For the radio station in Lubbock, Texas, see KONE (FM). For other uses, see Koné (disambiguation).
Julkinen osakeyhtiö
Traded as Nasdaq Helsinki: KNEBV
Industry Engineering and service
Founded 1910 (1910)
Headquarters Helsinki, Finland
Corporate Headquarters
Key people
Antti Herlin (Chairman)
Henrik Ehrnrooth (President and CEO)
Products Elevators, escalators, automatic building doors
  • Increase €8.647 billion (2015)[1]
  • Increase €1.241 billion (2015)
  • Increase €1.053 billion (2015)
Total assets
  • Increase €7.506 billion (2015)
Total equity
  • Increase €2.575 billion (2015)
Number of employees
49,000 (2015)
Website www.kone.com

KONE Oyj (officially typeset KONE and pronounced /kn/), founded in 1910 and headquartered in Helsinki, Finland, is an international engineering and service company employing some 49,000 personnel worldwide. The firm is one of the largest manufacturers of elevators and escalators worldwide, and also provides maintenance services and modernization. In addition, KONE builds and services automatic doors and gates. The company provides local service for builders, developers, building owners, designers and architects in 1,000 offices in over 50 countries. Since 1924, KONE has been owned by one of Finland's wealthiest families, the Herlin family. After Harald Herlin purchased the company in 1924, he served as its Chairman until 1941. Afterwards, his son, Heikki H. Herlin, took over his father's post from 19411987. Control of the company was then handed down to his son, Pekka Herlin, which he retained from 19872003. The current Chairman of KONE's Board of Directors from 2003 onwards is Antti Herlin, the son of Pekka Herlin.

In the Finnish language Kone means "machine" or "device".



KONE (then known as Osakeyhtiö Kone Aktiebolag) was founded in 1910 as a subsidiary of Gottfr. Strömberg Oy. Strömberg's license to import Graham Brothers elevators was transferred to the new company. KONE sold just a few units before terminating the licensing agreement in 1917. KONE, then a company with only 50 employees, started to make and install its own elevators in 1918. Six years later, in 1924, entrepreneur Harald Herlin bought KONE from Strömberg and became the new chairman of the company's Board of Directors. His son, Heikki H. Herlin, joined the company and was appointed technical director in 1928. His office was located in a former margarine factory on Haapaniemi Street in Helsinki that KONE had bought and converted into an elevator production facility the previous year. Heikki H. Herlin took over as KONE's president in 1932. KONE's first foreign subsidiary - AB Kone Hissar of Sweden - was established in 1957.

After World War II, KONE was called upon by the Finnish government to contribute elevators, electric hoists and cranes to the war reparations being paid to the Soviet Union. This program forced KONE to expand its capacity, rationalize production processes and learn to meet demanding manufacturing schedules. In the 1950s KONE introduced its first group controls, automatic doors and hydraulic elevators. Heikki H. Herlin turned over the president's duties in 1964 to his son, Pekka, who had served as administrative director since 1958.


KONE opened a purpose-built elevator factory in 1966 in Hyvinkää, Finland. The following year KONE was listed on the Helsinki Exchanges and started its international expansion through the acquisition of Sweden's Asea-Graham and its Norwegian and Danish affiliates. Numerous acquisitions followed during the 1970s and 1980s with only the most significant being listed here. The acquisitions of companies larger and older than KONE itself has been seen to have brought KONE respectability and lifted the company to a position of market prominence. Eventually KONE further expanded its business scope. The company became one of the world's largest hoist and crane manufacturers as well as a producer of high-tech electronic hospital and laboratory equipment.

The former Kone corporate offices in Munkkiniemi, Helsinki

In 1981 KONE entered the American elevator market with the acquisition of New York City based Armor Elevator Company, which it continued to operate independently as a wholly owned subsidiary.[2] The company acquired Navire Cargo Gear in 1982 and International MacGregor, makers of shipboard cargo access equipment. Wood-handling systems and equipment for pulp and paper mills, hydraulic piping systems, mining equipment and conveyors, and specialized steel components were manufactured at KONE's steel foundry. In 1987, after 60 years as a member of KONE's board of directors and 46 as its chairman, Heikki H. Herlin retired. Prevented by Finnish law from serving simultaneously as president and board chairman, Pekka Herlin ceded the presidency to Matti Matinpalo, the first non-Herlin to occupy the position in 55 years, and continued as Chairman of the Board.

