ELCA grows and welcomes 7 new members in 2015!

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Our European association is pleased to welcome several new members that joined in the course of 2014 or in early 2015: from Italy, we now can count on Omar Lift and Start Elevator, from Spain, we have Hidral; from Sweden, we have Hydroware; from Germany we can count on Henning GmbH, from Switzerland, we have Bucher Hydraulics and we hope to attract more members with our policy of easy, fast and  effective tele-conferencing system, open to all, on specific topics, such as hydraulic lifts, lift doors, complete lifts and others. ELCA wants to deliver fast and efficient actions at the service of lift and/or component producers, to obtain results at national or European level.


Changes at the European Commission : DG ENTR becomes DG GROWTH


The new Juncker Commission  has designated a woman, Elżbieta Bieńkowska, as Commissioner for what is probably one of the most important Commission directorates: internal market, industry, entrepreneurship and SMEs. The name has also changed and is welcome: GROWTH. Let’s hope it will reflect reality for the European economy. This new Commissioner is there until 2019. She is coming from Silesia, Poland, and is not a newcomer to politics, since she was Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Infrastructure and Development in her country, before joining the European team.
Next to the obvious tasks of any Commissioner in that position: ensuring the free movement of goods & services in Europe, the Commissioner has voiced her interest for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises, which are the very fabric of the European economy. If jobs are created, it will not be in multinationals of most sectors. The very large companies have largely participated to the de-industrialization of Europe, by moving their production capacities abroad, far abroad, mostly to Asia. Not only have they destroyed industrial jobs by the thousands, but the basis for taxation has disappeared. It is a net loss for all. Let’s not speak of the agreements concluded by multinationals with several European countries, to exchange the presence of a headquarters against a ridiculous level of taxation for the whole of their European consolidated business!

The employment base of Europe lies in the SMEs and the Commission seems to understand that it is necessary to re-industrialize Europe and to do it by helping SMEs to thrive in a good climate.
Mrs Bieńkowska wants to “bring industry's weight in the EU's GDP back to 20% by 2020, from less than 16% today, by stimulating investment in new technologies, improving the business environment and easing access to markets and to finance”. Identifying new job sources and growth opportunities are high on the agenda. Good!
Our team of European experts dedicated to the lift industry remains the same at DG Growth: Raimonda Sneigiene, Birgit Weidel and Luis Filipe Girao.
In the course of 2015, ELCA will present a list of requests and comments to the Commission and discuss topics proposed by you, members, such as component producers, suppliers and installers. ELCA will report and invites you to contact ELCA’s secretary general, Luc Rivet (tel. +32 475 455683  -  luc.rivet@elca-eu.org) with the topics that you would like to bring to the European Commission. ELCA will propose a date for a teleconference to discuss positions.


Hydraulic lift manufacturers finally obtain a level-playing field in Germany!

It has lasted for years: an official recommendation AMEV Aufzug (www.amev-online.de) from an agency of the German Ministry of Construction, AMEV (Arbeitskreis Maschinen- und Elektrotechnik staatlicher und kommunaler Verwaltungen), advised all public servants in Germany, at every level – whether federal, regional or local, to choose a traction lift rather that to trust the hydraulic technology. This advice was based on the false and biased notion that hydraulic lifts “consume more energy” than traction applications. This was wrong. Why? Because its logic was based on very old lift technology (e.g. from the well-know Swiss Schindler study). These hydraulic lifts had originally never been installed with the criteria of energy consumption as a priority.  is It is quite a new criteria. Before, when these old lifts were installed, nobody thought about energy-efficient components; other technical requirements and characteristics had been prioritized, such as high safety, easy setting free in case of energy loss, high payloads for goods lifts and so on. A second error that AMEV did was only to look at energy consumption during movement, not looking at efficiency during standby or efficiency in energy, free maintenance, spare parts – what is surprising because AMEV is for public installations and public  authorities should have a deep interest in ensuring cost reduction and efficiency in maintenance of installed facilities.
Despite meetings with AMEV and complaints by individual companies, nothing had been done to change the text of the AMEV recommendation. The text had become heavily discriminating without any justification against modern efficient hydraulic solutions. This bias was very clear at least in 7 places in the text and the Annexes. The text has been written by a small group of public employees working on elevator facilities and consulted by planners and industry. The latest version in 2010 was even worse! Since no one in Germany picked up the topic with the government, ELCA decided to write to the Minister in charge and to the European Commission, complaining of an evident case of unfair competition.
The Commission saw it as a “German issue”, and the German Ministry of Construction was very courteous in its approach, deciding that AMEV would review its texts. This has been done and most wrong and unacceptable comments have been taken out.
This was a real issue for hydraulic lift manufacturers, since most public authorities in Europe respect the German recommendations, which are often simply transposed in countries such as Switzerland or Austria, but also elsewhere, in Spain for example. The text is corrected. More than this: Amev recommends hydraulic now as an advantageous solution for creation of a barrier-free access with low usage intensity and limited travel heights. But the damage has been done for years, in Germany and elsewhere. ELCA hopes that AMEV will now send a circular letter to all interested parties, stressing the changes brought to the policy of AMEV and to the texts of the guideline.

