Elevator giants ThyssenKrupp are to build a landmark 244m elevator test tower in Rottweil, Germany.

And it is hoped the 40mn Euro ($55.5mn) development will help the company boost its presence in the Middle East.

The tower will enable the testing of new solutions to meet the demand for increased energy efficiency, such as shafts carrying more than one elevator cabin, and elevators capable of reaching speeds up to 18 metres per second – twice as fast as Usain Bolt’s 100m world record.

Speed and energy improvements translate to travel times of just 90 seconds to reach the top of a 1.5km-high building.

Andreas Schierenbeck, Thyssenkrupp Elevator CEO, said: “With the new test tower, we are poised to succeed in the promising elevator market for mid and high-rise buildings.

“Our new elevator technology enables reduction of the elevator-escalator footprint in a building, releasing significant areas for additional rent revenues.”

ThyssenKrupp has installed elevators in Latifa Tower and Pentominium in Dubai, the CMA Tower in Riyadh and the United Tower in Jeddah.

The company is heavily involved in Yas Mall, Abu Dhabi, and it is understood they are also keen to play a part in the world’s tallest building – Kingdom Tower – in Jeddah.

“It’s (Middle East) one of the major growth areas, especially in the drive for high rises and high tech so of course the testing facility in Rottweill is targeted for these areas as well,” said Schierenbeck.

The Middle East elevator market is growing at 6% each year (CAGR) – from 1.493bn Euros in 2013, the market value is expected to reach 2.118bn Euros in 2019.

The market is mainly driven by new constructions, which represented over 60% of the total demand last year.

“I think we are one of the top three in the UAE but we are expanding and we are growing. We started a little bit later than the others and so we’re catching up but we’re developing well so far,” said Schierenbeck.

“We have a good footprint in Abu Dhabi and Dubai and we want to grow particularly in Saudi Arabia with a lot of construction projects coming there. We are also concentrating on Iraq and we’re pretty active in the whole area.”

As at the end of 2013, ThyssenKrupp had 1,700 employees in the Middle East, with offices in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Qatar, and as it ramps up its presence in the area, that number is expected to rise to 2,300 by the end of 2019.

The tower is the creation of renowned German-American architect Helmut Jahn, who also designed the $800mn Sony Centre at the Potsdamer Platz, Berlin; the Messeturm in Frankfurt; and the One Liberty Place, in Philadelphia.

He said: “In the morning or evening the tower will pick up the colours of the sky. At night it isn’t illuminated, rather it is luminous from the inside, so this tower will become a landmark. It will be more than just a functional building for test purposes. It will become a tower of light and also it will epitomise the city and the future.

“This will open up a new chapter in the 2000 year history of Rottweil.”

Construction work on the new tower could start as early as the autumn this year, with the project anticipated to be complete in two years.

thyssenkrupp test tower in Rottweil: facts and trivia (updated 12/12/2016)

• With a height of 246 meters, the Rottweil test tower is the highest building in Baden-Wurttemberg. On second place follows the Stuttgart TV tower with 217 meters.

• With 232 meters in height, the observation deck is the highest one in Germany, closely followed by the Europe Tower in Frankfurt am Main with 224 meters in height.

• In total, thyssenkrupp Elevator invests 40 million euros in the future research institution.

• The test shafts of the elevator test tower have a combined length of 2.1 km – so if the tower contained only one shaft of that length, it would be eight times its actual height and still twice as high as the currently highest building under construction (Jeddah Tower, Saudi Arabia, 1,007 meters).

• The tower all in all weighs 40,000 tons – that is as much as 8,000 African elephants.

• In total, 15,000 cubic meters of concrete and 2,500 tons of steel have been installed. The amount of steel corresponds to the daily production of the modernized furnace of thyssenkrupp in Duisburg.

• The building space amounts around 118,000 cubic meters. If the test tower was a beer glass, its content could serve 20 Oktoberfests.

• From the first groundbreaking to the topping-out ceremony, it took less than ten months. In other words: In only 245 days, the tower went from zero to -32 and back up to 232 meters.

• On some days, the tower grew 5 meters per day. By that, its growth was five times as fast as some bamboo species’ growth. On average, the tower grew around 3.5 meters per day.

• The membrane has a total area of 17,000 square meters, which corresponds to two soccer fields.

• The tower will be the exclusive testing environment for MULTI – the first rope less elevator system of the world. Three connected shafts allow the genius elevator to move through the tower horizontally.

• Right now, there are two elevators operating in the test tower (status 12/12/2016). The firefighter elevator, which reaches a top speed of 4 meters per second (around 15 km/h), and a panoramic elevator providing access to the viewing platform. With a top speed of 8 meters per second (29 km/h) and transparent walls, you can already enjoy the view from the very start of the ride to the top.

• The fastest elevators in the test tower will later run through the shaft with a speed of up to 18 meters per second (65 km/h) – that is twice as fast as Usain Bolt’s speed during his world record run. • The staircase contains more than 1,500 steps. The unofficial record for the test tower stair run (start at -32 meters, finish at 232 meters) so far lies at 15 minutes.

Source: constructionweekonline.com