In 1990, KONE sold its shipboard cargo handling business in 1993, as well as its crane (Konecranes), wood handling and piping systems businesses in 1994, and finally the steel foundry and electronic medical instruments divisions in 1995. Only its elevators, escalators, and automatic door branches remained. KONE acquired the Montgomery Elevator Company of the U.S. in 1994. Soon afterwards, the KONE Corporation purchased a majority of the outstanding shares of O&K Rolltreppen GmbH of Germany, a supplier of escalators and autowalks. In 1998 the company made a $29 million (US) investment in the construction of an elevator and escalator factory in Kunshan, China.

In 1996, Antti Herlin, the great-grandson of the company's founder, was appointed KONE CEO and deputy chairman of the board of the company that he had now inherited. The company introduced new technology such as the KONE EcoDisc hoisting machine and the KONE MonoSpace elevator technology concept in 1996. KONE was one of the first to introduce machine-room-less (MRL) construction in elevators. KONE's MRL designs significantly reduced the size of elevator machinery and its lift mechanism by using permanent-magnet electric motors (PMM). The use of these mechanisms enabled all of the elevator's equipment and its inner workings to be confined to the space above the elevator shaft, known as the hoistway overhead, instead of needing an entire room dedicated to machinery. At the beginning of the 21st Century, due to the apparent benefits of KONE's pioneering elevator systems, rival companies began competitively marketing machine-room-less elevators of their own.


Flags at Kone corporate headquarters, built in 2001 in Keilaniemi, Espoo, Finland (photo 2003).
The Kone corporate headquarters in Espoo, Finland

KONEs chairman of the board, Pekka Herlin, died on April 4, 2003 after a long illness. Antti Herlin was subsequently appointed the new chairman of the board in June 2003. Matti Alahuhta, a former Executive Vice President at Nokia Corporation, previously serving as the President of Nokia Mobile Phones, was later chosen to fill Herlin's vacant position as the acting President of the KONE Corporation. He held the position since 2005, and officially became the firm's President and CEO in 2006. In April 2014, Alahuhta stepped down and KONE's CFO at the time, Henrik Ehrnrooth was appointed Alahuhta's successor.

In 2002, KONE acquired Partek, a Finnish industrial engineering company with net sales equal to KONE's. Partek's business areas specialized in container handling, load handling, forest machinery and tractors. The tractors were manufactured under the Valtra brand. The KONE Materials Handling division thus comprised these Partek business areas.

In 2003, KONE decided to concentrate on Container Handling and Load Handling and the tractor and forest machine businesses were sold. The Valtra tractor business was sold to AGCO, a worldwide agricultural manufacturer. As the structure of KONE Materials Handling had changed significantly, the name KONE Cargotec was introduced in January 2004. Its business areas were Kalmar (container handling) and HIAB (load handling).

At the end of 2004, KONE Cargotec acquired MacGREGOR, a global marine cargo-flow service provider.

In August 2004 the KONE Board of Directors presented a plan to split the company into two separately listed companies on the Helsinki Stock Exchanges in June, 2005. One company would comprise KONE's existing elevator, escalator & building door service business and continue to operate under the name KONE Corporation. The other company would comprise KONE Cargotec’s business area and operate under the name Cargotec Corporation. The Extraordinary Shareholders’ Meeting in December 2004 approved the Demerger Plan. The demerger was completed in June 2005.

In September 2007 it was announced that KONE is proposing to lease several floors of a new riverfront tower to be built on Bass Street Landing, which is part of the Moline Riverfront.[3]

Also in 2007, it was announced KONE had received part of what was then the largest fine ever handed out by the EU Commission for local anti-competitive practices in the elevator and escalator markets in Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg and the Netherlands relating to time prior to mid-2004 (the commission stated that it could only prove its case back to 1995, though evidence allegedly suggested the abuse had started much earlier). Competitors ThyssenKrupp, Schindler Group, Otis Elevator Co. and Mitsubishi Elevator Europe were also given similar fines. KONE has appealed against the size of the fine, currently 142 million EUR. In total, the industry received 1 billion EUR fine for cartel activity across Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg and the Netherlands.[4]

Finally, in 2007, KONE announced that they would stop production of hydraulic elevators, replacing them with the EcoSpace MRL elevators, due to the hydraulic elevators' inefficient energy consumption, contamination concerns regarding the use of hydraulic oil and buried cylinders, and other environmental concerns. Therefore, KONE has become the first major brand elevator company to make only traction elevators.[5]

