KONE - Future Proofing Buildings with Market-Leading Elevator Technology

Amit Gossain, Managing Director, KONE Elevator India
“To improve utility and faster movement, hi-tech elevators are taking shape and adapting to keep up with superstructures.”
Amit Gossain, Managing Director, KONE Elevator India

Notching up Speed
Elevators with traditional cables can travel a limited distance of only a few hundred meters because of the heavy weight of the steel ropes. Keeping this in mind, some of the leading companies have developed elevators to maximize travel distance. For example, KONE’s UltraRope increases the travel distance significantly by reducing the cable weight and the friction. As a result, elevators consume less energy compared to traditional cables, which helps them move faster.

Our high-speed double-decker and high-rise MiniSpace™ elevators enable fast and comfortable rides with great eco-efficiency. These sleek elevators have significantly reduced travel time, enabling faster people flow. We are also developing technologies to notch up elevator speeds for faster access to the uppermost floors in skyscrapers. However, despite all the efforts to ensure a convenient ride, including air conditioning, faster speed, and lower travel vibration, they may still cause some discomfort to the passengers. This is a challenge that the elevator industry is yet to find a solution to.

Customized for Space Efficiency
Advanced technologies are helping develop custom double-deck elevator cabs to increase elevator space efficiency, along with an aesthetically pleasing experience for passengers. The new-age double-deck height-adjusting elevators allow more architectural freedom. Futuristic technology enables multiple elevator cabs to function independently in the same shaft. An innovation like this can dramatically lower the number of required elevator shafts and increase leasable space.

The manufacturing process, quality of materials, and assembly of these elevator cabs must be top-notch to ensure that all the aspects, including the cab operating panels, energy-efficient lighting, and other parts always complement the interiors.

Rope-Free: Up, Down & Now Sideways Too
KONE - Future Proofing Buildings with Market-Leading Elevator Technology
Leading companies are investing millions of dollars to improve elevator technologies in recent years, and one such initiative is rope-free elevators, which move cabs with the help of linear motor technology; they resemble the Maglev trains.

Not having ropes means that the motors only have to move the car, resulting in energy savings. What’s more, this system will also enable elevators to function without height restrictions and pass through adjacent shafts.

Touchless
One of the most interesting concepts to be seen amidst the pandemic are touchless technologies. As a pioneer in people flow, and with a holistic approach to health, well-being, and safety, KONE had introduced a range of Health and Well-being Solutions that have helped recreate safer user journeys and healthy spaces in the buildings.

Touchless Elevator Call Feature allows users to call an elevator without touching possibly contaminated buttons or displays. Physical distancing elevator floor stickers and Elevator full load limit adjustment ensure less crowding and thereby contribute to a healthier environment. KONE Handrail Sanitizer, an escalator handrail cleaning solution, uses a type of ultraviolet light to continuously clean the handrail when the escalator is in use.

Digitally Connected
With digital connectivity as a standard, elevators will now evolve with use, throughout the life of a building. KONE DX Class Elevator is a game-changer which is bound to transform how people experience elevators. With pre-set themes, curated music and animated lights, ecosystem partners, information screen, and touchless signalization, KONE DX Class is future-proofing buildings with market-leading elevator technology.

Choosing the right one
Capacity: When choosing a quality elevator, you first need to know the estimated capacity of a high-rise building along with tentative passenger waiting times. These factors will help you determine the type of elevator you require. For example, if a high-rise building has over 20 floors, a single elevator grouping will not be enough as it will result in long travel times and could become congested during busy hours.

Design: A quality elevator should also have an aesthetic design and décor to fit in a modern office environment. However, remember that fancier elevator designs like glass look attractive, but they are also more complicated to maintain. Nice-looking elevators are generally ideal for low-rise buildings and can function in tandem with standard passenger elevators.

Peak Hours: When selecting an elevator, it is important to learn about the traffic volume during peak hours in a high-rise building. If the volume is high during rush hours, the design and efficiency of an elevator should be robust, energy-efficient, and faster to suit the requirements. Aspects starting from managing the flow of people, covering the number of floors, waiting times, weight, and speed will all play a role when determining the right type of elevator.

Safety: Safety is one of the most crucial factors when choosing an elevator. There should not be even a minor glitch. From the perspective of safety, an elevator should be able to carry the weight of visitors at the maximum capacity, and it should have an alarm installed for emergencies.

In case of power outage
These days, high-rise buildings in cities have frequent power outages, when most elevators will stop running. Here are some alternative measures that building authorities can take so that people do not get stuck in elevators:
  • Review all the back-up power sources frequently to make sure that they work properly when a power outage happens.
  • Check and ensure that the alarms, emergency lights, and phones are in working condition.
  • Integrating a battery lowering system or an automatic rescue device in elevators is a good idea. The system will get activated whenever a power outage happens. During a power outage, the elevator will use its battery power to move to the nearest floor. Once the doors open, the elevator will safely shut down and allow passengers to exit quickly. It will be out of service till the power comes back.
  • Building authorities need to ensure elevators that run on computer systems have programs to operate safely during a power outage.
  • When authorities anticipate potential outages, they should post alert signs at every elevator to limit their use.
Significance of People Flow Analysis
There is a growing significance of traffic analysis in the elevator and escalator industry with buildings becoming taller and mixed-use developments on the rise. Due to the ever-increasing movement of people and goods in the buildings, a simple elevator and service offering will not suffice. A thorough and detailed analysis of current traffic flow analysis and extrapolating the future requirement and growth of the building, with the necessary provisions should be put in place.

KONE has come a long way in the past twenty years in terms of planning for great people flow in complex buildings. It all started with calculating and simulating the performance of elevators and other vertical transport and has evolved to designing the KONE People Flow Simulator (PFS) - a holistic solution that encompasses end-to-end people flow planning and advanced analytics for entire buildings – all with a full 3D visualization that can be made VR compatible.

Role of Technology
PFS (People Flow Simulator) is our Advanced Planning tool that helps us create a 3D of the entire building scaled to the exact floor plans and people entering the building and navigating to their respective destinations. It makes it easier to visualize spaces more efficiently; place equipment at the correct spots; helps avoid the bottlenecks as clients get to see how people are going to walk around in the building; and even see the crowd moving.

While still in development mode, the People Flow Simulator was put through its paces in an existing building to assess and simulate traffic stress and people flow bottlenecks for a crowd control project. The simulation caught the eye of developers who then invited KONE to conduct a virtual walk-through of a yet-to-be constructed building.

Combined with these technology enablers, human experience and expertise also play an important role in arriving at a more precise analysis of the traffic flow in buildings.
NBM&CW December 2021
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