With a rich and diverse talent pool, Singapore is a showroom for how we use innovative technologies at every step of the elevators and escalators (E&E) lifecycle – all across the city there are projects that highlight how value is added at each step of the process.
There are not many developed countries around the world that have buildings taller than their highest natural points, but Singapore is one of them. Sitting at the tip of the Malay Peninsula, very close to the equator, the island nation is known for being hot, humid, and highly urbanized.
Singapore is a model for urban planning and has often been referred to as the "best-planned city" in the world. But as an island there is a finite amount of land which can be built on, so building new projects takes ingenuity and imagination. As a result, buildings are either getting taller or deeper, making vertical mobility increasingly important. Singapore is a stage for innovation.
"People always want the latest technology. Who wants last year’s smartphone?" Asks Anthony Lim Sales Director at Schindler. "That’s why in the elevator and escalator (E&E) business we always have to think five years into the future. Installations don’t happen overnight, but adaptability is built into the way we work so that we can always provide clients with state-of-the-art tech."
Former Managing Director of Schindler Singapore, Qiu Hai, who is now the President of the Escalator Division in China, described Singapore as "a nation of innovation". It’s truly an engineer’s dream. The government is a big supporter of software technology, but also knows that to build an innovation hub takes strong infrastructure. Singapore is a reference point to the world in terms of technology."
The city is also a showroom of our latest technologies that can be seen at every stage of the E&E lifecycle. Whether it is understanding how people will move through a building before it is even built using our in-depth traffic analysis, pioneering new ways of installation or our commitment to energy efficient products, examples can be found all over the city.
Our CleanMobility solutions help to address today’s challenges in a changing world, and our transit management system plays a key role in shaping the sustainability of buildings across the city. All of this is supported with responsive and personalized maintenance, based on real-time data, which adds reliability and transparency to our operations while providing excellent passenger experience.
But there is also a human element to technology. Singapore’s assorted background of cultures means the country not only has a fantastic array of culinary delights but also diverse and dedicated workforce. Michael Li, who took over as Managing Director in 2022, is a big believer in this. "Our key strength is our culture and our people. Our reputation in Singapore wasn’t built by luck, it’s the result of decades of reliability and collaboration with local developers," he explains. "Our aim is to provide value and innovation throughout the entire lifecycle of elevators and escalations. And at the heart of everything we do is sustainability."
One of Singapore’s newest skyscrapers, CapitaSpring, redefines what a modern building can be. While the building is home to a hawker's market (a famed dining experience in Singapore), offices and serviced apartments, it is perhaps best known as a biophilic skyscraper. One hundred meters above the ground, and 35 meters tall (the equivalent of 10 floors of a regular apartment block), is the building’s “Green Oasis”, a spiraling botanical promenade.
The Green Oasis houses over 38,000 plants and plays hosts to an amphitheater, a yoga alcove, jungle gyms, ideation nests, work pods, and a café. The roof of the building also supports Singapore's highest urban farm. Sitting 280 meters above the ground, the "Sky Garden," consists of five different themed gardens which, in part, supply the two restaurants on the roof with fresh produce – providing a unique farm-to-plate dining experience in the central business district.
To ensure that the experience of moving between all these different areas was as seamless as possible, our teams conducted an in-depth traffic analysis using our state-of-the-art traffic simulation software. By examining multiple scenarios before a building has even been built, we can keep waiting times to a minimum.
"Traffic analysis studies the performance of a group of elevators, based on certain assumptions about the expected traffic situation," explains Anthony Lim, Sales Director for New Installations. "The main focus is on capacity and waiting times. Using benchmark simulations, we can get a clear idea of how a group of elevators would perform under a wide range of traffic situations."
Once the elevators are in operation, our system continues to analyze and learn from the building’s traffic patterns – so that it’s continually improving its performance.
The elevators in CapitaSpring are not only efficient for end users. Equipped with regenerative drives, the Schindler Power Factor One (PF1) converters ensure an elevated level of energy efficiency: They use over 50% less energy than the more traditional brake resistor (BR) converters. This means the elevators regenerate power as they move – which can then be used by other electrical appliances in the building. It’s innovations like this that helped us attain the Singapore Green Building Council (SGBC) certification.
This innovation also helped CapitaSpring secure the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) Green Mark Platinum Award – one of the highest sustainability accolades in Singapore. With more than 30 years of experience conducting systematic analysis, we’re a pioneer in traffic planning, and we continue to set industry standards.
