Moving walkways an efficient passenger conveyance

28th September 2007

Moving walkways are a relatively new addi- tion to OR Tambo International Airport, having first been commissioned in May 1995 to a contract placed on Schindler Lifts South Africa by Airports Company South Africa (Acsa).

Further contracts in this respect have subsequently been placed in terms of the latest phase of extensions as the airport gears up for 2010.

“Schindler walkways are deployed worldwide. In the process, the company has its Schindler 9500 range to meet consumer demand in the industry. The Schindler 9500 reflects the latest technologica advances. The 9500’s most notable feature is low noise levels together with a soft, comfortable ride, because it is based on softrubber tech- nology,” Schindler Lifts South Africa national marketing manager John Williams points out.

He says the combination of Schindler’s engineering tech- nology with the durable long-life Dunlop starglide rubber belt is an example of operator friendliness.

“Also, the absence of pallets and handrail drive chains means far fewer parts and a reduction in lubrication. This provides greater assurance of long-term avail- ability rates and results in signifi- cant reductions of noise levels. Meanwhile, the 9500 is stylish in appearance and sturdy in construction. The unbroken matt-black tread surface is boarded by slim but robust balustrades,” Williams explains.

He comments that it is about combining aesthetics with durability in transporting the heaviest passenger loads, and the fact that all surfaces on the balustrades are finished in brushed stainless steel completes the efficient, durable and stylish appearance.

“As for the technology behind the ride, the Schindler 9500 has only a fraction of the components of a conventional passenger conveyor and, consequently, operates far more quietly. Other features of note are the tough, rubber-rimmed surfaces of the belts which offer excellent grip to passengers, while remaining comfortable underfoot. Its transverse stiffness is also much higher than that of earlier textile belts, giving reassurance of strength,” Williams continues.

He points out that the brain of the Schindler 9500 is the latest generation of Schindler’s microprocessor controllers. It continuously monitors and stores all aspects of the Schindler 9500’s status and performance. Any deviation from preset default parameters produces an immediate diagnosis and reaction, ensuring availability.

“Of increasing importance in intensive traffic environments, such as that of the airport, the 9500 microprocessor equips the system with an intelligent communication capability. This means that Schindler 9500 installations can transmit information and commands over a local network. The microprocessor gently controls acceleration of the drive up to working speed. This soft-start enhancement extends the life of the mechanical components beyond systems operating under conventional automatic operation,” Williams says.

He continues by saying that passenger safety is very important, beginning with the nonslip rubber surface of the belt tread.

“Along its sides, the belt travels beneath the skirting, eliminating the conventional vertical side gaps and so lowering the risk of pinching, while at each end, the combs mesh deeply into the belt tread to prevent objects from jamming. Risk of fire is also minimised by the lubrication-free, fire-resistant belt, since there are no tread gaps. This prevents dust accumulation,” Williams explains.

He says that all safety features, including fire resistance, meet or exceed all necessary international safety codes.

“The Schindler 9500 brings together rubber belt transport technology designed to combine the best passenger appeal with simple structural integration. Efficient and safe movement of people in large volumes is a key facet of modern air terminals as passenger volumes expand exponentially. It’s in this context that Schindler Lifts South Africa has played a role at many of the worlds’ airports, including OR Tambo International Airport,” Williams comments.

He says that the escalator cascade at the airport demonstrates the role of a large passenger conveyor, with its trolley-handling configuration in the original Johannesburg International Airport parkade, and the multiple levels of moving walkways in the new domestic passenger terminal.

“The supply and installation of the Schindler 9500 moving walkways is an important part of the latest extensions to OR Tambo Inter-national Airport, and marks the company’s involvement with the airport, which, over time, has covered a spectrum of products and systems, including passenger lifts, goods lifts, escalators and moving walkways. Schindler Lifts South Africa is positioned to meet the needs of Africa’s expanding airport passenger handling requirements, in general,” Williams concludes.