Monday, 15 December 2014

2014 Annual Roundup

Whilst there is mixed economic news around the world there seems to be more confidence in the UK generally, with perhaps mixed results in the non-tiger firms in retail. Given our broad spectrum of work we continue to see improvements, in particular in the London residential and overseas markets.

Grenville announced his retirement after two decades with the firm. He continues to support our marketing efforts and will completely withdraw in March. We wish him well and much enjoyment in the future. Paul Hastings has stepped into the RD role based in Sheffield.

Around the corner Jim Baynam and  Frank Seymour will retire in 2015. As Jim works in the East and Frank works in the West we will need new wingers in the future.......

Stan Blatch joined us in December and Paul Dodd will join us in January. Both are seasoned lift men and we welcome their experience and wisdom in the years to come.

The breakthrough in lift technologies will only feed into more complex and taller buildings so we look forward to the future with optimism.

As the winter holidays approach we are looking forward to 2015 with continuing vigor!

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Where is the world's highest Outdoor Elevator?


There are many truly amazing elevators around the world and one elevator that consistently makes it into top ten lists is the world's highest outdoor elevator. We are referring to the Bailong Elevator also known as the Hundred Dragons Elevator inside the World Heritage Site at Zhangjiajie National Forest Park in Hunan Province in China. Designed and operated by The Bailong Elevator Company the elevator  was built between 1999 and  2002 at a cost of  120m yuan, or around £12m. It was opened to the public in 2002. There are three double-deck glass elevators that vertically transport passengers 330m high (1,070 feet) to a plateau near Shuiraosimen. The first 154 metres run through an underground shaft and the remainder via an above ground derrick.  There are earthquake detectors installed so that the lifts can be  evacuated quickly in case of disaster. The elevators have a passenger capacity of 50 and take 2 minutes from top to bottom giving a daily capacity of 18,000 people.

The Bailong Elevator project met stiff resistance and not just from the quartz sandstone column that the lift shaft was dug into. Zhangjiajie National Forest Park was listed as a World Heritage Site in 1992. When the project was first muted in the 1990s environmentalists claimed that the Zhangjiajie National Forest Park already had enough tourists at 5 million annually and that the proposed Bailong Elevator Project was likely to increase this number and cause damage to the environment. Controversially  the local government built the elevators without consulting the World Heritage Committee. This was the view of Edmond Moukala, then program officer of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. Similar structures in World Heritage Sites are forbidden so the Bailong Elevator is one of a kind in more ways than one. In 2002 -2003 the elevator was closed for 10 months as safety concerns were resolved. Since reopening in September 2003 the elevator has remained open to the public. Perhaps the final word on the, 'should it have been built' debate should go to Project chief engineer Zhuo Zhiyuan who told Beijing Today, “Such elevators are really convenient for tourists. But from the angle of environmental protection, they shouldn’t have been erected.” However, he added, it was now too late to talk about whether the project should have been allowed or not. Now all we can do is to take it as a lesson and never make a similar mistake again.”

From the perspective of a passenger the Bailong Elevator is spectacular – the views of the Zhangjiajie National Forest Park are breathtaking and you have a 360 degree panoramic view that stretches for miles. The area is where the movie Avatar was filmed. The elevators save pedestrians three hours of walking. Are you planning a vertical transportation project? Do you have problems you are now facing?

Dunbar and Boardman is the lift, escalator and access equipment consultancy. We would be happy to discuss any such requirements and how we may be able to assist. Give us a call on T +44 (0) 20 7739 5093 or send us an email via to start the conversation. We look forward to hearing from you.

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Marine Elevators – When was the first elevator installed on a Yacht?

Photo credit Mrs Ethel Pook, Gosport. Her husband was Shipwright Officer for 7 years

This week we are returning to our series of world firsts in the vertical transportation industry. If you are new to the blog you may want to read the following posts: Double-Deck elevators, Curved escalators & Travelator. 

