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Space Harpoon Testing

The National Lift Tower is hosting venue for the testing of the RemoveDEBRIS harpoon system, designed and engineered by Airbus UK. RemoveDEBRIS is an international collaboration co-funded by the European Space Agency (ESA). The harpoon will be launched at the lift tower, up into a target suspended at the top of the 30 metre void, designed to emulate a spacecraft being removed from orbit. 

The harpoon will be fired at a speed of 20 metres per second, and is designed to penetrate the suspended target. The experiment will be recorded with high-speed cameras. 

Find out more about the space harpoon project on the Airbus official website:

Drainage Installation Testing


One of the primary projects underway here at the lift tower is the testing of drainage installations. The installation comprises a 96m soil stack fitted with Studor's market leading Air Admittance Valves (AAVs) and the revolutionary P.A.P.A (Positive Air Pressure Attenuation) device. 

The AAVs deal with negative pressure transients in the drainage system which, left unmanaged, can cause water traps to be depleted, resulting in foul smells, gurgling noise and the risk of spread of disease. The P.A.P.A.s on the other hand deal with positive pressure transients that can cause fluctuating water levels or bubbling and, in the worst case, water to be expelled from the WC. These products work together to provide 'active ventilation' – actively managing the changes in pressure in the drainage system as they occur. 

These problems are particularly evident in tall buildings and may only reveal themselves as occupancy levels rise. If not included as part of the original design, Studor's products can be retrofitted to the existing drainage solution to solve the resulting drainage ventilation problems. 


On the test rig at the National Lift Tower, electronic pressure sensors provided by Dyteqta allow readings in the pipework to be recorded and used to objectively analyse the performance of the system against alternative configurations.


The test rig is used to test and market Studor's products with regular visits from industry professionals from across the globe, including building regulation inspectors, consultants, designers, international developers, M&E contractors, main contractors and public health engineers.

Visit the official site for further information:

Lift & Engineering Services LTD - In-Situ Training


With its 4 lifts of different speeds and travels the National Lift Tower is an ideal venue for lift companies to give their employees a unique training opportunity and that is just what Lift & Engineering Services Ltd were looking to do.

Lift & Engineering Services Ltd found there were considerable gaps in the knowledge newly qualified engineers were coming out of their vocational NVQs with, and both technical skills and health and safety awareness were missing, so they sought a bespoke solution to their needs and just as importantly, a bespoke venue offering all the in-situ scenario learning and hands on training their courses needed.

Initially Lift & Engineering Services Ltd had a modular 4 part programme written to cover a range of topics.  They engaged a specialist vocational trainer and commenced the programme at the National Lift Tower, allowing delegates to learn in the classrooms and train on the installations, exposing their employees to lifts and speeds which they would rarely encounter on customer sites and undertaking the training in a safe and controlled environment which cannot be replicated on customer sites and avoids disrupting customer operations.  This ability to control a safe environment gave Lift & Engineering Services Ltd another unique opportunity as they were able to have non-technical contract management and administration staff take part, which was great for team work and gave management a ‘real-life’ perspective of the dangers their colleagues face when going onto lift sites, which has made them more aware of the need for and value of risk assessments and method statements. 

Once this training was underway the National Lift Tower as a training venue gave Lift & Engineering Services Ltd another unique opportunity, this time to work with St John Ambulance and move first aid training from the classroom to live in-situ scenarios in which delegates practice the theory in real situations like the tops of lifts cars, lift pits and motor rooms.  St John Ambulance were over the moon at this change of approach by an employer and these courses, designated as ‘First Aid Plus’ on the qualification certificates, have continued to be run such that Lift & Engineering Services Ltd have over a third of their 120 employees qualified to this level and far in excess of any legislative requirement.

Permanent Magnet Lift Drives


In partnership with Magnetek UK Ltd. 

In 2011, Magnetek UK Ltd. was looking for a European facility to test its newest AC Permanent Magnet lift drives, the HPV® 900 Series 2 and the fully regenerative Quattro® AC. We were already familiar with the many benefits the Tower could offer following previous visits and determined that the Tower's medium-speed shaft with a travel height of 40 meters and a maximum speed of 4.15 m/s was an ideal option for us to achieve our goals. We subsequently agreed to lease the medium speed shaft for an initial period of 12 months to conduct various AC motor control tests with our lift drives and also to use as a training and demonstration facility. 

The installed control system currently consists of Magnetek's HPV 900 Series 2 drive using an incremental encoder for feedback powering a Hollister Whitney GL115 PM gearless motor, all controlled by a Lester Controls Almega Direct to Floor control system. The Tower is very close to our Office in Bedford and, with the benefit of having this facility 'on tap', the last year has been a great success. As a result, we have recently renewed our lease for a further 12 months and in the near future we plan to use the same shaft to install our Quattro AC drive, our newest 'green' lift drive solution for high-rise applications. Quattro consumes the lowest energy possible through regenerative technology and a near unity power factor and this can be demonstrated and verified using the excellent power metering installed at the Tower.

With literally thousands of elevator drives installed in elevators on six continents, Magnetek Elevator designs, builds, sells and supports high quality elevator application-specific drive products that meet customers' needs backed by over 30 years of innovative, skilled expertise. We are committed to building Energy Engineered® elevator drives that efficiently deliver motion-control power along with unequalled ride quality, reduced installation time and, most importantly, long-term reliability. Our investment and partnership with the National Lift Tower will help us to ensure that this will continue.

MSA Latchways Fall Protection


Since 2010 MSA The Safety Company have been using the lift tower to develop and test some of their extensive range of Latchways® height safety products, including the highly innovative MSA Latchways Personal Rescue Device® (PRD®). Designed to be worn as an everyday PPE item, the PRD provides a self-rescue solution that is always ready. Housed within a neat backpack and integrated with a full body harness, a brake mechanism with 20 m (65 ft) cord can be activated to gently lower the user to the ground. 

The PRD was tested at the tower right the way through from prototype to certified product. Today, the tower continues to provide quality assurance by testing samples from the production line. 

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