OPC UA Use Cases

Patience is not a virtue that many of us have. Almost nowhere is that more apparent than when we push the little button and start what always seems to be an endless wait for the elevator doors to slide open. That wait is important to building operators, but it is of vital concern for facilities like hotels where slow running elevator systems can ruin an otherwise excellent guest experience.

Ignore elevator maintenance and slow elevators is what you get. But worse than that, the building owner may unknowingly also be experiencing high energy usage, excessive heating in the drive system enclosure, and excessive noise generation, which all lead to a shortening of system life, and in excessive cases, safety issues. Knowing that status of elevator operation is critical to providing excellent service to the building owner.

Remote monitoring is critical to providing excellent elevator service and avoiding long term outages that affect building owners and tenants. There are many items to monitor, but few of them are regularly monitored in the one million thirty thousand elevators and escalators in North America. There are hundreds of items to monitor, but some of the crucial ones include:

• Travel time
• Energy usage
• Control System Temperature
• System Power Factor
• Door Cycle Times
• Total Operating Hours

OPC UA is an excellent solution for providing this type of monitoring for all the same reasons that make UA such an effective tool on the factory floor.
Remote Monitoring – OPC UA is especially effective in situations where a remote piece of equipment must report to a supervisory system when an operational discrepancy is reported. Since UA uses standard Ethernet communications, any physical layer – including wired, wireless, cellular and satellite – can be used to move OPC UA messages.

Event Handling – OPC UA contains a sophisticated Event management system. OPC UA Client devices can select the variables to monitor, can select under what conditions a variable’s value is published, and set the rate at which the remote devices’ variables are monitored.

Security – For business reasons, elevator vendors prefer to keep data like operating cycles out of competitor’s hands. This is more important if the elevator builder is remotely sending commands to the system to change operating parameters as the system ages, or in response to a high temperature environment or utility power charge at a particular time of the day. UA provides excellent security in this kind of situation.

Information Modeling – Using a standard, open information model makes it much easier for the elevator manufacturer, their customers, and third-party after-market vendors to build applications that use elevator data. Using standard objects with informative Meta data means that dashboards, handheld applications and other monitoring systems can be quickly and easily constructed. Manufacturers and customers tracking the frequency of problems can lead to reduced call frequencies, lower maintenance costs and the avoidance of injuries – all increasing bottom line profits for both the operator and the manufacturer.

Standard Interfaces – Using the standard interfaces (web services, http, http) provided by UA means that the elevator operator can easily integrate the elevator operating data into other systems like the facilities building management system, providing more complete control over the entire building operation.