BRINGING IoT TO ELEVATORS
This article was first published in the Q4 issue of Elevator World India Magazine
By Mr. Subramania Bharathiyar, elevator product manager at Monarch
The internet of things (IoT) revolution is coming to all industries, and readers of EWI may be unsurprised to hear that the elevator industry is no different. Essentially, IoT means connectivity – a world where physical objects are constantly online and connected to the cloud. In the context of elevators, it means that all elevators share all their data in real-time, ensuring that managers can continuously monitor operations, and giving the capability for remote assistance for elevator commissioning and for remote fault finding or diagnosis of problems. Additionally, IoT brings the possibility of predictive maintenance, allowing users to take pre-emptive action to solve problems before they happen.
Inovance's upcoming IoT solution
At Monarch – the dedicated elevator division of global industrial automation group Inovance – we are releasing our own elevator IoT solution, which was developed right here in India and designed specifically for the Indian market by our locally-based R&D team. In this article, I’ll give a quick overview of some of the most important elevator capabilities that the best elevator IoT offerings make possible.
Remote Elevator Status Monitoring
Most elevator IoT solutions should offer a remote elevator monitoring option. This should ideally include real-time system information such as elevator status, car position, mode of operation, and fault logs. Constantly monitoring the status of an elevator on a remote basis will give users peace of mind that their elevator is always properly functioning. The moment that abnormal conditions of any sort are experienced, managers will be alerted, and corrective action can immediately be taken to solve the problem. The most effective IoT systems are completely flexible when it comes to users – so that they are accessible either by elevator OEMs or by end users. The ultimate benefit is faster response times for service engineers, thus reducing elevator downtime. Additionally, since site engineers have information about the error in advance, they always show up equipped with the right spares to sort out the problem.
Remote elevator control
The remote monitoring concept can also be taken one step further with the implementation of remote elevator control. Common remote elevator control features generally include error reset, and commissioning and diagnosis assistance, and can also allow for remote control during special and/or emergency elevator operations. Remote control capability can result in the ability to avoid unwanted call backs, and floor call control can even be used by individual elevator users to summon their own elevator over the IoT (e.g. from a mobile device).
Predictive maintenance is a growing trend across many areas of industry, particularly the manufacturing industry and, at Monarch, we are confident it will be vital to the future of the elevator industry too. It all starts with data. Effective data mining, and remote data collection, mean that elevator OEMs can be alerted when certain parameters are breached.
These parameters could be very varied and could include a warning when a component or system has been used or run a set number of times (such as for door operation, brake operation, or call button operation). Or they could be something more specific, such as the runtime duration of a variable frequency drive (VFD), number of start/stop operation of elevator, number of elevator door open/close operation. Or any of a wide range of other such as a controller error warning, or a VFD error warning.The best IoT devices are user friendly and adaptable allowing, for instance, an option to export data from the server or cloud to a local PC in Excel format for deeper analysis by an engineer.
New business models
One of the most exciting things for OEMs and end users about the IoT and its associated cloud technologies is the possibility that it brings for the implementation of new business models. In particular, the opportunity is there for OEMs to start to run ‘as-a-service’ offerings. The concept here essentially is that end users pay a small regular fee in return for an elevator-related business service.
One example could be wireless remote elevator monitoring which, at Monarch, we predict will become an important new business for elevator OEMs. From the perspective of the end user, the benefit will be the peace of mind that comes from knowing that the OEM who built their elevator in the first place (and therefore who is best placed to know exactly how it works), constantly has their eye on it. Meanwhile, for the OEM, remote monitoring contracts are likely to become an increasingly important stream of dependable and repeat revenue. Looking beyond remote monitoring, it is likely that predictive maintenance contracts too will one day be the norm in the elevator industry.
To be ready for the challenges of the future, forward thinking elevator OEMs and end users should start thinking now about how they can implement and adapt IoT technology.
In the meantime, visit our dedicated Indian website – www.inovance.eu/in – to check out our extensive range of elevator integrated solutions – which are combined elevator controllers and AC drives – such as the NICE1000+ gearless and NICE100+ geared solutions. And keep an eye out for our upcoming IoT solution.