On November 23, the 2022 edition of the SBS Lift Forum took place online. This year, EFESME and SBS - Small Business Standards dedicated the SBS Lift Forum to special tools and instructions for use, a topic of the outmost importance for the entire industry, and to the crucial role played by harmonised standards in making them accessible and available at the installation site.
Special tools and instructions for use, and their constant presence and availability at the site of a lift installation, are of fundamental importance for the work of European lift SMEs, especially those involved in maintenance. In this context, European standards play a key role in facilitating such access and availability “in time and space”, and in supporting the creation and implementation of an increasingly SME-friendly working environment, mainly through the action of their technical experts within the European standardisation and working groups that matter most, with the continuous support of SBS.
During the event, the European Commission and the technical experts involved had the opportunity to address this crucial topic for European lift SMEs from different perspectives, in order to give the public a complete and well-rounded perspective.
The event opened with introductory speeches by the President of EFESME, Mr. Massimo Bezzi, and the Secretary General of SBS - Small Business Standards, Mrs. Maitane Olabarria Uzquiano. Emphasising two different but interconnected points of view, that of the European lift SMEs on the one hand and European standardisation on the other, Mr. Bezzi and Mrs. Olabarria Uzquiano reminded the audience that special tools and instructions for use are not a new topic for the sector, quite the contrary. EFESME and SBS have been working together on these topics over the years, aware that this is a crucial topic for the daily work of the small and medium-sized enterprises that, jointly, the two associations represent in Europe.
Both emphasised that the availability of special tools and instructions should be ensured on the installation site, to properly allow easier and safe maintenance operations and to support the implementation of a true level-playing field in the industry.
From left to right: Mr. Patrick Cox - Tree; EFESME President Massimo Bezzi; Dr. Frauke Hoss - EU Commission; EFESME Advisor Elettra Bilibio;
SBS Secretary General Maitane Olabarria Uzquiano; Mr. Ivan Ferrarini - Farma; and Mr. Paolo Tattoli - UNI.
Entering into the more technical part of the event, the first panel was a sort of second introduction to the topic, but reaching towards modernity and the future. Where the opening speeches highlighted and summarised the steady importance of special tools and instructions for use, and the activities carried out so far in this regard with the various stakeholders, this first panel revolved around the role that digitalisation is playing and will increasingly play in the future on this subject.
Mr. Patrick Cox, CEO of the Tree Consortium in Italy, drew from his day-to-day experience, and emphasised the importance of digitalisation as a formidable tool to enable SMEs to harness the creativity that characterises them and is one of their strengths.
Mr. Cox outlined three key points for digitalisation to best utilise its potential for the benefit of SMEs and their activities towards a faster, more attractive and customer-friendly system:
- Support technological development within lift SMEs with investments that enable them to develop better services based on the proactivity and predictability of their interventions, with benefits for both the SME itself and the customer;
- Create a new type of relationship with the users, so that they in turn understand the importance of the digital approach and the benefits for them as well;
- Train technical experts and provide them with a working environment where they can work at their best.
In this context, the role of standardisation to make special tools and instructions for use available has enormous potential to create a level-playing field within which all stakeholders involved can move in the same way and with the same opportunities. According to Mr. Cox, following these three points will lead SMEs to transform their business in an increasingly digital way, to be true market players supported by appropriate harmonised standards that are tailored to them.
Presentation: The importance of standards and special tools, and the role of digitalisation
The second panel, to go into the details of the topic from different points of view, opened with the intervention of Dr. Frauke Hoss, Policy Officer of the European Commission - DG GROW H.2, the team dedicated to Machinery & Equipment and working on the lift sector.
Dr. Hoss explained to those present that the standards, and the references to special tools and instructions for use within them, do exist, but that there are also problems in their implementation that need to be resolved.
This was an extremely important consideration, especially since the instructions for use should be part of the standards, and the standards themselves are currently being revised to bring them up to date with the latest market developments.
In the same spirit of revision, there should be more clarity as to which requirements are covered by the standards, and how they are duly applied once they are updated. This is an ever-evolving regulatory framework, which ties in with the ongoing and future revisions of the Machinery Directive (update on EHSRs due to technological innovations), the Cyber Resilience Act (cybersecurity for digital products), and the Lift Directive (operation in emergencies).
The presence of the European Commission and its Officers at these events is crucial for SMEs, as it allows them to have a forum for direct discussion with one of the most important stakeholders involved in the development not only of standards, but also of working conditions themselves at European level.
Following Dr. Hoss, Mr. Paolo Tattoli, Chairman of the UNI Lift Committee CT019, presented the results of a survey he has started to carry out among the notified bodies in Italy, which he hopes to expand soon by contacting the other EFESME members. The subject of this research was, precisely, the availability of special tools and instructions for use, going into the specifics of what is actually present at the installation site.
Based on four questions distributed to different engineers throughout Italy, the research reported very different results, demonstrating that there is no common approach due also to the lack of clear and verifiable prescriptions in the lift safety standards.
In his conclusion, Mr. Tattoli once again stressed the lack of special tools and instructions for use on site, and once again underlined the potential that standards can have to better define this important circumstance, a leitmotif present throughout the event.
Presentation: A survey of what is present at the site of the lift
Mr. Ivan Ferrarini - Farma and Mr. Paolo Tattoli - UNI
Finally, Mr. Ivan Ferrarini, head of the technical department of an Italian SME and SBS expert within CEN TC 10 WG 1 and TF HaS, gave an overview of the evolution in recent years of the presence of special tools and instructions within the most important standards for the sector and within the Lift Directive. This comprehensive overview made it possible to demonstrate in detail how this issue is not new, but rather has been a topic of discussion and debate for many years among the many stakeholders involved, going back to what was initially introduced during the opening speeches.
Mr. Ferrarini also presented some proposals for the future, in order to continue to support and encourage the presence of the special tools and instructions for use at the installation - an encouragement of great importance, coming from a SME stakeholder with valuable experience based on everyday work.
Presentation: EC and CEN timeline about «Special tools» and «Instructions»
The event was an important opportunity to discuss an issue that is very much felt by SMEs and which impacts their daily business in a significant way. Bringing together the various stakeholders, discussing together the position of SMEs, and coming up with proposals for the future, are all fundamental steps towards greater accessibility and availability of special tools and instructions for use, supported by harmonised standards that also provide clarity and transparency on this aspect of the sector, and towards an increasingly SME-friendly working environment.
EFESME wishes to thank SBS for their cooperation in organising the Forum, the speakers for their interesting and useful presentations to better understand this crucial topic, and the audience for their participation.
We look forward to seeing you next year with more events and initiatives to bring European lift SMEs ever closer to the world of standardisation and make them more active players!