After 160 years, is the era of the rope-dependent elevator now over? ThyssenKrupp is working on placing linear motors in elevator cabins, transforming conventional vertical transportation. The company claims that its MULTI elevator technology will increase transport capacities and efficiency while reducing the elevator footprint and peak loads from the power supply in buildings.

Several cabins in the same shaft moving vertically and horizontally will permit buildings to adopt different heights, shapes, and purposes. The first unit will be in tests by 2016.

According to ThyssenKrupp, in a manner similar to a metro system operation, the MULTI design can incorporate various self-propelled elevator cabins in one shaft running in a loop at around five metres per second. Cabins are stopped using a multi-level braking system. Cabins built with new lightweight materials will weigh half what the current models weigh. Shaft transport capacity can be reduced by up to 50% making it possible to reduce the elevator footprint in buildings by as much as 50%.

Commenting on this from the global headquarters of ThyssenKrupp in Essen, Germany, Andreas Schierenbeck, CEO of ThyssenKrupp Elevator AG said, “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.”

Building design may no longer be limited by the height or vertical alignment of elevator shafts, opening possibilities to architects and building developers they have never imagined possible. With the increased capacity, passengers will have to wait just 15 to 30 seconds for the next available lift.

“Per year, New York City office workers spend a cumulative amount of 16.6 years waiting for elevators, and 5.9 years in the elevators. This data provides how imperative it is to increase the availability of elevators,” Mr Schierenbeck added.

Watch a video demonstration: