Circular Economy

We are accelerating circularity at all levels of operations, from portfolio management to business models. Building our processes around circular economy principles helps us improve our resource and energy efficiency while creating value for the customer by reducing their environmental footprint with advanced low-carbon and energy-efficient products and services. Circularity plays an essential role in tackling climate change. Our portfolio includes low-carbon power options, optimized maintenance, upgrades and modernizations to help our customers reach their sustainability targets. Read more on how we create value for our customers and climate.


2023 Highlights:

  • We succeeded in furthering three studies of opportunities in the area of circular economy. The studies were related to remanufacturing and packaging development.


What is circularity?

Circular economy aims to get more value from existing products while decoupling value creation from resource consumption, optimizing resource use within industries. Working together with our value chain, we can enable more efficient use of raw materials, increase energy efficiency, and create value for all parties. Building our processes around circular economy principles helps us improve our resource and energy efficiency while creating value for the customer by reducing their carbon footprint. We have one of the largest service networks using modern technical solutions to unlock unique circular economy opportunities that benefit customers. Having the whole value chain in our own hands (design, manufacturing, data about equipment maintenance) gives us the opportunity to impact the whole chain.

Our solutions

Our product design is based on smart design principles focusing on repairability, durability as well as material and energy efficiency. Customers see the clear benefits of investing in durable equipment that can be repaired and modernized and the value that comes from increased production uptime. Additionally, significant savings can be obtained through renting, repairing, modernizing and purchasing used, fully serviced equipment. Modernizations and retrofits also enhance the energy efficiency and performance of equipment by saving a great deal of raw materials, cutting emissions from logistics and reducing the energy used in manufacturing processes. Modernization also increases safety, productivity, reliability and usability while decreasing the need for repairs and unscheduled maintenance. 

Our service business advances circular economy by focusing on extending the lifecycle of equipment via predictive maintenance, remanufacturing, modernizations and retrofits.  By providing predictive maintenance services we help our customers extend and maximize the lifecycle value of their products. We see a great deal of potential in the interplay between digitalization and the circular economy. We can reduce and optimize the need to move goods and people when we use real-time data to predict maintenance needs. Connected devices and online platforms provide data on the state of components in real time, showing when to maintain, replace or repair components and thus leading to a smarter use of resources and longer product lifecycles. With predictive maintenance, unplanned service hours can be avoided, and equipment performance can be maintained at the highest possible level, extending a product’s lifecycle.

Konecranes circular solutions in a nutshell

  • The design of Konecranes products is based on smart design principles focusing on maintainability, durability as well as material and energy efficiency. 
  • The lifecycle of our products is long, even decades, which means that the customer can preserve the value of their assets for a long time. 
  • Maintenance and repairs are the key to extending the lifecycle, and by using predictive maintenance our customers can maximize the lifecycle value of their products. Using data to predict component or equipment failure optimizes all activities and thus saves resources and reduces emissions.  
  • The equipment can be retrofitted and modernized several times during its lifespan.  
  • With predictive maintenance, we guarantee that the customer has their equipment in use when needed with as few maintenance visits as possible; this creates greater cost understanding and keeps performance levels high.

Our efforts to deliver maximum circular value through our solutions:

Smart design

Our products are designed with their entire lifecycle in mind, as the majority of the environmental impact of a product’s lifecycle is defined at the product design stage. We select repairable and recyclable materials and design our equipment to enable their reuse and recycling. In product development, we utilize the Design for Environment concept (DfE), which among other aspects considers the modularity, durability, component repairability as well as energy and material efficiency to reduce the environmental impact of our products’ lifecycles. To provide accurate data on the environmental impact of our solutions for decisionmaking, we calculate our products’ energy consumption and CO2 emissions and critically assess this data with the help of a third party (as part of our Environmental Product Declarations). In addition, we encourage the re-utilization of pre-owned equipment (Lift trucks, mobile harbor cranes).

Re-using resources

Product-as-a-service: Leasing-based warehousing with AGILON, which includes comprehensive service and preventive maintenance, allowing customers flexibility at a fixed monthly cost.  

Services for life cycle extension

We further prolong the service life of equipment through repair and maintenance, retrofitting, remanufacturing and modernization to extend their already long lifespan. We also repair and recycle components and sell used, fully serviced equipment. Modernizations are extensive life cycle extension projects, where remanufacturing is used to repair or replace of worn out or obsolete components and modules. Remanufacturing is a form of a product recovery process.

