(19)
(11)EP 3 323 763 B1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT SPECIFICATION

(45)Mention of the grant of the patent:
17.06.2020 Bulletin 2020/25

(21)Application number: 17200770.0

(22)Date of filing:  09.11.2017
(51)Int. Cl.: 
B66B 25/00  (2006.01)
B66B 29/00  (2006.01)

(54)

AN ESCALATOR SYSTEM

FAHRTREPPENSYSTEM

SYSTÈME D'ESCALIER ROULANT


(84)Designated Contracting States:
AL AT BE BG CH CY CZ DE DK EE ES FI FR GB GR HR HU IE IS IT LI LT LU LV MC MK MT NL NO PL PT RO RS SE SI SK SM TR

(30)Priority: 21.11.2016 FI 20165875

(43)Date of publication of application:
23.05.2018 Bulletin 2018/21

(73)Proprietor: KONE Corporation
00330 Helsinki (FI)

(72)Inventors:
  • Jussila, Ari
    00330 Helsinki (FI)
  • Hirvonen, Toni
    00330 Helsinki (FI)

(74)Representative: Kolster Oy Ab 
(Salmisaarenaukio 1) P.O. Box 204
00181 Helsinki
00181 Helsinki (FI)


(56)References cited: : 
JP-A- H06 219 677
JP-A- 2015 101 461
JP-A- 2005 001 805
  
      
    Note: Within nine months from the publication of the mention of the grant of the European patent, any person may give notice to the European Patent Office of opposition to the European patent granted. Notice of opposition shall be filed in a written reasoned statement. It shall not be deemed to have been filed until the opposition fee has been paid. (Art. 99(1) European Patent Convention).


    Description

    BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION


    FIELD OF THE INVENTION



    [0001] This invention relates to an escalator system and in particular to a solution for improving the safety of an escalator system.

    DESCRIPTION OF PRIOR ART



    [0002] Escalator systems are previously disclosed in JP - 2005 001805 A, JP - H06 219677 A and JP - 2015 101461 A, for instance. Previously there is also known an escalator system with a first pit in a first end of the escalator and with a second pit in a second end of the escalator. Various technical devices needed for driving the escalator are arranged in the first pit and in the second pit. Consequently service technicians need to have access to the first and second pit. This access is provided such that the service technician is able to access the first and second pit by opening the access cover plate covering the first or second pit, depending on to which pit access is needed.

    [0003] The access cover plate of the respective first and second pit is in praxis arranged as an extension of the escalator. Consequently, when users are utilizing the escalator, they walk over the access cover plates of the first and second pit when entering the escalator or exiting the escalator. Therefore, in order to prevent that a person using the escalator falls into the pit due to the fact that the access cover plate is not appropriately closed, it is very important to ensure that the access cover plate is closed during use of the escalator. To ensure that the access cover plate is appropriately closed during use of the escalator, the known escalator is provided with a detector which indicates when the access cover plate is open and when it is closed.

    [0004] There exists a safety risk with the known solution in case the escalator system does not receive a correct indication from the detector, as this involves the risk that the access cover plate may accidentally be left in such a position that it is not appropriately closed when the escalator is taken into ordinary use. In such a situation the detector does not give the correct indication which would be needed to prevent driving of the escalator.

    SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION



    [0005] An object of the present invention is to improve the safety of an escalator system. This object is achieved with an escalator system according to independent claim 1 and with a method according to independent claim 9.

    [0006] A solution where movement of the escalator is stopped when the access cover plate is closed while the user interface is in the active state improves the safety by eliminating the risk that the escalator is used while the detector does not give a correct indication to the escalator system about the position of the access cover plate.

    [0007] Preferred embodiments of the invention are disclosed in the dependent claims.

    BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS



    [0008] In the following the present invention will be described in closer detail by way of example and with reference to the attached drawings, in which

    Figure 1 illustrates a part of an escalator system, and

    Figure 2 illustrates a pit of the escalator system of Figure 1 in cross-section.


    DESCRIPTION OF AT LEAST ONE EMBODIMENT



    [0009] Figures 1 and 2 illustrate an embodiment of an escalator system 1. A first end 2 of the escalator is provided with a pit 3 as an extension of the escalator. In this way person using the escalator will walk over the pit when entering or exiting the escalator. A similar pit may be arranged also in the opposite second end of the escalator.

