New technologies are revolutionizing the vertical transportation industry by greatly improving elevator performance and efficiency. Among them are destination-based dispatch, closed-loop door systems and machine-room-less elevators.
Once originally used in only the tallest buildings, destination-based technology is now being installed in mid-rise structures. Every passenger enters his or her destination floor on entry terminals located in a lobby or in a hallway adjacent to the elevator shafts. The destination-based system groups passengers together depending on their desired destinations, and they are assigned to various elevator cars in an effort to optimize time-to-destination. The optimization process results in riders who are traveling to the same floors being grouped together. Other optimization functions are available, including energy conservation, the reduction of waiting periods, and relative importance of wait time versus transit time.
A second technology that is growing in popularity is the use of closed-loop door operators. The average elevator door opens and closes 200,000 times annually, and more than 70 percent of all elevator repair calls involve elevator doors. A closed-loop system continually monitors the speed and position of the elevator doors and compares the data to predefined open and close profiles. Door reliability is typically improved, as closed-loop systems are not affected by temperature changes, wind, rain, and small debris in the track. A closed-loop system applies varied force as needed when opening and closing the doors as well as the entire motion profile including acceleration and deceleration. An additional benefit of the system is door components are subject to less wear as doors are prevented from slamming shut due to changing environmental conditions.
The third technology that is becoming more prevalent in North America is machine-room-less (MRL) elevators. MRL units utilize compact gearless traction that provides exceptional ride quality and superior performance when compared to traditional elevator systems. The systems operate at faster speeds, often give the perception of higher quality, are more energy efficient, and are very cost effective.
Eric Rupe is general manager, Great Lakes region, with Lerch Bates, a national elevator consulting firm. He provides new design consulting services to clients in the region.
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Destination Dispatch, Closed-Loop Door Systems, Machine-room-less Elevators Are Driving Vertical Transportation Trends