Otis elevators avoids Japan problems with seismic detectors

United Technologies' Otis Elevator unit, which is the world's largest elevator maker, avoided trapped customers during Japan's earthquakes courtesy of seismic detectors.

United Technologies' Otis Elevator unit, which is the world's largest elevator maker, avoided trapped customers during Japan's earthquakes courtesy of seismic detectors.

Bloomberg BusinessWeek detailed the technology behind Otis' efforts in Japan. Among the key figures:

  • Otis has 80,000 elevators and 2,400 Japanese employees.
  • In 48 hours following the quake, Otis took 13,00 calls into its 21 call centers.
  • 16,700 elevators in areas hit by the earthquakes shut down.
  • Of that 16,700 units, 16,400 were restarted in 7 days.

The star of this tale was Otis' seismic detectors. The elevators are engineered to go to the ground floor at the first vibration from a quake. From the ground floor, passengers can exit. The Otis elevators won't start up again until Otis' can check them out.

Otis' system worked well. So well that there weren't any trapped or injured passengers.

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com