The Two Modes of Failure of Escalator Braking Systems

Lutfi Al-Sharif

Wednesday 22nd September 2021

The braking system in an escalator is the most critical safety component. Failure of the escalator braking system can lead to passenger injury and even fatalities. Escalator braking systems can fail in two modes: In the first mode of failure, the braking system fails to arrest the descending load and slow it down when it is not correctly adjusted or completely out of adjustment. This leads to a runaway situation. The second mode of failure is when the escalator braking system is too tightly adjusted such that it leads to a severe stop of the escalator and consequential passenger falls. Passenger falls on escalators are one of the major causes of accidents including cuts, bruises, finger entrapment and in certain cases crushing leading to suffocation. The paper provides an overview of these two types of failures, their causes and possible solutions. One of the technical solutions previewed is the use of intelligent escalator braking systems in order to control the deceleration of a stopping escalator. Two technologies exist for control the escalator braking systems: electrical and hydraulic.

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