Thyssenkrupp’s Rope-Free MULTI Elevator System Will Change the Future of Skyscraper Design

The German elevator manufacturer has developed technology that will not only reduce wait times, but expand design possibilities.

Thyssenkrupp Horizontal Elevator
Thyssenkrupp’s MULTI elevator moves not only up and down but side to side. Courtesy Thyssenkrupp

For most urbanites, elevators are a part of daily life. People travel up and down between floors in buildings and typically don’t give it a passing thought, yet these cabins of industry carry more than a billion riders every day. Now German manufacturer Thyssenkrupp is poised to change the way elevators move with its innovative MULTI system. The rope-free cabins operate on an electromagnetic track and travel not only vertically but also horizontally.

“The sideways capability will allow passengers to now move to all parts of a building, significantly increasing efficiency,” says Brad Nemeth, vice president of sustainability for Thyssenkrupp Elevator Americas.

The system is also designed for shuttling passengers to nearby infrastructure such as parking garages, which makes moving from place to place a little easier. “You’ll no longer see this hard division between how you get to a building and how you transport within a building,” Nemeth adds. “Over time you’ll see those lines disappear.”

Thyssenkrupp Horitzontal Elevator
The innovative transport system uses less power and can shuttle passengers in record time. Courtesy Thyssenkrupp

With multiple cabs running in a single shaft, the MULTI reduces wait times from several minutes to only 15 to 30 seconds per lift. The MULTI also minimizes elevators’ footprints because it requires fewer shafts. This shift can increase a building’s usable space by up to 25 percent, making the system ideal for developers looking for ways to improve energy and space efficiency, especially in high-rise structures. “The MULTI requires lower peak power, which allows for improved management of a building’s energy needs,” explains Nemeth. When fewer cabs are needed during off-peak periods, they can simply be parked and their power turned off.

Nemeth believes that one of the most significant benefits of the MULTI is that it will expand creative possibilities. Architects will no longer have to worry about shaft height and vertical alignment, enabling them to utilize round shapes and other complex styles. “With MULTI, there are no longer any constraints to building design.”


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