Things are looking up for lifts
The latest technologies utilised in lift repair and operation are absolutely cutting edge, writes Schindler’s PETER DARLEY.
How’s your day going so far? Would you fancy another three hours to give you more time to get through all the myriad things you need to do
today? Ha! Wouldn’t we all?
If you’ve ever spent untold hours (and counting) hanging about for a service operator to come and fix your washing machine/phone line/photocopier/you name it, you’ll certainly appreciate any new technology that can shave three hours off that waiting time.
But that’s just what’s possible with the Ahead technology developed by Schindler. A recent Italian study showed that in a large facility housing a significant bank of lifts, there is an average of three hours before anyone notices when one of them is out of action. People are just waiting for the first one that comes. The idea that the one next to it isn’t coming any time soon doesn’t necessarily occur to them.
When it finally does become clear that the lift is no longer working, the repair process kicks into gear, with a call to the service centre from the building’s facilities manager, which then dispatches a service technician to diagnose the problem and, hopefully, fix it.
It’s reactive, it’s slow and it’s vague.
With Ahead there is a continuous monitoring process in place that means lifts across the globe are being compared and analysed for all facets of their operational information – giving a huge set of data of average operating statistics. If just one of those lifts shows an anomaly in its readings, compared to what is statistically considered ‘normal’ – say the temperature is running hot, or the car is travelling too fast or a door misaligned – an alert is automatically raised and sent to Schindler’s 24/7 call centre, which can organise a service technician accordingly. This process does not occur in an ad hoc fashion – instead of the technician wasting time fault finding and then hoping they have the right tools to fix the problem, they have already been provided with all the information about the issue they need to address before they even set off for the job.
But that’s just the start of the cutting edge technology Schindler has developed. Utilising the same technology that Schindler has employed to overcome the NBN lift emergency phone issue, is a product called ActionBoard, which is an interface that can be accessed by the customer and gives transparency to the entire portfolio. Any notifications for a particular unit can be posted to it, the contract details and the past history are readily available, as is a maintenance schedule and all of this information can be accessed and updated in real time.
Strata or property managers can inform tenants of developing situations and events such as scheduled or emergency repairs. The system can even perform health checks on the equipment and send out data to the relevant stakeholders.
This all utilises a cloud-based analytical hub developed by GE called Predix, which boasts state-of-the-art capability in this predictive repair space.
Added to this is a further development of the technology known as BlackBoard, which is a touch screen that can be placed outside the lift doors, or any other communal area, to display any necessary information.
A facilities manager may like to upload a maintenance schedule or renovation information for the building or advertise vacancies in the space. The technology could also be utilised by tenants, who can advise of any products they’re looking to sell or even if they’re having a party and would like to invite the rest of the building! The applications are endless.
Even more innovative is an extension of the technology suitable for larger sites that has already seen enthusiastic take-up in Europe. The technology is called Doorshow and it allows the projection of moving images onto the exterior of the lift door. If ever a spot had a captive audience, it’s in front of a bank of lifts with people waiting idly for one to arrive.
Doorshow means the whole lift door becomes a screen suitable for displaying short video clips or advertising. Messaging can be easily uploaded, altered and scheduled online or via a mobile app.
One particularly brilliant application for this is in emergency situations. For anyone who’s ever taken on fire warden duties and been faced with uncooperative tenants who baulk at leaving by the emergency stairs in a drill or a genuine emergency situation, a projection proclaiming ‘do not enter the lift; exit the building via the emergency stairs’ emblazoned across all lift doors would certainly make their job a great deal easier.
Or the application could simply provide a place for notices about food court offers, sales promotions or other relevant building information. Again, the potential applications are endless.
Lifts that can self detect any operating issues, save an average of three hours in repair and outage times, while also spreading the word about kitchenette cleaning rosters in the facility and preventing mavericks from ignoring safety advice in emergencies? What will they think of next?
Peter Darley is the national sales manager – Service and Repair at Schindler Lifts Australia Pty Ltd.
This article also appears in the June/July issue of Facility Management magazine.
Images courtesy of Schindler.