De Jong's perseverance brought UltraRope to light, agree his colleagues. "Mr. de Jong had a crucially important part in getting the development project started," says UltraRope inventor Raimo Pelto-Huikko, KONE's design specialist for new concepts and one of UltraRope's two patent holders.

Petteri Valjus, KONE's senior design expert for hoisting technology and the other patent holder, adds, "Johannes has been deeply involved in the technology and the marketing."

KONE's first installation of UltraRope is a retrofit of a passenger elevator in Tower 3 of the Marina Bay Sands resort in Singapore. There, energy efficiency improved 10% to 15%, says de Jong. KONE also is working on installing UltraRope in the Sky Television Tower, in Auckland, New Zealand. "We are also in negotiations for some of the tallest buildings in the world," says de Jong, declining to reveal any details.

"We still have three more years of R&D to implement UltraRope into all relevant elevator platforms," adds de Jong.

Beyond that, KONE plans to start testing the dramatically smaller motors that UltraRope allows. "Each motor needs a year of testing," says de Jong. "We can't afford anything going wrong with these buildings."