Alister Bennett, Managing Director of Singapore Lift Company (SLC), showing the prototype lift to reporters. (Photo: SLC)
Singapore Lift Company (SLC) has launched the first composite lift in the world, paving the way for the city-state to manufacture a revolutionary type of elevators in the future.
Made of lightweight and durable materials used in the aerospace sector, Formula 1 racing and deep sea exploration, this new type of lift is expected to be a game-changer in the building and construction industry.
“Composite material is not new, but its use in our lifts is groundbreaking,” said Alister Bennett, Managing Director of SLC, a joint venture between Far East Organization, Woh Hup and Pronus (HK).
Called 8, the prototype lift was largely assembled offsite, significantly reducing the time and labour needed in the installation. The easy installation also means less reliance on specialised labour, a boon for the lift sector, which is facing a shortage of engineers and technicians.
Moreover, it does not need expensive construction of deep pits and high overheads, and the cabin space can be made spacious due to maximisation of the shaft size and minimisation of the overhead and pit. It also requires fewer construction materials, with the prototype’s cabin weighing just 150kg, compared to about 1,500kg for a traditional lift with a similar capacity.
“We see great potential for our product in the building and construction industry as well as the retro-fitting industry… While traditional lifts require on average five to seven days for the installation of a single floor, with 8, the time will be shortened considerably to a minimum of one floor per day,” Bennett noted.
However, he told Channel NewsAsia that the new lift is not suitable for buildings with a height of more than 20 storeys. “We are initially setting a target of eight (floors) and that’s why this launch is called 8. When we get better, we’ll work to get higher … but we will never be able to do high-rise lifts because the higher and faster you go, the lifts need to be heavier.”
While the composite lift industry here is still in its fledgling stages, SLC intends to develop this sector by leveraging on the existing expertise and capabilities of Singapore’s highly-skilled workforce.