Technology & Breakthroughs

Kone technology scales the heights

Kone UltraRope in elevator shaft

Kone, an innovative leader in the elevator and escalator industry, announced a new high-rise elevator technology that is set to break industry limits and enable future elevator travel heights of 1 km - twice the distance currently feasible. The Kone UltraRope is a completely new hoisting technology that eliminates the disadvantages of conventional steel rope and opens up a world of possibilities in high-rise building design - an important consideration as urbanisation brings increasing numbers of people to cities.

Comprising a carbon fibre core and a unique high-friction coating, Kone UltraRope is extremely light, meaning elevator energy consumption in high-rise buildings can be cut significantly. The drop in rope weight means a dramatic reduction in elevator moving masses - the weight of everything that moves when an elevator travels up or down, including the hoisting ropes, compensating ropes, counterweight, elevator car, and passenger load. Due to the significant impact of ropes on the overall weight of elevator moving masses, the benefits of Kone UltraRope increase exponentially as travel distance grows.

Kone UltraRope is extremely strong and highly resistant to wear and abrasion. Elevator downtime caused by building sway is also reduced as carbon fibre resonates at a completely different frequency to steel and most other building materials. Kone UltraRope has an exceptionally long lifetime – at least twice that of conventional steel rope – and thanks to the special coating, no lubrication is required in maintaining it, enabling further cuts in environmental impact.

All of this adds up to unprecedented eco efficiency, durability and reliability in future high-rise elevator travel, the company said.

“We are proud to introduce this innovation that we are certain will revolutionise the elevator industry for the tallest segment of buildings across the globe. The benefits of Kone UltraRope versus conventional elevator hoisting technologies are numerous and indisputable,” said Kone president and CEO Matti Alahuhta.

Kone UltraRope has been developed and tested rigorously both in real elevators and simulation laboratories at Kone’s research and development facilities in Finland. Since 2010, it has been tested in operation at the world’s tallest elevator testing laboratory, Kone’s Tytyri facility built over 300 m underground adjacent to an active limestone mine. Properties like tensile strength, bending lifetime, and material aging are just some of the qualities that have been measured.

Nearly 600 buildings of 200 m or more are currently under construction or planned to be built over the next few years, according to the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat. While there are currently three buildings in the world that top the 500-meter mark, there are plans for 20 more such buildings to be built in coming years. Additionally, there are currently some 3,000 buildings in the world that could benefit from modernisation with Kone UltraRope.