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Escalator Control System - Any Innovative Ideas?

08/26/2013 10:46 AM

Hi!

I work for Winnovation Consulting, a innovation consultancy company in Austria.

We are currently looking for a new solution in terms of control+communication system for an escalator.The current electrical control system consists of the drive control system, the communication system and the microcontroller board. All three components are housed in a control cabinet and are connected to several sensors in the escalator. The aim is now to substantially reduce the control and communication systems' weight (currently 50kg) and dimensions (currently 500x700x300mm), to modernize the entire design and to make sure that the new control and communication system is based on a technology which allows for long-term upgradability and availability.


So basically what they want is a new system design, using standard components, more compact, lighter, easier to upgrade, multi-core system controller and real time, flexible...Has any of you designed similar applications and has ideas about how to tackle this?
Thanks!Anca

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#1

Re: Escalator control system - any innovative ideas?

08/26/2013 10:54 AM

Sounds like a good project for a consultant.

What do you propose as a fee for this work?

Maybe a college student would take it on free of charge.

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#2

Re: Escalator control system - any innovative ideas?

08/26/2013 10:55 AM

Are you asking for subcontract offers?

You do get paid for the service you provide, don't you?

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#3

Re: Escalator control system - any innovative ideas?

08/26/2013 11:03 AM

What does an escalator need to control and communicate?

They are either going up or down. What else is there?

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#10
In reply to #3

Re: Escalator control system - any innovative ideas?

08/26/2013 2:23 PM

Yes, up or down, but not the same one.

You need an on/off switch with some safety overloads.

This is a solution in search of a non-existent problem.

Hey, maybe a speed controller to mess with people's minds would be fun.

RE #9
Give a consultant a watch............................only if it's digital.

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#14
In reply to #3

Re: Escalator control system - any innovative ideas?

08/26/2013 5:09 PM

What does an escalator need to control and communicate?

Basic control would be on/off.

One level of sophistication would be speed. As passengers (customers?) of various weights hop on and off the load on the escalator motor changes, the controller should act to maintain the desired speed.

Then there's always safety control (that big red guarded button to shut down when your shoe string gets caught).

As far as communication goes....perhaps they want communication to a main control room or communication between the drive and the motor. Or maybe they would like the escalator to greet you as you board and bid you farewell as you step off.

Update --- missed Lyn's post saying much of the same thing. Apologies for the redundancy.

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#24
In reply to #3

Re: Escalator control system - any innovative ideas?

08/27/2013 8:29 AM

Perhaps it may go side ways..

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#25
In reply to #24

Re: Escalator control system - any innovative ideas?

08/27/2013 8:45 AM

Continue reading.

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#4

Re: Escalator control system - any innovative ideas?

08/26/2013 11:59 AM

You work for a consulting firm that needs consulting from anonymous forum???

Am I missing something?

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#5

Re: Escalator control system - any innovative ideas?

08/26/2013 12:00 PM

Hello brother, your design has no value unless any manufacturer has such product that meets your criteria. Better to contact any of escalator manufacturers .

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#6

Re: Escalator control system - any innovative ideas?

08/26/2013 12:45 PM

You need to define long term. Technology is always changing. Manufactures of those devices to be competitive have to keep up. Which means yesterdays devices are obsolete. At some point they are no longer profitable to keep in production. At some point the technology changes the device so much they don't work with older devices..

Now there is one device that maybe a help. It's the stairs. Technology hasn't changed for thousands of years. You can up grade with new carpet. They are always available.

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#7

Re: Escalator control system - any innovative ideas?

08/26/2013 1:03 PM

Surely all of the major PLC/PAC manufacturers (ie. Rockwell, Siemens, Omron, etc.) offer integrated systems that can meet your requirements. I would start by contacting their local distributors and browsing their catalogs.

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#22
In reply to #7

Re: Escalator control system - any innovative ideas?

08/27/2013 3:26 AM

Thank you!

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#8

Re: Escalator Control System - Any Innovative Ideas?

08/26/2013 1:29 PM

The Clapper

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#9

Re: Escalator Control System - Any Innovative Ideas?

08/26/2013 1:41 PM

Lets take someting in a saftey critical application that works reliably in an environment where size and weight are pretty much irrelevant. Let's then screw it up completely by redesigning it with all the latest technological fads which will become obsolete faster than you can say floppy disk. We'll get a third party who will probably have changed jobs in 6 months to do this with help from a bunch of anonymous furry critters.

What could possibly go wrong?
IMO the spec' for the job is wrong!

Multicore processor??? An 8 microcontroller programmed in assembler would prob' be fine and more reliable.
An here's a free consultation... for pities sake don't go wireless.
Del

(Consultants? Give 'em a watch and they'll tell you the time)

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#11
In reply to #9

Re: Escalator Control System - Any Innovative Ideas?

