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Elevator Drives

Past, Present and Future

As Presented at NAVTP Annual Forum Atlanta, Georgia May 3, 2007

Elevator Drives - Discussion

History Requirements Motor and Control Types Industry Trends Future Drives


236 BC First Passenger Lift,


1853 Safe Elevator Demo,

Elisha Otis

1857 First Safe Elevator

Installation, Cooper Union, NYC

1861 Otis Elevator Patent

Otis Patent 1861


1873 First Modern DC Motor 1874 J. W. Meaker Door Opener Patent 1880 First Electric Motor Controlled
Elevator Siemens / Sprague

1882-1889 Tesla AC Induction Motor

3-Phase Squirrel Cage Design

1889 Otis Elevator Uses DC Motor

Otis DC Elevator Motor

Circa 1889


1891 Ward Leonard Variable

Speed Control
AC Induction Motor Turning DC Dynamo Rheostat to Control Generated Voltage DC Voltage Controls DC Motor Speed

1900-1970s Ward-Leonard M-G Sets

and DC Motors Used for Variable Speed Elevators

AC Motors Used 1 and 2 Speed Starters

Otis No. 1 Geared DC Machine with DC Motor

Circa 1915

Otis Gearless DC Machine

Circa 1919

(Otis Elevator, 1920s)

M-G Set Controls

Otis Type 84
26 Broadway,NYC

Circa 1930s


Thyristor (SCR) DC Drives Control Elevators All Analog Components in the 70s Replaces Aging M-G Sets

1980s Microprocessors Improve

Car Dispatch and Motor Drive Controllers

Otis type 84,NYC

with Encoder

Westinghouse #205 with Encoder


Late 1980s
Early 1990s Mid-1990s
Variable Frequency Inverters AC Induction Motors, Geared Applications Only

More AC Inverters and Motors Begin to Displace Small DC, 3-15 HP

Vector Control AC Inverters 10-40 HP Almost as Good as SCR-DC. KONE Introduces PM EcoDisc AC Machine


Late 1990s

Custom Gearless AC Induction Machines First Fully Regenerative AC Elevator Drives Much Discussion on PM-AC and MRL SCR-DC Still Used for Medium and Large Building Mods



More PM-AC Motor Manufacturers. PM Gearless Begins to Replace AC Geared EU Focus on Efficiency and Harmonics/EMC Lower Cost IGBT Inverter Components North America Begins to Focus on Energy Reduction New Construction Leaning toward AC SCR-DC Still Used on Medium-Large Building Mods

Elevator Drive Requirements

Elevator Duty Cycle



1.0 0 -1.0



Four Quadrant Operation

Repeatable Elevator Performance Smooth Operation Reliable Operating Life Effortless Installation Custom Control Interface High Efficiency Conformance to All Codes Low Installed Cost

What Customers Want

Elevators vs. Industrial Applications

Infinitely Variable Speed Range Infinitely Variable Torque Range with

Smooth Bump Less Operation

Millions of Repeated Operating Cycles

with High Peak Torque

High Inertia Resonant Load Accurate Stopping Position Unattended Operation 24/7/365

Elevators vs. Industrial Applications

Quiet Operation Long Operating Life Long-Term Product Support

Types of Motors

DC Shunt Field
High Speed Geared Low Speed Gearless

Full HP Range 5 600 HP

8994% Efficient High Torque Capacity Accel/Decel

In Elevator Service for 70+ Years

Requires DC Generator, SCR or Other AC-DC Power Conversion from AC Utility Power

DC Motor Can Act Like a Generator

Types of Motors

AC Induction
High Speed Geared, 275 HP Few Low Speed Designs for Gearless 8594% Efficient Many with Single or 2 Speed Starters Can be Variable Speed by Inverter Control of Frequency Torque Strength Derived from Out of Phase Excitation Current Requires Flux Vector Control for Wide Operating Speed Range Can Act Like a Generator

Types of Motors

AC Permanent Magnet (PM)

New Designs for Compact Gearless Machines Torque Strength from Permanent Magnets 9095% Efficient Compatible with Inverters to Control Speed Requires Synchronous Flux Vector / Angle Control to Regulate / Modulate Torque

Supply Limited to Specialty Machine Builders Not Suitable for High rpm Speed Geared Designs Can Act Like a Generator


Why keep a DC machine?

