back to article 95 floors in 43 SECONDS: Hitachi's new ultra-high-speed lift

Hitachi has unveiled plans for two express lifts which will rocket up a China skyscraper at speeds in excess of the genteel 30mph (48kmph) British speed limit. Although the Japanese firm's latest creation would wind up on the slow lane of Blighty's motorways (if we imagine it were capable of Charlie and The Glass Elevator- …

COMMENTS

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  1. AceRimmer

    Top Floors

    "presumably for use by the rich execs who work at the top of it"

    More likely the top floors will be a bar or a restaurant (or both!) with a express high speed elevators.

    1. Pete 2 Silver badge

      Re: Top Floors

      > the top floors will be a bar or a restaurant ...

      Given the speed of this lift (one assumes it goes down as fast as it goes up), then I think I'd pass on the prospect of taking the elevator down, after a meal. Just in case my lunch wasn't traveling quite as fast as the rest of me.

  2. The Man Himself Silver badge
    Headmaster

    "Hitachi said the new lift will elevate people-carrying technology to ever greater heights."

    It sounds more like elevating to similar heights, just getting there a bit quicker

    1. AbelSoul
      Coat

      It sounds more like elevating to similar heights, just getting there a bit quicker

      True.

      Uplifting story, nonetheless.

      Aherm.

      1. Mpeler
        Coat

        @AbelSoul - Uplifting

        Yes, I was floored by the towering display of technology...

  3. Dave Oldham
    Unhappy

    All you need is some oik to press every button on the way up or down to make you wish you'd used the stairs instead.

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      In that case, press the Close and Open Door buttons simultaneously - in some elevators, it resets the choices made.

  4. i like crisps
    Trollface

    "95 floors in 5 SECONDS"

    When the cable snaps.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "95 floors in 5 SECONDS"

      Yep, my thoughts too, just like in The Omen II

    2. Amorous Cowherder
      Facepalm

      Re: "95 floors in 5 SECONDS"

      Who down-voted? Some people, no sense of humour!

    3. Martin Budden

      Re: "95 floors in 5 SECONDS"

      What cable? There is no cable!

      The limiting factor for how many floors an elevator can travel is cable length, which is why most very tall buildings require you to get out of one elevator and into another part-way up. This elevator is different: it carries its own motor as part of the car (which was alluded to, though not explicitly stated, in the article). No cables means no limit on how many floors can be covered by a single elevator.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Comparison with Toyota Aygo

    To make a fair comparison we need to consider how fast a car would go if it could go vertically.

    The Toyota Aygo has a 67HP engine, i.e. 50kW. Assume it has a loaded mass of about a tonne (probably less but then you are not going to get full power out). So the maximum theoretical vertical speed is that which requires 50kW and a force of approx. 10000N, which works out neatly at 5m/s

    The Hitachi lift achieves 70kph, or just under 20m/s. So, to put it into perspective, to achieve the same vertical speed with an Aygo would need about 268HP.

    A Porsche 911 with 2 passengers and fuel weighs about 1650kg and produces a peak 294kW, so its theoretical limiting vertical speed would be just under 18m/s.

    A lift which can climb faster than a Porsche 911 is not to be sneezed at.

    1. WraithCadmus
      Windows

      Re: Comparison with Toyota Aygo

      And with the counterweight it's uphill both ways!

      1. Martin Budden

        Re: Comparison with Toyota Aygo

        And with the counterweight it's uphill both ways!

        What counterweight? There is no counterweight!

        The limiting factor for how many floors an elevator can travel is cable length, which is why most very tall buildings require you to get out of one elevator and into another part-way up. This elevator is different: it carries its own motor as part of the car (which was alluded to, though not explicitly stated, in the article). No cables means no limit on how many floors can be covered by a single elevator, and also means no counterweight.

    2. Peter Simpson 1
      Joke

      Re: Comparison with Toyota Aygo

      A lift which can climb faster than a Porsche 911 is not to be sneezed at.

      Thrown up at, more likely.

    3. bpfh
      Paris Hilton

      Re: Comparison with Toyota Aygo

      But can it climb on faster than Paris ?

  6. TheVogon

    Will they still be able to manage it in 2 seconds less?

    http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/146231/Its-sex-in-the-City.html

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Pressure adjustment for travellers' ears in a lift

    The lifts in my building have had an organic solution for this issue for some time now, resulting either in a pressure increase on the way down or an evacuation (by, not of, people) as the doors open if the lift was on the way up

  8. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge

    Theoretically...

