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Demo of rope-free linear motor elevator system is unveiled

08 November, 2015

One year after the German lift manufacturer ThyssenKrupp announced a rope-free elevator system that uses linear motors to move passenger cabins both horizontally and vertically, it has demonstrated a third-scale working version of its “game-changing” technology.

The scale model of the Multi system, consisting of four self-propelled cabs that move vertically in two 10m-high shafts, and horizontally between the shafts, has been built at ThyssenKrupp’s Innovation Centre in Gijón, Spain.

The system allows multiple cabins to travel simultaneously in the same shaft, with power transferred inductively from the shaft to the cabin. The cabins run in a loop, increasing the shaft transport capacity by up to 50% compared to conventional systems, and possibly halving the elevator footprint in buildings. A turntable mechanism at junctions can transfer the cabins between vertical and horizontal movements. ThyssenKrupp says that this is the first time that elevator cabins have been able to move horizontally.

The linear motor transport system is based on technologies that ThyssenKrupp worked on as part of the German consortium that developed the magnetically-levitated Transrapid train.

The company believes that the Multi system will transform how people move inside buildings. It uses smaller shafts than conventional elevators and could increase a building’s usable area by up to 25%. At present, elevators and escalators can occupy up to 40% of a building’s floor space, depending on its height. The system will also reduce peak loads on building power supplies and reduce the need for escalators and elevator shafts, cutting construction costs and boosting rental incomes.

“As we promised 12 months ago, we present today the first model of our ground-breaking Multi elevator system,” said Andreas Schierenbeck, CEO of ThyssenKrupp Elevator. “Our research and development team is right on track to realise this cutting-edge transport technology.

Part of the third-scale demonstration of ThyssenKrupp's Multi elevator system, showing the turntables used to transfer the cabins between vertical and horizontal movements

“Multi will be our answer to tomorrow’s challenges,” he added. “As the nature of building construction evolves, it is also necessary to adapt elevator systems to better suit the requirements of buildings and high volumes of passengers.”

ThyssenKrupp believes that systems such as Multi will help to serve the extra 85% of urban and commercial floorspace that, has been predicted, will need to be developed by 2025 as people move increasingly into high-rise buildings in cities. At present, more than 180 buildings are being built around the world that will rise to heights above 250m. A further 800 buildings will rise to more than 150m.

The global demand for elevator equipment and services is expanding by 4% annually, and the market is expected to grow from €49bn last year to €61bn by 2020.

The next stage in the development of the Multi system will be to install, test, and certify a system in a new test tower that ThyssenKrupp is building in Germany. The company expects to complete the tower by the end of 2016.

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