The first vertical mobility tools date back to Antiquity, for the construction of the pyramids by the Egyptians, then more formally by the Greeks, with Archimedes or Ctesibios, an Alexandrian engineer who had imagined a pressurized water lift.
Today, elevators have become ubiquitous and indispensable. The 200-storey Burj Khalifa tower in Dubai is serviced by 57 elevators which are pressurized because, in terms of vertical speed, they travel faster than an airliner.
The lift sector is not lacking in innovation, one of the most important being artificial intelligence which makes it possible to optimize passenger flows and reduce their waiting time, despite the bad reflexes of people in a hurry, who frantically press the up and down buttons.
These cumulative waiting times are colossal, because in France alone, elevators provide 100 million journeys per day, for a million kilometers, or three times the Earth-Moon distance. On the side of space precisely, there are always crazy projects of space elevators.
Considering the number of users, the elevator is the safest means of transport. Its energy consumption is also reduced thanks to the use of counterweights. Despite everything, the half-million lifts in France consume each year the equivalent of a city like Bordeaux.
“If we look at the level of a device with a classic load of 630 kg, on 5 – 6 floors, it will have an annual consumption of 500 kWh” explains Lucien Wedzikowski, Director of Major Projects at Otis. This energy consumed annually corresponds to the equivalent of only three television sets. However, these are recent lifts that consume less energy than older models, hence the relative urgency to modernize the equipment.
“The lift sector in France is nearly 20,000 employees, with nearly 200 companies. 70% of this workforce works in maintenance activities. It is also 1,000 to 1,500 hires each year.”Philippe Boué, president of the lift federation
The sector is likely to see an acceleration in growth, given the aging of the population and increasing urbanization. The medical profession recommends, for its part, to take the stairs to go up 1 or 2 floors, in order to stay in shape. Finally, the more adventurous can take part in the race to climb the Eiffel Tower, where the champions manage to cross the 1,600 steps in less than 10 minutes.