Wednesday, 29 January 2020
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An idea prevails

The steps of escalators get damaged when stones or metal parts like screws or suitcase fragments become jammed in the comb plates of the escalator, which are located at the top and bottom of the escalator.

Assembly during operation. (Photo: © Weber Tec)

The aluminium cleats literally get worn down. At the latest when a cleat has become ground down to be razor-sharp, the defective steps become grounds for complaint at the regular inspection. These repairs used to be time and cost-intensive.

The defective steps had to be demounted for repair, transported to the repair workshop, repaired (rollers removed, steps sandblasted, welded, milled, painted), returned to the location and reinstalled. This usually meant the escalator was shut down for three to four weeks. This took far too long and was soon to change.

EsCare process

The enormous maintenance effort for escalators was a source of inspiration for Weber Tec in Hamburg. It came up with a solution that not only minimised the long standstill times, but also drastically cut the expense. The EsCare process arose during an intensive two-year development phase.

This was a complete solution, consisting of filling material, matching master forms and a machine especially created for this use with which it was possible to get to the deployment location using the moving escalator. It revolutionised escalator repair and is now an indispensable part of the market. This year the company had the opportunity to present its innovation at the Schwelm Symposium.

Master plates for individual repair steps

The defective cleats when repaired not only appear identical to the others, but are also rendered permanently durable. The material has undergone thorough testing by the Dekra technical inspection company. It is very strong, highly impact-resistant and flame-proof. In addition, a place repaired with EsCare can be repaired again and again in the event of new damage.

HandwerkWeber Tec fitters used master plates for the individual repair steps. These were especially developed for every escalator step type. In the first step, the defective cleats are sandblasted and then stabilised with filling material. After this, the repaired cleats are given the right form through milling, cutting and filing. A special finish minimises wear and improves durability.

By contrast with traditional welding, there is no heat input during the repair, as a result of which the step cannot warp. The repaired cleat then once again has the form of an original cleat according to the regulations of DIN EN115. Special master plates are used for the individual work steps. Another advantage is the machine that forms part of the method. This enables the fitter to get to the workplace via the moving escalator.

Greater economic efficiency

The most convincing argument for this repair method is definitely the good value for money. Instead of a standstill time of three to four weeks, the operator now only has to accept a standstill time of one to two days, depending on the number of steps and number of repairs per step.

Compared to the procedure using weld cladding, clear saving potential and cost reductions can be achieved with EsCare. The advantages are short repair times instead of long standstill times, saving transport costs and pure repair costs to the amount of 50 %, eliminating the costs for the demounting and attachment of the step rollers, reducing the costs for personnel as well as demounting and remounting the steps and an extraordinarily short repair time.

Well-coordinated team

The time needed for the repair differs depending on the number of steps on the escalators and the number of repairs per step. For an escalator with about 75 steps and about three repairs per step, a three-person service team needs about eight to ten hours.

After this, the escalator is immediately ready for public access again. A four-person team needs about 1.5 working days to repair an escalator with 120 steps. Escalator repairs are carried out either during the day and/or at night, but usually when a building is open to the public.

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