Improving the flow of urban life is at the core of KONE. The global elevator and escalator company has over 100 years’ experience delivering vertical and horizontal transportation solutions to the building sector, supporting the flow of people in smaller builds all the way up to major towers and infrastructure.
Whether it’s a small requirement of moving someone from a ground floor to a second floor in a building or a larger commercial tower requiring the vertical transportation of people over 100 floors, KONE has a solution.
KONE director of New Building Solutions Australia and New Zealand Adam Grando has been with the business for nearly 10 years, working in various areas from frontline customer service and facility management to critical modernisation projects and key account management. Now serving as director of the New Building Solutions team, Grando says KONE has exciting new technologies and innovations on offer that support the entire lifecycle of its assets.
“KONE has pioneered several vertical and horizontal transportation innovations for the building sector throughout its long history,” says Grando. “We also offer various other elements around people flow, including turnstiles, destination control and access control systems to provide a smooth and seamless user journey.”
Established in 1910, today KONE continues to deliver its solutions for projects around the world. Most recently, KONE announced a partnership with Dexus and its delivery partner John Holland to exclusively deliver its premium vertical transportation solution for the North Tower of the iconic Waterfront Brisbane project. As part of this project, KONE anticipates servicing the people flow for up to 52 lettable floors upon its completion.
“Waterfront Brisbane is set to optimise technology and sustainability initiatives – such as our high-rise sustainable technologies – to create a world-class office and retail location, bolstered by advanced user experience and accessibility,” says Grando. “We’ve delivered a large range of different projects for the commercial, industrial, retail, major infrastructure and residential construction sectors across Australia and New Zealand.”
Another notable project KONE has helped develop is Australia 108, a residential supertall skyscraper in the Southbank precinct of Melbourne boasting 100 habitable levels. In partnership with Multiplex, KONE delivered its EcoDisc hoisting motor solution, designed with an innovative copper winding system that reduces the amount of energy lost as heat, in turn improving the building’s energy efficiency.
Additionally, the project was one of the first to implement KONE’s super-light UltraRope technology, a thin carbon fibre rope surrounded by a unique high-friction coating used as an alternative to heavy traditional steel rope, which proved vital to the project’s success given the height and scale of the tower. Weighing around a fifth of traditional steel rope, UltraRope technology greatly reduced the weight of the overall elevator solution, resulting in energy savings, as well as reduced operating costs. The product’s high-friction coating also enabled the elevator to reach a much larger height, given its durability in adverse weather conditions, therefore producing a smoother ride quality for users. On the sustainability front, UltraRope’s carbon fibre rope technology doesn’t stretch in comparison to traditional steel ropes which are known to stretch over time, reducing the maintenance lifecycle.
For builders looking to streamline project delivery, KONE offers its JumpLift solution, a construction time elevator with a temporary machine room that climbs with the building floor-by-floor as construction progresses.
“This solution enables the construction project team to continue working on elements of the building below the current top out point, providing them an overall program saving,” says Grando.
“We pioneered this solution in Australia, and it continues to be a game-changer for contractors in delivering projects on time and on budget globally.”
Looking at some of the constraints today in the construction industry – labour, utilisation, cost and program inefficiencies produce some of the biggest impacts to the overall delivery of a new project. By providing solutions like JumpLift, KONE directly assists the developer to deliver the project on time – or in some cases ahead of schedule, providing benefits for all project stakeholders.
Grando says one of the main reasons he loves working for KONE is the innovative solutions the company pioneers and brings to the market. With more than 3,000 patents across the business, KONE’s latest technologies include its digital experience elevators (DX), which utilise open protocol to connect to other technologies in and around the building via an application programming interface (API).
“We’ve connected many different solutions with DX, including cleaning and delivery robots within a building,” says Grando. “We’ve connected DX with concierge robots that escort people into the lift and to their destination, as well as robots that will take the lift to bring the coffee someone ordered through a smartphone application to their hotel door or boardroom meeting.”
“DX also connects with other technologies which, for instance, enable visitors of a building to call the lift from the carpark using an application on their smartphone.”
Creating a contactless journey has been a headline topic since the COVID-19 pandemic, and KONE endeavours to deliver that through its futuristic in-building transportation solutions.
It’s been challenging for many building owners and developers to find technology that speaks to one another, explains Grando. DX removes that limitation. KONE provides true, future-proof solutions that will connect and speak to all other technologies installed in a building. The company isn’t inventing the robotics or the applications behind an entire workplace solution, but it’s opening up its elevator systems to ensure they speak to those technologies, removing one of the main barriers that builders and developers experience in trying to create a connected, seamless and contactless building environment.
In this technology space, KONE has partnered with BindiMaps, a navigation tool that helps people, particularly those visually impaired, find their way within buildings. “BindiMaps has partnered with us to help people navigate a building, allowing people to call an elevator from its smartphone application,” says Grando. “This not only improves the user experience, but also empowers those who may have visual impairment to reach their destination safely.”
Adding to KONE’s commitment to providing end-to-end solutions, the company’s experienced teams take planning, processes and project outcomes seriously. KONE works with the developer and builder early in the project planning phase to understand what they’re trying to achieve. Utilising its products, tools and resources, KONE elevates efficiencies throughout all stages of the development process, ensuring projects are delivered safely and to the highest quality.
For the early design phase, KONE delivers free online tools on its website to assist with planning. The developer or designer can use the tools to plan for interiors, match building themes and visualise how they want the elevators to look and feel.
“We also have digital tools for planning the physical elements of the elevator itself, such as its speed, the distance it travels, its size and load capacity,” says Grando. “We provide these tools upfront to assist with early planning.”
Safety is KONE’s top priority in every project it delivers. In many cases, there are people working inside of the company’s elevator shafts, in confined spaces and sometimes at great heights as part of a project, thus KONE embeds safety into its culture, which extends to everyone working alongside it, such as subcontractors and business partners.
“Our end-to-end solutions, up front customer support and experienced technicians provide project teams peace of mind knowing they’re getting a quality product that’s been installed safely to the highest standard,” says Grando. “Utilising our DX platform, teams know they have the latest technology available, which is future-proofed to connect with other potential technologies.”
“From a major ongoing maintenance perspective, due to the high-quality nature of the products that we deliver, end-users and tenants will have peace of mind long into the future.
“Further, our teams in Australia and New Zealand are there to support you through the entire process, from the early planning phase through to installation, handover and maintenance.”
Even as its elevators or escalators come to end-of-life, KONE is there to help renew the product’s lifecycle using the latest sustainable and advanced modernisation technology.
The company’s combination of support, service and solutions is helping improve buildings in all facets of the built environment.
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