Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Is the concept of lifts that move sideways a new idea?



At the end of November 2014 ThyssenKrupp announced that they had invented a new cable-free elevator system that can move cabins horizontally as well as vertically using magnetic force. This announcement generated a lot of mainstream press coverage at the time with lots of comparisons made with Willy Wonka ‘s lifts in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. ThyssenKrupp ‘s MULTI system makes it possible to have several elevator cabins in a single shaft, achieving a long-pursued dream of the ultimate in shaft efficiency and a rope-less elevator system. According to the company this could increase passenger capacity by up to 50%. Is this a new idea? Dunbar and Boardman have been working in the vertical transportation industry since 1981 and our consultants and engineers made the following observations during a discussion on sideways lifts.

“In 2010 the ThyssenKrupp Elevator twin system became accepted and now in 2015 the concept promoted by ThyssenKrupp to move elevators up and sideways and potentially horizontally through high rise conduits either at high level or buried within the ground; transferring lift cabins to other buildings, could become a practical reality in the not too distant future.

There are practical challenges as indicated by my colleagues’ comments below but nonetheless these challenges create opportunities for design teams.

As a final comment, it’s interesting that some of the resistance to these changes often come from the people employed within the specialist industries rather than the Client bodies or Client advisors who are often more willing to embrace the future." 

Peter Boardman, Dunbar and Boardman, Managing Director

“This isn't new.  Otis was doing this around 20 years ago with the Oddessy system.” Click ‘here’ to read an article describing a similar product announcement from Otis in 1997.

“A few years ago some of us (D&B staff) saw a lift installed by ThyssenKrupp that crossed a road in Germany above car traffic. The problem is that standing people fall off balance when moved sideways so travel speeds need to be very slow to maintain safety.”

Gary Avis, Dunbar and Boardman, Regional Director

“This idea has been around for many years with the aim being to enable taller buildings without the need for lifts with ropes or for architects to have a free hand in building designs. This could lead to more circular building designs.

The technology proposed to achieve sideways movement has been based on either electro-magnets or linear drives.

It was the introduction of The Paternoster, in the 1860s that the idea of sideways movement was given more consideration. Paternosters were very popular in the first half of the twentieth century.”

Paul Dodd, Dunbar and Boardman, Consultant Engineer

“There are several (sideways lifts) installed at Heathrow Airport at the container (baggage boxes) depot. We carried out a review and report on them around 5 or 6 years ago. If I recall correctly they are a German engineered product.”

John Carrington, Dunbar and Boardman, Consultant Engineer

Are you planning a vertical transportation project including sideways or vertical lifts? Dunbar and Boardman is the lift, escalator and access equipment consultancy. We would be happy to discuss any such requirements and how we may be able to assist. Give us a call on T +44 (0) 20 7739 5093 or send us an email via peterboardman@dunbarboardman.com to start the conversation. We look forward to hearing from you.

Image credit: http://cdni.wired.co.uk/1240x826/w_z/wonkavator.jpg

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