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  • In June 2015, I went to Sheffield, and I saw a paternoster lift,

  • an obsolete design of elevator with a looping chain of open cabs.

  • In June 2016, I travelled to Genoa in Italy,

  • and I saw an elevator that also moved sideways.

  • Except, spoiler, it's a bit of a cheat,

  • it's actually a little horizontal car

  • that moves inside a bigger elevator that does the heavy lifting.

  • And now, it is June 2017.

  • And I'm in Germany, at the brand-new Thyssenkrupp Elevator Test Tower,

  • and they have flown me out here to show off Multi:

  • their actual, full-size, working elevator

  • that moves sideways without cheating.

  • For us, it was very important to have a tower to test the new technology.

  • We don't want to test it at the customers' site.

  • The tower is 246m high, and this means 1,700 steps.

  • I know that exactly, because I walked up once!

  • This is a building made almost entirely of elevator shafts.

  • Some of them test regular lifts,

  • but some of them are reserved for this new system.

  • The principle of having a continuous rotating flow of cars

  • was one of the best inventions in our industry ever.

  • And to achieve this, we have to exchange cabins from one shaft to another.

  • And to have this exchange, we need an exchanger,

  • which you see just behind me.

  • And this exchanger allows us to go into horizontal movement.

  • The exchanger can be placed at every point in the shaft

  • so it allows us to do all kinds of configurations.

  • Coming down vertically, and then going into the horizontal movement.

  • One of the problems with elevators in really tall buildings

  • is that you need a cable so long that it can't support its own weight,

  • let alone the weight of the cab that's then connected to it.

  • The solution here is a bit different, and it doesn't use cables at all.

  • It uses linear induction motors.

  • Linear drive - it's also a synchronous motor with permanent magnets.

  • And you maybe know it from a rotating motor.

  • If we just take this motor and cut it on one side

  • and just lay it on a table flat,

  • then you already have a linear drive.

  • And this is what we have, vertical and also horizontal.

  • In a regular elevator, it's called a traction elevator,

  • you've got cables holding the cab,

  • any one of which can hold more than the design weight.

  • Also, you've got emergency brakes which will pop out

  • and slow the car down with friction if it's moving too fast.

  • And, absolute worst case, even if all that somehow fails,

  • you have a buffer at the bottom that should reduce a freefall drop

  • from "fatal" to just "severe injuries"(!)

  • Elevators are incredibly safe because they're incredibly well-regulated.

  • So before this is allowed to carry humans,

  • this system needs to be at least as failsafe.

  • The safety is not just in the ropes of a conventional elevator

  • but in the brake system.

  • In conventional elevators, you have the brake

  • on the machine on top of the shaft in the machine room

  • now we have the brake directly on the cars.

  • This new component, the exchanger,

  • where we go from vertical into horizontal movement,

  • also needs to be checked by our safety controller.

  • What is the position of the exchanger?

  • Is it locked?

  • Is it safe?

  • And in case of any violation of a safety rule,

  • then we go to a 'safe state'.

  • There are, of course, some catches.

  • Linear induction motors are expensive and heavy.

  • Each one of the cabs needs to have its own set.

  • And the whole elevator shaft, from top to bottom,

  • needs to be lined with the magnetic coil units that power them.

  • To save weight, these cabs are made of carbon fibre and aluminium.

  • So will it work out in the real world?

  • Thyssenkrupp's models say it will,

  • but everything's been tested and approved here,

  • the next step is to sell it.

  • To the kind of enormous multinational companies who build skyscrapers

  • and who do not like risk.

  • And that might be a greater challenge than making the elevators in the first place.

  • Thank you very much to all the team at Thyssenkrupp who've invited me over here.

  • You can pull down the description for more about Multi.

In June 2015, I went to Sheffield, and I saw a paternoster lift,

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B2 H-INT elevator exchanger shaft horizontal linear brake

An Elevator That Actually Goes Sideways

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    林宜悉   posted on 2020/04/01
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