KONE Elevator India
Amit Gossain, MD & CEO, KONE Elevator India, informs that the company is undertaking intensive research to design and develop elevators that meet customer expectations for safer, smoother, and more efficient vertical transportation solutions in high-rise buildings that are mushrooming across the highly populated urban cities of India, and cites examples of the highly innovative and technologically advanced elevators that have been developed and installed by the company.

India’s Elevator Market was valued at USD 1.5 billion in FY2022 and is anticipated to project robust growth at a CAGR of 6% owing to the high pace of infra development and increasing construction of skyscrapers, multi-rise buildings etc, which have given an impetus to the growth of the real estate sector. What is your view on this?
KONE Elevator India
India is doing quite well; if you look at the GDP of India, it’s going to be over 6%. We’ve come out of the Covid induced pandemic quite well. The Government’s Housing for All initiative is also making good progress. In fact, the real estate segment is doing well including the commercial and office segments with people back to working from office, while factories and warehouses are on expansion mode. The residential segment is still leading real estate development; however, growth of the retail sector, which was slowing down due to the increase in online buying, is now picking up slowly and steadily.

No doubt, the growth across all the segments of real estate has impacted the elevator and escalator industry favourably. In view of this, we expect the industry’s CAGR this fiscal to be as much, if not more, than the India’s growth story, and we will continue to grow.

India’s first ever lift was installed in Kolkata in Raj Bhawan. Today, advancements in technology are transforming the Elevator industry with elevator companies applying IoT and robotics in their elevators and developing concepts like the twin elevator system. What impact will such technologies have in advancing India’s Elevator industry?
India is ready for these technologies with a strong focus on digitalization across industries. In the Budget 23-24 there is a special mention of investing in IoT and artificial intelligence, with plans to open special experience centers by the government.

At KONE, we do a lot of investments at our technology centers in Chennai and Pune. We have set up monitoring systems for our elevators and are connected 24x7 through IoT. This also means that system failures are much reduced, and entrapments don’t happen as the devices ensure predictive maintenance and issues are fixed before they cause any disruption to the elevators’ functions. This gives our customers immense peace of mind regarding safety.

At KONE, IoT is playing a big role. We launched the first digitally connected elevators in the world. We are encouraging customers who do not have IoT-connected elevators in their building to upgrade so that they be at peace regarding safety in the elevators.

As Chairman of the Real Estate and Building Technology Committee and President of IEEA, what is your stand on the rising concern regarding elevator safety regulations; when can we expect to have the Lift Regulation Act in place?
This is a big issue as many accidents are happening. There is a state-wise act, which only 11 states are currently following. But rather than making it a state subject, my suggestion and recommendation is that there should be a central lift act to drive the safety regulations more forcefully – much like the emission standards which the government takes very seriously for protecting the environment.

Elevators and escalators are only going to increase in number with high-rise buildings becoming the norm in order to accommodate India’s growing population. But there has to be some minimum manufacturing specifications for safety of the elevators and to prevent accidents, which every manufacturer and high-rise builders will have to follow.

KONE Elevator India
India is ready for new technologies in elevatoring in which KONE is already ahead of the game.

We have been meeting the concerned authorities in the Government and some action is definitely being taken. Since not all states are implementing the Lift Act, I think the central government should come up with a Central Lift Act and make it mandatory for all states to follow it. In fact, with the new PI standard, coming in it’s important that we make sure that the Central Lift Act is also in place. The unified PI standard aims to ensure that product manufacturers, suppliers, and brands will provide customers in-depth information on the product, its characteristics and capabilities.

In July 2022, Maharashtra’s energy department had issued a circular stating that all high-rise buildings of more than 70m height must have fire evacuation lifts. What initiatives are being taken by other state authorities to mandate this in their state as well?
KONE Elevator India
The Maharashtra state government has been actively enforcing the Lift Act as it has realized the importance of having elevators that remain well maintained and safe for the riders. The state has been organizing regular inspections of elevators and ensuring that builders are following the regulations under the Lift Act. Unfortunately, incidents of fire breakouts are still happening, hence, it’s important to have safety regulations in place.

