Going Up: Take A Lift To The Future

Many of us use lifts every single day, and step in and out of them without much thought to what it is that enables us to trabel through floors. Now, anyone will be able to tell you that lifts are operated by a series of ropes – and they’d be right, lifts as we know them have been dependent on them for 160 years – but what if we were to tell you that rope-free lifts were now a reality?

Cast your minds back to that wonderful moment in Gene Wilder’s portrayal of eccentric chocolate factory owner Willy Wonka where he and lucky ticket winner Charlie Bucket traverse up through the factory and into the skies in a great glass elevator…


Well, that’s pretty much what German company Thyssenkrupp have done – minus the crashing through the roof and landing in your home. Thyssenkrupp have developed the world’s first rope-free, horizontal-vertical lift system. Through the use of multiple magnetised cabins which operate in the same shaft on an electromagnetic track, the lift makes it possible to travel up and down as well as sideways.

Introducing Multi

Affectionately known as ‘Multi’, the new German system was trialled in June in a purpose-built 246m-high test tower in Rottweil (yep, where the dogs are from). Exchanger mechanisms – much like railway switches – help to guide the cars which are mounted with carbon-fibre bearings called ‘slings’ that allow them to change direction quickly and with ease and enabling seamless sideways movement.
ThyssenKrupp first unveiled its ambitions to build the lift system back in 2014 and now reports that Multi can achieve up to 50% higher transport capacity and reduce power demands by as much as 60% when compared to the traditional elevator systems.

“These two factors mean a dramatic performance improvement for high-rise buildings” said Thyssenkrupp. “Additionally, since Multi can move sideways as well as vertically and without any height limitations, it enables unprecedented possibilities in the architecture and design of buildings.”

Currently, existing lift and elevator footprints can occupy up to 40% of a high-rise building’s floor space depending on the height of the building.

Thyssenkrupp’s Chairman of the Executive Board, Andreas Schierenbeck said “We believe Multi is a genuine game-changer that will truly transform the way people move, work and live in our built environment

“It will reduce waiting times for passengers and take up significantly less space within the building. Multi is a key offering that truly represents a landmark revolution in the elevator industry.”

Where Next For Multi Elevators?

Thyssenkrupp now plans to roll out the Multi in high-rise buildings whilst also seeing opportunity in lifts used in underground train and metro systems. Following the installation of the system across three shafts at the test tower in Rottweil, Germany, the German multinational announced that OVG Real Estate would be Multi’s first customer.

The European real estate business has outlined plans to install the system in the new East Side Tower building in Berlin, which has been touted as the world’s most sustainable office building.
Sheridan Lifts approached Thyssenkrupp for comment about trialling the system in chocolate factories acorss the world but were unavailable for comment.