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Title:
PEOPLE MOVER
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2011/080376
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The object of the invention is a people mover, which people mover comprises at least a conveyor track (1) provided with a conveyor section and a return section, which conveyor track comprises a plurality of conveyor elements (2) arranged consecutively, to which conveyor elements (2) at least one step plate (17) is connected, which step plate is locked to the conveyor element (2) with a locking means (25, 27). The people mover comprises means (18, 28) for determining the position of a step plate (17) and/or the position of the locking means (25, 27) of a step plate.

Inventors:
MUSTALAHTI, Jorma (Raivaajantie 13, Hyvinkää, FI-05820, FI)
KARIMPANACKAL, Natarajan, Nithil (Raaseporintie 1 C 50, Helsinki, FI-00900, FI)
Application Number:
FI2010/000079
Publication Date:
July 07, 2011
Filing Date:
December 29, 2010
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
KONE CORPORATION (Kartanontie 1, Helsinki, FIN-00330, FI)
MUSTALAHTI, Jorma (Raivaajantie 13, Hyvinkää, FI-05820, FI)
KARIMPANACKAL, Natarajan, Nithil (Raaseporintie 1 C 50, Helsinki, FI-00900, FI)
International Classes:
B66B29/00
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
KONE CORPORATION/PATENT DEPARTMENT (P.O.Box 677, Hyvinkää, FI-05801, FI)
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Claims:
CLAIMS

1. People mover, which people mover comprises at least a conveyor track (1) provided with a conveyor section and a return section, which conveyor track comprises a plurality of conveyor elements (2) arranged consecutively, to each of which conveyor elements (2) at least one step plate (17) is connected, which step plate is locked to the conveyor element (2) with a locking means (25, 27), characterized in that the people mover comprises means (18, 28) for determining the position of a step plate (17) and/or the position of the locking means (25, 27) of a step plate.

2. People mover according to claim 1, characterized in that the people mover comprises means, by the aid of which the people mover is arranged to stop if the position of some step plate (17) or locking means (25, 27) or of some feature of these on the conveyor element (2) deviates from the normal, or if some step plate (17) or locking means (25, 27) is missing altogether.

3. People mover according to claim 1 or 2 , characterized in that the means (18, 28) for determining the position of a step plate (17) and/or of the locking means (25, 27) of a step plate are disposed to detect the position of a step plate (17) and/or of the locking means (25, 27) of a step plate on the return section of the conveyor track (1) .

4. People mover according to claim 1, 2 or 3, characterized in that the means (18, 28) for determining the position of a step plate (17) and/or of the locking means (25, 27) of a step plate are disposed in the proximity of the area of the direction change of the conveyor elements (2) , at either one end or at both ends of the people mover.

5. People mover according to any of the preceding claims, characterized in that the means (18, 28) for determining the position of a step plate (17) and/or of the locking means (25, 27) of a step plate comprise a sensor or a plurality of sensors, preferably a proximity sensor/proximity sensors, which are arranged to measure the position of some feature of the step plate (17) and/or of the locking means (25, 27) of a step plate when the conveyor element (2) is essentially at the point of the sensor.

6. People mover according to any of the preceding claims, characterized in that the conveyor element (2) comprises a plurality of step plates (17) side-by-side, and in that the means (18) for determining the position of a step plate (17) are arranged to determine the position of all the step plates (17) of the aforementioned plurality.

7. People mover according to any of the preceding claims, characterized in that the means (18) for determining the position of a step plate (17) comprise a plurality of sensors (18a) disposed side-by-side in a line in the lateral direction of the conveyor track (1) for determining the position of each step plate (17) separately.

8. People mover according to any of the preceding claims, characterized in that each sensor (18a) is arranged to determine the position of a step plate (17) traveling at the point of it, preferably below it.

9. People mover according to any of the preceding claims, characterized in that the aforementioned sensor (18a, 28) or plurality of. sensors (18a) is disposed below the conveyor section of the conveyor track (1) between the conveyor section and the return section.

10. People mover according to any of the preceding claims, characterized in that the aforementioned sensor (18a, 28) or plurality of sensors (18a, 28) detects contactlessly the position of a step plate (17) and/or of the locking means (25, 27) of a step plate traveling at the point of it.

11. People mover according to any of the preceding claims, characterized in that the means (18, 28) for determining the position of a step plate (17) and/or of the locking means (25, 27) of a step plate comprise a sensor (18a, 28) and/or a plurality of sensors (18a, 28) , which are supported permanently in their position on the people mover, e.g. on its frame.

