In two short years since teaming up with Microsoft in 2015 to launch MAX, the first predictive maintenance solution for elevators enabled by Microsoft’s cloud platform Azure, thyssenkrupp has now connected more than 110,000 elevators with the IoT-based system, enabling the reduction in downtime for 41,369 building owners and managers across 48,340 sites. MAX collects and sends real-time data from connected elevators to the intelligent cloud, where the remaining lifetime of each elevator’s key components and systems are calculated, determining which parts will require maintenance and when.
Speaking at StartupCon 2017, thyssenkrupp Elevator CEO Andreas Schierenbeck says, “We developed MAX because we knew that elevator service could be done much better than the industry norm. With an estimated unavailability of 190 million hours worldwide each year, we felt that the uptime of the world’s 12 million-plus elevators could certainly be improved. And now the benefits from MAX are real: reduction of downtime for our customers, reduced service intervention times for our technicians, and in some cases we have been able to solve a problem before the customer even knows there is one. With M2M learning, the benefits of MAX will just keep getting bigger and better.”
The more than 110,000 connected units account for approximately 10 percent of thyssenkrupp’s global maintenance portfolio. After starting out in North America and Europe, Asia has now joined the MAX network with over 8,000 connected units in South Korea. While expanding in these regions, thyssenkrupp is also focusing on rolling out the end-to-end process to go fully predictive and planning launches in additional countries; specifically, Brazil and Portugal. Soon, MAX will also be offered for escalators and third-party elevators as well, ensuring customers can benefit from maximum uptime regardless of whether they use a thyssenkrupp elevator or not.
Joining Mr. Schierenbeck for a keynote presentation at StartupCon, Andre Kiehne, member of Microsoft Germany’s management board, says, “Our longstanding partnership with thyssenkrupp shows how sharing a vision and bringing together technology and expertise results in the revolution of an entire industry. The journey of thyssenkrupp is a role model – even beyond manufacturing – on how companies digitalize their businesses successfully.”
In combination with MAX, thyssenkrupp service technicians will ultimately incorporate the use of Microsoft HoloLens in its field operations. The mixed reality technology will allow technicians to work hands-free while on the job using the built-in Skype app to make remote calls to colleagues who can walk them through solutions and provide them with valuable on-site support. The result is significant savings in time and stress and improved customer service.
Building further on the advantages presented by cloud-connected technologies, thyssenkrupp is also working to improve its service logistics. Teaming up with Swiss-based TeleRetail, thyssenkrupp is initiating tests of driverless delivery robots to move spare parts from warehouses to job sites. The benefits include faster delivery, more flexibility and less impact on the environment. The delivery robots are just 85 centimeters wide and suitable for traveling on sidewalks, thereby avoiding road congestions. They can also reach inner-city areas where vehicular transport is limited and carry payloads weighing up to 77 pounds. Moreover, information on delivery status can be obtained quickly via an online Logistics Automation Platform.
Schierenbeck added, “We are exploring next-generation technology as we believe there are significant efficiency gains to be achieved in the service business, and the delivery of spare parts to job sites is a time-consuming aspect that has large scope for improvement. The incorporation of each of these innovations helps us to remain the best multi-brand service provider in the industry. Of the more than 1.3 million units under thyssenkrupp maintenance, over one-third consists of third-party equipment and we are always working to ensure we offer customers a one-stop-shop for all their urban mobility service needs.”