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"Going Up" At 45 Mph: Hitachi To Deliver World's Fastest Elevator 109

Posted by samzenpus
from the greased-lightning dept.
Zothecula (1870348) writes "Hitachi has announced that it's installing the world's fastest ultra-high-speed elevators in the Guangzhou CTF Finance Centre skyscraper in Guangzhou, China. Making up two out of a total of 95 elevators in the building, Hitachi says the new lifts use a range of technologies to produce record-breaking speeds of 1,200 m/min while still meeting the necessary standards of safety and comfort."
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"Going Up" At 45 Mph: Hitachi To Deliver World's Fastest Elevator

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  • Expensive (Score:4, Informative)

    by TubeSteak (669689) on Thursday April 24, 2014 @12:06AM (#46830359) Journal

    High speed elevators are stupidly expensive.
    I was looking at apartments a while back and at one of the buildings there was some ongoing construction.

    Somehow I ended up getting shown around by one of the head contractors who told me that the building was supposed to have four medium speed elevators, but they got permission to knock it down to 3 high speed elevators, which would move the equivalent # of people per arbitrary unit of time.

    The kicker was that those 3 elevators were about 1/4th the total budget of the entire building.
    So based on that, I'm guessing that TFA's 95 elevators are a respectable portion of the price for that new tower in China.

    • Re:Expensive (Score:4, Insightful)

      by JanneM (7445) on Thursday April 24, 2014 @12:26AM (#46830407) Homepage

      The problem with building really tall buildings is how to transport enough people up and down without using up the floor space on elevators rather than rentable area. Silly fast elevators may well be worth the money if it results in more silly expensive top-floor rent income.

      • by mjwx (966435) on Thursday April 24, 2014 @02:44AM (#46830777)

        The problem with building really tall buildings is how to transport enough people up and down without using up the floor space on elevators rather than rentable area. Silly fast elevators may well be worth the money if it results in more silly expensive top-floor rent income.

        The west may have stopped with the prestige over practicality thing decades ago, but not in China.

        Having the fastest elevators in the country, let alone the world is something to brag and bignote yourself about.

        Why do you think they keep building stupidly expensive and impractical shit in Dubai (skyscrapers, artificial island and so forth), it's so the Emir's can have a huge wank.

      • We need turbolifts, like in Star Trek so they can move out of the way of each other. Alternately, we could have elevators that "prefer" certain routes depending on where they and the other elevators or at. Alternately again, we could have elevators that collapse on themselves if no one in is in it, which could be kind of creepy for first time users.

        Personally, I think elevators in tall buildings should move in a clockwise or counterclockwise direction, then they don't interfere with each other quite as mu

        • For high-traffic cases, perhaps we should look at resurrecting the paternoster [wikipedia.org]. We must have the technology by now to allow the lifts to stop and start individually to avoid the shortcomings of the old design.
          • Hitachi does have a prototype of just that and it is linked to from the wikipedia page that you linked to. A video showing what seems like a prototype of it is the last linked thing.

            It seems like something which would definitely allow higher passenger capacity for a given amount of shaft space.
          • by TFlan91 (2615727)

            If you read the article you referred to....

            >> In April 2006, Hitachi announced plans for a modern paternoster-style elevator with computer-controlled cars and normal elevator doors to alleviate safety concerns.[7][8] A prototype has been revealed as of February 2013.[9] .... you wouldn't of had to post.

            (Here's #9: https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com])

      • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

        Fast elevators are also good R&D projects, with the technology filtering down to standard models and keeping them competitive. Car manufacturers do that all the time.

        Japanese companies do this sort of thing a lot, and it's a very different attitude to the typical western one. I was telling a friend about vending machines that have been deployed in Japan for a few years now where the front is basically a giant 50" TV touch screen. There is a camera that uses facial feature recognition to estimate your ag

        • Yeah, it may be kind of elaborate, but if it can serve as an advertising platform in a busy station that function of it may pay for the machine over the life of it.

    • by jonwil (467024)

      Only 2 of the 95 elevators are going to be the super-high-speed models. The others are going to be the regular cheaper kind it would seem (not that an elevator is ever cheap to build or maintain regardless of speed)

  • 45mph doesn't actually sound very fast to me, especially going down.

    • It's plenty fast, almost 4000ft/minute. In a commercial airliner that descent rate would only be used in an emergency,

    • by Calinous (985536)

      It's higher than residential speed limit, which is usually something like 30 mph or 50 km/h. My highest speed on a bicycle (downhill) was some 65 km/h (scary fast when cornering), compared to the 72 km/h of the elevators.

