Report on Seismic Damages of Lifts and Escalators by Large Earthquakes in Japan

Satoshi Fujita, Motoo Shimoaki and Keisuke Minagawa

Wednesday 19th September 2018

The devastating earthquake of Mw9.0, so-called the Great East Japan Earthquake, hit the Tohoku district, north east part of Japan on March 11, 2011. About 16,000 people died and 2,500 people were missing by the strong motion and tsunami, and the economic damage was estimated about 16.9 trillion yen in addition to the influence by the nuclear accident of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. In addition to the main shock, many strong aftershocks occurred in the long term. After that, a strong near-field earthquake called Kumamoto Earthquake occurred in 2016 in Kyushu district of Japan. The buildings, houses and industrial facilities were damaged in these earthquakes, and various kinds of mechanical equipment set in these structures were also damaged. The Japan Society of Mechanical Engineers (JSME) has set up an investigation committee which has investigated the seismic damage of mechanical equipment in these industrial facilities, for the purpose to understand the situation and cause of the damages in such facilities to contribute to improvement of preparedness for the forthcoming earthquake. Additionally, investigation regarding lifts and escalators was mainly carried out by the Japan Elevator Association. This paper provides a summary of the investigation regarding the lifts and escalators to contribute to improving the seismic design for forthcoming destructive earthquakes. Typical damage of the lifts and escalators utilized in buildings are also shown in this paper. Although many of the buildings were hit by unexpected massive earthquakes, the damage of the lifts and escalators designed according to the newly Seismic Design Guideline issued in 2009 seems to have been reduced a certain level.

Citation information: