The accepted wisdom is that there would be no Las Vegas as we know it without the invention of air conditioning. And neon lights. It is also true that there would be no skyscrapers without the invention of the elevator. A five-flight walkup is bad enough without trying a 20-story high rise. But early elevators caused concerns about safety and the decades since those steam-powered lifts were installed in the 1800s have included many safety-related improvements. Rarely do we think about the modern elevators as anything but safe and secure.
One reason for this is the dedication of elevator companies to testing and retesting all innovations to their “vertical vehicles.” A leader in this field is TK Elevator, a spin-off from thyssenkrupp AG of Germany. TK Elevator opened a new North American headquarters in Atlanta, investing in R&D and innovative mobility solutions that will address the needs of current and future customers throughout the U.S. and Canada.
The three-building complex at The Battery Atlanta features 205,000 square feet of office space and includes the 420-foot-tall IQC (Innovation and Qualification Center with the tallest elevator test tower in North America. The new headquarters will eventually be home to approximately 10% of TKE’s workforce in North America.
Indeed, the cornerstone of the new headquarters is the IQC, which includes industry-leading R&D and software labs, a digital showroom, engineering offices, and training facilities as well as event and meeting spaces located at the top of the building. Anchoring the North American research and development facility is a modern elevator test tower. With 18 shafts, the test tower will be used to trial new concepts and product pilots, including high-speed elevators and TWIN, TK Elevator’s elevator system that features two cabins working independently in one shaft.
In addition, the test tower will also conduct robust tests to ensure compliance with stringent safety requirements on standard elevators. The IQC will also be home to ITS (Intl. Technical Services), TK Elevator’s exclusive network of experts who provide technical expertise and spare parts support for TKE and competitor units, as well as SEED Campus, TKE’s new North American training hub for all employees.
The IQC is currently being evaluated for the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification. In its pursuit of LEED Gold certification, TK Elevator recognized a 12% reduction in embodied carbon compared to typical construction through concrete mix optimization by using ground granulated blast furnace slag and fly ash which allows for a significant saving of carbon-dioxide emissions. The IQC also features more than 11,000-sq.ft. of LED mesh with 2.4-million-pixel virtual resolution that will illuminate the Atlanta skyline while also symbolizing TKE’s bright future in North America.
TK Elevator North America has more than 11,000 employees – approximately 9,000 in the U.S. – across over 160 locations in the U.S. and Canada. Those locations include the LEED Gold certified manufacturing facility in Middleton, Tennessee, as well as the ITS Centre in Toronto, Canada. In fiscal year 2020-2021, TK Elevator North America generated more than $3 billion, accounting for more than one-third of TK Elevator’s total global revenue. In addition, TK Elevator achieved growth across its core business lines (new installation, modernization, and service) in Canada and the U.S. as it continues to expand its sizable footprint across North America.
Since becoming a standalone company in 2020, TK Elevator has achieved numerous successes including expanding installations and increasing subscriptions for MAX, the industry’s first predictive maintenance IoT (Internet of Things) solution. TK Elevator launched AGILE mobile in February 2021, which allows tenants to operate an elevator via their smartphone or wearable device. AGILE mobile is installed in approximately 12 major cities across North America.
TK Elevator also installed its environmentally friendly elevators at the Summit House at Pikes Peak in Colorado Springs, Colorado. At the time, it was the highest ongoing construction site in North America at more than 14,000-ft. above sea level. More than 1,000 miles north of Colorado Springs, TK Elevator provided Telus Sky in Calgary, Alberta, with the fastest elevators in Western Canada. And as part of its congoing ESG commitment, TK Elevator incorporated the first electric vehicle into its North American service fleet in 2021.
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