Published in the Shinano Mainichi Shimbun
“Vertical, horizontal, diagonal” linear elevator
The trajectory can be set freely, aiming for practical use.
Kyoto City’s venture company “Linearity” is developing a self-propelled elevator that moves with a linear motor without using ropes. Since the trajectory is not limited to the vertical direction, it can move in all directions, such as horizontal, diagonal, and curved.
A prototype will be manufactured at the Uji Campus of Kyoto University, aiming for commercialization in 2025. Aiming to exhibit in the corporate pavilion at the Osaka Kansai Expo.
“There is unlimited freedom in building design,” says Sandor Markon, 74, president of the company. He majored in electrical engineering at a university in Hungary, his home country, and while studying at Kyoto University, he was involved in research and development for a long time at Fujitec, a major elevator company. After retirement, he started a business in 2017 with the aim of realizing a linear elevator, which he had been continuing ever since.
A linear elevator is a system in which devices with built-in coils are lined up in the hoistway, and the transport car is moved by the magnetic force generated by passing an electric current through the coils. The equipment can be arranged freely and the hoistway track can be oriented in any direction.
Elevators can be installed even in complex structures such as circular buildings. Since it is moved by magnetic force, friction does not occur, and it can be moved quietly with little vibration.
Another feature is that multiple transport cars can be installed in one hoistway. Operation is managed by artificial intelligence (AI).
In today’s high-rise buildings, multiple hoistways occupy space, but if the number of hoistways is reduced, tenants will fill the vacant space, and revenue can be expected to increase.
Linearity also pays close attention to safety. In addition to being equipped with the same brakes and safety devices as a conventional rope elevator, it also has a mechanism that prevents it from falling by induced current even if the power to the motor that generates magnetic force is cut off. The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism will hold hearings for certification in the future.
Aiming for mass production, a factory is being built in Antalya in southern Turkey in cooperation with the Turkish electronics manufacturer Desird Research R&D, and research and development is also underway. On the other hand, the current task is to find a company that adopts the linear elevator, receive investment, and clear the cost barrier.
Markon says linear elevator technology will be used not only in buildings, but also as a means of transportation around town. He looks ahead to the future, saying, “We can eliminate the inconvenience of moving around on slopes and stairs, and create a comfortable city.”