Night time view over a port

Scaling technology innovation

Article series on Konecranes' strategy:

In 2023, Konecranes published a renewed strategy for the coming years, driven to answer global calls for businesses to contribute positively to a more resilient and sustainable economy. Scaling technology innovation has been identified as one of the key enablers in this renewed strategy. 

In the coming years, the manufacturing industry is expected to undergo a transformative shift, driven by rapid technological advancements. Automation and robotics, already integral in modern production lines, are set to become more sophisticated and ubiquitous, significantly enhancing efficiency and precision. The adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) will lead to smarter, more adaptive manufacturing processes, capable of self-optimization. Advancement in Internet of Things (IoT) devices will further streamline operations, allowing real-time monitoring and analytics for predictive maintenance and supply chain optimization.

Konecranes is a technology leader in the material handling industry. We’re continuously adapting our offering to meet changing customer requirements. Automation and digitalization drive the development of our products: smart and connected equipment and their data support our customers and enable us to develop our own solutions and offering.

Deep knowledge of material handling

Konecranes has a track record of industry-shaping innovations for over a century. These innovations are protected by patents and other applicable registrations; we have the industry’s biggest patent portfolio. To secure our position with unique offering, we work with several R&D projects to see how best to apply emerging technologies for the material handling industry. Our position as the biggest player in our industry allows us to scale up technology platforms – and in return, capitalize on resulting economics.

We have extensive experience in designing and building safe, efficient material handling devices. This deep knowledge is demonstrated in our Core of Lifting componentry. Core of Lifting components are optimized for performance, sustainability, and lifetime use, and have inbuilt connectivity to support maintenance optimization and Industry 4.0 integration and automation. These components form the base intelligence and operational performance of all Konecranes equipment.

Digital technologies shaping the future of manufacturing

Digitalization is accelerating at an exponential rate and companies across multiple sectors are acting to best exploit the opportunities it brings. Robots, augmented reality and production simulations offer ways for smarter automation, operational excellence and enhanced safety.

Our automation offering extends from single smart and connected devices to full automation of industrial processes and complete container yards, including the control and operating software. Customers’ operations are increasingly automated, and work done on connectivity, sensors, contextual awareness and autonomous operation forms an elemental part of Konecranes research. We have invested significantly during recent years to develop the cyber security of our offering and processes, which has paid off in IT security certificates that are critical to securing business with an increasing number of companies globally. 

For Konecranes, digitalization will enable more and better-quality data to be collected from our customers’ operations. We can use this to, for example, provide better maintenance services where we predict equipment failures before they occur, and optimize service activities according to our customers’ production cycles. Digitalization will also bring new ways for our customers to manage and monitor equipment as well as train employees on how to use them safely and efficiently. 

Digitalization of Konecranes’ processes, both internal and customer facing, has also made great strides during past years. We use data extensively for insights and predictions and actively seek new business models in the area. 

Networking for next generation technology

Beyond our own extensive research activities and partnerships on innovating new solutions, we recognize that a significant part of technology development relevant for Konecranes takes place in industries other than ours. Konecranes is actively collaborating with large and small high-tech companies to apply their innovations in our products. We work with our broad partner base to accelerate our development, systematically co-create and test new solutions with our customers and scout promising start-ups for client venturing. We are organized to foster innovation within the company and as a result possess the largest patent portfolio in our industry. 

In 2023, Konecranes announced the launch of its Zero4 research and innovation program. The program aims to increase industrial productivity in Finland in the next five years, alongside new business opportunities for Konecranes and ecosystem partners. The program will focus on reducing four major deficiencies from material flows: information barriers, greenhouse gas emissions, energy consumption and accidents.

Zero4 intends to create an ecosystem consisting of more than 70 partners by the end of 2027. Today, many manufacturing processes and equipment contain automation technology. What is often lacking, however, is the connection, coordination and communication between these independently operating automation islands. Zero4 has the ambition to solve this by building a holistic platform that optimizes material flows. 

Smart, connected equipment improve productivity

The crane has a critical role in manufacturing and big potential as a central piece of a smart factory, coordinating communication between equipment as well as gathering data critical for improving operations.

Today, we already offer our customers many solutions which improve productivity and profitability through smart, connected equipment and optimized maintenance. Examples include our lift trucks for both ports and industrial clients, our offering in automatic warehouse management, our automated guided vehicles for manoeuvring containers in ports and our monorail systems employing overhead rails to transport materials within factories, for example in the automobile industry. 

In our service business, we deliver our customers transparency and speed through our digital ecosystem including the yourKONECRANES customer portal, eCommerce site Konecranes STORE, global enterprise platforms and a growing number of productivity-enhancing apps.

Learn more about our strategy, and read the other articles in this series:

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