Vol. 78, No. 5, September 2023

Special Reports

Elevators and Escalators Supporting Individuals via the Power of Data



With ever taller, larger buildings being developed, elevators and escalators must continuously evolve as part of social infrastructure to meet a variety of changing needs in an agile fashion.

Toshiba Elevator and Building Systems Corporation has established its mission of “safety, security, and smiles,” and elevators and escalators must change to fill vital roles in cyber physical systems (CPS). To do so, we are engaged in efforts to provide greater elevator and escalator safety and comfort and new customer experiential value (CX) to all as connected conveyances linked to other systems by utilizing digital evolution (DE) and digital transformation (DX) technologies.

KIMURA Kazuo / AIZU Hiroyuki / ISHII Koichi

For many years, Toshiba Elevator and Building Systems Corporation has continued to provide vital social infrastructure in the form of elevators and escalators. In addition to our knowledge in this area and in consideration of elevators and escalators as cyber physical systems (CPS), we are involved in a variety of initiatives to connect the physical space they occupy to cyberspace, and make these conveyances safer, more secure, more comfortable, and more convenient. With this in mind, we are promoting Elevator as a Service (EaaS). This effort aims to use elevators as sensing points for collecting data on buildings and cities and as service points that provide information to users, connecting to individuals and delivering more exciting services.

The Toshiba Group has developed control systems that utilize software-defined technologies, allowing us to provide timely functional updates after elevator operation begins. We have also released a digital signage system as one of the above-mentioned service points. 

TANAKA Kazuhiro / KONDO Shohei / WATANABE Yuta

The need for safer and more comfortable elevator usage continues to grow in response to swift recovery of operations after earthquakes and preventing the spread of COVID-19.

As a solution, Toshiba Elevator and Building Systems Corporation has developed an enhanced automatic operation restoration function (with improved detection precision) that automatically diagnoses and temporarily restores operations after an earthquake, and a contactless button (with embedded sensor) that can be used to operate elevators without the need to touch any buttons. These new technologies have helped to further improve elevator safety and comfort.

TAKAKUSAKI Yasufumi / TABARA Shinsuke / YOKOYAMA Hiroki

Installation of elevator guide rails requires an experienced skillset, however, issues such as the declining birth rate, aging society, and workstyle reforms have resulted in manpower shortages at work sites amid demands for shortened work times.

With this in mind, Toshiba Elevator and Building Systems Corporation has developed component technologies to improve safety and workability. In the area of joinery, we have developed a weldless bracket that uses drill screws which maintain strength while lightening the workload and reducing risk. We also developed a guide rail adjustment optimization method which automatically calculates the adjustment position to minimize horizontal vibration of the elevator car, reducing the workload and improving passenger comfort. Lastly, in the area of automation, we have developed a robotic arm that provides both portability and workability. It can detect bolt positions in a variety of working environments and replicate the adaptability of skilled worker construction techniques.


Toshiba Elevator and Building Systems Corporation has long been involved in efforts to streamline maintenance field operations using electronic devices. While doing so, however, it is necessary to maintain discipline among maintenance personnel to ensure that work is performed safely according to established procedures and to manage the proper execution of work items.

With this in mind, we have developed a mobile system for maintenance field operations that combines both efficiency and control using voice recognition technology. As Internet of things (IoT) and information communication technologies (ICT) measures, in addition to application in our own maintenance tasks, we have begun to roll out a customer-oriented, value-added service system so we can share elevator and escalator status and provide reports to customers in electronic format in situations such as the COVID-19 pandemic and remote working environments.


In modern society, elevators and escalators have become essential means of transportation in locations with differences in elevation such as skyscrapers and subway stations. Measures that improve equipment safety, such as installing redundant vital control circuits and monitoring braking operations, have become ever more important in preventing past accidents from recurring, and ensuring that passengers do not become trapped in elevator cars due to malfunctions. Also, demand to reduce service downtime due to repairs and maintenance continues to grow.

Toshiba Elevator and Building Systems Corporation has developed reliability evaluation technology to further improve elevator and escalator quality, provide safe, reliable products, reduce downtime, and provide safer, more convenient service for users.

Feature Articles

ARITA Keigo / HAYASHI Yusuke / TAKAO Kazuto

With the drive to implement renewable energy sources and storage batteries and achieve carbon neutrality, demand continues to grow for high power density, more compact, higher efficiency power converters used for connection to power systems and in power control.

