- Less than a year after Thyssenkrupp debuted its cable-free, magnetic levitation elevator system in an 807-foot-tall test tower in Germany, the company announced the opening of its new 813-foot-tall test tower in Guangdong Province, China, Archinect reported.
- The tower will feature two high-tech elevators, one which can reach speeds of up to 40 miles per hour and another, MULTI, which uses the world's first ropeless elevator system, according to Building Design + Construction. MULTI's system, like the one used in Germany, allows multiple elevator cars to move in one shaft vertically and horizontally, increasing elevator capacity while reducing the typical weight and mass of cars.
- The structure houses 13 shafts that are the testing ground for an active mass damper system designed to reduce any tower sway caused by changes in weather or seismic conditions.
As the world's towers grow taller, elevator technology and the mechanisms supporting it are racing to keep up with increased demand for such systems.
Building designers' aim to compete for the tallest tower has helped drive innovation in such technology. From carbon-fiber cables and magnetic levitation systems, to systems that promote efficient movement in buildings, elevator manufacturers are making moves to craft the future of efficiency in elevator travel.
Last year, Thyssenkrupp revealed that it was testing a new net-zero elevator system that aimed to decrease energy consumption during the machine's idle periods by employing "hibernation" or "sleep" modes. Those tests had taken place over several years in a six-story, century-old building in Boston that was occupied by 50 people daily. That elevator, designed for smaller to mid-rise buildings, required no machine room.
Elevator company Kone is also testing the boundaries of efficiency in elevator systems. The company's carbon fiber UltraRope debuted in 2013 and comprises a lightweight alternative to steel cables, allowing the system to handle longer runs while requiring less storage space and less energy needed to function. That system is reportedly being used in the Saudi Arabia's 3,281-foot-tall Jeddah Tower.
Though some signature projects, like the Jeddah Tower and a high-speed system in New York City's One World Trade Center are drawing attention to high-tech elevator systems, the market is expected to be dominated by modernization efforts to update existing elevators, according to Allied Market Research. The smart elevator market is slated to reach $23.2 billion by 2020, before activity shifts toward the new construction market.