Invertek Drives rises to solar lift challenge

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Optidrive Elevator ensures pioneering elevators meet eco targets

When discussing AC  variable frequency drives, it’s easy to imagine them tucked away doing  essential but low-profile duties behind more ‘exciting’ front-end equipment.

Increasingly, however, Invertek’s Optidrive VFDs  make possible the innovative projects that everyone talks about. Such is the  case with the pioneering solar lifts designed, manufactured and installed by  Greek company Mezolift – the first of  their kind in the world. Vital to each installation is Invertek’s trusty  single-phase Optidrive  Elevator – a variable speed drive designed specifically to  ensure smooth carriage through precise motor control.

Optidrive Elevator’s compact external dimensions  and factory parameter settings are perfectly suited to simple elevator  applications and make installation and setup fast and easy, whilst the optional  incremental/EnDat encoder feedback interfaces allow compatibility with a wide  range of motors. 

Invertek's renowned motor control capability  ensures maximum ride comfort under all conditions thanks to features including  five independent S-ramps and a dedicated motor holding brake control algorithm  which allow fine tuning of the system. And the short floor operation, coupled  with a high motor switching frequency (max 32 kHz), provides a quick, smooth,  quiet journey.

The Mezolift solar lift that relies on Optidrive  Elevator is an ultra-efficient traction elevator. At the moment it’s primarily  used in small apartments and houses up to four storeys.

However, that’s set to change if the lift’s  inventor has his way. The innovative machine is the brainchild of mechanical  engineer Yiannis Sachsamanoglou from Kilkis in northern Greece. Although  initially aimed at low-rise buildings, Mr Sachsamanoglou plans to develop the  technology, with its catchy 'Going up? Ride the sun!' tagline for taller  structures.

Since launching to critical acclaim at  Thessaloniki’s International Expo in 2011, Mezolift solar lifts have impressed  with massively reduced energy consumption (80% less than conventional lifts),  environmental friendliness and the fact that they don’t require costly,  space-hungry lift plant-rooms.

Mr Sachsamanoglou explains: “Each  lift produces the required power and energy from a small autonomous  photovoltaic assembly. This is a genuinely energy-autonomous machine that can  be used up to 30 times a day and work for three days without charging. Of  course, because of our environmental stance the lift components, including the  Invertek variable speed drives, must be eco-friendly too.”

Mezolift also claims this is the World’s first lift  to manage power consumption by a sophisticated software and energy management  system. So how did Invertek, via Greek sales partner Automation Experts, come to supply  the variable speed drives (VSDs) at the heart of Mr Sachsamanoglou’s elevators?

Theodore Amiridis, Automation Experts’ Technical  Director and Business Development Manager for North Greece says: “As an  ultra-efficient elevator, these solar lifts require VSDs of the same  capabilities in energy management and efficiency. We quickly realised that the  Invertek lift drive was the only drive that could match these demanding energy  requirements.”

In particular, Mr Amiridis highlights Optidrive  Elevator’s impressively low standby consumption, which perfectly complements  Mezolift’s eco-friendly proposition for discerning architects and developers.  “Invertek’s Elevator drive has a tiny sub-10W demand on standby, compared to  the 30W typically required for other manufacturers’ VSDs under similar  operational conditions.”

“What’s more,” Amiridis continues, “the  software and parameter groups are easy to handle and the single-phase input  operation means Mezolift elevators can opera  in  a wide range of buildings, including those using domestic-rated power  supplies.”

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