EMSD Triumph at International Exhibition of Inventions of Geneva with Four Gold and Four Silver Medals for Its Innovations

Upholding the spirit of pragmatic innovation and dedicated to innovation and technology (I&T) development, the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department (EMSD) achieved encouraging results at the International Exhibition of Inventions of Geneva 2021, winning eight awards including four Gold Medals and four Silver Medals. The International Exhibition of Inventions of Geneva is a world-renowned, large-scale annual international exhibition and invention event, which attracts participants from all over the world to showcase their inventions.

Our four Gold Medal-winning projects are the Cloud-based Predictive Maintenance System for Real-Time Lift Monitoring, the Artificial Intelligent Nylon Optical Fibre Sensing Escalator Combs, the Building Semantic Artificial Intelligence, and the Internet of Things (IoT)-enabled Smart Toilet Bowl Cleaning System. Moreover, the four Silver Medal-winning projects are the Non-Intrusive Data Analytics System for Adaptive Intelligent Condition Monitoring of Lifts, the Air Filter 2.0 - Energy Saving Smart Air Filter Technology, the Fibre Optic Temperature Sensing System for Predictive Monitoring of Electrical Distribution Network, and the Smart Prison - Video Analytic Monitoring System.

Prevention is Better than Cure - Predictive Maintenance System for Lifts

The Gold-Medal-winning Cloud-based Predictive Maintenance System for Real-Time Lift Monitoring uses fiber Bragg grating sensors and electronic sensors, while the Silver-Medal-winning Non-Intrusive Data Analytics System for Adaptive Intelligent Condition Monitoring of Lifts only uses electronic sensors, to monitor the important components of lifts and their abnormal situations. Data analysis could be conducted by both of the systems to predict the risks involved in lift operation, as well as the need for lift maintenance in a short period of time. Making use of the big data, artificial intelligence (AI) technology and cloud-based computing technology, these two newlydeveloped systems assist engineers to formulate predictive maintenance plans for lifts, which will help reduce the risk of sudden lift failure.

Smart Escalators with Upgrade in Material, Design and Technology

The regulatory team of the EMSD re-engineered and improved the traditional escalator metal comb plates by making use of 3D scanning and printing technology, significantly reducing the chance of small objects being stuck in the escalators. Moreover, the use of optical fibre sensing, AI and cloud computing technologies allow the system to detect obstacles. The responsible person of an escalator can monitor the operational condition of the escalator in real-time via mobile application, receive predictive alerts and remove obstacles, thereby reducing the occurrence of step collision accidents. Being an innovative yet practical invention, the technology can be applied in most of the escalators as specific escalator comb plates can be produced by 3D printers with minor adjustments of the comb plate size by the computer. This system has been installed in eight escalators for field tests. Novel and innovative, the system has successfully obtained an official search report with positive results from the China National Intellectual Property Administration.

Enabling the Development of a Smart City with Building Semantic Artificial Intelligence

The Building Semantic Artificial Intelligence system, which is another Gold-Medal-winning project this year, combines digitisation and natural language processing, making the programmes of the AI services portable across buildings in a shorter time frame, bringing about optimisation of system operation and energy saving. The system can interpret the relevance of digitised E&M operation information of many buildings through an integrated semantic standard. After a big data AI analytic model for a certain building is developed, it can then be copied and applied in other buildings based on the semantic model. This approach reduces the time for digitisation of the E&M systems by about 70% compared to the past.

Promoting Digitisation of Public Health

The Gold-Medal-winning IoT-enabled Smart Toilet Bowl Cleaning System adopts the latest technology to further improve the hygiene of toilets and reduce the workload of the cleansing staff. The system is a combination of automatic toilet cleaning robots, an IoT-based sanitation monitoring platform and IoT data analysis. Empowered by IoT smart monitoring function and the AI technology for analysing toilet images, the automatic toilet cleaning robots can automatically determine the suitable cleaning mode and amount of water required, and then stretch out their robotic arms to perform the cleaning works. In the future, the system could be further applied in toilets with different designs.

16 Patents for Improving Repair and Maintenance Services

In recent years, the EMSD actively took out multiple patents for I&T solutions to assist Government departments to enhance public service quality. Since 2013, upon continuous development and research, we in collaboration with various organisations and enterprises, had successfully obtained 16 patents. These patents cover a broad range of applications, including the Non-Intrusive Data Analytics System for Adaptive Intelligent Condition Monitoring of Lifts, the Fibre Optic Temperature Sensing System, and the Smart Toilet Bowl Cleaning System, which are all recognised with an award at the International Exhibition of Inventions of Geneva. These inventions provide our client departments with more effective E&M system maintenance solutions.

