Can Elevator Innovation Keep Up With Developers' Mile High Ambitions?

Elevator technology developed in the 19th century made the advent of skyscrapers possible. Now that skyscraper construction is rebounding after the recession, can vertical transport systems keep up with developers' and designers' lofty visions?

Tim Catts looks at the latest technologies being developed by the $66 billion elevator industry. "With high-rises in China and Saudi Arabia poised to surpass Dubai’s record 2,717-foot (828-meter) Burj Khalifa, the race to outfit the next generation of super-tall buildings is spurring engineering leaps at Otis, Kone Oyj (KNEBV) and their elevator-making competitors..."

“We’re reinvesting in the skyscraper because the buildings on the drawing board right now are just different,” President Pedro Baranda said in an interview at Otis’s headquarters in Farmington, Connecticut. “Understanding the elevatoring of a very high-rise building can often give you insights into what you can do better at the lower end.”

By utilizing double-deck cars, polyurethane-coated belts, gearless drives, and advanced braking and computerized dispatch systems, elevator companies are pushing the boundaries of what's possible in tall building construction.   

“Advances in elevators in the past 20 years are probably the greatest advances we’ve seen in tall buildings,” Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat Chairman Antony Wood said in a telephone interview from Chicago.

Full Story: Double-Deck Elevators Rise as Tallest Towers Test Limits


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