MAGLEV TECHNOLOGY DISRUPTING THE ELEVATOR INDUSTRY

People usually oversee the benefits that elevators have offered to our society. Just like vehicles, elevators have enabled us to travel from one place to another, and allowed buildings to grow vertically instead of growing horizontally. Keeping in consideration all architectural trends to urban and economic development, elevators have shaped various areas of our daily lives. However, since safety elevators were development by Otis company in mid-80s, no major development took place in elevator design and operation until recently.
    Even today, most of the modern elevators continue to use the same designs and operating systems as were used in the elevators of 1800s. The basic design of these elevators consist of a motorized cable system which pull the cab up and down inside a shaft. The motor operates with the help of a counterweight that weighs almost half of a fully loaded elevator cab. With increasing population in urban areas and construction of more high-rise buildings, elevators have become more important than ever. The elevator and escalator sectors are flourishing and market leaders are all set to innovate. However, recent advancements in elevator technology still fail to solve three major issues in its design:
      • Limitations in Architectural Design
          Buildings have to be designed according to the elevator system. Due to this reason, architects cannot put in as much creativity in their projects as they want to.
          • Use of Substantial Space for Installation
              Each elevator system uses almost 40-60 percent of a building’s floor space.
              • Height Restrictions
                  Elevators using steel ropes cannot travel higher than 600 meters as the metal cables at this height become too heavy to lift the elevator cab. In the world’s tallest building, Burj Khalifa, two separate elevators are used to go to the top floor as a single elevator cannot travel from ground floor all the way up to the top.

                  Introduction of Maglev Technology

                    Fortunately, a German company has developed a new and efficient elevator system that is not only capable of addressing these issue but also offers one of the most demanded features in elevators i.e. the ability to travel horizontally.
                      Unlike other elevators, this new system operates using a magnetic levitation technology, thereby eliminating the need for steel ropes for moving the cabin. Magnetic levitation, also known as Maglev, is the same technology that is used in many high-speed trains. The elevators that work on this technology use a maglev track in the building that has coils embedded in it to guide the elevator cabs through a moving magnetic field. This new elevator technology has the ability to replace the traditional elevators that use cable and counterweight to move up and down the building floors. Maglev elevators can also change their directions from vertical to horizontal easily as they use linear motor to operate.
                        This elevator system also allows over 2 cabins per shaft as each of the cabin can move independently, without hindering the operation of one another. This reduces the waiting time for users and increases the capacity up to 50 percent.
                          The use of this elevator technology also eliminates all kinds of design or height limitations that traditional elevators had. Maglev elevator shafts can be placed easily and more freely in or around the building and operate like a metro. These elevators are also about 25 percent smaller in size as compared to the traditional ones which saves considerable floor space. The cabins of these elevators are controlled by wireless data system and an algorithm which directs the cabs to callers in a highly efficient way.
                            Moreover, this elevator system also takes into consideration energy consumption. An incredible energy management system is implemented to reduce the peak power and lower the investments costs of power supply of the structure. Also, all the safety concerns are covered in Maglev elevators so that passengers can travel with maximum comfort and convenience. According to the German company, this new elevator system aspires to alter the way people move in buildings and facilitate transportation between towers, airports, hospitals, universities, and other infrastructures. Several attempts have been made in the past but this is the first one to deal with the three major issues of height and design limitations. It’s with time that we will see where this technology takes the elevator industry.