Please visit the website to know more about the four Gold Medal-winning projects: https://bit.ly/3xIKGfp (Chinese version only)

Lifts and Escalators Third Party Examination on Trial for Strengthening Protection for Clients’ Facilities

Under the prevailing legislation, registered lift and escalator contractors are obliged to thoroughly examine lifts and escalators at intervals not exceeding 12 months and 6 months respectively to ensure lift and escalator safety. In order to strengthen the management of our contractors, enhance operation transparency and further improve service quality, the EMSD introduces a third party examination programme for trial. In addition to the examination by the contractors, independent registered lift or escalator engineers are arranged to conduct joint examination to detect potential risks. This will benefit the long-term operation and safety of clients’ lifts and escalators. Independent registered engineers assist the examination by providing objective technical opinion from an impartial and professional perspective while sharing good practices of the industry, which will help manage the maintenance quality of contractors and further assure our clients.

Sharing Best Practices
Fostering Innovation and Technology Solutions

To assist the trade, our client departments and other stakeholders to maintain and enhance quality management of E&M installations, the EMSD has recently published eight booklets and handbooks on the best practices for operation and maintenance service regarding various E&M areas. Four of them are closely related to our clients’ assets, including the heating, ventilation and air conditioning installations, lift and escalator installations, electrical installations, and fire service installations. With the publication of the booklets and handbooks, we aim to establish a platform for collaboration and exchange with the trade, as well as introducing new technologies, for establishing and uplifting the standards on operation and maintenance among the trade.

These four booklets on best practices for operation and maintenance service highlight 15 key areas, including emergency preparedness, preventive maintenance and application of technologies, covering various elements of the frameworks of an asset in its whole life cycle, with detailed description of the general, good and best practices of operation for each area. As the stakeholders, including building owners, building occupants, facility management professionals, relevant trade operators and maintenance contractors, may have diverse operational needs, strategic operational objectives, resources allocation, and service levels, we provide three different practice levels and various operational models for stakeholders to adopt as appropriate flexibly. To cite an example of the optimisation of operation practices, the project of Smart Emergency Lighting System inspection, which has been put on trial in some client venues including North District Hospital and Shatin Hospital, for improving the operational efficiency, while the use of Internet-of-Things has made it possible for the operators to conduct realtime monitoring of the emergency lighting system, enhancing the safety and reliability of the system.

Besides, the EMSD has also published two handbooks on solar photovoltaic systems and solar water heating systems, as well as the handbooks on gas utilisation facilities and maintenance of fuel system of liquefied petroleum gas vehicles, which are mainly intended for reference of the trade.

Please go to the website below to download the booklets and handbooks online: https://www.emsd.gov.hk/en/publications/emsd_operation_maintenance_best_practices_booklets/index.html

Full Support to the North Lantau Hospital Hong Kong Infection Control Centre

In the face of the recurring waves of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) epidemic, Hong Kong’s healthcare system had been under great pressure. In view of the pressing demand for negative pressure isolation wards, the HKSAR Government sought assistance from the Central Government in July 2020 for the construction of a temporary hospital in Chek Lap Kok on Lantau Island. The EMSD, as the E&M service provider for public hospitals and clinics, made the best efforts to proactively offer technical support in the design, installation, testing, operation and maintenance of the E&M system facilities in the temporary hospital, with a view to facilitating its smooth commissioning in February 2021.

The North Lantau Hospital Hong Kong Infection Control Centre (HKICC), is located adjacent to the AsiaWorld-Expo on Lantau Island. It is the only hospital in Hong Kong with all wards equipped with hospital-grade isolation facilities. The HKICC occupies a site area of about 30 000m2 and comprises six Ward Blocks, one Medical Block and one Energy Centre, providing a total of 816 isolation beds. With years of experience in the E&M systems in public hospitals, the EMSD proactively provided professional advice on the design and installation to enhance the reliability and maintainability of various E&M systems at the HKICC.

In order to identify the potential issues that may affect the operation and maintenance of the hospital in the future, the EMSD arranged an experienced testing and commissioning team which stationed at the site during the construction period. To tie in with the 24-hour operation of the construction team, our dedicated team also worked night and day to conduct testing and commissioning, with a view to enabling the concurrent completion of construction, testing and acceptance work.

After four months of concerted efforts and hard work by the whole project team, the HKICC was completed on 20 January 2021 and started admission of COVID-19 confirmed patients from 26 February 2021. The EMSD’s team will continue to provide round-the-clock technical support for the operation and maintenance of the HKICC, ensuring the smooth operation of its E&M system facilities.

