Singapore Lift Company, a joint venture between the Far East Organization, Woh Hup Limited and Pronus (HK) Ltd., has laid claim to the world’s first composite elevator. The company believes that the elevator, simply known as “8,” has potential to revolutionize the building and construction industry and calls it a “breakthrough solution to the problem of limited cabin space.”

“Using only one structural face for support, the shaft design for 8 has been considerably simplified, with no or shallow pits and low overheads,” Singapore Lift Company said. “This is in contrast to traditional lifts whose design calls for the expensive construction of deep pits and high overheads. With 8, the cabin space has been considerably enlarged to enable it to take a larger load, due to maximization of the shaft size and minimization of the overhead and pit.”

As the company explains, a majority of the elevator was assembled offsite. The elevator’s cabin only weighs about 330 pounds, which the company says is ten times less than traditional elevators of the same capacity. The company believes it also “does away with the need for complicated shaft designs and the substantial amount of structural support in the form of concrete walls and/or steel supports to bolt on brackets for the guide rails and landing doors, which are standard requirements in current lift construction.”

Alister Bennett, Managing Director of SLC said that in addition to cost and time efficiency benefits, the installation of the elevator means companies will no longer need specialized skilled labor. According to Bennett, there are 61,000 elevators in Singapore, but only 2,000 elevator technicians.

“With this innovation, any person can be trained and certified to be fully qualified to install the lift and this would reduce, to a certain extent, the labor [sic] issue for lift installation and the cost of maintenance,” said Bennett.

The elevator has three types of application – as a disabled, home or passenger lift – using three different drive options, V-Belt, Rigid Chain or Hydraulic. The company says the 8 is only elevator designed to enable a sufficient turning radius for wheelchairs. For now, 8 will initially be available for installation in low-rise buildings, which will eventually be extended to serve up to 20 floors.