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How an Escalator Works

Escalators are one of those things that we use automatically, without thinking. Whether you are at a mall, an airport, a stadium, or another venue, you have probably used escalators hundreds of times in your life. Escalators are a good way to move large amounts of people from one floor to another without the use of manual stairs. For people who have difficulty using stairs, for those carrying heavy items, or for those who simply don’t want to walk up hundreds of stairs, escalators are a convenient option. But, escalators can cause accidents and injuries. To understand how this might happen, it is important to have a solid understand of how escalators work. I will discuss the inner workings of the escalator on this page.

A Basic Idea

At its core, the idea of the escalator is very simple. It is essentially a type of conveyor belt set on an incline, much like Jesse Reno’s 1896 prototype that debuted on Coney Island. Rotating chain loops create stairs that move in a loop, moving lots of people in a fairly short amount of time and with little effort on their part.

The Details

The basic idea of the escalator is simple, but in order to make it work, more resources are needed. As mentioned, a pair of rotating chains work in a loop on gears, creating steps that people can stand on or walk up as they move. The chains are moved by an electric motor in a loop, so they are constantly moving at a steady pace.

Creating the steps and making sure that they collapse at the top of the escalator is perhaps the trickiest part of this process. Each escalator step is set on a pair of wheels that move along separate tracks. The wheels located at the top of the escalator connect to the rotating chains, which allow them to be pulled by the gear that is at the top of the escalator. The other wheels follow behind the first set and glide along.

The tracks that the wheels move on are what allow each step to be the same length and size. Of course the stairs are also housed in a truss and there is a handrail so that people do not lose their balance and fall.

Escalator Issues

Escalators can cause accidents for a few different reasons. First of all, it can be a disorienting experience to use an escalator, especially if you stare at the steps. This can cause balance issues that result in falls. Escalators can also malfunction if the steps become jammed or stop working for another reason. People may have difficulty getting on or off of the escalator, which can also cause injury.

If you were injured on an escalator, you can contact my office to learn more about what caused your injury and what can be done to help you. You might be able to recover damages and get compensation for your injuries, depending on how they occurred.

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