Greetings from Augsburg, Germany, where the bustling city hosted Interlift 2023, the biggest event in the lift industry. With over 500 exhibitors from 38 countries, it is a global gathering of innovators, enthusiasts, and industry leaders.
According to the organizers, this year’s Interlift is more international than ever, with 73 percent of exhibitors coming from outside Germany. Italy took the lead among foreign exhibitors at 23%, followed closely by Turkey at 18%, China at 15%, Spain at 9%, and India rising to 5th place at 4%. As I wandered through the seven bustling trade halls, I was met with a stunning array of components essential for building and maintaining lifts and escalators, which we often take for granted daily.
When we think about escalators, it’s incredible to realize their long history, dating back to the 19th century. The first escalator patent was credited to Nathan Ames in 1859, and today, these ingenious devices are a standard feature in public facilities worldwide. According to Elevatori Magazine, over 125 years have passed since installing the first escalator, and the global count exceeds 800,000.
One notable observation during my exploration of this dynamic industry was the prominent role that IT technology has assumed. IoT (Internet of Things) has become the cornerstone of modern lift and escalator installations. Sensors now monitor various aspects of usage, enabling predictive maintenance and offering valuable insights from an administrative standpoint. This real-time data allows property managers to monitor usage patterns, peak activity times, and user quantity statistics, a must-have for anyone conscientious about property management. Furthermore, cloud computing and telecommunication modules are standard components in these setups, emphasizing the industry’s push toward digital transformation.
Sustainability also takes center stage, with innovative solutions like solar-powered lifts on display. For car enthusiasts, lift garages that can hide your prized vehicles beneath your garden are now a reality. However, what truly caught our attention was the integration of sensors, particularly lidar and video imaging, for maintenance measurements and safety enhancements. It’s heartening to see the industry embracing the advanced technologies we bring to the market.
Our fall detection technology is ideal for escalators, and we’ve already supported installations with a specialized AI model. The focus on escalator safety is intensifying, and inquiries are increasing, given that safety has always been a top priority in escalator design. We’ve all experienced those tense moments while carrying heavy bags on an escalator, and the statistics regarding escalator accidents are a stark reminder of the importance of safety. Several thousand were reported in the USA by the Consumer Product Safety Commission in the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, and several hundred were reported in the Netherlands alone, given by Liftinstituut referring to VeiligheidNL.
Organizations like Liftinstituut have launched impactful escalator safety campaigns, such as https://www.escalator-safety-instructions.com, to address these concerns. If you haven’t seen our trailer promoting this serious issue with a touch of humor, watch it:
In conclusion, my visit to Interlift 2023 was a fantastic experience. I engaged in insightful conversations with industry innovators who are receptive to new ideas and eager to embrace innovation. Whether you’re interested in escalator fall detection technology or have other groundbreaking ideas for implementing computer vision in this industry, please don’t hesitate to contact us. Greetings from Bavaria, where the days are still warm, but the mornings bring a refreshing start to each day!