Nu-Line Elevators have thousands of happy customers every day – it’s just that they might not realise it!
The company provides lifts and escalators in high profile, high-footfall locations like the Morning Glen shopping centre and Cape Town airport. But it’s also an unobtrusive business – meaning that it often only gets noticed when products occasionally need attention.
And that’s a pity as Nu-Line has got a great story to tell with its emphasis on training local people to the standard required by a company that prides itself on manufacturing excellence.
It also custom makes each piece of equipment, rather than importing items like many competitors.
Maybe it’s Nu-Line’s humble beginnings from a single workshop in 1990 that has led to the creation of homegrown pride. The company and its workforce are united in their approach.
As the company explained: “We have been manufacturing and installing elevator products in South Africa since 1990 and guarantee that our products are manufactured from the best quality material with emphasis on workmanship and safety.
“All products comply with the regulations and Nu-Line is a member of the Independent Lift Association of South Africa which helps regulate the elevator industry.
“We have a complete service department infrastructure that can offer maintenance on all our products installed throughout South Africa.
“Our products are already installed in Tanzania, Angola, Namibia, St Helena, Zimbabwe, Israel, Nigeria and Mozambique. With a strong technical team we can offer comprehensive product support and after sales service. The design team creates detailed product layout and installation drawings showing all building and electrical requirements.”
A full range of passenger elevators are available across the entire elevator design and price range. Interior options are endless as custom made products can incorporate special design themes and architectural features.
Key features include a load capacity from 300kg to 5000 kg, traction with counterweight, glass, steel and coated finishes. Car shapes can be square, rectangle, circular or custom design.
The goods hoist is designed to be robust and is able to work in the most industrial conditions. A solution can be offered to transport anything from tea trolleys to cars.
This is the ideal solution to gain access on various external levels on steep terrain. Any angle of incline can be accommodated. Extended glass panels allow more vision during a scenic ride.
The main function of an escalator is to connect the different floors of a building thereby allowing easy access. Escalators are used in business centres, shopping malls, railway stations and other public spaces.
Woolworths is regarded as an upmarket retail store throughout South Africa and offers high quality products. Likewise, they require a specified operating system and infrastructure for each store. Elevators are manufactured to the Woolworths specification with extra car height and floor area to enable the loading of larger items.
The Morning Glen Shopping Centre is a prime example of how Nu-Line products can be utilized in a retail development. The scenic glass elevator is positioned in the centre of the shopping mall offering travellers a panoramic view of all the floor levels. The goods passenger elevator serves to transport both people and goods while the goods hoists are more robust and are designed to accommodate the excessive loading and transport of merchandise to the various shops.
CAPE TOWN AIRPORT
A busy international airport needs to offer all options for transportation of goods and people. Nu-Line hoists are robust and are used to transport the suitcase trollies between the parking levels. The gun hoist is designed with special safety and security features for the transport of firearms. The platform lift is used by the office staff and offers a solution for employees with restricted mobility.
Company growth has been extremely robust even at a time when world economies are struggling. In fact, year-on-year sales have increased at around 20%, which in turn has led to further expansion of premises.
As has been mentioned, the company focuses on local labour skills, and this is important in a market that sometimes has challenges in terms of finding qualified technicians. As a result, in house training is a vital component
Health and safety training is also in place to educate company staff on key regulations to ensure that work is performed safely in order to prevent injury to employees or damage to equipment. Additionally, Nu-Line provides opportunities to the previously disadvantaged so that they may benefit from staff training and the option to progress internally.
Also, Nu-Line is a supporter of Learn to Earn. This is an NGO that assists training unemployed people in various life skills. They have two training centres – one in Khayelitsha Cape Town and one in Hermanus – and Nu-Line have assisted them by providing the labour to install lifts in both facilities at no cost.
Originally in South Africa, both the building regulations and SANS regulations were not very thorough for the design and requirements for the manufacturing of elevator products. Over time, and with a direct links to safety concerns, all of these laws have been amended so that South African National Standards (SANS) are in line with the EN81 international standard.
Nu-Line has around 100 projects in progress across Africa and is pushing for more. And much of this comes from word-of-mouth recommendation and repeat business.
A FASCINATING HISTORY
Elevators existed as far back as ancient Rome; Archimedes was building them in 336 B.C., and gladiators and animals rode lifts to the Roman Coliseum arena by A.D. 80. Of course, those early ‘elevators’ weren’t enclosed cars. They were simple platforms and hoists, typically used to perform tasks such as raising up water for irrigation or lifting heavy building materials such as stones.
These lifts were powered by animals, people or even water wheels.
What we’re really talking about is the modern passenger elevator. The first one was built for King Louis XV in 1743 and was called ‘The Flying Chair’. Installed on the outside of the King’s palace at Versailles, his elevator went from the first to the second floor.
Elevators became more common in the mid-1800s during the Industrial Revolution when they transported freight in factories and mines. These elevators were often based on the hydraulic system.
Another elevator design, and the one found most often today in passenger elevators, uses a cable system, in which ropes raise and lower the car by means of a pulley and gear system. A counterweight, raised and lowered at the same time as the car, works like a seesaw and helps to conserve energy. These types of elevators are easier to control, and buildings that have them don’t need the extra room required by hydraulic systems.
By the 1850s, these types of elevators were powered by water pressure or steam, but they still weren’t very common.
These days, hi-tech elevators are a world removed from these early efforts. The race to create the world’s tallest buildings has also brought challenges in terms of elevators, with techniques becoming ever more sophisticated. It is thought that in the near future there will be ropless lifts able to go sideways, as well as up and down.
Showcase buildings such as Burj Khalifa in Dubai and the Shanghai Tower have smart lifts able to zoom at 4,000 ft per minute.
All this involves technological innovation using new motors, high pressure air systems and powerful, slim magnet motors.