Slipformed tower attracts magnetic levitation-run elevators

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The ThyssenKrupp Elevator testing tower contains 15,000 m3 (19,600 yd.) of concrete, and weighs more than 40,000 tons. The foundation slab alone embodies 710 m3 (930 yd.) of concrete, placed by one of the biggest pumps operating in Germany.

Essen, Germany-based ThyssenKrupp Elevator broke ground in October 2014 on a unique 246-m (807-ft.) tall tower in Rottweil that will house 12 shafts within a 21-m (69-ft.) diameter concrete shell, allowing engineers to test elevator speeds up to 18 m/second (59 feet). The shell was completed in July, topping out at 232 meters (761 feet)—the level of a future platform offering a panoramic view of Rottweil, the Black Forest and Alps peaks.

Crews used an innovative slipforming technique for the tower: A form was raised on rails along with the work platforms and grew with the structure, thanks to multiple hydraulic jacks. As construction “slipped” upward, routine work steps—concrete pouring, reinforcing and curing—were uninterrupted. On peak days the shell grew up to 4 meters (13 feet). Interior work began in August, ahead of this fall’s building services and elevator equipment installations. Work on the PTFE-coated fiberglass facade will begin in March 2016, with scheduled completion and initial elevator testing later in the year.

“The tower will play a key role in the implementation of [a] global innovation strategy of major importance for the success of the company,” says ThyssenKrupp Elevator CEO Andreas Schierenbeck. Together with the elevator plant in Neuhausen auf den Fildern and as part of the research and development site in Pliezhausen, the structure will form an innovation center for elevator technologies in Germany.

Among those innovations is the new MULTI system, currently in the prototype phase. It will be powered by maglev technology from Transrapid, which provides several advantages. Rope-less design means multiple cabs can be operated in one elevator shaft, increasing transportation capacity by up to 50 percent while reducing the elevator footprint in a building by half. In addition, the elevators will move both sideways and vertically without height limitation, opening up completely new applications.

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