    "presumably for use by the rich execs who work at the top of it"

    So, the more morbid part of my mind is trying to work out whether it would be best to work at the top, middle or bottom when one of these super high buildings collapses under the weight of its own hubris?

    1. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: Theoretically...

      The more practical mind would think that I've never seen a lift in a pub so there is no need for a lift ever.

      1. stucs201
        Pint

        Re: never seen a lift in a pub

        The Wellington on Bennets Hill in Birmingham has one (disabled use only).

      2. Sweep

        Re: Theoretically...

        Lots of pubs and bars in Tokyo to be reached by elevator.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Theoretically...

      "So, the more morbid part of my mind is trying to work out whether it would be best to work at the top, middle or bottom when one of these super high buildings collapses under the weight of its own hubris?"

      Everybody inside will be dogmeat because even at the highest floors there's usually several hundred metres of non-occupied structure as the designer struggle to match the client demand for record heights with locations where there's not really the demand for that volume of space. But in the case of excessive hubris, I would guess you'd have an implosion, and a circular event horizon some way out from the building itself, and so the most important thing is to be a long, long way from the building, full stop.

      1. Suricou Raven

        Re: Theoretically...

        But which way lets you go in style? The bottom floors just get squished - there's no fun in that! If you're trapped at the top though you get to break the windows and grab some pillows and make a desperate leap to safety - and, even though you'll still probably squish and die instantly on impact, you'll at least have a fun few seconds on the way down.

        1. Pat M

          Re: Theoretically...

          I'd keep a parachute or two so at least in the event of a catastrophic event I could BASE jump out the window.

  9. Stoneshop Silver badge
    Coat

    Modern elevators are strange and complex entities

    "Hitachi will continue working to develop elevators offering various forms of added value

    So, defocused temporal perception?

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
      Happy

      Re: Modern elevators are strange and complex entities

      Share and enjoy!

      1. Stoneshop Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: Modern elevators are strange and complex entities

        And once they start sulking in the basement, all those C*O's working on the umpteenhundredth floor will have to take the stairs.

        1. Mpeler
          Big Brother

          Re: Modern elevators are strange and complex entities

          And, as always, the high mucky-mucks will get the high-speed elevators, and the proles will get the shaft...

  10. squigbobble
    Happy

    Needs sounds effects...

    ...of Chekov doing the warp countup from Star Trek IV as it approaches maximum speed.

    Also, why the hell do they need pressure adjustment? Is the lift airtight? Are the dynamic pressure effects so great when a lift is travelling at that speed?

    1. Natalie Gritpants Silver badge

      Re: Needs sounds effects...

      Yes, the lift is airtight. You do not want to be standing next to the doors when it gets to the top floor.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Needs sounds effects...

      "Are the dynamic pressure effects so great when a lift is travelling at that speed?"

      The lift covers over 1,400ft in 43 seconds. At that speed you'd climb Snowdon in less than a minute and a half - do you think you;d notice that? Actual pressure difference is probably only 15% over 400-500m, but I suspect you'd find that noticeable, verging on uncomfortable, particularly as going up there's be a depressurisation sensation that people aren't used to.

      Mind you, at least something to give the Uighers something to target.

    3. Don Jefe

      Re: Needs sounds effects...

      At 45MPH a 9% grade over a 1 mile stretch of road is more than sufficient to make babies cry as they don't understand why they were born, only to be killed by brain squishing so shortly after. It's also more than enough to cause nausea in those with inner ear problems and really ruin your day if you've got a bad sinus infection.

      At 45MPH a 100% grade will be somewhat more uncomfortable if steps aren't taken. That's why the elevator has the nifty pressure system.

      It being airtight isn't going to cause any problems no matter how close to the door you are when it opens, even if you went all the way up or down in a single trip (highly unlikely). The elevator has a pretty good idea of where it's at, vertically, and it knows where it's going to stop, ideally, and it makes constant pressure adjustments accordingly so there's no shocking pressure change when the doors open. The breeze generated by the doors moving will have a more noticeable effect on your hair (but it would be really great if everybody stumbled out every time looking like they had just parachuted to work in their suits :).

  11. Mike Lewis

    What could possibly go wrong?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P7MGE9lzpsU

  12. NukEvil

    Sounds like a fine piece of technology...

