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Ascensores y Montacargas interviews a Inmaculada Chacartegui

The lift sector magazine, Ascensores y Montacarges, interviews Inmaculada Chacartegui, director of Acros by Hidral

Ascensores y Montacargas interviews a Inmaculada Chacartegui

Ascensores y Montacargas magazine interviews Inma Chacartegui, director of our accessibility division, Acros by Hidral. In the interview, she mentions the growing social awareness we enjoy regarding the need to live in accessible environments for all people. The trend clearly has people's needs in focus and as she says in the interview "we are approaching a future in which we will all be aware of the need to actively participate in making all spaces accessible, even taking into account that, in some cases, this will entail an adaptation of existing spaces". 

How would you define the current situation in terms of accessibility? What are the main opportunities and possible obstacles?

We are a time of increasing demand for accessibility products that meet the needs of removing architectural barriers that arise. In particular, this demand is most notable in terms of adapting accesses in existing buildings for peoples with reduced mobility, wick is the field in which we operate at Acros by Hidral.

The main opportunity we see at the moment is to help our customers develop and grow in the accessibility line, with we will be able to achieve thanks to the team of professionals that make up our division and the complete service we can offer through our company Aqlifts, which has a great track record in the sector.

On other hand, it is true that there is a lack of in-depth knowledge of the characteristics of products, directives and applicable standards, as well as of the interpretation of the CTE DBSUA9 by the lift companies themselves and the accessibility prescribers. This is why we have a great deal of training and information work ahead of us in which we are also involved and which forms part of the development actions of our accessibility division.

What are these regulatory requirements today?

As for as accessibility products are concerned must comply with the Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC and, specifically, with standard EN 81-41 applicable to vertical platforms in closed shafts - not necessary for those for short travel in open shafts. In relation to straight and/or curved inclined platforms, depending on whether they are hydraulic/electric, the applicable standard is EN 81-40.

We have detected a certain lack of training for accessibility product specifiers so that they can correctly interpret the DBSUA 9. This is one of the points that we would like to develop to serve as a basis for a deeper knowledge of the current standard and thus speed up the whole process of a project.

As an added value of our accessibility division, we are the only company at national level that actively collaborates with EPSA (European Platform and Stairlift Association)- in fact, we are part of its board of directors- where, among other matters, we are aware of any modification that the Machinery Directive or specific standard will undergo and at what stage of the process these modifications are at.

Why was it decided to develop an accessibility division at Hidral and how was this done?

Mainly the bases that led us to develop an independent division of accessibility of Hidral with its own brand Acros by Hidral ware, on the one hand, that within the wide range of products that Hidral deigns and manufactures is that of accessibility; we detected the great real need existing at national level for experienced installers with, added to the boom in the removal of architectural barriers, led us to consider developing Acros by Hidral, and today it is a reality.

Within this approach, it was clear to us that in order to offer the most complete and professional service possible to our customers , we had the opportunity to acquire the company Aqlifts S.L. From that moment on, we have our own staff with extensive experience exclusively in accessibility, both in the technical-commercial part and in the teams of installers, as well as a complete range of products that cover the different needs that arise in each project.

What is the main objective of the company's accessibility division?

Our main objective always has to do with the growth of our customers, the lift operators. With this mentally we continue with the same B2B business model that our parent brand, Hidral, has followed.

Taking into account the boom in the removal of architectural barriers that I mentioned earlier and the real capacity we have to guarantee a professional service in accessibility - covering existing needs such as device, knowledge of the different accessibility products, installation, commissioning, etc, the objective without a doubt, is that our clients opt for accessibility in the most professional, comfortable, easy and simple way by our hand.

Let's focus a little bit on the product line, with are the most outstanding or most promising for the future?

Within the products families we cover - stairlifts, vertical platforms, platforms lifts, swimming pools chairs...- I wouldd highlight the PH-300 model for several reasons:

  • Tis design concept complies with universal accessibility, as the wheelchair user has autonomy in its use and does not need to manoeuvre the wheelchair. Its automated arms, together with the access ramp, eliminate maneuverability in the wheelchair, as does the standard semi-automatic door on the upper level (with the option of automation).
  • Safety as standard: automated arm manoeuvring in conjunction with the access ramp, obstacle safety tray and load weighing device.
  • A free turning radius of 120mm must be complied with according to DBSUA 9 to guarantee comfortable access to the platform; in the case of our PH-300 model, this is complied with from the boarding point, so that the free distance to a neighbors doorway is only 1200mm.

Stairlifts also deserve special mention, mainly because they require little or no building work for a solution in a residents association.

Read the complete interview here.