    [0010] As illustrated by way of example in Figure 1, the first end 2 of the escalator is the lower end, while the second opposite end (not illustrated) of the escalator is the upper end of the escalator. Consequently, in this example the escalator extends between different floors of a building, for instance. Alternatively the first end and the second end of the escalator may be both arranged on the same floor, in which case the escalator can be used for transporting persons from one location to another while remaining on one single floor. In this application the term "escalator" includes also moving ramps and autowalks, in other words people conveyers arranged in one single floor only or to extend between different floors.

    [0011] Figure 1 illustrates the first end 2 of the escalator with an access cover plate 4 in a closed position, in other words in a position where the access cover plate 4 covers the pit 3 in such a way that persons using the escalator are prevented from falling into the pit 3.

    [0012] The escalator is provided with a control panel 6. Via this control panel the escalator can be driven in a normal operation mode, also referred to as an automatic mode. Consequently, a person responsible for operating the escalator can during daily use via this control panel stop the escalator and also control it to run in a first direction (such as upwards) and in a second opposite direction (such as downwards). The exact location of the control panel may vary. In the figures the control panel is by way of example located in a frame 5 of the escalator. In case the escalator system via the respective detectors detects that the access cover plate 4 in the first end 2 or that the access cover plate in the second end of the escalator is in an open position, the escalator system prevents driving of the escalator in the normal mode.

    [0013] Figure 2 illustrates the pit 3 in cross-section. For simplicity, the devices contained in the pit are not illustrated in Figure 2. In the illustrated example the pit 3 is provided with a detector 7 detecting the position of the access cover plate 4. In this example the detector 7 is implemented as switch with a spring 8 which can be bent sideways. When the access cover plate 4 is in closed position, the access cover plate 4 is in contact with this spring 8 such that it is bent sideways, and once the access cover plate 4 is in an open position, in other words in the illustrated position, the spring force returns the spring 8 to the illustrated straight upright position. The spring 8 is provided with electrical contacts indicating the position of the spring such that the escalator system can be provided with information about the position of the access cover plate 4, as previously explained.

    [0014] A problem involved with using a detector 7 of the illustrated type is that the detector may be stuck in a position where the escalator system continuously receives an indication according to which the access cover plate 4 is closed. This may be the case if the spring 8 is wedged under the frame 10 of the pit 3, as illustrated at arrow 9. Alternatively there may be a problem with the electrical wiring of the detector 7 or a malfunction in the detector itself.

    [0015] In the illustrated escalator system the detector 7 indicates when the access cover plate 4 is open and when it is closed. This indication is provided to a control unit of the escalator, for instance. Such a control unit (not illustrated) may be implemented with circuitry or a combination of circuitry and software, for instance. The control unit controls the electric motor which drives the escalator, for instance. For this purpose the detector 7 may be a simple switch which via breaking and closing an electric circuit informs the control unit of the escalator system of the position of the cover plate 4. Alternatively, the detector 7 may be implemented with circuitry capable of communicating the position of the cover plate 4 to the control unit via a computer bus, according to the PESSRAE standard, for instance.

    [0016] A user interface 11 is located in the pit 3. This user interface provides a service technician a possibility of controlling driving of the escalator from the pit 3, in which case the user interface may be an inspection mode user interface offering the service technician a possibility to drive the escalator in an inspection mode. In an active state this user interface 11 provides the escalator system, such as the control unit of the escalator, with control signals controlling the operation of the escalator. While being in a passive state, the user interface does not affect the operation of the escalator.

    [0017] In the illustrated example the escalator system is configured to stop movement of the escalator if the detector 7 indicates that the access cover plate is closed while the user interface is in the active state. During normal maintenance work the access cover 4 should in practice always be open when the service technician drives the escalator via the user interface 11 (which then is active). A situation where the service technician is located inside the pit 3 with the access cover closed should not occur. Therefore if the detector 8 indicates that the access cover 4 is closed while the user interface 11 is active, this is a clear indication of the fact that the detector 7 does not work correctly. In such a situation the safety is ensured by stopping the escalator. This stopping may in praxis be implemented by the control unit of the escalator which detects the situation.

    [0018] In order to ensure safety after the escalator has been stopped due to the reason mentioned above, the escalator system preferably maintains the escalator in the stopped position until the detector 7 indicates that the access cover plate 4 is opened while the user interface 11 is in the passive state. Only after this, the user interface may again be used for controlling driving of the escalator.

    [0019] In Figure 2 it has by way of example been assumed that the user interface comprises push buttons or push button areas (in case of a touch screen) offering a user a possibility to via the user interface 11 provide the escalator with control signals. Figure 2 shows a stop button 12, a button 13 for movement in a first direction and button 14 for movement in a second direction. In addition, the user interface may have an additional button for activating the user interface, such as a power button switching on electrical feed to the user interface, for instance. Pushing any of the push buttons or push button areas mentioned above activates the user interface in a way which the escalator system detects.

