Lifts & Escalators

A project carried out by the Elevator Division of Al-Futtaim Engineering & Technologies.

A project carried out by the Elevator Division of Al-Futtaim Engineering & Technologies.

Taking efficiency to greater heights

The Elevator Division of Al-Futtaim Engineering & Technologies, which offers solutions from a range of principals and undertakes lift modernisation projects, says there is increasing demand for vertical transportation equipment that enhances sustainability.

June 2020

With over four decades of experience in catering to the vertical transportation (VT) requirements of the region and some of the most prominent projects in its portfolio, Al-Futtaim Engineering & Technologies can justifiably claim to have a pulse on the market.

It has witnessed interesting trends in the market such as a recent shift in demand from high-speed high-rise lifts to machine room-less (MRL) as well as energy-efficient models.

“Buildings consume about 40 per cent of the world’s energy and elevators account for two to 10 per cent of a building’s energy consumption. During peak times, elevators may even utilise up to 40 per cent of the building’s energy,” Murali S, Managing Director, Al-Futtaim Engineering & Technologies, tells Gulf Construction.

Hence, he says, there is increasing demand from the market to ensure all the vertical transportation equipment subscribes to the “green” agenda, which focuses on reducing energy consumption.

Murali S ... “New elevators provide efficiency gains of about 30 to 40 per cent”.

Murali S ... “New elevators provide efficiency gains of about 30 to 40 per cent”.

The Elevator Division of Al-Futtaim Engineering & Technologies offers products that come equipped with new technologies and best practices involving highly efficient motors, regeneration converters, control software, optimisation of counterweights and cabin lighting that can yield significant savings.

“New elevators provide efficiency gains of about 30 to 40 per cent compared to buildings with older lifts,” Murali points out.

In the residential segment, the division has seen great interest in the Hitachi home elevator. “With a single-phase motor, its energy consumption is often compared to an electric oven. This product is best suited to bespoke villas and townhouses, where its most silent operation ensures comfortable living,” he says.

Al-Futtaim Engineering & Technologies’ Elevator Division is the exclusive distributor of Hitachi (Japan), LM-Wittur (Germany), GLE (Spain) and BLT (China) elevators in the UAE, for which it offers sales, installation, commissioning and maintenance services. In addition, the division undertakes maintenance of select third-party elevator/escalator and lift modernisation projects with Service Max being the technology platform deployed in elevators maintenance.

Most of the elevators it offers feature advanced properties. GLE elevators, for instance, come equipped with artificial intelligence (AI)-powered controllers that learn from usage.

“They park themselves automatically at a particular floor and time, after self-studying a pattern to provide reduced waiting time and increased customisations. The vari-speed motor is unique to this product that has an option to switch between two speeds during operation,” Murali explains.

Apart from the UAE, the company has an office in Saudi Arabia, where it is the exclusive dealer for Toshiba (Japan), GLE and BLT elevators.

“Entrepreneurship and rigorous customer focus have enabled the Elevator Division to grow by responding to the changing needs of our customers,” Murali states.

The Elevator Division adopts a holistic approach to vertical transportation by offering design studies, traffic analyses, modernisation-related research and development (R&D) activities that also form part of its service portfolio.

The division has seen a huge uptake in its modernisation package solution for aged elevators.

“The modernisation package includes the replacement of existing controllers with a Swiss-made controller that has helped us achieve ‘zero breakdowns’ in our modernised elevators in buildings. The critical success factor here is the need to have the expertise to install and integrate a new controller with an existing elevator,” he explains.

Its product mix enables it to provide solutions to any requirement in the VT industry – whether it be for malls, hospitality, mixed-use, residential or hospitals, he claims.

In addition, over the past 40 years, its team has gained a vast amount of knowledge and expertise working across multiple projects of varying complexities and its special projects team is more than capable of providing solutions to meet the various VT needs.

“Whether it be a tight schedule project, a complex design that might need a customised VT solution or any other special project, the division is at the forefront of adapting to new requirements and proposing promising, durable, safe and efficient products and services,” he adds.

Until recently, the most popular product was high-speed high-rise lifts that have provided valuable VT solutions to complex projects in the country.  Currently, however, the most popular is the MRL elevator range, according to Murali.

“We have solutions for a wide variety of lifts in this range with different speeds and capacity. This also includes high capacity lifts of up to 10 tons. This range is equipped with the latest state-of-the-art technology, delivering the most energy-efficient and sustainable performances,” he adds.

Some of the division’s premium offerings are ultra-high-speed lifts from Hitachi, which are among the fastest lifts in the world and can travel up to 1,200 m/minute.  Hitachi also offers signature escalator and travelator solutions that have been assets to malls, airports and mixed-use buildings for several years due to their highly reliable performance.

Al-Futtaim Engineering’s Elevator Division has supplied Hitachi and LM-Wittur elevators/escalators for major real estate ongoing and completed projects including the recently opened Festival Plaza mall, the Deyaar’s Midtown project at Dubai Production City, Pulse Residential midrise project at Dubai South and Damac’s Paramount Tower Hotel & Residences in Dubai.

Providing details of the projects, he says for the Festival Plaza mall which was completed last December, it has supplied over 24 LM-Wittur MRL elevators of varying capacities ranging from 2,000 kg to 5,000 kg and 14 Hitachi escalators and eight travelators.

The varying needs of the customer and the fast-track nature of the project were some of the challenges the division faced in the Festival Plaza project.

“An exceptional product mix of high-capacity passenger and service lifts with complex design escalators was designed, manufactured and installed successfully in a very short period for the project. Perfect project planning and execution, in this case, was the need of the hour and we are happy to say we did a very good job,” he remarks.

The division also supplied and installed 31 Hitachi elevators at Deyaar’s Midtown, a signature township which was completed in the first quarter of this year.

Meanwhile, 33 Hitachi MRL elevators of capacities ranging from 1,275 kg to 1,600 kg have been supplied to the Pulse Residential midrise project, which is expected to be complete this year.

In addition, at the luxury Paramount Tower Hotel & Residences on Sheikh Zayed Road, some 13 Hitachi elevators which include ultra high-speed units have been supplied and installed by Al-Futtaim Engineering & Technologies. This project is expected to be completed by Q1 2021.

Given the current challenges presented by the coronavirus outbreak, Murali says the division has several safety procedures in place and meticulously followed.

“As far as our ongoing projects are concerned, we have taken numerous measures that comply with the guidelines issued by the health authorities of respective emirates that we operate in to ensure employee safety and as per Al-Futtaim Group guidelines,” he says. “We have invested heavily to ensure adequate personal protection equipment (PPE) in the form of goggles, face masks, gloves, sanitisers and other construction-related gear is provided to our workforce and is of top quality and matches the specifications stated by WHO.”

Al-Futtaim Engineering & Technologies offers customers complete engineering and systems integration solutions.  As an Al-Futtaim Group member serving the needs of the construction industry for over 40 years, the company is part of one of the leading Dubai headquartered business houses operating around the globe.

The engineering arm operates in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Egypt and provides a wide variety of products and services for the construction industry from air-conditioning, scaffolding and access solutions, elevators and escalators, control and life safety, facilities management, building products, MEP (mechanical, electrical and plumbing), technology infrastructure and digital transformation.  

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