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110-year-old Dutch company makes light work of steep stairs

Virtual reality allows you to 'place' the lift in your own home
Virtual reality allows you to ‘place’ the lift in your own home

If your knees are getting creaky and those steep Dutch stairs are becoming a bother, the solution may well be a stair lift. One innovative Dutch company has been making them for more than 50 years.

Dutch houses are notorious for several things, cold water in the downstairs loo and their hair-raising flights of stairs among them. But if you are starting to feel nervous about that steep climb to your bedroom, a stair lift – traplift in Dutch – could provide the answer.

Bergambacht-based Royal Otolift have been makers of quality stair lifts for over half a century. A family firm for over 100 years, its products changed to suit the times, from horse shoes in 1891, boat building in 1898, oil transport vans in 1950 to the first chair lift design and manufacture in 1968.

That versatility – and manufacturing experience – still defines the way the company operates. ‘The flight of stairs hasn’t been built that we can’t make a stair lift for,’ the company says. Made to measure at the company premises on the river Lek east of Rotterdam, a Royal Otolift stairlift is the perfect tool for keeping homes accessible and safe for people who are no longer able to navigate stairs.

Not only can Royal Otolift cope with every need, it also keeps an eye on cost. Clients can also choose from a range of second-hand stair lifts which comply with the same strict safety norms as a brand new one. Stair lifts can also be installed on a temporary basis, again with the same quality guarantees, maintenance and 24-hour repair service.

Innovation and design

Innovation is key at the company and the company’s engineers are always looking to improve design and service. The Otolift Modul-Air, for example, is made up of separate modules which drastically cuts delivery time. It also has the thinnest single rail of any stair lift in the world.

In 2017 came the crown on the company’s work: the royal predicate awarded by king Willem-Alexander to signify royal approval and respect. Koninklijke Otolift’s latest series, the Otolift Line, which services straight flights of stairs both inside and outside buildings, features the design first of an ICS display to monitor the status of the lift.

In 2018, the company welcomed MediTek, one of England’s largest stair lift makers, to the family fold, further consolidating its market position. ‘We are going from strength to strength, with some 140,000 stair lifts sold so far, that’s one chairlift installed every 19 minutes,’ the company says.

Public trust

In addition, Royal Otolift has been chosen as a partner by over 250 local councils in the Netherlands, a sign of public trust the company is proud of. It also actively supports a number of charities.

The Dutch national para table tennis championships can count on the help of the company as well as KiKa, a cancer charity for children and last year’s recipient of the €5,000 prize money accompanying the company’s Metaalunie Smart Manufacturing Award.

‘The fact that we are a producer of tools and equipment that help people lead independent lives in their own homes makes it natural for us to be socially involved and we are more than happy to support local initiatives and charities, ‘ the company says.

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