BeyondFM managing director, TONY STACK test-drives ActionBoard, the latest integrated solution for vertical transport systems from Schindler.
If you are like me, getting into a lift doesn’t rate a second thought – except when something goes wrong. Although millions of lifts operate globally and billions of people are transported every day without failure, there are also many reports every year of lifts failing, doors pinching body parts, broken limbs and the like.
Consider the 2010 case of the then 80-year-old world famous racing car driver, Sterling Moss, who fell down a lift shaft when the doors opened prematurely, breaking his leg, a foot and several vertebrae. But on the whole, lift accidents are very, very rare and lift failure is one of the rarest mechanical/technology failures. These days it can really only be attributable to slack maintenance and poor maintenance regimes.
To enhance safety, reputable lift manufacturers have developed proprietary and/or open source maintenance software to manage the work order process for when these situations arise. There are several companies that have developed open source solutions, which work across multiple manufacturers to provide complex e-ticketing solutions… but this is where these systems end, as just a complex work ordering system with modular add-ons (enhancements). These days, it is important be intelligent about managing your buildings and infrastructure, and to be aware of everything happening on your premises 24/7.
Keeping lifts running is a full-time business and, with more buildings, portfolios and tenants, the need to maintain uptime (and safety) to keep passengers moving is critical. Lost time equals lost productivity equals lost revenue! Making sure a lift doesn’t break down requires a lot of data and lift manufacturers are turning their attention to the massive amount information being collecting every day from every installation.
BeyondFM recently had the opportunity to test drive Schindler’s new solution to this – ActionBoard – an integrated solution that seamlessly connects to all current Schindler vertical transport systems, as well as competitor systems, to provide real-time diagnostics of lift performance. Since 2018, Schindler has been working with SAP to develop this solution. Utilising a remote diagnostic service hosted by GE Digital’s IoT Cloud Platform Predix, Schindler’s digitally connected vertical transport systems (elevators, escalators and moving walkways) currently send over 40 million messages per day to Predix for processing and analysis.
The analytical outcomes provide Schindler with real-time information to manage issues before they result in unscheduled downtime. Schindler maintains connectivity to Predix via an intelligent ‘cube’ mounted on lifts and escalators that has a dual network GSM gateway. Data analytics in Predix identify errors and issue alerts to the Remote Monitoring Platform (RMP). The RMP is integrated into Schindler’s Enterprise Resource Planning system (SAP), which allocates and organises the right parts to be picked, packed and delivered to site from geographically centric warehouses. At the same time, and based on the severity of the symptom, a field technician is despatched to the site to resolve the issue immediately. Field technicians, building owners and facilities managers can remain updated continually via the ActionBoard mobility solution available through the Apple or Google store.
With over 1000 parameters measured on new Schindler elevators that are processed through 5000 rules, Predix generates specific activities and hints for corrective actions. This same data generates cycle modelling and management information – where a part is identified as failing, or close to failure, prior to its normal life expectancy. The corrective action taken at this point can also initiate a review of the supply chain to replace the item(s) from a new supplier, and/or replace the part(s) in the field before failure occurs. This is one way Schindler’s intelligent system can prolong lift life and reduce costs for building owners.
The inherent knowledge base behind ActionBoard is continually adding complex and complete data from Predix and RMP, leading Schindler toward determining a lift’s optimal life cycle. Importantly, ActionBoard integrates with SHAPE, which allows the company to track and manage all contracts, inventory, task, work-orders and project work related to an individual or a portfolio of.
It is apparent after the short review of Actionboard that this type of technology is essential to ensuring vertical transport systems operate a peak efficiency for building owners and tenants. No building owner or manager should consider operating transport systems that do not provide the actionable insights into performance and long-term operation.
From the building owners’ perspective, lift and escalator downtime mean poor customer/tenant experience. Solutions such as Actionboard provide a seamless user experience that demonstrates the premium grade of your assets and portfolio, identifies and solves problems before they cause disruption to the tenant experience and, if a problem is identified, Schindler technicians are on-site generally before tenants and building owners are aware there is a problem.
The benefits of maximising lift uptime will be felt not just by users through less time wasted and businesses through productivity gains, but also by building owners through improved asset value, and building appeal to premium tenants.
- Pros – ActionBoard’s user interface is simple to understand and offers a positive user experience. It’s browser agnostic, so no special implementation of software is required to use it. Navigation is self-explanatory and straightforward.
- Cons – The mobile app downloads OK from the Apple app store. I did not try Android, but assume there are no issues. I had difficulty logging in, even with resetting credentials multiple times. This was the only thing that detracted from the road test.
Schindler’s Harmonized Applications for Process Excellence – an integrated suites of SAP customised solutions for Schindler.
Tony Stack is managing director at BeyondFM.
Image courtesy of Schindler. (Actionboard’s landing page showing intuitive navigation and simple user interface).
This was originally published in the Apr/May 2019 issue of FM Magazine in partnership with Schindler.