City Centre Elevator Modernization Tallahassee, Florida
Safety, ride comfort, performance, passenger experience and energy efficiency are brought up to the latest standards.
Submitted by Tray Edmonds, Southeastern Elevator Consulting
The City Centre elevator modernization project is not the largest or most-recognized elevator modernization project in the world, but it represents a unique application of an existing elevator dispatching system. City Centre is a seven-story office building in downtown Tallahassee, the capital of Florida. For some unknown reason, when it was originally constructed in 1982, the building was provided with two traction passenger elevators serving all seven floors of the building and two hydraulic passenger elevators serving only the first four floors. Even more unusual is the fact that all four elevators share common lobbies on the first four floors.
Given the unusual elevator layout, most of the building tenants used the traction elevators, while the hydraulic elevators were used mostly by visitors unfamiliar with the layout. Hopefully, they were not going to one of the upper three floors.
The original elevator equipment in the City Centre building was provided with Dover relay-based controllers in need of a full modernization. While modernizing low-rise traction and hydraulic elevators is typically a straightforward process, this modernization could not proceed with two separate duplex dispatching systems. A better solution had to be found.
As the project consultant, Southeastern Elevator Consulting reached out to four major elevator-system manufacturers to see if they would be able and willing to install their destination-dispatching system on all four elevators. Two of the manufacturers indicated they would be willing to design a system to accommodate the unusual needs of this building.
The elevator project would incorporate a full modernization of the traction elevators, with new controllers; new variable-voltage, variable-frequency (VVVF) drives; and new traction machines. The hydraulic elevators would be modernized with new controllers and new submersible pumping units. All elevators would receive new door operators and related door equipment, along with new signal fixtures. Finally, all elevator cabs would be upgraded to reflect a modern elevator system.
With an initial interest in the project from at least two elevator companies, the consultant proceeded to create a modernization program for this building utilizing a destination-dispatching system that could dispatch both hydraulic and traction elevators. Once the bids were received, it became apparent that thyssenkrupp would be the best contractor to perform this modernization. Unknown to all but a few, there were still some reservations in the engineering department at thyssenkrupp as to how they would accomplish the design of the dispatching system. Per the thyssenkrupp team:
“This design challenged our engineers at the factory. Our engineers had to custom-design software to take two separate groups of elevators and group them into a four-car group (two hydraulic elevators with four landings and two traction elevators with seven landings).”
The project went into production once the engineering software obstacles had been overcome and the submittals created. This destination-dispatching project became the first in North Florida and the first for thyssenkrupp that incorporated both hydraulic and traction elevators in one system.
One traction elevator at a time was modernized with new thyssenkrupp TAC 32 controllers, VVVF drives, traction machines, door equipment and signal fixtures. The first completed traction elevator utilized buttons in a hidden car operating panel (COP) to place car calls. The destination dispatching system was activated once the second traction elevator was completed.
The building tenants were trained in the operation of destination dispatching two weeks prior to the turnover of the system and again just prior to its “going live.” Like most destination-dispatch systems, the tenants were receptive to the new way of interacting with the elevator, and no obstacles were encountered.
thyssenkrupp then proceeded with the modernizing of both hydraulic elevators at the same time and completed the project a short time later. The hydraulic elevators were added to the destination-dispatch system.
With the application of this system on both hydraulic and traction elevators, it now utilizes all elevators in the building to dispatch passengers in the most efficient way possible. No longer are the hydraulic elevators underutilized. Passengers entering the building are dispatched based upon available elevators and their desired floor. Building tenants have taken to the new system and appreciate how fast they arrive at their floors. As building manager Lori Billberry put it:
“It’s exciting to be the first building in the panhandle of Florida to have the destination-dispatching system. The inefficiency of the building’s original design put a tremendous load on the two traction elevators, as well as caused the tenants going to the upper floors to wait an extended period of time. Our owner, TP Thirteen, recognized the importance of incorporating the recommendations of Southeastern Elevator Consulting to add the destination-dispatching system to provide more-efficient use and operation of the elevators. thyssenkrupp carried out the project with minimal disruption to our tenants, and we are excited to now have our new elevator system operational. Our tenants are extremely pleased with the elevator modernization, including the elevators’ quick response time and quieter, smoother ride.”
During the course of the project, thyssenkrupp encountered several issues with the new system but were able to overcome all obstacles and exceed the design team’s expectations.
- Building owners: TP Thirteen LLC
- Building management company: NAI Talcor
- Transportation system contractor: thyssenkrupp Elevator Corp.
- Equipment manufacturer: thyssenkrupp Elevator Corp.
- Project consultant: Southeastern Elevator Consulting, LLC