The I-ALSEC project is the fifth scale-able configurator I have built during my career.
The ALSEC project or "Abell Lift Systems Elevator Configurator" is designed to meet the requirements of any given elevator project ranging from 2100 LBS to 3500 LBS using the MRL or "Machine Room Less" configuration which positions the machine drive at the top of the hoist way without the need for a penthouse to house the equipment.
Using the planning guide to create a top-down design of the elevator systems typically installed in the field, my system utilizes Autodesk Inventor's I-Logic, Visual Basic, variational geometry, numerous equations and parametric links to provide a system that allows the user to enter relevant data to any given project.
Information such as Project name, project number, operational and environmental characteristics such as seismic zone and travel speed in feet per minute, as well as overall dimensions for the hoist way, width, depth and height of the carriage, weight and other relevant factors are used to generate unique title and part number information for any project which is a key feature of the system ensuring that any drawings generated with the system are unique to that project and parts cannot be accidently used on the wrong elevator project.
As the system calculates the results from the data entered and selections made in consideration of the operational requirements, parts, sub-assemblies, exploded assembly presentations and the completed top assembly update to meet the needs for that project whether using right-handed, left handed or center opening doors.
The system then updates the associated drawing package to reflect the design and dimensional changes as well as relevant project information to produce the completed drawing package including field assembly and installation drawings for any given elevator.
Upon update the user simply publishes the results from the ALSEC system to produce the necessary files for fabrication sending them to the fabricators for production.
Such scale-able configuration systems are notoriously complex and involved requiring months of research and development, however, the results of such efforts can pay for themselves with in months... even weeks depending on factors such as scope, scale and resources.
Hence it is practical to develop and deploy for production sections of such projects as they become completed.
In this case, we broke the project up in three parts for the development of the carriage, structural supports such as framing and guide rails and finally the cab housing.
In an effort to be pro-active and anticipate future needs, the system is designed to be expandable and accommodate such things as changes in suppliers, the addition of new suppliers, parts and/or new products to be used in the system.
With this and more in mind, these kinds of efforts create the need for a user’s guide/technical manual for reference should the system need revision to accommodate such events which I documented and wrote in the course of developing the system.
The guide outlines the scope and objectives of the system, sights reference and supporting documentation, provides procedural instructions for the use of the system as well as instructions on how to add COTS parts or assemblies to the system.
It also outlines an over view of key relationships involving the means by which the system provides specific project information to the drawing package and other critical data as well as key associations between files, equations and more.
The system reduces the design cycle time for any given elevator project from a week to ten days in the production of unique "one off" designs with every project to a matter of hours with a "factory" approach removing the "it depends" problems of designing unique solutions for every project and creating a system which is reset for use on the next job with all new information.
This enables a single design engineer to produce as many as 3 or 4 complete projects a day as apposed too two to three complete projects a month resulting in significant cost savings and the ability to meet production demands as needed.
I commend the folks at Abell Lift Systems for seeing the long view and value in such a system and wish them all the best as they move forward.
For more, please see my recent article on scale-able configurators on the "featured applications" page of my site.