KONE elevator maintenance challenge leads to new openings27.3.2019
KONE and Business Tampere invited local companies to solve issues of predictive elevator maintenance. The result: promising opportunities for new openings.
A large company needs the best possible experts and innovative, cutting-edge partners to be successful in the global competition. On the other hand, startups are looking for areas where to apply their expertise and develop their ideas. One of the roles of Business Tampere is to bring together companies of different sizes, assisting their fruitful collaboration.
A recent example is the KONE and Business Tampere challenge for companies in the Tampere Region: to develop together solutions for predictive maintenance of elevator mechanics. Thru the challenge, Meluta and Asensiot made their way into valuable and in-depth dialogue with KONE.
– It was important to identify in detail the capabilities and accomplishments of these companies. That allows us to figure out how we could use their expertise, says Mika Alvesalo, Global Category Manager, Hoisting Mechanics, Technology & Innovation of KONE.
– We acquired the latest knowledge on elevator technologies. Even if the meeting wouldn’t lead to an immediate partnership, it provided information and networks that will be useful in the future, says Algorithm Designer Katariina Mahkonen of Meluta.
– The meeting with KONE was a real eye-opener, now we understand their needs and complexities concerning predictive maintenance, says CDO Pasi Kivimäki of Asensiot.
Towards deeper understanding
After the meetings, the work continues with a Proof of Concept model in mind, to examine partnering possibilities. According to Alvesalo, both companies have real potential to solve the challenge – but as always with new technologies, deeper understanding will be best reached by actually trying the solution out together.
– We are now considering suitable subjects for POCs, and the companies will see, if they can develop their original solutions further based on the information shared in the meetings, Alvesalo says.
Meluta knows experimenting since it tailors its technologies for each customer – that’s the only way to see if the new ideas have potential of becoming successful products. The Meluta algorithms have always achieved to do what customers ask, says Mahkonen, but the solution is not productised on every occasion.
For Asensiot, the meeting with KONE helped clarify strategy and focus. Elevators are one interesting application area among many others, and KONE would be an excellent partner for a startup aiming at the global market.
KONE has eight global R&D centres and is looking for partners around the world. Any small company anywhere might be the very best expert of a certain technical matter – for a large company the challenge is to find just that expertise.
– Public players like Business Tampere have an important role there, with them we can pinpoint those local startups and other small companies, says Alvesalo.
Asensiot diagnoses condition monitoring data
Asensiot was founded at the end of 2017 with core expertise in machine vibration monitoring and automated condition monitoring data diagnoses. With elevators Asensiot can categorize fault types, create predictive models of failure mechanisms and digitally save the condition monitoring knowledge.
The founders of Asensiot have different but complementing backgrounds and expertises.
– We three met for the first time to discuss another theme, but quite soon started to talk about vibrations and maintenance – and a month later we had set us up a company, says Kivimäki.
There are interesting things happening in condition monitoring. New, inexpensive and accurate wireless vibration sensors are out on the market. That means there will be more condition monitored devices, and Asensiot’s analysis expertise will be needed.
– The amount of measurement data is increasing enormously, and so does the need for automated diagnosis, Kivimäki states.
Meluta listens to machines
The core competences of Meluta, founded in 2015, are in signal processing and sensor technologies, especially in acoustic and vibroacoustic measurements and analysis. When monitoring a machine, adding microphones provides better situational awareness than using just cameras.
– We’ll implement acoustic and vibroacoustic sensors on the device that needs to monitored and then use machine learning algorithms to tell, what’s going on in the device or around it, says Mahkonen.
Data analysis helps predict failures and schedule maintenance in order to prevent damage or line stoppages, thus allowing cost savings for the customer. There are countless areas where the technology can be applied.
– Meluta is eagerly looking for new views, new challenges and customers who’ll have interesting problems for us to solve, says Mahkonen.