    [0020] As an alternative to the user interface illustrated in Figure 2, the pit 3 may instead be provided with an electrical socket only, which works as the user interface. In that case the service technician may have available a portable operating panel which can be detachably connected to the electric socket. In that case the above explained push buttons or push button areas may be implemented in the portable operating panel. With such a detachable solution, connecting of the portable device to the electric socket or alternatively detaching a blind plug from the electric socket to facilitate such connecting, may trigger activation of the user interface 11. Similarly, once the portable device is detached from the electric socket or the blind plug is reattached to the electric socket, deactivation of the user interface is indicated to the escalator system.

    [0021] It is to be understood that the above description and the accompanying figures are only intended to illustrate the present invention. It will be obvious to a person skilled in the art that the invention can be varied and modified without departing from the scope of the invention as defined by the appended claims.


    Claims

    1. An escalator system comprising:

    a pit (3) in at least a first or a second end (2) of the escalator, said pit (3) having an access cover plate (4),

    a detector (7) indicating when the access cover plate (4) is open and when it is closed, and

    a user interface (11) which is located in said pit (3) and which in an active state provides the escalator system (1) with control signals controlling the operation of the escalator and which in a passive state does not affect the operation of the escalator, characterized in that

    the escalator system (1) is configured to stop movement of the escalator if the detector (7) indicates that the access cover plate (4) is closed while the user interface (11) is in the active state.


     
    2. The escalator system of claim 1, wherein the escalator system (1) is configured to maintain the escalator, once stopped, in the stopped position until the detector (7) indicates that the access cover plate (4) is opened while the user interface (11) is in the passive state and only after this to allow again use of the user interface (11) for controlling driving of the escalator.
     
    3. The escalator system according to claim 1 or 2, wherein the user interface (11) comprises push buttons (12-14) or push button areas offering a user a possibility to via the user interface (11) provide the escalator with control signals.
     
    4. The escalator system according to one of claims 1 - 3, wherein the the escalator system detects that the user interface (11) is in the active state when the escalator system (1) receives from the user interface control signals indicating stop, movement in a first direction, movement in a second direction or an activation signal indicating that a user has activated the user interface (11).
     
    5. The escalator system according to one of claims 1 - 4, wherein the user interface (11) comprises an electric socket and a portable operating panel which is detachably connected to the electric socket.
     
    6. The escalator system according to one of claims 1 - 5, wherein the detector (7) indicates when the access cover plate (4) is open and when it is closed via a computer bus according to PESSRAE standard.
     
    7. The escalator system according to one of claims 1 - 6, wherein the user interface (11) is an inspection mode input device comprising push buttons (12, 13, 14) or push button areas for providing control signals to the escalator system or an electrical socket for detachable connection to a portable operating panel comprising push buttons or push button areas.
     
    8. The escalator system according to one of claims 1 - 7, wherein
    the escalator system is provided with a control panel (6) for driving the escalator in a normal operation mode, and
    the user interface (11) is a user interface for driving the escalator in an inspection mode.
     
    9. A method for operating an escalator system, characterized in that the method comprises:

    activating a user interface (11) located in a pit (3) in a first end or a second end of an escalator to an active state to provide the escalator system (1) with control signals controlling the operation of the escalator,

    detecting via a detector (7) if an access cover plate (4) of the pit (3) is open or closed, and

    stopping movement of the escalator if the detector (7) indicates that the access cover plate (4) is closed when the user interface (11) is in the active state.


     
    10. The method of claim 9, wherein the method comprises:
    maintaining the escalator, once stopped, in the stopped position until the detector (7) indicates that the access cover plate is opened while the user interface (11) is in a passive state.
     


    Ansprüche

    1. Fahrtreppensystem, das Folgendes umfasst:

    eine Grube (3) an mindestens einem ersten oder einem zweiten Ende (2) der Fahrtreppe, wobei die Grube (3) eine Zugangsabdeckplatte (4) aufweist,

    einen Detektor (7), der anzeigt, wann die Zugangsabdeckplatte (4) geöffnet und wann sie geschlossen ist, und

    eine Benutzerschnittstelle (11), die sich in der Grube (3) befindet und die in einem aktiven Status dem Fahrtreppensystem (1) Steuersignale bereitstellt, die den Betrieb der Fahrtreppe steuern, und die in einem passiven Status den Betrieb der Fahrtreppe nicht beeinträchtigt, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass

    das Fahrtreppensystem (1) dazu ausgelegt ist, eine Bewegung der Fahrtreppe anzuhalten, wenn der Detektor (7) anzeigt, dass die Zugangsabdeckplatte (4) geschlossen ist, während sich die Benutzerschnittstelle (11) im aktiven Status befindet.