High-speed elevators are seeing increasing demand in India – a country that sees frequent power outrages – during which the elevator stops suddenly, and passengers experience a powerful jerk. Has KONE India devised a way to address this issue and ensure smooth evacuation of passengers?
Preventing a jerk in a car that brakes suddenly or in a fast-moving elevator that stops during a power outage is actually difficult. It is the law of motion. We are trying to figure out a solution to prevent a jerk when an elevator stops suddenly, and we hope to find one soon at our tech centers. No elevator manufacturer has come up with a complete solution yet. Some solutions work partly, but we need to have a foolproof system.

Usually, in a high-end building, when a power outage happens, the building automatically goes into generator mode and the elevator goes to the next floor and stops, and the passengers do not experience any jerk.

Is the concept of running elevators on solar energy picking up? What R&D is going on at KONE towards this end?
We have research and development being done on use of solar energy and on technologies that make elevators more power efficient and more sustainable.

We were the first to introduce the machine room-less elevator which saves 70 to 80% energy consumption. We have gearless elevators that do not cause any friction and their movement is smoother. No friction also means less power consumption and therefore the product is more sustainable.

KONE Elevator India
At KONE, we will keep on innovating and building elevators and escalators that are user-friendly, safe, and efficient. Our aim is to meet the demands of our customers – building owners and real estate developers – and make their projects highly successful.

Does the density and height of a project impact how you design and implement installation of elevators? Do such projects require customized lifts?
Many developers of high-rise buildings, especially high-end, ask us for elevators with a certain speed, cars with aesthetically designed interiors and built-in smart features like music and LED lights, or elevators that can be connected to the riders’ smart phone to call the elevator or use a QR code. They also want digitally connected elevators. Ultimately, they are looking for features that will make the elevator safer, less noisy, and one that runs smoothly. So, we do customize our elevators to include any or all of these features.

How does KONE India approach high-rise projects and on what important aspects does it collaborate with developers, builders, and consultants to ensure proper installation of its lifts, and their maintenance over their life span?
There are many good consultants in India with experience in high-rise buildings. At KONE, we have the expertise in installing elevators in high rise buildings, including calculating and analyzing traffic movement, based on which we advise the builder on how many elevators would be feasible for the building, their size, speed, budget, etc. So, we often work alongside the consultant on all the important aspects of elevator selection and installation.

For instance, at the Jio World Convention Centre, KONE installed a 16.5-ton elevator with a capacity for 235 passengers. It is as big as a conference room and therefore ideal for taking a large number of people at one time to the top. The elevator has very big machine room which takes the support of the entire elevator. It is designed for complete safety with strong doors, and robust parts. The large car has a Lotus design, based on the design of the Jio Center itself, and soft touch buttons. We provide 24/7 monitoring to ensure its safe operations at all times.

We undertake key post installation and maintenance services which depend on the type of elevator installed and the type of service the customer has chosen – it could be 24/7 services, general services, etc. Services are undertaken only by KONE’s in-house technicians as we do not subcontract our services. We have training centers in Chennai, Pune, and Gurgaon, and we have collaborated with Chitkara University in Punjab where we have designed a vertical transportation course for the students.

KONE Elevator India

What does KONE owe its success to, despite stiff competition from leading domestic and international brands?
As a very customer-centric organization, KONE owes its success to its clients. We take regular feedback from our customers and conduct regular surveys on new market trends. All our team members – whether involved in sales, installation, servicing, R&D, or in manufacturing - work collaboratively to ensure that customer expectations are met satisfactorily.

KONE Elevator India
At KONE, IoT is playing a big role and we are encouraging customers to opt for digitally connected elevators that will give them peace of mind with regard to safety.

We also owe the success of our brand to our innovations. KONE is among CII’s 50 most innovative companies. In 2022, we were adjudged a “Great Place to Work” - third time in a row! In fact, we are amongst the best 25 places to work in the manufacturing space in India.

What are your views on Budget 2023?
Budget 2023 is good from the economy and real estate perspective. The tax relief announced for the middle-income people will encourage more consumption, including investments in new housing projects.

The Budget maintains the government’s focus on infrastructure development with a 33% higher capital outlay of Rs 10 lakh crore and transform India’s Tier 2 & Tier 3 cities into centers of economic growth. The government’s decision to increase the PMAY Fund by 66% to Rs. 79,000 crores will give a big boost to affordable housing. The announcement of developing 50 tourist destinations have the potential to transform the areas from a tourist destination into a second home or a weekend getaway. I believe that all these moves will throw up growth opportunities for the realty sector and allied industries, including the Elevator Industry.