Initiatives that contribute to addressing social issues

Building Systems Group

Message from the Group President

Making the Most of the Mitsubishi Electric Group’s Advanced and Environmental Technologies to Provide Solutions that Satisfy Customers in All Aspects of Safety, Comfort, Efficiency and the Environment

photo: Yasuyuki Ito

Yasuyuki Ito
Representative Executive Officer, Senior Vice President, Group President,
Building Systems

The Building Systems Group manufactures building management systems and elevators and escalators that provide vertical transportation within buildings. As part of our mission to deliver products and systems and the subsequent maintenance thereof, we believe it is important to give priority to the safety and security of our customers throughout the product lifecycle. In doing so, we help to create a comfortable, environment-friendly society through our products and services. Maintaining this promise, the Building Systems Group is focused on the following initiatives:

  1. Pursuing user-friendly, eco-conscious products
    1. Promoting the development of high-efficiency, energy-saving products and technologies, and saving resources by designing products and systems that are safe and easy to use for everybody.
    2. Promoting the renewal of existing equipment and facilities in order to reduce power consumption and improve safety and convenience, and minimizing waste emissions by reusing parts whenever possible.
    3. Working to reduce the energy consumed during production and testing processes, and regulating the management of chemical substances on a consistent basis at manufacturing bases in Japan and overseas.
  2. Offering one-stop ZEB*1 solutions
    • As a ZEB planner*2 registered ahead of other comprehensive electrical machinery manufacturers, Mitsubishi Electric offers one-stop solutions, from support for the design of ZEBs to services that contribute to customers’ energy-saving efforts after the start of operations. We also support initiatives to improve the added value of buildings beyond a higher level of energy efficiency.
  • *1 ZEB (net Zero Energy Building): A building where the net consumption of fossil fuel energy is zero or roughly zero, offset by energy savings and the utilization of renewable energy resources.
  • *2 ZEB planner: A registration system introduced by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry in 2017 for the dissemination of ZEB.

Social issues for which risks and opportunities have been recognized and evaluated

icon: Focusing on the SDGs

Focusing on the SDGs

Major issues

  • Optimal use of energy
  • Development and dissemination of innovative infrastructure
  • Development of safe, secure, comfortable and sustainable cities
  • Waste reduction

Initiatives that Contribute to Addressing Social Issues

Pursuing Comfort, Universal Design, and Eco-Consciousness in Elevators

・AXIEZ Series – Standardized Elevators for the Japanese Market

  • icons: SDGs #10 Reduced Inequalities
  • icons: SDGs #11 Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • icons: SDGs #13 Climate Action

With the aim of manufacturing elevators accessible to and comfortable to use for everybody, in 1997 we introduced a universal design for our standardized elevators sold in the Japanese market. AXIEZ, the current model, is carefully designed so that buttons and LCD indicators can be easily identified even by people who are color blind, and obtained Color Universal Design (CUD) certification. Furthermore, in order for overseas visitors to be able to use elevators with greater ease, announcements and LCD displays are made in two languages (i.e., Japanese and English) during normal operation and in four languages (Chinese and Korean in addition to Japanese and English) in times of emergency. From the environmental perspective, AXIEZ Series elevators greatly reduce power consumption and achieve an energy savings of up to 20% compared to conventional models. They accomplish this by using a gearless traction machine equipped with a permanent magnet motor, LED ceiling lighting inside the car, reduced standby power when the elevator is not in operation, and optimized balance between the car and counterweight. A further reduction in power consumption can be achieved if a converter system that stores and uses electricity generated during braking is installed.

icon: AXIEZ Series – Standardized Elevators for the Japanese Market

・NEXIEZ Series – Standardized Elevators for International Markets

  • icons: SDGs #11 Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • icons: SDGs #13 Climate Action
photo: Elevator for India NEXIEZ-LITE

Elevator for India
NEXIEZ-LITE

The NEXIEZ Series, a line of standardized elevators for international markets manufactured in Thailand by Mitsubishi Elevator Asia Co., Ltd., also use a gearless traction machine equipped with a permanent magnet motor. This results in a more compact, lightweight design and a 20% reduction in power consumption compared to conventional models. Further reductions in power consumption can be achieved by installing LED interior lighting and a converter system that stores and uses electricity generated during braking. For Central and South Americas and India, we have introduced NEXIEZ-LITE and other strategic regional models, and are promoting local production and procurement as we promote the dissemination of our highly energy-efficient products.
The NEXIEZ-S is designed to carry four to six people in low-rise housing and offices in international markets. For this model, greater weight reduction was achieved by simplifying the structure around the car and reducing the number of parts through parts integration.

