x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Kone to provide lifts for Saudi’s 1km Kingdom Tower

'The elevator shaft will be 637 metres in one shot,' said Henrik Ehrnrooth, the president and chief executive of Kone Corporation. 'It will be the highest, longest, above ground, lift shaft in the world.'

The Kingdom Tower project in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia is expected to be completed by 2018 and will cost 6 billion Saudi riyals. Courtesy EC Harris / Mace
The Kingdom Tower project in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia is expected to be completed by 2018 and will cost 6 billion Saudi riyals. Courtesy EC Harris / Mace

Kone is accustomed to life’s ups and downs. The Finnish engineering company, best known for its lifts and escalators, has been chosen as the vertical transportation provider (elevators to you and me) for the Kingdom Tower in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The tower is scheduled to become the world’s tallest building, when completed in late 2018, with a height of more than 1 kilometre.

“The building will be more than 1,000 metres and the elevator shaft will be 637 metres in one shot,” said Henrik Ehrnrooth, the president and chief executive of Kone Corporation. “It will be the highest, longest, above ground, lift shaft in the world. There will be a double decker elevator which will be the fastest in the world to cover the near half-a-mile distance. There are faster elevators in the world which are not double decker, but the speed at which these will travel will be swift and comfortable. Your ears will be able to balance and that is the compromise.”

The Kingdom Tower will have 65 elevators and escalators with the main shaft employing Kone’s UltraRope technology. The new hoisting rig will allow future elevator travel beyond the 1km limit, twice the distance that is currently possible.

Globally in new equipment, Kone is the second largest player but No 1 in the region. Half of Kone’s market is in the maintenance and modernising of older equipment but the engineer is hoping that the new technology will push sales in the region higher.

“In the Middle East and the UAE we consider that it is one of the key growth markets globally with a lot of opportunities and a strong market for elevators, therefore it’s a strategic area for us,” said Mr Ehrnrooth.

“There are only two countries in the world where we have more than 10 per cent of sales that is the US and China. If we look at the Middle East overall it is still less than 5 per cent of sales but it is clearly a growing market. We are investing lot in this region and looking higher.”

ascott@thenational.ae

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