German manufacturer Thyssenkrupp has announced the launch of Multi, a radically new elevator that promises shorter waiting times, greater capacity and lower space and energy requirements.
The system replaces the traditional rope and counterweight design with a linear motor that can move carriages vertically and horizontally. This motor was originally developed for maglev trains, but has been adapted for use in elevators.
The horizontal movement is possible because the Multi uses two shafts rather than the one-shaft-per-cabin layout of a traditional elevator.
The company says: "With one cabin per shaft, traditional elevators take up more and more space as buildings increase in height. Multi consolidates multiple carriages into fewer shafts, which reduces the elevators’ footprint by up to 50% and increased passenger throughput by at least as much."
The cabins are controlled by a wireless data system and an algorithm that can direct cars to callers in a more efficient way.
The Multi system was unveiled on Thursday, 22 June, at a 246m test tower in Rottweil in southwestern Germany. A one-third scale model had previously been shown to the press in November 2015.
Antony Wood, the director of the Council on Tall Buildings, who attended the event, said: "This is perhaps the biggest development in the elevator industry since the invention of the safety elevator some 165 years ago.
"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 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."
Andreas Schierenbeck, the chief executive of Thyssenkrupp’s elevator division, said: "We believe Multi is a genuine game-changer that will truly transform the way people move, work, and live in our built environment."
The first building to be fitted with the Multi will be OVG Real Estate’s East Side Tower building in Berlin.
Image: Thyssenkrupp’s test tower in Rottweil, where the Multi system was revealed (Thyssenkrupp)