Hong skyscrapers set for hi-tech lifts
Hong skyscrapers are set for high-tech liftsReuters

Hong Kong is set to see revolutionary new lifts in its skyscrapers.

German lift manufacturer ThyssenKrupp is to introduce maglev technology to power the city's lifts. The system, called "Multi", does not use cables. Instead, magnets move lifts both horizontally and vertically. The company claims that waiting times for its lifts will never exceed 30 seconds.

The new system uses the magnetic levitation, or "maglev", technology which powers high-speed trains that hover over tracks. Several lifts will be able to use a single shaft at speeds of five metres per second.

So far the lift design has taken two years of research and development. According to a spokesperson the company is "setting up talks with building developers in Hong Kong to explore possibilities for the new technology".

"The system is dedicated to mid and high-rise buildings, which makes Hong Kong a primary market for Thyssenkrupp," he told Hong Kong's Sunday Morning Post.

Hong Kong has more than 60,000 lifts, more than double the number in New York and the most in the world for a city of its size, according to the city's Electrical and Mechanical Services Department. The city's 1,300 skyscrapers use a high proportion of them.

ThyssenKrupp says that the design, which it hails as the "the holy grail of the elevator industry", will increase lift capacity by half. Moreover, the design uses smaller shafts than current lifts.

The first installation in Hong Kong is some way off, however. ThyssenKrupp says that a prototype will be operational by 2016, sited in a 245-metre test tower which is under construction in Germany.