The “birth” of an elevator - The RPH case: from concept to product
The usual scene of the comics with the light bulb above your head glowing is the only way to describe the concept of an idea. Before making an actual product the first step is always a great idea that includes the innovation and the creativity in someone’s head. Several steps have to be made after that, but everything starts on that point.
In real elevator world, that idea rarely comes true thanks to one and only person. Usually, there is a group of people from different backgrounds who have to cooperate in each stage, from the first step till the actual product.
KLEEMANN presented the new Atlas RPH 2600 during Interlift 2017 in Augsburg, Germany. It is an MRL traction elevator suitable for buildings with reduced shaft clearances. This is a case study about the creation procedure for RPH similar to.
First of all, the product Management team of the Marketing Department composed the Market Requirements Document (MRD). MRD is a document that expresses the customer's wants and needs for the product, since the company’s first concern is to always offer the best options to the customers. The document explains:
- What (new) product is being discussed
- Who the target customers are
- Which products are in competition with the proposed one
- Why customers are likely to want this product.
Having completed the information collection procedure, the RDI team starts with the most creative part of the procedure. The members of the team involved take into account the customer's needs, the technological evolution of new materials and constructions and also find solutions to practical issues. The product is divided into the sub-systems, such as shaft components, cabin and electronic equipment, which are consisted of their smaller components. The designing team is divided according to the product’s sub-systems, so each group takes the accountability of one sub-system. Each sub-system is separately designed. The whole team gathers for several brainstorming meetings until they become able to solve this puzzle.
Even the smallest component of the product is being carefully designed. Suitable materials are selected, with extra care for components connected with strict safety rules, such as the braking system. The aim is a new product that combines the desired properties; in this case, it is an elevator suitable for buildings with reduced shaft clearances, and other features such as, low weight, less energy consumption and materials friendly to the environment. Producing an eco-friendlier product is a parameter that we have to take into account since there is a world-wide and gradually increasing awareness over the environmental protection.
As design proceeds, several calculations are carried out. Safety is one of the most important facts that we take into account. The durability of components and of each individual construction is examined repeatedly through analytical equations derived from the bibliography, but also through finite elements analysis in order to achieve an optimization. In figure 1 an example of that kind of analysis is presented. Specifically, the estimated stresses and deformations through the Finite Element Method (FEM) for the case of the machine’s base are shown.
The sequence stage is the challenging transition from design to manufacturing. One by one the components are manufactured, according to the designs that the engineers have supplied to the manufacturing department, and all of them are assembled together. This product test will reveal to the designing team any disadvantages or malfunctions of the designed product.
The product will be introduced to the market only after several safety tests are applied. Each system is certified according to the EN81.20-50 standard. Finally, the product is ready to be industrialized and is presented to the costumers.