New Technology May Double the Height of Skyscrapers

Dubai Skyline; Flickr User rickz; Licensed via Creative Commons

Finnish elevator manufacturer KONE has unveiled a new hoisting technology that will enable to travel heights of one kilometer – twice the distance than currently possible.  The new development implies that the Burj Khalifa, whose longest elevator travels a distance of 504 meters, will not remain the world’s tallest building for very long.

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Currently, the fastest elevator in the world, made by Toshiba, takes passengers from ground to roof in thirty seconds, rising 33.7 mph through the Taipei 101. This surpasses the speed of the Burj Khalifa’s Otis Elevator, which travels at a mere 22 mph. At 828 meters tall, the Burj Khalifa would still be nearly 300 meters shy (equivalent to the height of The Shard) of the elevator journey that this new technology proposes. This advanced vertical transportation will allow building ever-taller to become even more feasible.

KONE UltraRope Elevator Shaft

UltraRope, the new hoisting technology developed by KONE, will replace the conventional steel rope used for lifting with one that is developed with a carbon fiber core and a high-friction coating.  This rope is extremely light, reducing energy consumption in high-rise buildings as well as reducing the weight of its moving components, such as the hoisting ropes, compensating ropes, counterweight, elevator car, and passenger load.  This means, at 800 meters, the weight of the moving masses using KONE UltraRope is a fraction of the weight accumulated with the conventional steel rope. 

KONE UltraRope Hoisting Machine

The carbon fiber rope has a number of other advantages.  KONE says that since “carbon fiber resonates at a completely different frequency to steel and most other building materials,” elevator downtime caused by building sway will be reduced.  In addition, the rope will have twice the lifetime as steel rope, requiring less maintenance and thereby reduces material waste and environmental impact.

This comes as a breakthrough in elevator technology, as Antony Wood, Architect and Executive Director, Council for Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) states, as one of the major limits of single elevator travel distance was that at a height of approximately 500 meters the weight of the rope became unsupportable.  Check out this website for a more in-depth look at this technology. 

Cite: Vinnitskaya, Irina. "New Technology May Double the Height of Skyscrapers" 11 Jun 2013. ArchDaily. Accessed 22 Jul 2014. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=385506>

2 comments

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    The capabilities of the elevator itself cannot and will not double the height of skyscrapers.

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