Elevator, escalator and moving walkways company Schindler Group, headquartered in Ebikon, Switzerland, has selected MX3D, Amsterdam, the Netherlands, as a partner in its Elevate project. The goal of the project is to fuse art and optimised engineering in the creation of an elevator car.
Oliver Simmonds, a Principal Engineer within Schindler’s New Technologies unit, stated, “When I look at old machines, they weren’t just purely technical objects driven solely by optimisation. They often had artistic features that were purely aesthetical. With Additive Manufacturing, we have now the possibility to create structures that are not only highly optimised, but also visually appealing.”
While the aesthetic aspect was key, the project’s main focus was in the creation of an optimised structure using topology optimisation, allowing for elevator cars that are lighter and less material intensive. The material reduction in these optimised cars translates to proportionally reduced production costs, but it also requires less energy to both produce and operate. The alloy AlMg 4.5Mn was chosen for the car for its exceptionally strong material properties.
Thus far, the elevator cars produced by MX3D’s robotic Wire Arc Additive Manufacturing (WAAM) technology, a wire-based Directed Energy Deposition (DED) process, have not been put into production, but Simmonds expects this to change in “a little while”.
The Elevate project is currently under consideration for the purmundus 2021 challenge, the results of which will be revealed during Formnext 2021.