24th April 2015
With space in global cities becoming ever tighter, buildings are getting higher to ensure that the demand for residential and office space is met. As we build taller structures, we stretch the limits of current lift technology. This has led to a number of developments that will enable us to continue servicing these buildings. There has been the use of double-decker cars and new Kevlar cables instead of steel ones, as well as the development of more advanced systems that reduce the amount of space lifts require.
The Skylobby System
This system can increase the speed and efficiency of lifts by just stopping at 50m and 100m points along the way. Passengers then have to switch to a different lift that services the floors in between. The use of this type of lift reduces the amount of floor space that the lift shafts require, and it can even be used in extremely tall buildings.
With more buildings being constructed that are over 500m, the requirements for lifts become even more complex. Even when a Skylobby system is introduced, the height of these buildings still means that a large number of lifts is required. For instance, the Shanghai Tower will reach 632m when it is completed and will have 126 lifts, some of which will operate on a Skylobby concept. Of these, 20 will be double-decker cars, and there will be a requirement at the ground floor for 40 individual lift shafts.
The MULTI System
Another new concept in development is the MULTI system from ThyssenKrupp. This is a completely new use of lift technology, with the cars requiring no cables, counterweights or electric motors. Instead, each car will have an individual linear induction motor. This allows multiple cars to function in one shaft, reducing the space required by the lift system.
An Articulated Funiculator System
One of the other ways that companies are developing to service future lift requirements is the articulated funicular lift. This is currently in development by Tyrens, and it has the capability to be used in underground stations that are deep below sea level and buildings that are as tall as 1,000m. This is a cable system, which in a simple set-up that would have up to four pods circulating in two shafts. It has the ability to service both horizontal and vertical stations.
The first use of this new system is likely to be in an extension to the Stockholm underground system. The stations on this network will be built out of hard granite rock and at depths of 100m. If a traditional system was used, there would be a need for 10 separate shafts, but with this articulated funicular concept only four of them will be required.
These new developments will enable future buildings to have efficient lift systems that can service all the floors. They will also be able to cater for the different needs of occupants, with many of the super-tall buildings being used for both business and residential purposes.