Multi-directional elevators have always belong to the realm of fiction and surrealism, as is evident from Willy Wonka’s list of inventions. But this time around, engineers from German conglomerate ThyssenKrupp have drawn up the conceptual plans for real multi-directional elevators. The reasoning behind the seemingly futuristic endeavor is pretty simple – such type of conveyance systems inside structures could reduce the overall carbon footprint of the building in a significant manner, while also making it easier for the users.
The so-called MULTI elevators would ditch the conventional scope of cables, and instead opt for a magnet-based drive. This isn’t really surprising, since ThyssenKrupp already have their expertise in dealing with magnetic technology. The firm had collaborated with Siemens to form the Transrapid International that designed the advanced power-train of Shanghai’s super-fast Maglev train. As for the multi-directional attributes in question here, each of the elevators will boast of two different motors – one for vertical movement and another for horizontal traversing.
This obviously means that the shaft itself has to go beyond its regular vertical orientation. To that end, ThyssenKrupp engineers have thought of a more complex arrangement of shafts (as opposed to a single shaft) inside skyscrapers that will tread both vertical and horizontal spaces. When translated to figures, this will mean that each user has to wait for only 15-30 seconds for easy access to one of the structure’s elevators. Furthermore, the MULTI elevators would require reduced cross-section of the shafts, which in turn can potentially add 25 percent to the building’s usable space.
Now of course, the collective arrangement of the multi-shaft system inside the building requires a specific height, and that number reads 300 m (or 984 ft). But according to the designers involved, the advantages far outweigh the downsides, as explained by Andreas Schierenbeck, CEO at ThyssenKrupp –
Per year, New York City office workers spend a cumulative amount of 16.6 years waiting for elevators, and 5.9 years in the elevators. This data provides how imperative it is to increase the availability of elevators.
The company further adds –
Although the ideal building height for MULTI installations starts at 300 meters, this system is not constrained by a building’s height. Building design will no longer be limited by the height or vertical alignment of elevator shafts, opening possibilities to architects and building developers they have never imagined possible.
Interestingly, while the tech may seem a bit far-fetched, ThyssenKrupp have already envisaged plans for building a prototype version of the MULTI elevator system inside their Test Tower, in Rottweil, Germany. The building is expected to be finished by 2016, after which the preliminary version can be tested in real-time.