    ...that the BOFH can get ahold of to perform career- (and life-) ending maneuvers on those annoying auditors or his authoritatively-naive boss.

    PFY: So the boss's final uplifting moment was when he strutted into the new lift with our contract severance forms.

    BOFH: The lift which had very recently had maintenance performed on it by what appears to be a mix-up between two separate orders filed by two different departments.

    PFY: I'm still not sure why anyone would decide that attaching an experimental rocket engine to the bottom of a lift car would be a viable option.

    BOFH: Or who would order such a thing for this company. Unfortunately, it appears that the electronic order forms for this maintenance and for the "rocket engine install" have been deleted by that virus that wiped out most of our financial databases. And the paper copies were probably lost in the fire resulting from the rocket engine's exhaust.

    Police Officer: MM-Hmm, yes, very interesting.

    1. Mike Smith
      Thumb Up

      Good technologies always need backups

      BOFH: Will that be all, officer?

      Police Officer: Not quite. Could you explain this, please?

      PFY: It looks like a bolt cutter.

      BOFH: Quite a big bolt cutter, in fact. What about it?

      Police Officer: Do you know where I found it?

      BOFH: Oh, do tell me.

      Police Officer: It was attached to the cable anchor on top of the lift car. With the remains of a hydraulic ram attached to the handles. And some wires from the ram running to what's left of the control panel.

      PFY: Yeah? And?

      Police Officer: Why would that be there?

      BOFH: Some sort of emergency release unit? Look, that's what the label says. "Emergency Release No 2."

      Police Officer: I beg your pardon? Emergency release unit?

      BOFH: Yes. In case the lift.... got stuck and the occupants... had to cut their way out.

      Police Officer: I'm not satisfied with this. I shall be taking this for forensic investigation. You two will stay right here while I go down in the other lift.

      <Ding><Whirr><Whirr><Clunk>

      <CRUNCH><Whizzzzzzz><CRASH!><tinkle>

      PFY: Was that...

      BOFH: Yep. Emergency Release No 1.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hitachi's guide to the galaxy?

    We definitely need to bring some Douglas Adams spirit in elevator design !

    "Not unnaturally, many elevators imbued with intelligence and precognition became terribly frustrated with the mindless business of going up and down, up and down, experimented briefly with the notion of going sideways, as a sort of existential protest, demanded participation in the decision-making process and finally took to squatting in basements sulking."

  14. This post has been deleted by its author

  15. Ken Hagan Gold badge

    440m in 43s

    How long does it take for the passengers stomachs to travel the same distance?

  16. Champ

    Ok, I ought to be able to do the maths for this, but...

    Assuming starting from 0 m/s, smooth acceleration to v-max, and then smooth deceleration back to 0 m/s, how much g does this thing pull?

    Of course, my assumptions are probably wrong, as I would expect it to get to and from v-max much quicker. But still, it's a starting point.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. TheVogon

        Assuming no period without acceleration:

        We know it does 220m in 21.5 seconds

        Given d = Vi * t + 1/2 at^2

        220 = 0 + 1/2a * 21.5^2

        220 = 231.125a

        a = 0.952 ms/s

        0.952/9.80665 = ~ 0.097 G

        (And a maximum speed of ~ 20.468 m/s)

      2. Steven Jones

        One for Newton...

        @TheVogon

        Your analysis is flawed as it has a single period of acceleration which means you'll be existing the top of the tower at some considerable speed. Modeling the travel as a single period of acceleration is wrong - you have to use two equal periods of acceleration (with opposite signs) use the lifts maximum speed (20 m/s) as the limit and then have the remaining time traveling at top speed.

        Assuming acceleration/deceleration at at a constant rate, the maximum speed is 20 m/s, the height traveled is 440m and the time taken is 43s, the lift accelerates for 11 secs at approx 1.82 m/s^2 (110m), then travels for 21 secs at 20 m/s (420m) and then decelerates at approx -1.82 m/s^2 for 11 seconds (110m). The acceleration encountered (net that of gravity) is therefore about +/- 0.185g.

        1. Steven Jones

          Re: One for Newton...

          nb. just checking my maths, I'd made a slip, so this is the formal derivation. Always show your work I was told...

