One of the world’s tallest buildings now has the world’s fastest elevator. The Shanghai Tower, in Shanghai, China, can lift people to the top of the tower in a matter of seconds. This Mitsubishi elevator travels at an astonishingly fast 20.5 meters per second (67 feet per second). By contrast, the elevators in the Empire State Building travel at 7.1 meters per second. If there was that kind of high-speed elevator in PA, say in the Comcast Center, you could travel from the basement to the top floor in about 14 seconds.

What’s more is that this elevator won’t remain the fastest in the world for much longer. There are many super-skyscrapers under construction around the world — Saudi Arabia, Dubai, Guangzhou (China) — and all of them will require high-speed elevators. The skyscrapers in Philadelphia will seem tiny by comparison, and their elevators will seem slow.

What makes elevators this fast possible? A carbon fiber cable that’s twice as strong as normal lift cables and one-third of a traditional cable’s weight. Finnish elevator manufacturer Kone created this cable as a part of their “ultrarope” elevator. This is a revolutionary new design specifically for the super skyscrapers under construction all over the world.

And the future of elevators is more than speed. It’s direction. The next big elevator technology isn’t speed of vertical lift. It’s lifts that move horizontally. German company ThyssenKrupp is proposing elevators using “maglev” technology (magnetic levitation) to propel elevators not only vertically, but horizontally within a building.

If that sounds like a potential traffic jam on the Schuylkill Expressway – but in elevators in PA — you’d be right. There’s a lot to work out in bringing that concept into reality. But if you’re looking for the future of elevators, the leading experts think that horizontal lifts are the next evolution.

If you have any questions about elevators in PA, or the surrounding area, be sure to give us a call!