KONE Facility in Allen Lifts Elevator Technology



KONE’s new North American Research and Development center in Allen will take elevator technology to new heights.

There’s a test tower where the Finland-based company can test the latest in elevator technology, some of which is being used on the Jeddah Tower, the tallest building in the world under construction in Saudi Arabia.

There’s also light manufacturing, where workers will put the electronics and “brains” into the elevator doors. And there’s an office component.

In all, KONE will relocate about 300 employees to the 173,952-square-foot facility later this month. A grand opening is set for June 20, said Patrick O’Connell, a KONE spokesman.

The test tower will have six elevator shafts where workers can test JumpLifts, smart elevators and UltraRope technologies.

The JumpLift would be used on a building under construction so workers can use the permanent elevators rather than using temporary external construction elevators that are affixed to the outside of a building.

The JumpLift allows the elevator shaft to physically jump up to the next level every time new floors are added to a building. These elevators are safer, faster and can hold more people and equipment. It could cut construction time by six months, O’Connell said.

“That’s a huge savings to developers,” O’Connell said.

The first JumpLift in North America will be delivered to the One Bloor project in Toronto. It makes sense for the project because it gets workers out of the elements in Canada and clear of the wavy exterior design of the building.

Smart elevators use a touchscreen to hail an elevator for you rather than just hitting a button that says up. The system tells you which elevator to go to and takes you to your destination. Another passenger who is stopping on a floor near yours might get a ride, too.

The idea is to make elevators more like a limo ride than a bus.

It cuts down on energy use by economizing the trips an elevator takes. And could even remember users who enter a building using their security badge and automatically hail an elevator for their usual destination.

The technology could replace the elevator banks that most towers use to separate elevators by floors.

The UltraRope technology allows elevators to go higher than ever before. It uses carbon fiber composite cables that are 70 percent lighter than traditional elevator cables.

It also saves on energy costs because it’s lightens the load, KONE said.

This innovation is being installed now in the 167-story Jeddah Tower in Saudi Arabia. At 1 kilometer in height, it will be the tallest building in the world when completed in 2018.

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