ThyssenKrupp Elevator capitalises on the power of the internet of things

Sean Dudley
Sean Dudley
By Sean Dudley on 17 July 2014
ThyssenKrupp Elevator capitalises on the power of the internet of things

ThyssenKrupp Elevator, one of the world’s leading elevator manufacturers, is using the internet of things (IoT) to connect its elevators to the cloud, gather data from its sensors and systems, and transform that data into valuable business intelligence to make significant improvements to its operations.

The company maintains more than 1.1 million elevators globally, including at some of the most iconic buildings on the planet.

These includes the new 102-story One World Trade Center in New York, US, where it is estimated ThyssenKrupp’s elevators will carry as many as 3.5 million people annually.

The CMA Tower in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and the Bayshore Hotel in Dalian, China, are other iconic buildings that use ThyssenKrupp’s elevators, and in an industry where reliability is the crux of customer investment, the company has began to use to the potential of the IoT to gain a competitive edge.

“We wanted to go beyond the industry standard of preventative maintenance, to offer predictive and even preemptive maintenance so we can guarantee a higher uptime percentage on our elevators,” said Andreas Schierenbeck, ThyssenKrupp Elevator’s CEO.

To help achieve this, ThyssenKrupp teamed up with Microsoft and CGI to create an intelligent, connected line-of business asset monitoring system that brings together the technologies of Microsoft’s IoT platform.

CGI developed a solution that securely connects the thousands of sensors and systems that monitor elevator elements such as motor temperature, shaft alignment and door functioning. The systems also connects the data the elevators gather and the devices used by the company’s technicians to the cloud using Microsoft Azure Intelligent Systems Service. 

The company is now able to use the Intelligent Systems Service to capture vital data, transmit it to the cloud and combine it into a single dashboard. This presents two types of data – alarms and events. Alarms highlight an immediate issue, while events are stored and then used by management. 

The solution also provides ThyssenKrupp’s technicians with instant diagnostic capabilities thanks to Power BI for Office 365, which delivers real-time data visualisation. Technicians are now able to use this real-time data to identify points of repair before a breakdown occurs.

The Microsoft Azure Machine Learning service provides ThyssenKrupp with an overarching view of elevator operations and maintenance, both current and in the future. Thanks to an intelligent information loop, data from elevators is fed into dynamic predictive models that update datasets thanks to seamless integration with the Intelligent Systems Service. 

“I call it the ‘virtual troubleshooter,’” says Rory Smith, director of strategic development for the Americas at ThyssenKrupp Elevator. “When the elevator reports that it has a problem, it sends out an error code and the three or four most probable causes of that error code. In effect, our field technician is being coached by this expert citizen.”

To develop a solution that provides ThyssenKrupp with such capabilities, CGI had to rely on the flexibility of Microsoft technologies.

“Azure is quite inclusive, in terms of things that it’s able to host, and the Intelligent Systems Service is inclusive in terms of devices it can connect with,” said John Hicklin, principal Internet of Things consultant for CGI. “If you put those two things together, you have a very rich cloud environment that is enterprise-ready, and also the ability to deal with the real world and with different types of devices and applications.”

Thanks to the interoperability of Microsoft’s technologies, ThyssenKrupp is able to connect the new service to multiple elevator makes and models, meaning maintenance can be extended to create new revenue opportunities.

“Our typical maintenance services portfolio includes ThyssenKrupp elevators, as well as a significant percentage of units built by other manufacturers,” Smith says. “That’s not typical of the elevator industry — broad maintenance services is our specialty.”

“Our typical maintenance services portfolio includes ThyssenKrupp elevators, as well as a significant percentage of units built by other manufacturers,” Smith says. “That’s not typical of the elevator industry — broad maintenance services is our specialty.”

Through the power of the IoT and by focusing on data, analysis and predictive modeling, ThyssenKrupp is not only transforming maintenance operations, improving workflow efficiencies and cutting operating costs, but also gaining a significant competitive edge.

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