ELCA does not want to favour any type of technology, but is against unjustified discrimination and market limitation. We strongly support new technologies brought up by innovative producers, installers and maintainers. ELCA wants to remain neutral and it is the reason why this effort had to be made.

An article has been published in ELEVATORI (Italian – English about the topic – see the ELCA website www.elca-eu.org )


A new approach to the environmental impact of lifts

PCR (Product Category Rules) is a new set of initials that will become very well-known in the lift industry, as it is already in many other industrial sectors. It enables each company to produce an Environmental Product Declaration, EPD® for its products, in a verified and registered document that communicates transparent and comparable information about the life-cycle environmental impact of products. Let’s also mention ISO 14040:2006 Environmental Management, which describes the principles and framework for life cycle assessment.
About 450 EPDs from 150 companies are currently published and freely available in the International EPD® System for a broad range of product categories. The lift industry has come to it as well and several meetings have taken place at the University of Berlin.
The interesting point is that the calculations done to define the environmental impact of a lift don’t only look at energy issues. These are important of course, especially the standby consumption of all lifts, on which all component manufacturers are working to create different levels of “sleep modes” for the lift, its doors, controllers and other components because the elevator is standing still the most time. And if you look at the whole lifecycle of a lift, from the impact of manufacturing, to transport, installation, maintenance over the years and dismantling, you get a picture which is totally different from what many people expect, depending on the usage of the lift. This as a really more fair, realistic, serious and honest view on the efficiency of a lift! The representatives of ELCA in the PCR work, Carlos Peribanez (ITA – Spain), Kjell Johansson (Hydroware – Sweden), Claudio Maggioni (GMV – Italy) and Dr. Ferhat Celik (Blain – Germany) are doing a tremendous job at profiling each category of lift correctly.


New work groups in ELCA

ELCA has created a workgroup on Doors in the course of 2014. It is in its starting phase. Still this WG needs collects more participants to make it an more industry-significant work group. A second meeting will be organized shortly in 2015. Topics are among others:  the creation of a “check-list” in collaboration with Notified Bodies (per main market) to improve periodical inspections (checking of doors), the situation of SNEL in Europe, the percentage of car doors still missing on existing lifts, the light curtain solution and its application, the application of the new norm EN 81-20/50, the doors for “home lifts” under the Machinery directive, the new testing of door resistance to shock, glass doors and children, the fire resistance of doors, etc…

ELCA also looks at “Complete lifts”, built with components bought off the shelf. And finally we are also starting a group to look at the many programmes that start to appear, in order to avoid physical testing. These badly need some harmonizing effort at European level. The lift industry is late for many aspects, such as tele-monitoring, as compared to the car industry for example or to medicine. Component manufacturers are ready to take up the challenge.
ELCA wishes to invite all companies who want to participate, to signal themselves to ELCA. Our teleconferences are also open to non-members ….




New documents




Main figures for Europe & the World

Barely 10 years after the record fine of 1 Billion € imposed on the major companies of the lift industry by the European Commission (DG Competition) for illegal price agreements in Germany and the Benelux (separately), some of the same companies were the object in Spain of a complaint introduced by a building owner, Supercondominio (Madrid) and a small competitor, Citylift.
The result of the court case is that Otis, Schindler again, and two Spanish smaller companies, Eminter and Imen, are infringing on competition law in Europe. The Spanish antitrust authorities (Comisión Nacional de la Competencia – CNC) have imposed fines of almost € 5 million to the four manufacturers and installers, mainly Otis and Schindler (98%).  The Spanish authorities fined Otis Zardoya (2,845,362 €) and Schindler (1,892,690 €) for trying to drive small companies out of the market, mentioning for example the SME Citylift by name. 
Among other things, it seems that the two largest companies of the lift industry in Spain sent letters to their customers, telling them that small companies do not have the proper technical skills to carry out proper maintenance. They also mentioned that the small maintenance companies did not use original components for replacements. Otis and Schindler sent messages to owners in which they questioned the technical professional and economic skills of competitors not "vertically integrated", i.e. maintenance organizations not active in the field of production and installation of equipment. Otis went as far as writing to building owners:  "in the light of the facts described above, please inform us of any offer that you may receive in this direction" (Otis, 15/3/2011, to an apartment building owner). "Only Schindler can assure you, as the manufacturer of its elevators, that spare parts are ORIGINAL. This warranty of reliability over time and the minimum time of delivery of spare parts will not be matched by any other company, since they will have supplies of our original spare parts by our Sales Office Replacement Parts" (Schindler, 7 /10/2011, to an apartment building owner) is another example of the content of these letters.
The two major companies also referred to their intellectual property rights on systems “produced exclusively by our company”, to try to tarnish the reputation of their small competitors.
The Spanish antitrust authority fined the four companies (also Eminter and Imen) a fine of 1% of annual turnover and 2% Schindler for “aggravating circumstances”. The maintenance market must be competitive.  In that light, the CNC judged the actions condemned as “harmful to the public interest”.

