Building automation delivers safe, smooth elevator operation Ethernet switch technology is providing advanced solutions for elevator control, remote monitoring and communications with control centers. Compliance with the IEC 62443-4-2 industrial automation control systems standard will ensure devices will also be secure on the networks of the future. ELEVATORS HAVE BEEN AROUND in some form or other for over 2000 years, although the modern elevator has only been in use for about 150 years. Due to the huge volume of people who use elevators around the world every day, it is unsurprising that passengers insist on safety precautions and smooth operations for this important mode of transport. In fact, an industry-leading elevator manufacturer estimates it carries the equivalent of the world’s population in their elevators every five days. So, delivering a safe and smooth elevator experience is the most critical goal in the elevator industry, Challenges building elevators Elevators are not just a convenient way to travel between floors but are essential to ensure that buildings function properly. All elevators must be checked onsite, usually twice per year, and ideally maintenance staff would only have to make site visits at the pre-scheduled times. Elevator builders have noted that there are three main pain points that they often experience when performing elevator maintenance. The first is that there is a shortage of elevator service engineers globally and they often have many elevators to maintain. Therefore, the engineers can’t be onsite all the time and often have to travel long distances to reach their site. The second problem that elevator builders typically experience is that when an engineer has to make a site visit, they often won’t be aware of what the problem is until they have arrived onsite at the location. This situation typically arises because the necessary infrastructure isn’t in place to support remote monitoring of the components within the elevator. Without this infrastructure, operators in the control room cannot identify what the problem is. The third problem arises when an engineer arrives at a site and doesn’t have the correct device or tools. Also, most engineers have a mechanical engineering background and aren’t very familiar with networking so may not be equipped to fix the problem that has arisen. When one of these situations arises, another engineer will have to be deployed to go and fix the problem, which would increase the overall downtime. Elevator builders’ expectations When elevators are being retrofitted or newly built for buildings with only a few floors, the key requirement is often to keep downtime to a minimum. Elevator builders frequently note that one of the most successful solutions for minimizing downtime is to deploy components that allow quick problem identification, and the ability to fix the problem with the least amount of effort. Remote monitoring is a good way to achieve this goal since it allows operators in the control room to quickly identify the root cause of the problem and dispatch personnel to the site. The result is reduced downtime allowing both the elevator builder and the end-user to save time and money. Another difficulty that frequently arises in the elevator industry is that components often require people with different skills and experience to conduct checks and perform maintenance. As elevator engineers or maintenance staff members typically have mechanical expertise, they are often unaware how to solve networking issues that have arisen. When an engineer is deployed for a site visit, they will often follow an SOP and fix the component based on the SOP, as opposed to utilizing specific training or experience. Therefore, it is important that SOPs are easy to follow to allow the engineers to complete their tasks as quickly and accurately as possible. Finally, as elevators have long system life cycles, using a flexible network with reliable components is going to ensure that the elevator can still be used for many years to come. For example, as trends such as the Industrial IoT and Industry 4.0 continue to be embraced, more companies are undergoing digitization, which allows them to collect more information to analyze and utilize now or in the future. For most new or modernized low- and mid-rise deployments, there are components 20 industrial ethernet book 4.2017 SOURCE: MOXA Applications Ethernet-based smart switch technology is providing solutions for elevator control and remote monitoring. By providing solutions which can be monitored on HMI/SCADA systems, configuration and operation of systems is easy and flexible while also providing reliable communications with building control centers.
Industrial Ethernet Book 99
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