When it comes to elevators, apparently there is more than one way to move around buildings. In this case, we are elevating the elevator in a new way. ThyssenKrupp Elevator plans to market an innovative elevator system.
Instead of relying on the traditional steel cables to suspend and move elevator cars up and down shafts, the new system would use a magnetic levitation system similar to those of high-speed trains. Furthermore, in addition to moving cars vertically, a complex of interconnected shafts would allow horizontal movement. The system would allow multiple cars to operate simultaneously within the same circuit thereby significantly improving passengers’ wait and ride times.
Because this technology removes the need for the heavy thick steel cables, an intriguing new vista opens up about skyscraper design. Julian Olley (director for vertical transportation, Arup) declares (Belinda Lanks, “Innovation: The Sideways Elevator” Bloomberg Businessweek, 12/22/14–12/28/14, p. 37):
“[This system] could help skyscrapers reach record-breaking heights. . . . The mile-high building is easily achievable. There is absolutely no limit to how far you could go.”
Thanks to the system’s improved speed and efficiency, ThyssenKrupp Elevator estimates that buildings of 1,000 feet or more would recoup their procurement and installation costs within a decade.
It looks like we had better start planning for taller skyscrapers.