The Building Systems Group provides building management systems including everything from elevators and escalators to access control, building management, and surveillance cameras to public and private building owners in over 90 countries. As these are essential components of social infrastructure, it is necessary to deliver and sustain products and services that are safe, secure, and convenient. To this end, we provide full support ranging from initial sales to maintenance services and renewal, as well as new solutions that further enhance the value and functions of entire buildings. As part of this, we are aggressively expanding the sales of energy-efficient, compact, and lightweight elevators and escalators, as well as building management system products that realize attainable energy savings according to building usage conditions by monitoring and controlling the energy usage conditions of building facilities. Doing this will help to reduce CO2 emissions throughout society and enable us to contribute to reducing environmental impact.
Counting the Inazawa Works, the Building Systems Group has manufacturing bases in 10 countries around the world including Thailand and China. Inazawa Works serves as the mother plant developing and manufacturing elevator and escalator components such as traction machines, device components, and control equipment. Environmental initiatives such as reducing CO2 from production, switching over to lead-free solder, and eliminating the use of wood in packaging materials by adopting returnable containers are being expanded from the Inazawa Works to other manufacturing companies as we promote reducing environmental impact globally.
Senior Vice President
In Charge of Building Systems Group
The Building Systems Group is in charge of manufacturing building systems and elevators and escalators that provide vertical transportation. As one of our important missions, we are committed to running business operations while giving priority to the safety and security of our customers throughout the product lifecycle, as well as being proactively involved in activities to protect the environment. Maintaining this promise, the Building Systems Group is focused on the following initiatives:
Proposing solutions that link energy management systems, security/crime-prevention systems, and building equipment such as elevators and escalators, air conditioners and lighting with the aim of increasing energy efficiency, comfort and convenience in the building from the perspective of the entire building. In response to the ZEB*1 policy led by Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, we are actively contributing to achieving higher levels of energy efficiency for society as a ZEB planner*2.
The Building Systems Group is contributing to society by providing elevators, escalators and building systems, designing products that are smaller and lighter, manufacturing products and systems with highly efficient energy-saving performance and using fewer resources in the product development process and lifecycle. We are also pressing forward to realize even more effective uses of resources and greater energy savings through the efficient renewal of products in use.
All-SiC semiconductor module and control device
Compared to other models, high-speed elevators require a large-capacity traction machine with high power consumption. To counter this, through application of its original stator core technology, Mitsubishi Electric has successively introduced traction machines that are more energy efficient, more compact, and lighter than conventional models. For the control devices, we use all-SiC (silicon carbide) in the production of our world-leading power semiconductor modules. Compared to our previous products, power loss is reduced by approximately 65%, and volume is reduced by 40% as a result of restricting heat discharge. Further energy savings (up to 10%) can be achieved by employing an energy-saving elevator group control system that controls the allocation of multiple elevator cars.
AXIEZ Series elevators greatly reduce power consumption and achieve 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 having an optimized balance between the car and counterweight. Further reductions in power consumption can be achieved by using a converter system that stores and uses electricity generated during braking. Furthermore, we have added a large-capacity elevator to the lineup. With a capacity of 17 to 26 passengers, it is ideal for applications where traffic flow is high such as large office buildings, commercial facilities, and hospitals. Compared to conventional models, this model has a more compact traction machine, and elevator car, counterweight, and hoistway structural parts are all lighter.
Elevator for India
The NEXIEZ Series, a line of standardized elevators for international markets manufactured in Thailand by Mitsubishi Elevator Asia Co., Ltd., also uses 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 using LED interior lighting and a converter system that stores and uses electricity generated during braking. For Central and South America and India, we have introduced NEXIEZ-LITE and other such strategic regional models, and are promoting local production and procurement as we promote the dissemination of our highly energy-efficient products. In August 2016, we launched our NEXIEZ-S Series elevators that have a capacity for four to six passengers, for use in low-rise residential and office buildings. Greater weight reduction was achieved by simplifying the structure around the car and reducing the number of parts through parts integration.
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 and a gearless traction machine equipped with a permanent magnet motor. This provides safe, secure, smooth and comfortable rides, as well as a reduction in power consumption of up to 60%. Further energy savings are possible by incorporating LED lamps for the ceiling lighting of the elevator cars. Moreover, Elemotion+ offers a variety of replacement equipment, enabling the customer to make decisions based on budget and preferred installation time, and also contributing to reducing the volume of waste. In December 2016 we launched our new product Elemotion+ [ZERO], for zero days of stoppage during renewal work. We are promoting elevator renewals by making it easy for customers to plan renewal work.
We have developed technology for reducing energy consumption while maintaining convenience, so in addition to an automatic operation function that stops the escalator or runs at low speed when there are no passengers, operating speed varies depending on the traffic conditions.
Our S Series escalators also employ a motor that meets the requirements of the Top Runner system established by the Law Concerning the Rational Use of Energy (Energy Conservation Act) as well as a control system that improves motor efficiency under light loads, a regenerative converter to effectively utilize regenerated power, and LED lighting*1. This leads to further reduction in electricity consumption, and the system achieves energy saving of approximately 35%*2.
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
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.
ZEB Planner logo
While providing these products, we proactively make plans for companies aiming to realize ZEB and support the operation thereof. Mitsubishi Electric offers various facilities that achieve high levels of energy efficiency. These products include five facilities 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 these facilities, our lineup also includes photovoltaic power generators essential to ZEB, substation facilities, and BEMS. In May 2017, Mitsubishi Electric received approval for registration as a ZEB planner, becoming the first electric machinery manufacturer to do so. We continue to step up our efforts to disseminate ZEB.
The Building Systems Group manufactures elevators and escalators at manufacturing companies 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 companies grows, we will proactively introduce the following initiatives and other measures to overseas manufacturing companies with the aim of reducing environmental impact at the global level.
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 the 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 compound (VOC) removal device in the painting line to reduce VOCs emitted during the drying process. Additionally, we visualize factory air usage (flow meter at factory entrance) as part of our activities to reduce power consumption from compressor usage.
Additional photovoltaic module panels were installed at our newly built Training Center (SOLAE Place) and other facilities, bringing the total number installed to 1,613. Their combined output is 383kW and the electricity generated is used to power equipment and air-conditioning inside the factory. Additionally, for all group company buildings constructed in the future, we will promote the utilization of photovoltaic modules and environmentally friendly products (such as LED lighting, water-saving toilets, and recycled materials).
We have updated aging boilers, compressors, transformers, and air conditioners to more efficient equipment, and are switching to the use of LED lighting when replacing lighting equipment, thereby achieving greater energy savings.
We are collecting and sorting waste plastic for recycling purposes. To further promote this initiative, we began collecting and sorting electronic component reels, plastic bands, and plastic containers in April 2011. This has enabled us to recycle one ton of materials every month.
To comply with the increasing demand for zero emissions from construction sites in Japan, we are promoting the use of returnable containers for appearance parts (jamb, elevator car) of not only standard elevators and custom-order elevators, but also the Elemotion+ and Elemotion+ [ZERO] renewal menus, for which future demand is expected to rise. In this way, we are aiming to eliminate the use of wooden packaging materials and reduce the number of trucks used.
We are engaged in initiatives to reduce the use of lead in compliance with regulations being enacted around the world, including Europe's RoHS directive. Elevators are not currently subject to the RoHS directive, but as a voluntary measure, we are steadily changing from eutectic to lead-free solder in the manufacturing of printed circuit boards.