Sustainable solutions from SMEs
Energy and raw materials are precious resources. Their economical consumption is the order of the day. SMEs from the lift sector also make a contribution to sustainability with their innovative services and long-lived products. We present five of them.
By Bernd Lorenz
The side effects of winter are particularly hard on escalators. "Salt and gravel wear down the individual aluminium cleats on the escalator steps so that you can be injured by them," explained Mike Weber, managing director of Weber Tec GmbH.
Since 2015, the Hamburg company has been ensuring with its repair method "EsCare" that defective cleats undergo "fast and uncomplicated" renewal while still installed by means of a two-component plastic. "As a result, the energy-intensive manufacture of a new step and its transport, usually from Asia, can be avoided.
"The two teams from Weber Tec, with a total of seven members, concentrate on the markets Germany and Austria. Licensees have been found for Switzerland and Poland. "The fact that our partners only have a short distance to get to their customers also contributes to sustainability."
Replacement of frequency converters
FLP Lift Parts GmbH is specialised in repairing lift frequency converters. Managing director Patrizio Fontanarosa has observed a change in customer behaviour when replacing defective devices. "Up until recently, frequency converters were often thrown away and replaced with new ones." Apart from repair and general overhauling, the company from Fellbach near Stuttgart also buys scrapped converters. These are overhauled and kept in stock for emergencies. SMEs from the lift sector like Weber Tec also make a contribution to sustainability with their innovative services and long-lived products. Photo: © Weber Tec
The qualified engineer appreciates the high quality of older models. "Thanks to the greater use of material, they have more reserves in performance and often better heat dissipation." Every year, between 400 and 500 are restored just for the warehouse. This enables the company to offer optimal service and react fast. Patrizio Fontanarosa in particular emphasises that repair can only be sustainable if a comprehensive and complete general overhaul occurs with professional cleaning and a final test on the test rig. "It hardly helps the environment if the technician has to use up petrol needlessly for renewed disassembly."
Preserving the old is better than just relying on the new. ADLC has been able to observe this change in awareness in the past in various markets. The French company with its 55 employees has specialised in repairing converters and PCBs for lifts.
Since its establishment in 1987, it has repaired tens of thousands of electronics products, as a result of which several hundred thousand products had been rescued from ending on the scrap heap. "That is just as many products that have begun a second life just as long as their first," calculated ADLC managing director Vincent Robert.
Installation of a vibration sensor
According to Tim Ebeling, the "Lightwatcher" launched in 2009 is undergoing a revival. After the neon or halogen spotlights were replaced with more energy-saving LED lighting in existing lifts, the product of Henning GmbH & Co. KG initially took a back seat. "Now housing associations and their planners are paying more attention to how they can save even more electricity," according to the managing director of the company based in Schwelm with 80 employees.
The "Lightwatcher" features a highly sensitive vibration sensor. The device is installed on the roof of the car and switches the light in the unused lift back on as soon as it registers the slight vibration of a door movement. "As a result, even less energy is used and the lighting lasts longer. This is in the interests of energy efficiency as well as of sustainability."
Door mechanism renewal Henning's Lightwatcher is a sensitive vibration sensor. The device is attached to the compartment of the cabin and only switches the light on again in the unused lift as soon as it registers the slight vibration caused by a door movement. Photo: © Henning
"Why should we rip out 30-year old car or landing doors of solid design that show hardly any signs of wear when they could do their duty for many more years?" asked Ricardo Dyroff, Area Sales Manager D West at Meiller Aufzugtüren GmbH.
The 180-strong company from Munich relies on a "minimally invasive" version when modernising existing lifts with its MOD solutions. Instead of demounting and scrapping solid material like doors – but in extreme cases also the door frames, the car and guide rail – only the transom along with the door mechanism are replaced.
"It makes up 15 percent of the material used of the doors as a whole. If everything is scrapped, 30 to 40 percent of the material has to be replaced. We will no longer be able to afford this waste of resources."
More information: webertec-escalator.com
Sustainability: Company groups have also included sustainability in their agenda. We regularly report on their approaches in LIFTjournal. We present a solution of Schindler as an example.
Through the use of a kinetic energy recovery system (KERS), Schindler wants to make a contribution to helping older lifts – from whatever manufacturer – "to undergo clear optimisation" – in terms of efficiency and energy consumption. According to the company, retrofitting "Schindler KERS" can save up to 70 percent of electricity consumption – in the lifts of almost all manufacturers.
The Swiss lift manufacturer demonstrated the energy savings potential of the technology with an example calculation. In the case of the "Schindler 6300" model, with a transport capacity of 1,050 kg, nine stops over just under 22 m conveyance height and 1,620 trips a day, the annual savings would be almost 2,930 kilowatt hours (kWh).
Given the German electricity mix (as of 3/2022), this was equivalent to about 1.4 tons CO2 that were not emitted. This corresponded to the heating of a 63 m2 flat for a year of 6,800 km for an average car with a combustion engine.