Architecture

Wonka-style multi-directional elevator is finally a reality

Wonka-style multi-directional ...
This cable-free, Willy Wonka-style concept, can move multiple cars vertically and horizontally in a single shaft using a magnet-based drive system similar to that of Maglev train technology.
This cable-free, Willy Wonka-style concept, can move multiple cars vertically and horizontally in a single shaft using a magnet-based drive system similar to that of Maglev train technology.
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The Multi system can move elevator cabins along a horizontal axis
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The Multi system can move elevator cabins along a horizontal axis
The system allows for new and novel building designs
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The system allows for new and novel building designs
The company envision the system also being used to transport high volumes of people to resigned underground train networks
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The company envision the system also being used to transport high volumes of people to resigned underground train networks
A close up of the magnetic pivoting system
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A close up of the magnetic pivoting system
This cable-free, Willy Wonka-style concept, can move multiple cars vertically and horizontally in a single shaft using a magnet-based drive system similar to that of Maglev train technology.
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This cable-free, Willy Wonka-style concept, can move multiple cars vertically and horizontally in a single shaft using a magnet-based drive system similar to that of Maglev train technology.
The first building to host a Multi system will be in Berlin due for completion in 2019
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The first building to host a Multi system will be in Berlin due for completion in 2019
Over two years in construction the test tower contains multiple shafts to test different elevator designs
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Over two years in construction the test tower contains multiple shafts to test different elevator designs
An artist impression of the final test tower once it gets its exterior "skin" on
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An artist impression of the final test tower once it gets its exterior "skin" on
An impression of the loop system that allows several cabins to travel along the same elevator shafts using the Multi system
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An impression of the loop system that allows several cabins to travel along the same elevator shafts using the Multi system
Artist impression of the ThyssenKrupp test tower
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Artist impression of the ThyssenKrupp test tower
Artist impression of the ThyssenKrupp test tower
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Artist impression of the ThyssenKrupp test tower

After unveiling its Multi concept in 2014, German engineering conglomerate ThyssenKrupp has made its vision of a cable-free, Willy Wonka-style elevator design a reality. Over the past few years the company has been constructing a 246-m (807-ft) high test tower and refining the technology that would allow multiple cars to move vertically and horizontally in a single shaft using a magnet-based drive system similar to that in Maglev trains. Just last week, after two-and-a-half years of construction, the test tower and first fully functional Multi unit were launched.

The test tower, located in Rottweil, Germany, specifically designed for ThyssenKrupp's research and development contains 12 shafts that can test elevator speeds up to 10 meters per second (22.45 mph), plus three dedicated shafts especially designed for certifying the new cable-free elevator system.

Artist impression of the ThyssenKrupp test tower
Artist impression of the ThyssenKrupp test tower

The Multi system is the biggest innovation in elevator design since the cable-dependent elevator was invented over 160 years ago. Replacing cables with linear motors that allow vertical as well as horizontal travel not only results in more cabins being able to travel along single shafts, but also offers architects entirely new possibilities for building design.

Traditional skyscrapers have, until now, been constrained by the necessity of incorporating large and unwieldy elevator shafts that need to run continuously from the top of the building to the bottom. But the Multi system would allow architects the ability to form entirely new shapes and internal designs.

ThyssenKrupp estimates that its Multi system reduces elevator cabin weight by up to 50 percent and allows them to travel along smaller shafts more efficiently. This means that a building would require fewer elevator shafts, yet be able to run more cabins simultaneously by running along looping pathways. Overall, it is estimated the system could increase a building's usable area by up to 25 percent, not to mention the new architectural and design possibilities opened up by the technology.

The system allows for new and novel building designs
The system allows for new and novel building designs

"We believe MULTI is a genuine game-changer that will truly transform the way people move, work and live in our built environment," says ThyssenKrupp CEO Andreas Schierenbeck. "It will reduce waiting times for passengers and take up significantly less space within the building."

While hyperbolic phrases such as "game-changer" are not unwarranted, we may not see the Multi system in widespread use for some years as it reportedly costs nearly five times more than a conventional elevator system. Despite potentially using up to 60 percent less peak energy than regular elevators, and increasing the usable footprint of a building, this expensive price tag will no doubt slow its initial uptake.

The first building to host a Multi system will be in Berlin due for completion in 2019
The first building to host a Multi system will be in Berlin due for completion in 2019

But one German property developer has already taken the plunge. OVG Real Estate's East Side Tower in Berlin will become the first building in the world to host a Multi system. The building is due for completion in 2019.

Take a look at the Multi in the video below.

Source: ThyssenKrupp (1), (2)

thyssenkrupp MULTI is now reality – world’s first rope-less elevator for high-rise buildings

7 comments
Tommo
Imagine getting stuck in one due to any mechanical failure. You'd never get out!
jd_dunerider
I hope they plan to have a good backup power system.
SharmanNicholson
seriously, the earth is flat
Bob Flint
The name doesn't do it justice, and the concept can go even further in all directions, simply keep the occupants vertical and rotate the cabin shell to even travel diagonally...costs will come down, and security should not be a concern with direct drive systems.
Gregg Eshelman
Hopefully some implementation of this technology will have a panel with a 'moving' light to indicate its direction, a vertical grab handle plus voice activation. ;) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kgpieVVVHdw
Tom Lee Mullins
It reminds me of the turbo lift that was on Star Trek. It could go in almost any direction.
ljaques
Yes, very reminiscent of the turbo lift on the Enterprise and other StarFleet vessels. I love it. Please test it thoroughly for a couple years prior to release, eh? Then again, if we think people are too heavy now, what will these elevators make them, when they can be taken door to door...? I like the concept of going up in one building and coming down in another, perhaps across the city. Best build up a large repair technician population prior to its full release, too.