LoRa Networks Make Lifts Smarter

The lift is among the most frequently used equipment in our daily life. As the technological platforms for this architectural equipment are quite mature, how can we make the lift even smarter with the fast evolving technologies of today? The transition from wired transmission to wireless LoRa network will be a key technological change in lift design.

They free lift managers from their offices

As essential equipment for high-rise buildings, there can be tens of lifts operating simultaneously in large commercial buildings. Lift managers are usually required to monitor all operations and deal with special circumstances in the management room inside the building with no right to leave freely. Now, the introduction of signal collection system adopting LoRa network enables the manager to work outside the cramped room and monitor lift operations anytime and anywhere.

The so-called LoRa (Long Range) wireless network technology is mainly applied to LPWAN (Low Power Wide Area Network). As the name implies, this technology is used for applications of long-range low power network transmission. The biggest benefit lies in its long-range transmission; a single gateway or base station can cover the range of a whole city or several hundred kilometers.  

The lift signal collection LoRa network from Cwlinux Limited is a solution providing signal data collection and display for the building. It can collect and transfer signals to LoRa gateway, transfer the data to the collector and display the signal in real-time via the user interface of a personal computer or mobile device. It adopts the 915 Mhz frequency LoRa technology featuring benefits including low-power and long-range transmission.

This system consists of a LoRa gateway, LoRa node, data concentrator and Ethernet switch. The LoRa node, as the transceiver of LoRa, uses an LPC1768 board from NXP to execute FreeRTOS for signal filtering and data package optimization. The data concentrator uses a CWMX6UL module from Cwlinux to run the Ubuntu 16.0.4 system for data collection and uses nodes.js for data display.

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NXP Semiconductors Microcontrollers - MCUs View

The data concentrator is composed of a database and dashboard engine for lift status display. Its hardware components include CWMX6UL with a 528 MHz ARM Cortex A7 processor, built-in 512 MB DDR memory, 4G eMMC storage space, scalable SD card slot, Ethernet port, USB port, and an HDMI port. All data in the database are collected via the LoRa base station and stored in internal storage space. The gateway using LoRa Technology with long-range transmission capability is designed especially for M2M and IoT online services.

In addition to eliminating repetitive signal packages and controlling data rate, the functions of the signal-capturing node also include a UART–to-LORA converter (ULC) for converting and transferring the captured RS232/RS485 data to the LoRa network. Users can select LPC17XX, the Cortex-M3-based MCU or LPC11XX, the Cortex-M0-based MCU, as their applications may require. The low-power long-range transceiver operates at a frequency of 915 MHz. The board supports LoRaWAN Class-A protocol stacks and is capable of programmable RF communication bit rates of up to 300 kbps with FSK and 12500 bps with LoRa technology modulation.

When combined with a private network, lift signal capturing nodes can cover the range of general buildings and the whole city with a public network. There are two RS-232/RS-485 on the board; UART0 is used for ASCII interface and UART1 for data capture. The operating system, FreeRTOS, runs via ASCII interface on UART. This device employs a 9-30VDC power supply.

Lift equipment with LoRa technology is capable of transmitting signal data without physical cabling. This method can not only significantly decrease the cost of cabling but also facilitate troubleshooting and maintenance in the future. For lift managers, they can achieve real-time management and maintenance through mobile devices outside their offices. Moreover, besides lifts, LoRa wireless technology is also ideal for various fire monitoring and security systems in the building. This technology can make for smarter buildings as well as more efficient and convenient security management and is a valuable option for all lift equipment and real estate developers. 

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