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Kaustubh Katdare
Kaustubh Katdare • Apr 22, 2014

Maglev Elevators - Possible?

I'm wondering about possible use of magnetic levitation (maglev) principle in elevators used in high-rise buildings and skyscrapers. The idea is that if the powerful magnets can lift up a whole train, they can easily be used to lift a small cabin anti-gravity. I'm quite sure it'd also allow for faster speeds (provided the travelers are comfortable) and greater control over fail-over mechanisms.

Of course, I'm not the first one to think about this idea and now curious to know why has this not been implemented yet. What are the practical limitations in setting up maglev elevators?

PS: One possible use-case for the maglev elevators would be in space elevators, where the steel ropes won't be helpful. Plus the modern supertalls are going to be more than a kilometer high in height; and we'll definitely need something more innovative.
zaveri
zaveri • Apr 22, 2014
I think maglev would be more than expensive to implement, and once the machine is installed, more expenses would have to be borne towards maintainance, just to ensure that the super conductor rails are not failing at any point of time.
Kaustubh Katdare
I'm wondering about possible use of magnetic levitation (maglev) principle in elevators used in high-rise buildings and skyscrapers. Plus the modern supertalls are going to be more than a kilometer high in height; and we'll definitely need something more innovative.
You are right. The time has come for ropeless elevators. As usual, solutions started with the defense activities.
Here some links:
https://www.elevatorworld.com/magazine/synchronous/

https://www.magnemotion.com/custom-solutions/index.cfm
Kaustubh Katdare
Kaustubh Katdare • Apr 22, 2014
Thanks! @zaveri - I think Maglev elevators won't be expensive to maintain. I'd really like to see a comparative analysis of the typical costs involved in operating (electricity consumption, mainly) and failsafe mechanisms that can be deployed.

@A.V.Ramani - Interesting links. Do you think that such elevators would be difficult and costly to maintain?
For really high risers
Kaustubh Katdare
Thanks! @zaveri - I think Maglev elevators won't be expensive to maintain. I'd really like to see a comparative analysis of the typical costs involved in operating (electricity consumption, mainly) and failsafe mechanisms that can be deployed.

@A.V.Ramani - Interesting links. Do you think that such elevators would be difficult and costly to maintain?
On the contrary, for the new high risers they would be easier to maintain.
The brake mechanisms must be non electric mechanical ones or they should build in redundant systems with such non electric backups. If these have passed mil specs, all that would have already been taken care of.
lal
lal • Jan 30, 2015
An extremely long linear servo motor with an intelligent drive mechanism. Should be very well possible and feasible.

If either the stator or rotor (I can't call it rotor, right? 😁 'the moving part', instead) has permanent magnets installed, that should provide some advantage for braking in case of free fall by default or atleast slow down the elevator; if only the fall is from a greater height though.

I don't see a huge advantage for maintenance. Yes, there is going to be less mechanical parts, but very much more complex electric drive system. And for the same capacity, it seems the maglev mechanism will consume much more power than the existing setup. If the elevator is idle, uless cab's brakes are deployed, the stator should be kept energised to keep the cab stable.
Kaustubh Katdare
Kaustubh Katdare • Jan 30, 2015
Thanks for blowing some life in this discussion, @lal . I'm wondering what would be the 'stop' mechanism for the elevator? Also, how'd the safety of the elevator be maintained? It's gotta have a strong failover system in place.
Kaustubh Katdare
Also, how'd the safety of the elevator be maintained? It's gotta have a strong failover system in place.
I am quoting from the elevatorworld link above":
Quote:
Brakes are the most important safety feature for any elevator, including LSM-propelled systems. For the AWE application, to achieve a high level of safety, we use redundant mechanical brakes. When stationary, the cab is supported by mechanical wedge brakes. When in motion, the LSM can provide all braking. When a platform stops, electrically operated wedge brakes on the platform act on the guide rails. Springs cause the brakes to engage when power is not applied and solenoids hold the springs back when the brakes disengage. In this approach, the brakes are “failsafe,” because they engage in the event of power loss. These brakes are “self energizing,” which means once they begin to grip the stator rails, the braking force applied to the vehicle causes the grip to tighten, increasing braking force. Brakes are designed so the vehicle can be lifted a short distance while brakes are engaged. This feature is used to measure platform load and verify the elevator is not overloaded before releasing the brakes.
Endquote

All such issues have been addressed.
lal
lal • Jan 30, 2015
Very well, that reads super safe. I personally don't consider anything to be "fail safe", but just "better". "Fail safe", according to me, is similar to an "ideal case".

On a different not, a counter weight would not be used in levitation systems as in traction elevators I assume. Although I'm guessing a counter weight can possibly reduce energy usage when coupled right with a mag-lev system. Need some in-depth thinking!

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