EME Outlook - - Front Page - Writer: Jonathan Dy­ble

Why the MULTI is an in­no­va­tive an­swer to inner-city chal­lenges

In the eyes of thyssenkru­pp El­e­va­tor and MULTI, cir­cu­lar el­e­va­tor sys­tems will be cru­cial if we are to ef­fec­tively sus­tain rapidly ris­ing ur­ban pop­u­la­tions

The world’s first pas­sen­ger el­e­va­tor didn’t look like much com­pared to the fin­ished ar­ti­cles that can be found in to­day’s build­ings. Launched at the Haugh­wout Depart­ment Store in cen­tral New York back in 1857, it was viewed as more of a tourist at­trac­tion, pro­pelled by a steam en­gine and trav­el­ling at highly in­ef­fi­cient speeds of just 40 feet per minute.

The need for el­e­va­tors has some­what changed since this time, no longer con­sid­ered a lux­ury or nov­elty, but rather an es­sen­tial func­tion of tow­er­ing struc­tures.

How­ever, while it is true that el­e­va­tors have pro­gressed in keep­ing with the up­ward curve of ur­ban­i­sa­tion, their op­er­a­tional con­cept has re­mained largely un­changed, lead­ing to ar­chi­tec­tural headaches in re­cent years.

“The el­e­va­tor in­dus­try has been around for 160 years, but it hasn’t de­vi­ated much. Most el­e­va­tors only move in ver­ti­cal shafts, but the world – and cities specif­i­cally – have adapted. Tra­di­tional el­e­va­tors are fast be­com­ing a bot­tle­neck for the build­ing in­dus­try. They have lim­ited ca­pac­ity for mov­ing peo­ple, and they oc­cupy ex­ces­sively in­ef­fi­cient floor space.”

For Michael Ce­sarz, an es­tab­lished ar­chi­tect by trade, the ques­tion of mo­bil­ity is­sues in cities was grow­ing with a lack of the in­no­va­tive think­ing re­quired to ad­dress such chal­lenges. This was his mo­ti­va­tion be­hind join­ing thyssenkru­pp El­e­va­tor.

“Our first at­tempt to pi­o­neer new think­ing in this space came in 2002, with the TWIN sys­tem,” he re­calls. “With two cab­ins per shaft and a 30 per­cent in­crease in trans­port ca­pac­ity, com­bined with a 30 per­cent re­duc­tion in the el­e­va­tor foot­print in build­ings, it was an achieve­ment in its own right. But MULTI takes this fur­ther.

“When I saw the con­cept, I was cap­ti­vated. It sparked my imag­i­na­tion, and I knew I had to be part of the team.”

The in­no­va­tive an­swer to ur­ban mo­bil­ity

So, what is MULTI?

For Ce­sarz, now CEO of the MULTI di­vi­sion, it presents in­fi­nite pos­si­ble so­lu­tions to the chal­lenges posed by outdated el­e­va­tor tech­nolo­gies. Re­mov­ing tra­di­tional sus­pen­sion ropes, the tech­nol­ogy in­stead com­bines spe­cialised mo­tors, al­low­ing cab­ins to move not only ver­ti­cally, but also hor­i­zon­tally.

“You may have heard of pa­ter­nos­ter el­e­va­tors – sys­tems that con­sist of a chain of open com­part­ments,” he re­veals. “They move slowly in a loop, up and down in­side a build­ing without stop­ping.

“This cir­cu­lar sys­tem is cen­tral to MULTI. To en­able modern el­e­va­tor cab­ins to move in a loop, MULTI will use rope-less lin­ear mo­tor tech­nol­ogy to op­er­ate el­e­va­tors that can move side­ways. The mech­a­nism hold­ing the cabin can ro­tate 90 de­grees, al­low­ing them to move along a new track.”

The core dif­fer­ence be­tween

MULTI and the pa­ter­nos­ter sys­tems, how­ever, is speed. MULTI’s el­e­va­tors will be able to travel at five me­tres per sec­ond, and with many mul­ti­ple cab­ins in a loop, the sys­tem will en­able nearcon­stant ac­cess to an el­e­va­tor cabin – ap­prox­i­mately ev­ery 15 sec­onds.

“With this sys­tem, shaft trans­port ca­pac­i­ties will in­crease by 50 per­cent and el­e­va­tor foot­prints in build­ings can be re­duced by up to 50 per­cent,” Ce­sarz adds.

