How Escalators Work

I think every one of us must have seen and used an escalator. At its core, an escalator is a very simple machine. It is designed for facilitating humans and at times goods from a lower point to higher point or vice versa. Today we will see how an escalator actually works.

Escalator although a simple piece of machinery is also an expensive one. It has to be durable and has sufficient work stamina. It is just like a conveyor belt, only with steps on it. Now again terming it just a conveyor belt would not be doing justice to this machine. At a first glance, it looks like a moving staircase which in fact it is. Only a very robust one.


Interior consists of a pair of chains which are wrapped around two gears. These gears are driven by a powerful electric motor. It is very common to see escalators with 100 HP motors. The chains, gears, and the motor are enclosed in a structure called the truss. Truss runs along the floors that the escalator is supposed to service.

Also Read: How Power Steering Works?

These chains of the escalator move a series of metallic steps. Every step in the escalator assembly has its own two sets of wheels which move on separate tracks. The upper wheels are the one which moves with the chain whereas the lower wheels ensure that the level of the step is maintained at any given moment of operation. As every one of us must have observed, every step in the escalator is collapsible. It collapses to a flat surface at the beginning and at the end of the escalator. It accounts for the safe and smooth ride for the user.

One more noticeable feature of the modern escalator is-

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