     
    2. Fahrtreppensystem nach Anspruch 1, wobei das Fahrtreppensystem (1) dazu ausgelegt ist, die Fahrtreppe, nachdem sie angehalten wurde, in der angehaltenen Position zu halten, bis der Detektor (7) anzeigt, dass die Zugangsabdeckplatte (4) geöffnet wird, während sich die Benutzerschnittstelle (11) im passiven Status befindet, und erst danach das Verwenden der Benutzerschnittstelle (11) zum Steuern des Antreibens der Fahrtreppe wieder zu erlauben.
     
    3. Fahrtreppensystem nach Anspruch 1 oder 2, wobei die Benutzerschnittstelle (11) Drucktasten (12-14) oder Drucktastenbereiche umfasst, die einem Benutzer eine Möglichkeit anbieten, der Fahrtreppe via die Benutzerschnittstelle (11) Steuersignale bereitzustellen.
     
    4. Fahrtreppensystem nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 3, wobei das Fahrtreppensystem detektiert, dass sich die Benutzerschnittstelle (11) im aktiven Status befindet, wenn das Fahrtreppensystem (1) von der Benutzerschnittstelle Steuersignale, die ein Anhalten, eine Bewegung in eine erste Richtung, eine Bewegung in eine zweite Richtung anzeigen, oder ein Aktivierungssignal, das anzeigt, dass ein Benutzer die Benutzerschnittstelle (11) aktiviert hat, empfängt.
     
    5. Fahrtreppensystem nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 4, wobei die Benutzerschnittstelle (11) eine elektrische Buchse und ein tragbares Bedienpaneel, das lösbar mit der elektrischen Buchse verbunden ist, umfasst.
     
    6. Fahrtreppensystem nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 5, wobei der Detektor (7) via einen Computerbus gemäß PESSRAE-Standard anzeigt, wann die Zugangsabdeckplatte (4) offen und wann sie geschlossen ist.
     
    7. Fahrtreppensystem nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 6, wobei die Benutzerschnittstelle (11) eine Inspektionsmoduseingabevorrichtung, die Drucktasten (12, 13, 14) oder Drucktastenbereiche zum Bereitstellen von Steuersignalen für das Fahrtreppensystem umfasst, oder eine elektrische Buchse zur lösbaren Verbindung eines tragbaren Bedienpaneels, das Drucktasten oder Drucktastenbereiche umfasst, ist.
     
    8. Fahrtreppensystem nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 7, wobei
    das Fahrtreppensystem mit einem Steuerpaneel (6) zum Antreiben der Fahrtreppe in einem normalen Betriebsmodus ausgestattet ist, und
    die Benutzerschnittstelle (11) eine Benutzerschnittstelle zum Antreiben der Fahrtreppe in einem Inspektionsmodus ist.
     
    9. Verfahren zum Betreiben eines Fahrtreppensystems, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass das Verfahren Folgendes umfasst:

    Aktivieren einer Benutzerschnittstelle (11), die sich in einer Grube (3) an einem ersten Ende oder einem zweiten Ende der Fahrtreppe befindet, in einem aktiven Status, um dem Fahrtreppensystem (1) Steuersignale zum Steuern des Betriebs der Fahrtreppe bereitzustellen,

    Detektieren via einen Detektor (7), ob eine Zugangsabdeckplatte (4) der Grube (3) geöffnet oder geschlossen ist, und

    Anhalten einer Bewegung der Fahrtreppe, wenn der Detektor (7) anzeigt, dass die Zugangsabdeckplatte (4) geschlossen ist, wenn sich die Benutzerschnittstelle (11) im aktiven Status befindet.


     
    10. Verfahren nach Anspruch 9, wobei das Verfahren Folgendes umfasst:
    Halten der Fahrtreppe, nachdem sie angehalten wurde, in der angehaltenen Position, bis der Detektor (7) anzeigt, dass die Zugangsabdeckplatte geöffnet wird, während sich die Benutzerschnittstelle (11) in einem passiven Status befindet.
     