12. People mover according to any of the preceding claims, characterized in that the means (18, 28) for determining the position of a step plate (17) and/or of the locking means (25, 27) of a step plate are disposed to detect the position of a step plate (17) and/or of the locking means (25, 27) of a step plate at the point of the people mover where the conveyor element (2) moves in the direction of the plane of the step plate (17) .

Description:
PEOPLE MOVER

The object of the invention is a people mover, e.g. a travelator, a moving ramp or an escalator.

People movers, such as travelators, moving ramps and escalators, are used e.g. in terminals, shopping malls and corresponding premises to facilitate the passage of people. Usually this type of people mover comprises a conveyor track and handrails, which conveyor track is arranged to transport people forwards and possibly also from one floor to another. A conveyor track consists of essentially flat-surfaced conveyor elements that are fitted consecutively, and are arranged to be moved by means of drive machinery. The conveyor elements are arranged to circulate in a loop such that a conveyor element travels some of the time forwards in the visible part of the conveyor track, in which case it can convey passengers on its surface . At the exit end of the conveyor track the conveyor element moves out of sight under the comb plate of the exit end of the track, after which it transfers to travel backwards below the conveyor track. When the conveyor element again arrives at the start end of the track, its direction of travel changes and the element again appears at the start end of the track from under the comb plate.

In people movers separate step plates, e.g. made of plastic, can also be fitted onto the conveyor elements. If a step plate has been installed onto a conveyor element incorrectly, the step plate might detach from its fixing. In addition, if e.g. some foreign object wedges between a step plate and the other parts of the conveyor, such as the comb plate, the fixing means of the step plate can break or the step plate can otherwise detach from its fixing, in these types of situations the safety of the passengers can be endangered, if e.g. a step plate comes from under the comb plate partly or wholly detached from a conveyor element. The aim of this invention is to eliminate the aforementioned drawbacks and to achieve a safe and dependably functional people mover, which comprises a suitable arrangement for monitoring that a step plate is in its position, by means of which arrangement it is possible to detect whether some step plate is not properly attached on a conveyor element. In addition, an aim is to achieve a people mover, which can be stopped if some step plate is not properly attached on a conveyor element. The people mover according to the invention is characterized by what is disclosed in the characterization part of claim 1. Likewise other embodiments of the invention are characterized by what is disclosed in the other claims. Some inventive embodiments are also discussed in the descriptive section of the present application. The inventive content of the application can also be defined differently than in the claims presented below. The inventive content may also consist of several separate inventions, especially if the invention is considered in the light of expressions or implicit sub-tasks or from the point of view of advantages or categories of advantages achieved. In this case, some of the attributes contained in the claims below may be superfluous from the point of view of separate inventive concepts. Likewise the different details presented in connection with each embodiment of the invention can also be applied in other embodiments. In addition, it can be stated that at least some of the subordinate claims can at least in some situations be deemed to be inventive in their own right.

The people mover according to the invention, which people mover comprises at least a conveyor track provided with a conveyor section and a return section, comprises a plurality of conveyor elements arranged consecutively, to which conveyor elements at least one step plate is connected, which step plate is locked to a conveyor element with a locking means. The people mover comprises means for determining the position of a step plate and/or the position of the locking means of a step plate. One advantage of the solution according to the invention is that by means of it is possible to detect whether one of the step plates of a people mover is not properly attached on a conveyor element or whether a step plate is missing altogether from on top of some conveyor element. From this follows the advantage that the people mover can be stopped in these types of situations, in which case it is possible to prevent a detached or missing step plate from causing a hazard. A further advantage is that the arrangement according to the invention is simple and inexpensive to implement.

Preferably, the people mover comprises means, by the aid of which the people mover is arranged to stop if the position of some step plate or locking means or of some feature of these on the conveyor element deviates from the normal, or if some step plate or locking means is missing altogether. Thus a dangerous situation, e.g. the wedging or jamming of a badly positioned step plate in the area of the direction change, can be avoided.

Preferably the means for determining the position of a step plate and/or of the locking means of a step plate are disposed to detect the position of a step plate and/or of the locking means of a step plate on the return section of the conveyor track. Thus a dangerous situation, e.g. the wedging or jamming of a badly positioned step plate in the area of the direction change, and on the other hand the emergence of a conveyor element in an abnormal situation, can be avoided.

Preferably the means for determining the position of a step plate and/or of the locking means of a step plate are disposed in the proximity of the area of the direction change of the conveyor elements, at either one end or at both ends of the people mover. Thus, for example, the electrifications are simple and an abnormal situation/formation of an abnormal situation can be detected in the critical area from the safety- perspective advantageously from the perspective of timing.

