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Otis Elevator

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Otis Elevator

Otis Elevator Company
Subsidiary of UTC
Industry Vertical Transport Systems
Founded 1853 (acquired in 1976)
Headquarters Farmington, Connecticut, U.S.
Products Elevators and Escalators
Revenue $11.6 billion (2010)
Employees Approximately 61,000

The Otis Elevator Company is the world's largest manufacturer of vertical transportation systems, principally focusing on elevators and escalators.[1] Founded in Yonkers, New York, United States, in 1853 by Elisha Otis, the company pioneered the development of the 'safety elevator', invented by Otis in 1852, which used a special mechanism to lock the elevator car in place should the hoisting ropes fail.

Otis has installed elevators in some of the world's most famous structures, including the Eiffel Tower, Empire State Building, World Trade Center, The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, Petronas Twin Towers, Burj Khalifa, CN Tower, the Hotel del Coronado, and the Skylon Tower.

Statistically, Otis is the world's most popular transportation company.[2] It is estimated that the equivalent of the world's population travel in Otis elevators, escalators and moving walkways every three days. According to United Technologies, Otis elevators carry the equivalent of the world's population every nine days.[3]

Otis was acquired by United Technologies in 1976 and is a wholly owned subsidiary. The company has over 61,000 employees, with 2007 revenue of US$11.885 billion. The company headquarters are located in Farmington, Connecticut.

Otis has also dabbled in horizontal automated people-mover "shuttle" systems, such as the Otis Hovair. In 1996, Otis formed a joint venture called Poma-Otis Transportation Systems with the French company Pomagalski to promote these products.

Otis Elevator Company purchased Evans Lifts in the UK. Evans Lifts Ltd. was the oldest and largest manufacturer of lift equipment in the UK and was based in Leicester, England. Otis' Customer Care Centre is still based in the old Evans Lifts building in Leicester. The building has since been extended by Otis.

There are still some installations of Evans Lifts being used today. Notably, an original Evans Lift is still in the Silver Arcade in Leicester. It formerly transported people to the upper floors, but the upper floors are no longer occupied so the lift is no longer used.

Gen2 elevator

Otis entered the machine-room-less market with the introduction of the Gen2 elevator system. Otis designed a technology system that employs flat polyurethane-coated steel belts that replace the heavy, woven steel cables which have remained the industry standard since the late 19th century. The belts are approximately 3 mm (0.1 inch) thick and allow for a smaller sheave than conventional elevators. Together with a redesigned machine, this allows the machine to be mounted within the hoistway itself.

The Gen2 elevator is Otis' machine-room-less competitor to the Mitsubishi Elenessa and DiamondTrac; Kone EcoDisc; Schindler 400A and 3300; ThyssenKrupp Synergy; and Fujitec Talon.

President and chairman

  • Elisha Graves Otis and Susan A. Houghton, circa 1853
  • William Delavan Baldwin, circa 1926[4][5]
  • Percy L. Douglas, ? to 1964[6]
  • Fayette S. Dunn, 1964 to ?[7]
  • Didier Michaud-Daniel, 2008 to 2012
  • Pedro Sainz de Baranda, 2012 to present


  • On July 24, 2009, a group of 8 people were trapped for 8 hours in an Otis elevator in Toronto. A repair man who tried to fix the elevator fell 10 floors to his death.[8]
  • On July 5, 2011, an Otis 513MPE escalator installed at port A of Beijing Subway Line 4 Zoo Station escalator changed direction without notice, causing 30 people to fall. One boy was killed and 27 people injured, prompting China to halt the use of the escalator model. A Beijing official called the 513MPE escalator "defects in design, manufacturing and maintenance," and Otis had "unavoidable responsibility for the accident."[10] Shenzhen Metro authorities confirmed that the cause of the accident was also similar to the Shenzhen accident on December 14.[9]


In February 2007, European Union regulators fined Otis Elevator 225 million Euros for being part of a price-fixing cartel on the Belgian, Dutch, Luxembourg and German market.[11] Competitors ThyssenKrupp, Schindler Group, Kone and Mitsubishi Elevator Europe were also fined similar amounts in the same cartel.[12]

Biggest contracts

In October 2013, Otis won its biggest ever contract,[13] it will supply 670 elevators and escalators to the Hyderabad Metro.[14] Its 2nd biggest contract was in 2012 to supply 349 elevators for the Hangzhou metro.[15]

Factory locations

Otis had a factory in Bloomington, Indiana. They still use the offices on the site.

Otis had a factory in Yonkers, New York. It was closed in 1983 and is now a Kawasaki rail car assembly plant.

Otis had a large factory in Harrison, New Jersey.

In 1999, Otis acquired CemcoLift, Inc, located in Hatfield, PA. The operation was later closed in October 2012, with the remaining business being sold to Minnesota Elevator Inc.

Otis has a test tower facility in Bristol, CT and a Service Center in Bloomfield, CT that serve its businesses in North and South America. Other test towers and service centers are located throughout the world.

See also

Companies portal


External links

  • Poma-Otis official website
  • Xizi Otis official website (Chinese)
  • Record EU fine for lift "cartel" - BBC News, 21 February 2007 (Otis was fined 225 million euros for involvement)
  • Guide to cast-iron buildings in Glasgow, Scotland, featuring an original 1850’s Otis elevator

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