At the moment, another Japanese company – Toshiba – is holding the record for the world’s fastest elevator, but Hitachi plans to change that by 2016.
Hitachi’s elevator that will be used inside China’s Guangzhou CTF Finance Centre is meant to travel at 1,200 m/min, which means that even getting to the top of the world’s tallest building (currently the 828 m tall Burj Khalifa) would take less than minute. If it wasn’t obvious already, such elevators, provided that they will ever become a reality, will only be included in selected buildings from very rich cities and regions.
In a press release published a couple of days ago, Hitachi promised that “The 1,200 m/min ultra-high-speed elevator that Hitachi will deliver will feature both the drive power needed to attain the world’s fastest speed, and also reliable control capabilities. The elevator will travel a shaft height of 440 meters from the 1st to 95th floor in approximately 43 seconds. Furthermore, Hitachi will achieve both high-speed elevator operation and a safe, comfortable ride by using braking equipment and a governor*3 that safely bring the elevator to a stop, as well as technologies to prevent lateral vibration and to reduce the sensation of ear blockage caused by air pressure differences. Hitachi will install a total of 95 elevators at Guangzhou CTF Finance Centre, consisting of two of the world’s fastest elevators announced today with a speed of 1,200 m/min; 28 double-deck elevators; ultra-high-speed elevators with a speed of 600 meters per minute; and other elevators.”
Traveling at that speed horizontally is one thing, but when that is changed to a vertical trip, side-effects usually develop. Inertia could even cause people to smash into the walls of the elevator (or rather the ceiling), so making ultra-high-speed elevators is not as easy as it may seem. Hitachi is also concerned about the safety of anyone using this elevator, so it’s trying the make the ride as comfortable as possible.
The 698-feet tower that Hitachi built in 2010 proves that this Japanese company takes product testing quite seriously, so that in 2016, when this ultra-high-speed elevator is unveiled everything is safe and sound. The heat-resistant materials will also prevent the elevator from catching fire, so this is yet another thing the potential users of the elevator will have to cross of their risk lists. Until this becomes a real product, we can only dream of having such elevators in 10-storey buildings.