Join Hands to Build Hong Kong’s First Smart Prison

Since 2018, the Correctional Services Department (CSD) has joined hands with the EMSD in the development of smart prisons and conducted proof-of-concept trials for dozens of I&T solutions to turn concepts into reality. With the endeavour of the past three years, numerous solutions were proved successful and their application would effectively raise the security level of correctional institutions and improve operational efficiency. During the research and development process, the EMSD conscientiously provided consultation and project management services for each of the I&T projects. At the same time, the EMSD actively facilitated the CSD’s deployment of mature I&T projects in various correctional institutions. One of them is Hong Kong’s first smart prison, Tai Tam Gap Correctional Institution (TTGCI), which was officially commissioned on 22 May 2021.

TTGCI employs multiple I&T projects, including the Video Analytic Monitoring System, the Movement and Location Monitoring System, and the Integrated Intelligent Communication System, applying new technologies to the facilities of the correctional institutions in a practical and innovative manner. For example, the AI system of Video Analytic Monitoring System provides real-time detection of irregularities and sends out alerts, enabling CSD officers to deal with sudden incidents more promptly, thereby upgrading the security level. The Movement and Location Monitoring System helps CSD officers to monitor the locations of persons in custody (PICs) more quickly and effectively, which improves operational efficiency.

We appreciate the positive responses from the CSD during the development of smart prisons. Our successful collaboration and smooth communication have fully demonstrated the team spirit between the two departments. The CSD also commends our excellent skills and professional opinion, as well as our staunch support in carrying out the smart prison solutions. In concerted effort, numerous I&T projects have been successfully implemented. Apart from the development of smart prison systems, the CSD has also adopted other I&T solutions recommended by the EMSD, such as installing the “kNOw Touch” contactless lift control panel in Lo Wu Correctional Institution, Lai Chi Kok Reception Centre and Stanley Prison.

The EMSD will continue to promote I&T application together with client departments, catering to their technological application needs with the most suitable, tailor-made engineering solutions.

Setting up Stage Automated Lighting Workshop to Enhance Customised Technical Support

Stage automated lighting has becoming more popular in recent years. To cater for stage users’ need for multifarious stage automated lighting applications and strengthen our technical support in stage lighting operation, the EMSD proactively collaborated with the Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD) and set up a cutting-edge Stage Automated Lighting Workshop. Together with the introduction of the new training programme correspondingly, the quality of our customer services will be greatly enhanced.

In the past, we could only make use of the idle periods of the clients’ performance venues to familiarise our staff with stage lighting operation. In view of the higher and more complicated technical requirements for operating stage automated lighting, we set up the Stage Automated Lighting Workshop to serve as a training venue for technical staff at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre with the assistance of the LCSD. Equipped with a mini stage lighting system which simulates the application of actual stage lighting, the Workshop enables our staff to practise what they have learned on-site, enhancing training effectiveness significantly. Our training programme comprises courses of the basic level and advanced level. During the courses, one-on-one coaching in a small class setting is provided by experienced stage lighting designers. Our trainees are required to work on a lighting design project to apply the techniques they learned in order to fully complete the courses. With the new Workshop which simulates a real-life operating scenario, our staff can observe an actual automated lighting system on-site and practise the operation, equipping them to better cater for our customers’ needs in the future.

Looking forward, the stage lighting training programme will be regularised gradually, so as to tie in with the LCSD’s development of automated stage lighting as well as laying the foundation for the lighting equipment services in the East Kowloon Cultural Centre which will be completed in the near future. The EMSD will strive to keep pace with the digitisation of lighting system and provide tailor-made services to our clients.

Introducing Barrier-free Facilities to Cater for the Needs of the Client’s Venue

Currently, barrier-free facilities such as stairlifts are not available in some public places due to spatial constraints for installation. While the environments vary from venue to venue, so are the needs and specifications for barrier-free facilities. Therefore, it is not easy to find barrier-free facilities that fit in the venues of the individual clients.

In view of this, the EMSD has made active efforts in exploring suitable solutions for client departments. By introducing a new model of stairlifts from Europe, we have offered more convenient facilities for the community. In recent months, we have installed the new barrier-free stairlift for Tai Yuen Community Hall of the Home Affairs Department, making its debut in serving the community in Hong Kong. Traditional stairlifts are generally bulky and require dedicated spaces which cannot be used for other purposes. However, the newly introduced stairlift is easier to operate, and more flexible in use. The installation serves as a staircase when it is on standby. By simply pressing the buttons at the side, the staircase would be turned into a stairlift for transferring wheelchair users with impaired mobility up or down. After procuring new stairlifts, the EMSD has also conducted evaluations and adjusted the specifications with full consideration to the requirements of the actual venue, in order to ensure the suitability of the new device for the site.

