Wednesday, 29 January 2020
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Travelling in a lift – with smartphone technology

Lifts have had displays for the direction of travel and destination for many years. The mode of operation familiar from smartphones has now been transferred to lifts in the form of PCAP technology.

The PCAP technology permits configuring the design of the device front with glass and metal. (Photo: © Hy-Line Holding GmbH)

Selection and display of the destination are now in the same place and cannot be separated from each other. Is that already revolutionary?

New degree of freedom

Thanks to the use of touch technology, industrial controls have long since created contemporary operating surfaces for interacting with machines. What is especially relevant here is PCAP technology – "projected capacitive touch screen", which has prevailed on a wide front since smartphones became successful.

It permits configuring the design of the device front with glass and metal. It looks good, but is still sturdy enough for rough operation. Software determines the functions. Click, wipe, zoom – user expectations are dominated by smartphone experience. In PCAP technology, the sensor that detects touch and the decorative cover glass are separated from each other and can be designed independently.


HandwerkWith this concept, the requirements can be met both by the mechanical design engineer as well as by the designer.

Whereas in conventional industrial controls, most of the functions are carried out "on screen" as in the smartphone – by the user changing the value where it is displayed – functions like "Open door" and ventilation can be positioned independently of the display as capacitive individual buttons.

Officially required mechanical switches, such as those for emergency calls, can be integrated in the cover glass, which has a corresponding special opening for this.

Cover glass

The focus is on the cover glass and its design. Various background colours as well as the company logo and labels can be attached using the silk screen process. They are protected against threats like scratches and liquids on the reverse of the glass. The surface of the glass can be upgraded optically to reduce disruptive reflections of the ambient light to a minimum.

Thanks to the black panel effect, the operating elements are only visible when they are active. Many wishes can be met during the mechanical finishing of the glass: contours are CNC-processed; there are drill holes for emergency calling and loudspeakers.

The edges can be ground to create a high quality impression. The glass can be set flush into the surface of the operating panel. Another aspect is the haptics: the fingers of the operator glide easily on a roughened surface: one becomes aware of the difference between the surface of the window and a mousepad.

Cleanliness is also important: glass is resistant to typical cleaning agents; the smooth surface is easy to clean. The glass surface can be fitted with a germicidal coating for special requirements, which permits deployment in sensitive environments.

Touch controller

HandwerkThe touch sensor is behind the cover glass, above the display. Electrodes are integrated in it, which register fingers touching the cover glass. A touch controller evaluates changes in the capacities of the electrodes and converts them into coordinates. Interference is recognised and faded out. This simultaneously permits high sensitivity and prevents independent triggering by interference.

During the integration, i.e. the installation of display, sensor and front glass in the device housing, particular rules have to be taken into account to permit even evaluation across the entire surface. Developers receive assistance in the PCAP and glass workshop, which Hy-Line organises regularly in various cities. (more information at


Whether as a controller in the lift or for the escalator and as a display in front of the lift – today’s controllers have to work in many different environments. At the same time, they should be pleasant to operate, compact in design and apply in design to the application.

A PCAP touchscreen with a bright display meets these requirements brilliantly. The glass surface can withstand the challenges of everyday operation.

PCAP technology: In PCAP (projected capacitive touch screen), a change in the weak electrical field triggered by touching the surface is evaluated by the electronics. The position and number of recognised changes are forwarded as contact points to the computer, which then triggers corresponding actions, e.g. changed presentation on the display and switching processes.

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