Jwacheon-Dong Inclined Elevator Busan, South Korea
System enhances mobility in densely populated city of “many mountains.”
submitted by Achim Hütter, Achim Hütter Consulting
Busan means “many mountains,” and Busan City, South Korea, is hilly and mountainous. It is the second-largest city in South Korea after Seoul, with a population of approximately 3.6 million, and is the cultural, educational and economic center of the region. Its most densely populated areas are located in narrow valleys between two rivers, with mountains separating most of its 15 major districts. This terrain creates transportation issues for residents and visitors, particularly the elderly and infirm. Prior to March 2016, there were no elevators to carry people between valley and hill. They were forced to take circuitous bus routes or traverse
Thanks to an urban regeneration project involving rebuilding the historic Port of Busan (located on the South Korean peninsula’s southeastern tip), a pair of inclined traction elevators were installed as part of a multibillion-U.S.-dollar project. The overall project includes stairs, an observatory and features geared toward passenger comfort and safety, particularly in the elevators.
Traveling along 36- and 62-m-long sections of track and located near apartment buildings, the elevators have a speed of 1 mps, capacity of 900 kg (approximately 24 people), closed-circuit television, heating and air-conditioning.
Additional features include:
- 1:1 suspension
- 36˚ inclination
- Two stops
- Cars that are 1,600 mm wide, 1,350 mm deep and 2,500 mm tall
- Doors that are 900 mm wide and 2,300 mm tall
More than 3,500 passengers use the elevators each day, and more than half of them are elderly. The system not only helped alleviate the city’s transportation issues, but also has become one of its top tourist attractions. Operation began in March 2016, with the administrator of the Donggu borough subsequently receiving an award from the Busan City mayor.
About the Team
The team that handled the inclined-lift job was comprised of experienced specialists led by Hamburg, Germany-based Hütter Inclined Elevator Co. (HIEC) and Seoul-based Kumho Elevator. HIEC is owned by Achim Hütter, who has more than 25 years’ experience with inclined-elevator projects. Hütter’s former company, Hütter-Aufzüge, was founded by his great-grandfather in 1876. Hütter took Hütter-Aüfzuge’s inclined-elevator business nationwide in 1992 and worldwide in 1999. HIEC has worked in national and international markets with selected partners.
For this project, HIEC’s partner was Kumho, a mid-sized company founded in 1987 specializing in custom-made elevators. Kumho Managing Director Jae Bock Lee holds several patents for inclined elevators and related equipment. In 2004, Kumho installed South Korea’s first inclined elevator in a subway system. Since then, the company has won numerous major jobs throughout the country.
- Builder: Reconstruction Development Department, Dong Gu District
- Project Manager: Kim Jong Tak
- Main Contractor: Kumho Elevator Project Manager: Jae Bock Lee Designer and Manufacturer: HIEC GmbH Project Manager: Achim Hütter
- Main Suppliers: Kumho, HIEC, Schneider Controls, Sematic, Ziehl-Abegg