Many large DC machines cannot be easily replaced with AC. Large Installed Base of DC Machines Worldwide

DC Motors and Machines are in Good Working Order and Provide Excellent Ride Quality

Large DC Machines
Otis 72 and 269

Types of Motor Drives

For DC Motors For AC Motors


Variable Voltage V V V F Inv. (V/Hz)

Open/Closed Loop

Vector Control Inv.

Open/Closed Loop

Synchronous PM Inv.
Closed Loop

Regen or Non-Regen

Elevator Power Consumption

the need for Regeneration

Horsepower = Torque x Speed Gearless Friction Losses are 10-20% of Elevator

HP Rating

Moving inertia absorbs energy during acceleration

that must be removed during deceleration.

Mechanical, electric and electronic losses are

proportional to torque or current flow.

Energy Wasted / Dissipated During Deceleration

= Heat

Excessive heat in control rooms must be removed.

Practical Energy Considerations

Low Speed Elevators 50150 fpm

Almost Always Geared or PM Gearless Low Speed Usually Means Low Power 2-35 HP / 2-25 kW Most power is consumed by frictional losses. True regeneration is not critical. High Gearbox Losses During Regeneration Drive type makes little difference in overall energy consumption. If DC, Good Candidate for Conversion to AC by Replacing Motor Low Installed Cost is Usual Critical Issue

Practical Energy Considerations

Medium Speed Elevators 150450 fpm

Geared and Some Gearless Including PM 15-60 HP / 12-45 kW

Lower Frictional Losses in Gearbox

Recovery of inertia energy becomes important, particularly with gearless.

Resistive Braking Still Possible but Need to Perform Heat Load Calculations for Equipment Room

Practical Energy Considerations

High Speed Elevators 500-1,600+ fpm

Low Friction Gearless 45-600 HP / 34-450 kW or Larger True Regeneration is Mandatory

Industry Trends

Energy Consumption Reduction

kW-hrs / Month Harmonics, Power Factor

Reduced FloorFloor Time Reduced Vibration

Low Maintenance

Larger PM Machines
More Gearless Applications

Energy Consumption

Elevator Speed and Payload Frequency of Use Hoist Way Efficiency Motor Efficiency Power Conversion Efficiency Idle Losses Regeneration

Drive Type Comparison

Desired Feature Diode SCR-DC PWM Inv PWM PWM

Installed Cost
Smallest vol. Wt. Pwr conv efficiency External XFMR 90%

93-96% 92-94%

Drive Type Comparison

Desired Feature Regeneration SCR-DC Diode PWM Inv No No PWM PWM


Low Harmonics
Unity Pwr Factor



Drive Type Comparison

Desired Feature
Flexible Motor V Stand-by Friendly AC / DC Motor SCR-DC With XFMR No No

Diode PWM Inv

Below Vac input



Future Expectations

More PM Gearless
Low and High Power

More Interest in Energy Conservation

Overall Efficiency Regeneration

More Restrictions on Harmonics and EMC

Sinusoidal High pf Utility Line Current All Inclusive Drive Units with Filters

PWM-PWM Double Converter-Inverter

Regulated Harmonics Unity pf Fully Regenerative Compatible with DC Stand-by Power Electronic Alignment Sensing

Future Elevator Drives

PM Operation without Resolver

Compact All Inclusive Packaging Works with AC Ind. or PM or DC Motors

Worlds Tallest Buildings

Magnetek has Elevator Drives in 17 of

the 30 tallest buildings in the world.