AR Helps Thyssenkrupp Stay Ahead of the Curve

Imagine having to climb up 20 flights of stairs to get to your office. The fitness freak in you might want to pounce on the opportunity, but I bet more practical reasons (think – sweat dripping from the forehead as you walk into that all-important meeting!) will prevail. You would much rather take the elevator, wouldn’t you? Thyssenkrupp AG (TAG) of Germany knows this just as well as any other elevator company.

Back in 2014, TAG collaborated with Microsoft to connect all the sensors in its elevators to a cloud. Using Microsoft’s Azure IoT suite, TAG could capture necessary data from sensors in its elevators. This enabled the company to visualize immediate and future issues with its elevators and fix them before they occurred. This led to TAG introducing MAX – world’s first predictive elevator maintenance service – in its products in 2015. TAG aims to equip all its products with MAX by the end of 2017.

One look at the numbers will tell you that smart elevators matter today more so than ever before. A study by Columbia University noted that office goers in New York City spent 16.6 cumulative years over the course of year just waiting for elevators. This is in stark contrast to the 5.9 years they spent riding in the elevator. With elevators around the world moving more and more people around, imagine the time saved by elevators running smartly and efficiently. With MAX, technicians can know if an elevator is in critical need of repair. MAX can be updated remotely and recognize customer call back patterns for proactive interaction. It can also be retrofitted to existing, old, and third-party elevators that Thyssenkrupp technicians service.

Developed in collaboration with Microsoft, the cloud-connected service aims to improve ride efficiency and reduce downtimes. The service uses Microsoft’s Azure IoT Suite and Azure cloud to help technicians perform predictive maintenance. By using counters for actions such as door movements and trips, technicians get insights into reasons for accelerated wear and tear of parts. MAX offers benefits such as keycard holders that could be ferried directly to the intended floor. Using MAX, buildings could set their elevators to anticipate rush-hour surges on certain floors (e.g. lobby).

So, TAG technicians considered using Augmented Reality (AR) to solve this problem. In trials, AR-powered tools enabled technicians to fix an elevator four times faster than before. At One World Trade Center, the TAG lift in use can go from ground floor to 102nd floor in just 60 seconds. When the lift decelerates, it uses an on-board regenerative drive to convert energy into electricity. Think about how easy it will be to fix with AR-powered tools at technicians’ disposal.

Since 2014, technology has helped TAG in a big way. From being able to predict repairs to being able to fix repairs quickly, technology ensured that TAG stayed ahead of its competitors. In a sector that is expected to grow to more than US $122 billion by 2021, that is a huge advantage for TAG.

Much like the TAG and Microsoft, Audax Labs has worked with Hitachi on the maintenance of industrial printers using both IoT and AR. The solution we created for Hitachi, was showcased at the Hitachi Next event in Las Vegas in September, this year. To know more about our work in this area, you can get in touch with us at

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