New digital solutions for elevators are leading to a host of benefits
Digitalisation is making inroads into the passenger elevator sector, speeding up installation and cutting maintenance.
Lift Emotion is developing a digital shaft encoder that will boost maintenance and allow for faster installation. Its owner Mike Brandt tells Passenger Ship Technology “We are always developing our systems, improving quality, maintainability and installation. An interesting new feature currently being certified is a digital shaft encoder that will incorporate limit switches and during overspeed act as an overspeed governor. Using new electronic brake systems, we would eliminate several cables in the lift trunk resulting in shorter installation work and less cable routeing for the yard.”
He says the test unit will be ready in about three months in Lift Emotion’s workshop, then the company will initially incorporate this into its smaller models.
Lift Emotion delivered the elevators on the Doeksen vessels in the Netherlands and a steel frame lift trunk that will be cladded with aluminium is currently under construction.
Explaining why Lift Emotion developed this product with its suppliers, Mr Brandt explains “To have less failure through the lifecycle of the system. Less cable through trunks mean less work and less potential failures during installation.”
Energy efficiency is also an important factor for the company. Mr Brandt says “Our special hydraulic systems for the lower rise up to 19-20 m have [been established] for several years.” He says their inverter drive system offers savings of between 25% and 50% of energy. He adds that these systems are simpler to maintain than the traction-driven models of the big corporate firms.
Life Emotion has worked on several ferry and cruise projects in the last few months. These include ferries for Norled and Stena, for yards such as De Hoop, Incat and Austal, and cruise operator American Queen Steamboat.
Optimising passenger flow
Digitalisation is also being used more widely to optimise passenger flow. Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Horizon features elevators where passengers select their destination from a touch-panel in the lobby and are then directed to an elevator programmed to take them to their destination in the quickest possible time. This results in fewer stops, shorter travel time and reduced energy consumption.
Schindler provides this PORT Technology system. The company estimates the system can cut passenger embarkation and disembarkation time by up to 40%.
Schindler supplied 33 elevators and four escalators for Carnival Horizon. Sixteen of the vessel’s main elevators incorporate the PORT Technology system.
Carnival Horizon was built by Fincantieri and carried out its maiden trans-Atlantic crossing in 2018. The vessel is the second of Carnival’s Vista-class ships and operates six and eight-night sailings from Miami to the western, eastern and southern Caribbean.
Finland-based Kone is also applying digital technologies to make elevator operations more efficient. The TrafCal traffic calculator provides analysis of passenger flow during embarkation, disembarkation and at-sea operations, while the E-link equipment monitoring system allows crew and maintenance personnel to see transport demand, performance, availability and quickly respond to malfunctions. Traffic flow is optimised by the hybrid destination control system (DCS), which combines the function of a traditional DCS with a collective control system. This groups passengers travelling to the same destinations into the same elevators, improving foot traffic flow.
Kone is providing the elevators for MSC Cruises’ Meraviglia-class vessels. Launched in 2017, MSC Meraviglia can accommodate over 5,000 passengers and has a crew of 1,500, features stunning panoramic areas, an innovative ocean-view aft lounge, and a spectacular amusement area connected to an outdoor water park. Elevators are crucial for passengers to move around safely and efficiently.
For MSC Bellissima, delivered last year, Kone provided 24 MiniSpace elevators, six MonoSpace elevators, four TravelMaster escalators, two MiniSpace scenic elevators and two platform elevators. The MiniSpace elevators are designed to make optimal use of available space by housing the compact machine room in an extension of the elevator shaft, with just a small additional space needed for the control panel. The MonoSpace elevator, meanwhile, uses a single shaft and eliminates the need for a machine room, allowing it to serve all decks in a vessel including the topmost. Kone provides continuous supervision of the equipment, allowing servicing and maintenance to be carried out at the earliest convenient time when the vessel makes a port call.
Upgrades and retrofits
As well as being integral to passenger flow, elevated attention is also being paid to the interior aesthetics of lifts. Princess Cruises’ new flagship Sky Princess has taken its interior design to another level and selected Miami-based interior design firm Studio DADO to develop and implement a more modern vision for Princess Cruises. Studio DADO designed all guest accommodations, including elevators.
While initially tasked with creating the design for Sky Suites only, executives at Princess then asked DADO to carry forward their design to all accommodation categories after they started working together.
Studio DADO founding partner Jorge Mesa tells Passenger Ship Technology, “When we were approached, Princess Cruises wanted to take their brand to the next level. While staying true to their core values was important, they wanted to create an evolution of the brand for the next generation of travellers. We created a more open and modern space. The design of the Sky Suites still aims to keep within the elegance and sophistication that Princess is known for while integrating some modern touches.”
The new design concept debuted on Sky Princess and will be carried through to future vessels.
The strong cruise interior refit market is also including elevators in its upgrades. Trimline key account manager Simon Dawkins previously told Passenger Ship Technology that cruise operators were standardising their public areas. “As new ships are delivered, they want to replicate the public areas found in these across the fleet. They want ships to all be up to the same standard.”
An example of an elevator upgrade is the refit Trimline carried out on the ultra-luxury Seabourn Quest. One of the refits included upgrading the elevators to bring them to the same standards as Seabourn Encore.
“They have been made much more visually impressive, with fabric behind the glass, glossy deckheads, and use hidden LED lighting to illuminate,” he explains. This contrasts with the previous elevators, which used spotlights and had plainer deckheads.