Preferably the means for determining the position of a step plate and/or of the locking means of a step plate comprise a sensor or a plurality of sensors, preferably a proximity sensor/proximity sensors, which are arranged to measure the position of some feature of the step plate and/or of the locking means of a step plate when the conveyor element is essentially at the point of the sensor. Thus the implementation is safe and simple.

Preferably the conveyor element comprises a plurality of step plates side-by-side, and that the means for determining the position of a step plate are arranged to determine the position of all the step plates of the aforementioned plurality. Thus the implementation is safe and reliable.

Preferably the means for determining the position of a step plate comprise a plurality of sensors disposed side-by-side in a line in the lateral direction of the conveyor track for determining the position of each step plate separately. Thus at least one sensor detects the position of each step plate of the aforementioned plurality. Thus the implementation is safe and reliable.

Preferably each sensor is arranged to determine the position of a step plate traveling at the point of it, preferably below it. Thus the arrangement is simple and space-efficient to implement. ,

Preferably the aforementioned sensor or plurality of sensors is disposed below the conveyor section of the conveyor track between the conveyor section and the return section. Thus the arrangement is simple and space-efficient to implement. Preferably the conveyor is of the type that the conveyor elements do not turn upside-down in the direction change. Preferably the conveyor is of the type that its conveyor elements are in the same position on the conveyor section and on the return section. Thus the arrangement is simple and space-efficient to implement, because the sensors can be disposed in the space between the sections.

Preferably each sensor is arranged to determine the position of a step plate traveling at the point of it at the point of the people mover where the conveyor element moves in the direction of the plane of the step plate. Thus the distance to the plane of the step plate remains constant if its position is normal. Thus the arrangement is simple and reliable to implement.

Preferably the aforementioned sensor or plurality of sensors detects contactlessly the position of a step plate and/or of the locking means of a step plate traveling at the point of it (via the detection field of the sensor) . For example, an optical, inductive, capacitive or other such sensor can be used for this purpose. Thus the arrangement is simple, long- lasting and reliable. Preferably the means for determining the position of a step plate and/or of the locking means of a step plate comprise a sensor and/or a plurality of sensors, which are supported permanently in their position on the people mover, e.g. on its frame. Thus the people mover is safe and can comprise a small quantity of sensors.

Preferably the step plate is detachably fixed onto the frame of a conveyor element and forms a plane, on which a passenger can stand (such that the foot of the passenger is against the step plate) .

Preferably the control of the people mover is arranged to stop the conveyor if the position of some step plate or locking means or of some feature of these on the conveyor element deviates from the normal, or if some step plate or locking means is missing altogether. Thus the occurrence of a dangerous situation, e.g. the wedging or jamming of a badly positioned step plate in the area of the direction change, can be prevented in time . Thus breakage of the people mover can also be avoided.

Preferably the aforementioned people mover is a travelator, a moving ramp or an escalator.

Preferably the means for determining the position of a step plate and/or of the locking means of a step plate comprise a sensor or a plurality of sensors, which are supported permanently in their position on the people mover, e.g. on its frame. The sensors do not thus move along with the conveyor element .

Preferably the conveyor element comprises a plurality of step plates side-by-side in the lateral direction of the conveyor track and a plurality of sensors side-by-side in the lateral direction of the conveyor track, and that each step plate of the aforementioned plurality is arranged to travel from the proximity of, preferably under, a sensor at the point of it, which sensor is arranged to detect the position of a step plate traveling at its point. Thus the arrangement is simple, reliable and space-efficient.

In the following, the invention will be described in more detail by the aid of .two different examples of its embodiment with reference to the attached drawings, wherein

Fig. 1 presents a simplified and diagrammatic side view of a travelator that functions as a people mover, in which an arrangement according to the invention is used, Fig. 2 presents a simplified and diagrammatic top view of the travelator of Fig. 1,

Fig. 3 presents an oblique top view of one conveyor element,

Fig. 4 presents a side view of one conveyor element and of a step plate to be fixed onto it,

Fig. 5 presents a magnified side view of one fixing of a step plate to a conveyor element and

Fig. 6 presents a magnified side view of one other fixing of a step plate to a conveyor element.

