Lighter, stronger, more durable and efficient elevators were needed; KONE, a 103 year old industrial engineering company founded in 1908 in Finland, delivered.
According to KONE new tall skyscrapers these days shuttle each person an average of six times for a total of up to 50,000 elevator rides a day. Each elevator car carries a maximum of 24 passengers and together with the weight of the elevator can weigh up to 53,000 pounds (24,000 kg) and consume 130,000 kWh (kilowatt hours) per year.
Ever Taller Buildings Require New And Better Elevator Technology
As buildings become taller, existing technology and solutions, used for the past 50 years, are no longer workable and new revolutionary technology is necessary if technical and economic requirements and constraints are to be met.
The first requirement of high-rise elevator technology is that it is durable due to continuous use and heavy weight. Factors like building movement in the case of an earthquake or on windy days put strains on an elevator system. A new technology touted as a game changer in the industry employees super light rope technology composed of carbon fiber elements and high friction coatings.
Called “KONE Ultrarope”, it has twice the lifetime of previous technology, is less affected by building sway, reduces energy consumption by 15% and allows a reduction of 60% of the moving mass on elevators 1,640 feet (500 m) high and a 45% reduction in moving mass for elevators 2,625 feet (800 m) high.
Elevator Travel Heights to Increase Further
The following illustration shows weight savings through the use of Ultrarope. In a building 800 m tall existing steel rope technology would weigh 239,500 pounds (108,600 kg) while the Ultrarope would weigh just 130,600 pounds (3,900 kg).
With this new technology already a reality and more breakthroughs to come, the barriers to building taller buildings are slowly but surely being eroded. In the near future elevators will travel up to 3,280 feet (1000 m). The Burj Khalifa is currently the world’s tallest building at 2,722 feet (830m).