A lot of the discussion of the future of elevator design technology has focussed on the vertical buildings and their associated problems and solutions. However, future elevators will be most noticeable for the materials and technologies that they employ. We say this because there are some very spectacular changes in the look that future elevators will obtain without indulging in science fiction.
This article will discuss some of the lesser known yet the most revolutionary changes that future elevator designs will involve.
1. Elevators that Travel Sideways
While building vertically is a neat way to address rising demand for living and working spaces, building horizontally will address a lot of the spaces that we’re leaving behind. Building underground given the limitations of going deep into the earth’s crust will also entail horizontal travel for long distances. Because of the job of the elevator is to make vertical and horizontal travel accessible, elevators need to go sideways as well.
In 2017, ThyssenKrupp started work on a horizontal-traveling elevator that uses magnetic levitation in the same way that Maglev trains use them. This system is being installed in the EDGE East Side Tower in Berlin which is slated to be completed in 2023.
2. Zero Touch Controls
Surface hygiene inside elevator enclosures has become extremely important in public elevators post Covid-19. This is because elevators in commercial or public buildings host visitors from all over and you never know who may be infected with the Coronavirus.
That is why instead of touching manual control panels to reach the floor you want to get to newer elevators may allow you to enter your destination either via a digital app installed on your smartphone or a panel outside an elevator cab. The latter will then direct you to the right elevator after considering current traffic demand. Doors will open automatically and all you have to do is enter and stand in a designated spot for the duration of the travel.
Some elevator systems are also considering control panels located near the bottom of the elevator wall panel, allowing you to kick in the number of the floor you want instead of pressing it with your fingers.
3. Artificial Intelligence
AI and ML are so common to every electro-mechanical system that it comes as no surprise to anyone that these technologies will also increasingly be applied to user-elevator interactions. However, AI and ML will also increasingly help the elevator maintenance engineer and the facility manager by scheduling intelligent traffic monitoring and routing, automatic maintenance schedules, and raising alerts when particular sub-systems overheat or get overloaded. This will come as a huge relief to elevator servicing companies and those responsible for enforcing elevator design codes as these mechanisms will make inspection and certification of elevators more convenient and predictable.
4. Future Materials
We may be a long way off from using carbon nanotubes or molecular superglue to use as materials for our elevator wall panels and doors but KONE elevators has been using the ‘Ultrarope’ with a carbon fiber core surrounded by a high-friction coating, since 2010 when it helped construct the iconic Singapore Marina Bay Sands building.
Current elevator interior cab designs employ stainless steel, mirror or laminate for their panels. A number of modern safety codes insist on fire-proof materials that are resistant to wear and tear as well. In order to build sustainable surfaces, elevator design companies will also increasingly use cross-laminated timber with durable metal coatings to protect against heat and moisture.
With elevator engineers primed and trained to prevent cost and time overruns, professional elevator load test services, such as Premier Elevators, can save you plenty of trouble. Call now for a free consultation.