Like Charlie’s Great Glass Elevator, ThyssenKrupp sees a future where elevators don’t only go up and down, but also travel sideways and diagonally. While conventional elevators uses a series of cables to hoist themselves from floor to floor, these new elevators harness the power of magnets.
ThyssenKrupp, who make everything from steel to submarines, have decided to embrace the technology found in their highspeed trains. A series of magnets are fitted to every elevator, and magnetized coils running across the elevator’s hoistway rail make the car float. Turning these coils on and off then creates a magnetic field which is strong enough to pull the car in any direction. A series of what are essentially railroad switches then guide the cars, which keeps the car running smoothly for the passengers.
Even though this technology is based on the same magnetic lifts found in highspeed trains, this implementation isn’t about speed. In fact, the new elevator cars travel roughly 1,000 – 1,400 feet per minute, which is somewhat slow compared to other cars that can go nearly 2000 ft/minute. Instead, these new cars will allow buildings to stack elevator cars at virtually every floor without overloading the system. If one car blocks another, it can go left or right to get out of the way. This allows the system to run an elevator shaft much like a subway, and allows ThyssenKrupp to guarantee that a car will be at ground level every 30 seconds.
This new system will also allow architects to design better buildings. Currently, most skyscrapers are designed around the elevator shafts, which can take up to 40 percent of a building’s interior. With the magnet-driven elevators, architects could place these elevators virtually anywhere, which may lead to more complex and complicated buildings.
The first of these magnetically-driven elevators is currently being installed in an upcoming residential building in Germany. If successful, it may just be a matter of time before they make it State-side.
Source: Pro Tribune