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Smart lifts and escalators

Always stay in motion

09/2016 - By the end of this year, all lifts and escalators in train stations will be equipped with a technical module for remote monitoring in order to increase availability for passengers. This is a key part of Deutsche Bahn's strategy on the future of railway operations in Germany (Zukunft Bahn).

With the “Zukunft Bahn” initiative, DB passengers can expect even more service and quality. And this starts long before they board the train – and continues after they leave the train. The infrastructure at train stations is also being continuously improved and made fit for the future in accordance with the technology available today. With DB Services and DB Systel as strong partners of DB Station&Service, a new milestone in modernisation will soon be reached: By the end of 2016, all of the some 2,000 lifts and about 1,000 escalators will be monitored remotely and customers will be informed in real time about the operating state of these facilities.

Previously, staff at train stations kept an eye on these facilities. Potential malfunctions were often not discovered until routine checks were carried out or passengers reported a malfunction. This does not fulfil DB’s quality requirement, which demands fast diagnosis of malfunctions and an immediate response.

Machines talk to machines

As part of the ADAM programme (expansion of digitalisation in facility management) of DB Station&Service, a communication module has been developed and installed at over 1,000 train stations across Germany. DB Systel, an expert in machine-to-machine (M2M) technology, has been working on this module and the associated central system since 2015 in a joint agile project with DB Station&Service. It enables two independent systems to communicate with each other – the self-sufficient lift technology transmits the operating state automatically to a central system. But that’s far from the end of it: The recipient has to be able to process this information – and ADAM understands the language of the different systems.

Digitalisation of lifts and escalators

@ Deutsche Bahn AG

In the event of an incident, a built-in modem transfers the data recorded to a central server via mobile telephony. DB Services has succeeded here in eliciting the operating state of all of the around 3,000 facilities from over 60 different manufacturers, including some older classes, in a standardised format and preparing the required information for the ADAM system. In addition, exact fault codes are being entered and statistical information collected on a few hundred new facilities.

The ADAM central system enables analyses and statistics on the state of facilities to be generated – all in real time and accessible at any time. The history can also be tracked: All information and data entered can be saved and transferred for analysis to the facility management department responsible.

More benefits for passengers

The data collected will also be used to keep travellers updated. An Open Data interface of ADAM enables the status of facilities to be integrated live into apps. This allows disruptions to the operation of lifts or escalators to be visible directly on a smartphone. Especially passengers with lots of luggage or reduced mobility can then use alternative routes or the mobility service of Deutsche Bahn. The prototype of the “lift monitor” app is an early example of such a solution.

By the end of this year, all lifts and escalators of DB Station&Service will be equipped with ADAM. Yet the results of the system are already so impressive that other parts of buildings can be integrated into remote monitoring. This is clear evidence that the Group will continue to stay in motion in the future.