Intelligent Elevator with "Eyes”

written by Gabi Olpp on Thursday, October 3, 2019

Bucher Hydraulics' Digital Hydraulic Elevator Wins Zug Innovation Award

In contrast to traction elevators, hydraulic elevators are moved with the help of a large cylinder. They are mainly used in freight elevators or passenger lifts with glass cabins that are not very high – for example in school buildings and retirement homes in the state of Zug, or the two main elevators at Lucerne Station, Switzerland. These elevators are serviced regularly and, if necessary, readjusted to ensure maximum passenger comfort and safety.

Previously, the hydraulic drive for elevators was intelligent, but still 'blind.' The valve now has 'eyes' operating on a new interface which allows it to regulate lift travel even shorter, smoother, and more precisely.

– C. Schleihs, Head of Research & Development Bucher Hydraulics Neuheim

Former technology - intelligent valve 

The iValve lift control valve from Bucher Hydraulics, with its intelligent electronics, uses an integrated learning algorithm to optimize elevator travel, enabling the most pleasant ride possible with high positioning accuracy (no tripping when getting off!) and high energy efficiency. This alone represents a significant innovative edge because it was previously not possible to control the travel to the end position: real-time operating data was missing.

Sustainable innovation

Moving toward digitization, Bucher Hydraulics equips the iValve with a CAN bus communication interface. This makes it the world's first elevator hydraulic valve and is part of the "CANopen Lift" project. The connection to the central communication bus of the entire elevator system opens up new possibilities for energy efficiency, ride comfort, and maintenance. The real-time operating data from other components are now used for optimum control of direct access to the desired floor. Inefficient operating modes of the drive, e.g., slow ascent/descent, can be kept to a minimum. In addition, it is now possible to operate devices and drives in sleep/wake-up mode, similar to automatic start/stop in passenger cars, and to achieve further energy savings for the hydraulic elevator.

Real-time remote access

Thanks to this new interface for the "iCon" valve controller, the hydraulic operating data can now also be retrieved online and in real-time. This enables remote system maintenance, condition monitoring, and even predictive maintenance. The aim is to maximize the degree of availability of the system for the customer. Necessary maintenance work can be planned in advance and scheduled for downtimes – which is crucial in railway stations or hospitals.

Energy savings for over 50,000 existing iValve systems

Due to the modular design of the "iCon" electronics, the CANopen lift interface can be added to any existing iValve system with minimal effort, thereby extending the capabilities of the existing electronics. The potential energy savings not only affect new systems but can also be realized for the over 50,000 existing iValve systems worldwide.

Investment in young talent

Bucher Hydraulics was awarded the Zug Innovation Award 2019 for this project. Presented by the state government of Zug, the award is endowed with 10,000 Swiss francs and goes to a company from the state of Zug that has created new jobs or retained existing jobs with an economically, socially, and or ecologically meaningful innovation. Bucher Hydraulics will use the award for the development of infrastructure relating to the workplaces of the new electronics apprentices in Neuheim (e.g., ESD workplace and other laboratory equipment). The prize money will thus be invested sustainably and help to ensure that future electronics technicians are trained to the highest standards.

We will use the award for the development of infrastructure in new electronics apprentices’ areas in Neuheim. The prize money will be invested sustainably and will help to ensure that the future electronics technicians are trained at the top level.

– C. Schleihs, Head of Research & Development Bucher Hydraulics Neuheim

Bright minds wanted

Innovative approaches, and targeted developments to secure jobs and sales are crucial to boosting the field of hydraulic elevators as an attractive alternative to traction elevators. At Bucher Hydraulics, this is consistent with the company slogan of "Smart Solutions. Superior Support®" and as part of the strategic implementation of Industry 4.0 as an investment in the future of the company at the Neuheim location. And to ensure things stay that way, the company is continuously on the lookout for bright minds and skilled hands.

Here you will find information about career at Bucher Hydraulics Neuheim.

Learn more about Bucher Hydraulics.

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