・Disaster Prevention Functions

  • icons: SDGs #11 Sustainable Cities and Communities

Our elevators have built-in disaster prevention functions in case of various disasters, including earthquakes, fires and flooding due to heavy rain. For example, in the event of an earthquake, when a sensor detects the first tremor (P-waves) or when a large quake is forecast based on earthquake early warnings distributed by the Japan Meteorological Agency, the cars will park at the nearest floor to reduce the risk of passengers becoming trapped inside. Additionally, ELE-Quick is included in the elevator maintenance menu. This diagnosis/recovery system enables an elevator to automatically determine whether or not there is any anomaly after it stops in the case of an earthquake. When it is determined that operation is safe, elevator service resumes, and elevators are put back in use quicker than conventional systems.

icon:Disaster Prevention Functions

・ELE NAVI Security-linked Elevator Destination Forecast System

  • icons: SDGs #9 Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
  • icons: SDGs #11 Sustainable Cities and Communities

When elevator passengers pass through a security gate, their destination floors are automatically registered in the system based on security information stored in their ID card, such as an employee card. Furthermore, passengers are advised as to which elevator to board on a display at the security gate. This eliminates the need to press buttons in the elevator hall or inside the elevator car. It also minimizes stops by assembling passengerrs into a single car according to their destination floors. Boarding times can be shortened during rush hours, such as the beginning of office hours, and transport efficiency is improved. As a result, congestion in the elevator hall is eased.

illustration: Disaster Prevention Functions

Supporting Safe and Comfortable Use of Elevators and Escalators with Maintenance Services

・ELE-FIRST-i plus Remote Maintenance Service

  • icons: SDGs #11 Sustainable Cities and Communities

ELE FIRST-i is a preventive maintenance service provided by Mitsubishi Electric Building Techno-Service Co., Ltd. A remote inspection system checks equipment during normal operation 24/7, 365 days a year, and if it finds any "modulation" leading to failure, the company’s information center is alerted. Technicians then conduct a detailed onsite inspection, and maintenance is carried out after narrowing down the check points utilizing data provided by the monitoring system. If one or more passengers is trapped in an elevator car, the system automatically alerts the information center and analyzes the status of the elevator. When rescue is deemed required, the staff confirms the situation by communicating with passengers via an intercom transceiver and camera mounted inside the elevator car. A rescue attempt is then made via remote access, while technicians are simultaneously dispatched to the site. Furthermore, any problem, including assaults or a medical crisis, can be detected through analysis of images captured by the camera. Any anomaly is flagged by announcements or buzzers. In times of emergency, the elevator can be forced to stop at every floor via remote access.

  • illustration: ELE FIRST-i plus

    ELE FIRST-i plus

  • illustration: ELE-FIRST-i plus Remote Maintenance Service

Further Improving Safety, Comfort, and Functionality Through Elevator and Escalator Renewal

・Elemotion+ Elevator Renewal Menu

  • icons: SDGs #12 Responsible Consumption and Production
  • icons: SDGs #13 Climate Action
photo: Elemotion+ [ZERO]

Elemotion+ [ZERO]

To maintain the safety, security and comfort of elevators, renewal at appropriate times* is essential. The Elemotion+ menu facilitates the renewal of existing rope-type elevators to the latest model equipped with an inverter-controlled system, a gearless traction machine and permanent magnet motor. This provides safe, secure, smooth and comfortable rides, as well as reduces power consumption up to 60%. Further energy savings are possible by incorporating LED lamps for the ceiling lighting in the elevator cars. Moreover, Elemotion+ offers a variety of replacement equipment, enabling customers to make decisions based on budget, preferred installation time, and the ability to reduce waste. The addition of Elemotion+ [ZERO] has made it possible to conduct renewal work with zero days of consecutive elevator stoppage. We are promoting elevator renewals by making it easy for customers to plan renewal work.

  • * Mitsubishi Electric regards 25 years after completion of a building as an indication for renewal.

Providing Safety and Security with Entrance/Exit Management and Video Surveillance Through Integrated Building Security Systems

・MELSAFETY Integrated Building Security System

  • icons: SDGs #9 Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
  • icons: SDGs #11 Sustainable Cities and Communities
illustration: MELSAFETY

MELSAFETY

Amid calls for more stringent compliance and confidential information management, MELSAFETY meets the security needs of all types of buildings, from small-size to medium and large-scale buildings, as well as offices, hospitals, and factories. By linking entrance/exit management systems and video surveillance systems, both tasks can be carried out on the same screen. As a result, it eliminates the need to compare two different sets of records, thus realizing efficient security management. Furthermore, by linking with attendance management systems, attendance records can be tracked more accurately and efficiently,and by linking with visitor reception systems, labor savings can be achieved in reception work as well. Multiple business site/visitor management systems can help improve efficiency and save labor.

Supporting Energy Savings and Comfort for Variety of Buildings Through Building Facilities Operations Systems

・BuilUnity Building Total Solution

  • icons: SDGs #7 Affordable and Clean Energy
  • icons: SDGs #13 Climate Action
photo: Building total solution BuilUnity

Building total solution BuilUnity

BuilUnity is a packaged system that integrates a central monitoring system with the functions of a security system. Using room entrance history and ID information of people in the room, the system enables linked control of building facilities, such as air conditioners and lighting, in accordance with the occupancy status of the rooms. Additionally, a cloud service contract enables monitoring and control of facility status, from a single building to multiple structures, wherever you are as long as you have a smartphone or tablet. The system thus contributes to enhancing energy conservation by bringing attention to the smallest of details.

