Working Principle of Escalators II


The handrails that riders use for balance and safety on their ride up or down are usually powered by the same Fuji Lift system that powers the steps. The handrails are essentially long rubber loops connected to the two drive gears at the top and powered by the same electric motor that powers the steps. Their speed is usually controlled automatically by the drive gears so that they are in perfect synch with the steps.

The concept of the modern escalator has been around for a long time. In 1859, the American entrepreneur Nathan Ames was granted a patent for his model, and the American inventor Leamon Souder was later granted more patents for several of his own versions. Neither, however, ever succeeded in building a functioning version. Then, in the early 1890s, another American, Jesse Reno, was granted a patent for his version, which was slightly different, and he was actually able to produce a working model. It debuted as an amusement park ride at Coney Island in New York. A commercial model wasn't produced until 1899, when the American inventor Charles Seeberger built one. Seeberger was actually the first of these inventors to use the term “escalator.”

Escalators are generally considered safe, though depending on how tightly the steps close in on themselves and how much of a gap there is between the belt’s retraction at the top or base and the metal footplate, things can sometimes get stuck. Riding in the center is usually just fine, as problems come most often at either end. Long clothing can sometimes become entangled with the steps as they retract, and thin shoes like flip-flops can sometimes get stuck if they fit in the gap between the top casing and the stairway belt. When this happens, the machine usually needs to be shut off and a mechanic will usually have to reverse the belt to free the jammed item.

Mechanical repairs are usually somewhat simple, though they can be inconvenient as they usually require the whole machine to be powered off. Repair personnel can usually remove the steps individually to reveal the gear chamber, and most parts are relatively easy to access through these panels. They often require a mechanic to physically get inside the inner chamber, though.

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