The Doha WTC Tower development is one of the unique landmarks in Qatar - Nicolas Elkhal, Managing Director, KONE Elevators
Supplier and installer of elevators and escalators for the Doha World Trade Centre project, KONE, one of the global leaders in the elevator and escalator industry, was founded in 1910. The company's objective is to offer the best People Flow™ experience by developing and delivering solutions that enable people to move smoothly, safely, comfortably and without waiting in buildings in an increasingly urbanising environment. Nicolas Elkhal, Managing Director, elucidates on the company's operations, its projects and future plans.
Please elaborate on the elevators and escalators provided for the Doha World Trade Center project?
The solutions for vertical transportation in the Doha World Trade Centre are designed for efficient people flow, with end-users enjoying a smooth ride. KONE has provided 27 elevators ranging from 1.0 mps to 7.0 mps, and 18 escalators in the cark park area. The KONE PolarisTM destination control system increases the elevator handling capacity, especially during peak hours.
Also, elucidate on the installation and maintenance services provided?
The WTC Doha Tower development in Qatar is one of the unique landmarks where we offer a variety of KONE's best People Flow™ solutions.
Multistage scaffold-less installation helped reduce installation time to meet the ambitious construction schedule. KONE has adopted an excellent customised Modular Based Maintenance which is optimised for this particular high rise segment, improving reliability.
How was the total experience of working on the project? What were the major challenges faced and how did you overcome these?
The professional team for this project (ARABTEC, MZ & Partners, and PROJACS) helped us to a great extent to overcome any challenges. Handing over service elevators for construction time use was completed in just a few weeks time through effective project management and collaboration with other subcontractors. Installing 18 elevators in void area, that had zig-zag arrangement, was well executed and managed through our special installation method and logistic plan.
What are your other ongoing projects in the Middle East? Who are your major clients?
In the Princess Tower in Dubai, the world's tallest residential building standing at 414 m, the KONE JumpLift solution was utilised. This is a unique self-climbing elevator that rises with the building, enabling construction time use even before topping out. The Makkah Clock Royal Tower was a project with many superlatives and very demanding requirements to accommodate people flow during prayer times. Some of our other prestigious projects in the region include Doha Mall, Qatar National Museum, Tawar Mall, Al Dar HQ (Abu Dhabi), Meydan Racecourse (Dubai).
What are your latest products launched in the Middle East market? What is your annual turnover in the region?
KONE products have for long had the leading edge in eco-efficiency. Our latest elevator range introduced this year brings even further cuts to the carbon footprint and boasts industry-leading ride comfort and outstanding designs. We are proud to have been ranked as the most innovative company in the industry by Forbes last year.
Please elaborate on the quality and safety standards followed by the company?
Safety and quality is embedded in all our processes, both being defined as high priority areas of the corporate strategy. KONE follows global processes in its business activities, and operations are carried out in a structured manner. This aims at ensuring the safety of our equipment and operations, with the well-being of our own people, customers, and end-users in focus.
Please throw some light on the market for elevators and escalators in the Middle East?
Despite the global economic setback and political unrest in parts of the region, the Middle East in general is a lucrative market with many opportunities especially in public and infrastructure projects. Moreover, Qatar and Saudi Arabia have shown consistent strong growth for several years.
Qatar is one of the fastest emerging economies in the world and winning bidder for the World Cup 2022. These have helped Qatar speed up its developmental plans to fuel growth across its construction industry. This will definitely have a positive growth impact on the elevators and escalators industry as well. Also, the present market scenario is quite favourable for progressive market growth that provides equal opportunities and challenges.
What are the latest upcoming trends in this sector? What is the total industry size?
KONE is committed to pioneering the development of energy-efficient products that maximise eco-efficiency over their lifetime. The early credentials of our commitment to environmentally sustainable solutions were created over 15 years ago, when KONE design engineers found a way to apply linear-motor technology to the elevator in way that would eliminate the machine room in most low-rise installations. The new EcoDisc® machine and MonoSpace® elevator solution revolutionised the industry with others following suit.
Eco-efficiency is one of the key drivers of our solution creation process and is at the heart of the entire KONE offering. When we are developing new solutions, the focus is on minimising environmental impact throughout the lifespan of the equipment, beginning with the extraction of raw materials and ending with recycling, waste treatment, and the reuse of recovered materials.
Where do you envisage the industry progressing in future?
Urbanisation and aging population are major megatrends that continue propelling the industry, presenting good opportunities for growth. Increased awareness of environment and safety drive our innovation and product development to meet customer needs. Building owners and facility managers are also becoming more professional and demanding. Total cost of ownership and equipment life-cycle are increasingly important factors when choosing a solution.
What are your future plans to leverage this growth?
We aim to maintain the leading edge, especially when it comes to eco-efficiency, design, and ride comfort with innovative product development. Deliver the best customer experience with good collaboration, communication and understanding what brings value to the customer.