A new reference to remember for all elevator companies active in Europe! The new Lifts directive - DIRECTIVE 2014/33/EU OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 26 February 2014 on the harmonisation of the laws of the Member States relating to lifts and safety components for lifts, has been published in EU OJ (Official Journal) on March 29th, 2014. It replaces the original version, used until now, which was 94/16/EC. The changes are only “cosmetic” and mainly made to bring an “omnibus” set of directives in conformity with the New Legislative Framework (NLF), adopted in 2008 as “the Goods Package” by the European Parliament.
Besides the Lifts Directive, the approved alignment package also covers following Directives :
- Low voltage
- Simple Pressure Vessels
- Explosives for civil uses
- Measuring instruments
- Non-automatic weighing instruments
The Recast clarifies the interpretation and application of the legislation by the Member States, to avoid unequal market conditions and unsafe products being placed on the market. The Directive will provide manufacturers, installers, notified bodies and national authorities with clearer definitions, obligations of economic operators, presumption of conformity provided by harmonized standards, CE marking, policy in submitting the Declaration of Conformity, and conformity assessment procedures. Elevator companies should be careful with the references made in their documentation and certifications, since the numbering of the articles and of Annexes have changed.
The technical amendments and modifications that had been requested by industry were not taken into consideration; the European Commission being afraid that it would have lengthened the process too long. ELCA will be vigilant on the application of the new Lifts Directive in the Member States, to protect Component manufacturers and generally SMEs against any wrong interpretations.
Modifications to take into account:
All chapters, articles and annexes are renumbered. There is a table of equivalence at the end of the new directive, showing old and new numbers.
-  The lift installer and manufacturer of safety components must report to the national authorities the non-confirmities thayt they detect, and their corrective actions
-  The manufacturer of safety components must be able to identify all economic operators (suppliers and customers) in the supply chain, in order to communicate on non-conformities, if any.
- New accreditation, notification and operation of the Notified Bodies for lifts for better market surveillance, but all the” certificates already issued by NB-LS remain valid
- New requirements for member states for better market surveillance
-  Technical requirements of the directive, such as Essential Health and Safety Requirements (EHSRs) remain the same.
- Annex III (list of safety components, previously Annex IV) contains modifications in terminology: “shock absorber” is replaced with “buffer” and “safety switches containing electronic components” is replaced by “safety circuit containing electronic components”. In section 2 of this annex, some additional safety components for uncontrolled car movement may need to be CE marked.

Here is a link to the site of the European Commission where the new Lifts directive can be found in all 24 European languages:


EN 81-20 and EN 81-50 are out for formal vote: a major achievement by CEN !

CEN has achieved a major task, with the largest number ever of experts involved in work groups, assembled to compeltely revise the basic norm of the lift industry: EN 81-1 and 2. CEN TC 10 reached its goal with only a short delay and has sent out the first official draft of  EN 81-20 & EN 81-50 for formal vote.  
National Standardization Bodies (NSBs) have until February 27th, 2014 to make their position clear by a YES or NO vote. Only editorial comments are accepted at this stage.


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INTERLIFT, A GREAT SUCCESS IN 2013, year of the “home lift”

INTERLIFT has closed its doors on Friday, October 18th, 2013. Once again, Augsburg was the centre of the lift industry world, and the figures that AFAG communicates show the never-ending success of the largest European lift fair by far, organized by our German colleagues from VFA.
From the comments heard on the different booths, there were no dominant innovations this year, with a few exceptions, such as the very light composite door panel presented by Wittur on its booth. What can be remarked is that energy efficiency, which was the main topic in 2011 at many components manufacturers’ booths, was much less present this year as a marketing tool.
The great success is clearly the “home lift”, present on very many stands, under different names, in hydraulic and traction versions. Fully enclosed and with automatic controls, the home lift is the perfect answer to the need of keeping senior citizens as long as possible in their homes and apartments, to keep the social security costs from exploding, with the greying of the European population.
It is of course always a low use application, for families or individuals, but the potential market for such applications is huge and was only partially covered until now by the lifts under the Machinery directive 2006/42/EC, respecting EN81-41. Platforms travel at very low speed (0.15 m/sec.); home lifts could and should travel faster, since there are fully enclosed and safe. Europe should look at the option taken in many advanced countries outside Europe, where the speed of such lifts is double and higher (0.30 to 0.50 m/sec), in order to open up this market to reasonably-priced vertical access solutions for existing and new houses and residential buildings. This should be envisaged in the CEN Work Group that will start working on EN81-42 (Lifts under the Machinery directive) in 2014.





The Italian lift industry presented an original space under the slogan “Italia Magnifica” linking the quality lift products and components “made in Italy” to the breathtaking design and quality of Ferrari cars, Ducati motor bikes or Armani clothing. An initiative that had a great success with the INTERLIFT visitors, consisting mainly of engineers and technicians who love technology & design!


Home lifts were everywhere to be seen on the booths. Here the stand of GMV, with its compact Home Lifty, a very intelligent energy efficient solution for private homes.