ThyssenKrupp unveils revolutionary multi-directional elevator concept
Elevator design hasn't progressed very much during the past 160 years, and still comprises cabins which move vertically in a shaft supported by cables. This is inefficient and limiting, taking up a relatively large footprint and requiring people to wait a long time for the next lift. However, German conglomerate ThyssenKrupp has unveiled a revolutionary Willy Wonka-style elevator concept that allows several cabins to move both horizontally and vertically in the same elevator shaft, at the same time.
Dubbed Multi, ThyssenKrupp's elevator concept is cited by the firm as the world's first cable-free elevator. We're not sure about this, as electromagnetic specialist MagneMotion may have got there first. Still, ThyssenKrupp's system looks far more involved than simply doing away with cables, and it poses potential implications for the future design of tall buildings.
The Multi is propelled by a magnet-based drive that uses the same technology behind Shanghai's super-fast Maglev train, which was built by Transrapid International, a joint venture of Siemens and ThyssenKrupp. Each elevator will feature one motor for horizontal and vertical movement, and rather than a single shaft, a skyscraper featuring the Multi would sport a complex system of shafts that could offer passengers access to an elevator every 15 to 30 seconds.
ThyssenKrupp says that because the Multi requires smaller shafts than typical elevators, it could increase a building's usable area by up to 25 percent. It's lighter too, and the use of lightweight materials for cabins and doors slims the Multi down to around 50 percent of a typical elevator's weight. The firm says that a 300 m (984 ft)-tall building would be the ideal starting height for the technology.
The Multi is still in development, and ThyssenKrupp expects to test the system in 2016.
The video below shows the Multi concept in further detail.
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Still, the concept is intriguing and not simple, with some potential for people who can't bear to wait one minute longer!
In the meantime, one could run a sweepstake on how many get jammed each time the power goes off and catches them transiting from vertical to horizontal movement.
Still, it has a lot of promise. I can see a large saving with multiple cabs. coupled with vertical and enough transverse shafts that a large building can have , say 4 vertical shafts and in the AM rush can use three to take people up and one to go down, with transverse travels to bring empty cabs down and move them to up shafts. At days end, the reverse is true. They could also park some empty cabs in dead ends, to save energy and wear and tear - as they do in subways and railways now.
Cab shafts will need enough battery power to descend in safety. In fact with Tesla style battery packs, they could store enough power to operate an evacuation, and regenerate on any descents,and gradually reduce the cabs in use as the building empties, so at the end only one still runs = longest emergency power life.
Cab would also need the ability of a fire crew to wheel in a battery to power one cab upwards to whatever floor, with descents used to regenerate the battery. This would bring an ability now lacking in power failed elevators. These cabs can be lighter, they need no counterweight.
AFAIK hydraulic elevators are for different use. Usually only for a few storeys. They have their advantages, but their main drawback, especially in higher buildings is they don't have a counterweight (or at least something similar in function). This means they always have to move the whole weight, not just the difference between weight and counterweight (and the friction in the system), as cable elevators do.