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Linear motors replace ropes in future elevator system

01 December, 2014

Similarly, ThyssenKrupp's believes that its second application of linear motor technology will transform passenger transport in cities and airports, over distances up to 1.5km. The development of the Accel moving walkway marks the company’s entrance into the mass transit sector and could become a competitive rival to existing automated people movers over short distances.

Passengers join the moving walkway at normal walking speed (around 2.35km/h), accelerate smoothly up to 7.2km/h, and then slow down again before leaving the system. The change is speed is achieved using a band of overlapping pallets that expand to three times their original size. For passengers who continue to walk while on the belt, speeds of up to 12km/h are possible. The system can transport up to 7,300 passengers per hour in each direction, and can change speeds smoothly and safely.

One promising application is to provide fast access to train stations, making them accessible to commuters who would not usually use them due to the distance that they would have to walk. This could boost passenger numbers by up to 30%, ThyssenKrupp estimates.

At airports, the system could cut transit times between gates and to and from parking areas by two-thirds. Passengers could cover 270m in 140 seconds, instead of today’s 415 seconds, cutting journey times by 66%. For airport operators, the system could eliminate the costs of providing buses, automated people movers or sky-trains.

ThyssenKrupp, which has already demonstrated the Accel system in action, is developing the technology with other suppliers including Beckhoff, Prodrive, and Tecnotion.

“Accel is our contribution in aiding the urban shift from road to rail – the ultimate goal for transportation authorities in large cities,” says Schierenbeck. “By reducing transit times in airport hubs and providing both rail and airport operators a cost-effective solution that requires no complex civil or infrastructure work, ThyssenKrupp Accel is successfully catering to the current needs of our rapidly developing urban communities.”

The potential market addressed by the two ThyssenKrupp technologies is huge and is expanding. By 2016, the global demand for elevator equipment (including escalators and moving walkways) and services is predicted to be worth €52bn and to be growing by more than 5% annually.

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