Sensing Technologies for Predictive Elevator Maintenance with KONE

Advanced materials
Functional materials
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KONE, a global leader in the elevator and escalator industry, is looking for advanced sensors, materials, and actuators to enhance longer and safe operation without unexpected downtimes, and to reduce maintenance needs and visits within normal operation of elevator systems.

Opportunity overview

KONE and its maintenance business are continuously seeking solutions that reduce downtime and improve performance, predictable maintenance, and operational safety of elevators. Planned maintenance takes care of wearing components with predicted or measured conditions. Typically, wear depth, vibration, noise, and visual information tell about mechanical components’ state. This information is transferred as error messages, value of physical wear and analyzed on edge or cloud. Then, the components are maintained or replaced accordingly, such as sliding parts, ropes, bearings, and pulleys.

KONE is further enhancing the maintenance processes and improving its customer experience with the help of advanced sensors, materials, and actuators. The aim is to gain ultimately reliable elevator experience by having a more predictable lifetime of components and more accurately planned maintenance breaks. Safe operation, sub-systems predictable maintenance planning, and controlled wear are essential elements for maximizing the availability of modern elevators. In this business opportunity, the main focus is on detection, measuring, actuation, and operating means which go beyond connectivity building solutions.

As the aim is to keep the implementation process lean, the solution should be mature enough for industrialization, scalable, reliable, and likely innovative. Collaboration is essential by joining sensing or actuation technology optimal way with elevator components. Therefore, specifying fixed requirements for this work cannot be set in advance.

Eventually, by enhancing the safety of elevators and the level to which they can predict maintenance needs, it is possible to extend the lifetime of components and use functional materials or sensing to avoid unnecessary replacements. Consequently, optimizing maintenance visits helps to lower the overall operating costs and carbon footprint of elevator systems.

Your opportunity with KONE

Collaborating with KONE gives the opportunity to work with a leading industrial player in the field with its extensive industry know-how and large operational volumes. Many times, existing sensors, actuators, breaking means, materials physics, and technology can be combined in innovative, cost-friendly, and useful ways with existing elevator components, opening meaningful avenues for technological and commercial co-development. The potential product can be close to original ideas. Therefore, don’t hesitate to come up with slightly raw ideas based on mature technologies and other industrial applications as the KONE team can evaluate the solution’s applicability to the elevator system and its component-level challenges.

Focus Areas

Examples of solutions we’re interested in

Advanced sensors

We’re looking for sensors that can sense for example wear, conductivity, small distance changes from 5-150 mm far, particles or smell of wear debris, lubricants, and other anomalies.

Advanced materials

Unpredictable wear of the sliding and rotating parts is causing reduced lifetime, poor ride comfort, friction and unintended maintenance work. We’re looking for functionalities, lubricants and materials that can extend the lifetime of the components, improve efficiency and possibly give signs of wear, e.g. by changing the color of the component.

Safety actuators

For better safety, we are looking for reliable, long-life actuators, where indicating its end-of-life and maintenance needs indirectly. For example, these could include controlled braking forces with fast and reliable adjustability, enabling smooth retardations by digital and programmable safety electronics.

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