At first glance it doesn’t look like much – perhaps a flat piece of black licorice. But the superlight KONE UltraRope™ is a completely new take on elevator hoisting. Made of a carbon fiber core surrounded by a unique high-friction coating, it weighs only about a fifth of a similar conventional steel rope.
“You wouldn’t think it, but rope weight impacts everything,” says Tomio Pihkala, KONE’s Chief Technology Officer. “If you have a lighter rope, you can have a smaller and lighter elevator counterweight and sling. This means the overall moving masses are reduced,” he explains.
Take for instance an elevator travel height of over 500 meters – say 100 floors. Using the conventional technology would mean the weight of moving masses would be around 27,000 kg, which is like fitting 10 off-road vehicles inside the shaft and moving them alongside the elevator.
But KONE UltraRope™ reduces that weight to roughly 13,000 kg – an equivalent of 4 off-road vehicles. This reduction means people will be able to travel from ground floor to penthouse in one continuous journey – even in a kilometer-tall building.
LESS DEADWEIGHT, MORE BENEFITS
With KONE UltraRope® the higher you go, the bigger the benefits. The energy savings for a 500-meter elevator journey, using UltraRope is around 15% when compared to a conventional technology. For an 800-meter journey, the savings is over 40%.
That’s because the technology enables massive cuts in the deadweight that is moved up or down every time someone hops into a high-rise elevator. And less deadweight means lesser energy consumption and operating costs.
Additionally, carbon fiber resonates at a completely different frequency to most building materials making KONE UltraRope less sensitive to building sway and enabling reductions in elevator downtime during strong winds and storms.
The Marina Bay Sands integrated luxury resort in Singapore was the first to replace some of its conventional steel ropes with KONE UltraRope Other major projects like Sky Tower in Auckland, New Zealand, and Brisbane’s newest premium office building called 180 Brisbane too adapted the new technology. Given its growing popularity, UltraRope is now all set to be featured in the world’s tallest building-to-be, Jeddah Tower in Saudi Arabia.
NO RUST, NO WEAR
While UltraRope makes travel easy, it also makes maintenance hassle-free. Unlike steel, it does not rust, stretch or wear. Its special coating does not require lubrication, which makes maintenance environment friendly as well.
KONE UltraRope’s longer product lifetime is a boon too, as changing ropes in a tall building is no easy task. “We have a rope that works, is reliable, and delivers on our promises,” Pihkala beams. “This is a good place to move on from.”