    • by tlhIngan (30335)

      45mph doesn't actually sound very fast to me, especially going down.

      It's not "fast", but in an elevator, the problem is not speed, it's air pressure. In an airplane that's pressurized, the cabin air pressure is set to achieve an approximate 500'/minute descent (the actual aircraft will be descending far faster than this) as this keeps passengers comfortable. Go faster and passenger's ears pop and they get mighty uncomfortable. Too fast and you can pop and eardrum.

      That's the fundamental limit on the speed o

      • by Viol8 (599362)

        The pressure changes come from the lift moving in the shaft, not from the altitude changes like on a aircraft since the difference in air pressure between 0 and 1000 feet for example is pretty negligable. All they need to do to solve the pressure problem is seal the lift car better.

        • No, the pressure changes definitely comes from the change in altitude, the motion of the lift in the shaft has little to do with it. There may be a slightly higher pressure on one side of the cage and a slightly lower pressure on the other side, but there will be vents to reduce that effect and it won't translate in a difference in pressure inside the cage.

          The difference between sea level and 1000 ft is far from negligible, though. Its about 30 hPa (300 kgf/m^2)

          Airliners are usually limited to a pressure ch

          • by Viol8 (599362)

            No, I'm afraid it is pretty negligable as far as the human ear is concerned. Just 10m of water is equivalent of 1 atmosphere pressure and plenty of divers - even free divers - can dive that in under a minute with no issues with their ears so long as they're careful. Thats the equivalent of going from space down to sea level.

            • Tell that to all the crying babies in airplanes or in mountain cable cars. Or to those adults unfortunate enough to burst their eardrums when flying with a serious cold. The 8000 ft of pressure difference between cabin pressure at cruising altitude and on the ground can sometimes be enough to rupture them if air cannot get into the inner ear through the blocked eustachian tube. Of course that's eight times as much as the difference between 0 and 1000 ft, but even that is very noticeable if the change happen

              • by Viol8 (599362)

                Oh come on - this building is 500m high. According to this:

                http://www.altitude.org/air_pr... [altitude.org]

                the pressure difference between bottom and top is 5 KPA. Thats equivalent to 50m of water - a deep bath. Its nothing. You'd barely even noticed it much less be troubled by it.

                Anyway altitude change doesn't explain the rise in pressure of a train travelling in a tunnel an its the same effect for a high speed lift. Its compressing the air in the direction of movement in a confined space.

                • When you hold your head under water, even 50 cm (that's a pretty deep bath), you do feel some pressure on your eardrums. Certainly not enough to damage them, but you will clearly feel it and a lot of people find this unconfortable.

                  A train going into a tunnel at high speed (much faster than an elevator) does indeed cause a bit of a pressure increase because the air only has one way to go, though I doubt it's even as much as your 50 cm of water. And an elevator shaft normally has plenty of vents to let the ex

  • I RTFA, and all it says is 440 meters in 43 seconds. I'd like to know the acceleration profile for this thing, it sounds like fun!

    • by Anonymous Coward

      What does the acceleration vs time graph for an elevator look like, before it's reached 'cruising' speed?

      If the elevator accelerated at a constant rate, I found that its acceleration would only be ~1.99m/s^2 or 0.2g's. I used the fact that it travels 440 meters in 43 seconds and its cruising speed will be 20m/s (all taken from TFA). According to those numbers, it would accelerate for the first 21 seconds, cruise for 1 second, and then decelerate for the last 21 seconds.

  • There's going to be lots of crying babies!

    • by Kaenneth (82978)

      Hell, I had an air bubble underneath a filling in a tooth... going up or down hill too fast was... painful.

  • Hmm. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by neiras (723124) on Thursday April 24, 2014 @01:39AM (#46830615)

    I want my high speed elevator to descend at a rate *just* fast enough to have me hovering six inches off the floor, which should be made of glass.

    • by SeaFox (739806)

      The elevator would have to accelerate at the rate of gravity (9.8 m/s/s, iirc) and have a cruising speed as fast as terminal velocity for you.

  • This building is only 530m high. Even at a 30mph you could do that in about 20 seconds and thats assuming you're going all the way from the bottom to the top. For that distance this lift would save around a whole 5-6 seconds (not counting acceleration time). BFD.

    Sounds like an expensive technology showcase rather than something that will be a major extra benefit.

