Chinese spec 'world's fastest' elevators for supertall project

Ultra-high-speed technology will transport skyscraper users at 1,200 meters per minute, or about 45 mph.

May 01, 2014 |
The Guangzhou CTF Finance Centre, now under construction, will be 530 meters tal

Supertall buildings call for creative vertical transportation strategies. Hitachi Ltd. and its Hitachi Elevator Co. Ltd. division have annouced that they will build and install 95 elevators—including two that the manufacturer labels as the "world's fastest"—for the Kohn Pedersen Fox-designed Guangzhou CTF Finance Center, which will be 530 meters (1,738 feet) tall.

The two super-speedy units are designed to ascend at rates of up to 1,200 meters per minute, or about 45 mph, with a rated descent speed of 600 meters per minute. The contract also calls for 23 double-deck models running at up to 540 meters per minute, 13 ultra-high-speed units running at up to 600 meters per minute, and an assortment of medium- and low-speed elevators.)

The fastest elevators will travel a shaft height of 440 meters (from the first to the 95th floor) in about 43 seconds. The design includes a permanent magnet synchronous motor, a compact traction machine (achieved through reducing rope diameters, presumably with the aid of advanced materials), high-capacity inverters,  braking materials with high heat resistance (withstanding temperatures exceeding 550°F), and a governor that is designed to control various rated speeds during ascent and descent. Active guide rollers will detect warping in the guide rails and lateral vibration caused by wind pressure, helping to ensure a smoother ride. Hitachi has also devised proprietary air pressure adjustment technology intended to help prevent the common sensation of ear blockage caused by pressure changes.

The upscale mixed-use skyscraper will encompass office, hotel, and residential space, and will be the tallest structure in Guangzhou. A 2016 completion date is planned.

Hitachi's experience with vertical transport for tall buildings includes a unit installed in Tokyo's Kasumigaseki Building in 1968—the world's fastest elevator at the time, at 300 meters per minute. The firm operates a 213-meter-tall research tower specifically for elevator development and testing.

For more, see Hitachi's original release.

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