Magnetic Elevators – The Future of People Moving?

The elevator revolutionized the modern city. With this one invention, dramatic skylines popped up around the world, and buildings soared into the sky. And then…. innovation stagnated; elevators followed in the same – vertical – footsteps as 19th century pioneers. Until now. German company ThyssenKrupp is perfecting their cable-free, multi-directional elevator system. With the right partner, the elevator can, once again, become a trailblazer and open a world of possibilities for architects and designers.

An Innovative Solution to a Common Problem

ThyssenKrupp’s multi-dimensional elevators may seem futuristic – and wildly imaginative – but they are firmly rooted in practicality. Collaborating with the right companies can help designers and architects strike this balance. The challenge that ThyssenKrupp sought to overcome, according to a representative: “Traditional elevator systems are constantly battling bottlenecks.”

This prompted architects to approach the firm about a solution. “The answer was either to increase capacity or increase speed. When you increase speed too quickly, the human body reacts. So we decided to increase capacity.” But how?

Magnetic levitation.

Going Up? How About Across?

Currently, elevators rely on a system of weights, counterweights, cables, and pulleys that allow them to move vertically within a shaft. This basic system has been in place for over 160 years with little dramatic change. ThyssenKrupp’s alternative allows multi-dimensional movement – and an answer to architects’ query of how to reduce bottlenecks.

Instead of cables, their system uses magnetic levitation (or maglev) technology. Propelled by magnets, ThyssenKrupp’s “MULTI” technology will move elevators in a loop – rather than in a simple vertical shaft. This way, several elevator cars can run on the same track at the same time – vertically and horizontally. They’ll operate at a speed of 5 meters per second with stops about every 50 meters.

The benefit here: cars will stop every 15 to 30 seconds, dramatically reducing the wait time for passengers. How important is this? Consider that New York City office workers spend about 16.6 years of their lives waiting for elevators. Ask them how important shorter wait times are!

ThyssenKrupp estimates MULTI can increase transport capacity by up to 50%. Congestion problems: solved. Now, on to the possibilities! What does the future have in store for architects, designers, and the (once) humble elevator – and how can they make sure to stay on the cutting edge of innovation?

The Sky’s the Limit

Multi-dimensional elevators may be rooted in practicality, but where they branch out from there – that’s up to the innovative minds of designers and architects. MULTI not only transports passengers, it has the potential to transform buildings. Imagine the design innovations that these changes (and a sound partnership with firms that can help execute them) can make a reality.

More Room

ThyssenKrupp estimates their system will reduce “elevator footprint” by 50%. MULTI requires smaller shafts and can increase buildings’ usable area by as much as 25%. This is 25% in which architects and designers can flex their creative muscles and create penthouses, C-suites, conference rooms, office space, apartments…anything their clients want and need.

In addition, this smaller elevator footprint will save construction costs for owners and increase revenue opportunities through rentable space – a lasting reminder of the many benefits of innovation.

Energy Efficiency

The energy consumption of elevators is difficult to measure because it depends on a variety of factors, from the number of floors and cabs to the type of lift system and amount of traffic. While a general answer is hard to arrive at, there is no doubt that elevators use a great deal of energy. Design is one of the reasons why.

The ThyssenKrupp representative explains, “Traditional elevators use a lot of energy when jolting into motion. That peak of energy doesn’t happen with MULTI. Instead, it has a smooth and easy way of consuming energy.”

Additionally, the materials are much lighter. This opens the door to LEED certification and ecofriendly systems that save energy and reduce carbon footprints – all while inspiring building owners, end-users, and future designs.

The End of…Conformity

Building height will not be limited by the height of the elevator shafts, nor will the configuration be limited by vertical alignment. Architects will be free to think more dynamically, freed from the physical restraints of the current elevator shafts.

What does all of this mean? That architects and designers don’t have to think in terms of up and down. They can zig; they can zag. They can remove nonstandard, impossible, and unfeasible from their vocabularies. Instead, they can replace them with next-generation, leading-edge, and, simply, wow. Forward-thinking companies, like ThyssenKrupp and others at the forefront of the industry, can help architects and designers stay on the leading edge of engineering and technology – while seizing the opportunity to go boldly where no elevator has gone before.

ThyssenKrupp is building a test tower for their MULTI system in Germany, which is expected to be complete in 2016. After that, passengers may be pushing more than just “up” or “down.” But even more exciting is what’s next. A generation of innovative buildings that allow architects and designers to reach further than today’s buildings and redefine skylines across the world. By partnering with a forward-thinking elevator company, you can get in on the ground floor and go…any which way you please.

