KONE celebrated the official opening of its new KONE Park manufacturing site, engineering facility and research and development (R&D) center in the Kunshan New and Hi-tech Industrial Development Zone in Eastern China today. At some 240,000 square meters, the purpose-built KONE Park includes three elevator factories and an escalator factory, and is KONE's largest manufacturing unit in the world.
"We are proud of the Kunshan KONE Park, which enables us to better meet our customers' needs in China, the rest of Asia, and, indeed, the rest of the world," said Heikki Leppänen, Executive Vice President, KONE New Equipment Business. "While China is by far the single biggest market for new elevators and escalators, products from Kunshan are also exported to more than 90 countries."
The opening ceremony was attended by Finnish Foreign Trade Minister Alexander Stubb, Kunshan Mayor Lu Jun, as well as KONE Chairman Antti Herlin, and KONE President and CEO Matti Alahuhta.
KONE Park was planned according to KONE's global supply network needs and the lean manufacturing principle, aimed at maximizing efficiency and eliminating waste. Emphasis has also been on further reducing energy and water use as well as the unit's carbon footprint. KONE Park was constructed according to modern green building standards and aims to earn a LEED Gold green building certification.
The new site, which began operations in phases during 2012, is located close to the Suzhou-Shanghai Expressway, enabling good connections to both suppliers and customers. It replaces an older facility, which has also been located in Kunshan and has included both elevator and escalator production as well as research and development.
The three new Kunshan elevator module factories produce elevator cars, elevator electrification products and elevator motors. The escalator factory produces both commercial and heavy-duty escalators as well as horizontal and inclined autowalks. KONE Park also includes one of KONE's eight global R&D centers. A new high-rise test tower is under construction at the expanded Kunshan R&D site. The tower supports the development of KONE's People Flow® solutions for skyscrapers and will be opened in 2014.
KONE began operations in China in 1996, when it registered the KONE Elevators Co., Ltd. subsidiary. The first Kunshan factory was opened in 1998 at a site that is now in the midst of a residential area. KONE also operates through its majority-owned GiantKONE joint venture. KONE has a network of over 350 locations in China, employing some 8,900 people. Last year, KONE became the leading company in the Chinese market in terms of new elevator and escalator orders.