All over the world, our colleagues at TK Elevator are working to safeguard the future of our company by making it more flexible, more efficient, and more high-performance. However, this doesn’t always mean just implementing process optimization measures. Instead, for us performance also means when our colleagues’ years of experience are translated directly into the quality of our products. As in the case of Yaohua He: During his 25 years of working for our elevator business, there has not been a single complaint about any of his products.
When Yaohua He works on an escalator support structure, he is always 100 percent focused. The slightest distraction could lead to all the effort made being in vain. The right- and left-hand sides of the structure may differ in height by no more than two millimeters. Furthermore, the distance between the two sides must be exactly the same at every point.
If this is not the case, the technical requirements for the acceptance test and approval of an escalator are not met – and Yaohua He’s work starts all over again. That’s because before an escalator in a public building can be used, the safety of its users must be guaranteed. And that’s precisely what Yaohua He’s job is: To straighten the supporting structure prior to completion of the escalator so that it can withstand all functional and safety loads.
“The best thing about straightening the support structure is that I can concentrate fully on small details in the field. We’re frequently faced with big challenges whenever we work on a very long or unusually high escalator. The potential for deflection and deformation is massive.”
A quarter of a century of expertise
Yaohua He has been working at the thyssenkrupp plant in Zhongshan, China, for 25 years. His career boasts some impressive figures: Half of all the supporting structures manufactured in this factory have been straightened by him. Hundred percent of the structures he has worked on have passed the final inspection without a single complaint. Not one of them has ever been the subject of a customer complaint.
Among his colleagues, Yaohua is known as “Brother Hua”. They all know that the quality of his products is extremely important to him. And they all know the stories about him and his work.
The escalator support structure whisperer
Like when the team was working on a 100 meter-long escalator. The contractor spent a full six days trying to straighten it, but to no avail: The support structure failed to pass the final inspection. That’s when Yaohua took over. In just a few simple steps, he succeeded in ensuring that the product met the technical requirements. And according to his colleagues, it took him less than an hour.
His process optimizations cut the workload by half
There are support structures that present the team with some truly special challenges. For example, in the case of non-standard support structures that are more than 18 meters long, straightening can take between ten and twelve hours, because the structure is so complex and the material extremely rigid. Thanks to his expertise and a number of modifications he has made to the procedure, Yaohua has been able to greatly speed up the straightening process. In the meantime, our team only needs four to five hours to finish the job. “Of course it makes me proud to be able to contribute to TK’s performance. But everything I have achieved over the years is the product of teamwork – without my colleagues I could not have worked like this,” says Yaohua.
One final project close to his heart before retirement
Yaohua and his team are currently working on a project that means a great deal to him. The world’s largest airport terminal will be opening in September 2019 at Beijing-Daxing Airport – TK’s contribution to this milestone is 155 elevators and 22 escalators. “I’ve had a lot of fun contributing to this project. I’m glad that we were able to master all the challenges we faced,” says Yaohua.
The next big step for Yaohua is scheduled for January 2020: After 25 years, his time at thyssenkrupp is coming to an end and he can look forward to life as a pensioner. “I call the company my home, and it’s hard to leave.” But his know-how and expertise will not be lost. Yaohua will hand over his craft to the next generation. “My successor, Xinlong Zhang, works very hard and he loves this work as much as I do. I’m sure he’ll do great things.”