Con­sid­er­ing this, MULTI has the po­ten­tial to ben­e­fit a num­ber of ver­ti­cals, and hor­i­zon­tals, whether it’s saving space in sky­scrapers that can be used to house more apart­ments or of­fices or open­ing up new di­rec­tions of travel in metro net­works.

“There is ex­pected to be a 2.5 bil­lion in­crease in ur­ban pop­u­la­tion num­bers in the next three decades,” Ce­sarz adds. “With se­vere restric­tions on space, taller build­ings have proven to be the most eco­nom­i­cally and en­vi­ron­men­tally vi­able de­vel­op­ments to ac­com­mo­date rapidly grow­ing pop­u­la­tions. They oc­cupy less land, leav­ing es­sen­tial space for green ar­eas, and they also al­low for cen­tralised in­tel­li­gent con­trol of en­ergy and re­sources.

“With this sys­tem, shaft trans­port ca­pac­i­ties will in­crease by 50 per­cent and el­e­va­tor foot­prints in build­ings can be re­duced by up to 50


– Michael Ce­sarz, MULTI

“As such, build­ings are sur­pass­ing ex­pec­ta­tions in terms of scale. In 2000, the av­er­age height of the world’s 50 tallest build­ings was 315 me­tres, while in 2013, that same av­er­age reached 390 me­ters; a 25 per­cent in­crease in just over a decade.”

Against this back­drop, efficient mo­bil­ity in build­ings will only be­come a more press­ing mat­ter, and MULTI may very well may be the in­no­va­tive an­swer that is needed.

End­less pos­si­bil­i­ties

2019 will see thyssenkru­pp be­gin­ning to more ac­tively mar­ket MULTI, owed to its El­e­va­tor’s Rot­tweil-based test tower that has pro­gres­sively pow­ered the tech­no­log­i­cal de­vel­op­ments.

This fa­cil­ity is read­ily equipped

“Be­ing part of a wider group opens us up to dif­fer­ent kinds of in­no­va­tion and gen­er­ates new think­ing, which is in­valu­able”

– Michael Ce­sarz, MULTI

with ev­ery­thing needed to trial so­phis­ti­cated el­e­va­tor sys­tems, fea­tur­ing nine test shafts that are ded­i­cated to both TWIN and MULTI and a 240-tonne pen­du­lum that can sim­u­late vibrations and ad­verse weather con­di­tions, en­abling en­gi­neers to con­duct real-life test runs.

“On a side note,” Ce­sarz adds, “the tower boasts Ger­many’s high­est vis­i­tor plat­form, with a 360-de­gree panoramic view, and on good days you can see the Swabian Alb and Swiss Alps. I would highly rec­om­mend a visit.”

What’s more, the Rot­tweil tower is sit­u­ated close to the firm’s el­e­va­tor plant in Neuhausen, less than 100 kilo­me­tres north by road. Here, roughly 1,500 thyssenkru­pp El­e­va­tor ex­perts are build­ing next-gen­er­a­tion in­dus­try so­lu­tions.

“Be­ing part of a wider group opens us up to dif­fer­ent kinds of in­no­va­tion and gen­er­ates new think­ing, which is in­valu­able,” Ce­sarz ex­plains. “We’re able to gather knowhow and ex­per­tise from var­i­ous branches and in­di­vid­u­als.

“One ex­am­ple is our ex­per­tise in lin­ear mo­tor tech­nol­ogy. This was driven by other in­no­va­tors in the thyssenkru­pp group, specif­i­cally those re­spon­si­ble for de­vel­op­ing tech­nol­ogy for the mag­netic lev­i­ta­tion trans-rapid train. This tech­nol­ogy fed into the de­vel­op­ment of MULTI and so, without it, the el­e­va­tor may not have ex­isted.”

With the pro­to­type in place as a re­sult of th­ese in­no­va­tions and col­lab­o­ra­tions com­bined, MULTI seeks to tran­si­tion into com­mer­cial roll­out mov­ing for­ward.

“We have al­ready ac­cu­mu­lated many sub­stan­tial pro­ject leads from all over the world, from pas­sen­ger trans­port in air­port ter­mi­nals with MULTI run­ning like a sky train above the pedes­tri­ans to use in ski­ing ar­eas,” Ce­sarz con­cludes. “It’s far more than just an el­e­va­tor – the pos­si­bil­i­ties are end­less.”

The MULTI test tower of­fers tremen­dous views of Rot­tweil and the sur­round­ing land­scape

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