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Safety and Traffic in the New World

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Our cover article this month is Harmonized Elevator Dispatching and Passenger Interfaces by Rick Barker. It features a system of destination dispatching developed by Barker Mohandas, LLC being offered to the industry without restriction. The system builds on the work of Schindler’s Joris Schroder on Miconic 10, but it offers passengers freedom to communicate with the elevators in certain circumstances. KONE’s Dr. Janne Sorsa and Dr. Marja-Liisa Siikonen expanded on the simulations, and the system is now a case study in the PNB 118 building in Kuala Lampur. We are grateful to Barker for using ELEVATOR WORLD to introduce this new twist on traffic.

Our focus this month is on Safety. When I think of safety in the elevator industry, I first think of harnesses, hardhats and little blue books. On a much deeper level, I think of the National Elevator Industry, Inc. (NEII®) Field Safety Committee that I have been a member of for 40 years. I consider all the men and women who have come and gone and a few who stayed for 10-15 years in a stretch. This committee will wear you out. A large part of every quarterly meeting is a recital of “accidents and close calls” in our industry in a three-month period. It’s not that there are so many — though even a few is too much. It’s that these men and women have to deal with these accidents in a personal way. They must go where it happened and talk to the survivors and family. It’s a hard job. So, when I think about safety in the elevator industry, I think about the safety directors on this committee. They are never comfortable in their jobs.

A wide variety of articles always represents this topic, and this month is no different:

  • The Danger of Competitive Pressure by Rick Hesketh makes the case against using electronics repair companies with no experience in repairing elevator drives just to save money.
  • Weathering the Storm by Kevin Brinkman (secretary of the NEII Field Safety Committee): The author affirms that the industry continues to collaborate on adverse weather conditions and keeping passengers and equipment safe in them.
  • Door Safety Function for Elevators Using Video Analysis by Shuhei Noda, Kentaro Yokoi, Hiroshi Sukegawa, Teh KoK Long and Sayumi Kimura, all of Toshiba: The authors describe a new door detection camera with a wider range. The system also analyzes if a person in range is just passing by.
  • Raising the Bar by Kaija Wilkinson: As Field Operations director for ATIS, Charlie Slater sees safety from an inspector’s viewpoint. He says lack of maintenance and little testing oversight are leading to serious elevator safety issues.
  • Safety in 2028: Predicting the Safety Level of Future Standards by Tijmen Molema: This is a fascinating look into a study done by the Liftinstituut on why and how standards change and what is coming in the future.
  • Functional Safety and STO in Elevator Drives by Dalen Miller from KEB America: “STO” means “Safe Torque Off ” and is a common drive-integrated safety function that ensures the motor cannot be unintentionally started.
  • A Synthesis of Technology and Culture by Tony Black: This Reader’s Platform describes how Otis is using the Internet of Things and developing apps for company iPhones that can keep mechanics safer in the field.

We usually focus on safety every year in hopes some of the ideas presented will save one life or many lives. We don’t want the safety directors of elevator companies to have to make those terrible trips to accident scenes.

Two other features both have to do with very old buildings getting updates or expansions that must blend with the period and style of the architecture. Amos Rex by Lee Freeland was built for the 1940 Helsinki Olympics but has been used for nearly everything. It reopened this year to house a museum. KONE’s challenge was to make its 21st-century technology appear at home in a heritage building. Likewise, in 1,000-Year Legacy by Darren Papani, the Gloucester Cathedral in the U.K. dates back to 1089. It recently got accessibility lifts, by Lyfthaus of Cambridge, U.K., that are designed to be unobtrusive. The cathedral gets many visitors, since it was used by several Harry Potter movies as Hogwarts.

We have a packed issue. Enjoy!

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Elevator World | November 2018 Cover