For those planning to install all new elevators in a building, a 30-percent
improvement in response times might sound like a worthy goal. But what if response
times could be improved by 30 percent or more using existing elevators?
Building management company Jones Lang LaSalle, based in Chicago, found it could
do just that for 1180 Avenue of the Americas, a 23-story office building built
in 1962 in the heart of New York City. Rather than incur the costs of dismantling
eight cars and replacing all the mechanical lift equipment, the management team
found they could save substantially - and get the desired boost in performance
improvements by replacing the "brain."
Two banks serve an estimated 1,000 workers. Four cars service the lower nine
floors, and three service floors nine to 23. A crossover links the two banks
at floor nine. In addition, a service elevator can access any floor and "swing"
to passenger duty during peak demand. The previous elevator control, a magnetic
relay system, was nearing the end of its life.
The new brain is a revolutionary elevator traffic management system known as
Miconic® 10 from Schindler Elevator Corp., Morristown, NJ. It doesn't have
to be told twice which way to go. Instead of pushing an "Up" or "Down"
button in the corridor and then another button for the floor once in the car,
riders push a keypad before they get on the elevator to indicate their desired
floors. The keypad indicates which car to board, and each individual car lists
the stops it will make.
"Quite honestly, it is largely the elevators that differentiate us now,"
says building general manager Bonnie Kirschenbaum, 1180 Avenue of the Americas.
"When people want to lease space, and we take them up in the elevators,
this new system is certainly a topic of conversation because it is so different."
Using sophisticated algorithms, Miconic 10 dynamically manages traffic across
elevator cars, balancing the load across the building and dispatching cars to
answer calls. Advanced microprocessors keep track of the exact location of cars
in real time. (The previous system could only place a car within one of three
zones.) The elevator control system estimates the number of passengers using
a particular car (based on load weight), and tracks the total passengers who
have called an elevator and their destination floors. The system schedules all
elevator moves to bring people to their destinations as quickly as possible
and to minimize crowding on board.
More data gathering enables greater intelligence. If a person enters a destination
multiple times, the system "knows" that it's just one person in the
car (based on body weight) and only stops once. A statistical parking function
attempts to place an idle car at or near a floor that may experience a peak
load time at an off-peak time for the building, say at 3:00 p.m. each day. The
system also includes smart-card security to allow after-hours access to pre-programmed
floors. In addition, the new controls allow more time for handicapped riders
to enter and exit cars, and provide audible instructions when enabled.
Schindler and the building management team met with each of the building's
25 business tenants during the change-over, and employees were shown a brief
training film. "The learning curve was very short, and tenants like the
faster response times," notes the building's chief engineer John Flynn.
Artie Johnn, Morristown, NJ, is a field engineer at Schindler Elevator Corp.
com), a leading elevator manufacturer.