    • by necro81 (917438)

      For that distance this lift would save around a whole 5-6 seconds (not counting acceleration time)

      If you were comparing constant 30 mph to 45 mph, sure, but us puny humans need to be gently accelerated to and from such speeds, which account for a significant portion of the time - you can't just wave it away.

      • by Viol8 (599362)

        Not really. Plenty of cars can manage 0-30 in under 3 seconds. I don't think anyones been hospitalised because of the accelerative forces involved yet. And plenty of motorbikes can do 60 in the same time.

        • by necro81 (917438)
          Oh, well, if you meant that the occupants ought to be sitting down and belted into the elevator, then sure.
    • by jittles (1613415)

      This building is only 530m high. Even at a 30mph you could do that in about 20 seconds and thats assuming you're going all the way from the bottom to the top. For that distance this lift would save around a whole 5-6 seconds (not counting acceleration time). BFD.

      Sounds like an expensive technology showcase rather than something that will be a major extra benefit.

      The point of this elevator isn't to save you or I a couple of seconds on our trip. It's undoubtedly the increase the throughput on the elevator itself so that it can service more users in a day. This will allow them to save space on an extra bank of elevator shafts. At least, that is what I would expect. That is a real concern. Elevators just waste space - they don't make any money for the property owner. But your property is worthless without adequate lifts.

      • by Virtucon (127420)

        The point of this elevator isn't to save you or I a couple of seconds on our trip. It's undoubtedly the increase the throughput on the elevator itself so that it can service more users in a day.

        Kind of like a whore house in Nevada?

  • All we need now is to speed up 3D printers, and we can have food synthesizers.
  • I'd like a really slow, large elevator containing a restaurant or a bar. Have dinner or get pissed on the way home! Perfect.
    • I'd like a really slow, large elevator containing a restaurant or a bar. Have dinner or get pissed on the way home! Perfect.

      The problem, of course, is that instead of the restaurant taking up space on one floor of the building, it would then occupy a restaurant-sized hole in every floor of the building. (Yes, this could be partially offset by stacking several floors of restaurant in this hypothetical elevator shaft, but you're still wasting many multiples of the restaurant's floor area in the building. And floor area in high-rise towers isn't cheap.) We'll leave aside the challenges of providing working utility connections,

      • I once managed to briefly convince someone that the bulb bit of the CN Tower actually moved up and down like an elevator.

  • by asylumx (881307) on Thursday April 24, 2014 @07:50AM (#46831851)
    The problem with ascending or descending that fast is that many people will have issues with sinus pressure that can't keep equilibrium. Comfortable ascent/descent in an unpressurized airplane is between 500 fpm and 1000 fpm. 45mph straight up or down is about 4,000 fpm. It hurts my ears just thinking about riding this elevator without it being pressurized!
    • Won't that simply delay the ear popping issue until the doors open at the top floor, and make it worse since its all at once? You would have to pressurize the entire building for that to work.

      • by asylumx (881307)
        Yes, or introduce a delay at either the top or the bottom while pressure normalizes, which defeats the purpose of a fast elevator anyway.
  • by PPH (736903)

    No time for love in an elevator.

  • by supernova87a (532540) <kepler1@@@hotmail...com> on Thursday April 24, 2014 @11:52AM (#46833845)
    This may be a anecdotal comment, so take it for what you will, but I have noticed that Asian buildings and infrastructure technology are so far ahead of us in the USA that it is really embarrassing if you go there and come back and compare.

    If you've ever gone to Taipei 101 for example, the elevators move so quickly, and without any vibration as they go up/down that you almost cannot tell if they're moving. Go to Singapore or Hong Kong, and watch how smoothly, quietly, and punctually their subway systems run.

    Or go to China and be surprised that in even small-sized cities, you didn't realize that *all* their motorcycles are now electric and they leap-frogged the smelly gasoline phase of motorbike technology.

    You come back to the US, and wonder how we're still (maybe) #1, with our rickety buildings and public transport systems. It's embarrassing. And people will say, well, "Who needs quieter, smoother subways? What we have is fine." Said while yelling because you have to cover your ears to not go deaf on the F train in New York City. And as you have to hold your nose as you walk through the piss-soaked, dark and dingy subway/bus station concourses.

    Sometimes I feel like we're witnessing the slow decline of American technology / investment when it comes to public infrastructure.
  • by dark_requiem (806308) on Thursday April 24, 2014 @11:59AM (#46833927)
    I'll stick with my Sirius Cybernetics Happy Vertical People Mover, thank you very much. It may be a bit unhinged, but damnit, it gets me where I need to go (well, when it's not sulking in the basement, anyway).
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