The world’s first composite lift, 8, has been unveiled by Singapore Lift Company (SLC), a joint venture between Far East Organisation, Woh Hup and Pronus.
Made of lightweight composite materials in place of steel, 8 is described as a game-changer in its field, having the potential to revolutionise the overall building and construction industry.
Largely assembled off site, 8 is said to substantially reduce the time, labour and the amount of construction materials needed in lift installation. SLC says 8’s cabin is 150kg, as compared to a traditional lift ofabout1,500 kg of the same capacity. It does away with the need for complicated shaft designs and the substantial amount of structural support in the form of concrete walls and/or steel supports to bolt on brackets for the guide rails and landing doors, which are standard requirements in current lift construction.
According to SLC, the completely redesigned lift offers a breakthrough solution to the problem of limited cabin space vis-à-vis the lift shaft size due to the position of counterweights and guide rails in traditional lift shafts. Using only one structural face for support, the shaft design for 8 has been considerably simplified, with no or shallow pits and low overheads. This is in contrast to traditional lifts whose design calls for the expensive construction of deep pits and high overheads. With 8, the cabin space has been considerably enlarged to enable it to take a larger load, due to maximisation of the shaft size and minimisation of the overhead and pit.
More importantly, SLC says the potential overall savings to be realised through enhanced productivity in construction and faster installation times allow for better materials to be used and a safety system to be incorporated into the lifts without pushing up the entire construction and building costs. 8 is certified to EN81-41 and EN81-20:50 by Liftinstituut, one of Europe’s leading certification organisations for lifts and escalator safety.
Mr Alister Bennett, Managing Director of SLC, said, “8 has far-reaching implications beyond just the paradigm shift away from using steel in the manufacture of lifts and its accompanying requirements in shaft design. We see great potential for our product in the building and construction industry as well as the retro-fitting industry.
“Composite material is not new but its use in our lifts is groundbreaking.Aside from the costs and time-efficiency benefits, the easy installation of the lift means that specialised skilled labour will no longer be required. There are currently an estimated 61,000 passenger lifts in Singapore with only an estimated 2,000 lift technicians.With this innovation, any person can be trained and certified to be fully qualified to install the lift and this would reduce, to a certain extent, the labour issue for lift installation and the cost of maintenance.
“Furthermore, while traditional lifts require on average five to seven days for the installation of a single floor, with 8, the time will be shortened considerably to a minimum of one floor per day. There is also no necessity for welding or heavy lifting equipment which makes it a safer, less labour intensive process. In the building and construction industry any small amount of savings in labour and time can go a long way towards lowering overall building costs.”
While Singapore currently does not possess the know-how for the design, engineering or manufacture of composite lifts, SLC intends to build up this industry by leveraging on the existing skills and capabilities of its highly-educated workforce.
Bennett added, “We have chosen Singapore as a base due to its excellent reputation of having skilled, efficient and productive labour. We hope that we can build up the composite lift industry here so that in time to come, Singaporean companies will be able to provide innovative solutions for this nascent industry to the rest of the region and eventually the world. We also aim to work with local tertiary institutions for the development of skills in the design and engineering aspects of the lift components and for the composite industry in general so that Singapore will eventually become a hub for the industry.”
8 explains that it has three types of application – as a disabled, home or passenger lift – using three different drive options, V-Belt, Rigid Chain or Hydraulic. With a minimum 1,400 mm turning diameter, it is the only lift designed to enable a sufficient turning radius for wheelchairs. It also allows for customised interior design and other technical fittings for a totally personalised and unique expression of an individual’s taste, in the case of home lifts. Energy efficient with remote monitoring, 8 is initially available for installation in low-rise buildings, which will eventually be extended to serve up to 20 floors.
Following the introduction of 8, SLC’s intends to expand its capabilities to the design and installation of lifts of any stipulated size into lift shafts with just 100 mm clearance on all sides, doubling current lift capacities. As a company committed to creating safer and smarter systems for the future, SLC will also be looking at launching other ground-breaking composite products.