Understanding customer needs drives the KONE Technology team to deliver products and solutions that are taking elevators and escalators to new levels. Ask Jussi Oijala to look inside his crystal ball to see where elevator and escalator technology is heading, and you begin to see a world of increasing integration.
“The user experience will become even more heightened,” he discloses.
As head of the KONE Technology and R&D team, Oijala is in charge of about 600 professionals in seven countries. He also manages the KONE Solution Creation Process, where, as he explains, “we make sure that our solutions are not only competitive, but also fulfill and exceed our customers’ expectations.”
According to Oijala, what the future will hold is a world where elevators and escalators are closely integrated into other building systems. At its core, this means planning the People Flow™ inside a structure so that entering and exiting is fast and easy. It also means that elevators use artificial intelligence to optimize traffic.
“Artificial intelligence includes creating algorithms so that our equipment learns the traffic patterns in a building: when people come to work, when they go to lunch and when they leave at the end of the day. If the building use changes, the equipment learns the new traffic patterns to continue to minimize wait times,” says Oijala.
Look for traditional push-button elevators with what Oijala calls ‘dumb technology’ to become a thing of the past. Elevators and escalators will know where we are and where we are going – and will be linked even closer to the use of the building.
Faster with destination controlMinimizing wait times is a major part of improving People Flow inside buildings. Another of KONE’s innovations use ‘destination control’ to know the floor a passenger is traveling to before he or she enters the elevator car. “With the KONE Polaris™ destination control system (DCS), a passenger gives his or her destination already on the source floor, rather than inside the car,” explains Oijala. The destination user interface also provides new features for passengers and building occupants. “A destination control system can be integrated with the access control system to enable an automatic call when a person reaches the access gate. This improves traffic handling performance and makes using elevators even more convenient for passengers,” Oijala adds.
The system’s first use was in the Galileo Tower in Frankfurt, Germany, in 2003. There, the average wait time is 10 seconds. As a result of this success, KONE won a contract to provide Polaris to two other similar buildings in downtown Frankfurt. One such project is the new Tower 185 skyscraper which will feature 28 KONE elevators; all linked to a destination control system. KONE has received other DCS orders in recent years as well. The CB31 Tower (formally known as the AXA Tower) in Paris’ La Défense district is currently under renovation. Modernization will include 18 elevators all equipped with a destination control system, which will offer over 25 percent more capacity within the existing shafts.
The first ever double-deck elevators with integrated DCS were provided for the Broadgate Tower project in London. Double-deck elevators consist of two elevator cars in the same hoistway, one on top of the other. This unique DCS technology creates significant space savings and increases traffic handling capacity. Passengers simply indicate their destination floor before entering the elevator and are then directed to a specific elevator, which takes them to their destination with the fewest intermediate stops.
Optimizing traffic managementFor complex high-rise developments and commercial properties, the latest technologies look to make traffic management an easier task for facility managers. Broken down in simple terms, this involves providing an easy-to-use system operating from a standard personal computer that provides real-time information about how elevators are performing and their exact location. This helps to detect problems earlier and re-direct traffic, if needed.
“KONE E-Link™ is an elevator monitoring system that provides diagnostic information about elevator condition and group performance. It’s ideal for a complex building structure with demanding traffic needs,” says Oijala.
E-Link also provides some useful control features. “You can create an automatic scheduler that disables the use of certain floors, such as the garage, during certain time periods.”
The technology is nowWalking into a structure will be easier than ever before – forget about unlocking a door with your hands. We will immediately know where the elevators and escalators are located, and we will enter the equipment with the doors open and waiting. Better yet, the elevator will know which floor to take us before we enter the car. And we will be guided through internal doorways seamlessly. Again, no closed doors and keys – the door will open automatical-ly based on communication received when we entered the elevator.
While this may sound like science fiction, in actuality, a good portion of this technology is already in use. First piloted in a residential apartment building in Arabianranta, a new development in Helsinki, Finland, KONE IDE300™ is a system that integrates automatic building doors and elevators. Anyone who has ever gone home with their hands full of shopping bags can appreciate the benefits of this technology. “You enter the building not by opening the door, but instead by placing a card reader into a device that opens the front door,” says Oijala. Next, the elevator is automatically sent to the entrance floor, the elevator doors open, and, when a person enters the elevator, the car call to the destination floor has already been created. “We have yet to integrate this technology so that the person can enter his or her apartment without keys, but this may come in the future,” smiles Oijala.
Understanding long-term needsOne of the key drivers in innovation is eco-efficiency, which challenges KONE to deliver equipment that consumes less energy. Here, the company has set an ambitious target. In 2009, KONE released a range of elevator offerings that reduced energy consumption by 30 percent, compared to its then-current volume models. “KONE is targeting an additional 20 percent energy-consumption cutback in its volume elevator offering, compared to our previous offering,” says Oijala. Volume elevators refer to the standard elevators in KONE’s product line.
Advanced elevator technology offers major opportunities. To really deliver, though, systems need to be energy-efficient; as well as able to handle power surges and not be affected by or affect other electrical equipment. KONE was the first company to offer regenerative systems, which can recover up to 35 percent of the total energy used by an elevator system. A KONE regenerative drive is designed to work in tandem with a KONE EcoDisc® motor, which serves as the generator; the regenerative drive thus recovers the energy and converts it into ‘clean’ regenerated electricity for use in other applications, such as lighting or to perhaps drive other elevators.
But while technology is interesting to talk about, for Oijala, job satisfaction comes from understanding what a customer needs and developing solutions that build a long-term relationship. “We have to focus not only on new products and technologies but also understanding logistics, installation and maintenance of our equipment. We know we’ve gotten it right when we win a contract and keep a customer satisfied for many years,” says Oijala.
Learn more how regenerative technology can recover up to 35% of the energy used by an elevator system. Read more »
KONE E-Link is used at the Beijing Capital Airport to remotely monitor the transportation of 40 million passengers annually.Read more »
What is People Flow®?
通力工具箱(Toolbox) »通力Quick Traffic(電梯流量計算工具) »高效節能(Eco-efficiency) »
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