With this in mind, Toshiba Corporation  has developed a capacitively coupled DC-DC converter (hereafter "capacitively coupled converter") as part of efforts to make converters ultracompact. Capacitive coupling is unique for using capacitors as galvanic isolation, achieving a compact design by eliminating the isolating transformer which occupies significant volume in the converter. The prototype demonstrates considerable improvements with a high level of maximum efficiency at 98.8% and a power density of 15 W/cm3, which is 1.5 times greater than the conventional state-of-the-art (inductively coupled) converter.

MURAKAMI Takaomi / TERAMOTO Keiichi / MAEGAWA Tomonori

Energy services that use distributed energy resources such as storage batteries and solar power can improve service value by efficiently and effectively bundling the various constituent equipment. An open format that supports a multi-vendor configuration is essential to such a platform, however, there are challenges in terms of interface standardization and application to commercial systems.

The Toshiba Group is engaged in standardizing an application programming interface (API) capable of handling individual device control and demand response (DR). We have developed a method to equip virtual power plant (VPP) platforms with the API, successfully linking services such as low-voltage distributed energy resource monitoring control and demand response.

KANEKO Yu / HONGU Takuya / MARUYAMA Honami / SHIGA Yoshiaki

With the push to make renewable energy the main power source, renewable energy producers are responsible for planned amounts of power, and they must sell power on the trading market under the feed-in-premium (FIP) scheme. This has resulted in demand for a renewable energy aggregator that stabilizes renewable energy producer profitability by forming a balancing group (BG) bringing producers together, forecasting power generation, and handling market trading, etc., on their behalf.

Together with Next Kraftwerke of Germany, Toshiba Energy Systems & Solutions Corporation has developed REBSet™, a system equipped with AI for forecasting power generation, creating market trading plans, optimizing storage battery operation, etc., also launching a renewable energy aggregation service in 2022. Tests have confirmed that application of the integrated forecasting algorithm results in stable, precise power generation forecasts with an average prediction error of approximately 1.5% for solar power.

SUZUKI Tomoyuki / HIROHATA Kenji / ITO Yasutaka

Scrupulous design and manufacturing alone are insufficient to ensure continued safe, secure operation of infrastructure devices that serve as the backbone of society. Precision maintenance with prediction of anomalies during operation in mind is also vital. The mechanism that triggers anomalies, however, is complex, making it difficult for conventional technologies to detect anomalous sensor waveforms.

Toshiba Corporation has developed machine learning technology that automatically generates simple physical formulas which estimate device temperatures from the time series data of multiple temperature measurement points. Physical formulas and phenomena are easy to associate, making it easy to determine the cause of anomalies. Comparative evaluation of detailed numerical value analysis confirms that the generated physical formulas can calculate results that correspond well with the detailed numerical value analysis in a short period of time. This technology can estimate operating temperatures and detect predicted anomalies from changes to identify the cause of such anomalies.

KUREISHI Kei / MURATA Yukari / TSUZUKI Yoshiyuki

While AI is capable of advanced, complex processing, it poses many issues that make AI system quality assurance difficult, such as erroneous output. 

With this in mind, Toshiba Corporation has developed a process and technology framework for AI system quality assurance. We have defined AI quality assurance processes based on AI system quality assurance guidelines that focus on their unique issues and are currently developing technology that can be used for quality evaluation. Further efforts include visualization of quality assurance activity records in the form of AI quality cards. Applying such methods and technologies to AI system development efforts allows us to provide high-quality AI systems.

TAMURA Masatsune / HIRUTA Yoshiki / MATSUMOTO Kento

Thanks to the introduction of deep learning, the underlying technologies behind speech synthesis have changed rapidly, leading to fierce competition including new vendors in the market.

With the goal of achieving new speech synthesis technology that delivers both high fidelity comparable to human speech and ToSpeak functionality, Toshiba Digital Solutions Corporation is currently developing a next-generation system based on deep learning. This next-generation speech technology was developed to meet customer demands and business applications by applying deep neural network (DNN) compacting technology to achieve a smaller size that can be used in embedded applications, and includes sequential waveform generation, prosody creation, and acoustic problem correction functionality.

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*Company, product, and service names appearing in each paper include those that are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective companies.