Escalator / Moving Walk Safety Features
Today’s Escalators and Moving Walks incorporate a variety of safety features, many of which are the same. The features are designed to encourage proper ridership and prevent the very rare situations which involve an object being caught in the escalator. Other features detect such situations, or sense if a component of the escalator is outside of its normal position. When a sensor detects one of these situations, it triggers an automatic shutdown of the escalator.
Some of the features mentioned below were developed in recent years and may not be present on older escalators or moving walks. Many of them can be added to earlier models through our EQIP (Escalator Quality Improvement Products) program.
A variety of approaches helps prevent objects from being caught in the escalator. Today’s escalators are designed to have a minimum clearance between the moving step and the adjacent, stationary skirt panels. Infinity’s SureGuide system provides guidance on every step, further helping to minimize the step-to-skirt gap. Unless the skirts have a permanent friction-reducing finish, Infinity also recommends the regular coating of the skirts with a friction-reducing substance such as silicone.
Newer escalators have sensors which can monitor for unusual movement or operation of key components, automatically stopping the escalator if an abnormality is detected. These include:
- Handrail motion detector, which senses if the handrail movement is out of sync with the step movement
- Step integrity monitor, which detects broken, damaged or misaligned steps
- Missing step monitor, which senses if the escalator is operating with any steps missing
- Combplate detectors, which are activated by unusual movement of the stationary plates at either end of the escalator
- Step level monitor, which checks to see that the steps are level as they enter the ends of the escalator.
- Skirt switches, designed to sense any entrapment between the step and skirt as the step approaches the comb plate area.
Emergency stop buttons are provided at each end of the escalator for manual activation in an emergency situation.
Controlled stop braking system helps assure that in the event of an emergency, the escalator stop is smooth and controlled.
Understep lighting is mounted below the steps at either end of the escalator. By highlighting the separation between adjacent steps, understep lighting helps encourage passengers to get a good footing on the escalator step.
Yellow combfingers are found on most modern escalators. They help highlight the transition between the stationary combplate and the moving steps.
A handrail guard helps prevent fingers or objects from getting caught at the point where the escalator handrail enters the balustrade. On newer escalators, a special handrail guard switch detects such situations and initiates an automatic stop of the escalator.