Development of the world’s fastest elevator
Hyundai Elevator developed the world’s fastest elevator, ‘THE EL 1080’, which moves at 1,080m per min, and a dual-deck elevator, ‘THE EL 600D’, which has a maximum speed of 600m per minute, in May 2010. As such, the company has succeeded in securing world- top-class technological prowess in making elevators.
Such an achievement proves that Korea’s technological prowess has surpassed that of global elevator companies: Korea has now fully equipped itself with design, production and installation technologies by developing a high-speed elevator system (traction machines, control devices, safety devices, air pressure control devices and transverse vibrations, etc.).
The newly developed elevator (1080m/min) is the world’s fastest elevator, surpassing the speed of the elevator (1010m/min) installed in Taiwan’s Taipei 101 Tower, which was manufactured by a Japanese company
The dual-deck elevator, with a speed of 600m/min, has the same speed as the elevator installed in Burj Khalifa (building height: 828m and operation section: within 500m), the world’s highest building. However, the dual-deck elevator can be operated up to 600m (higher than 150 floors), i.e., 100m higher than the one installed in the Burj Khalifa. Therefore, the dual-deck elevator may be said to have reached at the top floor in terms of its technology.
By applying a new type of 9-phase motor made by assembling three 3-phase motors in a frame, consecutive operation is possible (fault tolerance drive) even in the event of a failure of certain parts, thereby further consolidating safety. Furthermore, the lift’s energy consumption has been sharply cut by applying a motor control and power restoration technology that reuses energy generated by the elevator’s operation, not to mention making the elevator smaller and lighter.
The dual-deck elevator enhances operational efficiency by transporting more passengers at a time via the vertical linking of two elevators in one hoistway, and can automatically adjust the floor gap between the lower and upper elevators. Therefore, the elevator can be used in high-rise buildings where the floor gap is designed differently. So far, the dual-deck elevator has never been installed in Korea, with the exception the Hyundai Asan Tower.
The passion for becoming the world best
Not long after I took office as the CEO of Hyundai Elevator in 2007, when I said we would develop high-speed elevators, many engineers saw it as a reckless challenge. At that time, Hyundai Elevator was not the top company even in the domestic elevator market, and had no experience of developing a high-speed elevator. Furthermore, it was not easy to find a benchmark, since there was hardly any high speed elevators installed in the world except for a few.
However, it was essential to develop a high-speed elevator in order to effectively penetrate the global elevator market and cope with the rapid increase in demand for such elevators, according to the trend towards high-rise building construction at home and abroad. Using our own technology to develop a high-speed elevator (even a world-leading global elevator companies with 150 years of history have not yet commercialized) was an attractive challenge for Hyundai’s unique challenging spirit.
There were many difficulties in securing such cutting-edge elevator manufacturing technology. The development of friction-resistant materials made of special components that can withstand over 1,000℃ during high-speed operation and emergency stopping was one of the toughest obstacles. Also, the development of technologies in special fields, such as vibration control technology (i.e. precise control per 1/millionth of a second) and a technology for minimizing air resistance was a major challenge.
Although, industry-academia cooperation with Korea’s leading universities has been enormously helpful to us, repeated trials and errors drove our frustrated researchers into despair. However, we encouraged our researchers and engineers to maintain their intense desire to become the world’s best based on our unique potential and confidence, remembering our grief at having to buy foreign products at ridiculously high prices because we did not have our own technology.
Our morale went up along with confidence that we finally have done it when we captured the No.1 place in the domestic market in 2007 for the first time since Hyundai Elevator’s establishment. As our own challenging spirit was disseminated to all our employees, all our efforts were concentrated on our one big goal of developing high-speed elevators.
Dream of entering the world market comes true!
Consequently, we completed the construction of Hyundai Asan Tower, the world’s highest elevator test tower in a short period of time, which attracted the admiration and astonishment of experts everywhere. And, after we displayed a high-speed elevator with a speed of 600m per min, we completed the development of the world’s fastest elevator in only one year. Now, the Korean elevator industry can compete with global companies on an equal basis through Korea’s own technology without paying any patent royalties.
The design, supervision and elevator consulting companies for high-rise buildings built in Korea and abroad are mostly dominated by foreign companies, and they control the entry of latecomers into the industry. In this regard, it will be difficult for Hyundai Elevator to penetrate the high-speed elevator market.
Amid such circumstances, we have succeeded in exporting our high-speed elevators for the project to replace Venezuela’s government buildings, after earning recognition of our technology abroad first, rather than in Korea. This is an example of our elevator industry’s potential to reach the world’s top level, just like our automobile, shipbuilding, home appliance and IT industries.
I hope that the world-class technology developed with the enormous efforts and devotion of all our employees will be used in more landmark buildings at home and abroad. I hope that our elevator industry will grow into an export industry and contribute to boosting Korea’s future economy.