Many computer software tools have become common place in the design of lifts. Most specifying engineers have access to traffic analysis programmes and even the use of complex traffic flow simulation has become readily available.
But what’s next, or already around us and available to support the engineer? What can be used to show the client or end user that the consultant specified solution exactly meets their needs and demands?
For many projects the lifts or escalators don’t only provide an essential function but they are there as an integral part of the marketability of building.
We have recently worked on a project where a 1970’s building is provided with a six car group of lifts providing excellent traffic performance, but over recent years the building was difficult to let compared to more modern buildings. With the addition of an atrium and two further scenic lifts it has given the building a “wow factor”, and once again the building has become a marketable product. It is like the selling of your own house and taking advise from the house doctor. Rather than making the best of kitchens and bathrooms for a commercial building its the foyer and lifts.
Even when the lifts are more normal the lift car interiors form an integral part of the building main entrance foyer. Working closely with architects we have developed a 3D design tool which will provide a near photographic image of what the final installed lift car enclosure will look like.
Fully scaled engineered drawings demonstrate precisely how the lift will appear to the client or lift installer. These images and, if required, animations are then discussed with the architects and client enabling an early “sign off”. The images are also used to define specific areas such as special lighting effects, colours, materials etc. The 3D model can be tested before manufacture and installation saving costs, time or compromised design.
The images produced can be used to support the marketing of the building long before the installation is complete.
We have found the use of 3D design essential when designing high quality scenic lifts. 3D is no-longer just a pretty picture but a method of engineering the functional and aesthetical solution. This is particularly true for designs where the concept is not to see the working mechanisms or obstructions. Components such as tape heads, limits and traveling cables can be designed into the least obtrusive position. In some cases we have gone beyond just the liftwell frame but also liaised with the architect with a surrounding stair design.
The wider area of the construction industry has embraced these tools, where my own M&E colleagues are capable of designing a whole boiler room and walking through the image long before the first piece of ductwork is made. We in the lift and escalator industry need to embrace these tools.
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