Experts for ideas made of plastic
Ascending a thousand metres with a lift: what sounds futuristic will become reality with a new kind of lift strap made of carbon fibre and plastic.
The carbon fibre core is protected by a polyurethane cladding. This cladding was developed by faigle Kunstoffe GmbH. The company was nominated for the Austrian Econovius innovation prize for this in 2017.
Lift strap made of carbon fibre and polyurethane
The faigle development is used in the “UltraRope” of KONE, one of the lift industry’s leading companies. During the six-year development phase of the innovative lift strap, faigle was responsible for every step: from selecting the material, developing the manufacturing technology, including tool- and special machinery construction and series production to securing packaging that was suitable for air and sea freight transport.
The end result was a lift strap made of carbon fibre and polyurethane, which is superior in many respects to steel cables. The “UltraRope” achieves conveyance heights twice as high as steel cable and in addition permits significant energy savings.
“Thanks to the intelligent combination of high performance materials, the lift rope is extremely light,” explained Thomas Decker, who is responsible for product management and marketing communications at faigle. To compare: in a lift that has to travel 400 m, the weight of the steel rope is 22 tons, which also has to be moved. This is why the operation of lifts in skyscrapers can represent up to 30 percent of the total energy requirements.
Well-founded technical knowledge
The decisive criterion in manufacturing the UltraRope, which replaces conventional steel ropes, is the connection of the two different materials, carbon fibre and plastic. The polyurethane cladding must secure the four carbon fibre cores within the strap at a precisely defined distance. “The rope is a vital safety component in the lift,” explained Thomas Decker. “Errors in the design configuration or processing can have grave consequences.”
Consequently, well-founded technical knowledge regarding material properties, areas of use and processing of technical plastics was decisive in the design of the novel lift strap. A condition that faigle meets: experienced engineers have access to an extensive knowledge database in its own development and technology centre.
It contains experiment results and know-how from over 50 years of development, plastic manufacture and processing. Thus, faigle also offers tailor-made solutions for highly specific customer requirements in the field of technical plastics on account of its long-standing know-how.
Energy consumption is greatly lowered
“Due to the much lower weight of the UltraRope, the total mass to be moved is significantly reduced while the energy consumption is greatly lowered," Thomas Decker said in explanation of the ecological advantages of the lift strap made of plastic and carbon fibre. The marketing specialist, “Given a lift with 500 m conveyance height, the weight saving with the UltraRope is about 60 percent.”“
Moreover, the polyurethane cladding developed by faigle protects the carbon fibre core reliably against wear and humidity. Consequently, the service life of the innovative lift strap is twice that of steel ropes. Furthermore, it runs with less vibration and more quietly and in addition it is less susceptible to building oscillations. Moreover, no or fewer switches of passengers are needed on account of the possible great conveyance heights. This greatly increases the travel comfort for passengers.
faigle is competing for the Econovius, the special prize of the Business Chamber of Austria (WKÖ) with its development of the plastic cladding for the lift strap. The WKÖ honours small and medium-size enterprises with this prize, which are making an important contribution to more dynamism at the domestic location with its innovations. Out of a total of about 500 applications, five innovations convinced the jurors, one of which was faigle. The specialist for technical plastics is one of the five nominees for the Austrian Econovius 2017 innovation prize.