ATLANTA – One of the largest elevator towers in the world will soon be open to test elevators of the future as well as current elevators above suburban Atlanta.
TK Elevator’s 420-foot tower is expected to become fully operational early next year, company executives said last week during a visit to the new research lab and test facility of the elevators.
âThis will transform our industry,â said Kevin Lavallee, CEO of the company’s North American operations.
It is the largest elevator test tower in the Western Hemisphere, according to the company and the general contractor Brasfield & Gorrie, who built it.
The tower with its multiple elevator test cages overlooks the nearby Atlanta Braves Stadium and offers breathtaking views of the Atlanta skyline. It sits right next to the company’s new North American headquarters in Cobb County, just northwest of the city.
Construction on the tower began in 2019 with 3,000 tonnes of steel, and the structure is now in place with interior work still underway as TKE prepares to fully open it in February.
Among the concepts being tested in the skyscraper: twin elevators, which use the same elevator shaft but operate independently, with one cabin above the other, Lavallee said. Twin elevators save space and are able to transport passengers more efficiently, he said.
An environmental chamber will be able to test the operation of elevators in extreme environments, such as arctic cold in Canada and scorching heat in other parts of the world, said Steve Allen, vice president of engineering.
TK Elevator, which was once owned by German company ThyssenKrupp, was sold last year and has become a separate company. He chose Atlanta for his North American headquarters in part because of engineering talent in the metro area and engineering schools such as the Georgia Institute of Technology, Lavallee said.
The company has invested more than $ 200 million in its head office, which will house more than 900 workers.
While the company plans a grand opening of the tower in February, it aims to open much of the space to the public, including students for tours of the facility, Lavallee said. One of the reasons is to spark interest in the engineering and elevator industry among students who may one day enter the field, he said.
âI think we have a real opportunity with the students,â Lavallee said.
Kevin Lavallee, CEO of TK Elevator’s North American operations, stands atop the company’s new elevator test facility, which overlooks Atlanta’s Braves Stadium and surrounding skyscrapers to the north- west of Atlanta. (AP File Photo / Jeff Martin)