On May 20th 2022, we were awarded the Singapore Green Building Council (SGBC) certification marking another milestone of our focus on sustainability and green building advancement.
Our Schindler 5500 and Schindler 7000 elevators have received the SGBC score "Leader" (the highest score possible), while our Schindler 9300 and Schindler 9500 escalators have obtained the SGBC rating "Excellent".
This mean we can help make the process of attaining the Building and Construction Authority (BCA)'s building Green Mark Certification much easier for property owners and developers by providing a range of certified and pre-authorized products.
Don’t just take our word for it, though. The work we’ve done in traffic planning has played a decisive role in setting the first ISO (International Standards Organization) standard for the planning and selecting of elevators in buildings. Our simulation-based methodology and the corresponding design criteria are now endorsed as the global norm by the ISO, an independent, non-governmental organization, whose membership consists of different national standards bodies.
"This ISO norm underlines our leading role in reliable traffic planning. As a trusted partner in the building industry, we're proud to be a front runner enabling a common planning base that simplifies building traffic planning and provides planners and architects with more security when planning elevator installations," said Lukas Finschi, our Head of Building Traffic Management.
Data may still be king, but providing a 1:1 visual representation, through 3D panoramic views and video animations is an invaluable tool in bringing a project to life. This is precisely what the Building Integration Model (BIM) team does.
"Giving the client a view of how the final site will look is extremely powerful," explains Ernie Saini, BIM Assistant Manager. "It speeds up the whole process, as they can see what they’re getting instead of having to imagine it from mockups. There’s less back and forth on designs. Our clients now even have the option to view the BIM renderings using Oculus headset to provide a fully immersive experience."
Over the past few years, Ernie’s team has produced BIM rendering for high-profile jobs, such as the UOB Plaza and Apple’s regional headquarters – both landmarks in the Lion City. For the UOB Plaza, a modernization project won in 2021, the team provided an interactive experience, where the layouts could be viewed with the doors opened or closed and with the lights switched on and off.
It’s not just in the tendering process that BIM shines through. The team helps support and provide insights throughout the entire project lifecycle - Design, Installation, Operations, and Maintenance. For example, BIM is used to provide customers with a visual representation of the installation scheduling process.
The BIM team uses a range of software to develop its renderings, working directly with project stakeholders to make the digital journey more efficient and productive. "This means we can provide our customers with a clearer vision of large projects and also help make the construction industry greener," says Ernie. "Teamwork makes the BIM work!"
With the central business district (CBD) to the east and the Singapore Straits beyond Sentosa Island to the south, the Avenue South Residences provide expansive views of the city and beyond. Away from the bustle of downtown, the two 56-floor towers soar above their nearest neighbors. At 192 meters, they're now the world’s tallest residential towers constructed using prefabricated prefinished volumetric construction (PPVC).
There are a lot of benefits to prefabricating the building’s modules offsite. With less dust and noise pollution and fewer people on-site, the working environment is much safer and healthier than that of traditional construction sites. For the Avenue South Residences, it also meant that during Covid the modules could be stockpiled, ready for assembly – like Lego pieces waiting in their box.
The project was also the first in Singapore to use Schindler R.I.S.E, our innovative Robotic Installation System for Elevators.
"Have you ever drilled a hole in an elevator shaft before?" asks Dominic Stutz, our senior project manager at the Avenue South Residences. "It’s not easy! Your whole body shakes, and there are 12 bolts per level."
Several years before moving to Singapore, Dominic had heard about plans from a team at Schindler to develop a robot that could autonomously drill holes and set anchor bolts. But it wasn’t until he had been assigned to the Avenue South Residences project that he read on Schindler’s intranet that the technology was now available, having been used with great success on other projects in Europe, as well as in Dubai.
"I thought this would be a perfect project for Schindler R.I.S.E. We had a lot of bolts that needed drilling!"
Dominic started to make inquiries and within a matter of weeks, Schindler R.I.S.E was making its way down to Singapore, to the team’s great excitement. The main contractors for the Avenue South Residences project, United Tec Construction, were keen to use innovative technology. The robot, named Lea, drew a great amount of interest – even Desmond Lee, then Minister of National Development of Singapore, paid us a visit to see Schindler R.I.S.E firsthand in action.
With Lea put to work in the shafts, the installation team could work at a faster pace – our colleagues no longer had to manually drill and set the anchor bolts, a physically demanding and time-consuming task. It also meant less time in the elevator shaft, which, statistics show, is where most accidents happen.
