Everything You Need To Know About Escalators

  • Escalators have been a form of transport since the late 19th century and are now found in many public buildings.
  • They are composed of two separate trusses with steps attached, powered by an electric motor and gearboxes.
  • Steps and handrails provide stability when riding an escalator and must be inspected regularly to ensure suitability for public use.
  • Comb plates and skirts provide an extra layer of safety, keeping users away from moving parts or gaps.

Escalators are a popular and efficient form of transport found in shopping malls, airports, train stations, and other public buildings. They provide an easy way for people to get from one level to another without climbing stairs or waiting for elevators.

Knowing how escalators work and what safety measures you need to take when using them is essential for avoiding accidents. This article will discuss everything you need to know about escalators – from their history and components to how they’re maintained and the precautions to take when using them.

History of Escalators

Escalators have been around since the late 19th century, with their patent issued to Jesse W. Reno in 1892. While initially just helped people move between floors of stores and larger businesses, they eventually began to be used in transportation hubs such as train stations. Today, escalators are everywhere: shopping malls, airports, train and subway systems, convention centers, and more.

Components of an Escalator

Here are the main components of an escalator:

Steps and Handrails

an escalator

Steps and handrails are two of the most crucial components of an escalator. Steps are the part that people stand on as they travel up or down a moving staircase. These steps must have steady support for an escalator to provide safe passage.

Handrails then provide further support so individuals can hold onto them securely while riding the escalator. Without these reliable parts, passengers could not be assured of their safety when using the escalator.

Moreover, steps and handrails help maintain a balanced movement for those taking the escalator in large numbers simultaneously. With steps and handrails prepared beforehand, any surprises concerning movement and speed can be mitigated by railings that allow riders to climb or descend securely.

Motors, Drive Chains, and Tension Systems

Motors, drive chains, and tension systems are all essential components of a functioning escalator. Motors power the machine and provide a high torque that moves the system’s components. The drive chain is more specifically used as part of the escalator’s movement to create reciprocating motion. At the same time, the tension system acts against it, assuring that it keeps its proper positioning.

Without these three components working in tandem, an escalator would not be able to move people up or down correctly and safely. Motion control systems are linked to all these elements so that their movements remain precise and on time which is vital for safety in public settings. These systems work together to create stable motion and a secure platform for the users riding the escalator.

Comb Plates and Skirts

Comb plates and skirts work together to ensure the safety of escalator users. Comb plates are structures near the top and bottom of an escalator that contain horizontal metal fingers that act as a barrier between users on the escalator and any moving parts or gaps. Skirts, on the other hand, are fitted around the side rails at different positions to conceal any open parts in the area where people can get their fingers jammed.

Both must be inspected regularly to ensure safe operational use so that all escalator components operate correctly. Most importantly, when these two elements work efficiently, they provide an extra layer of protection to riders from unexpected entrapment hazards. At the same time, they travel on their journey up or down an escalator.

Escalator Operation Panel

Escalator operation panels are an essential component of the operation of an escalator. They provide crucial control elements such as start, stop, and direction functions that enable engineers to manage the efficiency and safety of escalator systems.

In addition, they often contain indicators to show malfunction in individual components or the overall system. Escalators are feature-packed machines and thus require sophisticated controls, from automatic frequency drive controllers to traction motor disconnect control switches and even thermal overload relays.

Escalator operation panels bring all these components together under one roof and provide a convenient means for anyone like technicians, maintenance personnel, or even riders to access and adjust settings as needed.

How Escalators Work


Escalators are one of the most remarkable engineering feats of our time. They are powered by an electric motor and tracks, gears, surcharges, and more that move the stairs up or down at an incline. Each escalator comprises two trusses—an upper stationary truss and a lower moving truss.

Between the two trusses are a series of chains with steps attached to them; these form the treads of the escalator. The mechanical portion is housed beneath what we see as the actual stairs, where gearboxes are driven to link power from the motor, enabling step movement up or down. To move in electric escalators, unless they sense someone on them, they will stop working; this safety measure prevents people from being injured due to escalator malfunction.

These are the key components and operations of escalators. With the proper knowledge and safety precautions, everyone can use escalators safely. Always remember the need for handrails when standing on an escalator, and ensure that you are aware of any potential hazards before stepping on one.


About the Author

Related Posts

How to Get Through Your Cash Crunch

A cash crunch can be a challenging period for any business, but with strategic planning and proactive measures, it’s possible to navigate through it successfully.

Tips for Managing a New Team

Managing a new team presents a unique set of challenges and opportunities. Whether you’re taking over an existing team or building one from scratch, the

Scroll to Top