08/26/2013 3:59 PM

I think you'd fit right in at Winnovation Consulting, the "innovation consultancy" firm where they never let proven, safe technology stand in the way of clueless babbling about unknown solutions to non-existent problems.

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#12

Re: Escalator Control System - Any Innovative Ideas?

08/26/2013 3:59 PM

On second thought, I agree with Dell

  1. If it aint broke, don't fix it
  2. If you have to ask this forum, you aint qualified to do the job.
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#26
In reply to #12

Re: Escalator Control System - Any Innovative Ideas?

08/27/2013 9:34 AM

I have to agree with you... the older we get, the best we were!

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#13

Re: Escalator Control System - Any Innovative Ideas?

08/26/2013 4:40 PM

As someone who was in charge of a few reinventing-the-wheel projects (and more than a few consultant-advising-for-free ones) I can sort of see where you are coming from and have a few questions.

Just how much of the size and weight is taken up by the control and communications system (which just sounds like a circuit board with a microcontroller on it)?

Just what does the escalator have to do and communicate that you would suggest a multi-core processor as an option (these things used to run on relay logic)?

Just how old is the existing system? You mention an existing microcontroller so it doesn't sound like you are upgrading old relay logic controls where space and weight could really be reduced by a redesign. Are additional communication features requested by the customer or something?

I cannot see much space and weight improvement in a simple board replacement, have you considered concentrating on the motor and drive elements instead, or better yet talking with either the original or another escalator manufacturer for a retrofit or replacement option that is industry-proven and fit for purpose?

Jack - An escalator cannot break, it just becomes stairs.

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#15

Re: Escalator Control System - Any Innovative Ideas?

08/26/2013 7:53 PM

You need Otis for this....either:

1) the elevator manufacturer, or
2) the Mayberry town drunk.

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#16

Re: Escalator Control System - Any Innovative Ideas?

08/26/2013 11:50 PM

Put a fourth button on it; then you can have up, down, sideways, and stop.

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#17
In reply to #16

Re: Escalator Control System - Any Innovative Ideas?

08/27/2013 12:13 AM

Or go the hole hog and redesign the escalator to convert into a ramp (disabled access, emergency exit slide, cool marketing tool, plus more potential benefits).

Pretty innovative, but a lot of redesign work.

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#18

Re: Escalator Control System - Any Innovative Ideas?

08/27/2013 12:29 AM

This is the most energy efficient design i came up with

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#19

Re: Escalator Control System - Any Innovative Ideas?

08/27/2013 1:41 AM

Winnovation Consulting

We are an internationally active consultancy specialized in all areas leading to long-term success using the many facets of innovation:

Got to admit, trawling an internet discussion group for help is innovative.

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#20

Re: Escalator Control System - Any Innovative Ideas?

08/27/2013 1:57 AM

my biggest question is, why is weight an issue its an escalator not a aircraft i recently got look inside a modern escalator after almost falling in at a local mall and a 50 kg box is not really a big deal.

That said it sounds like a job for the ever popular arduino micro controller (yes I know here comes the wild spitting) coupled to some solid state relays to replace the old mechanical relays, plus the existing systems sensors could be incorporated into the new micro controller and new ones added if need be and if you really want to impress you could throw in some variable frequency drives for the motors for speed control and the ever important green factor.

My money please!!

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#30
In reply to #20

Re: Escalator Control System - Any Innovative Ideas?

08/27/2013 1:16 PM

Maybe it's going in an airplane ?

Most of the weight in the escalator control is the drive unit whose size is based on application horsepower requirements and which has already been "down-sized" as much as safety regs allow and the Microcontroller weight is a "wash".

There are several safety monitoring devices on escalators that were/are adopted after suffering the results of numerous personnel accidents and equipment damage.

Eliminating any of these would not be feasible nor logical nor an intelligent decision by any stretch of the imagination.

My suggestion to the OP consultant is to consult with any of the major escalator manufacturers technical services department before attempting any changes to a personnel conveying system.

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#21

Re: Escalator Control System - Any Innovative Ideas?

08/27/2013 3:04 AM

Were this in the UK I'm sure the government would favour a system powered by the unemployed, homeless, immigrants, the disabled and prison inmates. This could be sold to a gullible public as green, reducing unemplyment and a fitting punishment for not going to Eton.

Del

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#23

Re: Escalator Control System - Any Innovative Ideas?

08/27/2013 6:38 AM

Dear Ms. Barbu is your Dr.Chief with Harvard and MIT background aware of your research ? It is quite compromising for a team which claims to be at the top of innovation to seak help from "normal" unknown technicians or engineers. In fact we should ask for your help!

Anyway your question is not formulated totally it does not give all informations.

If you need a consultant on this item you may use the private channel and you may write either in german or even in your mother language.

