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Energy efficiency and sustainability in components


What criteria are decisive for sustainability and energy efficiency in selecting components?

By Jan König and Ulrich Nees

The question addressed in the introductory article of the last issue was "Energy efficiency versus sustainability". This made it clear that this did not involve any contradiction. To achieve the goals of sustainability and energy efficiency, certain conditions must be met by all parties to the process.

This already begins with selecting the right components. This is vital for sustainable and energy-efficient operation of the system. But even the best, most sustainable components are no use if other important criteria are not met. For example, these include acceptance on the market, availability, economic efficiency, integration in a structure, exchangeability, possible interactions regarding the wear margin, design, assembly friendliness, availability of spare parts, etc.

Only once all technical and economic options have been exploited and the decision-makers support the goals of sustainability and energy efficiency, are there no obstacles to the implementation in practice.

Open interfaces

"Sustainability or sustainable development means satisfying the needs of the present in a way that does not restrict the options of future generations" – this is how the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development formulates its ideas. As a result of this, if future generations are to be able to use products or systems without restrictions and these are to be sustainably operated, the groups involved in the process (employers / operators, users, consumers, bodies inviting tenders, etc.) must use open, i.e. freely accessible products and systems.

Consequently, open (bus) systems with correspondingly open interfaces are important for sustainability. For this, what is first required is a definition of standard interfaces. Standardisation organisations (ISO, CEN, VDI, etc.) have in part already devoted themselves to this or are in the process of doing so. But the fact is that so-called proprietary* systems continue to be marketed and used.

The question must be permitted at this point: do the majority of operators know how they are making themselves dependent? But this connection is more something for Oliver Operator.

Sounds good, but doesn’t mean much...

The composition of components in a system is very important. Taking into account and specifying the properties of components to be found in the technical description is also essential for all parties concerned when it comes to offers. Among other things, this involves functionality, sustainability and energy efficiency. These must be leading factors in the decision. Statements in offers such as, "More comfort, simple operation, improved quality, energy-saving, forward-looking technology", etc. sound wonderful, but tell you little. Their reliability should at least be tested.

Customers need the following information regarding sustainability and energy efficiency:
1. the wear reserve of the lift and its components,
2. the energy requirement under different loading conditions,
3. the travel quality,
4. the airborne and structure-borne sound emissions
5. the sustainability,
6. the spare part supply,
7. the BUS protocol/interfaces
8. the disposal of the lift and its components, etc.

Manufacturers cannot or do not want to make any statements on most of these points. This is also due to the fact that customers do not pose sufficiently specific questions during contractual negotiations. This is not just because of a lack of experience/ technical knowledge on the part of customers, but also because there is not enough communication regarding sustainability (e.g. specific consumption figures) in the sector.

Customers should be prepared to assert themselves here. In the case of a car or domestic appliances, hardly anyone would accept not being able to get any straight answers to simple questions about consumption and/or sustainability. There are admittedly various labels in the sector, but the question is how meaningful and comparable they are for customers.

What are the instruction manual / operating instructions for?

First, what is the difference between an instruction manual and operating instructions? The answer is to be found in part in the name. The instruction manual includes all of the information, advice and instructions users and operators need for the safe and appropriate operation of the system. Consequently, the operating instructions are only an excerpt from the instruction manual, focused on the use of the lift.

However, the instruction manual and operating instructions play an important role in the sustainability of components. Surprised? The solution is banal. This is because the instruction manual or operating instructions include "promises" that can be legally enforced by the operator. But this technical documentation does not reach many operators and is not requested either, despite their legal claim to it.

As a manufacturer, one could conclude that it would be better to dispense with instruction manuals and operating instructions. But careful: one should definitely get comprehensive legal advice before taking this step!

Important information missing …

If one takes a closer look at many lift instruction manuals, it is noticeable that as a rule important information is missing there, such as is required in DIN EN ISO 20607:2019-10 "Safety of machinery - Instruction handbook - General drafting principles". However, merely stringing together technical documents is undoubtedly not an instruction manual in the meaning of the standards, guidelines, VOB Part C (DIN 18382) and the Product Safety Act.

This is also not helpful when it comes to sustainability and energy efficiency. Why? Incomplete technical documents make checking the sustainability and energy efficiency of components and their interactions in an offer impossible.

Consequently, a complete instruction manual should include, among other things:
• energy efficiency class under different loads
• airborne and structure-borne noise emissions of the lift
• availability of the lift
• ISO travel quality
• description of the bus protocols / interfaces
• service life (operating hours/number of motor starts) of the components
• maintenance dependent on use (operating hours/number of motor starts)

The bodies inviting tenders need to be aware that this information is necessary with regard to objective evaluation of the sustainability and energy efficiency and therefore they need to request it from the manufacturers. This is because without this data, the door to the major aims "energy efficiency and sustainability" remains closed.

Jan König is the owner of the engineering firm (VDI) Ing4Lifts.
Ulrich Nees is the owner of "Aufzug-Systeme + Beratung Ulrich Nees"

Proprietary systems: * "In information technology, the word ‘proprietary’ describes a technology or product belonging exclusively to one company, which carefully protects knowledge regarding the technology or the inner workings of the products. Some proprietary products can only work properly, if at all, when used with other products of the same company."

Source: ComputerWeekly.de

More information: ing4lifts.de

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