Our vast service and spare part offering and systematic approach to maintenance is supported by digital tools to help predict failures, optimize the need for maintenance and spare parts and extend the life cycle of equipment (TRUCONNECT). Remote maintenance possibilities for products connected via TRUCONNECT. Customer platform YourKONECRANES gives customers and service technicians the ability to easily view TRUCONNECT data (knowing when to maintain, replace or repair components). With the help of digital tools, we can extend the life cycle of equipment and optimize the need for maintenance and spare parts. Predictive maintenance also supports customers’ emissions reductions, as the data can be used to optimize maintenance activities.

Case Example: Remanufacturing

In 2023, Konecranes identified remanufacturing as one of three new circular business opportunities, aligning with the company’s commitment to accelerating circularity and reducing environmental impacts. Remanufacturing involves repairing products or components in Konecranes service centers to be as good as new, extending their lifetime and minimizing downtime for customers. This service concept is integral to Konecranes’ sustainability agenda, combining efforts to apply circular principles and reduce the carbon footprint of its products.

An illustrative case involves remanufacturing a rope drum used in heavy-duty cranes. Instead of replacing the entire component, Konecranes service centers repair it to function as good as new, saving customers weeks of downtime. The remanufacturing process involves precision pre-machining and filler welding, ensuring a comparable lifetime and durability for new components. Beyond the immediate customer benefits of reduced downtime, remanufacturing significantly decreases the carbon footprint, with initial calculations indicating nearly a one-third reduction in the case of the rope drum.

Remanufacturing emerges as a prominent example of Konecranes’ commitment to circular economy principles, promoting efficient raw material use, energy savings, and emissions reduction. Remanufacturing is identified as one opportunity to achieve these sustainability ambitions. During 2024, we aim to extend the feasibility studies of remanufacturing to other components. 

Case Example: Agilon

Agilon® is an automated storage and retrieval system and service, that gives a customer exact information on their materials in real time. Agilon’s advanced modularity optimizes in-house logistics and increases transaction capacity and storage area. The solution consists of a closed unit shelving system, robots travelling within the shelving and an online portal where the customer can remotely track stock information. The system can be adjusted to the customer’s volume, for example, adding modules if they are experiencing a ramp up in volumes. 

The system is maintained by Konecranes and can be fully utilized for another customer. A dedicated Konecranes team performs continuous remote monitoring of the system. In the case of system failure, the service team replaces the defect module with a replacement module. Further diagnostics of the defect module is conducted at a Konecranes service center, ensuring minimum downtime on the site. The failed components are analyzed and repaired for re-use. 

The system itself is very energy-efficient, easy to set up and does not require modifications to the customer’s premises. This product-as-a-service is an easy solution for the customers, because major up-front investment costs of the equipment can be avoided by leasing the system to the customer with a monthly fee. The lifecycle risk of owning equipment is eliminated, as the leasing agreement can be terminated if there are any changes in demand and the service of the equipment is handled by Konecranes. It is also possible to purchase the Agilon system with the same maintenance services with a smaller monthly fee.

Case Example: Modernizations

Our retrofitting and modernization services can extend the lifecycle of equipment and update the equipment to meet today’s standards. Modernizations are tailored upgrades or modifications designed to extend the service life of an existing crane and to meet current regulatory, maintenance and production requirements. Modernizations can provide a complete transformation for an existing crane as an alternative to replacing it and incorporating new technology that did not exist when the crane was originally delivered. Products are often modular, which allows the utilization of existing components and replacement of only essential parts. Therefore, it is often possible to replace old technology with the latest solutions. Modernizations are extensive lifecycle extension projects, where remanufacturing is used to repair or replace worn out or obsolete components and modules with most of the steel structure remaining in use. Modernizations improve safety and performance, increase the availability of technical support and spare parts, and decrease the number of repairs and unscheduled maintenance. On top of improved performance, modernizations save a significant amount of steel and in most cases increase the energy efficiency of the crane. At best, we extend a product’s lifetime by decades. Our products can be modernized and retrofitted several times during their lifespan and then finally recycled at End-of-Life. Modernization decreases direct and indirect emissions. It is possible to avoid a significant amount of CO2 emissions if existing steel structures are improved instead of being replaced. Modernizations and retrofits can also improve the energy efficiency and performance of equipment. Additionally, modernization increases safety, productivity, reliability and usability, while decreasing the need for repairs and unscheduled maintenance.