    Revendications

    1. Système d'escalier roulant comprenant :

    une fosse (3) dans au moins une première ou une deuxième extrémité (2) de l'escalier roulant, ladite fosse (3) ayant une plaque de couverture d'accès (4),

    un détecteur (7) indiquant quand la plaque de couverture d'accès (4) est ouverte et quand elle est fermée, et

    une interface utilisateur (11) qui est située dans ladite fosse (3) et qui, dans un état actif, fournit au système d'escalier roulant (1) des signaux de commande commandant le fonctionnement de l'escalier roulant, et qui, dans un état passif, n'affecte pas le fonctionnement de l'escalier roulant, caractérisé en ce que

    le système d'escalier roulant (1) est configuré pour arrêter le mouvement de l'escalier roulant si le détecteur (7) indique que la plaque de couverture d'accès (4) est fermée alors que l'interface utilisateur (11) est à l'état actif.


     
    2. Système d'escalier roulant selon la revendication 1, dans lequel le système d'escalier roulant (1) est configuré pour maintenir l'escalier roulant, une fois arrêté, en position arrêtée jusqu'à ce que le détecteur (7) indique que la plaque de couverture d'accès (4) est ouverte alors que l'interface utilisateur (11) est à l'état passif et, seulement après cela, pour permettre à nouveau l'utilisation de l'interface utilisateur (11) pour commander l'entraînement de l'escalier roulant.
     
    3. Système d'escalier roulant selon la revendication 1 ou 2, dans lequel l'interface utilisateur (11) comprend des boutons poussoirs (12-14) ou des zones de bouton poussoir offrant à l'utilisateur la possibilité de fournir, via l'interface utilisateur (11), des signaux de commande à l'escalier roulant.
     
    4. Système d'escalier roulant selon l'une des revendications 1 à 3, dans lequel le système d'escalier roulant détecte que l'interface utilisateur (11) est à l'état actif lorsque le système d'escalier roulant (1) reçoit, à partir de l'interface utilisateur, des signaux de commande indiquant l'arrêt, le mouvement dans une première direction, le mouvement dans une deuxième direction ou un signal d'activation indiquant qu'un utilisateur a activé l'interface utilisateur (11).
     
    5. Système d'escalier roulant selon l'une des revendications 1 à 4, dans lequel l'interface utilisateur (11) comprend une prise électrique et un panneau portable d'activation qui est connecté de manière amovible à la prise électrique.
     
    6. Système d'escalier roulant selon l'une des revendications 1 à 5, dans lequel le détecteur (7) indique quand la plaque de couverture d'accès (4) est ouverte et quand elle est fermée via un bus d'ordinateur conforme à la norme PESSRAE.
     
    7. Système d'escalier roulant selon l'une des revendications 1 à 6, dans lequel l'interface utilisateur (11) est un dispositif d'entrée en mode inspection comprenant des boutons poussoirs (12, 13, 14) ou des zones de bouton poussoir pour fournir des signaux de commande au système d'escalier roulant, ou une prise électrique pour une connexion amovible à un panneau portable d'activation comprenant des boutons poussoirs ou des zones de bouton poussoir.
     
    8. Système d'escalier roulant selon l'une des revendications 1 à 7, dans lequel
    le système d'escalier roulant est pourvu d'un panneau de commande (6) permettant d'entraîner l'escalier roulant en mode de fonctionnement normal, et
    l'interface utilisateur (11) est une interface utilisateur permettant d'entraîner l'escalier roulant en mode inspection.
     
    9. Procédé pour faire fonctionner un système d'escalier roulant, caractérisé en ce que le procédé comprend :

    l'activation d'une interface utilisateur (11) située dans une fosse (3) dans une première extrémité ou dans une deuxième extrémité d'un escalier roulant, dans un état actif, pour fournir au système d'escalier roulant (1) des signaux de commande commandant le fonctionnement de l'escalier roulant,

    la détection via un détecteur (7), permettant de savoir si une plaque de couverture d'accès (4) de la fosse (3) est ouverte ou fermée, et

    l'arrêt du mouvement de l'escalier roulant si le détecteur (7) indique que la plaque de couverture d'accès (4) est fermée lorsque l'interface utilisateur (11) est à l'état actif.


     
    10. Procédé selon la revendication 9, dans lequel le procédé comprend :
    le maintien de l'escalier roulant, une fois arrêté, en position arrêtée jusqu'à ce que le détecteur (7) indique que la plaque de couverture d'accès est ouverte alors que l'interface utilisateur (11) est dans un état passif.
     




    Drawing






    REFERENCES CITED IN THE DESCRIPTION



    This list of references cited by the applicant is for the reader's convenience only. It does not form part of the European patent document. Even though great care has been taken in compiling the references, errors or omissions cannot be excluded and the EPO disclaims all liability in this regard.

    Patent documents cited in the description