ESPOO, Finland, March 29 /PRNewswire/ -- KONE, a leading global elevator and escalator company, announces the introduction of a radically new technology platform, KONE MaxiSpace(TM), that eliminates the need for counterweights in elevators. Elevators using this technology can have cabins as much as one-third larger than traditional elevators designed for the same hoistway space. In many cases KONE will be able to offer a 6- or even 8- passenger elevator where previously only a 4-passenger unit could have been installed. In addition to increasing an elevator's capacity, KONE MaxiSpace(TM) enhances passenger comfort and improves access for wheelchairs and prams. At the heart of the new platform are an incredibly small and powerful hoisting machine, the KONE PowerDisc(TM), and an innovative, flexible roping arrangement using high-tensile-strength ropes. KONE PowerDisc(TM) is a gearless motor that is substantially lighter and more compact than any existing elevator hoisting machine on the market. Although it weighs only 70 kg and can easily fit into a tiny space in an elevator shaft, it is as powerful as machines many times its size. In addition to adding useable space, the KONE MaxiSpace(TM) solution provides the performance, comfort and safety of the most advanced gearless equipment. Products based on KONE MaxiSpace(TM) technology also promise to be safer and faster to install than other elevators available today. KONE astonished the construction market in 1996 with the announcement that it had eliminated the need for elevator machine rooms. The KONE MonoSpace(R) elevator has since become the industry standard for machine-room-less elevator applications in new buildings. The product range based on the technology used in MonoSpace(R) elevators has been expanded to cover every kind of installation from heavy-duty freight elevators to high-speed passenger units for the world's tallest skyscrapers. Now MaxiSpace(TM) technology will enable KONE to supplement this industry- leading product line with new offerings designed especially for the existing- building market. Of the 4.1 million elevators in service in Europe, more than two-thirds are over 20 years old (almost 45% were built before 1970). The majority of them are small units in residential buildings. The KONE MaxiSpace(TM) platform is ideally suited for replacing these existing elevators or adding elevators to buildings by inserting slim hoistways into existing stairwells. The market for such activities is expected to increase greatly as both the population and the installed elevator base continue to grow older. Webcast and Teleconference A telephone conference for journalists, conducted in English, will begin at 3:00 p.m. Finnish time, and will also be available as an audio webcast at www.konecorp.com. Callers may access the conference directly at the following telephone numbers: Non-US callers: +44 (0) 20 7162 0183 US callers: +1 334 323 6203 Password: Kone An on-demand version of the conference will be available at www.konecorp.com later the same day. KONE is a service company known worldwide as a technology leader. Its innovative products transport hundreds of millions of people daily in all parts of the world. KONE sells, manufactures, installs, maintains and modernizes elevators and escalators, and services automatic building doors. KONE is part of KONE Corporation, whose annual net sales in 2003 totaled EUR 5.3 billion.