The world will soon get to see the first passenger lift made of composite materials. The Singapore Lift Company (SLC) revealed the prototype on January 11. The lift, known as “8”, uses lightweight composite materials and marks a shift away from steel, the material that is used traditionally in the manufacturing of lifts. The lift has been given a concept approval from Liftinstituut.
Lightness, strength and corrosion resistance
Composites include a variety of materials such as carbon fibre-reinforced polymers (CFRP), glass fibre-reinforced polymers and bio-derived polymers. Given their relative lightness, high strength and better corrosion resistance, such materials are regularly used by various industries including aerospace. However, this will be the first time that composite materials have been used for lifts. SLC’s managing director Alister Bennett said that safety will be assured: "We want people to feel reassured that composites are safe. They are lighter, stronger and the applications are amazing. And to highlight the safety aspect, we asked Liftinstituut for certification. Liftinstituut thoroughly tested the prototype. The cage, floor and roof all met the strength requirements of the EN 81-20 standard. And all the other load tests to conform with the standard (overloading, emergency stop with a load, crash testing with a load) were passed with flying colours.”
SLC has also run tests such as loading its lift with 1,600 kg of weights before letting it fall down the lift shaft. “We wanted to see if it would break, but in the end, the cabin was fine,” said Mr Bennett. For now, the lift has been given a concept approval from Liftinstituut, one of Europe's certification organisations for lift and escalator systems. It is awaiting final approval from the organisation as well as the issue of certification from Singapore's Building and Construction Authority (BCA). SLC hopes to receive this by the end of the first quarter of 2017. After this, it hopes to make its lift commercially available by the fourth quarter of 2017.