleness and innovative spirit of the elevator industry has been the bright spot.” She is so right! The industry kept right on working under difficult circumstances and created many new products to ease the fears of our users. NEII led the way in making sure elevator technicians were considered essential in every state.

Four industry associations joined hands to support the United 2020 Virtual Convention & Exposition. No, it was not the same, but it may be this way for a while, so we’d better get used to it. After many months separated, it was good to “greet” friends and attend this unique event, full of education sessions, award presentations and an exhibit hall. It took a team of three, Kaija Wilkinson, Matt Irvin and Lee Freeland, to cover it. Nobody is standing still in this industry; everywhere I look, it is moving forward with vigor.

The second industry survey, COVID-19 Impact Outlook, done by Elevator World, Inc.; VFA Interlift e.V.; and AFAG, in association with Credit Suisse, showed changes in how various groups and countries view the virus in relation to the elevator industry. Germany and North America were the most positive in their outlooks. Consultants and associations remain the most pessimistic. An association’s job is to bring people together, so I’m not surprised they are a little pessimistic in the days of virtual meetings and social distancing.

Our focus this month is Escalators and Moving Walks. We have five contributions:

  • U.K. Evolution by Colin Craney is an in-depth comparison of the U.K. BS 2655-4:1969 code with the European EN 115-1:2017 and U.S. ASME A17.1-2016. Some differences between the codes are significant, and many followed accidents in the U.K.
  • Lubrication Innovation by Levi Shaw explains that regular lubrication of the escalator step chain is critical, particularly in high-traffic areas. Castrol’s new system claims to extend equipment life.
  • Escalator Fractal Behavior, Part Two by Dr. Ali Albadri poses and answers the question, “Would the behavior of an escalator (as measured by smart step) change when there is passenger loading?”
  • A Quick Look at APTA’s Heavy-Duty Escalator Design Guidelines by Ken Smith focuses on the differences in ASME A17.1 requirements and the additional criteria expected by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) for escalators in transit buildings, including 40 hr of owner training.
  • The Escalator at Mid-Century by Dr. Lee Gray: This article by our History columnist examines the escalator as it moved into importance for buildings between 1937 and 1955.
    We have a great Continuing Education (CE) article this month by Kevin Heling, Inspection of Elevator Ropes, Part One. The author instructs on conditions to look for and procedures to follow when checking rope replacement criteria and other suspension issues.

Otis celebrates 20 Years of Innovation with a piece by Ricardo Muñoz on the Gen2®, which uses flexible steel- reinforced belts and a small sheave for benefits that made it the bestselling elevator in the company’s history.
The Ellies 2020 Awards is our main feature. Elevator World’s competition for excellence in the North American elevator industry was very different this year, with no opportunity to hand out the awards in person, but the pride was just the same. The Ellies seemed to mean more in this difficult year. Winners hustled to get us pictures of their cheerful teams posing with their awards.

There is so much more to this issue, but they cut me off at 650 words. Enjoy and stay safe.

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Elevator World | December 2020