ThyssenKrupp Access News

ThyssenKrupp Access Solutions fits highest chairlift in the world — "Flow" in Makkah Clock Tower awarded as 2014 Project of the Year by ELEVATOR WORLD magazine

Access everywhere: True to its slogan ThyssenKrupp Access Solutions has actively contributed to approach the top of the world´s third largest building comfortably and easily. The “Makkah Clock Tower”, located in the holy pilgrim city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, only a few meters away from one of Islam´s most sacred sites, the Kaaba, now is accessible via a “Flow” chairlift. Starting from the “Mabkhara” level on the top floor of the building at a height of 569 meters, the chairlift overcomes a further 18.4 meters to reach the highest point of the building, the crescent (Hilal) which marks the summit of the impressive skyscraper. As ThyssenKrupp Access Solutions´ “Flow” chairlift has been the only suitable lifting solution to provide access to the very top of the building and due to the exclusiveness of the venture, the international magazine ELEVATOR WORLD has recently honored the company with its 2014 Project of the Year award.

Company scored in terms of technical product specifications and uniqueness of installation side

The project won the 1st prize in the category “Platform Lifts & Stairway Chairlifts” and could therefore prevail against more than 20 competitive submissions. Decisive criteria were – besides the above mentioned such as uniqueness and exclusiveness – innovation, originality, creativity, challenges to overcome, installation methods and technique as well as the use of advanced technology. With the technical specifications of its chairlift model “Flow” and against the background of the uniqueness of the installation side ThyssenKrupp Access Solutions could score in each category.

Patented Auto Swivel System of “Flow” made installation possible

The rail of the chairlift was tailor-made to fit into the extreme steep and narrow surroundings of the tower´s staircase with seven spirals, a total of 91 steps and an average tread with of 380 mm only. The chairlift consists of 13 rail parts with 29 curves, adding up to a complete rail length of 24.8 meters. The rail was installed on the inner curve of the staircase in order to minimize the space used on the stairway. To allow the chairlift to smoothly maneuver on the staircase, the Flow chairlift is equipped with patented ASL Advanced Swivel and Leveling technology. This unique system synchronizes the drive unit of the chairlift with the geometry of the rail, thereby ensuring that the seat is directed through the stairwell by making maximum use of the limited space available. This technology qualified the Flow chairlift as the only possible chairlift solution to be installed in this particular environment.

Challenging installation enthused jury

Especially the challenging installation process but also the required preliminary works were highly regarded by the jury consisting of prominent members from the vertical transportation industry. For the installation of a “Flow” chairlift as a tailor-made product - accurate measurements are crucial for production of the rail - these are normally carried out by photogrammetric measurement systems. In the “Makkah Clock Tower” however it was not possible to carry out the survey computer assisted as neither the crescent on top of the building nor the claddings around the spire had been installed by that time. So, open-air at a height of 569 meters and exposed to strong winds measurement of the entire staircase had to be performed by hand, making it a major challenge. For this particular job, ThyssenKrupp Access Solutions sent a specially-trained technician from its production facilities in the Netherlands who was not afraid of heights and — even more importantly — who was a Muslim and therefore allowed to enter Mecca.

The final installation of the chairlift, the complete rail system with all 13 sections and 29 curves, was finished within one week of time only. Taking into consideration that the system had to be assembled and wired within the limited space available in the spiral stairwell, this is a remarkably short period.

So, all in all, the jury of this 16th ELEVATOR WORLD´s Project of the year awards decided for the installation at “Makkah Clock Tower” as a first class reference project in the elevator industry from the first consultancy in finding the best suitable solution to the final installation.

Awards to honor innovative solutions in vertical, horizontal and inclined transportation systems

The ELEVATOR WORLD Project of the year awards this year are assigned for the 16th time. The globally appearing magazine herewith honors outstanding vertical, horizontal or inclined transportation systems of innovative design or special applications solving major problems or challenges. Each year numerous companies from the elevator industry are participating in the competition to gain one of the prestigiously viewed prizes. Awards are given in the categories “Elevators, New Construction”, “Elevators, Modernization”, “Escalators, New Constructions”, “Moving Walks”, “Inclined Elevators”, “Platform Lifts & Stairway Chairlifts”, “Private-Residence Elevators” and “Automated People Movers”. More information on the awards can be found here