KONE researches and simulates smart and energy-efficient solutions for elevators and people flows in the RYM Oy EUE research program. It seeks the best solutions for tall building production in Finnish conditions.
KONE is a shareholder in FIMECC Oy, the Finnish Metals and Engineering Competence Cluster (a SHOK company). It has participated in the RYM Oy EUE program from the beginning in 2012.
– Our key motive is to increase customer understanding since we wish to control people flows of the entire built environment. In practice, it means smooth, safe, comfortable and prompt movement within and between buildings. Our main products are elevators and escalators, but we are also increasingly involved in the building door business, says Harri Hakala, Research Director at KONE.
– We have created different simulation environments for calculating the performance of elevators and waiting times for them. During the EUE program we have switched from vertical to horizontal calculation. Our understanding of how a building as an entity should be dimensioned from the viewpoint of people flow has improved a lot. Modeling simulations using 3D game engines are the future.
Energy wisdom deriving from cutting-edge research
According to Hakala, a key area of interest and investment of resources for KONE in the EUE program is also the energy-efficiency of elevators as well as the entire building. The new international ISO standard, for its part, forces and incentivizes to improve the energy-efficiency of elevators. The EUE program offers a splendid multidisciplinary and customer-oriented research and development environment for that.
– The EUE program has also provided us empirical measurement and research data on the true energy consumption and action mechanisms of not only elevators, but also buildings. We know that the energy consumption of elevators has continuously decreased. Recently the focus of attention has increasingly shifted to the impact of elevators on heating and how waste heat can be efficiently recovered, Hakala continues.
KONE has a research team consisting of four doctoral students in Keilaniemi, Espoo led by Marja-Liisa Siikonen. In May, the first team member, Juha-Matti Kuusinen, defended his dissertation titled ”People Flow in Buildings – Evacuation Experiments and Modelling of Elevator Passenger Traffic.”
The research team works in close cooperation mainly with the Aalto University School of Electrical Engineering. The EUE program has provided the team new interlocutors and networks as well as practical research platforms which has resulted in academic articles, conference presentations and even a couple of master’s theses. One of the thesis authors has established a business that performs energy measurements.
Digitalization integrates building systems and products
Digitalization will revolutionize both the construction and elevator sector processes and business models. – It has been estimated that 20–30 years ago elevators accounted for 90 percent of the intelligence of a building. Now that share is only about 10 percent, although the intelligence of elevators has evolved tremendously, says Hannu Nousu, Senior Expert at KONE. For example, KONE People Flow Intelligence solutions include many types of products for access control and elevator destination control as well as for information communication and equipment monitoring.
For instance, in construction digitalization has meant ever wider introduction and utilization of BIM. The key questions are: how do the building and infrastructure models link to the city models at the core of the EUE program, and what happens when different systems really start to communicate with each other. In the EUE program KONE has had the opportunity to take part, for instance, in SRV’s digitalization and modeling projects.
– Digitalization and signalization may cause radical changes in how elevators are used in the future. A good example are the mobile destination control systems already in use in Finland. In order to be able to make use of indoor navigation, we must have a modeled environment and indoor space map applications, Hakala continues.
Smart solutions for tall buildings in Finnish conditions
KONE has solid experience from delivering elevators to tall buildings across the world. It has just started preparations for installing elevators at the Kingdom Tower construction site in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. When the skyscraper is finished in 2018, it will be the tallest building in the world rising to a height of over one kilometer. KONE will deliver to the building the fastest double-car elevators in the world with KONE UltraRope™ cables and the latest People Flow Intelligence solutions.
Construction of tall buildings is only about to start in Finland. KONE is seeking information about the special challenges of tall building construction in climatic conditions typical for Finland where variations in temperature are large.
– The EUE program includes various actors of the value network from cities to construction companies and equipment suppliers as well as suppliers of electrical and heating networks. With them we try to find out what users hope and expect of tall building construction in Finnish conditions and which technical solutions are the smartest. For instance, the requirements related to ventilation and cooling are totally different in Finland than in larger tall construction markets, Hannu Nousu concludes.