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Smooth Operators: Part II Digital & Electronic Impact on Moving Elevator Doors

Louis "LJ" Blaiotta, Jr. on Thursday, December 20, 2018 at 12:00:00 am

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Holiday Party at Columbia Elevator

Happy Holidays from the Columbia Elevator Products Team!

Today, as we approach the third decade of the twenty-first century, electronic and digital solutions are supplanting the mechanical methodologies on which all mechanical operations have previously relied. The changes impact the vehicles we drive, the buildings in which we live and work, and virtually all the products and services we consume in residential and business life. As such, it was natural that this shift would find its way into the elevator sector, which has profited from the massive introduction of electronics into the field.

A case in point is the introduction of digitally-enabled elevator door drives that are bringing the elevator field into the paradigm now commonly referred to as the Internet of Things (IoT). By use of a digital communication protocol and interface in the door drive’s electronic board, it has become possible to create a bidirectional communication protocol that reports all operating parameters of the elevator door, the feedback on each operation cycle, and enables easy interaction with the system’s operating parameters.

Thermal Monitoring

Real-time data displayed on an AR tablet can be used to optimize equipment performance and maintenance, detect and proactively correct causes for future failures, and train technicians.

This opens an entirely new dimension in elevator maintenance and performance monitoring. A technician using a tablet can connect wirelessly to the operator, adjust operating parameters, and obtain feedback in real time from the device screen, all without installing any extra equipment or requiring physical access to the door drive at the top of the car. This allows for easy access to operating data of all door components, the monitoring of their life-cycles, failures incurred during operation, their endurance and behaviors in various operating conditions, and all while remote data collection from each installed elevator can be managed in the Cloud. Real-time access to such data creates the ability to optimize maintenance and intervention activities, and to detect possible future failures and address them before they shut down the elevator.

Improved door electronics can also offer a viable interface to Augmented Reality (AR) service applications. By wearing head-mounted displays, service technicians can receive diagnostic instructions, complete with what procedures to apply and tools to use. This can in turn be an ideal tool for training staff and act as a best-practice guide to follow, particularly when working on more obscure, complex, or high-value elevator systems. And since troubleshooting can be one of the most time-consuming tasks for technicians, current and future AR applications may help to further reduce maintenance downtimes and related costs.

These changes are a bonus to the smooth operation of doors and the safety of the elevator technician.  

I wish everyone a Happy Holiday! May you be enjoying some time with family and friends, and I’ll see you again in the new year. 

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