ELCA Position & priorities

The industrial concentration in the lift sector over the last decades has led to a situation which does not favour a healthy competition on the European market and the neighbouring countries. ELCA wishes to increase the transparency on the lift market and to promote the innovation and creativity of small and medium-size companies manufacturing lifts, lifting equipment and their components. Contrary to most industrial sectors, the lift industry has remained very traditional in its organisation, which has not favoured the development of technology and innovation. This can be perceived at many levels, from the creation and upgrading of standards, to the pricing of new lifts versus the pricing of their maintenance.
Here are some of the top priorities of ELCA and its members:

 

- Normalization
- Energy Efficiency
- Hydraulic lifts
- Home lifts
- Maintenance and the availability of special tools
- Tele-alarms and the digitalization of the telecommunication networks
- Protection of design property rights
- Listening to the industry


Normalization: safety of users and of lift technicians is a paramount objective for all enterprises of the sector. ELCA believes that the development and upgrading of standards at the European normalization body CEN should not be managed solely by the lift industry. Those who have to apply legislation can’t be the ones writing it. The safety experts from the Notified Bodies should be setting the agenda and the pace, with the industry in attendance. Moreover, representatives of the users and owners of lifts must participate to the normalization process, as is the case in North America for example. It is considered as normal practice in other industrial sectors, where safety is a very important issue.


Energy efficiency has become a priority for all economic activities. The building sector represents nearly a third of all energy consumed in Europe. Lift and lift component manufacturers producing controllers, doors, electronics, hydraulic or traction systems and other components are very much aware of the need to consume as little as possible. There is a lot to gain in the idle/standby modes, for all types of lifts, but the improvements in the running of lifts, whether traction or hydraulic elevators, are negligible. The work carried out at CEN and ISO should therefore put the savings in perspective and be more respectful of the European legislation. The classification should be identical in all building applications for every type of lift. Hydraulic lifts cannot be considered as more energy-consuming than electric lifts. ELCA will help the different families of lift components to perceive the importance of adapting to the new standards and guidelines, and to participate to the analysis of the energy issues for each type of component.


Hydraulic lifts are perfect for low rise applications, especially for residential buildings. They are often a less costly and perfect option in terms of energy efficiency for residential lifts. For goods lifts and heavy applications in industry, hydraulic lifts are simply the only solution. Therefore, the “blanket” declarations that are to be found in the draft documents by ISO or CEN at the request of some lift manufacturers are simply wrong, unacceptable and counterproductive for the whole lift industry.


Home lifts are a priority for ELCA. The fast ageing of the European population makes it necessary to keep senior citizens at home as long as possible. The different home lift applications, in existing or new individual houses and residential buildings constitutes a great potential for the lift industry, particularly for Small and Medium-size Enterprises, which have the flexibility to install such lifts. It is essential that next to open platforms for people with disabilities (under standard EN81-41), with a reduced speed of 0.15 m/sec, the huge potential for the accessibility of senior citizens, with more temporary and permanent disabilities be enhanced by a new class of lifts under the Machinery directive. These “home lifts, fully enclosed and similar to the American LULA (Low Use, low applications), should be faster than platforms. They will be governed by EN81-42, under the Machinery directive 2006/42/EC, and will complement the lift products, falling under the Lifts directive 95/16/EC. This means modifying the Machinery directive at the earliest possible revision date.


Maintenance and the availability of special tools. Lift maintenance has not evolved over the last decades as the car industry has for example. The number of visits, often imposed by legislation is very high for poor results in terms of reliability of lifts. The varying cost of maintenance across Europe is disturbing and should evolve, according to what the new technologies permit today. Moreover, special tools for the latest generations of lifts should be made much more available to all maintenance companies in the lift sector, if only for a healthy competition and the safety of both users and lift maintenance technicians. ELCA will work with the other associations in the sector to make sure the lift industry is a level playing field for all operators.


Tele-alarms and the digitalization of the telecommunication networks in Europe. All European telecom operators are in the process of digitalizing their networks. This move is welcome by the lift electronics manufacturers, provided the safety of tele-alarms is safeguarded. It is presently not always the case. Regular data-transmission by the lifts to its call centre are sometimes not relayed properly by the VoIP networks, and can cause entrapment to become fatal to the users. Recent examples show that it is not a danger to be taken lightly. ELCA will make sure the European commission acts on this important issue for the safety of the whole population. Tele-monitoring is a promise for the future that the lift industry should better understand and develop.


Protection of design property rights. European products are systematically copied by Chinese, Indian or even Turkish manufacturers. The original product designers and manufacturers in Germany, Italy or Spain for example, are much affected and even find copies of their own products on lifts installed by European installers, including multinationals. Selling to emerging countries increases the risks of seeing one’s products copied of course. ELCA asks the European Commission to protect European companies’ design property rights, to efficiently forbid and fine the sale of copied products in Europe, and to provide legal aid to the original product manufacturers in Europe.


Listening to the industry. Listening to lift and lift component manufacturers, identifying the issues where a caucus, discussions are needed to develop new markets, to agree on a better safety, energy efficiency and maintenance of lifts across Europe and its periphery. Helping companies and the industry in its dialogue with the European institutions, these are priorities for ELCA, that wants to remain lean and efficient, inexpensive to join, and above all giving the word and really listening to SMEs, to component manufacturers, to the users’ association, starting with the senior citizens and the disabled, but also to the builders & owners of buildings. ELCA organizes Work Groups on specific component families, to identify issues and try to solve them with the European authorities. ELCA wants to make a difference, to be fast and efficient. Join us!

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