Alliances and acquisitions

KONE UltraRope in elevator shaft

Awards and rankings

In 2013, KONE has been awarded for several GOOD DESIGN awards for its design offering, functional elevator signalization series and sleek new elevator car design. This is the third time KONE has received this acknowledgement for its design excellence.[6]

Forbes list of world's most innovative companies

In 2014, KONE was ranked 42nd out of the top in the world by the well-known business magazine Forbes. This was the fourth consecutive year KONE was recognized in this ranking. Out of all European companies listed in 2014, KONE was ranked an impressive sixth and KONE was the only elevator and escalator company featured on Forbes' list.[7]

2014 Newsweek Green Rankings

In 2014, KONE was ranked the world's 12th greenest company by the American magazine Newsweek. Released by Newsweek and its research partner Corporate Knights Capital, the evaluates the world's largest publicly traded companies using eight metrics that collectively provide a transparent measurement of overall corporate environmental performance. In the list, KONE is the only top 50 company representing the elevator and escalator industry.[8]

Products and trademarks

KONE UltraRope

In June 2013 the company launched a new high-rise elevator technology, called 'KONE UltraRope', which enables future elevator travel heights of 1 kilometre. The product is light due to its carbon fibre core and a high-friction coating. Because of these qualities, elevator energy consumption in high-rise buildings can be cut significantly.[9]

KONE EcoDisc motor

The 'KONE EcoDisc motor', used for hoisting, reduces the amount of energy lost as heat. The motor control system and brakes make the elevator ride quiet and the design frees up space.[10]


The 'KONE MonoSpace' for low- to mid-rise buildings is the world’s first machine-room-less elevator.[10] The 'KONE EcoSpace' elevator is a machine-room-less traction elevator designed for low-rise buildings from 2 to 15 stories as an energy-efficient alternative to hydraulic elevators, and can fit in an existing hydraulic elevator hoistway. It is produced in a 150 feet per minute (0.76 m/s) speed, 200 feet per minute (1.0 m/s) and 350 feet per minute (1.8 m/s) variants.[11] The 'KONE MiniSpace' elevator with a small machine room is often used in high-rise buildings.[10]

Other trademarks

'People Flow' is a registered trademark of KONE Corporation.[12]

Cartel fine

The European Union (EU) gave a fine of 992m euros ($1.3bn; £666.8m) on four lift and escalator manufacturers for price-fixing between 1995 and 2004. Germany's ThyssenKrupp, US-owned Otis Elevator Company, Kone of Finland and Swiss firm Schindler were fined for taking part in a market-rigging cartel.[13]

Industrial action

On the 7 April 2015, about 300 KONE UK employees took industrial action. The protest was over the company's introduction of tracking devices on vehicles.[14][15]

See also


  1. "Financial information - KONE Corporation". Retrieved 1 June 2016.
  2. "Kone Purchases Armor Elevator". The New York Times. November 11, 1981. Retrieved May 7, 2010.
  3. Schorpp, Doug. :Kone to sell its Moline properties to Q-C developer", "QCTimes.com",September 27, 2007. Accessed September 27, 2007.
  4. "Finnish Lift Maker Kone to Appeal EU Cartel Fine". Reuters. March 2, 2007.
  5. "Hydraulic Elevators - KONE U.S. & Canada". 29 July 2013. Archived from the original on July 29, 2013. Retrieved 1 June 2016.
  6. "KONE wins four prestigious GOOD DESIGN awards" February 3, 2014. Retrieved on 19 June 2014.
  7. "The World's Most Innovative Companies". Retrieved 1 June 2016.
  8. "http://www.newsweek.com/2014/06/13/newsweeks-green-rankings-2014-253482.html". Retrieved 1 June 2016. External link in |title= (help)
  9. New KONE UltraRope(TM) elevator hoisting technology enables the next big leap in high-rise building design | KONE Press Release June 10, 2013
  10. 1 2 3 "A proven technology leader - KONE Vietnam". Retrieved 1 June 2016.
  11. "EcoSpace Low-Rise Elevator - KONE U.S.". Retrieved 1 June 2016.
  12. "PEOPLE FLOW - Trademark Details". justia.com. Retrieved 29 April 2015.
  13. Record EU fine for lift 'cartel' BBC 21.10.2013
  14. "Lift workers strike over 'spy in the cab' that does not work, says Unite". Unite. Retrieved 29 April 2015.
  15. Rahman, Miran. "Keighley KONE workers participate in strike action over controversial workload monitoring device". Keighley News. Retrieved 29 April 2015.
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