Commercial building designs from today’s architectural engineering industry are growing ever taller and more elaborate. Currently the world’s tallest skyscraper is the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, UAE, standing at 828 meters (2,717 feet). This commanding height brings a unique set of engineering challenges, one being how to transport people efficiently from the ground floor to the top.
Most elevator systems raise and lower the elevator cabin by means of a motor-driven cable system installed at the top of the building. However, such systems generally afford a maximum ride length of 400 meters (1,312 feet)—just half the height of the Burj Khalifa, meaning passengers would have to board two, or possibly more, elevators to reach the top level.
ThyssenKrupp Elevator, a unit of ThyssenKrupp Corporation, is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of elevator systems, with annual sales of €6.4 billion and more than 50,000 employees at 900 locations. To meet the challenge of efficiently transporting occupants within the Burj Khalifa, the company’s design and engineering teams conceived and developed a novel design that uses electromagnetic drives attached to the frame of each elevator cabin for propulsion. This eliminates the need for roof-mounted cable systems and lets a single elevator traverse the Burj Khalifa’s full 800-meter height. In addition, it allows the elevator cage to move horizontally as well as vertically. But this new concept also brought new challenges, chief among them being that the cabin would not be able to carry as much passenger weight as a traditional elevator. Continue reading