・Facima Building Automation System – Building Facilities Planning and Operations System

  • icons: SDGs #7 Affordable and Clean Energy
  • icons: SDGs #13 Climate Action
photo: Facima Building Automation System – Building Facilities Planning and Operations System

Facima Building Automation System – Building Facilities Planning and Operations System

Facima is a centralized system for monitoring and controlling systems such as air conditioning and lighting facilities in medium- and large-sized buildings. It optimizes demand control by monitoring peak energy demand and stopping the operation of air-conditioning and lighting facilities as required based on a priority order previously set by the building manager. Combining these features with air-conditioning rotation control, the system automatically controls various building facilities, achieving sensible energy conservation with user comfort and convenience in mind. Additionally, when used in combination with our support service, Facima collects and analyzes data on building facilities operation, visualizes energy use conditions, and proposes energy-saving and cost-reducing options for the entire building.

Responding to Diversifying Needs of Building Owners by Offering One-Stop ZEB Solutions

・Contributing to Dissemination of ZEB as a ZEB Planner

  • icons: SDGs #7 Affordable and Clean Energy
  • icons: SDGs #13 Climate Action
logo: ZEB Planner logo

ZEB Planner logo

Mitsubishi Electric manufactures various products and systems that contribute to achieving high levels of energy efficiency. These products and systems cover five facility categories included in the calculation of energy efficiency performance for ZEB: air conditioning, ventilation, lighting, hot water supply, and vertical transport (elevators/escalators). In addition to the products and systems in these categories, our lineup also includes systems essential to ZEB, such as building energy management systems (BEMS), photovoltaic power generators, and substation facilities. In February 2018, Mitsubishi Electric achieved Nearly ZEB* as the first electric machinery manufacturer in Japan to be registered as a ZEB planner.

  • * Nearly ZEB: A building with net energy savings of 75% or more for standard primary energy consumption.
illustration: Example ZEB Layout

Example ZEB Layout

Reducing environmental impact at business sites

In addition to contributing to society through our business operations, we are striving to reduce the negative environmental impact stemming from our business activities. Some of the initiatives we are implementing are as follows.

Rolling out Initiatives from the Mother Factory to Overseas Manufacturing Bases

The Building Systems Group manufactures elevators and escalators at manufacturing bases in 10 countries worldwide, including Japan, Thailand, and China. At the Inazawa Works, the mother factory in Japan, there is a particular aim to improve the energy efficiency of machinery used in processes that consume large amounts of power, such as the production equipment for machining and painting. In the future, as local manufacturing for local consumption increases and the production ratio of our overseas manufacturing bases grows, we will introduce these initiatives to overseas business sites in an effort to reduce negative environmental impact and promote the creation of sustainable societies.

・Promoting Production Equipment Energy Savings and Lower VOCs

  • icons: SDGs #12 Responsible Consumption and Production
  • icons: SDGs #13 Climate Action

A wide range of processes are involved in the production of elevators and escalators. One of the processes requiring high power consumption is machining. However, by updating to the latest processing equipment and shortening processing time, higher productivity has been achieved and power consumption reduced. In painting processes, large amounts of heat energy are used both during the preparation process (parts cleaning) and drying process. With this in mind, the temperature and quality of the processing liquid were reviewed and the temperature was lowered, resulting in a reduction in power consumption. We have also installed a volatile organic compounds (VOCs) removal device in the painting line to reduce VOCs emissions during the drying process and introduced this initiative to our business sites in China. Additionally, we visualize factory air usage (flow meter at factory entrance) as part of our activities to reduce power consumption from compressor use.

・Introducing Renewable Energies

  • icons: SDGs #13 Climate Action

Photovoltaic power generation modules were introduced to the Inazawa Elevator Training Center, which commenced operations in March 2019. A total of 1,685 solar panels have been installed on the premises of Inazawa Works. Their combined output is 403 kW, and the electricity generated is used to power equipment and air-conditioning inside the factory. Additionally, for all group company buildings that are constructed in the future, we will promote the utilization of photovoltaic modules.

・Upgrading Aging Facilities and Introducing Eco-conscious Items

  • icons: SDGs #12 Responsible Consumption and Production
  • icons: SDGs #13 Climate Action

We have updated aging boilers, compressors, transformers, and air conditioners to more efficient equipment, and are introducing eco-conscious equipment (i.e., LED lighting, water-saving toilet systems, and recycled materials) in our effort to achieve greater energy/resource savings.

・Reducing Wooden Packaging Materials and Number of Trucks

  • icons: SDGs #12 Responsible Consumption and Production
  • icons: SDGs #13 Climate Action

We are promoting the use of returnable packaging materials not only for new elevator parts (e.g., hoisting machine, control panels, and design components), but also for parts included in the Elemotion+ renewal menus, for which demand has been increasing recently, with the aim of eliminating the use of disposable wooden packaging materials. Additionally, by using larger trucks for large-batch transportation and improving load efficiency through stackable loads, we are working to reduce the number of trucks used.