Kone Elevators to start engineering R&D centre in Chennai

Mumbai: Kone Elevators India Pvt Ltd, the wholly owned subsidiary of Finland-based elevator company Kone, has emerged as the hub for software, engineering and trained workforce for the company''''''''s global operations.

The company is in the process of setting up an R&D centre, which will initially employ about 20 people at its factory to address the requirements of the Asian markets including India.

Set up about six years ago, Kone''''''''s global software development centre in Chennai employs about 50 people.

The company also has a global engineering centre at Vanagaram near Chennai, which provides engineering drawing services for the US and European markets.

Kone Corporation also plans to deploy about 100 Indian staff working in the areas of installation and maintenance in the US, UK, Spain and Singapore.

"We are becoming a main centre for supplying resources to our parent company. In the past, we sent about 60 people from India to Middle East for providing support services," said A Sankarakrishnan, managing director, Kone Elevator India.

Kone''''''''s Chennai factory, spread over an area of 8.4 acres, has a capacity to produce around 6,000 elevators a year. The company delivered about 4,000 elevators in 2006. The escalator market in India is estimated at 800-1,000 units a year. It imports escalators from its China unit for sale in India.

Kone India, which employs about 2,000 people, is looking at expanding production capacity at its manufacturing unit.

The company, which is a market leader in India, is looking at expanding its production.

The Rs381 crore Kone Elevator India has a market share of 26 per cent in the Indian elevator market estimated at 2,10,000 elevators in 2006. The other leading players in India are Otis, Schindler, Mitsubishi and Thyssen.