Fig. 1 presents a side view and Fig. 2 a top view of one people mover, in this case a travelator, according to the invention, in a simplified and diagrammatic form and sectioned at the center in the longitudinal direction. The travelator comprises a conveyor track 1, which comprises conveyor elements 2 fitted consecutively, which conveyor elements are fixed with fixing means 21 at their first ends to a first transmission means 3a and at their second ends to a second transmission means 3b. The transmission means 3a and 3b are preferably e.g. chains, which are fitted into endless loops to pass around the wheels 4a and 4b at the first end of the conveyor track 1 and around the wheels 5a and 5b at the second end of the conveyor track. The power source of the people mover is machinery 6, which is arranged to move the transmission means 3a and 3b by means of the wheels 4a and 5a and by means of the wheels 4b and 5b via first synchronization means 7 fitted to the first end of the track. Second synchronization means 8 are fitted to the second end of the track. The synchronization means 7 and 8 comprise two wheels connected to each other with a shaft and wheels connected to the wheels of the conveyor track. The first synchronization means 7 are arranged to synchronize the rotation of the wheels 4a and 4b of the first end of the track and the second synchronization means 8 are arranged to synchronize the . ' rotation of the wheels 5a and 5b of the second end of the track. The conveyor elements 2 are arranged to move on the top section of the conveyor track 1 in the direction of the arrow A and below the conveyor track 1 in the opposite direction, i.e. in the direction of the arrow B. Conveyor track 1 refers in this context to that part of the travelator formed by conveyor elements 2, in which the conveyor section is visible at any given time, which conveys passengers forwards, and a return section hidden below the conveyor section, in which the conveyor elements 2 move in the opposite direction than on the conveyor section. In Fig. 1 the conveyor elements 2 travel on the conveyor section in the direction of the arrow A and in the return section in the direction of the arrow B. Each conveyor element 2 is arranged to emerge into the conveyor section of the conveyor track 1 in rotation from under the comb plate 12 of the first end of the conveyor track and to travel to the second end of the conveyor track 1, where it is arranged to move out of sight to below the comb plate 13 of the second end of the track. After this the conveyor element 2 transfers to the return section below the conveyor section, its direction of travel changes and the conveyor element 2 starts to move under the conveyor section back towards the first end of the conveyor track 1. When the conveyor element 2 arrives at the first end of the conveyor track 1, its direction of travel again changes and it again emerges into the conveyor section of the conveyor track 1 from under the comb plate 12.

Roller guide shoes 14 are connected to the conveyor elements 2, which roller guide shoes are arranged to guide the conveyor element 2 on first guide rails 15 fitted below the conveyor section when the conveyor element 2 is traveling on the conveyor section. When the conveyor element 2 transfers to the return section below the conveyor section and its direction of travel changes, the conveyor element 2 transfers to move guided by the roller guide shoes 14 on the second guide rails 16, which are fitted below the first guide rails 15.

One or more step plates 17 are fixed on top of each conveyor element 2, which step plates are manufactured e.g. from plastic. In this embodiment five step plates 17 that are essentially similar to each other are fixed side-by-side on top of each conveyor element 2. Means 18, provided with sensors 18a, for determining the position of a step plate 17 or the position of some feature of it are fitted near the first end of the conveyor track 1 above the conveyor elements 2 traveling below the conveyor section. A plurality of detection means, for example, which are arranged to monitor the position of the step plates 17 and their fixing on the conveyor elements 2, and are placed in a line in the transverse direction with respect to the direction of travel of the conveyor elements 2, function as such sensors 18a. The detection means 18a is disposed below the conveyor section of the conveyor track 1 between the conveyor section and the return section. Preferably there is a dedicated detection means 18a for each step plate 17 of a conveyor element 2, so that in this case there are five detection means. The detection means 18a are arranged to detect whether some step plate 17 is not properly attached on its conveyor element or whether one or more step plates 17 is missing completely from the top of a conveyor element 2.

The detection means 18a are connected to the control system 9 of the people mover and the arrangement comprises means for notifying the control system 9 of the conveyor of a situation deviating from the normal detected by the detection means 18a. If the detection means 18a detect a situation deviating from the normal, they are arranged to notify this fact to the control system 9 of the people mover, which control system is fitted in this case to stop the people mover in order to avoid hazardous situations. The means 18 for determining the position of a step plate 17 are preferably measuring devices that operate optically or on an infrared principle, such as proximity sensors, e.g. provided with detection means 18a, which devices are arranged to measure the distance of the step plates 17 traveling below them. If the distance between some step plate 17 and the detection means 18a differs from that defined, the step plate 17 is probably not attached properly on its conveyor element 2 or it is missing completely. Fig. 3 presents an oblique top view and Fig. 4 a side view of one conveyor element 2 belonging to a people mover. The conveyor element 2 comprises a frame 19 of essentially rectangular shape as viewed from above, the profile of which frame is honeycomb-structured as viewed from the end. The frame 19 is manufactured preferably e.g. from aluminium or from some other suitable material. Base plates 20 are fixed on top of the frame 19, onto which base plates plastic step plates 17 are further fitted. The profile of the frame 19 comprises fixing holes 10 on the edges of both ends of the frame and a fixing hole 11 in the center. Roller guide shoes 14 on bearings are fixed in the fixing holes 10, which roller guide shoes are arranged to guide the conveyor element 2 on guide rails 15, 16, and pin-type fixing means 21 are fixed in the fixing holes 11, by means of which fixing means the conveyor element 2 is arranged to be fixed to the chains 3a, 3b or corresponding that function as the transmission means of the people mover.

