Kone Lift Company

KONE was founded in Finland in 1910, but only moved into the British market in 1979 when they took over Marryat & Scott.


In the 80s Kone made some fairly retro lifts, These were available in both traction and hydraulic. The hydraulics are dull, but the traction ones were great, and had traditional sounding DC motors, with a slight hum when starting and stopping (So far, the fastest ones I've found goes 2 m/s). Some of them had Kone's classic chime, and some had notable door motor sounds.

These lifts have small black rounded square buttons, with a tactile number. When pressed, the button clicks in slightly and lights up around the outside.

Some of these had Kone's classic chime, Also, a few of these had a voice, the 80s Kone voice sounds like the person had a cold at the time it was recorded (back then, simply having a voice in a lift was very new, and they didn't think they needed to put effort into weather it sounded any good)

These lifts were manufactured until mid 90s. The later 90s ones had a more plain and boxy finish. Some had a silver version of the 80s buttons. Also they did very cheap and nasty version of these that went very slow.

1990s - early 2000s

The 90s were a major decade for Kone, when in 1996 they introduced their revolutionary new Ecodisc. but first here is their posh 90s office lifts.

90s posh lifts

In the 90s Kone manufactured some new lifts for posh offices and major shopping centers. (such as in John Lewis at Bluewater)

These lifts are fast with good acceleration. They have Kone's classic chime, and when there is more than one lift in a set, each lift has a slightly different variation of the chime. So if you use them regularly, you could tell which lift has arrived without having to look.


In 1996 Kone launched their original Ecodisc Lifts. These lifts have very nice styling, and a revolutionary motor.

The Ecodisc motor is a slim disc (hence the name), which is attached to the top of the lift shaft wall, and is thin enough to fit between the wall and the lift car. There is no motor room.

The cables are attached from the lift shaft ceiling and go down around wheels on the lift, then up and around the Ecodisc, then down to the counter weight, and then up and the other end is attached to the ceiling.

The Ecodisc is a synchronous motor. Conventional induction motors have a core rotates inside a cage of electro-magnets. Each set of 3 electro-magnets is each connected a phase of a 3 phase AC supply. As the phases are in sync the electromagnets turn between positive and negative (like chaser Christmas lights) creating rotating magnetic field. This turns the core (by the magnetic field having a rotating pull on the core, slippage, it doesn't directly turn the core).

The Ecodisc works the same way but instead of having the electro-magnets around the core, there is a ring of electro-magnets with the core rotating linearly next to them (This means the rotating magnetic field directly turns the disc, rather than using slippage). This creates a very thin spinning disc. The Ecodisc works of variable frequency. (As it is a linear induction motor the frequencies put into the motor directly pull the disc, it doesn't work on slippage like a conventional induction motor).

image copyright - (C) Kone

As for its sound, when accelerating and de-accelerating it sounds like any other variable frequency motor (but slightly nicer). But when it first starts it makes a really nice clunk sound as the handbrake releases "de-dunk", and when it fully stops it makes a very satisfying clonk as the handbrake goes on.

These Ecodiscs go 1m/s. And they have a very modern design. I remember going in one for the first ever time, at the top station of the Cairngorm Mountain funicular in Scotland, and being amazed at how modern it was (especially back in those days).

These lifts used the same voice as Otis did at the time.


Kone Ecodisc 2nd generation

Very nice updated design, and one of the very few modern lifts that still has character. The 2nd generation Ecodisc motor sounds the same as the 1st gen, but louder, slightly nicer and clearer. These lifts had a new voice which sounds very unclear and muffled like its trying to be posh. These lifts go 1 m/s. (Also, the first of these 2nd gens, actually had the 1st gen motor and voice, as the update in designs didn't all happen at the exact same time. click here for video)

Kone Ecodisc 3rd generation

Kone now updated the design of the Ecodisc (but I think these don't look as good).

Kone's Ecodisc was such a good design that Kone wanted to extend the design to all of their lifts.

Kone's 3rd gen Ecodisc motor goes 2.5 m/s (on 2:1 MRLs) and 4 m/s (on 1:1 MRLs, where the Ecodisc sits on a beem at the top of the shaft, more like a normal motor). The 3rd gen Ecodisc has a different handbrake release sound to the others, It makes 2 quick clunks before the big clunk of it releasing, "da-da-dunk". (Also like before, a few of the first 3rd gen design Ecodiscs had the 2nd gen motor, like this)

Present day

Today, Kone only make Ecodiscs.

Here is Kone's present day 4th design of Ecodisc, these use the 3rd generation motors. and go 1.6 m/s or 2.5 m/s for the 2:1 MRLs (sometimes a slower 1m/s for short distance ones, and sometimes even slower for heavy duty goods ones), and go 4 m/s for the 1:1 semi MRLs. And also, the NEW ecodisc... the new Kone Ecodisc MX100, which can go an amazing 17 m/s. This is Kone's Ecodisc for high rise buildings, the only difference between this and the other Ecodiscs is that it is not MRL.

Here is Kones 4th design of Ecodisc

Kone now have Ecodisc for every occasion

On a boat - see video

Generic looking version for train stations (far better than stannah's crap) - see video

And I bet you want a video of the new high speed MX100. Sadly I haven't found one yet.

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