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2020 - a year full of extremes

2020 will certainly go down in history - in the history of the world, and certainly in our corporate history. Nothing was the same last year as we have known it so far. In January, the Corona wave spilled from Asia all over the globe. No one was spared. Everyone had to adjust to new circumstances in a very short time - keeping the distance, no hugs, home office, homeschooling, AHA rules, short-time work, closed shops and restaurants. But there are two sides to every leaf and so, in addition to the most diverse challenges that suddenly had to be mastered, there were also business units that already had solutions for the new hygiene requirements up their sleeves and we can consider ourselves lucky to be one of them.

UVIS founders Tanja Zirnstein and Katharina Obladen with their invention ESCALITE
Germ-free handrails thanks to ESCALITE

Who could have guessed that the year would turn out like this when we added the antimicrobial surface coating TiTANO to our portfolio in January 2020. Besides our UVC disinfection module ESCALITE for escalator handrails, the second product that actively combats germs on surfaces.

And then Corona came... no one really knew how to deal with it, no one had the generally valid answers to the most varied questions, but everyone was aware that effective countermeasures had to be sought as quickly as possible - and they found UVIS.

"Made in Germany" for the whole world

The enquiries just poured in and thanks to our hard-working employees and the fact that we have always relied on "Made in Germany", we were able to fulfil the worldwide enquiries during the first lockdown. Singapore, Australia, Finland - ESCALITE deliveries went to the most diverse countries, but there were also numerous very exciting projects in Germany. For example, during the first lockdown we equipped all escalators of the shopping mall “Europapassage” in Hamburg with our ESCALITE modules and coated all surfaces with TiTANO. As well the City-Outlet in Bad Münstereifel was also "safe-to-touch" when the shops were allowed to reopen at the end of April, thanks to TiTANO.

However, the attention was not limited to businesses, but at the same time the press was all wild about telling our story. All German TV formats from Stern TV, akte, Galileo, RTL Life and Frühstücksfernsehen to the US Today show reported on us. Daily and weekly newspapers as well as radio and online magazines conducted interviews and published portraits, which again increased demand immensely. Our email inbox exploded, the phone rang incessantly....

Exciting orders came in – for example, together with our partner KONE, we were allowed to upgrade the arched escalator "Tube" in the Hamburg Elbphilharmonie with ESCALITE and, together with our partner thyssenkrupp, the escalators in Zurich Airport. This was followed by, among others, the escalators at Marienplatz in Munich and in the Neumarkt Galerie in Cologne city centre.

Successful expansion

Our "newer babies" in the portfolio, TiTANO and the office hygiene workshops, were also in great demand. Especially in large companies, further training and preventive health care are on the bosses' agenda and so we immediately switched the workshops, which were still held live in the company at the beginning of the year, to digital after the Corona outbreak. Now the employees were sensitised via video conference for the "germ traps" in the office and in everyday life. Everyone was sure that the time after the home office would certainly come and that they would want to feel safe from infection in the office and on the way there.

Public transport was always in the focus with regard to the potential risk of infection. It was important for all transport companies that passengers feel safe. And so, we also became part of the Germany-wide campaign "together #BetterFurther" by equipping escalators with ESCALITE and coating lifts with TiTANO in Frankfurt, for example. DB Regio also became a major customer, for whom we used TiTANO to make the handles, buttons and all other contact surfaces in around 100 BVR (Busverkehr Rheinland) buses safe from all kinds of germs.

And the health of their employees is very important to many companies. In the last weeks of December, we have travelled all over Germany to coat entire office floors against the pandemic with TiTANO.

We are particularly proud of NRW.BANK's campaign, which was rolled out this year. Here, our story is told in various formats to draw attention to NRW.BANK's funding programme NRW.SeedCap, which also made our financial start into self-employment possible a few years ago.

For us, the year 2020 was very instructive, quite exhausting, but also so exciting. Everyone had to face new challenges and we additionally had to face the exponentially fast growth of our small business. We hope to keep up this pace and look forward to a successful 2021.


Udo Geisler


Elbphilharmonie/Michael Zapf

Europa Passage Hamburg/Robin Lösch

Deutsche Bahn AG


Publication: 6. January 2021


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