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Interlift 2017

CANopen Lift makes its way

More than 40 companies exhibited CANopen Lift products. This year, more visitors from Near and Far East requested information on CiA 417.

Interlift 2017: With 574 mainly small and medium-sized exhibitors the tradeshow is one of the most important events for elevator suppliers (Photo: Interlift)

The CANopen Lift application profile (known also as CiA 417) gains increasingly, attraction outside of Central and Northern Europe. In particular in Germany, many elevators are equipped with CANopen Lift networks. These trends were confirmed on the talks during the Interlift 2017 exhibition in Augsburg (Germany). The number of exhibitors not headquartered in Germany is still increasing: 71 percent in 2017. Italy was ahead China, Spain, and Turkey.

Regarding CANopen Lift, there were mainly minor product updates announced by several suppliers. News came from two Japanese inverter manufacturers: Fuji Electric and Yaskawa. Fuji’s Frenic-Lift family supports now besides CiA 402 also CiA 417. Yaskawa presented its L1000A drives, which come optionally with a CiA 417 compliant interface. Control Techniques supplying since the early days of CANopen Lift, exhibited the first time under the name of its new mother company: Nidec instead of Emerson. But the brand name is still kept. Ziehl-Abegg, another CANopen Lift hero, introduced the Zadynpro frequency inverter. The product without motor contactors complies optionally with CiA 417. Further lift inverter manufacturers are planning to implement CiA 417 in the near future. There is still some discussion that not all inverters with CiA 417 connectivity are conform to the specification. There are still some interoperability issues. Those needs to be overcome in the CANopen Lift plugfest organized by CAN in Automation (CiA).

Competition is welcome: On the CANopen Lift booth, several CiA members presented their interoperable products, which can be exchanged (Photo: CiA)

The CANopen Lift controllers by Schmersal (better known as Boencke and Partner) are brand labeled by different companies including Weber Lifttechnik. Thor Engineering offers its CiA 417 lift controller as an open software and hardware approach. This platform can also be used for prototype developments. The Next Group manages these open source projects; members get access to the sources.

Intec has equipped the lift test tower in Rosswein (Germany) with its CiA 417 compliant lift control systems. It can control several inverters. Just by switch, the drives can be swapped. ZFA operates the test tower and provides also general trainings for lift technicians, which includes the basics of CANopen Lift.

In the past, just a few door units – e.g. from Siemens and Wittur – supported the standardized CANopen application profile. Meiller introduced at the Interlift 2017 its Midrive door unit, which features CiA 417 connectivity. It can be commissioned using touch displays or smartphone apps.

Open sources: The Next Group provides open sources for controller hardware and CANopen Lift software for its members; the first implementation was exhibited by Thor Engineering (Photo: CiA)

There are still many lift device suppliers offering proprietary CAN-based higher-layer protocols. Shanghai Step Sigriner presented its elevator and escalator control systems using CAN interfaces. Abbey Elektronik (Turkey) and Mastech (Italy) are also connecting their electronic equipment by means of proprietary CAN solutions. Companies such as MLC (Crotia) just using partly proprietary CAN networks. For the integration of Gefran drives, CANopen Lift is also ready supported. This is intended. The system designer can decide, if just a part of the equipment is connected to the standardized application profile.

In Germany, CANopen Lift is well accepted and penetrates increasingly the lift market. In France, Sprinte promotes CiA 417, while Sodimas is still using its proprietary CAN-based protocol. Also in Northern Europe, the balance is going in the direction of open networks. At the fairground in Augsburg, there was some rumor that some Far East companies are interested to join the CANopen Lift community. The increasing interest in open networks poses the question, if CANopen Lift should be internationally standardized by ISO, for example.

The bi-annually tradeshow is good opportunity to discuss future product developments with customers. Wachendorff, for example, displayed its digital shaft copying solutions. The guided belt measuring system is still a prototype, said the company’s spokesman. The product is equipped with vibration dampers to minimize noise.

Another trend on the Interlift 2017 was the extended application fields. Besides the traditional elevators, the fair addresses also the home lift and platform lifting markets. Retrofitting of lifts is another important application for the exhibitors. In all these applications, CAN networks play a role due its robustness and reliability.

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