Sunday, 19 January 2020
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VDMA general meeting 2016: Two kinds of cabin air

Aircraft and lifts have various things in common - not just that they move at great heights, but also that they are highly technical and need to guarantee the utmost safety. Reason enough for the VDMA to provide its guests with a glimpse of the Lufthansa training centre as part of its annual general meeting.


Sliding is fun. At least if you slide voluntarily. About 70 participants of this year’s annual general meeting of the VDMA Trade Association Lifts and Escalators had the opportunity to try out the evacuation slide of a flight simulator in the Lufthansa training centre at least semi-voluntarily at the beginning of April in Frankfurt am Main.

HandwerkBut before this, firmly strapped into an aircraft seat in the cabin, they were able to experience what a real evacuation feels like in an emergency: the bumping and swaying of the cabin, smoke in their noses, oxygen masks dropping, a water landing and getting told what to do by cabin crew. Thank goodness I work with lifts, one or other participant may have thought.

Improve external presentation

Fortunately accidents where what was only practised here become reality are very rare, just like serious lift accidents. This is due to the marked safety consciousness of those in charge. "User accidents in lifts are almost always due to outdated technology,” emphasised Dr Gerhard Schiffner of ThyssenKrupp, spokesperson of the Lift Committee, in the podium discussion of the committee spokespeople moderated by the trade association director Sascha Schmel, which was established last year.

It became very clear during the discussion round that the lift industry would like to improve its external presentation. No one was really familiar with it, Peter Gurdon of Schindler, spokesperson of the Knowledge and Training Committee, noted with regret. "We want to inspire young people.” The expert emphasised that there was also a great potential for new recruits among the refugees.

Revenues increased in all sectors

HandwerkNevertheless, "the economic situation of the lift industry is very good,” reported the chairman of the VDMA Trade Association Lifts and Escalators, Albert Schenk. Revenues had increased in all sectors in 2015; business expectations remained equally good for 2016 as well. Consequently the board of management had developed a "Vision to 2018” that it was going to present at the German Lift Conference on 24 November 2016.

The European vision of managing without energy imports from 2050 could not be ignored either. Therefore the VDMA as the responsible body was supporting the Federal Ministry of Economics in drawing up a new competitive invitation for tenders to boost electricity efficiency and reduce consumption. Martin Schmitt of Schmitt & Sohn GmbH presented the concept, which is to be tested in the lift industry in a pilot phase up to 2018.

The first invitation for tenders phase is planned for June 2016; operators and owners of lifts will be supported. The VDMA has developed a position paper and an energy calculation tool for lifts. Dr Holger König of Emerson Industrial Automation presented the tool in Frankfurt. "It’s also valuable and useful outside of the sponsored project,” in the view of Schenk.

Hätälä transferred Economy Committee to Borkenhagen

HandwerkIn principle the VDMA welcomed the competition-oriented concept, but according to Schmitt it required further explanation. Moreover the certainty of getting the support only existed after the investments – once the energy saving was demonstrable.

Raimo Hätälä, the spokesperson of the Economy Committee, transferred the Economy Committee to his successor Uwe Borkenhagen, the head of the Berlin branch of Schmitt & Sohn, in Frankfurt. Albert Schenk thanked him for his ten years of tireless devotion for the association. The guest lecture by Stanimira Markova from the RWTH Aachen addressed the topic of BIM in lift building. This was the right time to go all out with BIM and the VDMA Lifts and Escalators was in a very good starting position, according to Markova.

The next VDMA annual general meeting will once again take place in Frankfurt on 30/31 March 2017.

Bettina Heimsoeth

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