Feature: Software and Technology
Lifts and Technology
This month’s edition of Flat Living Magazine focuses on technology, and we at ARDENT have been asked to consider what this means within the lift industry.
As in every walk of life, the lift industry is always looking at ways to innovate. Whether this be in terms of health and safety, energy efficiency, or to maximise space within the core of a building.
Our industry has changed in so many ways over the past 20-30 years, predominantly for the better, with the advent of microprocessor control, drive inverters and control systems; all have increased safety and improved energy efficiency.
This is an area where the lift industry has really improved with the advent of new technology, with more efficient forms of powering the lift available including:
• Gearless permanent magnet machines
• Efficient, flow controlled hydraulic systems
• Variable voltage, variable frequency drives
• Regenerative drive systems powering the auxiliary functions
• Low energy lighting and peripherals
• Hibernation modes for non-critical functions
Lift systems can be seen as quite a small element of the overall running costs of a large development, (particularly when factoring communal heating and lighting), however, significant savings can be made if the refurbishment/replacement is planned for and carried correctly, as you can see in our case study https://ardentlc.co.uk/case-studies/multi-residential-block-lift-refurbishment/ there is the potential over the lifetime of a lift to generate vast savings for the clients.
Telephone lines are required to maintain the communication between entrapped passengers and the lift service provider in the event of emergency. Whilst many lift lines have transitioned to GSM connections in the last few years, an estimated 200k lifts in the UK are still connected to landlines.
The replacement of copper lines with fibre optic, and the removal of support for older analogue signalling technology from the UK landline networks, will mean that a high proportion of these lifts will require some form of intervention to keep the emergency communication working.
As technology has evolved there has been a proliferation of start-up companies offering ‘internet of things’ systems, where sensors can give feedback data from the lift. Engaging with the provider of your telephone lines to understand what changes they are making, and by what date, is essential. Your lift service provider should then be able to tell you the age and type of emergency communication equipment installed on your lift, and the different options available to ensure continuing operation and compliance.
Monitoring of building assets and systems is an increasingly hot topic, with many lifts now using remote monitoring technology, allowing information from the control systems to be instantly reviewed and accessed by the lift company. The lift company can check on the current lift status, ask the lift to perform self-test functions, and show basic level serviceability.
These systems are now in wide use by many organisations, including housing schemes with large portfolios where constant monitoring is required.
In the future these systems will be asked to supply considerably more information to HQ, using GSM data systems providing digital information to both lift companies and clients.
This facility will be designed to enable fault diagnosis, along with predictive wear and failure of components to be recorded over time, showing lift usage trends, energy consumption, temperatures, and lift performance data. This will also assist the lift service companies and owners to accurately plan into the future, reducing lift down times along with repair and maintenance costs.
ARDENT Lift Consultancy can assist by undertaking our independent lift survey reports, looking at the current condition of lift equipment, and highlighting operational issues, typical energy consumption values, predicted lifespan, and recommendations with associated budget costing. Follow up consultation meetings to discuss our findings and assist with the planning of any required actions being what we do best.
As independent lift consultants, ARDENT Lift Consultancy recognise the importance of offering unbiased and accurate advice to our clients. This has developed mutual respect between our team of lift consultants and those we work with. Whether working with architects looking to build practicality into their vision, or a property manager with time constraints seeking immediate solutions, we totally understand individual client requirements and provide timely, well considered and accurate advice.