Stepping Up

We look at some major projects in the region, such as Infinity Tower.

An example of a modern elevator interior from KONE.
An example of a modern elevator interior from KONE.
An escalator at Mirdif City Centre supplied by Otis.
An escalator at Mirdif City Centre supplied by Otis.

MEP Middle East takes a closer look at some of the major elevator and escalator players in the UAE market, and some of the latest projects they have been involved with.

ThyssenKrupp Elevator

ThyssenKrupp Elevator, one of the world’s leading elevator companies, continues to be very active in the UAE since 2005 after winning the largest contract in the history of the elevator industry – more than 800 elevators, escalators, moving walks and passenger boarding bridges for the Dubai International Airport expansion. About half of those installations are now up and running in Terminal 3 and Concourse 2. With work ongoing at Concourse 3, the company recently won an additional contract for the eight massive 9100 kg capacity SkyTrain elevators.

ThyssenKrupp Elevator has achieved milestones with the first orders of the TWIN elevator -- two elevators operating in one shaft -- in UAE and Saudi Arabia last year, and is currently installing this revolutionary product. The Tornado Tower in Doha has been equipped with the fastest elevators in Qatar by ThyssenKrupp Elevator. New contracts are being won at a good pace despite pressures in the market earlier this year.

Despite the global and regional economic scenario, the UAE market is still big enough to accommodate many players. Over the last few months, the company has achieved overall growth in the areas of new installations, services and modernisation, and expects to grow even further in the future. Close proximity to clients has helped improve service. The UAE 24/7 hotline (800 THYSSEN) has boosted response time. The company has offices in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah and Ras Al Khaimah, as well as in Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

In terms of the TWIN systems for Dubai, ThyssenKrupp Elevator is supplying two of these, with a total of four cabs, as well as 17 conventional elevators for the Latifa Tower. Upon the completion of this 210-metre-high residential and office building in 2010, these will be the first TWIN elevator installations in use in Dubai. While the upper TWIN cabs in the Latifa Tower will travel in the shafts at up to six metres per second, the lower cabs will reach a speed of up to four metres per second.

In addition to the two TWIN systems, two of the 17 conventional elevators are also suitable for use as TWINs. If needed, they can be extended into a complete TWIN system through the installation of a second cab. In the Latifa Tower, as in all buildings with TWINs, ThyssenKrupp’s intelligent destination selection control system will be used. Prior to entering the cab, the passenger selects his or her destination via a touch screen. A computer then selects and displays the fastest elevator. Thanks to reduced waiting times, and with as few stops as possible, the passenger is transported to the desired floor quickly and conveniently.

Dunbar and Boardman

Dunbar and Boardman has been involved with such iconic landmarks in Dubai as the Jumeirah Beach Hotel, the Burj Al Arab and the Mall of the Emirates. Founded in 1981, Dunbar and Boardman is the UK’s largest elevator consultancy. With its head office in London, it has since expanded to include 11 regional offices.

Specialising in all aspects of vertical transportation and building access equipment, the consultancy focuses on the seamless integration of elevator system design into the final building, incorporating the following:
• High-level traffic studies and analysis to ensure that the building is functional;
• Knowledge of the latest technological innovations to ensure cutting-edge design and infrastructure;
• Ensuring that systems are environmentally and economically sustainable;
• Compliance with the latest codes and standards; and
• Development of effective emergency evacuation and fire strategies.

KONE Middle East

Committed to serving its customers in the Middle East for over 30 years, KONE established its regional headquarters in Dubai in 1993, and has since become a leading supplier of elevators and escalators, employing over 1000 employees across the region, including Qatar, Oman and Bahrain, and serving a further ten countries in the region through its network of joint ventures and authorised distributors.

The company has clinched a major order for eight KONE customer-made elevators for Infinity Tower in Dubai Marina, reports Eric Maziol, area director for South and West Europe and the Middle East. Equipment installation will commence in 2010, with completion scheduled for 2011. The project has reached Floor 16 of the core wall and Floor 7 of the typical floors, and is on schedule.

“We are delighted to be associated with Cayan Investment & Development. This project once again confirms our valued partnership with main contractor Arabtec,” said Maziol.

Three of the elevators will convey residents at speeds of up to 8 m/s across a maximum span range of 271 m. Essentially this means that Infinity Tower will have the fastest elevators of any high-rise building in the UAE dedicated solely to residential use.

Designed by international architectural firm Skidmore Owings & Merrill, with an AED141 million MEP works contract awarded to Drake & Scull International, Infinity Tower will ‘twist’ ninety degrees to achieve its final height of 330 m, making it the world’s tallest twisting tower.

Internally the tower has no columns to obstruct the feeling of space. Forming its ground-breaking superstructure is a high-strength, reinforced concrete column that twists into a unique helix shape. As a result, the lift cores have had to assume an unconventional circular shape, requiring KONE Middle East to utilise its expertise in customised solutions. Space for the elevator machine rooms was subsequently very limited, with KONE’s EcoDisc machines proving to be the ideal fit. Features include:
• Permanent magnet hoisting synchronous hoisting machine;
• Consumes 70% less energy than a hydraulic drive, and 50% less than a traction drive;
• Due to the variable frequency drives used, the peak starting current is 30% to 40% of that of equivalent hydraulic and traction units, reducing energy consumption and fuse sizes;
• Thin and lightweight, requiring less raw material and space compared to traditional hoisting machines;
• Energy saving: 4000 kWh/year compared to a hydraulic elevator and 2000 kWh/year compared to a traction two-speed elevator; and
• Carbon foot print reduction: 2240 kg carbon dioxide/year compared to a hydraulic elevator (based on OECD electrical energy mix).

Otis LLC

Established in 1979, Otis LLC is the UAE affiliate of the Otis Elevator Company of the US. It installed the region’s first-ever elevator, escalator and moving walkway. The company has offices in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Al Ain and Ras Al Khaimah.

Flagship projects include the region’s first double-cab units, traveling at ten metres per second, at the Burj Dubai. It is also supplying 29 Otis 4000 kg passenger and freight elevators, two Gen2 Panoramic elevators (with patented flat-belt technology and a design featuring no machine room), four moving walkways and 34 escalators to Majid Al Futtaim Properties’ new flagship Mirdif City Centre, due for completion in early 2010.

Other major global elevator and escalator players

Fujitec: This Japanese giant has representation in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Its 170,68-metre-high ‘Big Wing’ research facility in Japan is the tallest of its kind in the world.

Hitachi: Represented in the UAE by the Elevator Division of Al-Futtaim Engineering.

Mitsubishi Electric: Represented in Dubai by ETA-MELCO Elevator Company LLC and in Abu Dhabi by Emirates Technical Associates. It also has a presence in Qatar and Yemen, among others.

Schindler: Represented in the UAE by Schindler Pars International. In 2008, elevators and escalators contributed 62% of global sales of the Schindler Group.

Elevators for overhead bridges in Abu Dhabi

The Abu Dhabi municipality has announced that elevators will be installed for overhead bridges in the Tourist Club, Salaam Street and Eastern Ring Road development areas in the capital. Isa Al Mazrouie, director of internal roads and infrastructure, said the first phase would see the construction of elevators on three pedestrian bridges opposite the Abu Dhabi Mall, Meridien Hotel and Khalifa (B) complex. The project aims to inculcate safety awareness among road users and pedestrians, particularly the elderly and children. Salaam Street and Eastern Ring Road form part of the Abu Dhabi Vision 2030. Traffic flow will be enhanced further through a series of tunnels, intersections and flyovers.

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