As the cities are going vertical, elevators and escalators are becoming important part of the high rise building design. Latest technology is redefining designs of
elevators and escalators, which are more energy efficient with lower maintenance cost. Sebi Joseph, President, Otis India, in Conversation with Manish Arora
What is your view on Government’s Smart Cities Mission and how can OTIS India be a part of it?
The government’s Smart City initiative will fuel the need for smart and efficient technologies to support urban growth. This growth is the result of a trend, Otis has been watching for years. Urbanization is driving increased need for housing, and the elevator industry plays an important role in supporting that growth. Currently 340 million people, or 30 percent of the country’s population live in cities. According to a recent McKinsey report, by 2030 it is expected that cities will house 590 million people or 40 percent of the population, and that India will have 68 cities with populations of more than 1 million. Future cities and developing economies hold a lot of potential for infrastructure growth and therefore, urbanization is a major driver for the elevator segment in India.
In addition, Otis is working with leading technology providers to transform our business, and our industry, with innovation that better connects our people, products and customers to one another. Our next generation approach is more than just a new technology or single piece of equipment - it represents a commitment by the entire Otis team to combine movement and connectivity in new and exciting ways, and it aligns with the goals of the Smart Cities initiative.
Otis India is positioned to deliver to this growing segment with its expanded facility in Bengaluru, which has tripled in size and doubled in manufacturing capacity. The facility includes a new elevator test tower, standing at a height of 51.2 meters with the ability to test up to five elevators at a time. Collocated with the factory is Otis’ R&D center in India that has also significantly expanded its engineering capacity in recent years. The elevators manufactured at the facility are from the Otis Gen2 line and are specifically designed to meet the needs of India’s buildings and cities.
Please share with us a brief about some of your key products and technologies?
Otis has introduced two new elevator products in India that are specifically designed to meet the needs of the country’s buildings and cities.In 2015, Otis India introduced the Gen2 Infinity. Locally manufactured at the Bengaluru factory, this is a high speed (1.75 meters per second) passenger elevator that caters to mid-rise residential buildings, which are fast becoming a common feature across tier 1 and 2 cities in the country today. Last year in 2016, Otis announced the launch of the Gen2 Core, an energy efficient elevator designed to meet the needs of the Indian mass and affordable housing segments. With a speed of 0.7 meter-per-second (MPS) and options of machine-room or machine-room less arrangements,this elevator is ideal for low-rise residential buildings. A majority of the Indian residential segment have buildings that are less than 6 to 7 stories high. The Gen2 Core offers this segment an elevator that is environmentally responsible.
As India continues to urbanize, sustainable solutions will play a key role, and the Gen2 offers just that through its energy saving and space conservation features. Affordable homes do not just mean the cost accessibility of the home, but also lower operational and maintenance costs. Sustainable features are key to any affordable housing project. This product offer environmentally responsible elevators for low-rise buildings across the country especially into tier-1 and tier-2 cities.
As Gen2 elevators, these come with Otis’ technological breakthroughs that address the increasing demand for ‘green’ elevators. For example, the ReGen Drive captures energy that would otherwise be wasted by the elevator and feeds it. The elevators manufactured at the facility are from the Otis Gen2 line and are specifically designed to meet the needs of India’s buildings and cities back into the building’s power grid. Combined, the Otis Gen2 elevator machine and the ReGen drive reduce energy consumption by up to 75 percent under normal operating conditions, compared to conventional systems with non-regenerative drives.
As for existing elevators, they can be made energy efficient by adding the Variable Frequency Drives (VF drive) in the door system and elevator control system. VF drives regulate power and help with optimizing energy usage.
ReGen drives can additionally be fitted to an existing system. And autofan and auto-light switch off operations can also be adopted and LED lights can be used to replace tube lights inside the elevator car. Otis is also working on developing smart elevators. A smart elevator is a connected elevator capable of communicating with passengers, building managers, service staff and other building systems to improve the passenger experience and elevator performance, especially through improved elevator maintenance. We think the next developments in elevator technology leverage digitalization. Existing Otis technologies such as the Compass Destination Management System, which constantly evaluates real-time passenger traffic to improve flow and travel time in busy mid- and high-rise buildings, are the start of this trend.
How has been the response of Government to introduce OTIS elevators across various places for ease of services for common citizens?
Mobility is important and we understand that for many people, elevators and escalators are an important part of getting around, especially as more people move to cities and buildings grow taller. Generally, we welcome efforts to promote sustainable solutions that will support the current and future needs of India’s citizens.
What is your focus on after sales services across government departments?
Otis maintains more than 1.9 million elevators and escalators globally and over 60,000 units in India. Service is a critical to ensure the performance standard of each elevator and escalator is maintained, as well as prolong the life of the equipment. This applies to elevators and escalators in buildings across all sectors, including government.
Otis provides 24/7 service and support in major metropolitan areas via the centralized helpline – OTISLINE. To ensure easy access to customers we have the largest service network with 80 centers servicing 300 cities.
To show our commitment to service, we conduct an AES, or Annual Equipment Survey, a complete health check done on all elevators we maintain. At the end of the check, each elevator is certified as safe and is checked on important parameters. This is done irrespective of the type of maintenance contract the customer holds with us.
Our commitment to customer focus, with outstanding equipment performance, is key our to business success. For example, the Otis Elite service program combines cuttingedge technology with our service expertise to deliver a priority service that goes beyond maintenance to offer an array of customer focused benefits.
Further strengthening the services offered is eService for Otis customers. This service allows building owners and managers who have an existing maintenance contract with Otis to view their elevators’ performance details around the clock. What is your view on the Indian safety standards for elevators and escalators?
To our knowledge, statutory requirements apply to only a few states in India and not all. These requirements cover general safety requirements including minimal safety features, frequency of maintenance and annual inspection details. Otis is an advocate of tightening regulations to include safety requirements in all states.
Any new technology to be launched in the coming days?
The Otis Bengaluru factory is gearing up to offer even higher speed elevators on Otis’ global flagship technology platform – the Gen2