Insights: EEF member T A Savery elevates British engineering to new heights

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More than 300 years after inventing the first commercially used steam powered engine, EEF member T A Savery has achieved another world first.

The Coventry-based company, which trades as energy absorption specialist Oleo International, and hydraulic solutions provider Savery Hydraulics, has recently manufactured the world's largest elevator buffer.

The new elevator safety technology will be installed in some of the world's tallest buildings and is the only system capable of supporting elevator drop speeds in excess of 20 metres per second.


Image: The world's largest elevator buffer test tower

It was the firm's founder, Captain Thomas Savery, who patented the early steam engine in 1698 and helped shape the development of subsequent steam machinery that drove the Industrial Revolution.

This pioneering and inventive spirit has continued. Today, the company exports 85% of its innovative British engineered products to overseas markets and was presented with the Queen's Award for International Trade in 2015.

Its elevator buffers can be found in the world's most iconic towers, including Petronas Tower, Taipai 101, Shanghai World Financial Center, Jin Mao Building, Burj Khalifa, World Trade Centre, Empire State Building, Al Hamra, Eiffel Tower, Tokyo Skytree, and Shanghai's Oriental Pearl Tower.

While Oleo already designs, manufactures and installs safety buffers that support elevator speeds of 11.62 metres per second (41.6km/h - 25.8mph), until now, technology and equipment has not been available to cope with speeds in excess of 20 metres per second (72 km/h - 44.6mph).  

Key to the company's success is continuous innovation and investment in research and development. This includes the creation of the world's largest dedicated elevator buffer test tower, which stands 33 metres tall and is part of TA Savery's global production facility in Coventry.

Development of the new certified HSL 115 and HSL 72 ultra high speed elevator buffers has taken two years and cost more than £1.5 million. This is already paying off, with orders in excess of £1 million agreed and significant new project enquiries. By pushing the boundaries, the company is enabling the development of faster elevators and ultra high rise buildings approaching 1km tall.

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