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Berlin will get world’s first rope-less, direct-drive elevators

22 June, 2017

The world’s first rope-less, direct-drive elevator system, using cabins that can move sideways, as well as up and down, is to be installed in a project in Berlin, Germany, described as “the world’s most sustainable office building”. The first functional version of the Multi system, developed by ThyssenKrupp Elevator, is being tested in a 246m-tall tower which the company has just inaugurated in Rotweil, Germany.

Instead of one cabin per shaft moving up and down, the Multi system allows multiple cabins to operate in a loop, like a metro system inside a building. It incorporates a multi-level brake system and an energy management system that reduces peak power demand by up to 60% compared to conventional elevator systems. This, in turn, can cut the cost of a building’s power supply infrastructure.

The Multi system can carry up to 50% more passengers, using fewer and smaller shafts than conventional elevators, thus increasing an office building’s usable floor area by up to 25% and generating extra revenues for building owners. Current elevator-escalator systems can occupy up to 40% of a high-rise building’s floor space.

Because Multi cabins can move sideways as well as vertically, without any height limitations, the technology will also open up new possibilities in the design of buildings.

“We believe Multi is a genuine game-changer that will truly transform the way people move, work and live in our built environment,” says ThyssenKrupp Elevator’s CEO, Andreas Schierenbeck. “It will reduce waiting times for passengers and take up significantly less space within the building. Multi is a key offering that truly represents a landmark revolution in the elevator industry.”

ThyssenKrupp's 246m-high test tower includes three shafts dedicated to the direct-drive Multi elevator system

Schierenbeck was speaking at the opening of the test tower which will serve as the company’s r&d centre. It contains 12 test shafts – three of which are dedicated to the cable-less Multi system – and will be able to test elevator cabins travelling at speeds of up to 18m/s.

The first commercial installation of the Multi system will be in the East Side Tower building in a development known as The Edge, being built in Berlin by OVG Real Estate.

“This is perhaps the biggest development in the elevator industry since the invention of the safety elevator some 165 years ago,” comments Antony Wood, executive director of the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat. “The ‘holy grail’ for elevators has been to move beyond being pulled vertically by a rope under tension – towards a system that allows movement in inclined or horizontal directions. Multi, more than any other product delivered to date, really shows the way forward for that potential. This has the capacity to transform the industry at large, changing the way tall buildings are designed, and allowing for much more efficient core designs, as well as better connectivity in buildings.”

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