"Schindler R.I.S.E is a perfect example of our commitment to developing smart cities of the future through advanced digital and urban mobility solutions," says Michael Li, Singapore Managing Director. "With a rapidly growing population and a scarcity of land, there's a growing need for taller buildings and faster transportation. Innovations like Schindler R.I.S.E help us to accommodate such demands by achieving new levels of productivity, worker safety, and quality."
Overall, ten of the Avenue South Residence’s towers elevator shafts were equipped using Schindler R.I.S.E. "Lea did an outstanding job, not only impressing the VIPs and the local media, but also advancing safety and efficiency on the building site," says Dominic.
A few kilometers across town, in the heart of the CBD, CapitaSpring used another one of our innovative technologies during construction to maximize on-site efficiency and safety: Schindler CLIMB Lift.
"Unlike traditional hoist lifts that are on the side of the building, Schindler CLIMB Lift is installed inside the building," explains Halim Draman, Project Director of the Large Project Team. "Instead of being a temporary fitting, it’s a permanent elevator that grows at the same speed as the construction."
Our Schindler CLIMB Lift offered a few advantages over a more traditional external hoist: It could be used around the clock, allowing building materials to be transported during night shifts – which is not possible with traditional hoist lifts due to regulations. Additionally, as it wasn’t exposed to outdoor elements, it could be used in all weather conditions. This all meant that productivity was increased, and that construction could move at a faster pace.
While Schindler CLIMB Lift allows faster transportation of workers and material to the desired destination, saving hours of waiting time across the project’s timeline, the technology also supports another key aspect: safety.
"Using Schindler CLIMB Lift means the work elevator is as safe as a permanent elevator. Workers don’t have to be outside on scaffolding," explains Halim. "They had a safe working platform that climbed with the building. It’s something that made the building’s contractors happy."
An added bonus to the work elevator being inside the building was that, without having to consider exterior hoists, the facade design could be finished earlier. Meaning the developer’s eyes could turn their attention to the building’s operations sooner.
Come rain or shine, our innovative technology and dedicated service teams are constantly at work behind the scenes to ensure everything runs safely, smoothly, and efficiently. Whether it’s traffic management, access security, or hygiene – we’ve got you covered.
On the west coast of Singapore, the Campus for Research Excellence And Technological Enterprise (CREATE) sets the benchmark high for scientific research facilities. CREATE’s buildings were designed to the highest sustainability standards. The buildings incorporate the use of natural features, making the most of daylight for lighting corridors, while operating on energy-efficient technologies – including our own Schindler elevators and escalators – to improve its environmental footprint.
CREATE is the first scientific facility to be awarded Singapore’s Building and Construction Authority (BCA)’s Green Mark Platinum Award. The campus is also equipped with our Schindler CleanMobility solutions, ensuring all the elevators and escalators are sanitary and safe at all times.
Escalators on the campus come equipped with our self-sanitizing Schindler Ultra UV handrails, while all elevators use our touchless control system, Schindler kNOw Touch, to minimize any unnecessary contact. In addition, the elevators are outfitted with our Schindler CleanAir air purification system, which keeps the elevator cabin air fresh during a ride, as well as with Schindler CleanCar, which disinfects the cabin after passengers have left. With this combination, we’re able to provide reliable hygiene protection for escalators and elevators across the campus.
Home to the world’s tallest indoor waterfall – as well as over 100,000 plants, trees, and shrubs – Jewel Changi Airport, in the east of the city, also uses our touchless call and service buttons, Schindler CleanCall. This allows 82 million visitors to pass through the airport annually to minimize contact with shared surfaces.
"Since the start of the pandemic, we've had a lot more enquiries about our Schindler CleanMobility solutions," says Azmi Bulat, Senior Chief Engineer, Service Task Force. "People have become more wary of touching things in public spaces, so we offer solutions that make their lives easier."
Perhaps the best example of touchless access in Singapore can be found at CapitaSpring, where the full range of our destination control system offering, Schindler PORT, is in use.
"We provided them with an all-in-one system," explains Halim Draman, Project Director of the Large Project Team. "At CapitaSpring, we've incorporated facial recognition, QR codes, and card readers to offer a full range of touchless access."
With over 80 facial recognition (FR) and QR access points, Schindler PORT Technology allows the tenants of CapitaSpring easy access throughout the building – all without ever compromising on security. To ensure people with disabilities have the same access experience, we also installed FR cameras on the side of turnstiles as well.