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#27

Re: Escalator Control System - Any Innovative Ideas?

08/27/2013 9:46 AM

let me try to help you! how many floor´s have the building?

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#28

Re: Escalator Control System - Any Innovative Ideas?

08/27/2013 9:56 AM

From the OP's web site:

winning with innovation. we know how it works.

The future belongs to those who are constantly working with innovation.

winnovation is a specialist in developing innovation skills.

Our team supports organisations,

builds their own successful innovation teams and is continuously generating fresh ideas.

??????????????????????

communicate innovation:

More than 2/3 of innovations fail.

One important reason is poor communication.

We developed therefore the BENEFIT-method.

A perfect tool for startups, innovators and developers.

Sounds like a lazy "consultant". Looking for someone to do the work that was assigned to them!

I can think of a dozen different ways to "modernize" an escalator control, however, these units have gone through rigorous testing and proved to be stable designs.

Leave the modifications to those that know their product. The EXPERTS that design and build them. Day in and day out!

BA

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#29

Re: Escalator Control System - Any Innovative Ideas?

08/27/2013 12:51 PM

Maybe its just me, but I find it somewhat humorous that we just had a thread on this forum about this exact phenomenon.

"Rich Merritt, a public relations professional who works with automation vendors, agrees that we've forgotten the KISS principle. "We've made everything so complicated, complex, and convoluted that we've entered the age of 'transoptimal engineering,' " he says. "That is, things are so advanced and have so many features, they don't work anymore.""

I think this belongs here.......

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#31

Re: Escalator Control System - Any Innovative Ideas?

08/27/2013 4:15 PM

(i'm not interested of this at all) ? you just got hired ? is the test job ? what's the company's financial state ? is your superiors 30-40 male and female (i'dont want to know) if some applies this might be an "Hooray project" as you shouldn't get materially/personally responsible of any company duties (just a thought)

end over and out

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#32

Re: Escalator Control System - Any Innovative Ideas?

08/28/2013 3:28 AM

Hey guys! I see a lot anger here, but still, thanks for all your comments!
The idea was not to find someone who could do our job as many of you said but to find the right people that could help them do the job, innovative and creative people that developed something similar or show interest. And talking to other escalator manufacturers...if you want to develop something radically new, to be ahead of your competitor, would you go to ask your competitor (even assuming that he is better than you)?
Having these said, I declare the topic closed. Have a nice day!

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#33
In reply to #32

Re: Escalator Control System - Any Innovative Ideas?

08/28/2013 5:16 AM

It is not anger, it is a kind of frustration. If you look at more threads you will see that reactions are mostly destructive and not constructive. People want many times to show how bright they are not to help the one who asked for support. There is a french word I do not know how to translate the best into English "defouloir" may be you find the correct equivalent. Most of proposals are based on Wikipedia addresses and other sources but not on a personal contribution.

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#34
In reply to #33

Re: Escalator Control System - Any Innovative Ideas?

08/28/2013 9:28 AM

Yes, unfortunately you're right.

I thought this is a place where specialists, engineers and electronics hobbyists meet.

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#35
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Re: Escalator Control System - Any Innovative Ideas?

08/28/2013 9:36 AM

It is. That is why you are so out of place.

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#36
In reply to #34

Re: Escalator Control System - Any Innovative Ideas?

08/28/2013 10:00 AM

During the course of many years in various industries, I have engaged a number of consultants.

I did this because I considered them far more competent than my staff at solving the particular technical problem at hand. Transitioning large wet chemical process lines (PWB fab equipment) from relay logic to PLC was one.

I did this because I was confident that they could bring their education, experience and knowledge to bear to rapidly and correctly bring innovation to our product line.

I would have dismissed them immediately if I had found out that they had solicited technical assistance from an anonymous forum.

I would then have taken steps to see that everyone was made aware of their unprofessional tactics.

You probably would have gotten some help if you had come here with a proposal in hand, or at least some idea of a direction you wanted to take, other than smaller/ lighter/better, and asked for help critiquing or improving it.

You gave the distinct impression that you wanted to profit from the results of our work products and previous experience.

Good luck.

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#37
In reply to #32

Re: Escalator Control System - Any Innovative Ideas?

08/28/2013 4:02 PM

Well thanks for that, I guess I wasted my time trying to help you then back in post #13 when I asked additional questions to help clarify exactly what you were after.

All things considered you are asking a forum of Engineers for free advice you are then going to charge someone else for, so.........

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#38

Re: Escalator Control System - Any Innovative Ideas?

09/01/2013 5:07 PM

I gave #1 and #2 a GA each. I thought the same thing, but was too late to respond. I'm sure this guy isn't looking for someone to do the research and tell him how to do it, so he can tell his boss and get a big fat bonus and a promotion for coming up with the idea. This borders on a homework assignment.

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