          Total distance = 440m

          Total time is 43 secs

          Top Speed is 20 m/s

          Rate of acceleration and deceleration are identical

          The take

          a = rate of acceleration (will be -a for deceleration)

          t = time take for acceleration (clearly time for deceleration will also be t)

          Clearly the acceleration time (t) is simply the top speed (20 m/s) divided by acceleration rate so :-

          t = 20 / a

          The distance traveled during the acceleration phase is given by the equation

          s = ut + 1/2 * at^2

          where s = distance travelled

          u = initial speed

          a = rate acceleration

          t = time

          but u = 0, so we get

          s = 1/2 * at^2

          the distance (and time) traveled during deceleration will be identical. The time spent traveling at top speed will be the total time (43) less the time spent accelerating and decelerating (2t). Substituting for the t with 20/a (see earlier), and adding in the distance in acceleration and deceleration, we get.

          (43 - 2t) * 20 + 1/2 * at^2 + 1/2 * at^2 = 440

          expanding

          860 - 40t + at^2 = 440

          rearranging

          420 = 40t - at^2

          But, we know that t = 20/a so, substituting for t

          420 = 800/a - 400/a

          therefore

          420a = 400

          therefore

          a = 20 / 21 m/s^2

          But t = 20/a, so t = 21 secs

          So this actually means accelerating at approx 0.95 m/s for 21 seconds, traveling at 20 m/s for 1 second and then decelerating at approx 0.95ms for 21 seonds. So about +/- 0.096g.

          1. Don Jefe

            Re: One for Newton...

            Rate of acceleration and deceleration aren't equal. You can, comfortably and safely, accelerate much faster than you can stop. But wait, there's more!

            Acceleration and deceleration rates will vary on direction of travel, the forces on a speeding elevator going down are far greater than going up and passenger weight will have a huge impact as well.

            I doubt actual weight is calculated on the fly, but distance and speed will sure as shit be dealt with in real time. An elevator going from L to 3 will have a slower rate of acceleration than one going from L to Top and likewise when going down.

            If you apply the same amount of force used to halt a three floor transition as you use for full distance travel you would really, really give riders terrible scares and not a few injuries. Even in simple elevators the rate of upward acceleration is changed when someone presses a call button before full speed has been reached. Same with descending, but for comfort and safety's sake all but the oldest non freight or construction elevators will simply pass the call single onto another shaft if the descending car is too near, in relation to its speed, the floor with the pressed called button (that's often why you'll hear cars rumble past even though you thought you called it plenty early.

            1. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

              Re: One for Newton...

              > Rate of acceleration and deceleration aren't equal. You can,

              > comfortably and safely, accelerate much faster than you can stop.

              Er, not sure about that. From the frame-of-reference of the body being accelerated/decelerated, it's identical. Relativity and all that.

              Put another way, if you came to in a elevator and felt it suddenly accelerate upwards, was the elevator still and now ascending? Or was it descending at a constant speed and now stopping? You can't tell without looking at the lights.

        2. TheVogon

          Re: One for Newton...

          "Your analysis is flawed as it has a single period of acceleration which means you'll be existing the top of the tower at some considerable speed"

          No it isn't. I was assuming that even the most clueless would realise that a matching period of deceleration would be required. Hence why the distance used is 220m, not 440m, and the time is 21.5 seconds, not 43 seconds.

          And your first calculations are all wrong. Unlike mine.

    2. Julian Bradfield

      v^2 = u^2 + 2as is the equation that surfaces from the 35-year old physics lessons.

      u = 0, v = 20 m/s, s = 220m, so a = 0.9 m/s^2, or a mere 0.1g.

  17. 080

    Hats Off

    At this speed I don't think it's your hat you'll need to hold onto.

  18. Phil W

    Upgrade

    All the elevators in that building should be upgraded to Sirius Cybernetics Happy Vertical People Transporters.

  19. Ivan Headache
    Angel

    And what would happen

    If the BOFH and the PFY got to control it?

    1. Peter Simpson 1
      Thumb Up

      Re: And what would happen

      [see above ^^^]

      Sounds like a fine piece of technology...

      and

      Good technologies always need backups

  20. Richard 41

    Floor Space?

    With over 90 (2+13+28+52) lifts in this building, just how much real, productive space is there left available?

    Don't forget too, to deduct room for WCs, stairwells, risers etc etc.

    1. Suricou Raven

      Re: Floor Space?

      They probably don't all run top-to-bottom. Have you not played SimTower?

