KONE in Coal Valley Wins $179-Million Contract For Washington, D.C. Escalators
Things are looking up for KONE Corporation’s Quad-Cities manufacturing plant, as the firm has landed a huge contract to provide 130 new energy-efficient escalators across the Washington, D.C. region.
KONE, a global leader in the elevator and escalator industry with operations in Coal Valley, on U.S. 6, recently won a $179-million, seven-year contract from the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) to modernize and replace escalators in 32 Metrorail stations.
The company’s escalator plant in Coal Valley will produce equipment for the project, which is expected to be completed by April 2027.
“As the second-busiest rapid transit system in the U.S., Metro is a vitally important component of the Washington region’s transportation infrastructure,” Ken Schmid, Executive Vice President, KONE Americas, said in a Wednesday release. “KONE is proud to play a part in this project, which will help improve the flow of urban life throughout the metropolitan area.”
KONE’s Q-C site employs more than 100 people and expects growth based on this project.
“This is great news for KONE and will certainly make a positive impact on KONE operations in the Quad-Cities area,” said company unit
director Brian Krzyaniak, who manages the facility.
Paul Rumler, President & CEO of the Quad Cities Chamber, said Wednesday that the achievement speaks volumes about the world-class team at KONE and the Q-C region.
“This is about how our economy will recover in 2021,” he said. “We know in the Quad-Cities that workforces have been impacted by layoffs and furloughs. It’s exciting news to have a multi-year contract that will provide a full and expanded workforce at a major, well-known manufacturing facility.”
KONE had hoped to receive the contract last July, but it was delayed by pandemic and other factors. The company, with American headquarters in Lisle, Ill., booked the order in the fourth quarter of 2020.
The contract marks the second KONE has won as part of WMATA’s decade-long capital improvement project to replace and restore the oldest and least reliable escalators in Metro’s system with heavy-duty, transit-grade escalators.
When the latest contract is complete, KONE will have produced more than 50% of Metro’s 618 escalators. In addition to escalators, KONE will install 27 unique controller cabinet enclosures to complement the stations’ traditional architecture.
According to WMATA, the new D.C. escalators will incorporate the latest safety features, including LED lighting.
The project is part of Metro’s commitment to provide customers with safe, reliable transportation by investing in infrastructure, maintenance and station improvements. In addition, the work will advance Metro’s equity initiatives with 23 percent of the total contract going to small, minority and disadvantaged businesses.
“Focused investment in safety and reliability improvements have resulted in 95 percent of Metro’s escalators being in service to customers,” Metro General Manager/CEO Paul J.
Wiedefeld said in February. “Replacing these escalators that average 38-years old, will ensure we maintain reliability for our customers today and into the future.”
KONE’s win will also help the Q-C Chamber in its efforts to recruit new companies to the region.
“We’re really proud of the Quad-Cities workforce,” Rumler said. “The fact KONE has the confidence to be here and produce these highly technical and specialized machines should tell the world of the Quad-Cities’ capabilities.”
The KONE work is expected to be substantially completed by April 2027. Each single escalator unit takes more than 1,000 person-hours to produce and is followed by another 12-15 weeks to install.
Headquartered in Helsinki, Finland, KONE had sales of over $10 billion and more than 60,000 employees in 2020. For more information on the Q-C facility, visit www.kone.us/about-us/contact-us/branch-offices/quad-cities/.