Multi, the magnetic elevator


An elevator that does not need cables and moves both horizontally and vertically. Introduced in Germany, the Multi is an innovative technology compared to traditional lifts, this will increase the useful area of buildings, thus giving rise to the imagination of architects and engineers in the construction of skyscrapers.

This elevator is like Transrapid, the train that does not touch the rails as it works inside an electromagnetic field. Hence no cables to lift or lower, not needing a “engine room” because its engine is distributed along the route, which can be both horizontal and vertical.

Thyssenkrupp has already presented this lift in a 246-meter tower at the end of last week in Rottweil, Germany. He also introduced a client. The first buyer of this system is the Dutch OVG Real Estate, specializing in building sustainable and innovative buildings, which will install the Multi in Berlin. This is the 160-meter East Tower, which will be one of the most iconic buildings in the German capital.

Coen van Oostrom, the company’s chairman, shared that he was proud to build the tallest buildings in Benelux, but that a meeting with Al Gore at a forum in the USA made him change his way of thinking, starting to design sustainable and energy-efficient projects. In this paradigm shift, he saw just how innovative these elevators could be to save space in buildings. “We stopped making such tall buildings because they all end up being like the Donuts – with a hole in the middle – and we can now design quite different solutions thanks to Multi”, he explained.

Luís Ramos, director of communications at thyssenkrupp, also explained that one of the biggest obstacles to height construction is that almost half of the area is occupied by elevator shafts and the heavy equipment they carry. The magnetic elevator (consisting of magnets, or magnets, being thus driven by the attractive and repulsive forces of magnetism) requires only half the space of a conventional elevator, so buildings will gain 25% of the area. Given that, in megacities, the square meter of area reaches such high prices, Multi will change the business model of real estate and construction companies, by allowing to increase the available space.

“Cities today are so dense, that any space that can be given to the building is worth gold”, he added. The new lift is more expensive than the others (the value of the deal with OVG Real Estate was not disclosed), but Luís Ramos says the advantages in the space gained clearly outweigh the price increase.

The German group says it already has several demonstrations of interest from more companies and that it hopes to quickly export these lifts to the Middle East, China and the USA. “The client-type is a civilian attorney, it is usually a company that develops buildings and has sustainability concerns”, said Luís Ramos.

Customers and the market do not seem to be lacking, as the president of thyssenkrupp Andreas Schierenbeck himself recalled. By day there are over 87.5 square kilometers of urban space on the planet, the equivalent of a new Manhattan. And since 2000, the tallest buildings have grown three times, from an average height of 200 meters to the current 600 meters. While in the 1960s one or two skyscrapers (buildings with a minimum of 200 meters high) were built each year, only in 2016 were 128 built around the world.