The edges of the frame 19 comprise locking grooves 22a and 22b, into which the step plates 17 are arranged to be fixed at their ends. The bottom part of both end edges of the step plates 17 comprise a plurality of locking claws 23a and 23b, which in their shape fit into the fixing grooves 22a and 22b of the frame 19. The edges of the base plates 20 to be fitted between the frame 19 and the step plates 17 comprise, for their part, a plurality of holes 24a and 24b in spots corresponding to those in which the locking claws of the step plates 17 are. The step plates 17 are arranged to be fixed to the frame 19 such that the locking claws 23a of the first edge of a step plate 17 are fitted first through the holes 24a of the first edge of the base plate 20 into the fixing groove 22a of the first edge of the frame. After this the second edge of the step plate 17 is turned downwards and the locking claws 23b of the second edge are fitted through the holes 24b of the second edge of the base plate 20 into the fixing groove 22b of the second edge, of the frame 19.

Fig. 5 presents a magnified view of the fixing of the second end of a step plate. The locking claws 23b in the bottom edge of a step plate 17 are thus fitted into the fixing groove 22b, into which the locking claws 23b fit owing to their shape. A locking rod provided with eccentric cams and functioning as a locking means 25, which locking rod is essentially the length of a whole conveyor element 2, is also fitted into the fixing groove 22b, the second end of which locking rod is shaped into e.g. a hexagonal gripping part 26, from where the locking rod 25 can be rotated with a suitable tool around its longitudinal axis. When the locking rod 25 is rotated the locking rod locks, owing to its eccentric cams, the locking claws 23b into the fixing groove 22b, in which case the step plate 17 locks to the frame 19.

Fig. 6 presents one other embodiment of the invention. In this embodiment also the edges of the step plates 17 comprise locking claws corresponding to the locking claws 23a and 23b and the frame 19 comprises corresponding fixing grooves as in the embodiment presented above. A difference in this embodiment is that a different locking means 27 instead of an eccentric locking rod is used for locking a step plate 17, which locking means is essentially a flat rod-shaped means of the length of the whole conveyor element 2. The locking claws 23b are arranged to lock into the fixing groove 22b when the locking means 27 is pushed inwards and the locking releases when the locking means 27 is pulled outwards. Means 28 for determining the position of a locking means 27 or the position of some feature of it, which means are connected to the control system 9, are fitted in a suitable spot near the first end of the conveyor track 1 to the side of the conveyor elements 2 traveling the return section below the conveyor section. A detection means that is arranged to monitor the position of the locking means 27, for example, can function as such a means 28. The detection means 28 is arranged to detect whether the locking means 27 is not properly locked or whether it has e.g. broken or detached. In this case the detection means 28 is arranged to notify this fact to the control system 9, which is further arranged to stop the people mover.

The conveyor elements 2 and the locking means 27 on them travel past the detection means 28 always at a certain frequency, which depends on the speed of the conveyor. The detection means 28 can also operate e.g. such that if at a certain moment in time it does not detect the locking means 27, although it should have done so, it gives an error notification to the control system 9.

The first and the second embodiment of . the invention presented above can also be used together, in which case ~ the position and presence of the step plates 17 as well as the locking means 27 can be monitored.

The conveyor is preferably of the type that its conveyor elements are in the same position on the conveyor section and on the return section such that the step plates are above the conveyor element both on the conveyor section and on the return section. The invention can, however, be utilized also in solutions in which the conveyor elements are upside-down on the return section. It is obvious to the person skilled in the art that the invention is not limited solely to the example described above, but that it may be varied within the scope of the claims presented below. Thus, for example, the step plates can also be fixed to the conveyor elements in a different manner than what is described above.

It is further obvious to the person skilled in the art that the people mover can also be such that its direction of travel can, if so desired, be changed. In this case detection means corresponding to those of the first end are also fitted on the second end of the people mover.

It is further obvious to the person skilled in the art that some other amount of step plates than five can be fixed onto one conveyor element. The invention could additionally be applied such that the means for determining the position of a step plate are arranged to detect the position of a step plate or of its locking means by the aid of a sensor based on mechanical contact, such as a roller, which transfers into mechanical contact with the step plate or its locking means when it travels at the point of the roller.