It’s estimated that by 2050, seven out of every 10 people on the planet will be living in cities. Building upwards is seen as the sustainable urban solution. But as urbanisation increases and the space heads ever upwards, it creates a problem for lift manufacturers.
A Finnish lift maker recently announced a new high-rise elevator technology which enables future elevator travel heights of 1 kilometer – twice the distance currently feasible.
Euronews correspondent Ali May discussed the innovation – dubbed “UltraRope” with the company’s Head of Technology.
Ali May, euronews: “What’s the innovation today? What is it that you’re presenting?”
KONE Head of Technology, Johannes de Jong: “It is a very light piece of new rope. This is much lighter than normal steel ropes and also much stronger. With this rope we can – for example on a 560 metre high building – reduce 95% of the rope weight; only 5% of the rope weight is remaining. And you have to remember the weight of the rope at this kind of height is over 60% of the total weight of the elevator.”
euronews: “What is it made of? What’s the difference between the conventional ropes and this one?”
KONE Head of Technology, Johannes de Jong: “Conventional ropes are high-strength steel ropes. The new rope is made of carbon fibre with a high-friction coating on it to allow us to give it the right friction.”
Around 20 new buildings over 500 metres high are currently being planned across the world, all taller than the Shard in London — currently Western Europe’s tallest building.
The human fascination with tall buildings goes back a long way – just consider the 4,000-year-old Pyramids of Giza. Thanks to technology, these height barriers keep being broken. Now we’ll need to wait and see what this particular innovation will mean for the future of high rise buildings.