An Expert’s Guide to Elevator Interior Materials

You’re driven by vision, ambition, the need to breathe life into drawings, renderings, and models – transforming them into fully-functional and aesthetically pleasing spaces. Materials make it happen. Selecting the best elevator interior elements will help you achieve the look you want and give you the usability you need. Ready to design a breathtaking interior that’s sure to impress the countless users who’ll inhabit that space? Use this quick guide to familiarize yourself with the best options to bring your vision to life.

A Quick Guide to Elevator Interior Materials

Instead of: Mirrors on All Walls
Use: A Mirror on One Wall

There’s a line between convenience (straightening your attire before a presentation, interview, meeting, etc.) and “funhouse chic”. Many designers opt to include mirrors in their elevator interiors to help users, and to make the space appear larger and brighter. But more than one mirror crosses that line. Elevator passengers need one – just one – reflection staring back at them.

Or, skip the mirrors altogether and opt for a custom image or logo to complete your vision.

Instead of: Heavy and Expensive Wood or Stone
Use: Gorilla Glass

Designers tend to favor authenticity: the real thing always beats the knock-off, right? Not necessarily. The issues lie in code compliance, weight limitations, and costs. How can you achieve the right look and feel without “the real thing”? By printing the exact pattern that fits your vision and laminating it beneath the ultra-durable, perfectly clear Gorilla Glass. Whether you’re envisioning stone, brick, marble, granite, oak, or cherry – cut costs, meet code, and still achieve the perfect aesthetic

Top tip: Its renowned durability makes Gorilla Glass a great material to use in the lower portion of the elevator, where damage is more likely to occur. Your clients will thank you for the foresight.

Instead of: Fabrics or Wood Veneers
Use: High-Quality Laminates or Trespa (a High-Pressure Laminate Plate)

In addition to its superior fire-rating and durability, Trespa beats out fabric and veneer interiors with its nonporous, non-microbial finish. With the same soft, textured look as fabric, but without the potential to stain, snag, or run, Trespa stays cleaner – and more elegant – far longer.

Instead of: Woven Metal
Use: GageCarve

Woven metal is difficult for manufacturers to work with – and that difficulty translates into higher costs for customers. A looser weave will make the surface a magnet for dust and dirt that is nearly impossible to keep clean. When used in higher panels, this metal mesh can catch long hair.
GageCarve, on the other hand, offers the same dynamic look that is easy to maintain and without breeding dust-bunnies.

Manufactured by Gage Corp., GageCarve is crafted from at least 50% post-consumer recycled aluminum. Each sheet is anodized with an interior-grade finish to ensure optimal appearance, durability, and longevity. That, and its cutting-edge look, makes it an ideal fit for sophisticated interiors.

Stainless steel is another alternative to woven metal. Clean, durable, and sleek, it will add a sleek and modern elegance to your elevator interior.

Top tip: Many designers who opt for stainless steel worry that it will get scratched and dented in no time. Protect your stainless steel without compromising the look by laminating it with Gorilla Glass for the ultimate sophisticated, futuristic look.

While elevator interiors can incorporate virtually any material that is fire-rated and conforms to size and weight restrictions, the best – like Gorilla Glass, high-quality laminates, stainless steel, and more – offer unmatched durability and versatility for the ultimate design freedom.

One of the most-used features in your building will be the elevator. Thousands of people will use it – and they have nothing to do but look at the interior as they wait to reach their floor. Show them thoughtful designs in every aspect of the building with gorgeous – and yet totally functional – elevator interiors.

Understand the SnapCab Difference in One Minute

Video Transcript

You’ve known it was time for a while.

And even though you’ve avoided it, and avoided it.

And now, you have to do something about it.

It’s time to update the cab.

We all know what that means.

Lots of research to make sure you’re meeting code and weight requirements. 

Another project to design and manage.

And then days of downtime for the people who use your building.

Hold the door.

SnapCab has a better way.

We’ve created a system of pre-fab kits to help you update your cab, without all the pain.

 To get the process started, just go online and design your own cab interior.

Then, let us send you a free presentation board with samples and a picture of your new elevator interior.

So, you can make sure everything is looking perfect.

Once you order, your work is done.

We have qualified installers across the continent, who have installed over 10,000 SnapCabs, and can install your new beautiful elevator interior in a matter of hours.

And you can rest assured that everything is up to code and quality standards, because SnapCab tests and regulates all their materials.

Visit today to start an online design session, and see how simple and affordable updating your cab can be.