Escalator Steps – Function, Dimensions, and Materials

Escalator Steps – Function, Dimensions, and Materials

escalator steps

The dimensions of an escalator’s steps and landing are important to ensure safe and convenient use for the public. However, there are many other factors that must be considered when choosing escalator steps. This article covers the following topics: Function, Dimensions, and Materials. Using this information, you can determine which escalator is best for your needs. Read on to discover the most important considerations. Then, go and start shopping!


When deciding on escalator size, it’s important to consider the number of people who will be riding the escalator. As a general rule, escalator steps are between 580 and 1100 millimeters wide. The width of these steps is determined by the centerline of the handrails. Step widths in these ranges vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, but are typically adequate for one person without extra luggage and small children.

The top platform contains the motor assembly and two drive gears, while the bottom platform contains the step return idler sprockets. Each platform is connected to the end of the truss by a floor plate. Those platforms are also attached to the escalator’s landing platform by concrete or steel supports. The bottom landing is where the steps assume the stair-case configuration. A typical escalator has four to five steps, each approximately six feet long.

The escalator handrail is another key component. This part of the escalator is designed to provide a handhold for passengers. It’s attached to the mechanical drive system via a chain and pulley. In the past, escalators consumed up to 600 liters of oil in 10 years, and required routine cleaning to keep them clean. These days, most manufacturers use a patented lubricationfree chain, which dramatically reduces oil consumption. It also eliminates the need for a problematic oiling device. Ultimately, it significantly reduces downtime.


As you climb the escalator, you’ll notice its distinctive shape. This staircase-like design is achieved by bending the steps at the right angle, creating a staircase-like surface. At the top and bottom of the escalator, the steps remain flat. They travel along an underside truss and then cross another curved part of the track. At the bottom landing, the steps assume a stair-case configuration.

The escalator handrail acts as a handhold, and the four wheels on each step travel along a separate track. A steel cable, called a tension member, connects the handrail to the main drive gear, which pulls the steps up. The two separate tracks also move at the same speed, which is helpful in preventing tripping or falling. The handrail consists of four separate sections. The center section is called a “slider,” while the outer sections are referred to as the “railing.” The inner construction components are made of a chemically-treated rubber or steel tape.

The escalator’s metal steps have recessed grooves for sweeping away debris. The grooves prevent foreign objects from becoming trapped, causing the escalator to break down or stall. They also prevent liquids from collecting in the steps, preventing a fall. These features prevent a tripping accident by making it more comfortable to ride the escalator. However, some escalators have no such feature.


As the name suggests, escalator steps are connected in a series to form a flat platform at the top and bottom. These steps work by collapsing on each other to make it possible to go up and down the escalator. Each step has two sets of wheels – one connected to a rotating chain and pulled by gears in the upper section, and the other that glides along a track.

Escalators are generally constructed with aluminum steps to be stronger and lighter than their steel counterparts. Depending on the design, you can choose to add rubber mats or yellow demarcation lines to help keep people safe. The configuration of the steps is determined by the placement of the tracks and the size and width of the escalator. There are many different sizes of escalators, and they are most commonly found in metro stations and large buildings with heavy traffic.

Escalator steps also feature a handrail for the comfort of passengers. The railing is constructed with four distinct sections. The slider layer is made of a synthetic textile or cotton that allows the railing to slide smoothly along the track. The tension member is a flat steel cable that provides the escalator’s strength. Finally, the inner construction components are made of chemically treated rubber. You can read more about escalator steps in the links below.


Escalator steps are composed of composite materials – polymer and fiberglass, for instance – that form a unitary piece. The tread, or upper part of the escalator step, is made of a rigid polymer-fiberglass material and is attached to a curvilinear riser. The step frame is made of a single piece, which is then molded into a mold cavity.

Most escalators have die-cast aluminum or steel steps. These materials are usually trimmed to reduce slippage and are sometimes enhanced with yellow demarcation lines. Generally, escalator steps are one piece, and most were manufactured after the 1950s. Escalators with cleated steps have a ribbed appearance that meshes with comb plates on the platforms. Alternatively, cleated escalators have smooth risers and a continuous metal chain that links the treads.

The balustrade is above the Steps and consists of a Skirt Guard, an Interior Panel, a Deck Board, and Moving Handrails. The Moving Handrails are installed on each step and move with the Steps in synchronicity. The Handrails are located at the Inner Deck, and they can also be fitted with safety sensors. The comb impact device turns off the escalator’s motor and applies a brake in the event of an object that reaches the inlet area.

Escalator handrails provide a comfortable handhold for passengers. The handrail is made of metal, glass, or sandwich panels, and is connected to the escalator’s main drive gear via pulleys. The handrail is crafted in four sections – a center section is called the “slider,” or “glider ply,” and two side rails are known as the “tension member.” The tension member is usually made of steel cable or flat steel tape and is intended to provide tensile strength. Finally, the inner sections are made of chemically treated rubber.


Among all the safety measures to take, you must remember that escalator steps are low. They are not suited for wheeled vehicles and can cause a tripping hazard. You should also not ride an escalator without a handrail and bifocals. If you have to ride a stairway, you should always keep your hands on your hips and shoulders, and you should never lean over the side of the escalator.

As escalator steps are not flat, they can trap fingers or become trapped between them and the balustrade. Cracked or damaged handrails can also pose a pinching hazard. You should keep a distance of 100 mm (4 in.) from the handrail to adjacent walls. Keep an eye out for large cracks. Also, remember that after seven to ten years, the surface of the handrail can show signs of wear.

Aside from the tripping hazard, you should also ensure that the escalator is equipped with protective covers with integral safety switches. These covers will activate if an object falls between the escalator’s handrail and the entry portal. You can test their function by pressing one of the protective covers. If you are unsure whether the switch is working, check the safety switches at the top and bottom of each flight.


Maintenance of escalator steps is a vital part of keeping them in top operating condition. Regular servicing is vital to reducing the need for major repairs. Ensure the escalator steps are thoroughly inspected by a professional. Experienced escalator service technicians perform each service with utmost care. By following these steps, you can ensure that your escalator will keep operating safely and smoothly.

To fix worn out escalator steps, replace the step chain. Typically, it requires a day or two for two people. To replace escalator step chains, remove the old ones and install the new ones on the outside of the large frame. Make sure that the guide chain goes around the large chain and is installed on a consistent track route. Replace worn out steps by carefully examining the whole escalator.

Regular inspection of the escalator steps ensures proper functioning. Inspect the steps regularly to identify any imminent maintenance issues. Inspect the escalator every three to five years, or more often if necessary. Proper cleaning and maintenance will extend the escalator’s service life. If necessary, consult an escalator technician to get the job done right. There are many benefits to routine maintenance of escalators.

Cleaning escalator steps is essential for the safety of escalator passengers. Sliding on dirty escalator treads can cause a slip and fall resulting in a lawsuit and medical bills. Furthermore, escalators often are the focal point of a building, so a dirty stairway will reduce the appearance of the building. Cleaning escalator steps is the best way to maintain a clean, attractive escalator.