Elevator manufacturer ThyssenKrupp has unveiled its latest technological advance, a cable free, multi-car, multi-directional elevator that has the potential to revolutionize the size and shape of future skyscrapers. Run using magnetic technology similar to that used by Maglev trains, with each cabin running its own individual motor, the "MULTI" elevator system opens up the potential for elevator cabins to move horizontally as well as vertically. This in turn offers the potential for multiple cabins to operate in a single system, with cabins going up one shaft and down an adjacent shaft.
"MULTI represents a proud moment in ThyssenKrupp's history," said CEO Andreas Schierenbeck. "Per year, New York City office workers spend a cumulative amount of 16.6 years waiting for elevators, and 5.9 years in the elevators. This data provides how imperative it is to increase the availability of elevators."
By contrast, the many cabins enabled by MULTI means that passengers would only have to wait an average of 15-30 seconds for an elevator, regardless of the size of the building. And when it comes to size, MULTI gives a distinct advantage: freed from the constraint of a single cabin per elevator shaft, and the resulting banks of elevator shafts that eat up the floor space of today's tallest buildings, MULTI removes a major limiting factor on the potential heights of buildings. Furthermore, with the ability to switch to a horizontal shaft, large buildings no longer have to be arranged around a single vertical core.
"Although the ideal building height for MULTI installations starts at 300 metres, this system is not constrained by a building's height," explains the company. "Building design will no longer be limited by the height or vertical alignment of elevator shafts, opening possibilities to architects and building developers they have never imagined possible."
However, the MULTI system is still some years away from being market ready. ThyssenKrupp started construction on their Test Tower in Rottweil, Germany, in October, and say they hope to have a working MULTI prototype ready to test once the tower is completed in late 2016.