The unique project was under-taken by ThyssenKrupp Fahrtreppen, a subsidiary of ThyssenKrupp Elevator.
The escalators will carry visitors to the ‘Entry 2006’ design exhibi- tion, to a height of 23 m above ground to an elevated entrance area.
Zeche Zollverein was previously a colliery and has now been converted into a museum and visitor centre.
The official inauguration took place on August 19 under the authority of the Lord Mayor of Essen, Dr Wolfgang Reiniger, Under-secretary of State Gunter Koslowski from the North Rhine-Westphalia transport ministry and Roland Weiss from the development agency Entwicklungsgesell-schaft Zeche Zollverein.
Hundreds of visitors witnessed the inauguration and were given the opportunity to go for a maiden ride.
The bright orange escalators have attracted a lot of attention and have already become an emblem of industrial culture.
The Dutch Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA), founded by architect Rem Kolhaas, is responsible for the unusual architecture.
The colliery was closed in 1986 and the site was awarded protected status and declared a Unesco World Heritage Site in 2001.
The two weatherproof escalators were custom-built to a height of 23,33 m and form a visual highlight of the colliery. The combination of the colours, orange and black, are intended to represent fire and coal. In recent years, the former colliery has been transformed into an inter- national design centre so the escalators are in keeping with this general concept.
Apart from their visual appeal and aesthetic value, the high-tech installations provide maximum levels of safety and reliability to cope with the changing weather conditions, long service times and high visitor numbers.
To ensure high availability, all operating data is analysed by a safety bus system (e-escalator). The innovative system allows online escalator monitoring using the latest Web technologies.
Another feature of the installations is a variable-speed energy-saving system.
A frequency converter saves energy by reducing the nominal speed steplessly from 0,5 m a second to 0,2 m a second, as soon as there are no passengers on the escalators.
The running-step band indicates to users that the escalator is in opera- tion and radar sensors identify approaching passengers.
As soon as a user passes these intelligent sensors, the escalator accelerates gently to a nominal speed.
As a result of this innovative system, operators will not only save energy costs but also increase profitability.