Altair ProductDesign has partnered with thyssenkrupp to develop a revolutionary rope-less elevator system. The new elevator system, named ‘MULTI’, does not require any roof mounted cables which enables it to travel with no limits in height like conventional elevators. Passengers therefore have no need to swap elevators mid journey. In addition, this weight optimized new design, which uses electro-magnetic drives to move the elevator between floors, is capable of transporting the elevator horizontally as well as vertically.
The thyssenkrupp concept utilized a support structure which attaches to the back and underside of a metallic cabin. To investigate the potential to save weight from the design, Altair ProductDesign developed a multi-stage approach that aimed to reduce the volume of material being used. This process included a series of optimization studies with OptiStruct™, the design optimization solution within Altair’s HyperWorks suite of simulation tools, to find a new, material efficient supporting structure. The new support structure that Altair ProductDesign’s engineers suggested was 42% under thyssenkrupp target weight.
The final stage of the project involved investigating the potential of using carbon fiber materials for the walls of the elevator’s cabin and finding the ideal material thickness, fiber ply shapes and lay-up orientation of each layer. By using carbon fiber for the elevator’s walls, the cabin’s weight was reduced to 56% below the target weight.
“Thanks to the weight saving achieved during this project, we have additional confidence in the electro-magnetic concept as a practical alternative to the traditional cable system,” said Dr. Thomas Kuczera, Head of Mechanical Development MULTI, thyssenkrupp Elevator. “Altair ProductDesign was very responsive throughout the project and quickly understood our unique challenges. The new, organic looking design, would not have been possible without optimization studies conducted by the team.”
“We have been applying our optimization technologies and processes to the automotive and aerospace industries for over 20 years but we’re always excited to see how it can impact other industries where product weight is a key design consideration,” said Markus Haller, Technical VP at Altair Germany. “The MULTI system is bringing real innovation to an industry that is having to rapidly adapt to technology advances enabling mega-structures. I’m very proud of Altair’s role in making this concept a reality.”
The ‘MULTI’ elevator system has now entered the prototyping phase with thyssenkrupp Elevator demonstrating a working scale model of the system at its Innovation Center in Gijon, Spain.