      1. Mpeler
        Pint

        Re: Floor Space?

        At that speed they could probably combine the lifts and the loos and save folks some time and, er, trouble...

  21. D@v3

    i hate to be a pedant

    (that's a lie, I love being a pedant)

    but, since when is 530, almost 612?

    (Guangzhou CTF Finance Centre (530m) against twice the Shard (2x306m)

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Taipei 101

    Been up in that one a few times (the current fastest lift in the world) and that's insanely quick. The doors are sealed to stop your ears drums imploding, and you feel really weak in the knees due to the acceleration.

    At the time I figured that wouldn't be getting much quicker than that. This is about 10% faster ontop.

  23. Christoph

    Engineering work

    Due to engineering work the lift will not now be stopping at floor 95

    1. Caaaptaaaain kick arse

      Re: Engineering work

      You'll just have to wait for the lift replacement service...

  24. hi_robb

    I've heard

    That they also plan to put 1 more floor on top of the building this lift is in!

    But that's another story...

    1. Mpeler
      Coat

      Re: I've heard

      Just trying to get a rise out of them, I'd guess....

      (need a parachute icon.....hang onto that coat now....).

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Parachute

    I wonder if it's feasible to keep a parachute and a sizeable hammer under your desk in a top floor office?... y'know, just in case.

  26. The Grump
    Mushroom

    WTF???

    How does just ONE building in China rate a world class, bleeding edge elevator system? Worker's paradise, remember? Everyone shares equally, remember? Unless they intend to install this elevator system in EVERY building, they should not be able to install it in ANY building. There should be NO rich and poor in China - everyone should be equal. Either that, or the Communist system of government is a LIE and a SCAM. If they cannot provide it for everyone, then they should not provide it for anyone. There is no room for national pride in a worker's paradise.

    Nuke icon because China is not being true to their Communist ideals.

    1. FrankAlphaXII

      Re: WTF???

      China hasn't been Communist since Deng Xiaoping took control in the late 70's. They're "Socialist with Chinese Characteristics"

    2. Don Jefe

      Re: WTF???

      I see we have a Westerner who has bought into the line that austerity, financial discipline and long work hours are the only way to get rich, or get elevators. All that stuff is bullshit (except the work long hours but, that's going to happen occasionally, but if it's the standard you're working wrong). I don't do any of those first two things and I've got several elevators.

      Regardless, it's always a good idea to have visited a country before you start talking about how backwards it is. I find that attitude is probably the most prevalent in the US and UK and I chalk most of that up to the fact most of the people in those countries don't take enough time away from work to learn about the world so they're forced go take someone else's word for the state of things.

    3. Solmyr ibn Wali Barad

      Re: WTF???

      "everyone should be equal" + "not being true to their Communist ideals"

      Well, cry me a river. Practical attempts at Communism have always meant that everybody is equal, some are just more equal than others.

      May the gods have mercy and save you from actually living in a society with Communist ambitions.

  27. James Pickett

    "a loaded mass of about a tonne" (said the chap with the Aygo)

    Actually, the lift motor only has to cope with the weight of the occupants, thanks to a counterweight. Still a fair amount of grunt required, though, and I'm really not sure about the pressurisation, intended to prevent ear-popping. Won't that be much worse when the doors finally open and the people waiting to go down are blown backwards..?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      blown away

      Shades of that song by Aerosmith... Love in an elevator?

  28. TRT Silver badge

    Congratulations!

    You have decided to clean the lift. Well done you. Please exit the lift at the soonest opportunity before the explosive bolts release the floor panel.

  29. Jim84

    Sideways elevators

    Are said by some people to be what is needed for taller buildings. As buildings get taller more and more of the interior needs to be turned into lift shafts in order to keep travel times down. If you could have more than one lift in a shaft then you'd have a much higher throughput.

    This has a lot of similarities to PRT (personal rapid transit) systems.

  30. Nigel 11

    Mineshafts

    Out of interest, how does the speed of this elevator compare to the devices that get people to work down deep mines? (some of which are over two miles deep).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Mineshafts

      A typical Mineshaft cagedrop would run at approximately 20 mph.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Droopy...

    I could just remember Droopy, in the finest Tex Avery cartoon...

  32. willi0000000

    big deal

    at this speed it would still take almost three weeks to get to geostationary orbit.

    [you might want to bring a sandwich]

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