“As the nature of building constructions evolve, it is also necessary to adapt Elevator systems to better suit the requirements of buildings and high volumes of passengers”
CEO of ThyssenKrupp Elevator Andreas Schierenbeck commenting on their plans to develope MULTI Maglev Elevator by 2016
Remember the movie Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory? I’m sure you remember the chocolate bits, but I’m really pulling on your memory to remember the part about the Wonkavator (Domanico, 2014), his magical ride that allowed the occupants to travel up, down, sideways, slantways and whichever ways you please to any place on Earth.
Well, turns out that there is a German company called ThyssenKrupp Elevator that doing just that.
ThyssenKrupp Elevator is a €6.4bn German company with some 50,000 employees at 900 locations in Germany. They have interests in Shipbuilding and the Car industry and thus may have used their expertise in these areas to develope the Elevator called the MULTI (Trotman, 2014) that doesn’t need a cable suspensions system to move.
MULTI Elevators uses similar principles to JR Tokai’s Chuo Shinkansen Maglev Trains
Instead, it travels on a set of interconnecting rails with strong Electromagnets that magnetically levitate the Elevator Cabin which also has equally strong and shielded electromagnets but oriented so that the same poles on rails and Elevator Cabin face each other, resulting in a repulsive force and thus levitation.
This is similar to how JR Tokai’s Chuo Shinkansen Maglev Trains (Deer, July 2014) work. This, not only is it possible to travel up and down without a cable winch but also sideways within buildings. This means that the Elevator shaft can be freed up for other Elevator Cabins to travel in a manner not dissimilar to how Maglev trains travel on tracks.
Taking more cues from the Maglev concept, this design saves on power. These as not only can more Elevator Cabins utilize the same shaft, but you’ll need fewer vertical shafts. It also will have a more efficient power usage.
This is because in a winch-based Elevator, energy is expended against gravity to lift the Elevator upwards. The same is true here, but used in a more efficient manner than the pulley and cable counterweight system of a traditional Elevator. When the Elevator Cabin needs to move, the computer that will automatically manage and their motion within the building will magnetize only the electromagnets on the part of the track as well as inside of the Elevator Cabin where the Elevator cabin is located.
Then as the Elevator is levitated and moves forwards, backwards or sideways. As it shifts along the track, the electromagnets in the section that it has passed over are powered off, making the magnetic field only present where the Elevator Cabin is located. Thus it’s all electromagnets using a combination of attraction and repulsion forces to push/pull the Elevator Cabin along, just like a Maglev train.
Thus power is needed only to move the Elevator and not just to turn the Cable Winch and pull the Elevator Cabin; reducing efficiency loses due to the mechanical nature of the Cable Winch System used in Elevators is what makes MULTI more efficient.
Best of all is the braking system; wheels pop out of the side of the Cabin and grip the rails directly as well, assuming that the reversal of the magnetic field to create attraction fails and not an option to bring a runaway Elevator to a halt. Speeds of 5m/s are possible and with new lightweight materials, the full prototype expected in 2016 should be very lightweight and be capable of carrying up to four (4) persons in relative comfort.
ThyssenKrupp Elevator MULTI promises Faster commutes in Elevators
Albeit the current Cabin design is smaller, it promises to reduce the wait time within large skyscrapers for Elevators, to quote CEO of ThyssenKrupp Elevator 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”.
ThyssenKrupp Elevator is gunning for 2016 to have a working prototype to demonstrate this Willy Wonka styled Elevator that takes is cues from Maglev technology but applied on a smaller scale. I like the idea, as I’m beginning to discover more products that use magnetic levitation not just as a gimmick but also to improve efficiency using a force that largely was reserved for speakers and microphones and magnetic tape recorders. Trust me, I’ve got more such products lined up for my blog!
Albeit I hope that they’ll make sure the computers that control the MULTI Maglev multi-dimensional Elevator Cabins don’t result in Cabin crashes on the 13th floor….’cause that would be bad luck.
- Deer, L. (2014, July 14). JR Tokai to start Chuo Shinkansen Maglev by 2015 – How Elon Musk’s Hyperloop is American Engineering is Faster, Cheaper and Better. Retrieved from website http://mythoughtsontechnologyandjamaica.blogspot.com/2014/07/jr-tokai-to-start-chuo-shinkansen.html
- Trotman, A. (2014, November 28). Willy Wonkastyle Elevator uses magnets to move sideways. Retrieved from website http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/industry/11259561/WillyWonkastyleElevatorusesmagnetstomovesideways.html
- Domanico, A. (2014, December 2). This crazy Elevator concept is straight out of Willy Wonka. Retrieved from website http://www.cnet.com/news/thiscrazyElevatorconceptisstraightoutofwillywonka/