Escalators are an essential feature in any shopping mall, transportation or other busy multi-level public building. They efficiently bring shoppers, travelers, visitors and workers from one floor to another, making the transit experience a more comfortable one.
Many of these escalators run constantly to ensure people can use them at any time. An escalator uses up to 7.5 kW in normal mode. That means a lot more energy is used than is actually needed. Escalators equipped with simple sensors to detect people help reduce this energy usage by waking the escalator from its ‘slow mode’ of 2.5 kW. However, in a busy mall, such escalators are constantly activated by shoppers simply passing by. Ensuring that the escalator is activated only by intending passengers ensures tremendous additional energy, cost and maintenance savings.
CEDES’ TOF/Start uses its TOF (Time of Flight) technology to distinguish if a person is walking through the detection zone is actually walking towards the escalator to use it, or simply passing by. This very reliable direction-recognition feature sets it apart from the competition and makes it ideal for busy public concourses.
Schindler Master Escalator Instructor, René Würsch, selected the TOF/Start to replace conventional radar sensors on the twin escalator installation in the Wiggispark shopping center in Nestal, Switzerland. “The previous sensors switched from ‘slow mode’ when anyone walked through the detection area. The problem was so many of these triggerings were by people passing by the escalator, not wanting to use it. This means the escalator was using way more energy than necessary.
“The TOF/Start’s intelligent technology eliminate these false triggerings by being able to detect the direction people are walking in. If they are walking by the escalator, they are ignored and the escalator remains in the energy-saving ‘slow mode’. If they are walking towards it to use it, then the escalator speeds up to efficiently take intending passengers to the next floor.
The facts speak for themselves. With the original sensors, the twin escalator unit operated in ‘slow mode’ on average for just one hour per day. With TOF/Starts installed, this was increased to an average of six hours daily per escalator. That’s a 600% increase in energy saving. A total of 12 hours more ‘slow mode’ across two escalators gives around 50 kWh savings per day. That’s around CHF 1,500 per year.
Würsch adds: “The TOF/Start is a great solution because we can set the detection area to match the individual application’s needs. You can make it as big or as small as you want and know that cross-traffic will be ignored. There are huge energy savings to be made. The TOF/Start is also easy to install, particularly if you are using the cabling of existing sensors. It took about an hour per TOF/Start, so with four sensors it took four hours. This is a very reasonable downtime for such major savings down the road”
By greatly increasing the ‘slow mode’ time, the TOF/Start ensures:
- Major energy savings for every operational hour
- Reduced power costs