Elevator technology for Giga buildings presents difficulties for engineers

As the number of buildings increases, the demands placed on lift technology, which push people and loads to ever-increasing heights, pose challenges for engineers. Because longer elevator shafts and corresponding pitches are also on the wish list of the builders as demands on high speeds and passenger comfort. A challenge that civil engineers worldwide are working on.

Lifts on the outside of a Giga skyscraper

Photo: panthermedia.net/idcde

In this Read article:

  • Beginning of elevator technology – of paternosters and ship lifts
  • Drive technology – the gear behind the elevator
    • Cable lift
    • Hydraulic Hoist
    • Rack & Pinion Elevator
    • Vacuum Lifting
    • Non-Lifting Elevator
  • Guidelines and standards concerning lift installations
  • Requirements Elevator Systems in Giga Buildings
    • Material and physical limits
    • Carbon fiber as an alternative pull rope
  • A look into the future

From the passenger lift to the vertical load-carrying means of transport, elevators meet the most diverse requirements. Often, comfort properties and benefits are encountered. But modern architecture presents lift systems with completely new challenges: physics and architecture, which keep elevators functioning, are slowly reaching their limits. Because Giga buildings place entirely different demands on the maximum load capacity, the capacity and the speed of a lift installation than a ten-party building.

Engineers are therefore working on solutions for Giga elevators, starting with the general air resistance of the building via the pressure compensation in The cabin is towards demands on the material that makes up the suspension rope. After all, skyscrapers now tower several hundred meters in the air. The Burj Khalifa in Dubai, for example, measures a stately 828 meters and tops the ranking list of the ten tallest buildings in the world. The efficient development of such giants requires efficient transport systems. Engineers often take over planning and installation of elevator systems that are supposed to reach special heights – with expertise and meticulous planning.

Beginnings of elevator technology – from paternosters and ship lifts

The world’s first known elevator was the Paternoster. It was commissioned in 1876 at the London General Post Office. The unique feature of the paternoster lift is the constant movement of the cabins in the vertical state. The cabs are moved by two chains. At each upper and lower end of the two shafts there are discs, which steer the cabins to the other lane.

The principle of the paternoster lift is based on the bucket elevator principle, which is still used today for mines. Cup-like wheelbarrows are attached to a chain and reach at the bottom of the shaft in the amount of goods to be transported. Then it is pulled up and transported on folding at the top of the corridor in the target shaft. In order to use this principle also for passenger transport, two chains were attached to the cabins, so that they can pass vertically into the second elevator shaft.

A much older method, which is also based on the principle of the paternoster, is the ship lift. It is generally divided into dry and wet lift. The dry elevator was already used in ancient Egypt. Boats and ships were lifted out of the water and towed over land to avoid Nile rapids. The frictional resistance of the ships has been reduced by either laying wooden beams or castors in front of the water vehicle or by installing them.

Despite the common task of transporting people and large loads, elevators are fundamentally different in their technology.

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