Follow That Car!

Aug. 8, 2001
New approach to elevator controls lifts response times 30 percent or more

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."

Higher Intelligence
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. www.schindler.
com), a leading elevator manufacturer.

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of Buildings, create an account today!

Sponsored Recommendations