Move over, Willy Wonka. A horizontal elevator is here!
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Photo credit: PR, ThyssenKrupp

The MULTI elevator will save you time waiting, just don’t press the wrong button

If the elevator made skyscrapers possible, what kind of buildings will sideways elevators make a reality?

A German company called ThyssenKrupp has announced a new “ropeless” elevator that can travel both horizontally and vertically.

The elevator operates using magnetic levitation technology (maglev for short) which means the elevator hovers in a space using electromagnetic propulsion to move forward. The technology is the same as that used by maglev trains and was first proposed over a century ago.

Going up, left or right?

This maglev elevator would potentially save money, energy and wait times because several elevators could operate simultaneously in a single shaft, which could be shaped in a rectangular loop. Buildings could also adopt different heights, shapes and purposes, without the constraints of the rope-pulled elevator. The elevator uses one motor for vertical movement and another for horizontal

The first MULTI elevator unit will be in tests by 2016, ThyssenKrupp says.

“As the nature of building constructions evolve, it is also necessary to adapt elevator systems to better suit the requirements of buildings and high volumes of passengers,” ThyssenKrupp executive Andreas Schierenbeck said in a statement.

ThyssenKrupp is not the first company to debut maglev technology for elevators. Toshiba says it has developed a maglev elevator system, although it is unclear whether it is in use.

A company called MagneMotion has also built cable-less elevators and are used by sailors to get around U.S. Navy aircraft carriers.

But if you think that’s innovative, the Japanese firm Obayashi announced last year it is building a space elevator that will carry humans into space by 2050.

There you go, folks. If you loved Charlie and the Chocolate Factory as a child, you’ll be happy to know that Willy Wonka’s Great Glass Elevator is closer to becoming a reality.

 

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Simona Weinglass

About Simona Weinglass


I’m an old-school journalist who recently decided to pivot into high-tech. I work in high-tech marketing as well as print and broadcast media covering politics, business culture and everything in between.

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