(Photo: © Hydroware)

Modernise instead of replacing!


Modernising instead of replacing – this is usually not just more economical, but also more environmentally friendly and sustainable. If you examine the life cycle of a lift, hydraulic lifts are not just more economical, but also more efficient.

Once a lift has reached a certain age, the decision is often taken to replace it completely. However, in many cases this is neither economically nor ecologically a clever choice. Simply replacing the parts that are actually no longer any good would be better.

Volker Hager, CCO of Hydroware, is convinced of the advantages of cyclical, long-term thinking when it comes to lifts, "The quality of steel in old lifts is often of the best. Consequently, getting rid of the existing robust car frame, doors and guide rails is a waste of resources. The components of an old lift are often a really valuable treasure – only many owners have no idea of this."

Actually, replacing the drive, control and door drive systems along with other wearing parts and in addition modernising the control panels and car lighting is enough.

Twenty-year spare part delivery

Hydroware produces solutions for modernising old lifts. "Our systems enable them to run another 25 years and then be modernised once again. This has more advantages than replacing the entire lift with a new one with ‘material-optimised’ components," underlined Hager.

Consequently, getting all their spare parts for their hydraulic lifts after 20 years is no problem for Hydroware customers. "Unfortunately, my impression is that a lot of companies in the sector lack a cyclical business model and part of their business model holds that lifts should not last too long," Hager observed.

Unnecessary bother

Photo: © HydrowarePhoto: © Hydroware

Modernisation can not only be more economical for the owner, but also less nerve-wracking than buying a new lift. This is because replacing guide rails, car and doors often entails a great deal of unnecessary trouble when parts do not fit and other conversion work becomes unavoidable. By contrast, modernisation with Hydroware is fast, thanks to the smart installation system. The installation time is a maximum of three days and does not produce any noise and dust.

On top of this, new lifts often have closed systems that only the manufacturer can maintain, resulting in expensive maintenance contracts and spare parts, added Hager. "By contrast, you stay flexible with our open, modular systems."

Life cycle evaluation

Another argument in favour of modernisation is the overall energy balance sheet. A brand-new lift admittedly usually consumes somewhat less energy than an old one in operation. Technical innovations have slashed the energy consumption of new lifts at Hydroware too. Nevertheless, considering the entire life cycle of a lift is more accurate – from raw material procurement, production, use and recycling to disposal.

Life cycle assessments reveal that modernisation is clearly the superior choice for low conveyance heights and low business volume lifts without a counterweight: given a building lifetime of 80 years and a 20-year old lift, the additional CO2 burden for a new rope lift is 37 tons. This is comparable with a normal EURO 5 class car with a mileage of 115,000 km!

Build robust lifts

For most lift technology experts, this is a surprising result. Up to now, most attention has been focused on energy efficiency in use – and many manufacturers have also achieved fantastic improvements in this area. It is now time to concentrate on the influence of the material used.

An old lift can be a genuine treasure. Consequently, lift builders and operators should consider very closely what really has to be renewed, according to the CCO of Hydroware. "Investing in the latest drive technology with IoT remote access and maximum efficiency is better than replacing good parts with worse ones. If we want to protect the environment, we should learn from the past and start building more robust lifts again that can be modernised bit by bit," summarizes Hager.

More information: Hydroware is a leading market specialist for sustainable lift systems and develops, produces and sells high tech drive and control systems for modernising hydraulic lifts.


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