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Synthetic ropes replace steel elevator wires

01 June, 2000

Synthetic ropes replace steel elevator wires

The Swiss lift-maker Schindler, has gone further than its US rival Otis, by developing an elevator system which dispenses entirely with steel lifting wires, relying instead on ropes made of synthetic materials. Schindler`s announcement of an aramid-based lifting system marks an even more radical change to lift technology than the steel-cored belts launched by Otis earlier this year.

Like Otis, Schindler claims that its rope will revolutionise lift technology, allowing the use of smaller, more efficient drives which are easier to install and use less energy. It adds that the matching permanent magnet drive, jointly developed with Etek, is the world`s smallest gearless elevator motor. It says that that the lubrication-free drive is 75% smaller than previous systems and has cut weight and power consumption by a third.

The synthetic ropes contain around 300,000 aramid filaments, said to provide the same strength as a steel rope but in a much lighter and more flexible format with a longer life. The ropes, protected by around 20 patents, contain electrically conducting carbon fibres which monitor constantly for any wear or stretching. Schindler says the slightest damage is reported to the control system.

Like Otis` Gen2 system, the SchindlerAramid technology does away with the need for traditional machine rooms because the drive is small enough to fit into the lift shaft. The system is aimed at buildings of up to 30 storeys and with lift loads of 320-1,600kg. The PM motors are rated from 2.7-18kW.

Schindler has signed a deal with Asia`s largest lift manufacturer, Mitsubishi, to supply it with the synthetic lifting technology. Under the deal, the two companies will share each other`s technologies and develop new products jointly.

Meanwhile, Otis has announced that its has sold more than 500 Gen2 lifts since it was launched in February, making Gen2 the fastest selling new product in the company`s history. The system, which cuts the size of the lift machinery by around 70%, has initially been sold only in Austria, Switzerland and the Netherlands. Otis uses Kollmorgen motors in its Gen2 drives.

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