The client is very satisfied with the well-designed, safe and practical installation, and is planning to install these new stairlifts in more venues.

Taking Heed of Views for Provision of Client-based Service – Results of Customer Opinion Survey 2020 Released

Throughout the years, the Electrical and Mechanical Services Trading Fund (EMSTF) has always valued clients’ opinion and been committed to continuously enhancing quality customer-oriented services to create public values. Last year, the EMSTF commissioned an independent market research company to conduct the biennial Customer Opinion Survey (COS). A total of 1 036 out of 2 156 distributed questionnaires were successfully collected, representing an overall response rate of 48%. Further opinion from the client representatives were sought through follow-up video and telephone interviews.

Regarding the customer ratings, we have seen prominent growth in satisfaction for various aspects. Based on an 8-point scale, the Customer Satisfaction Index increased from 6.61 in 2018 to 6.83 in 2020, presenting a 3.3% increase. Furthermore, the overall Service Competitiveness Index rose from 6.64 in 2018 to 6.85 in 2020. Both ratings hit the historical high. We would like to express our gratitude for our clients’ support and participation. Numerous positive comments and their valuable opinions have ushered us to persist on continuous enhancement of our service quality. Through the COS 2020, we have gained more in-depth understanding of our clients’ needs, which was vital for the formulation of leading services for the trade and strategic plan adjustment in the future.

We Listen and Enhance Service

Dedicated to improving the four areas of “Applying New Technologies”, “Communication with Customers”, “Enhancing Project and Contractor Management” and “Provision of Work Programme and Accurate Cost Estimate”, we have implemented various measures since the last survey. The latest COS results showed that we had significant improvement in all these areas. We will continue to strive for enhancement of our service quality and competitiveness.

In the past two years, we have taken out various strategies and measures to enhance the application of new technology. To address the epidemic of COVID-19, the EMSD, in the light of the needs of each of our clients, provided multifarious anti-epidemic solutions, including body temperature monitoring system, fever screening mobile robots and air filtration installations designed for public hospitals, bringing technologies into public services successfully. Moreover, we signed the Memorandum of Co-operation for E&M InnoPortal with five local universities and seven technological research institutions to support our clients’ I&T solicitation and application. As at May 2021, more than 750 I&T solutions from start-ups and universities were collected and 130 projects were successfully matched. Evidently, the E&M InnoPortal has successfully promoted different I&T applications and new system development among client departments. Regarding communication with clients, the EMSTF has spared no effort to closely liaise with our clients through various channels, strengthen our networking and exchanges, as well as providing latest updates and information. To achieve the aim of updating clients on our work progress, we have established the Customer Centric e-Platform for clients to monitor the maintenance progress in a swift and convenient manner. As for reinforcing project and contractor management, we have established our own system for contractors to report on work progress in real time, so as to strengthen our monitoring on the contractors’ performance and quality of maintenance. Furthermore, smart business tools enable us to monitor contractors’ performance as well. The EMSTF always stays committed and responds swiftly, providing timely, cost-effective, value-for-money and high-quality services to our clients.

Four Improvement Areas

Re-organisation of EMSTF in 2018 for Service Development

To cope with the new journey of “E&M 2.0”, the EMSTF has re-examined all services of every division and re-organised its structure in 2018. Upon re-organisation, each division handles projects and communicates with the clients more effectively, and provides one-stop and comprehensive E&M operation, maintenance and project management services. Under the new organisational structure, the EMSTF will continue to innovate and put forward more digitised E&M engineering solutions.

Reasons for Clients to Choose EMSTF Engineering Services

Customers’ Feedback

The followings are some of the clients’ feedback:

Outstanding High-quality Services under the Epidemic and Emergency Conditions

We are committed to providing our clients with cost-effective engineering services, including immediate support during the epidemic. Examples include emergency checks on E&M equipment for 141 Community Testing Centres within a very tight timeframe; rapid installation of E&M equipment and enhancement of supporting systems for the quarantine centres, as well as assistance to the Correctional Services Department in assembling, testing and calibrating various sets of mask-making machines. During the public order events in recent years, our team also staged unfailing and undaunted efforts around-the-clock in repairing numerous damaged public facilities, including thousands of traffic lights, government venues, facilities and vehicles, and restoring their normal operation for our clients. The COS 2020 has reflected our clients’ recognition and appreciation for the EMSTF’s emergency response capacity.

Looking forward, the EMSTF will continue to create values for our clients. We will provide high-quality E&M engineering services and actively promote I&T, so as to fully support our clients to provide even better public services.

Please visit the website to watch the interviews of our clients regarding the COS 2020 results. https://bit.ly/3xIKGfp (Chinese version only)