Like a Work of Craft
Image of the step-supporting framework. The lengths inside and outside of the chain are different so that it can be moved in a semicircle shape.
The blueprint is not the only outstanding aspect of spiral escalators. There are many devices incorporated into parts, such as the step’s shape and the framework that supports and moves the steps from behind, in order for the escalator to be actually operated.
For example, let’s take a look at the steps. In standard escalators, the steps have a rectangular shape, but in the curved escalators, the inside of the curve is a little shorter, making a fan-like shape. Upon closer observation, you should readily notice that the fine grooves carved into the part on which the steps are placed are also not straight, but the outside of the curve slightly bulges. This is one of the devices for all the steps to be operated smoothly in a curve.
Engineers inspecting the rails that move the steps
In addition, the rollers on both sides of the steps supporting their movements like the wheels of a car have also been made into a ball-like shape. The spherical rollers move like the tip of a ball-point pen, making the complex three-dimensional movement smooth.
The rail on which the rollers move can be bent manually. Only because the spiral escalators are carefully assembled like the work of a craft by the hands of veteran engineers can they be operated safely and comfortably.
Monument that Decorates Space
Two spiral escalators placed symmetrically in Yokohama Landmark Plaza
The spiral escalator debuted at The International Exposition held at Tsukuba, Japan, five years after the development started. Since then, 36 units have been installed in Japan, and 55 units have been exported overseas, including the U.S., Canada, Singapore, China, Thailand, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and United Arab Emirates.
This marvelous escalator is not only installed as a machine for simply going up and down, but as a unique monument that decorates space in plazas and buildings.