Slimline Gearbox Design Drives Escalator Innovation
A gearbox measuring just 160mm wide has been designed and manufactured by Renold Gears as part of a revolutionary new compact drive solution for escalator manufacturer, Schindler. The company wanted to simplify the main drive systems on its escalators to reduce the number of components, cut maintenance and enhance their high-tech looks. The moving steps of the escalator had previously been driven by a combination of drive systems consisting of gear and chain transmissions, linked to the main head-shaft. This was a space consuming design located in front of the step band in the upper head. However, for modern aesthetic reasons and ease of maintenance, Schindler wanted to change the design and shaft mount the gearbox directly on to the head-shaft of the escalators, thereby eliminating all other drive components.
The problem Renold has was that the whole gearbox had to fit in a space no wider than 160mm and still provide sufficient torque to drive the escalator with a full load. The bespoke solution the company's design team developed was a specially manufactured main drive helical box, fitted with a standard first reduction worm and wheel drive to achieve the overall ratio required.
Bruce Dagley, Renold Gears' Engineering Director, said: "Our ability to undertake and develop complete drive solutions from the design stage through to load testing of the finished product, in short lead times, really highlights our dominance in the People Movement industry."
The bespoke gearbox was supplied as a replacement drive and retrofitted onto an existing escalator situated in the coastal town of The Hague in Holland. The drive, which was installed in 2005, has performed perfectly, and, as a result of Renold Gears' successful slimline solution , further installations are planned for 2006.