When looking into lifts for your business, you may find that you are overwhelmed with choices, especially regarding open protocol and closed protocol options. After all, choosing a lift with the right specification is one of the most important decisions – when safety and security are involved, it is certainly not one to take too lightly.
However, terms such as ‘open protocol’ can lead to a fair bit of confusion if you are not familiar. If you want to find out more about what an open protocol lift is, and how it differs from closed protocol lifts, keep reading.
What Is an Open Protocol Lift?
Lifts include a wide range of different components that communicate with each other in order to function. The way these components communicate is through protocol technology, which dictates how the system works – for example, the communication links.
Communication protocols can be either open or closed. There is often conflict between vendors who provide different types of protocol, and much debate as to which is best. There are two main choices: proprietary and open protocol.
- Proprietary protocol: Here, the technology will only talk amongst other technologies of the same kind.
- Open protocol: Here, the technology can communicate with all compatible technology, regardless of the manufacturer.
For open protocol, the ‘open’ status is achieved by being transparent about the technology used. These companies are then able to work with a huge range of different manufacturers, which increases the number of suppliers a customer can choose from, providing immunity from vendor capture. It also ensures that essential technologies, like safety systems, can be integrated without fuss.
In contrast, a single vendor that produces closed protocol systems will not disclose any technical information, meaning that customers have to gather all the relevant components from the same source. This naturally increases competition between vendors, something that can be seen as a good or bad thing, depending on where you’re coming from.
So, What Does Open Protocol Mean for Your Lift Installation & Repair?
Essentially, open protocol means that any lift equipment you have installed or upgraded can be maintained by any lift company. You will never be restricted to one company and will be able to switch between experts from the industry in whatever way is easiest for you.
ISO/IEC (International Standardisation Organisation/International Electrotechnical Committee) 8652:1995 is one example of an information technology programming language that an open protocol lift might have. Other popular types include the ISO/IEC 10149, 11756:1992 and 15948:2004.
At Sheridan Lifts, our team of qualified engineers only ever use products that are completely open protocol in our lift repair service. This ensures the ease of future maintenance and finding faults for all customers as per industry standards.
All of our lifts are fully open protocol, which means that any equipment that is installed or replaced after the initial installation can be done by any lift company, so customers are never restricted after the warranty period is up.
Why Choose an Open Protocol Lift?
The following advantages of open protocol lifts will explain why they are so commonly used and what makes them such a popular choice. Among being safer and a lot less expensive, open protocol lifts are generally a lot easier to maintain, making replacement a very last resort.
As important as quality is, flexibility is equally important. Being able to make informed decisions about your future suppliers and having authority over that in reasonable terms plays a big part in ensuring your happiness with your products.
The biggest advantage of using open protocol lifts is the flexibility that they provide. Because customers are no longer restricted by manufacturer, they can tailor each component to the precise requirements of their business, budget or other factors.
At Sheridan Lifts, your chosen lift installer will be able to make decisions based on which components are most likely to best meet the requirements of the lift design from a wide range of sources.
This flexibility also extends to you as an owner. You have the freedom to source your components from a wide range of suppliers depending on individual factors, and you can rest assured that this type of protocol ensures computability.
In a similar way to the flexibility that open protocol lifts bring, there are benefits in terms of servicing. With the technical details of the lift open, the installer doesn’t have to be the one to carry out lift maintenance or repair tasks, giving customers the option to choose another installer should they wish to do so.
As a building owner, you also won’t be dependent on a single manufacturer for access to equipment and upgrades. When there is more competition, manufacturers are less likely to charge premium rates for their services, too.
Repairs and Replacements
If part of a system needs replacing or repairing, open protocol ensures that this can happen without the entire network having to be replaced – as would be the case in a closed protocol lift system.
Once a lift has been installed, you are free to choose any maintenance company you like to carry out maintenance or provide upgrades or refurbishment to the lift. You aren’t stuck with the first installation company.
Closed protocol services, in contrast, often lack competition, which can result in slow call-out responses. The likelihood of more expensive maintenance contracts is also higher, which can often be challenging to escape from.
Unlike open protocol lift systems, closed protocol systems are subject to the development of their manufacturers. If they don’t upgrade the performance of the product, the developments of the industry consortium will essentially outgrow the system.
When compared to closed protocol systems, open protocol lifts offer a vast array of scalability and reduced cost of linking equipment on site. With better integration options between old and new systems, and the ability to switch between mediums, it’s easier to stay up to date.
Perhaps the most important of all the above points – safety. Because it’s possible for individual parts of the lift system to be serviced or updated without having to replace the entire system, customers and manufacturers are much less likely to try to get every last bit of life out of the system to avoid replacing it.
As mentioned, in the BS EN54-13:2005, the components that make up a system are designed to provide that system with an aspect of overall functionality. Only when all the components are connected together is the system likely to perform in the desired manner, and this is only likely if the components communicate effectively with one another.
It has also been suggested that, as part of the open protocol for lifts, the Heartbeat protocol is especially beneficial. This works by confirming the connection and status of each device within the system. Each device will send out a message that indicates to the other devices that it’s connected. If a device doesn’t respond within a certain amount of time, the main device can take a specific action to trigger an error.
Lift Repairs and Maintenance with Sheridan Lifts
At Sheridan Lifts, we are a leading lift maintenance company that delivers far more than just lift installation. As well as being there for immediate and emergency lift repairs, we also pride ourselves on being available to catch minor issues quickly before they turn into more pressing concerns.
There are three packages that we offer:
- Sheridan Standard
- Sheridan Comprehensive
- Sheridan Premium
As you’d expect, the Standard package is the least expensive and most accessible of the packages, making it perfect for businesses with lifts that aren’t used too often. This package will give you 4, 6 or 12 service visits per year in line with the standard specification document and per legislation. You’ll have access to a 24-hour helpline, too.
The comprehensive package includes 6 or 12 service visits, with parts covered up to £350. This service is all-inclusive and is designed to solve all your lift maintenance needs in one package.
The Premium package gives you access to 4, 6 or 12 service visits as well as callouts to lift breakdowns for no extra cost. The main benefit of this is that you’re covered when footfall is highest so you can rest assured that your lift will be at its best.
The levels of cover we provide are all offered with complete implementations so you can always fix certain components of your lifts when necessary, without having to replace your entire lift system.
How Sheridan Lifts Can Help You
We are one of the largest independent lift companies in the UK and are delighted to be able to offer a wide range of lift maintenance services and packages to suit your needs. Our sales teams are always on hand to be able to advise you on things like format, and what’s best for you.
We offer bespoke packages as well as our three fixed packages, so we can tailor our service to your needs and your client’s needs. When you choose Sheridan Lifts as your lift provider, you’ll receive regular inspections and maintenance visits to ensure that your lifts are legally compliant and in line with industry standards.
Contact us today if you’re interested in finding out more about lift installation, lift maintenance, lift repairs, or any of our other services.