 Marine elevators are elevators installed onboard yachts and ships.  The production, installation and maintenance of marine elevators is very specialist work. 

When was the first elevator installed on a ship or a yacht? 

The first marine elevator installed was on the third incarnation of the Royal yacht, Victoria and Albert III in 1900.  The elevator was made and installed by London-based Richard Waygood & Co. Waygood and Co were later responsible for installing the marine elevators in the Titanic. The firm was bought by Otis in 1914 and became part of their company.

The lift installation was completed successfully but the yacht did have an accident. The Victoria and Albert III was 380 feet in length, 40 feet in the beam, and draft of 15 feet, giving her a displacement of 4,700 tons. Her double- bottomed hull was made of steel sheathed in wood, and covered in copper.  Just before scheduled launch in 1900 the yacht was undergoing final preparations in dry dock. When the dock flooded the yacht toppled over due to 700 tonnes of excessive weight around the centre of gravity of the yacht.  The repairs caused a delay in the launch and Queen Victoria never sailed in the new Royal Yacht. The Victoria & Albert III eventually launched in 1901 and was in royal service for 38 years.

What are specific challenges for marine elevators?

Marine elevators often require an extremely efficient use of space, weight and to be energy efficient. Any required maintenance has to be managed around a ship’s itinerary.  Specialist Marine elevator companies with engineers located around all the world’s shipping routes have been created to enable efficient maintenance. There are also specialised monitoring systems for these lift to operate in rough seas, as well as dedicated power suplies in case of an emergency occurring.

What is the Marine elevator market like today? 

The current marine elevator market is dominated by Kone who have over 50% of the market and have created a specific range of products for each of the following: cruise ships, ferries and cargo ships.

Are you working in the marine or offshore environment? Do you have a current or planned project that includes marine elevators or escalators?  

Dunbar and Boardman is the lift, escalator and access equipment consultancy. We would be happy to discuss any such requirements and how we may be able to assist. Give us a call on T +44 (0) 20 7739 5093 or send us an email via to start the conversation. We look forward to hearing from you.

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Spotlight on Technology: How do you ensure elevator ride quality?

Photo Credit: Physical Measurement Technologies, Inc. 

In our role as consultants for the vertical transportation industry Dunbar and Boardman have overseen many elevator and escalator installations around the world and here in the UK. Once a new vertical transportation system has been installed we are quick to assess the ride quality of all lifts and escalators. This we do by using EVA Vibration Analysis Tools software.

What is the EVA Vibration Analysis Tools software?

The EVA system is the creation of an American company based in Malborough, New Hampshire called Physical Measurement Technologies, Inc. Their product, the EVA-625 Elevator Vibration Analysis system has become the industry standard for the measurement of ride quality, vibration and sound in elevators and escalators. It is used in over 70 countries.

How does it work?

Place the EVA 625 on the floor of the elevator, turn the machine on, press the record button and then take a ride. The system will automatically store the data and will give you readings for ride quality, vibration and sound. Individual components can also be tested via the system. This means that technicians and engineers can take corrective action to resolve problems with ride quality, vibration and sound. In general terms, the quality of installation and service can be improved dramatically.

The EVA System in the UK

In the UK and across Europe one company is responsible for the sale and support for the EVA system. That company is called Eurogears. Eurogears are based in Rochester in the county of Kent. Eurogears Ltd was founded in 1990 & provide on-site engineering, power transmission & mechanical engineering services in addition to  being the European distribution partner for Physical Measurement Technologies, Inc.

Dunbar and Boardman keep a watching brief on technological advances within the vertical transportation industry to better serve our clients. Dunbar and Boardman is the lift, escalator and access equipment consultancy. Do you need help ensuring ride quality for your vertical or horizontal transportation system? We would be happy to discuss any such requirements and how we may be able to assist. Give us a call on T +44 (0) 20 7739 5093 or send us an email via to start the conversation. We look forward to hearing from you.