News, Software

Predictive tech to give UAE skyscrapers a major lift

Living in a UAE towerblock holds great appeal, especially if there are spectacular views of one of the country’s many fast-growing neighbourhoods.

But high-rise life quickly loses its appeal if the elevator malfunctions and the journey up 15 or 20 storeys has to be completed using the stairs.

The German engineering and electronics company Bosch has developed “Predictive Maintenance” for elevators, a system designed to optimise maintenance and prevent breakdowns. A similar principle applies to Predictive Diagnostics vehicle-maintenance technology developed by Bosch.

Highlighted at the company’s recent ConnectedWorld 2018 Internet of Things conference in Berlin, the elevator system will be launched late this year in Germany only, but the aim is to roll it out worldwide.

Sensors and cameras fixed to the roof of the elevator transmits information on performance to a Bosch service centre, indicating, for example, the speed at which the unit is moving and how far it has travelled.

“The sensor is connected via a GSM module to a back end. It’s a kind of cloud, but a very private [system],” said Matthias Trautner, head of the Global Competence Centre at Bosch Service Solutions.

“The predictive element will come if you have collected all the data.”

An elevator may have fixed service intervals, but without information on how far it has travelled, these might be time, rather than distance, based. Precise information on distance can, through this technology, be provided to the landlord.

By analysing large amounts of data, the system can predict failures and indicate when maintenance and repair work is required, preventing breakdowns from happening.

Maintenance and repairs are managed through partner companies. There is also a national network that can be used to rescue people trapped in elevators.

“We’ve done a lot of interviews. We’ve seen there’s a market for this,” said Trautner.

The system can be retrofitted to any type of lift, since it operates independently of the control system of the elevator.

Vehicle maintenance systems often involve technical data from multiple vehicles being sent to the cloud, with data analysis subsequently carried out, with information about failures used to help indicate when maintenance is needed.

Bosch says its Predictive Diagnostics system takes this a step further. Multiple sensors gather data, which is ultimately sent, along with the GPS location to a central server. The information is analysed to determine how much longer components are likely to last. Each car brand can determine when warning messages should be sent to drivers indicating that action is needed, highlighting potential problems before they turn into failures.

“You must understand the behaviour of the vehicle. You understand what can go wrong, what’s the indication of the health status,” said Dr Walter Lehle, director, system development in Bosch’s Engineering Powertrain Diagnosis division.

“It’s important to use the health status and compare it with the whole fleet and historical data.”

The health status, involving data from the brakes, the fuel filter and the battery, for example, might indicate that the vehicle is without significant fault, that it has some problem that should be dealt with, or that it is close to breakdown. Bosch says its system, by allowing for better planning of workshop visits, saves both time and money.


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