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

Guangzhou skyscraper denizens to hold on to hats

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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-style up-down-and-all-around travel), its 45mph (70kmph) top speed makes it easily the fastest lift in human history.

Two "ultra-high-speed elevators" will zoom up the Guangzhou CTF Finance Centre, a 530m building currently under construction in China. When it is finished, this massive building in the Tianhe District of Guangzho will be the tallest in the city. It will stand at almost twice the height of London's Shard, which is a comparatively paltry 306m tall.

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

"Hitachi will continue working to develop elevators offering various forms of added value, in order to support the construction of taller and larger buildings, for which demand is expected to further increase, mainly in overseas markets," it said. "Moreover, Hitachi will utilize the new technologies and insights obtained through these development activities for ultra-high-speed and high-speed elevators and other products, in order to provide safe, comfortable and convenient building environments on a global basis."

The Guangzhou uber-elevator will travel the 440m (1,443ft) metre shaft height from the ground floor to the 95th in approximately 43 seconds, says Hitachi. The lifts have a theoretical top speed of 1,200 metres per minute (72kmph or 45mph, marginally less than that of this scribe's winsome, yet sluggish, Toyota Aygo).

The elevators will employ a specially developed permanent magnet synchronous motor that "achieves both a thin profile and the high output needed to attain" high speeds. Hitachi plans to install active guide rollers that will detect and react to minute warping in the guide rails and vibration due to wind pressure, in the corners of the lift car, to make the whole thing less of a stomach-churning experience.

Safety features will ensure soft braking when it stops on the various floors, while pressure adjustment will help to stop travellers' ears from popping as they speed up the building.

Only two of the ultra high-speed lifts will be installed in the building, presumably for use by the rich execs who work at the top of it. There will also be 13 elevators in the skyscraper which will travel between 210m and 600m a minute (12.6kmph - 36kmph), as well as 28 double-deck elevators which can speed along at between 150m and 540m per minute, giving them a top speed of 34kmph.

Minions will be able to catch one of 52 "medium- and low-speed lifts", for which speeds were not given.

Hitachi operates the world's tallest lift testing facility within the 213m tall G1TOWER. ®

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