Guests can easily sign up to access our Schindler BuilT-In Visitor Management System, which securely manages access rights and can track user movements through the building in real time. And with our Schindler PORT integrated turnstiles, guests experience smooth, convenient authentication and receive personalized elevator assignments to destination floors directly at the gate.
At CapitaSpring, Schindler PORT Technology combines a seamless journey with sustainability – by integrating all our tech offerings we were able to help to conserve and manage energy consumption.
Destination control systems like Schindler PORT are also a must-have to qualify for the government’s Green Building certificate. "It’s not just new installations that are asking for Schindler PORT, but also a lot of modernization projects as well," Azmi explains. "Schindler PORT not only helps with security, but it has a big impact on traffic management. It helps to reduce waiting times and save energy. It’s a win–win all around."
If you were to ask someone on the streets of Singapore what Jewel Changi Airport and CapitaSpring have in common, there's a good chance they would say that both incorporate nature into their design. And they’d be right. Under the glass dome at Jewel Changi Airport, a terraced forest surrounds its indoor waterfall, the Rain Vortex, that cascades from the rooftop. CapitaSpring, for its part.is home to the city’s highest urban farm, and the biophilic skyscraper is wrapped halfway up with a botanical promenade bringing in nature closer than any other building around.
But they are all also connected by something else – Schindler Ahead.
Schindler Ahead is our Remote Monitoring & Diagnostics (RM&D) platform that collects real-time performance data from connected units. Whether they’re elevators, escalators, or moving walks, we’re able to use the power of the Internet of Escalators and Elevators (IoEE) to provide 24/7 equipment monitoring.
The data is collected using the Schindler Ahead Cube, our innovative monitoring solution that can be installed on new units, as well as on equipment that’s already in use. It’s straightforward to install, and, once set up, the information from these sensors can be monitored from our Technical Operations Center (TOC).
Housed in our Singapore office – in the industrial area of Kaki Bukit, in the east of Singapore – the TOC is the central nervous system of all our connected units.
“From the TOC, we can monitor all the connected equipment across Singapore,” says Azmi Bulat, Senior Chief Engineer for our Service Task Force. The system can tell us if a certain elevator door opens and closes the most, or if there have been any minor incidents that may not have been picked up otherwise. “For example, if an elevator door takes longer than it should to open, we can investigate what’s going on and fix the issue before it becomes a problem.”
“In Singapore, you can see the government has really embraced the technology,” says Michael Li, Schindler Singapore Managing Director. In July 2022, the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) promoted the use of Remote Monitoring & Diagnostics (RM&D) solutions for elevators, saying that during trails RM&D solutions increased manpower productivity by 25%. “Buildings that are connected not only have less downtime, but also provide the customers with more transparency on how their facilities operate.”
Greater transparency has led to fewer emergency callbacks. In laymen's terms, this translates into more uptime – and happier customers.
It’s not just good news for elevators. “For escalators, the downtime is greatly reduced, too,” explains Say Fong Foo, one of our maintenance engineers. “Before, we’d have had to take out the step board to figure out what was going on, but now we can see the controller from our phones. So, we know what the issue is before we even get to the site, and we can make sure we bring the right parts or equipment.”
Giving our technicians easy access to real-time detailed information of what’s going on inside our units results in fewer trips to and from the site – and sometimes issues can be resolved remotely. This is not just great for our customers, but also for the environment as well.
We've found that by moving to remote maintenance we can reduce our carbon emissions by up to 80% – a figure certified by TÜV Rheinland, one of the leading certification agencies in the world.
Connectivity will play an important role in modernizing buildings in the fight against climate change. It’s estimated that 80% of today’s buildings will still be standing in 2050, so there’s a real need to help modernize them. One of the ways we can do this is by creating a connected network of all of our elevators and escalators so that we can monitor their operations 24/7. The Schindler Cube allows us to do just that. It’s a smart communication gateway that can be connected to almost all elevators and escalators, even non-Schindler units that enables us to connect the units to the internet. Once connected, the Schindler Cube provides a constant stream of information about how the elevator or escalator is working, contributing to more reliable and sustainable equipment.
Close to 30% of our installed units in Singapore are already connected and monitored using Schindler Ahead – improving diagnostics, service reliability, and the units’ longevity, while helping to make places like Jewel Changi Airport and CapitaSpring a little bit greener.